The father of Uzziah.
The father of Jotham.
The father of Ahaz.
The father of Hezekiah.
The father of Manasseh.
The father of Amos.
The father of Josiah.
The father of Jechoniah
And his brothers,
At the time of the deportation
Ἰωρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ὀζείαν, Ὀζείας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωαθάμ, Ἰωαθὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἄχαζ, Ἄχαζ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐζεκίαν, Ἐζεκίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μανασσῆ, Μανασσῆς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμώς, Ἀμὼς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσείαν, Ἰωσείας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεχονίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος.
The chronology of the Judean kings, as found in 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles, chapter 3, picks up with Amaziah’s son, Azariah (Ὀζείαν) or Uzziah who ruled from about 781-740 BCE. However, here it says that Joram (Ἰωρὰμ) was his father when Joram was the father of Ahaziah. Uzziah had a son named Jotham (Ἰωαθάμ) who ruled from about 740-736 BCE. His son Ahaz (Ἄχαζ) ruled from about 736-716 BCE. His son Hezekiah (Ἐζεκίαν) ruled from about 716-687 BCE. His son Manasseh (Μανασσῆ) ruled from about 687-642 BCE. His son Amon or Amos (Ἀμώς) ruled from about 642-640 BCE. His son Josiah (Ἰωσείαν) ruled from about 640-609 BCE. Many of Josiah’s sons would rule Judah. His son Johanan, Jehoahaz or Shallum ruled for just one year about 609 BCE. His brother (τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς), Josiah’s son Jehoiakim or Eliakim ruled from 609-598 BCE. His son Jehoiachin, Coniah or Jeconiah (Ἰεχονίαν) ruled for less than a year about 598 BCE. Zedekiah or Mattaniah, brother of Jehoiakim and son of Josiah, ruled from about 598-587 BCE until the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος). The Greek text used the term “begat” (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between these 8 men. However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call them the father instead of saying “fathered them.”
Was twenty-one years old,
When he began to reign.
He reigned eleven years
His mother’s name
This is very similar to the ending of 2 Kings, chapter 24, almost word for word. However, there is no mention here that the king of Babylon established Mattaniah, the son of King Josiah, as the king and then gave him a new name, King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). This 21 year old King Zedekiah was 3 years older than his nephew, the deposed King Jehoiachin (598 BCE). He had the same mother, Hamutal from Libnah, as King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), so that they were blood brothers with the same mother and father. King Zedekiah ruled for 11 years in Jerusalem.
“As for the Levites, in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, they were recorded as the heads of the ancestral houses. These were the priests until the reign of Darius the Persian. The Levites, heads of ancestral houses, were recorded in the Book of the Annals until the days of Johanan son of Eliashib. The leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua son of Kadmiel, with their associates over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of King David the man of God, section opposite to section. Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers standing guard at the storehouses of the gates. These were in the days of Joiakim son of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and in the days of the governor Nehemiah and the priest Ezra, the scribe.”
This is now a more up to date list of the priests around the time of Nehemiah. However, the list goes to King Darius II who died around 405 BCE. Nehemiah had come to Jerusalem around 446 BCE. It is possible that he lived until the reign of King Darius, but he clearly was a favorite of King Artaxerxes I. We know the names of the heads of the Levitical ancestral houses until the time of Johanan because they were recorded in a book at the Temple. This must have been like the lost books of the Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel. The leaders were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and another Jeshua. They gave praise in antiphonal singing as they were opposite each other. The gatekeepers were Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub, who also had control over the storehouses at the Temple. All of these people were in charge during the time of the high priest Joiakim and also during the time that Governor Nehemiah and the priest scribe Ezra were in charge. It is interesting to note that it is no longer is “I” but the 3rd person who is telling this story about Nehemiah and his times.
“The Levites returning were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his associates, was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. Bakbukiah and Unno, and their associates, stood opposite them in the service.”
Jeshua was the high priest with Zerubbabel. The house of Jeshua returned with the original group in Ezra, chapter 2. There is no mention here of the Immer group, the Pashhur group, the Harim group, and the Hodaviah group. However, the Kadmiel group is mentioned here, while Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah are added here. Bakbukiah and Unno are new here also. They stood opposite them which might refer to antiphonal singers, but it is not definitive.
