Sons of Zadok

 

What if, seemingly, the whole world went astray except for one, small group? That group would likely be despised as backward and unenlightened. They would be rejected and ignored by everyone...except maybe by God. What if God noticed them and their faithfulness? Would God remember them? When practically all Israel and Judah went astray and brought judgment upon themselves, there was one, small group of priests – one priestly family that remained faithful and bore the contempt and rejection. And God noticed.

 

Background

God Chose Aaron and His Sons

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests -- Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar” Ex 28:1

            "...I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the people..." Num 17:5

 

Lineage (and Chronology)

The sons of Levi: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.

2 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.

3 The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses, and Miriam.

The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

4 Eleazar was the father of Phinehas, Phinehas of Abishua,

5 Abishua of Bukki, Bukki of Uzzi,

6 Uzzi of Zerahiah, Zerahiah of Meraioth,

7 Meraioth of Amariah, Amariah of Ahitub,

8 Ahitub of Zadok, Zadok of Ahimaaz,

9 Ahimaaz of Azariah, Azariah of Johanan,

10 and Johanan of Azariah (it was he who served as priest in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem).

11 Azariah was the father of Amariah, Amariah of Ahitub,

12 Ahitub of Zadok, Zadok of Shallum,

13 Shallum of Hilkiah, Hilkiah of Azariah,

14 Azariah of Seraiah, Seraiah of Jehozadak;

15 and Jehozadak went into exile when the LORD sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.” I Chr 6:1-15f

            About six generations from Zadok to the exile.

 

When David fled from Absalom

            And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness. 24 And Abiathar came up, and behold, Zadok came also with all the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. 26 But if he says, 'I have no pleasure in you,' behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him." 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Are you not a seer? Go back to the city in peace, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me." 29 So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there. (2Sa 15:23-29 ESV)

 

When Hezekiah Tried to Restore Order in the Temple

            “When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and his people Israel. 9 And Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites about the heaps. 10 Azariah the chief priest, who was of the house of Zadok, answered him, "Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the LORD we have eaten and had enough and have plenty left; for the LORD has blessed his people, so that we have this great store left." II Ch 31:8-10

 

The Sons of Zadok Stood Alone

Priests Went Astray

 “The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth...” Jer 1:1

            “behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the LORD” Jer 1:18-19

            “And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, `Where is the LORD?' Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit” Jer 2:7-8

            “As a thief is shamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed: they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, 27 who say to a tree, `You are my father,' and to a stone, `You gave me birth.' For they have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they say, `Arise and save us!' 28 But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah.” Jer 2:26-28

            “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” Jer 5:30-31

            “Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Glean thoroughly as a vine the remnant of Israel; like a grape-gatherer pass your hand again over its branches." 10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn, they take no pleasure in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. "Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the old folk and the very aged. 12 Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together; for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD. 13 "For from the least to the greatest of them, every one is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, every one deals falsely. 14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, `Peace, peace,' when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown," says the LORD” Jer 6:9-15

            Jer 8:1, 8:9-12, 13:13-14, 23:9-40, 26:8-13, 32:30-35, 34:18-20, 52:24-27, Lam 2:6, 4:13&16

 

“...the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi...” Eze 1:3

            “Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28 And her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, `Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD has not spoken. 29 The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery; they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without redress. 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. 31 Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their way have I requited upon their heads, says the Lord GOD.” Eze 22:26-31

 

All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the LORD that he had made holy in Jerusalem. 15 The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, until there was no remedy. 17 Therefore he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or aged. He gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. 19 And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels.” (2Ch 36:14-19 ESV)

 

The Sons of Zadok Remained Faithful

            “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. 10 But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. 11 They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple, and serving in the temple; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall attend on the people, to serve them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, says the Lord GOD, that they shall bear their punishment. 13 They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my sacred things and the things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame, because of the abominations which they have committed. 14 Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it. 15 "But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me; and they shall attend on me to offer me the fat and the blood, says the Lord GOD; 16 they shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge." Eze 44:9-16

 

God Promised Restoration

            “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: `The LORD is our righteousness.' 17 "For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn cereal offerings, and to make sacrifices for ever." 19 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 20 "Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.” Jer 33:16-22

 

God Gave Ezekiel a Vision of the Return to Jerusalem and Restoration of the Temple

            “...he (God) said to me (Ezekiel), This chamber which faces south is for the priests who have charge of the temple, 46 and the chamber which faces north is for the priests who have charge of the altar; these are the sons of Zadok, who alone among the sons of Levi may come near to the LORD to minister to him.” Eze 40:45-46

            “And he said to me, "Son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: These are the ordinances for the altar: On the day when it is erected for offering burnt offerings upon it and for throwing blood against it, 19 you shall give to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, says the Lord GOD, a bull for a sin offering." Eze 43:18-19

            “...the priests shall have an allotment...This shall be for the consecrated priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept my charge, who did not go astray when the people of Israel went astray, as the Levites did. 12 And it shall belong to them as a special portion from the holy portion of the land, a most holy place” Eze 48:10-12

 

Ezra, Who Led the People Back, Was a Son of Zadok

            “Ezra (the priest and scribe, Ezr 7:11) the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest...” Ezr 7:1

 

Priests in Jerusalem in the Time of Nehemiah Were Sons of Zadok

            “Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin, 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, ruler of the house of God, 12 and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822...” (Neh 11:10-12 ESV)