The Zadok Levitical priests (Ezek 44:15-44:16)

“‘But the Levitical priests,

The descendants of Zadok,

Who kept the charge

Of my sanctuary,

When the people of Israel

Went astray

From me,

Shall come near

To me

To minister

To me.

They shall attend me

To offer me

The fat

With the blood.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They shall enter

My sanctuary.

They shall approach

My table.

They shall

Minister

To me.

They shall

Keep my charge.’”

It was a different story for the Zadok Levitical priests, as mentioned in the previous chapter. These Levitical priests from the family of Zadok came from a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. This Zadok aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, this Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Zadok Levitical priests had been loyal to Yahweh, when the other Levites went astray. They were the ones who could come near to Yahweh to minister to him. They would offer the fat and the blood. They would enter Yahweh’s sanctuary and approach his table. They would be in charge and directly minister to Yahweh.

The dedication of the altar (Ezek 43:18-43:20)

“‘On the day

When it is erected

For offering

Burnt offerings

Upon it,

For dashing blood

Against it,

You shall give

A bull

For a sin offering.

The Levitical priests

Of the family of Zadok,

Who draw near to me

Shall minister to me.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘You shall take

Some of its blood.

You will put it on

The four horns

Of the altar.

You will put it on

The four corners

Of the ledge.

You will put it

On the rim,

All around.

Thus,

You shall purify it.

You will make atonement

for it.’”

The first thing to be done on this new altar, after it was erected for offerings, was a burnt offering. The Levitical priests of the family of Zadok was based on a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. Zadok had aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, it was not strange that the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Levitical priests were the ones who came near to Yahweh to minister to him. The first of the sin offerings was a bull. These Zadok Levitical priests were to put its blood on the 4 horns of the altar, plus on the rim all around it for a purification and an atonement at the same time.

 

The foes rise up (Ps 3:1-3: 2)

A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

Yahweh!

How many are my foes?

Many are rising against me.

Many are saying of me.

There is no help for you in God.

Selah”

In 2 Samuel, chapters 15-18, David fled from his son Absalom who wanted to take the throne away from him. Thus this Psalm 3 has an explicit mention of when David might have composed his psalm as he left Jerusalem. David addressed Yahweh in a complaining way. He had so many enemies, that even his son had rebelled against him. Many others were joining his son Absalom. They were saying that God would not help him. Then we have the “Selah,” which either means a pause or a musical interlude before the continuation of the psalm. This term “Selah” appears over 70 times in the various psalms.

The letter of Lysias to the Jews (2 Macc 11:16-11:21)

“King Antiochus’ letter ran thus.

‘King Antiochus to his brother Lysias,

Greetings!

Now that our father has gone on to the gods,

We desire that the subjects of the kingdom

Be undisturbed in caring for their own affairs.

We have heard that the Jews

Do not consent to our father’s change to Greek customs

But they prefer their own way of living.

They ask that their own customs be allowed them.

Accordingly, since we choose

That this nation also should be free from disturbance,

Our decision is that their temple be restored to them,

That they shall live

According to the customs of their ancestors.

You will do well, therefore,

To send word to them.

Give them pledges of friendship,

So that they may know our policy.

They may be of good cheer,

Let them go on happily in the conduct of their own affairs.’”

The young King Antiochus V noted the death of his father, King Antiochus IV, since he had gone on to the gods. He did not want people in the kingdom disturbed. He had learned that the Jews did not like the Greek customs imposed on them by his father, but they preferred their own customs. The 10 year old king decided that the Temple should be restored. They should be allowed to follow the customs of their ancestors. He was pledging his friendship so that they should be of good cheer and happily conduct their own affairs. Everything seems to be in good order with this agreement.

The sons of David at Hebron (1 Chr 3:1-3:4)

“These are the sons of David that were born to him in Hebron. The first-born Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite, the second Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite, the third Absalom, son of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, the fourth Adonijah, son of Haggith, the fifth Shephatiah, by Abital, the sixth Ithream, by his wife Eglah. Six were born to him in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years and six months.”

David had 6 sons while living in Hebron for a little over 7 years, based on 2 Samuel, chapter 3. One major difference is the name of the second son. Here he is called Daniel and not Chileab as in 2 Samuel. The most famous Daniel is in the Book of Daniel. Of note is the fact that each son had a different mother as this was outright polygamy since they were explicitly called the 6 “wives” of David. Who are these 6 wives? Ahinoam and Abigail were mentioned before as they were with David before he came to Hebron. Remember that Saul’s daughter was a wife that Saul took away from David, so that would be 7 wives. Maacah had a territory named after her that was close to Geshur. We know very little about the other 3 wives, Haggith, Abital, and Ithream, since their names do not appear elsewhere. As for the sons, (1) Absalom put (2) Amnon, the first born to death because of his treatment of his sister Tamar in 2 Samuel, chapter 13. Absalom then revolted against David before he was defeated and killed in 2 Samuel, chapters 15-18. (3) Adonijah assumed that he would become king in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2, until Solomon was crowned king. The other three of sons (4) Daniel, (5) Shephatiah, and (6) Ithream, are hardly mentioned at all, since none of these six sons became king at David’s death.

The advice of Hushai (2 Sam 17:5-17:14)

“Then Absalom said. ‘Call Hushai the Archite also. Let us hear what he too has to say.’ When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him. ‘This is what Ahithophel has said. Shall we do as he advises? If not, you tell us.’ Then Hushai said to Absalom. ‘This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.’ Hushai continued. ‘You know that your father and his men are warriors. They are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is an expert in war. He will not spend the night with the troops. Even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. When some of your troops fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say. ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ Then even the valiant warrior, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear. For all Israel knows that your father is a warrior. Those who are with him are valiant warriors. But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beer-sheba, like the sand by the sea for a multitude. Then you go to battle in person. So we shall come upon him in whatever place where he may be found. We shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground. He will not survive, nor will any of those with him. If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city. We shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.’ Absalom and all the men of Israel said. ‘The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.’ For Yahweh had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that Yahweh might bring ruin on Absalom.”

Absalom then called in Hushai for his advice. He disagreed with Ahithophel about the immediate killing of David. Instead, he wanted to call all the people of Israel together, from Dan to Beer-sheba. Then Absalom himself should lead an expedition against David. They would search David out and kill him. They liked the idea of Hushai, because if a small force went out against David and got defeated, that would hurt Absalom. He wanted to make sure that Absalom’s people did not lose heart. It was Yahweh who helped discredit the advice of Ahithophel.

The plan of Ahithophel (2 Sam 17:1-17:4)

“Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom. ‘Let me choose twelve thousand men. I will set out and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged, and throw him into a panic. All the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king. I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man. All the people will be at peace.’ The advice pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.”

Ahithophel had a nice simple plan. He would take 12,000 men and go after David that night while he was still tired. He would attack David and his people, which would make all of them scatter in a panic. Then Ahithophel would only kill King David. After that all the people would be at peace and only one man would be dead, David. Everyone liked this neat plan where only 1 person died, King David.