The role and import of the Jewish High Priestess in 1st Century Judaism

Posted: September 25, 2012 in ARTICLES, TRUE RELIGION
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The Role and import of the Kohenet in 1st century Judaism

“The proselyte went to Rabbi Joshua, who sought to appease him, saying;”Bread includes spiritual food, and raiment includes the Tallit of the learned doctors. And, when a proselyte was not only rich in material possessions but also in spiritual wealth, the High Priest himself was happy to have him marry his daughter, and he might even see his grandson officiate as the High Priest.”

Bereshit Rabbah, 70.

For Christians understanding the implications of our adoption can be vague at best. It is almost unprecedented. To get a thorough understanding different forms of adoption and the Empire changing effects they had need to be looked at. In the above quote for example a convert is told that he may see his grandchildren serve as High Priest in Israel. If the high priest can only come from the line of Aaron this is very astonishing until the role of adoption is fleshed out.

If we understand this we have a basis to understand how extraordinary adoption into the household of Jesus is.

The role the (Kohenet) Priestess (daughter of the high priest) played in 1st century culture is only now coming to light as various studies are now being done. The importance to just genealogical work is profound. The Priestess who because of gender can not assume the role of Kohen Gadol(High Priest), apparently did not lose the inheritance of the title or role and it could be passed on to her husband and into the next generation by her shown by the following examples. 

 “While the opinion of the Yere’im is open to speculation, we find two explicit opinions of Tosafot regarding this issue.  The gemara tells that Rav Kahana accepted a turban as payment for pidyon ha-ben (Kiddushin 8a).  Tosafot note that Rav Kahana was not a kohen but was married to a Priestess.  How, then, did he receive the turban as pidyon ha-ben?  One answer suggested by Tosafot is that there were two different people named Rav Kahana, and the Rav who received the turban was indeed a kohen.  But Tosafot then suggest a different answer, namely, that Rav Kahana acted as an agent for his wife, who was a Priestess, and received the turban on her behalf.  This explanation is based on two novel assumptions: that a Priestess can accept pidyon ha-ben, and that she may even appoint a shaliach (agent) to receive it on her behalf.”[1]

 Shown in this example Rav Kahana acted as an agent for his wife, the daughter of the High Priest, and is shown as High Priest in his receiving the turban. This turban can only be worn by a legitimate high priest. It is his crown. The most interesting point is that it shows hereditary rights coming through the daughter of the high priest to her non- priestly husband. It goes further in saying that because of clouds over some of the genealogies it is marriage to the daughter of a high priest that lends legitimacy to the high priest. 

This example was after the Temple Destruction. At this point in history only a Torah Scholar or Kohen could marry a Priestess (Pesachim 49a)[2]. The concept of Rav Kahana acting as agent is a proof of the daughter retaining her title and inheritance and being able to transfer it both in her children and to her husband.

The earlier Law (Halacha from the temple period) restricted the high priest daughter’s choices in marriage to a Kohen (High Priest), or a King.  Any other marriage was a misalliance because it denigrated the dignity of the office. “R’ Yehoshua (Hananiah) Became sick after marrying a Priestess, and said that the Kehunah had rejected him: Pesachim 49a,” meaning the High Priest had the right to reject lateral transfer of his lineage. “R’ Yehoshua was from then known as Yehoshua ben Levi, “Bar Livai [Son of Levi]” by R’ Chanina: Shabbat 156a[3].”Rejection by the Priestess’s father (Kehunah) meant that hereditary right stepped down from Aaron to Levi in this case. The right itself still intact but diffused to the greater family (Levi) and loss of the High Priest status.

 In the Tosefta in the fifth chapter of Sotah R. Joshua said, ‘Thus did R. Judah b. Petiri expounded’. In the chapter six R. Judah also quotes b. Petiri. R. Joshua was the head of the Court of Rabban Gamliel, as we see in the chapter Meruba.[4] “ R. Haninah ben Gamliel said : But our father-in-law was the high priest! If Rabban Gamliel of Yavne was his father, how could he have had a father-in-law who was a high priest, for he lived after the Destruction! One can say that this does not refer to his actual father-in-law, but the father-in-law of his fathers and this is logical, for he did not say “my father-in-law,” but “our father-in-law.” [5]

When R. Joshua took the position of “Head of the Court” which is the duty of the High Priest R. Joshua (Hananiah) assumed the dignity of a High Priest as the agent of his Priestess wife and the “dignity could not be lost.” From that point he was counted as a high priest.

