The priests living in Jerusalem (Neh 11:10-11:14)

“Of the priests, there were Jedaiah son of Joiarib, Jachin, Seraiah son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, officer of the house of God. Their associates who did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty-two. Adaiah son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, and his associates, heads of ancestral houses were two hundred forty-two. Amashsai son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer, and their associates, valiant warriors were one hundred twenty-eight. Their overseer was Zabdiel son of Haggedolim.”

The priests in Jerusalem were Jedaiah, Jachin, and Seraiah, who was the chief officer or the high priest. Their associates worked in the house of God and numbered 822. Adaiah and his associates were the heads of the ancestral houses and numbered 242. Then there was Amashsai the warrior priests that numbered 128. Their overseer was Zabdiel. This seems like a lot of people, over 1,000, for a relatively small Temple in Jerusalem.

The priests return (1 Chr 9:10-9:13)

“Some of the priests returned. Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin, and Azariah son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, the chief officer of the house of God. Adaiah son of Jeroham, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, with Maasai son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer also returned to Jerusalem. Besides their kindred, the heads of their fathers’ houses, one thousand seven hundred sixty, qualified for the work of the service of the house of God, returned to Jerusalem.”

Some of the priests of the temple returned to Jerusalem, even though the temple was destroyed. In fact, slightly more than all the men of Judah and Benjamin combined 1,760 priests returned. Thus there were more Levites than people from Judah and Benjamin combined. Once again, these were the heads of the families. Jedaiah and Jehoiarib were priests who helped restore the temple after the Exile. Jachin was the name of a son of Simeon and a priest at the time of King David. Next there is a listing of the great high priests of the past, Hilkiah, Meshullam, Zadok, Meraioth, and Ahitub. Somehow this Azariah was related to them. There are 6 different people with the name Adaiah, but this one is a son of Jeroham. 3 people are only mentioned here, Maasai, Jahzerah, Meshillemith. There are 3 people with the name of Adiel. Pashhur was most famous for his encounters with Jeremiah the prophet. Surprisingly, Malchijah is a name that can be found with 13 different people, as well as Meshullam among 20 different people. Immer was the name of a place and an important family of priests.

 

The sons of Shimei (1 Chr 8:19-8:21)

“Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath were the sons of Shimei.”

Shimei had 9 sons. Although there are over 12 different people with the name of Shimei, this Shimei may refer to the Shema in Aijalon. At least, they were both Benjaminites, if not the same person. There is only 1 other (1) Jakim. There were 12 other people with the name of (2) Zichri with 4 of them being Benjaminites, but only 4 people with the name of (3) Zabdi. These are the only mentions of (4) Elienai, (8) Beraiah, and (9) Shimrath, but there is one other (5) Zillethai. There are 8 other people with the names of (6) Eliel and (7) Adaiah.

The Levite cantor Asaph the Gershonite (1 Chr 6:39-6:43)

“The brother of Heman, Asaph, stood on his right hand, that is Asaph, son of Berechiah, son of Shimea, son of Michael, son of Baaseiah, son of Malchijah, son of Ethni, son of Zerah, son of Adaiah, son of Ethan, son of Zimmah, son of Shimei, son of Jahath, son of Gershom, son of Levi.”

Here we have a truncated reverse genealogy that goes back 15 generations to (1) Levi, but via (2) Gershom, not Kohath, even though Asaph was called a brother of Heman. There are 2 other people with the name of (15) Asaph. Some Psalms (73-83) are attributed to this Asaph as well as a group of singers who called themselves the sons of Asaph later in this book. Here we may be close to the genealogy of Gershom earlier in this chapter that mentioned Levi, Gershom, Libni, (3) Jahath, (4) Shimei and (5) Zimmah. (6) Ethan is the name of 3 people in the biblical literature including another singer from Merari. There were 8 people with the name of (7) Adaiah. (8) Zerah was the same name as Perez’s twin brother, the son of Judah. In fact there were 4 other biblical persons with the name of Zerah. (11) Baaseiah and (9) Ethni only appear here, but there were 13 biblical different people with the name of (10) Malchijah, a popular name. There are 11 people named (12) Michael, including an archangel. There were 4 people with the name of (13) Shimea in the biblical literature, including someone in the family of Merari. There were 7 different people with the name of (14) Berechiah in the biblical literature.