Friday, 14 June 2013

High priests during the final two centuries

The last high priests of Zadok's line (2 Samuel 8:17) were about the time of Onias. He was deposed by Antiochus then subsequently murdered. Some time after this the high priests came from the Hasmonaean family. Events around the creation of this dynasty are documented in the books of Maccabees.

The high priests during the final 2 centuries from the time of the Maccabees were as follows (dates approximate).

High priestYear
Judas Maccabeus
Jonathan Maccabeus 153-143 BC
Simon Maccabeus142-134 BC
Hyrcanus 134-104 BC
Judas Aristobulus104-103 BC
Alexander Jannaeus103-76 BC
Hyrcanus 76-67 BC
Aristobulus 66-63 BC
Hyrcanus (restored)63-40 BC
Antigonus40-37 BC
Hananel 37-36 BC
Aristobulus 36 BC
Hananel (restored)36-30 BC
Jeshua ben Phiabi 30-23 BC
Simon ben Boethus23-3 BC
Matthias ben Theophilus3-2 BC
Joazar ben Boethus2 BC
Eleazar ben Boethus2-1 BC
Joshua ben Sie1 BC - ? AD
Joazar ben Boethus (restored)? AD - 6 AD
Annas ben Seth6-15 AD
Ishmael ben Phiabi15-16 AD
Eleazar ben Annas16-17 AD
Simon ben Camithus17-18 AD
Joseph Caiaphas18-36 AD
Jonathan ben Annas36-37 AD
Theophilus ben Annas37-41 AD
Simon Cantatheras ben Boethus41 AD
Matthias ben Annas41-44 AD
Elioenai ben Simon Cantatheras44 AD
Jonathan ben Annas (restored)44 AD
[Cimtheras]
Joseph ben Camydus [?ben Cantos]44-47 AD
Ananias ben Nebedeus47-58 AD
[Jonathan]
Ishmael ben Phiabi58-62 AD
Joseph Cabi ben Simon62-63 AD
Annas ben Annas63 AD
Joshua ben Damneus63 AD
Joshua ben Gamaliel63-65 AD
Matthias ben Theophilus65-67 AD
Phinehas ben Samuel67-70 AD

There is debate over whether Judas was ever high priest; Josephus states that he was.  After Judas were his 2 brothers Jonathan and Simon, then Simon's son Hyrcanus. Hyrcanus had 2 sons who were high priests. Aristobulus was king of Judea as well as the high priest. Aristobulus married Salome Alexandra. After Aristobulus' death his brother Alexander Jannaeus also became king and high priest. He married Salome according to the policy of levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). Salome Alexandra reigned as queen regent from Alexander's death in 76 BC and she made her son Hyrcanus (II) high priest from that time. There was rivalry between Hyrcanus and his brother Aristobulus (II) after Salome died in 67 BC. Aristobulus become both king and high priest for 3 years. He was deposed and sent to Rome by Pompey when the Romans occupied Judea in 63 BC. The high priesthood was restored to Hyrcanus but not the kingship, and Julius Caesar confirmed Hyrcanus as high priest in 47 BC. The Parthians invaded Judea c. 40 BC and removed Hyrcanus appointing Aristobulus' son Antigonus as high priest and king. Hyrcanus' ears were mutilated to prevent him ever being high priest again (Leviticus 21:16-23). Antigonus remained king and high priest until Herod retook Judea for Rome c. 37 BC after which Antigonus was executed.

Herod (Matthew 2:1) was an Edomite and governor of Galilee who had fled to Rome when Antigonus became king. He was appointed King of the Jews by Rome and returned to Judea to conquer Jerusalem and claim his kingship. As well as putting Antigonus to death, he put away his wife Doris and married Mariamme. Mariamme was daughter of Alexander and Alexandra who were cousins thru their fathers. Alexander was son of Aristobulus (II) son of Alexander Jannaeus. Alexandra was the daughter of Hyrcanus (II) son of Alexander Jannaeus. Herod appointed Hananel high priest which upset Mariamme's mother Alexandra. Alexandra claimed that as her father Hyrcanus was no longer eligible to be high priest because of his mutilated ears, her son (and Mariamme's brother) Aristobulus (III) should become high priest. Herod removed Hananel and gave the position to Aristobulus who was only 17 at the time. He was drowned within a year, possibly at the order of Herod.

