🔼The name Ahijah: Summary
- Brother(s) Of Yah
- From (1) the noun אח ('ah), brother, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Ahijah in the Bible
The name Ahiah or Ahijah is assigned almost to a dozen different men (and possibly one woman) in the Bible, not counting those known by any of the abbreviated forms of this name, Ahi or Ahio. Although it's possible but not certain that the name Ahijah is applied to a feminine character, we list it as such for the sake of completion.
For some reason, the names Ahiah and Ahijah made it into the English language as separate names, but in Hebrew there's only one name: אחיה. Why English translations insist of having two distinct names is unknown, and the various sources can't even agree on who in the Bible should be called Ahiah and who Ahijah.
The people named Ahiah or Ahijah are:
- The son of Ahitub who went with Jonathan, son of Saul, on a raid against the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:3).
- One of two secretarial sons of Shisha. The other son was named Elihoreph, and both were officials at the court of king Solomon (1 Kings 4:3).
- A prophet in the time of king Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:29). This Ahijah is called השילני, or the Shilonite, which appears to mean that he hailed from Shiloh in Ephraim.
- The father of Baasha of Issachar, the assassin of Nadab, king of Israel, and the entire house of Nadab's father Jeroboam (1 Kings 15:27). The destruction of the house of Jeroboam was foretold by the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite, a contemporary namesake of (and possibly the same as) the father of Baasha.
- The youngest son of Jerahmeel, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah and Tamar, although BDB Theological Dictionary proposes that this Ahijah may be feminine and the mother of the preceding four (1 Chronicles 2:25).
- A son of Bela, son of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:7 — possibly the same as the Ahoah mentioned in 8:4).
- A Pelonite and one of king David's mighty-men (1 Chronicles 11:36).
- A Levite in charge of the temple treasuries, although most modern translations don't interpret this as a name and read "their relatives" (1 Chronicles 26:20).
- One of the signers of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:26).
🔼Etymology of the name Ahijah
The name Ahijah consists of two elements, which are both quite common in names. The first part comes from the enigmatic word אח ('ah), meaning brother but not necessarily someone who is biologically kindred:
The noun אח ('ah) means brother, or more broadly: a fellow member of a social economic node (a "house") within a broader economic whole.
This word's lavish inclusion in names strongly suggests that the deity was reckoned by this word — in modern times we mostly speak of Our Father in Heaven but in antiquity the deity appears to have also been addressed as Our Brother. The New Testament appears to entertain that dynamic in the tenet that the Word is God's Son, and all who have the Word are godly brothers. Also note the similarity with the verb חוה (hawa), to show, tell, make known.
The noun אחוה ('ahawa) means brotherhood and אחות ('ahot) means sister.
2) The second part is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH.
For a meaning of the name Ahiah or Ahijah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Brother Of Yahweh. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names suggests alternatively Brother Of Jehovah and Brother Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary reads Brother Of Yah.
Since Yahweh absolutely certainly has no brother in any Jewish tradition, the word אח in this name should best be translated with our word friend or perhaps ally. And indeed, the letter י (yod) tied to the word אח forms "brother of", and the compound אחי tied to the abbreviation יה may be contracted to our name אחיה, meaning Ally Of Yah. But the yod may also singularly belong to יה, and the name may in fact be: אח יה, meaning An Ally (Brother/ Friend) Is Yah.