Home » Ponderings of the Bible » High Priest of Israel Part Three: From Zadok to Jehozadok

High Priest of Israel Part Three: From Zadok to Jehozadok

Listing So Far

Wilderness Period

  • Aaron – The First High Priest, of the tribe of Levi of course, High Priest during the Wilderness Journey, died shortly before its ends.
  • Eleazar – Aaron’s eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu were killed for using strange fire, thus the High Priesthood came to him. Aaron’s fourth son is Ithamar. Eleazar is High Priest during the Joshua Conquest, dies after Joshua (Josh. 24.33).

Judges Period

  • Phinehas – Noted for his loyalty and zeal during the Peor Incident (Numbers 31), served at Bethel (Judges 20.28) during the time of the war with Benjamin.
  • Abishua – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.5
  • Bukki – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.4. 2 Esdras 1.2 he is called Borith and 1 Esdras 8.2 Boccas. Note that Samartians split the High Priesthood here, Shesha is said to have succeeded instead, Shesha being a different son of Abishua.
  • Uzzi – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.4
  • Note there may be a gap here or Zerhiah and Meraioth may belong here, of them we know nothing save their names in genealogical listing. (See Lightfoot Temple Service IV Sec. 1)
  • Eli – No longer from the descendents of Eleazar, but instead from Aaron’s fourth son, Ithamar, High Priest for forty years during the waning years of the Judges who served at Shiloh. His sons misdeeds caused the High Priesthood to be removed from Ithamar in time to the specific descendants of Eleazar the Zadokites.
  • Phinehas – Not High Priest, but likely preformed duties as Eli grew old and his eyes dimmed

Early Kingdom Period

  • Ahitub – Brother of Ichabod, only mentioned in connection to his sons Ahijah and Ahimelech
  • Ahijah – or Ahiah, ministered at Shiloh, wore ephod early in Saul’s reign, who consults the ephod on whether Saul would win a battle or not
  • Ahimelech – Brother of Ahijah, ministered at Nob, unwittingly helped David against Saul, in revenge, Saul would kill Ahimelech with 84 other priests at Nob
  • Abiathar and Zadok – Both were High Priests during the reign of David and early reign of Solomon, Abiathar is eventually dispose for supporting Adonijah, Zadok becomes sole High Priest and his line is seen the legitimate priestly line.
  • Ahimelech (II) – Son of Abiathar, but never high priest, but like Phinehas may have done some High Priestly duties as Abiathar was quite old during Solomon’s time.
  • Ahimaaz and Azariah (I) – See Below

High Priests of the First Temple Period

Ahimaaz

The son of Zadok, Is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6.9 and nowhere else, it seems likely, however, that he was not ever High Priest, noting Zadok’s presence in the early part of Solomon’s reign and Azariah’s presence at the temple building. Zadok did live to a long age and so perhaps Ahimaaz died before having a chance at becoming High Priest or like others, perhaps he preformed High Priestly duties though never officially one.

Azariah (I)

1 Kings 4.2 – Azariah, is the son rather than grandson of Zadok.

Mentioned in the Chronicle’s genealogy, 6.9, as son of Ahimaaz, note, however that many scholars feel that the mention in verse 10 of the priest serving in the temple should moved down to verse 9, and thus 9 should read:

Ahimaaz was the father of Azariah (it was he who served a priest in the house which Solomon Built in Jerusalem).” Azariah was the father of Johanan

1 Kings 4.2 also mentions Azariah called the son of Zadok (most likely in a generic sense), and so should be read as descendent or grandson of Zadok. From this we gather that not only was he in charge of the temple, but helped to supervised the priest in an official way.

At this point Chronciles divegers from the listing in Josephus’ and  ‘Olam Zuta.

Johanah

Nothing is really known of him, except for his appearance in the Genealogy, 1 Chr 6.1-15, he was a son (or descendent) of Azariah I, High Priest during Solomon’s time. If son, he was likely the High Priest during Rehobaom’s reign, but if he is a descendent that would place him as being the father of Azariah (II)

This appears to be a gap between Johanah and Amariah, certainly,  Johanah was not High Priest from Rehoboam to Jehoshaphat, but we have no other biblical data from the genealogies or mentions of High Priest in the reign of Rehoboam, Abijah, or Asa.

