Easton's Bible Dictionary
brother of the king, The son of Ahitub and father of
Abiathar ( 1 Samuel 22:20 - 23 ). He descended from Eli in the line of Ithamar.
In 1 Chronicles 18:16 he is called Abimelech, and is probably the same as Ahiah
( 1 Samuel 14:3 , 14:18 ). He was the twelfth high priest, and officiated at Nob,
where he was visited by David (to whom and his companions he gave five loaves
of the showbread) when he fled from Saul ( 1 Samuel 21:1 - 9 ). He was summoned
into Saul's presence, and accused, on the information of Doeg the Edomite, of
disloyalty because of his kindness to David; whereupon the king commanded that
he, with the other priests who stood beside him (86 in all), should be put to
death. This sentence was carried into execution by Doeg in the most cruel manner
( 1 Samuel 22:9 - 23 ). Possibly Abiathar had a son also called Ahimelech, or
the two names, as some think, may have been accidentally transposed in 2 Samuel
8:17 ; 1 Chronicles 18:16 , marg.; 1 Chronicles 24:3 , 24:6 , 24:31 .
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
my brother is a king; my king's brother
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(brother of the king)
(1) Son of Ahitub, ( 1 Samuel 22:11 , 22:12 ) and high priest of Nob in the days
of Saul. He gave David the shew bread to eat, and the sword of Goliath; and for
so doing was put to death, with his whole house, by Sauls order. Abiathar alone
escaped. [ABIATHAR] (B.C. 1085-1060.)
(2) A Hittite. ( 1 Samuel 26:6 ) .
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
a-him'-e-lek ('achimelekh, "brother of a king," or, "my
brother is king," or, "king is brother"):
(1) The father of David's high priest Abiathar:
son of Ahitub, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli (1 Samuel 21:1 , 2 , 8 ; 22:9
- 20 ; 23:6 ; 30:7). Ahijah the son of Ahitub (1 Samuel 14:3 ,18) was either the
same person under another name, or was Ahimelech's father or brother. See AHIJAH,
3. Ahimelech is an interesting person, especially because he stands for whatever
information we have concerning the priestly office in Israel during the period
between Eli and David. Whether the Deuteronomic law for a central sanctuary originated
with Moses or not, its provisions were very imperfectly carried out during the
times of the Judges. This was particularly the case after the capture of the ark
by the Philistines, and the deaths of Eli and his sons. From that time to the
middle of the reign of David the ark was in the custody of the men of Kiriath-jearim
"in the hill," or "in Gibeah" (1 Samuel 7:1 ; 2 Samuel 6:2 , 3).
As a general proposition Israel "sought not unto it" (1 Chronicles 13:3), though
there is nothing to forbid the idea that it may, on occasion, have been brought
out from its seclusion (1 Samuel 14:18). Before and after the accession of Saul
some of the functions of the national sanctuary were transacted, of course very
incompletely, at Gilgal (1 Samuel 10:8 ; 11:14 ,15 ; 13:7 ; 15:12 , 21 , 33).
Whether there was a priesthood, with Ahitub the grandson of Eli as high priest,
is a matter on which we have no information; but we may remind ourselves that
the common assumption that such men as Samuel and Saul performed priestly offices
is nothing but an assumption. After Saul has been king for a good many years we
find Ahijah in his retinue, acting as priest and wearing priestly vestments. A
few years later Ahimelech is at the head of the very considerable priestly establishment
at Nob. The scale on which it existed is indicated by the fact that 85 robed priests
perished in the massacre (1 Samuel 22:18).
They had families residing at Nob (1 Samuel 22:19). They were thought of as priests
of Yahweh, and were held in reverence (1 Samuel 22:17). It was a hereditary priesthood
(1 Samuel 22:11 , 15). Men deposited votive offerings there, the sword of Goliath,
for example (1 Samuel 21:9). There seems to have been some kind of police authority,
whereby a person might be "detained" (1 Samuel 21:7). It was customary to inquire
of Yahweh there (1 Samuel 22:10 , 15). A distraction was made between the common
and the holy (1 Samuel 21:4 - 6). The custom of the shewbread was maintained (1
Samuel 21:6). In fine, Jesus is critically correct in calling the place "the house
of God" (Mark 2:26). The account does not say that the ark was there, or that
the burnt-offering of the morning and evening was offered, or that the great festivals
were held. The priestly head of the establishment at Nob is represented to have
been the man who had the right to the office through his descent from Aaron. It
is gratuitous to assume that there were other similar sanctuaries in Israel, though
the proposition that there were none might be, like other negative propositions,
hard to establish by positive proof.
(2) A son of Abiathar (2 Samuel 8:17 ; 1 Chronicles 18:16 ; 24:6), and grandson
of the above.
In a list of the heads of departments under David, a list belonging later than
the middle of David's 40 years, and in which David's sons appear, this Ahimelech,
the son of David's friend, is mentioned as sharing with Zadok a high position
in the priesthood. In this capacity, later, he shared with David and Zadok in
the apportionment of the priests into 24 ancestral classes, 16 of the house of
Eleazar, and 8 of the house of Ithamar (1 Chronicles 24). In this account Ahimelech
is mentioned three times, and with some detail. It is alleged as a difficulty
that Abiathar was then living, and was high priest along with Zadok (1 Chronicles
15:11 ; 2 Samuel 15:29 ; 19:11 ; 20:25 ; 1 Kings 2:27 , 35 ; 4:4, etc.). But surely
there is no improbability in the affirmation that Abiathar had a son named Ahimelech,
or that this son performed prominent priestly functions in his father's lifetime.
Many regard "Ahimelech the son of Abiathar" (Mt gives Ahimelech) as an inadvertent
transposition for "Abiathar the son of Ahimelech." This is rather plausible in
the passage in 2 Samuel 8 and the duplicate of it in 1 Chronicles 18:16, but it
has no application in the detailed account in 1 Chronicles 24. One must accept
Ahimelech the son of Abiathar as historical unless, indeed, one regards the testimony
of Chronicles to a fact as evidence in disproof of that fact. See ABIATHAR.
(3) A Hittite, a companion and friend of David, when he was hiding from Saul in
the wilderness (1 Samuel 26:6).
Willis J. Beecher
12th high priest, abimelech, ahimelech, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, father of abiathar, gave bread to david, killed by saul, sword of goliath