Ahim'elech (Hebrew Achime'lek, אֲחַימֶלֶך, brother [i.e. friend] of the king; Sept. Α᾿χιμέλεχ, but Α᾿βιμέλεχ in Psalm 52, title; Josephus Α᾿χιμέλεχος), the name of two men.
1. The twelfth high-priest of the Jews, B.C. cir. 1085-1060, son of AHITUB SEE AHITUB (q.v.), and father of ABIATHAR SEE ABIATHAR (q.v.); apparently called also AHIAH SEE AHIAH (q.v.). SEE HIGH-PRIEST. (On the difficulties involved in these names see Kuinol, Comment. ad Marc. 2, 26; Korb, in the Krit. Journ. d. Theol. 4, 295 sq.; Fritzsche, Comment. in Marc. p. 72 sq.; Hitzig, Begriff' d. Krit. p. 146; Ewald, Tsr. Gesch. 2, 596; Engstrom, De Ahimeleche et Ahjathare, Lund. 1741; Wolf, Car. 1, 439 sq.) He was a descendant of the line of Ithamar through Eli (1Ch 24:2; 1Ch 6; comp. Josephus, Ant. 5, 11, 5; 8:1, 3). When David fled from Saul (B.C. 1062), he went to Nob, a city of the priests in Benjamin, where the tabernacle then was, and, by representing himself as on pressing business from the king, he obtained from Ahimelech, who had no other, some of the sacred bread which had been removed from the presence-table (see Osiander, De Davide panes propositionis accipiente, Tub. 1751). He was also furnished with the sword which he had himself taken from Goliath, and which had been laid up as a trophy in the tabernacle (1Sa 21:1-9). These circumstances were witnessed by Doeg, an Edomite in the service of Saul, and were so reported by him to the jealous king as to appear acts of connivance at, and support to, David's imagined disloyal designs. Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and the other priests then at Nob, and laid this treasonable offense to their charge; but they declared their ignorance of any hostile designs on the part of David toward Saul or his kingdom. This, however, availed them not, for the king commanded his guard to slay them. Their refusal to fall upon persons invested with so sacred a character might have brought even Saul to reason; but he repeated the order to Doeg himself, and was too readily obeyed by that malignant person, who, with the men under his orders, not only slew the priests then present, eighty-six in number, but marched to Nob, and put to the sword every living creature it contained (1Sa 22; Ps 52, title). The only priest that escaped was Abiathar. Ahimelech's son, who fled to David, and afterward became high-priest (1Sa 23:6; 1Sa 30:7). SEE ABIATHAR. Some have supposed from Mr 2:26, that there was another Ahimelech, a son of Abiathar, and grandson of the preceding, and that he officiated as one of the two high-priests in the time of David (2Sa 8:17; 1Ch 24:3,6,31); but the two may be identified by reading in these passages, "Abiathar the son of Ahimelech," instead of the reverse. In 1Ch 18:16, he is called ABIMELECH SEE ABIMELECH (q.v.). He is probably the same as the Ahiah who officiated for Saul (1Sa 14:3,18). SEE AHIJAH.
2. A Hittite, one of David's followers whom he invited to accompany him at night into the camp of Saul in the wilderness of Ziph, but Abishai alone appears to have had sufficient courage for the enterprise (1Sa 26:6), B.C. 1055.