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 front of the Temple (2 Chr 3:15-3:17)

In front of the house King Solomon made two pillars thirty-five cubits high, with a capital of five cubits on the top of each. He made encircling chains and put them on the tops of the pillars. He made one hundred pomegranates. Then he put them on the chains. He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the right and the other on the left. The one on the right he called Jachin. The one on the left he called Boaz.”

This description of the 2 pillars is based on 1 Kings, chapter 7. There was no mention that they were bronze pillars as in Kings.  These pillars here are twice as tall as in 1 Kings. Each one is 35 cubits high instead of 18 cubits high. Instead of a 27 foot pillar it is a 54 foot pillar. There is no mention of its circumference as in 1 Kings. These pillars had 5 cubit (7 ½ feet) tops or capitals on each one just like in 1 Kings. There was ornate checker work with lattice work. Their ornamentation included over 200 pomegranates and various flowers. These 2 pillars were at the vestibule to the temple. The one on the south or right side here was called Jachin, while the one on the north or left side here was called Boaz. They symbolized the fact that God had established himself with power.

The various priestly positions (1 Chr 24:7-24:19)

“The first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezkel, the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, the twenty-third to Delaiah, and the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. These had as their appointed duty in their service to come into the house of Yahweh according to the procedure established for them by Aaron their father, as Yahweh God of Israel had commanded him.”

There seems to be 24 levels or positions that the priests have. Their service and procedure had somehow been established by Aaron at the command of Yahweh.   However, there was no Temple at the time of Aaron. It is hard to tell what each of these 24 positions entailed. Apparently, these are people living at the time of King David, while there still was no temple. 8 of these priests only have their name appear in this book, (1) Jehoiarib, (4) Seorim, (12) Jakim, (13) Huppah, (14) Jeshebeab, (18) Happizzez, (20) Jehezkel, and (22) Gamul. There were 6 others whose name appears elsewhere, but they may be related to them, (6) Mijamin, (7) Hakkoz, (15) Bilgah, (17) Hezir, (21) Jachin, and (24) Maaziah. There were 3 other people named (2) Jedaiah, (3) Harim, and (19) Pethahiah. There were 13 people with the name of (5) Malchijah, even though it does not sound like a popular name. (8) Abijah incidentally shows up as an ancestor to Zachery, the father of John the Baptist in the later Gospel of Luke. There are at least 10 others with the name of (9) Jeshua, mostly Levites. There are at least 7 other people with the name of (10) Shecaniah. 6 others had the name of (11) Eliashib. (16) Immer was also the name of a place. There were 4 others with the name of (23) Delaiah.


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.