“Of the Levites was Shemaiah son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni. Shabbethai and Jozabad were the leaders of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God. Mattaniah son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, was the leader to begin the thanksgiving hymns in prayer. Bakbukiah was the second among his associates. Abda son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun, was there also. All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred eighty-four.”
The Levites were lead by Shemaiah. Shabbethai and Jozabad were in charge of the outside work around the house of God. Mattaniah, a descendent of Asaph, was the leader of the singing of thanksgiving. Bakbukiah and Abda had secondary roles. The total number of Levites who were living in Jerusalem was 284.
“Then the Levites arose. Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites arose. Of the sons of Merari, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel arose. Of the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah arose. The sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel also arose. Of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah arose. Of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei arose. Of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel arose. They gathered their brothers. They sanctified themselves. They went in as the king had commanded, by the words of Yahweh, to cleanse the house of Yahweh.”
The Levites responded positively. 2 people from each of the Levitical tribes arose from the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the Gershonites. The same was true for the 3 groups of singers or cantors, the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, all had 2 people stand up. On top of that, the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel also rose up. They gathered their brother Levites and sanctified themselves. Then they went in to cleanse the house of Yahweh. I wonder why they had not done more to sustain the house of Yahweh even in the face of indifference.
“The sons of Heman were Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him. God had given Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. They were all under the direction of their father for the music in the house of Yahweh. They played cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God.”
Heman had 14 sons and 3 daughters. Apparently, they all performed music in the house of Yahweh, the Temple, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. Heman was also called a seer or prophet to the king. Of Heman’s 14 listed sons, 8 of them are names that only are mentioned here and in the giving of the lots, but nowhere else in the biblical literature, (1) Bukkiah, (8) Eliathah, (9) Giddalti, (10) Romamti-ezer, (11) Joshbekashah, (12) Mallothi, (13) Hothir, and (14) Mahazioth. There were 9 different people with the name of (2) Mattaniah, but this Mattaniah will be in charge of the 9th group of singers. There were 8 different people with this name of (3) Uzziel. There was only 1 other (4) Shebuel. There were 7 different people with the name of (5) Jerimoth. There were 13 different people with the name of (6) Hananiah. There were 5 different people with the name of (7) Hanani.
“Some of the Levites returning were Shemaiah son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari. Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, and Mattaniah son of Mica, son of Zichri, son of Asaph also returned. Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun, and Berechiah son of Asa, son of Elkanah, who had lived in the villages of the Netophathites, also returned to Jerusalem.”
The Levites seem to be different from the priests. However, there is no listing as to how many returned. The first group was from the clan of Merari, the son of Levi. Shemaiah was a prominent name among Levities, with over 25 people with that name. In fact there are 2 people with that name in this paragraph, just as there are 2 people with the name of Galal mentioned here. Hasshub was a Levite chief. It is not clear whether this Levite is also the son of Azel or not, probably not. There are 8 Levite Merarites with this name of Hashabiah. Some may be the same. There also was a group of Levites descended from Asaph, the music conductor at the time of King David. Bakbakkar and Heresh are only mentioned here. It is hard to tell if they are the same or not. Mattaniah was also a descendent of Asaph who became a Levite cantor leader of the temple choir after its restoration. There were 2 other people with the name of Mica. There were 3 Benjaminites with the name of Zichri. There were 12 people with the name of Obadiah, with the most famous the prophet and book Obadiah. Jeduthun was a Levite director of music at the temple. There were 7 people with the name of Berechiah. There was one another more famous Asa that was the King of Judah (911-870 BCE). There were 8 other people with the name of Elkanah, mostly Levites. The villages of Netophathites refer to small towns northeast of Bethlehem.
“The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place. He changed his name to Zedekiah. King Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign. He reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh, just as King Jehoiakim had done. Indeed, Jerusalem and Judah so angered Yahweh that he expelled them from his presence. However, King Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.”
Interesting enough he is succeeded by his uncle, who would have been a son of the good King Josiah and a brother of King Jehoiakim. He had the same mother, Hamutal from Libnah, as King Jehoahaz, so that they were blood brothers with the same mother and father. Uncle Mattaniah was only 3 years older than King Jehoiachin. The king of Babylon established him as king and gave him a new name, King Zedekiah. He ruled for 11 years in Jerusalem. Yahweh was angry with him also since he walked in the evil ways of his brother King Jehoiakim and not in the good ways of his father, King Josiah. However, he did rebel against the king of Babylon, which was not always a good idea.