High priest list in 1Chr 9 & Neh 11

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Tue Feb 27 05:21:28 EST 2001

Correction: the name Meshullam, not Shallum, appears in the Nehemiah list
and Shallum, not Meshullam, in the 1Chr 6 list, which is 1Chr 5:38-40 in
Hebrew. This makes this list less parallel than the 1Chr 9 and Nehemiah

Also relevant data is that in the books of Ezra (earlier part, also 10:18),
Haggai and Zechariah the high priest is Joshua/Jeshua son of J(eh)ozadak,
and in 1Chr 6 Jehozadak is the son of Seraiah and is dated as having been
deported by Nebuchadnezzar. But then in Ezra 7:1-5 we have the genealogy
below (presumably not intended to be complete) which parallels 1Chr 6. Note
that there is a repeated sequence of four names in the 1Chr genealogy which
is skipped over in Ezra. One quite probable explanation is that there was a
real repeated sequence of names because the priests deliberately chose to
follow the sequence of names of their ancestors. The list in Ezra could have
been shortened either deliberately or by accidental haplography. The same
principle of deliberate repetition could have produced the very similar list
in 1Chr 9 and Nehemiah. Of course Ezra could hardly have actually been the
son of the pre-exilic Seraiah, he is more likely to have been the son of the
Seraiah in Nehemiah's list. Also Ezra is not called high priest, presumably
he was a younger son or descendant of a younger son. Nor is Seraiah in
Nehemiah 11:11, so the simplest suggestion may be that he was (the
post-exilic) Azariah son of Hilkiah's younger brother.

Neh 12:10 seems to give a further list of descendants of Jeshua son of
Jehozadak: Jeshua - Joaikim - Eliashib - Joiada - Jonathan - Jaddua. Joiakim
was certainly son of Jeshua son of Jehozadak: 12:26. But this seems to have
been a separate family line from that of Azariah and Seraiah.

Ezra 7	1Chr 6

Seraiah	Seraiah
Azariah	Azariah
Hilkiah	Hilkiah
Shallum	Shallum
Zadok		Zadok
Ahitub	Ahitub
Amariah	Amariah
Azariah	Azariah
(Zadok)	Zadok
(Ahitub)	Ahitub
(Amariah)	Amariah
(Azariah)	Azariah
Meraioth	Meraioth
Zerahiah	Zerahiah
Uzzi		Uzzi
Bukki		Bukki
Abishua	Abishua
Phinehas	Phinehas
Eleazar	Eleazar
Aaron		Aaron

Peter Kirk

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at mclink.it]
Sent: 27 February 2001 00:33
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: High priest list in 1Chr 9 & Neh 11

One of the things I'm battling with is the evolution of the high priestly
lineage (and hence the request about the Seder Olam). Now I came across
these two snippets both dealing with the situation in Jerusalem after the
return from exile. These are representations of a part of the high priestly
lineage. There are three things to note: 1) the intrusion of the name
Meraioth between Ahitub and Zadok (it isn't in the other lists); 2)
Meshullam in both (whereas others have Shallum); and 3) the difference
between Azariah and Seraiah as the current referent of the two lists --
Azariah is the son of Hilkiah according to other lists.

1Chr 9:11    Neh 11:11

Azariah      Seraiah      (ben)
Hilkiah      Hilkiah        "
Meshullam    Meshullam      "
Zadok        Zadok          "
Meraioth     Meraioth       "
Ahitub       Ahitub

As I said, we are apparently at the beginning of the return period in both
passages, so it is strange to find either Azariah or Seraiah described as
the officer of the house of the Lord in that period. After all it was
Seraiah who was the high priest who went into the exile. It would appear to
me that Seraiah was original to the list and that the editor in this section
of 1Chr has corrected Seraiah to Azariah, thus heightening the chronological
problem for us (though he could have been working under different
presuppositions at the time). There is a high priestly list in Josephus's AJ
10,8,6 which differs greatly from the others with the exception of the
sequence Sallumus (Shallum and here Meshullam), Elcias (Hilkiah), and Sareas
(Seraiah), so there is support here for the Nehemiah tradition of Seraiah
being the son of Hilkiah.

It would appear to me that 1 Chr 9 and Neh 11 are two closely related forms
of an earlier high priestly lineage from that found in 1 Chr 6, though
perhaps the editor of 1 Chr 9 already had 1 Chr 6 when he reworked this

1Chr 6:12f   1Chr 9:11    Neh 11:11   AJ 10,8,6

Seraiah                   Seraiah     Sareas
Azariah      Azariah        -             -
Hilkiah      Hilkiah      Hilkiah     Elcias
Meshullam    Meshullam    Shallum     Sallumus
Zadok        Zadok        Zadok         <.>
   -         Meraioth     Meraioth      <.>
Ahitub       Ahitub       Ahitub        <.>

I'd be interested in any *non-apologetic* thoughts on the subject.


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