Even though his “new” name suggests that he is rejected by her Kohen Gadol father, he assumes a position that is relegated to that of the High Priest.

The example of Joshua ben Gamla mentioned earlier is the most noted. [6] The daughter (Priestess) could only marry into another High Priest family or royalty. Otherwise it would be considered illegal/immoral/improper because of the dignity of office. Before his assumption to the Priesthood he was the Nasi or Prince of the Sanhedrin[7].  By family line this ties him to a lower ranking Davidic family.

“Before I accepted this office, if anyone had suggested it to me, I would have tied him up in front of a lion. But now that I have this office, if anyone were to ask me to step down, I would pour a pitcher of boiling water on him! I learned this from Saul; before he became king he hid from the honor, but afterwards, when David wanted to take it away from him, Saul tried to kill him.”   He is also remembered as the father of public schools, establishing schools in every city[8]

Joshua ben Gamla’s name is also interchangeable in all writing concerning him with Rabbi Joshua ben Gamliel.  It is curious how the Sages of Israel determined how he would be remembered. “That man will be remembered well, by the name of Yehoshua Ben Gamla, because if not for him the Torah would have been forgotten by Bnei Yisrael[9]” 

A priest, even a High Priest could not make Halachic rulings. This was the work of the Halachic Sanhedrin which the Pharisees controlled. The Sanhedrin was the Senate and decided law. If R. Joshua made a ruling on law it shows provably that he was a prince. During this time frame it was the family of Hillel the great that had dynastic control over the Senate or Sanhedrin. R. Joshua b. Gamliel is not a priest.

The High Priest as noted earlier is “head of the court” or trial court.  It is not that this was his name but is the name he would be remembered by. The semantic suggests he was known by another name.

 The only exception the Sages took was not a class difference but the bribery involved on the part of Martha bat Boethus. It must be noted that Joshua ben Gamla took on the family tie and lineage of Boethus through his wife as his lineage is now counted as that of Boethus which can only be accounted for as an adoption. This shows only that the status of her family was higher than his. The only status higher than a high priest is a king.

Marriage to a daughter of a high priest shown in this light becomes a most desirable union. Looking at the example of R. Yehoshua given the status of the Priestess he must have been “close to the royalty”.  If the husband could accept the turban, even as an agent wearing it once, he could not lose the dignity. It was now his right and his inheritance.

 If these cases were exceptions to the rule they would still be eye catching. When the histories and genealogies are compared what looks like a few exceptions start to take form as the rule. The other consideration and a major one is we know that the King appointed the High Priest, what if the King having the proper lineage through birth or marriage could appoint himself in a Sagan( or replacement High Priest) role? Could or would the High Priest say no?

The Davidic King takes on the role of Davidic High Priest for the Sacrifice. King Uzziah was the son of King Amaziah who in turn was the grandson of King Joash who married Jehodda (Priestess/Princess), the daughter of Jehoiada I High Priest and Jehosheba, a Davidic princess.[10] King Uzziah married Jerushah daughter of Zadok II, High Priest.[11]

KV2 Chronicles 26:17  “And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:18  And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.19  Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.20  And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.21  And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”

King Uzziah did what was right in the sight of the Lord except this one thing. His only justification is his marriage to the Priests daughter Jerusha and presuming the ability to act as her agent.[12] As with the case of R. Yehoshua ben Levi the Chief Priest rejected him. But having done service as a High Priest he is also listed in the High Priests list because the honor could not be lost. His lineage as a High Priest is ascribed to Azariah. This also mirrors the lineage adoption of Joshua b. Gamla. Because of this justification, his wife who could not lose her inheritance had lent the dignity by proxy or agency to the king. Uzziah’s son Jotham who never served the Temple[13] is also listed as a High Priest is listed with a compatible tenure as the son of the High Priest Joel.

“The difference concerning the right of inheritance by the daughter as against the son’s daughter, which the Sadducees granted and the Pharisees denied (Yad. iv. 7; Meg. Ta’an. v.;Tosef., Yad. ii. 20; Yer. B. B. vii. 16a) seems to rest on differing practices among the various classes of people;… (Yad. iv. 7; B. Ḳ. viii. 4; but see Geiger, l.c. pp. 143-144)”.[14]

The application of the High Priests family name to the King isn’t an invented devise but recording this way shows the proper genealogical ties of the King to the legitimate Kohen family. Because the King is higher than the High Priest in stature, his genealogy to David and the dignity of the kingdom is maintained in the royal lists. 

