Ahijah the Shilonite
Ahijah – The Prophet of Shiloh.
There are nine people in the Bible named Ahijah. The first mentioned is the nephew of Ichabod, the Priest who served Saul at the very beginning of his reign. A careful review of the line of his descendants reveal several more men of this name. The fact that the first Ahijah was great grandson to Eli the Priest at Shiloh, points up the connection to the High Priesthood and the elevated position of his descendants.
Shiloh was the place where the Tabernacle, the center of worship for 40 years in the wilderness, was now situated, and it was here that the Presence of God was sought.
The first Ahijah served as the sooth-sayer to Saul in the first year of his reign, discerning the will of God by the Umim and Thummim of the Ephod. He was struck down with all his relatives on the order of King Saul after David had fled from Saul. The time span of Saul’s, David’s and then Solomon’s reigns amounted to about 122 years in all. Suddenly another Ahijah bursts upon the scene, to minister the prophetic messages of God to an apostate King and nation.
Ahijah – The Prophet’s Mantle.
When God is getting ready to deal with his people, He first seeks repentance and reconciliation. He raises up a Prophet to speak to the Leadership of the nation, and urge them to turn back to God. When that fails God begins the process of Judgment.
The turning point in God’s dealing with Solomon and the nation of Israel is found in 1 Kings 11:9 where we read:
“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice…”
God had already spoken to Solomon, (Verse 13), but he had disobeyed and now God was getting ready to deal with the situation.
In the 26th verse of this chapter we find the story of Jeroboam.
He is industrious, and Solomon gives him authority over the building of Millo, in Jerusalem. He became as Matthew Henry puts it in his commentary, “receiver-general for the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, or perhaps put him into an office equivalent to that of lord-lieutenant of those two counties, for he was ruler of the burden, or tribute, that is, either of the taxes or of the militia of the house of Joseph.”
The young man begins to get ideas of even greater power when one evening he heads home, leaving Jerusalem, and finds the Prophet Ahijah waiting for him, on the road outside the city.
1Ki 11:29 “And it came to pass at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way;”
Ahijah having first clothed himself with a brand new robe, meets Jeroboam outside Jerusalem, tears the his new robe into twelve pieces, and gives Jeroboam ten of them, in a prophetic token that he should become king of ten of the tribes.
Ahijah’s Prophetic Act.
When King Saul had torn Samuel’s mantle, the prophet stated that God had just torn the Kingdom from him. (1 Sam 9:27)
Here we find Ahijah taking the new mantle and tearing it into twelve pieces, then counting ten of them into Jeroboam’s hand. This was the Prophet’s mantle, and now symbolically the Man of God prophesies that Jeroboam will be king over ten of the tribes of Israel. He also stated that God knew the thoughts of Jeroboam’s heart, as he says to him in verse 37 “and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth.”
Was Ahijah then causing the division of Israel? No, he was simply passing on the message of God, who had determined the division of the Kingdom, to punish Solomon and his descendants for their unfaithfulness.
It is evident that Jeroboam began a conspiracy against Solomon. He did not have the spiritual maturity of David, who when similarly anointed to be King while Saul was alive, waited for God to place him on the throne.
Solomon found out about Jeroboam’s conspiracy and Jeroboam was forced to flee into Egypt for sanctuary. (1 Kings 11:40)
It was only after the death of Solomon that Jeroboam returned to his home in Israel. Here the people welcomed him and he became the leader of those Northern Tribes who declared allegiance to Rehoboam in Jerusalem, on condition they were no longer treated like slaves and taxed unjustly as Solomon in his last years had done. Rehoboam’s rough treatment of the Northern Tribes, resulted in their rejection of Rehoboam, and the crowning of Jeroboam to rule the 10 Tribes.
Ahijah’s Last Word.
Later, when Jeroboam had proved unfaithful to Yahweh, he sent his wife to Ahijah to ask in regard to their sick son. The prophet, now aged and blind, discerned who she was, received her harshly, foretold the death of the son, and prophesied the extermination of the house of Jeroboam. The narrative gives the impression that Ahijah was at this time a very old man.
“And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age”. 1Ki 14:4
We are told in Scripture that there was a book written that contained the Prophecy of Ahijah.
2Ch 9:29 “Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?”
This man was revered as a great prophet who lived his life to a great age, unusual in the days of his contemporaries.
We learn that a Man of God must be obedient to the Lord, and fearless, when delivering God’s Word to those God directs them to. Finally, we must be sure that any prophecy is from God, and not of our own invention.
God does not play games with Kings, nor does He overlook Presumptuous Pretenders!