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. The Israelites could not offer a successful resistance to these devastating raids, as there was no smith to be found in the whole land: "For the Philistines thought the Hebrews might make themselves sword or spear" (אמר followed by פּן, "to say, or think, that not," equivalent to being unwilling that it should be done). Consequently (as the words clearly imply) when they proceeded to occupy the land of Israel as described in 1 Samuel 13:5, they disarmed the people throughout, i.e., as far as they penetrated, and carried off the smiths, who might have been able to forge weapons; so that, as is still further related in 1 Samuel 13:20, all Israel was obliged to go to the Philistines, every one to sharpen his edge-tool, and his ploughshare, and his axe, and his chopper. According to Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3, and Joel 3:10, את is an iron instrument used in agriculture; the majority of the ancient versions render it ploughshare. The word מחרשׁתו is striking after the previous מחרשׁתּו (from מחרשׁת); and the meaning of both words is uncertain. According to the etymology, מחרשׁת might denote any kind of edge-tool, even the ploughshare. The second מחרשׁתו is rendered τὸ δρέπανον αὐτοῦ (his sickle) by the lxx, and sarculum by Jerome, a small garden hoe for loosening and weeding the soil. The fact that the word is connected with קרדּם, the axe or hatchet, favours the idea that it signifies a hoe or spade rather than a sickle. Some of the words in 1 Samuel 13:21 are still more obscure. והיתה, which is the reading adopted by all the earlier translators, indicates that the result is about to be given of the facts mentioned before: "And there came to pass," i.e., so that there came to pass (or arose), פּים הפּצירה, "a blunting of the edges." פּצירה, bluntness, from פּצר, to tear, hence to make blunt, is confirmed by the Arabic futâr, gladius fissuras habens, obtusus ensis, whereas the meaning to hammer, i.e., to sharpen by hammering, cannot be established. The insertion of the article before פּצירה is as striking as the omission of it before פּים; also the stat. abs. instead of the construct פּצירת. These anomalies render it a very probable conjecture that the reading may have been הפּים הפציר (inf. Hiph. nomin.). Accordingly the rendering would be, "so that bluntness of the edges occurred in the edge-tools, and the ploughshares, and the trident, and the axes, and the setting of the goad." קלּשׁון שׁלשׁ is to be regarded as a nom. comp. like our trident, denoting an instrument with three prongs, according to the Chaldee and the Rabbins (see Ges. Thes. p. 1219). דּרבן, stimulus, is probably a pointed instrument generally, since the meaning goad is fully established in the case of דּרבון in Ecclesiastes 12:11.

(Note: 1 Samuel 13:21 runs very differently in the lxx, namely, καὶ ἦν ὁ τρυγητὸς ἕτοιμος τοῦ θερίζειν, τὰ δὲ σκεύη ἦν τρεῖς σίκλοι εἰς τὸν ὀδόντα, καὶ τῇ ἀξίνῃ καὶ τῷ δρεπάνῳ ὑτόστασις ἦν ἡ αὐτή; and Thenius and Bttcher propose an emendation of the Hebrew text accordingly, so as to obtain the following meaning: "And the sharpening of the edges in the case of the spades and ploughshares was done at three shekels a tooth (i.e., three shekels each), and for the axe and sickle it was the same" (Thenius); or, "and the same for the sickles, and for the axes, and for setting the prong" (Bttcher). But here also it is easy enough to discover that the lxx had not another text before them that was different from the Masoretic text, but merely confounded הפציר with הבציר, τρυγητός, and took קלּשׁון שׁלשׁ, which was unintelligible to them, e conjectura for השּׁן שׁק שׁלשׁ, altogether regardless of the sense or nonsense of their own translation. The latest supporters of this senseless rendering, however, have neither undertaken to prove the possibility of translating ὀδόντα (ὀδούς), "each single piece" (i.e., each), or inquired into the value of money at that time, so as to see whether three shekels would be an unexampled charge for the sharpening of an axe or sickle.)

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