Put simply the positions, king and priest, are given by inheritance. This inheritance is from God. Both positions are the highest positions in the Kingdom of Israel.  Since inheritance could not be lost both family lines are maintained together. This was the creation of a provable Davidic Priesthood.

The function of the “Davidic Priest” is presumably holidays or Holy Days. Since the “Dignity” cannot be lost once it is assumed, the “familial lineage” would be passed into the next generation.  With regard to Jotham initially it is his Priestess mother who gives him this lineage. The study of the Davidic royal’s lineage and that of the priests where they intertwine is the study of dual lineage.

What may be an even earlier precedent is in the levirate marriage of Boaz to Ruth. It is a model of levirate marriage with regard to mechanism except two things; Naomi is from Boaz family which is ante-Davidic, and not her husband’s. With levirate marriage her husband’s brother or near kinsman would have married Ruth. The child Obed should have been delineated to her son and not Boaz if this was levirate marriage making him a son of Joseph not Judah.

Obed the father of Jesse, the father of David is also a son of Joseph through the line of Ephraim, tying [King] David to Joseph forever. This also insinuates the murkiness of [King] David’s lineage, being descended from Moab which is expanded on in Midrash Ruth Rabba(see section Pharisee Sages and the Netzerim).

The Role and import of the Davidic Princess in 1st century Judaism

The dynastic role a Princess can play is cemented in the example of the Princess Tamar. “With the death of Zedekiah the son of King Jehoiakim who had married his cousin Tamar, the curse of Jeremiah was fulfilled. This was her second marriage; she was the daughter of the late crown-prince, Johanan. The king adopted the sons of Tamar by a previous marriage since they too were of the “royal seed.”

The adoption and subsequent ascension of Sheatiel as crown prince transferred the line of rule from the primary line to a secondary line descended from Nathan.  [15]

This shows the ramifications of adoption[16]. The Titular inheritance changed. From this point the crown or diadem went from Sheatiel to Zerubabal through whom all the descent lines are counted. The lines before Tamar are princely lines with no claim to the throne. With the adoption of her children these lines of Nathan are now counted as the lines through Solomon.

Why is this important to Christians? The family line of Mary, daughter of Heli and mother of Jesus the Nazarene was descended from Nathan son of David the king, not Solomon. This marriage and adoption was what gave her and her son Jesus not just Royal standing but in His day 1st claimant status as King of Israel.

Further examples of this can be shown with regard to regal claim. Aristobolus claimed legitimacy as the 1st King/Priest of the Maccabee Dynasty through marriage to Alexandra Salome. She was the daughter of Jose/Joseph a Davidic.  Alexander Jannaeus claimed legitimacy the same way through marriage to the same Queen.

“In 104 BCE, John Hyrcanus bequeathed rule to his wife and died. Their son, Aristobulus, was High Priest, and Aristobulus had his mother thrown into prison and starved to death, and he became both king and high priest. Aristobulus had one brother assassinated and his other brothers jailed. Then, after less than a year as king, Aristobulus died, and his widow released his brothers from jail and married the eldest of them: Jonathan. (She was thirty-seven, he twenty-two) Jonathan became king and high priest and was named Alexander Janneus”[17].

Tobità  EliasàSimeon ha Zaddiqà Antigoneà ZaredahàJoazaràJose/JosephàAlexandra Salome (husband/agent- Aristobolus, Alexander Jannaeus/1st, 2nd Maccabee/Hasmonean King/Priest)[18]

“By juxtaposing the largely parallel laws of king and high priest, the Tosefta essentially couples them in the same normative category. This is further reinforced by the Tosefta’s commanding respect for both the high priest (in tSan 4.1) and the king (in tSan4.2), in contrast with the Mishnah which privileges such respect only for the king. Finally, tSan 4.10 seems to stipulate a novel rule that a king’s wife must be from a priestly family…”[19]

The role of Princess loses none of the Regal Dignity as shown by the latter reign of Alexandra Salome and what gave legitimacy to the Hasmonean rule was the marriage to Alexandra Salome. Her ancestry was what made the Hasmoneans, Kings. Her marriage to Alexander Jannaeus cannot be construed as levirate because levirate marriage is forbidden to the royals.

Until that point the Hasmoneans were high priests. This is essentially the reversal of the Joshua ben Gamla – Martha Boethus marriage, instead of gaining the priesthood; it’s the kingdom, with the “king” as an agent accepting the crown. At the time there were no restrictions on the separation of the Kingdom from the Priesthood. This didn’t happen till the time of the Tannaim after the second Temples destruction.

