Zadok (High Priest)

Zadok (High Priest)

Zadok (Hebrew: צדוק, Tzadok meaning "Righteous") was an Israelite High Priest in the tenth century BC.

Zadok in the Bible

A son of Ahitub, of the line of Eleazar (2 Samuel 8:17; 1 Chronicles 24:3), high priest in the time of David (2 Sam. 20:25) and Solomon (1 Kings 4:4) (1 Kings 4:2). He is first mentioned as coming to take part with David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:27, 28). He was probably on this account made ruler over the Aaronites (27:17).

During the rebellion of Absalom, Zadok gained still greater prominence. He and the Levites wished to accompany the fleeing David with the Ark of the Covenant, but the king begged them to remain at Jerusalem, where they could do him better service (II Sam. xv. 24-29; comp. 35), so that it actually happened that Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, and Jonathan, the son of Abiathar, brought the king an important message (ib. xvii. 21). In all these passages Zadok is mentioned before Abiathar.

Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests on several important occasions (1 Chr. 15:11; 2 Sam. 15:24-29, 35, 36); but when Adonijah endeavoured to secure the throne, Abiathar went with him, and therefore Solomon "thrust him out from being high priest," and Zadok, remaining faithful to David, became high priest alone (1 Kings 2:27, 35; 1 Chr. 29:22). In him the line of Phinehas resumed the dignity, and held it till the fall of Jerusalem. His sons were Ahimaaz and Azariah, of whom it is unsure being the next high priest.

Textual analysis

The attempt to trace his genealogy back to Eleazar, the third son of Aaron, as opposed to Abiathar, his contemporary and colleague, who was regarded as a descendant of Eli and considered a member of the house of Ithamar, was first made by the Chronicler (I Chron. v. 30-34 [A. V. vi. 4-8] ; comp. vi. 35-38 [A. V. vi. 50-53] ), thus assuring the preeminence of the Zadokites over the descendants of Eli. In the beginning of his career he was associated with Abiathar (II Sam. xx. 25) and with his son (ib. viii. 17; I Chron. xxiv. 3, 6, 31). The hypothesis has accordingly been advanced that Zadok officiated in the Tabernacle at Gibeon (I Chron. xvi. 39; comp. I Kings iii. 4), while the sons of Eli were stationed as high priests at Jerusalem or, more probably, at Shiloh (comp. Keil on I Kings i. 8). Such a division of functions is very doubtful, however; and it is more plausible to suppose that Zadok gradually won equality of rank with the sons of Eli by his good fortune in gaining the favor of David.

According to the somewhat improbable statement of the Chronicler, a certain Zadok, as a young man, had been one of those who joined David at Hebron and helped him win the crown of all Israel, his house then including twenty-two captains (I Chron. xii. 29); and Josephus expressly identifies this Zadok with the high priest of the same name ("Ant." vii. 2, § 2).

According to the Masoretic Hebrew text of II Sam. xv. 27, David addressed the priest with the words "ha-Kohen ha-ro'eh attah," ("You are the seer-priest") and the Vulgate consequently regards Zadok as a seer, although this interpretation is regarded by many scholars as incorrect. These two difficult words are emended by Wellhausen to "ha-Kohen ha-Rosh Atta" ("You are the chief priest"), thus implying the promise of the high-priesthood to him. On the suppression of the rebellion, the king sent Zadok and Abiathar to the elders of Judah, urging them to hasten to bring the monarch back (ib. xix. 12). Zadok again manifested his loyalty to the king when he espoused the cause of Solomon against Adonijah (I Kings i. 8 et seq.), and in his gratitude the new king appointed him sole high priest (ib. ii. 35). In his account of this event Josephus states ("Ant." viii. 1, § 3) that Zadok was a scion of the house of Phinehas, and consequently a descendant of Eleazar.

Other theories

Some scholars have speculated that as Zadok does not appear in the text of Samuel until after the conquest of Jerusalem, he was actually a Jebusite priest co-opted into the Israelite state religion. Elsewhere in the Bible, the Jebusites are described in a manner that suggests that they worshipped the same God as the Israelites ("see, e.g.", Melchizedek). Further support for this theory comes from the fact that other Jebusites or residents of pre-Israelite Jerusalem bore names invoking the principle or god Zedek ("Tzedek") (see, e.g., Melchizedek and Adonizedek). Under this theory the Aaronic lineage ascribed to Zadok is a later, anachronistic interpolation.

The Zadokite dynasty

Reliable historical data show that the high-priesthood remained in the hands of the Zadokites from this time until the rise of the Maccabees, in about 167 BC.Fact|date=February 2007 The descendants of Zadok increased in rank and influence, so that his son Azariah was one of the princes of Solomon (I Kings iv. 2), and the Ahimaaz who married a daughter of Solomon was probably another of Zadok's children (ib. iv. 15). Either Zadok himself or his grandson was the ruler of the Aaronites (I Chron. xxvii. 17), and Jerusha, the mother of Jotham, is apparently termed the daughter of Zadok to emphasize her noble lineage, since her father may have been a descendant of the first Zadok (II Kings xv. 33; II Chron. xxvii. 1). A Zadok is also mentioned in the genealogy of Joseph, the father of Jesus (Matt. i. 14).G. S. Kr. It is believed that the Sadducees (Hebrew "Tzedukim") derived the name of their faction from Zadok. A Rabbi Zadok is also mentioned as saved in Talmud (Bavli Gittin 56B) by Yohanan ben Zakkai, when he makes his deal with Vespasian. Many see this Rabbi Zadok as the correct descendant of the high priest clan.

The house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood through much of the Second Temple's time, from Jehoshua ben Jehozadak after the Exile, down to Simon II (much praised in Ben Sira 50), his eldest son Onias III, and his usurping second son Jason (or Jehoshua), who introduced the programme of Hellenization that eventually let to the Maccabean Revolt. Josephus records that Onias IV went to Leontopolis in the Egyptian nome of Heliopolis with a significant following, and for lending military support to the Ptolemaic Pharaoh was given land to build a temple to rival the Temple in Jerusalem (although Josephus also ascribes this to Onias III, while dating the project so as to suggest Onias II). It has been suggested that Onias or members of his Zadokite house may have also founded the community at Qumran. The Dead Sea Scrolls suggest a central role for 'the sons of Zadok the Priests' within the community; the 'Teacher of Righteousness' ("Moreh Zedek") named as founder may point to a Zadokite.

ee also

*Zadok the Priest (coronation anthem by George Frideric Handel)
*List of High Priests of Israel

succession
office = High Priest of Israel
preceded = Abiathar
succeeded = Ahimaaz


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