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Meaning and etymology of the name Ahimelech

Ahimelech Ahimelech

There are three men named Ahimelech in the Bible, and the most famous one is probably Ahimelech, who is the son of Ahitub and descendant of Eli, and priest at Nob during the reign of king Saul (1 Samuel 21;1). He is the priest to whom young David and his entourage of young men flee right after Jonathan warns him by shooting in arrow and telling his lad that the arrow went far (1 Samuel 20:37-38). David lies about his reason for being there and asks for provisions. Ahimelech gives him the consecrated Bread of the Presence (Exodus 25:30) and also the sword of Goliath of Gath.

Doeg, Saul's Edomite chief herdsman, is present at this transfer and informs Saul about it. Ahimelech, wholly innocent, is accused of treason and executed by Doeg. Doeg also kills eighty-five other priests of YHWH, presumably their families as well, and the entire population of Nob. Only Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, escapes, joins David, and names his son Ahimelech, after his murdered father (2 Samuel 8:17, 24:3, 6, 31; in 1 Chronicles 18:16 he's called Abimelech). David commemorates Ahimelech in a song that would later be known as Psalm 52.

The third Ahimelech is the Hittite soldier who David asks to come with him to the camp of Saul (1 Samuel 26:6). It appears that Ahimelech refuses but Abishai, son of Zeruiah, goes.

The name Ahimelech consists of two elements:

1) The Ahi-part comes from the curious word ah (ah), which, in this name means brother but see for a more complete treatment of this word the name Ahab. The added yod creates the compound meaning my brother, or brother of.

Ahimelech meaning

For a meaning of the name Ahimelech, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads My Brother Is King. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names suggests Brother Of the King. BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Brother Of Melech, the latter being the god of the Ammonites.

Other names that incorporate the word melech are Adrammelech, Allammelech, Ebed-melech, Elimelech, Hammoleketh, Jamlech, Mahli, Malcam, Malchiel, Malchijah, Malchijahu, Malchiram, Malchi-shua, Malluch, Malluchi Melchizedek, Melech, Milcah, Milcom and Molech.



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