The status of Simeon the Tzaddiq(Righteous) in this light is very interesting in that he is shown as both Ethnarch and High Priest. 1Maccabees 15:1-21 “And king Antiochus, the son of Demetrius, sent letters from the isles of the sea to Simon, the priest, and prince of the nation of the Jews, and to all the people: 2 And the contents were these: King Antiochus to Simon, the high priest, and to the nation of the Jews, greeting.”

“There are those who claim that Simeon the Righteous were also called Iddo ben Joshua, the High Priest, but the book of Joseph ben Gurion does not support it. [Samuel Sholem says: I read in the great book of ben Gurion, that the High Priest who was at the time of Alexander was called Iddo the priest, see there In the opinion of our rabbis, of blessed memory, he Simeon the Righteous was the High Priest during the time of Alexander, the King of Greece who killed Darius]”… “Simeon the Righteous was a High Priest in Ezra’s days. Perhaps he was a prefect deputy High Priest, or the head of a priestly family and not the High Priest. A red heifer is accepted as such even on the authority of a regular priest and is given his name, as was the case with the heifer selected by Eleazar the deputy High Priest and called after Moses our master, may he have peace.” [20]

If Iddo was the High Priest how then could Simeon the Righteous be High Priest and offer the Sacrifice? The entire Priestly system had a redundancy to it. The 2nd High Priest was called a Sagan. If the High Priest became defiled the Sagan would perform the duties up to and including the Atonement. To be a High Priest one of the qualifications was to have been a Sagan. Once the Sagan had performed the duties, the honor of the office prevented him from returning to a secondary position because he was at least temporarily a High Priest, so he was retired. He could no longer perform duties of a regular Priest as this was now beneath his dignity. He could however reassume the duties of High Priest if needed but this again would be temporary as there would an appointed High Priest. This is done consistently throughout the 2nd Temple period.

There are also examples especially in the 1st century CE of the High Priest position being done by others than the High Priest or Sagan.  The Priesthood had become so corrupted that the Sagan would not perform his duty as it disqualified him from the permanent position. These High Priests served but are not included in the lists.[21]  Consequently not all who served in the Temple are known.

Simeon the Tzaddiq is also listed in the Davidic genealogies as a descendent of Zerubabal through the Tobaide line[22], a regal prince, therefore a rightful ethnarch.  Hananiahà  (Co Ruler) TobitàEliasàSimeon ha Tzaddiq (the righteous)

Simon the Righteous is by inheritance a son of David and a king.

The Role and Import of the Princess and the Priestess on Princes and Priests

The sitting King and inline claimants are prohibited from participating on the judiciary (Sanhedrin).[23] An inline claimant is someone who can make a claim to the throne of Israel. Princes were descended from David’s other sons. Kings were also for the purposes of serving the Sanhedrin considered if his place as a claimant in ascendency was so far removed he could never serve as king.  An example is that of the Resh Galuta (king of the Diaspora). In Babylon, the kings of the Diaspora could not serve on the Sanhedrin, but since they could not be considered for kings in Israel proper they could serve on the Sanhedrin in Israel. 

An example is R. Netanel the Babylonian, son in law to Simeon II son of Gamliel II. Hillel’s family line through most of the 1st century was tertiary in regal status. This line gained regal prominence on the run up to and after the second Jewish war with the Romans. Because of their lineage the House of Hillel were legitimate princes over the Sanhedrin. The lineage of Hillel, a son of David through Shephatiah is also credited through Solomon[24] through Zerubabal. The Royal line Hillel Ha Zaken was elevated from non-regal to regal with the marriage of Shelomith a daughter of Zerubabal by his 3rd wife to Elnathan, Governor of Judea.[25] I include this as adoption because the inheritance of lineage and legitimacy came from his wife.[26]

The legitimate Governor had to have descent accounted to Solomon. As there were legitimate sons, the basis of a levirate marriage to preserve the family name and portion is unnecessary.  It only follows suite that if all the legitimate genealogies to Solomon now were strictly through Zerubabal then it is the marriage to Shelomith that gives Elnathan legitimacy. There could be no King due to the occupation; the position at the time was reduced to being called Governor.

Familial adoption was not limited to the highest society. The practice seems to have been an accepted one among the ruling classes including the Pharisees and the priests.

