Ahijah

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AHIJAH

AHIJAH (Heb. אֲחִיָּה; "my [or the] brother is yhwh"), son of *Ahitub, priest of the house of Eli (i Sam. 14:3). Ahijah was apparently the chief priest in Shiloh during the reign of Saul (cf. Jos., Ant., 4:107), although his name does not appear in the list of chief priests in i Chronicles 6:50–55 and in Ezra 7:2–5. Several scholars identify Ahijah with *Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, who served as priest of Nob in Saul's days, assuming that the name Ahijah is the short form of Ahimelech or that the element melekh ("King") in his name was replaced by the divine name.

When Saul fought against the Philistines at Michmas, Ahijah wore an ephod (i Sam. 14:3). According to i Samuel 14:18, Ahijah served before the Ark of God; however, according to the same chapter, verse 3 (and also according to the lxx; Baraita di-Melekhet ha-Mishkan, 6 [and cf. Ish Shalom's ed., p. 44]; Ibn Ezra's commentary to Ex. 28:6 – all referring to i Sam. 14:18), "ephod" is to be read (instead of "ark"). Furthermore, only the ephod (and not the ark) is mentioned in the Bible as having been used for consulting the divine will (cf. the consultation by means of the ephod in i Sam. 23:9; 30:7). Ahijah may also have been the priest who inquired of God first whether to advance against the Philistines and then, upon failing to obtain a response, provoked God's displeasure (i Sam. 14:36 ff.).