Whoever was the High Priest during Abijah’s reign which was only three years was likely either the priest during a part Rehoboam’s rule or Asa’s.

Amariah (I)

The High Priest during Jehoshaphat’s reign was Amariah (2 Chr 19.11), during this time he was placed in charge over ecclesiastical and religious matters. 19.11, does not mention his father, and so Amariah may be the same as seen in Chronicles Genealogies, or one of the High Priest not listed in it.

Jehoiada

Jehoiada is a prominent High Priest connected with the story of Joash and Athaliah (see in 2  Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 22) His wife, Jehosheba saved Joash from death when Athaliah tried to kill all the Davidic heirs and he raised Joash in the temple until it was the right time to bring about a coup to reinstate Joash. Jehoiada lived to an advance of 130 and in his death was buried among the kings of Judah because of his service to the crown. He may be referenced to in Jeremiah 29.26, but this is uncertain. Due to his long life it is not inconceivable that he was High Priest after Amariah (I)

Who was between Jehoiada in the latter end of Joash’s reign and the Azariah in Uzziah’s reign?

Could Zechariah, the descendent of Jehoiada have been a High Priest?

Josephus at this point may point to Pediah as being Jehoiada’s son. (If one equates Axioram an obviously corrupted name with Jehoiada and Phideas with Seder Olam’s Pediah). It, furthermore seems unlikely that Zechariah was Jehoiada’s son whose advange age is noted in the text. Thus it would seem likely, that Zechariah’s father, perhaps the Pediah mentioned was High Priest.

Is there another gap here in the biblical record? Or did Pediah finish out Joash’s reign and was the same High Priest during Amaziah’s?

Azariah (II)

Azariah (II) is likely the same as Azariah son (as in descendent) of Johanan of 1 Chr 6.10. This is the Azariah who appears during King Uzziah’s reign. Specifically, we’re told that Uzziah tried to enter the temple to burn incense and Azariah opposed his actions (2 Chr. 26.17, 20).

Was he High Priest during Jotham’s rein as well, or at least a part of it? Was it Uriah? Josephus and Seder Olam both mention a Joel and Jotham prior to Uriah. With Joel at times being equated with Azariah (II), which would mean a High Priest Jotham reigned prior to Uriah. But is unmentioned for some reason.

Uriah

Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah, point to Uriah (Urijah) as the High Priest during  the reign of King Ahaz. Ahaz we’re told ordered Uriah to build an Assyrian styled altar and to offer sacrifices to that instead of Solomon’s altar (2 Kings 16.10-16). In Isaiah, Uriah is one of the persons whom Isaiah called to witness the authenticity of his oracles (Isaiah 8.2), despite Uriah’s missteps, he was still held in esteem by the people. It is for participation in false worship that some wonder if he was omitted from the list.

Azariah (III)

The Chief priest during the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 31.10, 13), who speaks favorably about the donations that the people have given. He may also be the same Azariah who the father of Joel, a Levite who helped in cleaning the temple (2 Chr. 29.12)

Complications

At this point the Chronicle genealogies seem to have been corrupted. We now have three (Chronicles/Ezra) or four names (Nehemiah) which fit with the reign of Manasseh and Amon, Josiah’s high priest clearly being Hilkiah. While Manasseh reigned for around 50 years, Amon’s reign was only two years.

Moreover, it seems slightly suspicious that Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok would appear in the list together again, in the same order as earlier in the list.

Should Josephus and Seder Olam be considered at this point?

Instead of four names, Seder Olam has two, Hoshaiah (Manasseh) and Shallum (Amon). Josephus after Urijah has three names, Nerias (Was this Azariah III?), then Odaias and Saloum, that is Shallum.

Going back to these three names of Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, copyist error may not be the only answer, it could be that the chronicler was not so much saying that these were the men descended from Azariah (III), but perhaps noted that with Shallum, the High Priesthood was returned to the Zadokite line. Perhaps during the years Manasseh’s apostasy he had corrupted the High priesthood?