“Regarding R. Simeon b. Netanel (the Priest) who was fearful of sin, I have not seen much to expand upon. He was the son-in-law of Rabban Gamliel the Elder and it is enough to mention that he was blessed to be among the five disciples of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai who were foretold about the World-to-Come”.[27]

 “R’ Chiyya pointed out R’ Shimon bar Rebbe’s deep voice, as a blemish for a Levite; R’ Shimon complained to Rebbe, who pointed out R’ Chiyya’s own speech impediment, substituting “Hey” for “Chet”: Megillah 24”

 Simeon ben Gamaliel’s identity is the same as Simeon ben Netanel the Priest, son in law to Gamliel ha Zaken. It shows how common the practice was I describe as familial adoption by marriage[28] and again the importance of the transmission of the Torah to the family of Hillel and the Sages. With the amount of precedents shown the possibility seems more than reasonable. This is an area that begs for further exploration. In this light the Pharisaic Sages of that period were denoted by their dedication to their tradition and Torah. It was more valuable than familial ties. The stated relationships between Sage and student were that of father and son. It in most cases superseded all other ties. Although vulgar the easiest example would be a businessman who leaves his company to a son in law because of his business acumen instead of his son who lacks adeptness to assure continued provision for his family including his son in succeeding generations. The princes seem to follow suite with the kings with regard to marriage. To maintain their status they would have had to marry appropriately.

Familial adoption by marriage can be shown as being advantageous under most circumstances to all parties until the late 1st century.  “Whoever comes and says I am descended from the House of the Hasmoneans is a slave”. [29] With this ruling by the Tannaim Sages the legitimacy of the Hasmoneans were determined. The ruling was to ban marriages to the Hasmoneans and legitimize their and Herod’s further claim to the Throne of David. This also points to the Hasmoneans being seen as legitimate and as a desirable union until that point. Otherwise there would be no reason for Halacha.

 “Shemaiah and Avtalion received the Law[30] from them; one was the Prince, the other the Head of the Court. Our master Hananel wrote ‘How did it come about that they appointed a Prince over the House of David, for Jose ben Joezer was a Prince and also a Priest’[31]. Although regarding Simeon and Antigonus no Head of Court is mentioned, there always was a Head of Court; just they did not list their names. This was the custom in Israel, and thus was said at the end of Moed Katan concerning Saul – that he was the Prince, while Jonathan was the Head of the Court.”

This if credible shows an even earlier model with the sitting king as prince of the Sanhedrin and the sitting prince in what was afterward the responsibility of the High Priest, which is Head of court.

The examples until this point show major changes in both the Davidic dynasty and the Priesthood. What they don’t show is adoption as a rule even though each example changed the course of history and religion in ancient Israel forever.

With regard to adoption in what would later become Christianity this is the baseline for it.

The Role and Import of the Princess and the Priestess on Kings and Chief Priests

If Simeon the Righteous is shown clearly in this model as a type then it must be determined if he was truly anomalous or part of the rule. The Melchizedek (king/priest) is the arch-typical Messianic figure. The Davidic-King-Priest is the anomaly that has to cross lineage.  The following examples show such figures in Israel’s history setting precedent before Simon ha Tzaddiq who was a King-Priest. The reason he is not listed as a king but as an Ethnarch or Prince is because of the occupation of Israel at this period. The degree of intermarrying between the priesthood with the royal line would have provided him with the lineage for both positions whether by descent or marriage and it wasn’t considered unseemly until the priesthood under the Hasmoneans took the throne of David.

The justification they used by marriage may not be suitable because the chief priest is still inferior to the king/regal prince in some respects. The lists of priests and kings need to be viewed in their historic context. Although not complete they show an inarguable pattern of king/priests through the history of Israel. Either these kings retained priestly lineage from previous generation (Priestess/Princess inheritance)), or their current wives were Priestesss or regal princess (agents).

Zechariah 6:9-13 NIV “The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Here is the man whose name is the Branch and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.

2 Samuel 8:18 “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.”[Priests]

In this Scripture the sons of David are shown to be “chief rulers” over priests. This was a job that belonged to the priesthood not to kings or princes.

 “Haughty men these priests are, saying which woman is fit to be married by us, since our father is high priest, our uncles princes and rulers, and we presiding officers at the Temple”—these words, put into the mouth of Nadab and Abihu (Tan., Aḥare Mot, ed. Buber, 7; Pesiḳ. 172b

Although written in completely different time frames and circumstances the “chief rulers” of the Temple are halachically priests. The mechanism of agency by marriage or inheritance can be the only justifier in the application of the sons of David in the priests’ position. With the application of marriage law with regard to kings and priests, even this early is justifiably inevitable that the indications of a Davidic/Priesthood are legitimate and present. 

