The Levites return (1 Chr 9:14-9:16)

“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.

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The reign of King Zedekiah in Judah (598-587 BCE) (2 Kings 24:17-24:20)

“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.