Josiah's Reform and 1 Chr 6

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bismarck, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. Bismarck

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    Mar 4, 2006
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    Dear All,

    The High Priest in c. 630 BCE under the reformer-king Josiah was Shallum (2 Chr 34:22), the father of the next High Priest Hilkiah who found "the book of the Law" (2 Ki 22:4) in the House of YHWH in Jerusalem during its renovations in 622 BCE.

    NOTE: 622 BCE marks the 100th anniversary of the Fall of Israel, much as Josiah's accession in 640 BCE marks the 200th anniversary of Jehu's revolt.

    Now, according to the geneological lists in 1 Chr 6, Shallum was the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah III (vv.11-12):

    AZARIAH III — Amariah — Ahitub — Zadok — SHALLUM...

    HOWEVER, the List of the High Priests of Israel only records the sequence:

    AZARIAH III — Hoshaiah — SHALLUM...

    There is a simple explanation for this discrepancy. Azariah III was High Priest in 715 BCE upon the accession of Hezekiah (2 Chr 31:10).

    Shallum was High Priest in about 630 BCE early in king Josiah's reign (2 Chr 34:22).

    This is a GAP of 85 years. It is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that a single priest (Hoshaiah) could have reigned for that whole time.

    AND, the geneological list in 1 Chr 6:11-12 tells us plainly that there were in fact THREE generations separating Azariah III (715 BCE) from Shallum (630 BCE). At 20 years per generation, we have no difficulty explaining this situation:

    Amariah = 695 BCE
    Ahitub = 675 BCE
    Zadok = 655 BCE
    SHALLUM = 635 BCE

    Thus, the geneological list in 1 Chr 6:11-12 is essentially vindicated.

    BUT, we still have ONE MORE DISCREPANCY to explain: why does the "List of the High Priests of Israel" only record ONE name (Hoshaiah) between the tenures of Azariah III and Shallum??

    But again, however, this too is easy to explain. By our above reckoning, Hoshaiah must have been High Priest around 695 BCE. This marks the END of the reformer-king Hezekiah's reign...

    and the beginning of the reign of the back-sliding and "pagan-izing" MANASSEH. According to the Jewish tradition and the "Ascension of Isaiah", Manasseh murdered the prophet Isaiah in the 2nd year of his reign. The "Ascension of Isaiah" ALSO mentions the murder of the Prophet Micah, Isaiah's contemporary. And the Bible is clear in condemning Manasseh, and blaming him for Judah's eventual fall. Indeed, it MUST HAVE BEEN under Manasseh's reign that the Torah was "lost" in the first place, necessitating its rediscovery in 622 BCE under Hilkiah and Josiah.

    IOW, it appears that Manasseh persecuted the followers of YHWH and murdered the Prophets of YHWH. It follows that Manasseh likely also murdered the High Priests of the House of YHWH in Jerusalem, or at least removed them from power. Indeed, the dramatic nature of Josiah's later reforms reflects the equally dramatic nature of Manasseh's "pagan counter-reformation", which probably included re-dedicating the Jerusalem Temple to Ba'al and Asherah.

    Therefore, we conclude that the High Priest Hoshaiah was murdered or forced from office around the 2nd year of Manasseh's reign (c.690 BCE), as Manasseh began his persecutions. Then, for two (2) generations under Manasseh's lengthy 55-year rule, the HIGH PRIESTHOOD of YHWH remained VACANT. Indeed, this perfectly explains why the Torah was lost (!).

    Then, after Manasseh had died, and his son Amon was toppled by a Deuteronomistic coup in 640 BCE, the High Priesthood was resumed by Shallum, the great great grandson of Azariah III who had been High Priest during the beginning of Hezekiah's reign.

    Furthermore, Richard Elliott Friedman has argued that Josiah's reforms were driven by the Levitical community of Anathoth. The Anathoth Levites had been driven from power by Solomon upon his accession, when Abiathar was deposed and exiled there (1 Ki 2:2-4). So, how could these marginalized Levites capture the High Priesthood??

    Because the paganizing reign of Manasseh had literally swept aside the main line of the High Priesthood. The last High Priest, Hoshaiah, was probably murdered (along with his sons) in c.690 BCE by Manasseh.

    The High Priesthood then remained vacant for 50 years...

    And the House of YHWH was rededicated to Ba'al and Asherah...

    And the Torah was "lost"...

    Until, in 640 BCE, from the wreckage, a distant collateral branch of the High Priests' family, not a son of Hoshaiah but a great great grandson of Azariah III, resumed the High Priesthood.

    Clearly, this collateral branch, distant from the original main line, had married into the Anathoth Levite community. Shallum, Hilkiah, and the Prophet Jeremiah rose to power alongside Josiah, Judah's greatest king since King David.

    Best re:


    R.E. Friedman, "Who Wrote the Bible".

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