High Priest                                                            King   

Joash (c. 925 BCE)                                                  (Joash) Jeush[32] His mother was Mahalath, daughter of Jerimoth (Meraoith) son of Zerihiah, son of Uzzi.

Jehoshaphat (c. 870-845 BCE)                           Jehoshaphat (872-848 BCE)

Azariah (Uzziah) (c. 765-750 BCE — 2 Chr 26:17)         Uzziah (767-750 BCE)

King Uzziah was the son of King Amaziah who in turn was the grandson of King Joash who married Jehodda (Priestess/Princess), the daughter of Jehoiada I High Priest and Jehosheba, a Davidic princess.[33] King Uzziah married Jerushah daughter of Zadok II, High Priest.[34].

Jotham, son of Azariah (c. 750-735 BCE)         Jotham, son of Uzziah (750-734 BCE) KJV2 Chronicles 27:1 “ Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of ZadokII.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD.”

Shallum I son of Zadok II                                        Shallum (usurper of throne for 6 months)[35] 

Shallum II                                                                Jehoahaz (Shallum) son of King Josiah, married Zebudah daughter of Pedaiah High Priest (c.825 BCE)

Joseph ben Tobiah (prince Tobaids)[36]                  Joseph ben Tobiah (nephew of High Priest Onias II)

Onias ben Tobiah (prince Onaids)                     Onias ben Tobiah (nephew of High Priest Onias II)

Neither Joseph or Onias sons of Tobias served the Temple at Jerusalem but had the lineage of a Priestess mother. Their schism split Israel into two parts each with a separate Nasi and functioning Priesthood. Simon of Perea, He rods slave was the last heir of this the main line.[37]

Simeon ha Tzaddiq                                              (Prince) Simeon the Just  

Jose ben Josher  [38]                                                 (prince) Jose ben Josher

Resh Galuta

High Priest                                                                                  Exhilarch

Schania II son of Shemaya II (38th Exhilarch) High Priest First Synagogue at Babylon[39]


High Priest                                                                                    King

Hyrcannus                                                                        Hyrcannus (Prince)

“…To these evils were added the dissensions that arose between the seven sons of Joseph by his first marriage and Hyrcanus, his son by his second wife, which dissensions divided Judea into two hostile camps…”[40]

John Hyrcannus                                                                               John Hyrcannus (prince)

Aristobolus                                                                       Aristobolus (Alexandra Salome)

Alexander Jannaeus                                                          Alexander Janneus (Alexandra Salome) “It is found in the chapter Haomer in Kidushin: Jannaeus, who was called Hyrcanus, killed the sages who came to find him unfit to serve as High Priest, for he wished to be both High Priest and King, and he got heretical ideas regarding the Oral Law”[41].

The last of the Hasmoneans that had this lineage but only served as high priest was prince Aristobolus brother of Marriame I.

The Davidics of the first century were by genealogy mostly Kings/Priests. The Davidic/ Priesthood lineage, for lack of a better term stirred messianic fervor.  These as shown clearly in their generations going into and through the first century are what were referred to as the Netzerim. The term itself is characterized as a status not a sect. This categorization of the Davidic/Priesthood or King/Priest is what has caused endless confusion because of small references to “the Netzerim or Nazarene” before the first century. I will take up the proper proofs in the appropriate chapter. As a side note with the royal appellation now tied to the priesthood they also had religious priority. The Kohen High Priest remains second in dignity to the lineage of a Davidic/King/Kohen/Priest. With this in mind the direction of the country and the “Temple cult” in a perfect world are under the direction of the Netzer. The Halacha is not. This premise can be checked against the effects of the different sitting kings on the Religion, and practices in the Temple prior to the first century.

The high priests and kings stood on par as national leaders.[42] The concept is shown easiest in available marriage choices for either office.  The difference lay in the accountability to the Sanhedrin. The regal king’s duties included choosing the Sanhedrin members, as well as the high priest. The high priest served on the Sanhedrin the regal prince/king could not. [43]The high priest was accountable to the Halacha and the king in many cases was above it as an exception.[44]After Herod took the throne the practice of the king choosing the high priest continued. The corruption had become so rampant that the office was sold to the highest bidder. With the installation of Simeon b. Boethus he old-guard Sadducees as a party was effectively shut out of the hope of reign with the closing of the Hasmonean dynasty.