Mariamme was convicted and executed in 29 BC for the charge of conspiring to murder Herod. Hananel the high priest was succeeded by Jeshua ben Phiabi about this time. Some time later Herod wished to marry a different Mariamme who was reportedly extremely beautiful. She was a peasant so Herod removed Jeshua from his position and had Mariamme's father Simon ben Boethus made high priest c. 23 BC; alternatively, Herod may have made Boethus high priest who was followed later by Simon. Herod's son Antipater, by his first wife Doris, was charged with conspiring to murder Herod for which he was subsequently executed, though after Herod's death. Mariamme was accused of concealing aspects of the plot which she had become privy to; Herod divorced her and removed her father Simon from his post. Matthias, Simon's replacement, was removed shortly after this for his suspected involvement in removing the golden eagle Herod had placed over a temple gate. Herod's last appointment was Joazar from the family of Boethus.

After Herod's death his kingdom was divided between his sons. Herod's son by Malthace, Herod Archelaus (Matthew 2:22), was tetrarch over Judea and took over the appointment of high priests. Joazar was replaced by his brother Eleazar shortly after Archelaus began ruling because Joazar agitated against Archelaus while he was receiving his ethnarchy in Rome. Eliezer was succeeded by Joshua ben Sie (or See). Joazar returned to the high priesthood replacing Joshua prior to 6 AD.

Quirinius replaced Joazar with Annas ben Seth. Joazar was from the family of Boethus who were Sadducees. Boethus had several descendants who were high priests. Annas also had several immediate descendants who were made high priests. Annas was removed by Valerius Gratus for decreeing capital punishment despite the proscription by Rome. Annas was replaced by Ishmael ben Phiabi who was replaced shortly after by Annas' son Eleazar. Annas had 5 sons who became high priests: Eleazar (16-17), Jonathan (36-37, 44), Theophilus (37-41), Matthias (42-43), and Annas (61-62). His daughter was married to Caiaphas (18-36) making Caiaphas Annas' son in law (John 18:13). Theophilus had a son Matthias (65-68), Annas' grandson, who was also a high priest. There is some indication that the high priesthood should be lifelong. Although Annas was deposed in 15 AD it seems he continued to hold significant power; at least during the office of Caiaphas (Luke 3:2; John 18:13-14, 24; Acts 4:6).

Valerius Gratus made Caiaphas (Luke 3:2) high priest in 18 AD. Valerius was replaced as procurator by Pontius Pilate (Luke 3:1) in 26 AD. In 36 AD Vitellius removed both Pilate and Caiaphas from their posts. He made Jonathan high priest then his brother Theophilus within a year. Herod Agrippa then appointed high priests while he was king, Simon of the house of Boethius, then Theophilus' brother Matthias, then Simon's son Elioenai. After Agrippa died his brother Herod appointed the high priests even though he ruled Chalcis and not Judaea. First Joseph then Ananias before whom Paul appeared (Acts 23:2). After Herod's death Agrippa (II) appointed the high priests until the destruction of Jerusalem. The first high priest appointed was Ishmael, the last high priest to ever sacrifice a red heifer to make ashes for cleansing (Numbers 19). Followed by Joseph Cabi, then Annas (II) the last son of Annas to be high priest. Then Joshua ben Damneus, then Joshua ben Gamaliel, then Matthias who was son of Theophilus and grandson of Annas. The last high priest was Phinehas ben Samuel. He presided during the Jewish war and was killed during the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

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