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List of High Priests of Israel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page gives one list of the High Priests of Ancient Israel up to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. Because of a lack of historical data, this list is incomplete and there may be gaps.

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Transcription

And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial. And thou shalt make ouches of gold; And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches. And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold. And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate. And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not. And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework. And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Contents

Line of the High Priests of Israel

A traditional list of the Jewish High Priests
A traditional list of the Jewish High Priests

The High Priests, like all Levitical priests, belonged to the Aaronic line. The Bible mentions the majority of high priests before the captivity, but does not give a complete list of office holders. Lists would be based on various historical sources. In several periods of gentile rule, high priests were appointed and removed by kings. Still, most high priests came from the Aaronic line. One exception is Menelaus, who may not have been from the Tribe of Levi at all, but from the Tribe of Benjamin.

From the Exodus to Solomon's Temple

The following section is based on information found in the various books of the Bible, including the genealogies given in First Book of Chronicles and the Book of Ezra, the works of Josephus[1] and the early-medieval Seder Olam Zutta.

Though Phinehas and his descendants are not directly attested as high priests, this portion of the genealogy given in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15 is assumed by other sources (including Josephus [2] and Seder 'Olam Zutta), to give the succession of the office from father to son. At some time, the office was transferred from descendants of Eleazar to those of his brother Itamar.[3] The first known and most notable high priest of Itamar's line was Eli, a contemporary of Samuel.

Abiathar was removed from the high priesthood for conspiring against King Solomon, and was replaced by Zadok, son of Ahitub, who oversaw the construction of the First Temple. According to the genealogies given in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15, Zadok was a descendant of Uzzi (through Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah and Ahitub) and thus belonged to the line of Eleazar.

First Temple period

From Solomon's time (957 BCE[4]) until the captivity (586 BCE / 425 BCE according to historical Jewish sources[5]), the High Priests officiated in the Temple in Jerusalem. Information about who served in that office diverges between the Bible, Josephus and the Seder 'Olam Zuta. While Josephus and Seder 'Olam Zuta each mention 18 high priests,[6] the genealogy given in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15 gives twelve names, culminating in the last high priest Seriah, father of Jehozadak. However, it is unclear whether all those mentioned in the genealogy between Zadok and Jehozadak were high priests and whether high priests mentioned elsewhere (such as Jehoiada and Jehoiarib) are simply omitted or did not belong to the male line in this genealogy.

1 Chronicles 6:3-15
(* Also mentioned in Ezra 7:1–5)
Josephus[7] Seder 'Olam Zutta Other Biblical information
Zadok* Zadok Zadok - contemporary of King Solomon Zadok was High Priest during the construction of the First Temple.
Ahimaaz Ahimaaz Ahimaaz - contemporary of King Rehoboam
Azariah Azariah Azariah - contemporary of King Abijah Among the "princes/officials" of King Solomon listed in 1 Kings 4:2 "Azariah, son of Zadok, the priest" appears in first place.
Johanan Joram -
- Isus Joash - contemporary of King Jehoshaphat An Amariah is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 19:11 as "the chief priest" under King Jehoshaphat.
- - Jehoiarib - contemporary of King Jehoram
- - Jehoshaphat - contemporary of King Ahaziah -
- Jehoiada[8] Jehoiada - contemporary of King Jehoash Jehoiada, brother-in-law of King Ahaziah, is mentioned in 2 Kings 11:4-17 as a priest leading the coup against Queen-mother Athaliah and installing Jehoash of Judah as king of Judah.
- Axioramos - -
- Phideas Pediah - contemporary of King Jehoash -
- Sudeas Zedekiah - contemporary of King Amaziah -
Azariah Juelus Joel - contemporary of King Uzziah Azariah II is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 26:14-18 as a "chief priest" opposing King Uzziah. In 1 Chronicles 5:36 Azariah, son of Johanan is singled out as "he it is that executed the priest's office in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem".
Amaria Jotham Jotham - contemporary of King Jotham -
Ahitub II Urias Urijah - contemporary of King Ahaz Uriah is mentioned in 2 Kings 16:10-16 as a priest who, on orders of King Ahaz, replaces the altar in the temple with a new, Assyrian-style altar. He is also mentioned as a witness in Isaiah 8:2.
- Nerias Neria - contemporary of King Hezekiah An Azariah is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 31:10 as "the chief priest, of the house of Zadok" under King Hezekiah.
Zadok II Odeas Hoshaiah - contemporary of King Manasseh -
Shallum* Shallum Shallum - contemporary of King Amon Shallum, son of Zadok II.
Hilkiah* Elcias Hilkiah - contemporary of King Josiah and of King Jehoahaz Hilkiah, priest at the time of King Josiah and the discovery of the lost Book of the Law.
Azariah IV* Azaros Azariah IV - contemporary of King Jehoiakim Azariah IV, son of Hilkiah1 Chronicles 6:13
Seraiah* Sareas Seraiah - contemporary of King Jeconiah and of King Zedekiah Seraiah, son of Azariah IV (2 Ki 25:18)

