The east Horse Gate (Neh 3:28-3:32)

“Above the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each one opposite his own house. After them Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. After him Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam son of Berechiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate. They went on to the upper room of corner. Between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.”

They turned to the east wall, east of the Temple and the Palace of King Solomon. On that side was the East Gate and the Horse Gate. The priests continued to make repairs beside their own houses so that they must have lived near the wall. Shemaiah was the keeper of the East Gate, so he made the repairs there. The goldsmiths and the Temple servants also repaired this east wall. Finally the merchants and goldsmiths finished up the east wall as they came to the corner upper room. They finished with the Sheep Gate that had started all this construction that began with the high priest Eliashib.

The northwest Fish Gate (Neh 3:3-3:5)

“The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. Next to them Meremoth son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz made repairs. Next to them Meshullam son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok son of Baana made repairs. Next to them the Tekoites made repairs. However, their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their lords.”

The Fish Gate was northeast of Jerusalem, just east of the Tower of Hananel. So they seem to be protecting the northern part of Jerusalem. They seem to have built the wall from Hananel to this gate. The family of Hassenaah built the gate doors with bolts and bars. This is the only biblical mention of them, but they may be from the returning family of Senaah. They were helped by Meremoth, Meshullam, and Zadok.   Meremoth had an important role at the Temple with Ezra. Meshullam was from the gatekeeper family, since his name was very common with over 20 people with that name. Zadok was a priestly name, but this Zadok has a further role with Nehemiah. The people from Tekoa, which is about 12 miles south of Jerusalem, also came to help. However, their leaders did not help.

The genealogy of Ezra (Ezra 7:1-7:5)

“After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes off Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest.”

Over half way through this book, we now run into Ezra. This was during the reign of King Artaxerxes from 465-424 BCE, which gets us closer to the reign of King Darius II, his son from 424-404 BCE. Ezra had a strong pedigree. He claimed to trace his ancestors back to Aaron, via Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Azariah, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Shallum, Hilkiah, Azariah, and Seraiah. These were some of the great high priests. There was a strong emphasis on the priestly lineage here. This purports to get through 16 people in about 800-1000 years, which is possible, but not probable.

Solomon becomes king (1 Chr 29:22-29:25)

“They made King David’s son Solomon king a second time. They anointed him as the prince for Yahweh with Zadok as priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh, succeeding his father David as king. He prospered. All Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty warriors, and also all the sons of King David, pledged their allegiance to King Solomon. Yahweh highly exalted King Solomon in the sight of all Israel. They bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.”

This is the official coronation of King Solomon as in 1 Kings, chapter 1. In 1 Kings, Zadok anointed Solomon as king. Not surprisingly, this biblical author does not repeat the intrigues of 1 Kings, leading to Solomon taking the throne and what King David had told him to do with others. King Solomon killed his brothers who disagreed with him, so that those who lived did pledge their allegiance to King Solomon. He was an important king of Israel. No king like him meant that he was better than King Saul and King David, since they were the only 2 kings before him. A less benign portrait of Solomon can be found in 1 Kings.

Various tribal leaders (1 Chr 27:16-27:22)

“Over the tribes of Israel,

For the Reubenites Eliezer son of Zichri was chief officer.

For the Simeonites, Shephatiah son of Maacah was chief officer.

For Levi, Hashabiah son of Kemuel was chief officer.

For Aaron, Zadok was chief officer.

For Judah, Elihu, one of David’s brothers was chief officer.

For Issachar, Omri son of Michael was chief officer.

For Zebulun, Ishmaiah son of Obadiah was chief officer.

For Naphtali, Jeremoth son of Azriel was chief officer.

For the Ephraimites, Hoshea son of Azaziah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel son of Pedaiah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo son of Zechariah was chief officer.

For Benjamin, Jaasiel son of Abner was chief officer.

For Dan, Azarel son of Jeroham was chief officer.

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.”

Notice first, that there is no leader for Gad or Asher. Aaron also had a separate leader. Although there are 10 different people with the name of (1) Eliezer, this son of Zichri is only mentioned here. Even though there are 7 different people with the name of (2) Shephatiah, this son of Maacah is only mentioned here. This (3) Hashabiah son of Kemuel may be the same as the Levite mentioned earlier in this book, but there were a lot of Levites with this name. (4) Zadok was the high priest. (5) Elihu was not really a blood brother of King David. There were 3 others with the name of (6) Omri, but this Omri was not a king. (7) Ishmaiah son of Obadiah may have been one of the “Thirty” warriors of David. (8) Jeremoth son of Azriel may have been one of the warriors mentioned in chapter 25. There were 3 other people with the name of Hoshea, including a king, but not this (9) Hoshea son of Azaziah. Although Joel was a popular name of over 14 people, including a prophet, this (10) Joel son of Pedaiah only appears here. 6 different biblical people have the name of Iddo, but this (11) Iddo son of Zechariah only appears here. There is only 1 other Jaasiel besides this (12) Jaasiel son of Abner. This (13) Azarel son of Jeroham may be the same one mentioned in chapter 25.

