Ichabod

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ICHABOD

ICHABOD (Heb. אִיכָבוֹד ,אִי־כָבוֹד ,אִי כָבוֹד), son of *Phinehas and grandson of *Eli the priest at Shiloh (i Sam. 4:19–22). Phinehas' wife was in labor when she received news of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines at Eben-Ezer and of the deaths of Phinehas, his brother Hophni, and her father-inlaw Eli. She died in childbirth after naming her son Ichabod, declaring, "The glory has departed from Israel." Nothing further is known of Ichabod and no genealogies associated with him have been preserved in the Bible. The only other mention of his name is in an obscure passage describing Ahijah (= Ahimelech) son of Ahitub as a brother of Ichabod son of Phinehas (i Sam. 14:3). The intent of the connection seems to be to include Ahijah and the priests of Nob in the rejection of the Shiloh priesthood (i Sam. 2:27–36) in favor of the Zadokite priests. The narrative associates his name with the capture of the Ark (i Sam. 4:22), apparently interpreting the first syllable as a negative particle ("inglorious," cf. Jos., Ant., 5:360), or as an interrogative ("where is the glory?"). The "glory" may refer to God's kavod, "the divine presence," so that the child's name is interpreted to reflect the absence of that presence from Israel. It may, however, be an abbreviated form of אָבִי כָבוֹד (Avikhavod, Abichabod; "my Father is glory").

bibliography:

M.Z. Segal, Sefer Shemu'el (1956), 44. add. bibliography: S. Bar-Efrat, iSamuel (1996), 96.

[Nahum M. Sarna]

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Ichabod in the Bible, the name given by Eli's daughter-in-law to her son, used as an expression of regret, in allusion to 1 Samuel (she named the child Ichabod, saying, ‘the glory is departed from Israel’), in the account of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant of God by the Philistines.