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Judith’s Achior

While browsing through some of my files on my hd, I found this little post I had been working on.  It seems complete for the most part, but for that matter I’m not sure in what direction I was planning on taking it or how much more if any I was going to add to it…  Anyways felt I needed to update with something so, here it is.

Judith’s Achior:

“Then Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites, said to him, “May my lord please listen to a report from the mouth of your servant, and I will tell you the truth about this people that lives in the mountain district near you. No falsehood shall come from your servant’s mouth.” – Judith 5.5 NRSV

Within the Book of Judith we find a slew of fascinating characters, from the Jael like Judith to the pagan known as Achior.  Dumm describes as playing something of the “good pagan,” Achior is the one who tells the general the ancient history of the Israelites[1] .

Concerning Achior’s name firstly one should note Moore’s words “The Original form of this name is much debated.”  Of the suggestions of how Achior’s name ought to be one is Ahihud (a name appearing in Numbers 34.27) on the basis of the LXX and assuming a confusion of רs and דs[2].  Others would render it as אחיאור, something like “Light my (divine) brother,” which could refer to the Sun God = Light and perhaps Sun God = Yahweh (see Psalm 19), still others see the name as a corrupted form of “Ahikar[3].”

The last option is particular intriguing since Ahikar also influence the book of Tobit, as Tobit is connected to the famous sage, noting Tobit 1.22 “Ahikar interceded for me, and I returned to Nineveh. Now Ahikar was chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration of the accounts under King Sennacherib of Assyria; so Esar-haddon reappointed him. He was my nephew and so a close relative.”  In Tobit the famous sage (who is not originally Jewish) becomes the nephew of the faithful Tobit.  In way it seems easy then to have Ahikar again transformed from his roots now in Judith as wise man among the the Ammonites (and who later becomes a Jew).

Of course one could point at some problems such as Ahikar’s nationally is not Achior’s, the former was a wise man, an advisor while the latter is a military general[4].  Still the possible connection is indeed intriguing (since it seems that Ahikar seemed to fascinate the Hebrew people in general), and to see another transformation of the character is always a fun little treat.

– Le Belle Inconnu


[1] Dumm, D. R. Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968. 626.

[2] Commentary on the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, ed. Robert Henry Charles (Bellingham, WA). 1:252.

[3] Carey A. Moore, Judith: A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008). 158.

[4] Moore 162

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