With regard to the role of the Priestess and Princess through the first century it’s not a matter of what impact these women had, as shown it was quite extensive. The list I compiled is not complete. It becomes unnecessary to the point being made. The pattern is clear enough to deduce that it was halachically/legally correct in the different periods.

Why is this Important to Christians

If we understand that the adoption into these families through marriage changed these people’s lives in profound ways, we can begin to understand being “born again.” They were literally “born again” into their new families, into their histories and position. Although it serves to underscore the Christian experience it still falls short, because of its own unique qualities.

These “born again” people by marriage changed the course of the kingdom and priesthood in Israel forever. The new status was not just a nicety.  The dignity of position was honored and upheld by the Senate. This is the import of being “Born Again.”

[1] Tabory, Rav Binyamin Giving Pidyon Ha-Ben to a Woman or a Minor

[2] Rav Kahana credited his marriage to a Priestess as the source of his wealth Pesachim 49a This intimates a non kohen acting as an agent for his Priestess wife.  Pesachim 111b Claimed that his marriage to a Priestess caused his exile[, as only a Torah Scholar or Kohen should marry a Priestess]: Pesachim 49a
His exile was forced by fear of rebellions and the king: Pesachim 49a

[3] Mordechai Torczyner Webshas Article

[4][4] Sefer Yohassin R. Abraham Zacuto pg 77

[5] Sefer Yohassin pg 95



GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Whence is it deduced that [a priest] who betrothed a widow and was afterwards appointed High Priest may consummate the marriage? It is specifically stated in Scripture, Shall he take to wife.  If so, [the same law should apply to] a yebamah awaiting the decision of the levir also! — A ‘wife’ but not a yebamah.

[7] (Talmud Menachot 98)

[8] THE EDUCATION CORNER: Ben Gamla by  Rabbi Amichai Gordin

[9] Bava Batra21a He also ruled that two schools could be established in the same place.

[10] Barkai family Genealogy, generations seven and eight

[11] ibid

[12] Shiur #30: Parashat Bamidbar Giving Pidyon Ha-Ben to a Woman or Minor By Rav Binyamin Tabory-The Chatan Sofer, a grandson of the Chatam Sofer, recommended giving the pidyon to a kohen who is married to a Priestess. This would increase the probability of having a proper recipient, as it could either be the kohen or the Priestess (Responsa Chatan Sofer 25).The justification is that if the Kohen s lineage is not pure the Priestess  wife provides legitimacy by agency.

[13] KJV2 Chronicles 27:1 “ Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother  was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok II  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD.”

[14] Koffman Koler Jewish Encyclopedia 1901-1906

[15] Loeb Family Tree Genealogy, Yikhus Letter in the possession of the Sans Hassidim (Zans Khassidim).

[16] It will be noted throughout that the Halacha through the different Temple periods and the time of the Tanna are different and should not be confused.

[17] 1998 by Frank E. Smitha  Article Judea and Civil War

[18] Davidic Dynasty, David Hughes

[19]David Flatto  Its Good to be the King the Monarchs role in the Mishnah’s Political and Legal System pg 7 Hauser Global Law School Working Paper 01/07

[20]Rabbi Abraham Ben Samuel Zacuto SEFER YOHASSINorBOOK OF LINEAGE PG 11

[21]Jewish Encyclopedia Joseph(High Priest)By : Richard Gottheil   M. Seligsohn  
1. Son of Ellem ( ) of Sepphoris; installed by Herod for one day (Yom Kippur) as a substitute for the high priest, who had become unclean (Tosef., Yoma i. 4; Yer. Yoma i. 1; Yer. Hor. iii. 3; Hor. 12b; et al.). Josephus, who tells the same story (“Ant.” xvii. 6, § 4), says that “Mattathias, son of Theophilus” (4 B.C.) was the name of the priest for whom he substituted. The Rabbis forbade him afterward to officiate, even as a common priest (Yoma 12b; Hor. 12b). 2. Son of Ḳimḥit (Ḳamḥit); he became a substitute for his brother Ishmael, or Simeon, when the latter had become unclean (Yoma 47a). Josephus (“Ant.” xx. 5, § 2), calling him “Joseph, son of Kamythus” (Kάμĩθος), speaks of him as having been removed from the high-priesthood by Herod II. 3. Son of Simeon Kabi (61-62 C.E.; Josephus, “Ant.” xx. 8, § 11); installed in the high-priesthood by Agrippa II. Grätz (“Gesch.” 4th ed., iii. 739) concludes that this Joseph was the son of Simeon Kamithus


