Who was Ahijah in the Bible?

There are several men named Ahijah in the Bible. Most of these men are mentioned only in passing like one of David's mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:36), a secretary under King Solomon (1 Kings 4:3), the treasurer in Solomon's temple (1 Chronicles 26:20), a member in the genealogy of the Jerahmeelites (1 Chronicles 2:25), a descendant of Benjamin who was deported to Manahath (1 Chronicles 8:7), the father of King Baasha (1 Kings 15:27; 21:22; 2 Kings 9:9), and a leader of the people under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10:26, CSB). However there are two Ahijahs who played a more significant role in Scripture. One is Eli's grandson who was a priest during the reign of King Saul and the other was a prophet during the reign of King Solomon.

This first Ahijah was a descendant of Eli so he served as "the priest of the LORD in Shiloh, wearing an ephod" (1 Samuel 14:3). When Saul went out to battle the Philistines, his habit was to bring the ark of the covenant and the priest along with him to the battlefield (1 Samuel 14:18). After a victorious day of battle (1 Samuel 14:31), Saul wanted to attack the Philistines overnight (1 Samuel 14:36), but Ahijah counseled that it would be best to seek God's will in the matter before rushing off to plunder the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:36). When God did not answer Saul's inquiry, they discovered that Jonathan had unknowingly broken an oath Saul had placed on the people. Arguing that Jonathan "'has worked this great salvation in Israel… for he has worked with God this day'… the people ransomed Jonathan" (1 Samuel 14:45). "Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place" (1 Samuel 14:46). Thus, Ahijah was able to spare Saul a possible military loss by preventing this ill-advised overnight campaign. His counsel also brought to light a contrast between Jonathan's faithful pursuit of God's will and Saul's selfish pursuit of his own will. In these ways, Ahijah was a faithful priest of the LORD.

Ahijah the prophet, a few generations later, during King Solomon's reign, also lived in Shiloh. "And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD… Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, 'Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant'" (1 Kings 11:9, 11). Jeroboam was an official in Solomon's court and as he was leaving Jerusalem, Ahijah the prophet found him on the road where the two of them were alone in open country. "Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, 'Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes…But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand and will give it to you, ten tribes.… And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you" (1 Kings 11:30–31, 35–38). After Solomon's death, Ahijah's prophecy came true when the people of the northern ten tribes made Jeroboam their king and Solomon's son, Rehoboam, maintained dominion over only the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Unfortunately, Jeroboam did not stay faithful to God, so Ahijah was given another prophecy of three more events. When Jeroboam's son fell ill, he sent his wife, the queen, dressed in disguise to seek counsel from Ahijah in Shiloh (1 Kings 14:2). God revealed to Ahijah, who was blind in his old age, that Jeroboam's wife was on her way and told him the message he was to give her. God declared about Jeroboam, "You have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back, therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel" (1 Kings 14:9–10). About Jeroboam's ill son, God said the boy would die when the queen's feet entered the city where he was (1 Kings 14:12). And about the nation of Israel, "the LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates" (1 Kings 14:15). As soon as the queen crossed the threshold of the palace in Tirzah, her son died (1 Kings 14:17). Baasha (whose father coincidentally was also named Ahijah) became king a few years later and killed all the house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 15:29). Nearly two centuries later, the Assyrians conquered Israel and scattered the people throughout the empire (2 Kings 17:22–23). Thus everything came to fruition "according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite" (1 Kings 15:29). In this way, Ahijah the prophet was a faithful servant of the LORD whose prophecies proved true.

Interestingly, the name Ahijah means "worshipper of Yahweh" or "brethren/companion of God," and both these men lived in Shiloh where God's presence resided inside the tabernacle before Solomon completed the temple. Perhaps, the more time a person spends in God's presence worshipping Him as the one true God, the more likely that person will be able to give wise counsel to others and receive words of prophecy to be shared with those who need to hear them, just like these two Ahijahs in the Bible.

Related Truth:

What is the basic timeline of the Old Testament?

Why should we read the Old Testament?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?

What is the Story of Kings and Chronicles?

Who was King Rehoboam in the Bible?

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