Some name Jehozadak, son of Seriah, as a high priest prior to being sent to captivity in Babylonia, based on the biblical references to "Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest". According to Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi), this is a misreading of the phrase, as "the high priest" does not refer to Jehozadak, who was exiled to Babylon without having served as high priest, but to his son Joshua, who ascended from Babylon at the end of the exile.[9]

After the Babylonian Exile

[10]

The five descendants of Joshua are mentioned in Nehemiah, chapter 12, 10f. The chronology given above, based on Josephus, however is not undisputed, with some alternatively placing Jaddua during the time of Darius II (423-405/4 BC) and some supposing one more Johanan and one more Jaddua in the following time, the latter Jaddua being contemporary of Alexander the Great.

Inter-Sacerdotium: It is unknown who held the position of High Priest of Jerusalem between Alcimus' death and the accession of Jonathan. Josephus, in Jewish Antiquities XX.10, relates that the office was vacant for seven years, but this is highly unlikely, if not impossible. In religious terms, the High Priest was a necessary part of the rites on the Day of Atonement, a day that could have not been allowed to pass uncelebrated for so long so soon after the restoration of the Temple service. Politically, Israel's overlords probably would not have allowed a power vacuum to last that length of time.

In another passage (XII.10 §6, XII.11 §2) Josephus suggests that Judas Maccabeus, the brother of Jonathan, held the office for three years, succeeding Alcimus. However, Judas actually predeceased Alcimus by one year. The nature of Jonathan's accession to the high priesthood makes it unlikely that Judas held that office during the inter-sacerdotium. The Jewish Encyclopedia tries to harmonise the contradictions found in Josephus by supposing that Judas held the office "immediately after the consecration of the Temple (165-162), that is, before the election of Alcimus"[12]

It has been argued that the founder of the Qumran community, the Teacher of Righteousness, was High Priest (but not necessarily the sole occupant) during the inter-sacerdotium and was driven off by Jonathan.

Hasmonean dynasty

Herodian-Roman period

External Links

  • Article in the Jewish Encyclopedia
  • Génébrard, Gilbert (1599). Chronographiæ libri quatuor. Priores duo sunt de rebus veteris (in Latin). Lyon: Jean Pillehotte. p. 35. Seder Olam Zutta chronology
  • Meyer, John (1699). Seder 'Olam sive Chronicon Hebræorum majus et minus (in Latin). Amsterdam: John Wolters. p. 102. Seder Olam Zutta chronology

References

Notes
  1. ^ Antiquities of the Jews 10:151–153 (10.8.6, in the order: book, chapter and verse.)
  2. ^ Antiquities of the Jews 10:151–153 (10.8.6)
  3. ^ According to Abu l-Fath, a Samaritan chronicler writing in the 14th century CE, this transfer was the result of a civil war between the followers of Uzzi and Eli. Samaritans claim descent from the followers of Buzzi, who in this account stayed at Mount Gerizim while Eli's followers moved to Shiloh. (Robert T. Anderson and Terry Giles, The Keepers, An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans, Hendrickson Publishing, 2002, p. 11–12.)
  4. ^ New American Heritage Dictionary, entry: 'Temple'
  5. ^ New American Oxford Dictionary:Temple
  6. ^ The list in Antiquities of the Jews 10:151-153 contains 17 high priests, but Josephus also mentioned the High Priests Seraiah in 10:149 and Jehoiada in 9.7.
  7. ^ Antiquities of the Jews 10:151–153 (10.8.6, in the order: book, chapter and verse.)
  8. ^ Josephus mentions Jehoiada as high priest in his account of Athaliah's reign (Antiquities of the Jews 9.7) but not in list of High Priests (Antiquities of the Jews 10:151-153)
  9. ^ Judaica Press Tanach with Rashi Commentary on II Chronicles 5:41.
  10. ^ Dates and contemporaries are taken from James C. VanderKam, 'From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests After the Exile', 2004, page 491
  11. ^ Josephus, Antiquities. Book 12, Chapter 2 (43)
  12. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Judas Maccabseus
  13. ^ http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=269&letter=M
  14. ^ Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.2
  15. ^ Antiquities of the Jews 20.8.5
This page was last edited on 20 May 2019, at 14:13
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