AHIKAM (Heb. אֲחִיקָם; "the divine kinsman has risen [for battle]"), son of *Shaphan and father of *Gedaliah, a high royal official. Ahikam was one of the men sent by King Josiah to the prophetess *Huldah (ii Kings 22:12, 14; ii Chron. 34:20). Later, during the reign of Jehoiakim, when Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, Ahikam used his influence to protect Jeremiah from death (Jer. 26:24).
Ahikam was a member of one of the most influential pro-Babylonian families in the last days of the Judean Kingdom. Shaphan, his father, was the scribe of Josiah (ii Kings 22:3 ff. et al.); his brother Elasah was one of the men sent to Babylon by Zedekiah who brought the letter written by Jeremiah to the elders in exile (Jer. 29:1–3); his brother *Jaazaniah is mentioned in Ezekiel 8:11 among the elders of Jerusalem; and his son Gedaliah was appointed governor of Judah after the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer. 40:5–6). A seal impression published recently appears to bear his name.
K.L. Tallqvist, Assyrian Personal Names (1914), 16; C.H. Gordon, Ugaritic Grammar (1940), 41; Virolleaud, in: Revue d'assyrologie, 15–16 (1940), 30, 34; Cassuto, in: Orientalia, 16 (1941), 473 (It.); Yeivin, in: Tarbiz, 12 (1940/41), 255. add. bibliography: R. Deutsch, Messages from the Past (1999), no. 25.