1 Samuel 14:3
And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD'S priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.
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(3) Ahiah, the son of Ahitub.—The Chronicles, rehearsing these facts, show us what a terrible impression the last events in Eli’s reign as high priest had made in Israel. The destruction of Shiloh, the death of the high priest, the fall of Phinehas and his brother in battle, the melancholy circumstances of the birth of I-chabod, were still fresh in the memory of the people. Well might Jonathan be ready to sacrifice himself if he could deal an effectual blow upon these hereditary enemies of his country. Of this high priest Ahiah we never hear again in these Books of Samuel. He is generally supposed to be the same as the high priest Ahimelech, who was subsequently murdered by Doeg, by the direction of Saul, with the priests at Nob (1Samuel 22:9, &c.). The name Ahiah signifies “brother,” or “friend of the Eternal”; Ahimelech, “brother of the king,” may be another form of the same name.

Wearing an ephod.—The ephod here alluded to is not the ordinary priestly vestment of white linen, but that official garment worn alone by the high priest, in which was the breast-plate of gems with the mysterious Urim and Thummim, by which inquiry used to be made of the Lord.

1 Samuel 14:3. And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub — The high-priest, who was here to attend upon the ark, which had been brought hither, 1 Samuel 14:18. The son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh — These last words manifestly belong not to Ahiah, but to Eli, who was high-priest while the tabernacle was at Shiloh. Wearing an ephod — Or rather, the ephod; that is, the high-priest’s ephod, comprehending the breast-plate with the Urim and Thummim, which were inseparable from it. These Ahiah, being high-priest, now wore. Saul, being now in great distress, probably had sent for Ahiah, that he might consult God for him, as there should be occasion.

14:1-15 Saul seems to have been quite at a loss, and unable to help himself. Those can never think themselves safe who see themselves out of God's protection. Now he sent for a priest and the ark. He hopes to make up matters with the Almighty by a partial reformation, as many do whose hearts are unhumbled and unchanged. Many love to have ministers who prophesy smooth things to them. Jonathan felt a Divine impulse and impression, putting him upon this bold adventure. God will direct the steps of those that acknowledge him in all their ways, and seek to him for direction, with full purpose of heart to follow his guidance. Sometimes we find most comfort in that which is least our own doing, and into which we have been led by the unexpected but well-observed turns of Divine providence. There was trembling in the host. It is called a trembling of God, signifying, not only a great trembling they could not resist, nor reason themselves out of, but that it came at once from the hand of God. He that made the heart, knows how to make it tremble.Whether "Ahiah" or "Ahijah" is the same person as "Ahimelech the son of Ahitub" (see the marginal reference), or whether Ahimelech was the brother or son of Ahijah, and his successor in the priesthood, it is impossible to say certainly. Most probably "Ahijah" and "Ahimilech" are variations of the same name; the latter element in each alone being different, מלך melek (king) being substituted for the divine name יה yâhh. Compare "Eliakim" and "Jehoiakim" 2 Kings 23:34, "Eliab" and "Eliel" 1 Chronicles 6:27, 1 Chronicles 6:34.

This fragment of a genealogy is a very valuable help to the chronology. The grandson of Phinehas, the son of Eli, was now High Priest; and Samuel, who was probably a few years older than Ahitub the son of Phinehas, was now an old man. All this indicates a period of about 50 years or upward from the taking of the ark by the Philistines.

The Lord's priest in Shiloh - But as Eli was so emphatically known and described in 1 Samuel 1-4, as God's Priest at Shiloh, and as there is every reason to believe that Shiloh was no longer the seat of the ark in Saul's time (see 1 Samuel 22; 1 Chronicles 13:3-5), it is better to refer these words to Eli, and not to Ahijah, to whom the next words, "wearing an ephod," apply. (See 1 Samuel 2:28; Judges 1:1 note.)

2. Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah—Hebrew, "Geba"; entrenched, along with Samuel and Ahiah the high priest, on the top of one of the conical or spherical hills which abound in the Benjamite territory, and favorable for an encampment, called Migron ("a precipice"). Ahiah; the same who is called Ahimelech, 1 Samuel 22:9,11,20, the high priest, who was here to attend upon the ark, which was brought hither, 1 Samuel 14:18.

An ephod, to wit, the high priest’s ephod, wherein the Urim and Thummim was.

And Ahiah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother,.... Ichabod was the child that Phinehas's wife bore prematurely on hearing the news of the ark being taken and of the death of her husband and father-in-law, which name she gave him on that account, and died; see 1 Samuel 4:19, he, it seems, had an elder brother, called Ahitub, who died young, and this Ahiah was the son of him; for not he, but Ahitub, was Ichabod's brother:

the son of Phinehas; so Ichabod was:

the son of Eli; so Phinehas was:

the Lord's priest in Shiloh; this refers not to Ahiah for he was not now priest in Shiloh, which was destroyed: and besides, he was now in the camp of Saul; but to Eli, who when living exercised the priest's office in Shiloh:

wearing an ephod; as Ahiah now did; not such as common priests wore, but the ephod the high priest wore, which had the breastplate of judgment, the Urim and Thummim, in it, by which inquiry was made, 1 Samuel 14:37. The meaning of all this is, that the high priest is now with Saul, and the ark also, which and the high priest might be sent for on this occasion, 1 Samuel 14:18.

and the people knew not that Jonathan was gone; or they would have gone with him, namely, the military men that were particularly with him; he and Saul were in two different parts of Gibeah, with distinct bodies of men; whether the thousand that Jonathan first had with him all continued is not certain; it seems probable they did not; it can hardly be thought he should have more with him than were with Saul; see 1 Samuel 14:2, though from 1 Samuel 14:17 they seem now to have been together.