 

The other sons of Levi (1 Chr 24:20-24:31)

“The the rest of the sons of Levi and the sons of Amram includes Shubael. The son of Shubael was Jehdeiah. The son of Rehabiah was Isshiah the chief. Among the Izharites, the son of Shelomoth was Jahath. The sons of Hebron were Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. The son of Uzziel was Micah. The son of Micah was Shamir. The brother of Micah was Isshiah. The son of Isshiah was Zechariah. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. The son of Jaaziah was Beno. The sons of Merari from Jaaziah were Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri. Of the sons of Mahli was Eleazar, who had no sons. The son of Kish was Jerahmeel. The sons of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites according to their ancestral houses. These also cast lots, corresponding to their kindred, the descendents of Aaron, in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the ancestral houses of the priests and of the Levites, the chief as well as the younger brother.”

This is an odd supplementary list since it had some of the same names listed above but others are added. This list combines the 4 sons of Kohath with the 2 sons of Merari, but leaves out the sons of Gershom, for no apparent reason. Is this a slight against Gershom or a put down for the Kohathites and Merarites? It starts out with the comment of “the rest of the sons of Levi” as if they did not count as much as those listed above. Amram, the 1st son of Kohath had a son named Shubael. If this was Amram, the son of Kohath, then this Shubael would be the brother or step-brother of Moses and Aaron. A man with the same name is listed in the Gershom lineage and later as a son of Heman, the cantor. There is one other Jehdeiah, who is a herdsman for David. Rehabiah was a son of Eliezer, who was the son of Moses who had many children in the preceding chapter. So maybe this connection to Moses of Shubael is not that strange. There are 3 other people with the name of Isshiah, mostly Levites. In fact, there is one that is the son of Rehabiah, and the other is the son of Uzziel, the brother of Micah, and father of Zechariah. This Shelomoth was either a son of Izhar, the 2nd son of Kohath, a Gershonite, or a son of Eliezer, the son of Moses. A person with the name of Jahath appears in all 3 Levite families, the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and the Merarites, but here he is the son of a Kohathite. Hebron, the 3rd  son of Kohath also had 4 sons. Jeriah the chief is only mentioned 3 times here in 1 Chronicles. There are 8 different people with the name of Amariah, mostly Levites, while 5 people had the name of Jahaziel. Jekameam is only mentioned 2 times here in 1 Chronicles. The 4th son of Kohath was Uzziel whose son was Micah, the same name as the prophet Micah. Jaaziah is apparently the son of Merari, but he is never listed besides the 2 sons of Merari, Mahli and Mushi. His name only appears 2 times here in 1 Chronicles, the same as his 4 sons, Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri. This Eleazar, son of Mahli, had no sons. Mahli had the same name as his uncle. Eder was the name of a place, while there are 8 other people with the name of Jerimoth. All these people cast lots at the time of King David.

The duties of the priests (1 Chr 24:1-24:6)

“The divisions of the descendents of Aaron were these. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father. They had no sons. Thus Eleazar and Ithamar became the priests. Along with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, King David organized them according to the appointed duties in their service. Since more chief men were found among the sons of Eleazar than among the sons of Ithamar, they organized them under sixteen heads of ancestral houses of the sons of Eleazar, and eight of the sons of Ithamar. They organized them by lot, all alike, for there were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God among both the sons of Eleazar and the sons of Ithamar. The scribe Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded them in the presence of the king, the officers, Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the heads of the ancestral houses of the priests and of the Levites. One ancestral house was chosen for Eleazar and one chosen for Ithamar.”

The priests seem to be sons of Aaron. They are listed separately from the Levites. This beginning is loosely based on Numbers, chapter 3. Aaron had 4 sons. 2 died, Nadab and Abihu, without children when they presented unholy fire before Yahweh as mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 10. However, the other 2, Eleazar and Ithamar, served as priests with their father Aaron. This biblical chronicler makes Eleazar more important than Ithamar, when the other writings have Ithamar as the high priest. They were organized by lot. This seems to be the common way that things happened. The father of Zadok was made high priest by Saul after the extermination of the family of Ahimelech in 2 Samuel, chapter 8. This Zadok was the trusted priest friend of King David, who helped to put Solomon on the throne. This Ahimelech was the grandson of the slain Ahimelech. Although there are over 18 people with the name of Shemaiah, many of them Levites, this son of Nethanel was the scribe and recorder for David.