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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Hebrew Achiyah', אֲחַיָּה, brother [i.e. friend] of Jehovah, also in the prolonged form Achiya'hu, חַיָּהוּ 1 Kings 14:4-6; 1 Kings 14:18; 2 Chronicles 10:5; Sept. Ἀχιά or Ἀχία, but omits in 1 Chronicles 2:25, οἱ Λευϊ v ται ἀδελφοὶ αὐτῶν in 1 Chronicles 26:20, Ἀϊ v α in Nehemiah 10:26; Auth. Vers. "Ahiah" in 1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 14:18; 1 Kings 4:3; 1 Chronicles 8:7), the name of several men.

1. The second named of the three earlier sons of Bela son of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:7), [(See SHAHARAIM),] elsewhere (1 Chronicles 8:4) called AHOAH (See AHOAH) (q.v.).

2. The last named of the five sons of Jerahmeel (great-grandson of Judah) by his first wife (1 Chronicles 2:25), B.C. cir. 1612.

3. A son of Ahitub, and high-priest in the reign of Saul (1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 14:18); hence probably the same as AHIMELECH (See AHIMELECH) (q.v.) the son of Ahitub, who was high-priest at Nob in the same reign, and was slain by Saul for assisting David (1 Samuel 22:11). (See HIGH PRIEST). In the former passage Ahijah is described as being the Lord's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And it appears that the ark of God was under his care, and that he inquired of the Lord by means of it and the ephod (comp. 1 Chronicles 13:3). There is, however, some difficulty in reconciling this statement concerning the ark being used for inquiring by Ahijah at Saul s bidding and the statement elsewhere (1 Chronicles 13:3), that they inquired not at the ark in the days of Saul, if we understand the latter expression in the strictest sense. This difficulty seems to have led to the reading in the Vatican copy of the Sept. at 1 Samuel 14:18, of "ephod" instead of "ark" (τὸ ἐφούδ instead of τὴν κιβωτόν , or rather, perhaps, of אֵפוֹר instead of אָרוֹן, in the Hebrew codex from which that version was made). Others avoid the difficulty by interpreting the ark in this case to mean a chest for carrying about the ephod in. But all difficulty will disappear if we apply the expression only to all the latter years of the reign of Saul, when we know that the priestly establishment was at Nob, and not at Kirjath-jearim, or Baale of Judah, where the ark was. The narrative in 1 Samuel 14 is entirely favorable to the mention of the ark; for it appears that Saul was at the time in Gibeah of Benjamin, so near the place where the house of Abinadab was situated (2 Samuel 6:3) as to be almost a quarter of Kirjath-jearim, which lay on the very borders of Judah and Benjamin (see Joshua 18:14; Joshua 18:28). Whether it was the encroachments of the Philistines, or an incipient schism between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, or any other cause, which led to the disuse of the ark during the latter years of Saul's reign, is difficult to say. But probably the last time that Ahijah inquired of the Lord before the ark was on the occasion related 1 Samuel 14:36, when Saul marred his victory over the Philistines by his rash oath, which nearly cost Jonathan his life; for we there read that when Saul proposed a night-pursuit of the Philistines, the priest, Ahijah, said, "Let us draw near hither unto God," for the purpose, namely, of asking counsel of God. But God returned no answer, in consequence, as it seems, of Saul's rash curse. If, as is commonly thought, and as seems most likely, Ahijah is the same person as Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, this failure to obtain an answer from the priest, followed as it was by a rising of the people to save Jonathan out of Saul's hands, may have led to an estrangement between the king and the high-priest, and predisposed him to suspect Ahimelech's loyalty, and to take that terrible revenge upon him for his favor to David. Such changes of name as Ahi-melech and Ahi-jah are not uncommon. However, it is not impossible that, as Gesenius supposes (Thes. Heb. p. 65), Ahimelech may have been brother to Ahijah, and that they officiated simultaneously, the one at Gibeah or Kirjath-jearim, and the other at Nob. (See ARK).

4. A Pelonite, one of David's famous heroes (1 Chronicles 11:36); apparently the same called ELIAM (See ELIAM) (q.v.) the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite in the parallel passage (2 Samuel 23:34). (See DAVID).

5. A Levite appointed over the sacred treasury of dedicated things at the Temple in the arrangement by David (1 Chronicles 26:20), B.C. 1014.

6. The last named of the two sons of Shisha, secretaries of King Solomon

(1 Kings 4:3), B.C. 1014.

7. A prophet of Shiloh (1 Kings 14:2), hence called the Shilonite (1 Kings 11:29), in the days of Rehoboam, of whom we have two remarkable prophecies extant: the one in 1 Kings 11:31-39, addressed to Jeroboam, announcing the rending of the ten tribes from Solomon, in punishment of his idolatries, and the transfer of the kingdom to Jeroboam, B.C. 973. This prophecy, though delivered privately, became known to Solomon, and excited his wrath against Jeroboam, who fled for his life into Egypt, to Shishak, and remained there till Solomon's death. The other prophecy, in 1 Kings 14:6-16, was delivered in the prophet's extreme old age to Jeroboam's wife, in which he foretold the death of Abijah (q.v.), the king's son, who was sick, and to inquire concerning whom the queen had come in disguise, and then went on to denounce the destruction of Jeroboam's house on account of the images which he had set up, and to foretell the captivity of Israel "beyond the river" Euphrates, B.C. 952. These prophecies give us a high idea of the faithfulness and boldness of Ahijah, and of the eminent rank which he attained as a prophet. Jeroboam's speech concerning him (1 Kings 14:2-3) shows the estimation in which he held his truth and prophetic powers. In 2 Chronicles 9:29, reference is made to a record of the events of Solomon's reign contained in the "prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite." If there were a larger work of Ahijah's, the passage in 1 Kings 11, is doubtless an extract from it. (See JEROBOAM).

8. An Issacharite, father of Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings 15:27; 1 Kings 15:33; 1 Kings 21:2; 2 Kings 9:9), B.C. ante 950.

9. One of the chief Israelites who subscribed the sacred covenant drawn up by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10:26), B.C. cir. 410.

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ahijah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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