One of the things I look forward to is the weekly bible studies at the church. Facilitating the bible study allows me, as a minister of God, to teach about some topics that the believers sometimes are not familiar with. In this week’s bible study, a new name came up that most believers had not heard before; Ichabod. I was intrigued that there is so much in the Bible that people have not learned yet. I set out to research more about it to give comprehensive information to the people. One of the things I wanted to know was; how many times is Ichabod mentioned in the Bible?
The name Ichabod is mentioned two times in the Old Testament in Bible translations, such as the King James Version, the New King James Version, the New International Version, and the Good News Translation.
In this article, I invite you to join me to learn more about Ichabod. Keep reading to find out who he was and much more
Who was Ichabod in the Bible?
Ichabod was Phinehas’ son and grandson to Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. His mother is unnamed in the Bible and only described as Phinehas’ wife. The Bible indicates in 1 Samuel 4:20-22 that she died while giving birth after she murmured what the child would be named. Ichabod’s brother was Ahitub.
While the name Ichabod may not be familiar to many people as he only shows up in a handful of bible verses, he was a very vital person in the priesthood of Israel. He was from the Levite tribe, one of the 12 tribes of Israel that had been chosen for the role of priesthood. Since he was from the special tribe of Levi, he must have been one of those set apart by God to take care of his dwelling place.
What does the term “Ichabod” mean in the Bible?
Ichabod is a Hebrew name that means “the glory has departed.” The Living Bible in 1 Samuel 4:21-22 states that the term means “there is no glory.” Ichabod was given this name by his mother after Israel experienced a major loss.
One may ask why the name Ichabod? It was a common habit among the people to give their babies names that portrayed the circumstances surrounding the time they were born. Therefore, Ichabod got his name from his dying mother since she delivered him when the ark of covenant had been captured, and God’s glory had departed Israel.
Where in the Bible is Ichabod mentioned?
The name Ichabod is mentioned twice in the Bible in 1 Samuel 4:21-22 and 1 Samuel 14:3. The name came to be in the book of Samuel during the time when Israel was fighting against the Philistines. The Philistines won the battle and killed over 4,000 Israelite soldiers.
After the defeat, the remaining soldiers went for the ark of the Lord of armies from Shiloh so that God would be with them and save them from their enemy. The people rejoiced loudly when the ark was brought to the camp that the Philistines heard them. The Philistines became afraid because they knew God’s presence in the battle would render them losers.
So the Philistines went to the battle fully prepared and defeated the Israelites again, killing 30,000 Israelite soldiers. They also captured the ark. Eli’s sons, Phinehas and Hophni, were in the battle and were killed. When their father heard about the death of his sons, he fell backward from his chair, broke his neck, and died.
Phinehas’ wife was pregnant, and she went into early labor because of the news and gave birth to a boy. In her despair and pain, she named her son Ichabod, saying that the Israelites’ glory was gone. She lamented losing her husband, father-in-law, and the ark of the Lord being taken by the enemy. Thus, the meaning of Ichabod, the glory has departed, was in reference to the ark being captured and the pain caused by death.
What does the spirit of Ichabod mean?
Biblical scholars assert that the spirit of Ichabod means the glory of God leaving or the lack of God’s blessings and favor upon his people. God’s glory was represented by a pillar of cloud by the day and a pillar of fire by night in the Old Testament, which guided the Israelites when they moved from Egypt to Canaan. When the Israelites reached the Promised Land, they built the Ark of the Covenant, that symbolized God’s presence. God’s glory was with his people as a sign of His presence. When the Philistines captured the ark, the glory was no longer among the people, and Ichabod became their reality.
In the New Testament, Jesus also refers to the concept of God’s glory departing Israelites in his last message to the people. He told the religious leaders in Matthew 23:37-38 that he had tried to gather them together under his wings, but they were unwilling. Thus, their house had been left desolate, meaning the glory was leaving them. In this verse, Jesus said “your house” and not my house or my father’s house like he used to say in his teachings, to show the people that it was now their house since God’s glory had left. Since they had rejected the messiah, God had abandoned them, and their house was cursed. That is to say that God had withdrawn his glory.
It is a bad thing to experience losing the glory of God. But sometimes, evil becomes more prevalent in life, and God’s presence leaves his people. One wonders how many believers and churches today have lost God’s glory since the same sins that caused Ichabod in Israel, evil doing and disobeying God, are also prevalent today. Christians must try as much as possible to remain in God’s glory lest the reality of Ichabod befalls us too.
What Happened To Ichabod?
What happened to Ichabod is not known since there is not much about him in the Bible. But what would you expect could happen to a child given such an unfortunate name that meant the glory of God had departed? We see Ichabod being mentioned in the Bible again 10 chapters after his birth, where Ahitub is referred to as his brother in 1 Samuel 14:3 as his nephew Ahijah became a priest.
This shows that despite the fact that he became an orphan at birth and was born at a time when Israel did not have God’s glory, he found his way to continue the priesthood line in his family. Even though we do not know if he had the chance of becoming a priest himself, we do see that his family continued the significant priestly responsibilities given to the Levites. Although his life began in disaster, losing his parents and grandfather even before his first cry, his story did not have to end in a tragedy.
Ichabod is only mentioned two times in the Bible in 1 Samuel 4:21-22 and 1 Samuel 14:3. The first is in relation to when Ichabod was born and his mother, in her grief, gave him that name. The second verse explains that Ahijah was Ahitub’s son, who was Phinehas’ son and Ichabod’s brother.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.