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AHIJAH (a-hī'ja, Heb. ’ăhîyâ, brother of Jehovah)

AHIJAH ə hī’ jə (אֲחִיָּ֣ה or אֲחִיָּ֣הוּ, my brother is Yahweh, or brother of Yahweh, short for Ahimelech, brother of Melek). 1. A son of Ahitub and a priest in the days of Saul. He was a descendant of Eli through Phineas’ line (1 Sam 14:3). The name “Ahiah” or “Ahijah” is shown to be a short form for Ahimelech, a son of Ahitub (1 Sam 22:9, 11, 20). Thus Ahijah or Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, served as priest at Nob, wore the ephod and bore the responsibility for the Ark of God. He consulted the oracles of God for Saul on the field at Michmash (1 Sam 14:18f.; note the LXX reference to the ephod). He is the same one who offered to David the showbread when he was hungry and fleeing from Saul (1 Sam 21:1-10).

2. A Pelonite who was one of David’s Thirty, the military élite of the nation (1 Chron 11:36). The parallel list (2 Sam 23:34) reads “Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.” The Samuel reading is to be preferred.

3. A Levite who was “over the treasures of the house of God and over the treasures of the dedicated things” in the time of David (1 Chron 26:20). Most commentators and the LXX read “the Levites, their brothers” (אֲחֵיהֶם) for אֲחִיָּ֗ה.

4. The son of Shisha and brother of Elihoreph (1 Kings 4:3). Both brothers were secretaries or scribes for Solomon.

6. The father of Baasha, king of Israel, who conspired against Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, and who then ruled in his place (1 Kings 15:27, 33; 21:22; 2 Kings 9:9). He was from the tribe of Issachar.

7. Son of Jerahmeel, brother of Caleb, from the tribe of Judah (1 Chron 2:25) the LXXBA reads “his brothers”; LXXL reads Αχιαμ and the Syr. reads “his brothers” instead of the personal name Ahijah.

8. A descendant of Benjamin (1 Chron 8:7) and one of the sons of Ehud. The ICC on this passage declares the three names of Naaman, Ahijah and Gera to be a dittography (1 Chron 8:4). Further both Ahijah (v. 7) and Ahoah (v. 4) as well as Ehi (Gen 46:21) are scribal variations for an original reading of Ahiram (Num 26:38-40).

9. A Levite who sealed the covenant of reform with Nehemiah (Neh 10:26).

10. Father of Ahitub and ancestor of Ezra (2 Esd 1:1f.).


E. L. Curtis and A. A. Madsen, ICC, Chronicles (1910), 157-159; W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (1956), 201, 202; H. L. Ellison, The Prophets of Israel, (1969), 18, 22-25.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(’achiyah or ’achiyahu, "brother of Yahweh," "my brother is Yahweh," "Yah is brother." In the King James Version the name sometimes appears as Ahiah):

(1) One of the sons of Jerahmeel the great-grandson of Judah (1Ch 2:25).

(2) A descendant of Benjamin (1Ch 8:7).

(3) The son of Ahitub, priest in the time of King Saul (1Sa 14:3,18). Either he is the same with Ahimelech, who is mentioned later, or he is the father or brother of Ahimelech. He is introduced to us when Saul has been so long on the throne that his son Jonathan is a man grown and a warrior. He is in attendance upon Saul, evidently as an official priest, "wearing an ephod." When Saul wishes direction from God he asks the priest to bring hither the ark; but then, without waiting for the message, Saul counts the confusion in the Philistine camp a sufficient indication of the will of Providence, and hurries off to the attack. Some copies of the Greek here read "ephod" instead of "ark," but the documentary evidence in favor of that reading is far from decisive. If the Hebrew reading is correct, then the seclusion of the ark, from the time of its return from Philistia to the time of David, was not so absolute as many have supposed. See Ahimelech, i.

(4) One of David’s mighty men, according to the list in 1Ch 11:36. The corresponding name in the list in 2Sa 23:34 is Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.

(5) A Levite of David’s time who had charge of certain treasures connected with the house of God (1Ch 26:20). The Greek copies presuppose the slightly different text which would give in English "and their brethren," instead of Ahijah. This is accepted by many scholars, and it is at least more plausible than most of the proposed corrections of the Hebrew text by the Greek.

(6) Son of Sinsha and brother of Elihoreph (1Ki 4:3). The two brothers were scribes of Solomon. Can the scribes Ahijah and Shemaiah (1Ch 24:6) be identified with the men of the same names who, later, were known as distinguished prophets? Sinsha is probably the same with Shavsha (1Ch 18:16; compare 2Sa 8:17; 20:25), who was scribe under David, the office in this case descending from father to son.

(7) The distinguished prophet of Shiloh, who was interested in Jeroboam I. In Solomon’s lifetime Ahijah clothed himself with a new robe, met Jeroboam outside Jerusalem, tore the robe into twelve pieces, and gave him ten, in token that he should become king of the ten tribes (1Ki 11:29-39). Later, when Jeroboam had proved unfaithful to Yahweh, he sent his wife to Ahijah to ask in regard to their sick son. The prophet received her harshly, foretold the death of the son, and threatened the extermination of the house of Jeroboam (1Ki 14). The narrative makes the impression that Ahijah was at this time a very old man (1Ki 14:4). These incidents are differently narrated in the long addition at 1Ki 12:24 found in some of the Greek copies. In that addition the account of the sick boy precedes that of the rent garment, and both are placed between the account of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt and that of the secession of the ten tribes, an order in which it is impossible to think that the events occurred. Further, this addition attributes the incident of the rent garment to Shemaiah and not to Ahijah, and says that Ahijah was 60 years old.

Other notices speak of the fulfillment of the threatening prophecies spoken by Ahijah (2Ch 10:15; 1Ki 12:15; 15:29). In 2Ch "the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite" is referred to as a source for the history of Solomon (2Ch 9:29).

(8) The father of Baasha king of Israel (1Ki 15:27,33; 21:22; 2Ki 9:9).

(9) A Levite of Nehemiah’s time, who sealed the covenant (Ne 10:26 the King James Version).

Willis J. Beecher