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Hezekiah's Reform and 1 Chr 6

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

  1. Bismarck

    Bismarck New Member

    Mar 4, 2006
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    Dear All,

    In 732 BCE, when King Ahaz paid homage to Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III at Damascus, the High Priest in Jerusalem was Urijah (2 Ki 16:10). Ahaz commanded Urijah to construct an altar according to Assyrian specifications, and Urijah complied. Further, Ahaz set up this Assyrian altar before the House of YHWH, and moved the old altar to the side of the new. Further still, Ahaz told the High Priest Urijah to offer all sacrifices on the Assyrian altar — ie, to the gods of Assyria — although Ahaz would still use the old altar "for seeking guidance" (v.15).

    Therefore, we see that Ahaz, out of deference to Assyria, imported Assyrian religion into the heart of Jerusalem, and set up a syncret system of worshipping Assyrian gods alongside YHWH — symbolized by the 2 altars side-by-side — with primacy given to the Assyrian.

    And the High Priest Urijah agreed to all of this.

    Now, the NEXT high priest after Urijah was Azariah III, who presided over the reforms of Ahaz' son Hezekiah in c.715 BCE (2 Chr 31:10).

    AND, according to the geneological lists, THIS Azariah was the son of Johanan, who was the son Azariah II (2 Chr 6:9-10). Azariah II had been High Priest in c.750 BCE when King Azariah was quarantined for leprosy (2 Chr 26:17). Urijah was Azariah II's grandson.

    Indeed, regarding Azariah III, we are explicitly told: "it was he who served as priest in the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem" (2 Chr 6:10).

    A picture is worth 1000 words, so let us diagram the succession of the High Priesthood in Jerusalem in the late 8th century BCE. HIGH PRIESTS will be written in ALL CAPS; non-priestly generations will be written in lower-case.

    AZARIAH II ——— Johanan ——— AZARIAH III

    IOW, Azariah III and Urijah were BOTH grand-children of Azariah II. They were second cousins.

    This means that, precisely as the reformer-king Hezekiah was taking the throne of Judah in c.715 BCE, there was a BREAK in the direct line of succession to the High Priesthood. For, Urijah's son did not inherit the Priesthood, but rather his second cousin, along a collateral family branch, Azariah III.

    AND, given that Urijah had acquiesced to the incorporation of the gods of Assyria into the Temple of YHWH, it seems fitting that his line would not thrive under the REFORMER-king Hezekiah.

    Thus, the geneological lists of 1 Chr 6, along with the List of the High Priests of Israel, seem to preserve evidence that there was a break in the direct line of the High Priesthood upon the accession of Hezekiah to the throne of Judah in c. 715 BCE.

    Best re:


    PS: 1 Chr 6:8-9a talk about the High Priests under David & Solomon in the 10th century BCE, giving the line:

    Ahitub — Zadok — Ahimaaz — Azariah (I)....

    Then, vv. 9b-10 talk about the High Priests in the late 8th century BCE, giving the line:

    Azariah (II) — Johanan — Azariah III...

    I understand that many scholars deride the integrity of these geneological lists. However, there is a VERY SIMPLE EXPLANATION, namely that the list preserved in 1 Chr 6 conflates Azariah I and Azariah II in v.9.

    In short, the list is essentially correct. It correctly preserves the BEGINNING of the High Priestly line from Levi through Azariah I (12 generations)....

    and then it correctly preserves the END of the High Priestly line from Azariah II through Seriah and Jehozadak (11 generations)...

    but OMITS 6 generations from the MIDDLE, between Azariah I to Azariah II.

    It is easy to explain this as (1) an understandable conflation of Azariah I w/ Azariah II; (2) the well-known "serial position effect" in memory, whereby the beginnings and ends of lists are most easily remembered ("primacy" and "recency").

    Therefore, perhaps the INTERMEDIATE gap in 1 Chr 6 reflects an ORAL TRANSMISSION before the Chronicler recorded them in c. 5th century BCE.