“After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes off Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest.”
Over half way through this book, we now run into Ezra. This was during the reign of King Artaxerxes from 465-424 BCE, which gets us closer to the reign of King Darius II, his son from 424-404 BCE. Ezra had a strong pedigree. He claimed to trace his ancestors back to Aaron, via Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Azariah, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Shallum, Hilkiah, Azariah, and Seraiah. These were some of the great high priests. There was a strong emphasis on the priestly lineage here. This purports to get through 16 people in about 800-1000 years, which is possible, but not probable.
“Bela had nine sons, named Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram.”
Bela was the first born son of Benjamin. In the census in Numbers, chapter 26, Bela, the clan of the Belaites, listed only 2 sons, Ard and clan of the Ardites and Naaman, the clan of the Naamites. Here Bela has 9 sons and only (5) Naaman is the same. (1) Addar, the grandson of Benjamin, also was the name of a place on the Benjamin border with Judah. In Genesis, chapter 49, (2) (7) Gera was listed as a son of Benjamin, but here he is the grandson of Benjamin, and listed twice. Gera was the name of an ancestor of the 2nd judge Ehud, in Judges, chapter 3, as well as the name of the father of Shimei, the Benjamite, who cursed David when he fled from Absalom. (3) Abihud was also the name of another person in the Jesus genealogy of Matthew. The only other (4) Abishua was a grandson of Aaron. (6) Ahoah and (8) Shephuphan are only mentioned here. (9) Huram appears here but may be the same as Hiram, the king of Tyre and the artisan from Tyre at the time of David and Solomon.
“Aaron and his sons made offerings upon the altar of burnt offering and upon the altar of incense for all the work of the most holy place. They were making atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. These are the sons of Aaron, Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, Zadok his son, and Ahimaaz his son.”
This list of Aaron and his sons is exactly the same as the list of the high priests before the building of the Temple at Jerusalem in the early part of this chapter. These priest sons of Aaron could make sacrifices on the altar, in particular the burnt offerings. They did atonement for the people of Israel according to the Law of Moses. However, after the listing of Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, and Ahimaaz, the list stops. There is no mention of any of the high priests after the building of the Temple in Jerusalem by Solomon as earlier in this chapter.
“Eleazar became the father of Phinehas. Phinehas became the father of Abishua. Abishua became the father of Bukki. Bukki became the father of Uzzi. Uzzi became the father of Zerahiah. Zerahiah became the father of Meraioth. Meraioth became the father of Amariah. Amariah became the father of Ahitub. Ahitub became the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Ahimaaz. Ahimaaz became the father of Azariah. Azariah became the father of Johanan. Johanan became the father of Azariah, who served as priest in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem. Azariah was the father of Amariah. Amariah became the father of Ahitub. Ahitub became the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Shallum. Shallum became the father of Hilkiah. Hilkiah became the father of Azariah. Azariah became the father of Seraiah. Seraiah became the father of Jehozadak. Jehozadak went into exile when Yahweh sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.”
This is a list of the high priests prior to the Exile, a parallel to the descendents of David in chapter 3 of this book, as they were both hereditary. The king and the priests were the important people. Eleazar was the son of Aaron who had a son named Phinehas. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron was promised the hereditary high priesthood in Numbers, chapter 25. There is not much information about Abishua, Bukki, or Zerahiah other than their listings in the genealogies. Uzzi is a name shared with 6 other biblical people. There are a couple of Levite priests with the name of Meraioth. There were 8 different priests named Amariah. This genealogy gets tricky with Ahitub. There were 2 priests with this name. 1 was the son of Phinehas, so that when his grandfather Eli died, he succeeded to the office of high priest, and was himself succeeded by his son Ahijah as in 1 Samuel, chapter 4, who is not mentioned here. The other was the father of Zadok, who was made high priest by Saul after the extermination of the family of Ahimelech in 2 Samuel, chapter 8, who is the one mentioned here. This Zadok was the trusted priest friend of David, who helped to put Solomon on the throne. His son Ahimaaz remained loyal to David in the rebellions both of Absalom and of Adonijah. However, Ahimaaz’ son became the high priest since he died before this father died. Thus, technically the first high priest of Jerusalem was Azariah, because he lived at the time that the Temple was built by Solomon. However, there are 27 biblical people who have the same name as this Azariah. In this list Azariah is both the father and son of Johanan. This list gets goofy because it relists Amariah, Ahitub, and Zadok as sons again. Either people had the same names or this is filler to get down to Hilkiah. In the relisting, Zadok became the father of Shallum, but there are 15 different biblical people with that name. However, he was the father of Hilkiah the high priest at the time of Josiah in the 7th century. Hilkiah became the father of another Azariah, who became the father of Seraiah, but there are 11 people with this name. Finally we get to his son Jehozadak, who got carried away in the Babylonian Captivity, after Seraiah was killed by King Nebuchadnezzar.