And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.
3. And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub] And [there was with him] Ahiah, or Ahijah, as the name is usually transliterated. Ahijah is perhaps the same as Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, the priest at Nob, who was the victim of Saul’s sacrilegious vengeance (1 Samuel 22:9). The name Ahijah = “brother of Jah” and Ahimelech = “brother of the king” may have been applied to the same person, Melech king being substituted for the divine name Jah in ordinary intercourse. But it is also possible that Ahimelech was the brother of Ahijah and his successor in the high priesthood.

I-chabod’s brother] See 1 Samuel 4:21. I-chabod’s elder brother Ahitub was probably about the same age as Samuel, and his son may have been high-priest already for some time. Fifty years or more must have elapsed since the death of Eli. See Introduction, Ch. III.

the Lord’s priest in Shiloh] These words must be referred to Eli as the most famous priest during the period while the Tabernacle was at Shiloh, not to Ahijah. It is all but certain that Shiloh ceased to be the religious centre of the nation after the capture of the Ark.

wearing an ephod] i.e. officiating as high-priest. See note on 1 Samuel 2:18. His presence with the army is noticed to prepare the way for the fact mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:18.

Verse 3. - Ahiah, the son of Ahitub. (See on 1 Samuel 13:9.) It is interesting to find the house of Eli recovering at last from its disaster, and one of its members duly ministering in his office before the king. It has been debated whether he was the same person as Ahimelech, mentioned in 1 Samuel 21:1, etc., the supposition being grounded on the fact that Ahiah is never spoken of again. But he may have died; and with regard to the argument drawn from the similarity of the names, we must notice that names compounded with Ah (or Ach), brother, were common in Eli's family, while compounds with Ab, father, were most in use among Saul's relatives. Ahiah or Ahijah means Jah is brother; his father is Ahitub, the brother is good; why should he not call another son Ahimelech, the brother is king? Jehovah's priest in Shiloh. This refers to Eli, the regular rule in Hebrew being that all such statements belong, not to the son, but to the father. Wearing an ephod. Literally, ephod bearing. The ephod, as we have seen on 1 Samuel 2:18, was the usual ministerial garment; but what is meant here is not an ordinary ephod of linen, but that described in Leviticus 8:7, 8, wherein was the breastplate, by which Jehovah's will was made known to his people, until prophecy took its place. All this, the former part of the verse, must be regarded as a parenthesis. 1 Samuel 14:3Along with Saul and his six hundred men, there was also Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, the (elder) brother of Ichabod, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest at Shiloh, and therefore a great-grandson of Eli, wearing the ephod, i.e., in the high priest's robes. Ahiah is generally supposed to be the same person as Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub (1 Samuel 22:9.), in which case Ahiah (אחיּה, brother, i.e., friend of Jehovah) would be only another form of the name Ahimelech (i.e., brother or friend of the King, viz., Jehovah). This is very probable, although Ahimelech might have been Ahaiah's brother, who succeeded him in the office of high priest on account of his having died without sons, since there is an interval of at least ten years between the events related in this chapter and those referred to in 1 Samuel 22. Ahimelech was afterwards slain by Saul along with the priests of Nob (1 Samuel 22:9.); the only one who escaped being his son Abiathar, who fled to David and, according to 1 Samuel 30:7, was invested with the ephod. It follows, therefore, that Ahiah (or Ahimelech) must have had a son at least ten years old at the time of the war referred to here, viz., the Abiathar mentioned in 1 Samuel 30:7, and must have been thirty or thirty-five years old himself, since Saul had reigned at least twenty-two years, and Abiathar had become high priest a few years before the death of Saul. These assumptions may be very easily reconciled with the passage before us. As Eli was ninety-eight years old when he died, his son Phinehas, who had been killed in battle a short time before, might have been sixty or sixty-five years old, and have left a son of forty years of age, namely Ahitub. Forty years later, therefore, i.e., at the beginning of Saul's reign, Ahitub's son Ahiah (Ahimelech) might have been about fifty years old; and at the death of Ahimelech, which took place ten or twelve years after that, his son Abiathar might have been as much as thirty years of age, and have succeeded his father in the office of high priest. But Abiathar cannot have been older than this when his father died, since he was high priest during the whole of David's forty years' reign, until Solomon deposed him soon after he ascended the throne (1 Kings 2:26.). Compare with this the remarks on 2 Samuel 8:17. Jonathan had also refrained from telling the people anything about his intentions, so that they did not know that he had gone.
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