[22] Davidic Dynasty-David Hughes

[23] [23]David Flatto  Its Good to be the King the Monarchs role in the Mishnah’s Political and Legal System pg 5 Hauser Global Law School Working Paper 01/07

[24] LIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS THE MESSIAHBy Alfred Edersheim 1883Volume 1pg 100Curiously, the great Hillel was also said by some to have descended, through his father and mother, from the tribes ofJudah and Levi, all, however, asserting his Davidic origin (comp. Jer. Taan. iv. 2; Ber. R. 98 and33).

[25] Davidic Dynasty David Hughes  pg 40

[26] Rabbi Abraham Ben Samuel ZacutoSEFER YOHASSIN pg 27

In Sanhedrin, chapter Mamonoth, it is said that Zerubbabel is Nehemiah <son of> Hacaliah, and they say he is the ancestor of Hillel the Elder, the Prince of Israel. It does not seem so according to Ketuboth. It appears he was a descendant of Shephatiah son of Abital, King David’s wife. In JT, and in Genesis Rabbah, chapter ‘But God remembered Noah’, it is said that Hillel on his mother’s side was a descendent of Judah, and on his father’s side – of Benjamin, and Rabbi is his descendent.

[27] Sefer Yohassin pg 80

[28] In an article by Rabbi Moshe Reiss “Bible Commentator” he describes  the leverite marriage of Boaz and Ruth and a non leverite son Obed. Obed is clearly delineated in the genealogy of Boaz and therefore Judah and not Elimilech/Ephraim/Joseph which should be the case in the leverite marriage. As this “non-distinction”is made in Scripture especially concerning this most important lineage (that leading to David)  it may be shown in a speculative sense that David descended from Judah is also by familial association (adoptive) descended from Joseph and setting precedent for what became a widespread regnal and sacerdotal practice.

[29] Kiddushin 70b and Bava Basra 3b


[31] Antiquities XVII. 6,4;13,1 High Priests List article pg 11, David Hughes

[32] Son of Rehoboam Generation 2 Barkai Genealogy

[33] Barkai family Genealogy, generations seven and eight

[34] ibid

[35] Davidic Dynasty pg 18

[36] Davidic Dynasty pg 36

[37] Jewish Encyclopedia Article Joseph ben Tobias By : Richard Gottheil   Isaac Broydé   “..The poor Jewish agriculturists, becoming suddenly rich, began to copy degenerate Greek customs. To these evils were added the dissensions that arose between the seven sons of Joseph by his first marriage and Hyrcanus, his son by his second wife, which dissensions divided Judea into two hostile camps—Oniades and Tobiades.”Bibliography: Josephus, Ant. xii. 4; Ewald, Gesch. v. 271; Herzfeld, Gesch. des Volkes Jisrael, i. 186; Grätz, Gesch. ii. 243 et seq.; Schürer, Gesch. i. 183, note 4; 195, note 28; Adolf Büchler, Die Tobiaden und die Oniaden, Vienna, 1899; Wellhausen

[38] Sefer YohassinJose b. Joezer established rules, see the first chapter of Sabbath. He was the pious of priests, see in the Mishna, chapter Ein Dorshin. It seems to me that in the Midrash of Psalms and in the Genesis Rabbah, chapter <starting> ‘When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes’ I read that Jose b. Joezer was killed in the Greek persecutions. Ioakim of Zerudoth, his sister’s son told him ‘Look at my horse’ and he <Jose> replied, ‘If this is His wish regarding transgressors, how much more so with regard to His adherents’. He <Ioakim> replied ‘Is there an adherent more devout that you?’ He <Jose> replied ‘If it is thus with regard to His adherents, how much more so with those who transgress His will?’ This entered the heart of Ioakim, and he killed himself with four deaths for his atonement and for full repentance. Jose b. Joezer dozed for a while, and saw his <Ioakim> deathbed floating in the air and he said, ‘For a moment this one preceded me to the Paradise etc’. English Translation of Sefer Yahassin Page 25 of 113 10/20/2004

[39] High Priests List- David Hughes

[40] Joseph ben Tobiah Article Jewish Encyclopedia By : Richard Gottheil   Isaac Broydé  

[41] Sefer Yohassin pg 15

[42] David Flatto Its good to be the King pg1

[43] ibid

[44] Sanhedrin 2. 1-2


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