Amariah (II)

Noted in 1 Chronicles 6 and Ezra genealogies, nothing else is known, perhaps a literary device speaking of Shallum’s/Hilkiah’s ancestry.

Ahitub (II)

Noted in 1 Chronicles 6 and Ezra genealogies, nothing else is known, perhaps a literary device speaking of Shallum’s/Hilkiah’s ancestry.

Meraioth

Noted in 1 Chronicles 9.11 and Nehemiah 11.11 contra 1 Chronicles 6.12 and Ezra  7.2 if the names here are correct. Note that Nehemiah 12.15 speaks of this as a priestly house during the days of Joiakim. The Meraioth reference seems odd.

Zadok (II)

Noted in 1 Chronicles 6 and Ezra genealogies, nothing else is known, perhaps a literary device speaking of Shallum’s/Hilkiah’s ancestry.

Shallum

Noted in 1 Chronicles 6 and Ezra, outside of his famous son nothing is known. Likely he is to be equated with Meshullam in Nehemiah 11.11 and 1 Chronicles 9.11

Hilkiah

High Priest under Josiah, Hilkiah found the book of the law (2 Kings 22.8) and he helped in the religious revival of Josiah (2 Kings 23.4), and helped to celebrate Passover (2 Chr. 35.8). Hilkiah really stands as one of the best of the Old Testament high priests.

Azariah (IV)

Noted in 1 Chronicles 6.13 and Ezra 7.1, as well as in 1 Esdras 8.1; 2 Esdras 1.1, but outside of this nothing is known.

Seraiah

High Priest in Jerusalem during the Babylonian Conquest, he is one of the officials executed at Riblah (2 Kings 25.17-21; Jer. 52.24-27). Outside of his death and position nothing else is known.

Jehozadak

The Son of Seraiah, who the Chronicler reports was taken into exile (2 Chr. 6.15).

“and Jehozadak went into exile when the LORD sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.”

Very likely, Jehozadak was never the High Priest, but his son (direct descendent?), Jeshua will help lead the people back to the land after 70 years of Exile.

