(ah hi' me lek) HEBREW: ACHIMELEK
"my brother is king"

In the days of King Saul, Ahimelech was high priest at the Israelite sanctuary at Nob, just east of Jerusalem. His father, Ahitub, had evidently founded the sanctuary after the Philistines destroyed the shrine at Shiloh where his great grandfather Eli had once served. Ahimelech led a community of priests at Nob, while his brother Ahijah was priest in the court of Saul at Gibeah.

One day David, fleeing from Saul's attempts to kill him, came to Nob. Telling Ahimelech that he was on a secret mission for Saul, David requested bread for his men and a weapon for himself. Ahimelech trusted David and attempted to comply. On condition that David's men be ritually pure, Ahimelech game him the holy bread from the sanctuary along with the sword of Goliath that was in safekeeping there. Unfortunately, an Edomite named Doeg observed this action and reported it to Saul. The king was enraged at this support given to his enemy and charged Ahimelech with treason. Although Ahimelech protested that he thought David was still serving the king, Saul had Doeg execute all 85 priests at Nob, including Ahimelech. Only Abiathar, Ahimelech's son, escaped.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}