Propose List of High Priests from Aaron to the Exile

  • Exodus to Conquest Period
  • Aaron – The First High Priest, of the tribe of Levi of course, High Priest during the Wilderness Journey, died shortly before its ends.
  • Eleazar – Aaron’s eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu were killed for using strange fire, thus the High Priesthood came to him. Aaron’s fourth son is Ithamar. Eleazar is High Priest during the Joshua Conquest, dies after Joshua (Josh. 24.33).
  • Judges Period
  • Phinehas – Noted for his loyalty and zeal during the Peor Incident (Numbers 31), served at Bethel (Judges 20.28) during the time of the war with Benjamin.
  • Abishua – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.5
  • Bukki – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.4. 2 Esdras 1.2 he is called Borith and 1 Esdras 8.2 Boccas. Note that Samartians split the High Priesthood here, Shesha is said to have succeeded instead, Shesha being a different son of Abishua.
  • Uzzi – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.4
  • Note there may be a gap here or Zerhiah and Meraioth may belong here, of them we know nothing save their names in genealogical listing. (See Lightfoot Temple Service IV Sec. 1)
  • Eli – No longer from the descendents of Eleazar, but instead from Aaron’s fourth son, Ithamar, High Priest for forty years during the waning years of the Judges who served at Shiloh. His sons misdeeds caused the High Priesthood to be removed from Ithamar in time to the specific descendants of Eleazar the Zadokites.
  • Phinehas – Not High Priest, but likely preformed duties as Eli grew old and his eyes dimmed
  • Early Kingdom Period
  • Ahitub – Brother of Ichabod, only mentioned in connection to his sons Ahijah and Ahimelech
  • Ahijah – or Ahiah, ministered at Shiloh, wore ephod early in Saul’s reign, who consults the ephod on whether Saul would win a battle or not
  • Ahimelech – Brother of Ahijah, ministered at Nob, unwittingly helped David against Saul, in revenge, Saul would kill Ahimelech with 84 other priests at Nob
  • Abiathar and Zadok – Both were High Priests during the reign of David and early reign of Solomon, Abiathar is eventually dispose for supporting Adonijah, Zadok becomes sole High Priest and his line is seen the legitimate priestly line.
  • Ahimelech (II) – Son of Abiathar, but never high priest, but like Phinehas may have done some High Priestly duties as Abiathar was quite old during Solomon’s time.
  • First Temple Period
  • Ahimaaz – Son of Zadok, like Ahimelech (II) while never stated to be a High Priest he may have done certain High Priestly duties
  • Azariah (I) – Officer in Solomon’s court, and likely the one reference in 1 Chronicles 6 as serving in Solomon’s Temple also notw 1 Kings 4.2
  • Johanah – Mentioned only in Genealogies – 1 Chronicles 6.5 and Ezra 7.5
  • Uncertain, but there seems to be a gap, clearly the biblical record gives the name of Amariah and Jehoiada, but the genealogies do not, which is especially strange for Jehoiada! Who were the Priests in Abijah and Asa’s reign?
  • Amariah (I) – Served in Jehoshaphat’s court over religious matters (2 Chronicles 19.11)
  • Jehoiada – One of the most famous High Priests who did so much for Judah that he was buried among the kings (2 Chronicles 24 and 2 Kings 12)
  • Pediah – Not Biblical, but assuming Josephus and Seder Olam may have other sources, this would make Zechariah the grandson of Jehoiada, not son
  • Was Zechariah the son or grandson of Jehoiada and was he a High Priest or not?
  • Azariah (II) – The priest who stood against king Uzziah who wanted to burn incense in the temple (2 Chronicles 26.20)
  • Urijah (Ahaz) – High Priest who built pagan altar, may be why he was omitted from genealogies.
  • Azariah (III) (Hezekiah) (2 Chronicles 31.10)
  • Odeas/Hosaiah – Not Biblical, but assuming Josephus and Seder Olam may have other sources. Note Amariah (II), Ahitub (II), Meraioth, Zadok (II) are mentioned only in Genealogies, most likely textual corruption or reinforcement that Hilkiah was a Zadokite priest.
  • Shallum– Only mentioned in Genealogies
  • Hilikiah (Josiah) (2 Kings 22; 23; 2 Chronicles 34)
  • Azariah (IV) – Only mentioned in Genealogies
  • Seraiah (Zedekiah) High Priest during the exile and executed by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah (2 Kings 25.18; Jeremiah 52.24)
  • Jehozadak – Seraiah’s son, but likely never actually the High Priest.

The Seder Olam Zuta

  • Zadok (Solomon)
  • Ahimaaz (King Rehoboam)
  • Azariah (I) (Abijah)
  • Johoram (Asa)
  • Joahaz (Jehoshaphat) Identical with Amariah (I)?
  • Jehoiarib/Jehoiada (Jehoram)
  • Jehoshaphat/Joshua (Ahaziah)
  • Jehoiada (Athaliah and Joash)
  • Pedaiah (Joash)
  • Zedekiah (Amaziah)
  • Joel (Uzziah) Identical with Azariah (II)?
  • Jotham (Jotham)
  • Uriah (Ahaz)
  • Neriah (Hezekiah) Identical with Azariah (III)?
  • Hoshaiah (Manasseh)
  • Shallum (Amon)
  • Hilikiah (Josiah and Jehoahaz)
  • Azariah (IV) (Jehoiakim)
  • Seraiah (Jehoiachin)
  • Jehozadak (Zedekiah)

Josephus’s Listing

  • Zadok
  • Ahimaaz High Priest
  • Azariah (I)
  • Joram
  • Isus (Jos) – Jehoshaphat?
  • Axioram – Jehoiada?
  • Phideas – Pediah?
  • Soudai/Sudaiah – Zedekiah? Zechariah?
  • Jouel/Joel
  • Jotham
  • Ourias/Urijah
  • Nerias – Neriah
  • Odaias /Odaiah – Hoshaiah?
  • Shallum
  • Hilikiah
  • Azariah (IV)
  • Seraiah
  • Jehozadak
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