Sunday, July 19, 2015

Returning Judeans in c 539 BCE Short on Priestly Families

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       

According to genetics and DNA testing, Abram, later called Abraham, must have had the J1 haplogroup and this would have been carried by all his sons and their sons, and their sons, etc.  The Cohen gene today is J1 and is found in about 40% of all Jewish men.  It's named for Aaron, brother of Moses, who was the first Cohen or priest selected by his brother, Moses.  This is proven since many actual Cohens serving in the synagogue who claim Cohen heritage have tested and are in fact, J1s.  My own 1st cousin's 3rd cousin on his mother's side is such a man.  It's exciting to find this being proven by science tests.
Abraham ready to sacrifice his son by Sarah, Isaac, stopped, and learned-no more human sacrifices
Many Arabs also carry the J1 Cohen gene with a slight variation from the Jewish line, and this is because Abraham did have a son by his wife's Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar.  It was Ishmael who had left his father's house and returned to his mother's people with her.  Again, science is proving our history true. Isaac carried on his father's belief in one G-d.
Aaron, brother of Moses -1st Cohen  c 1400-1271  BCE
The return of the Jews after being gone for at least 45 years  from the Babylonian Exile in 539 BCE was short on priestly families as only 4 such families returned. That had amounted to at least 2 generations of people.   "The current Cohens descended from a small number (4 families) of paternal ancestors. In the summary of their findings the authors concluded that " Our estimates of the coalescence time also lend support to the hypothesis that the extended CMH represents a unique founding lineage of the ancient Hebrews that has been paternally inherited along with the Jewish priesthood."  Building the 2nd Temple went on from 538-515 BCE.  
The Priests (Cohens) had special duties.  They were
 " 973 children of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, Later, his descendant could have been  Jeshua ben Damna, a high priest from 61-63 CE appointed by Herod Agrippa II and later displaced by Joshua ben Gamla who struggled with him.  Toward the end of the siege of Jerusalem of 70 CE he fled to the Romans with other members of the priestly families.  
1,052 children of Immer
1,247 children of Pashhur
1,017 children of Harim." 
Total:  4,289 family members of the priesthood, unknown number of males, possibly half or 2, 144.  
They were the chosen ones to mediate between man and G-d.  In the beginning, Moses had the first-born son of every Israelite family serve as priest.  The position included considerable power.

After the Babylonian Exile high priests were: 
  • Joshua, son of Jehozadak, ca. 515-490 BC, after the restoration of the Temple
  • Ezra, son of Seraiah, ca. unknown, sometime after Joshua's term (disputed)
  • Joiakim, son of Joshua, ca. 490-470 BC
  • Eliashib, son of Joiakim, ca. 470-433 BC
  • Joiada, son of Eliashib, ca. 433-410 BC {A son married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite for which he was driven out of the Temple by Nehemiah}
  • Johanan, son of Joiada, ca. 410-371 BC
  • Jaddua, son of Johanan, ca. 371-320 BC, during the reign of Alexander the Great. Some have identified him as Simeon the Just.
 The Levites were assigned specific duties connected with the transport and assembly of the parts of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Returning from Babylonia were:
    74 children of Jeshua and Kadmiel of the children of Hodaviah,  
 128 singers were the children of Asaph
 139 were the children of gatekeepers, the children of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai. 

After the Exodus concluded from 40 years of marching, the Golden Calf incident put the kabash on this arrangement.  The tribe of Levi was chosen by Moses to take over this responsibility.  Moses and Aaron were of the Levites.  It was an inherited position.  Moses didn't leave descendants and had chosen Aaron to be the first priest, and he left plenty of descendants.  They were also responsible for sacrifices, hygienic purity, and teaching about the Mosaic Law.  They did receive 48 towns with their environs throughout the country , as well as a tithe of the agricultural produce.  In practice, it wasn't happening as planned on parchment.  Some towns had been captured long after the conquest of Canaan or not at all, and collecting the tithes may not have been easy.
In other societies, priests had political domination, such as in Egypt.  Moses fixed that situation by depriving the Levites of having any land of their own like the other 11 tribes.  Their livilihood came from contributions of 1/10 of the Levites'  tithe and a portion of the sacrifices offered.

They had to follow strict rules about not touching a dead body and choosing a wife.  While working in worshipping, they were to wear certain clothing.  Special cities were assigned to them in the lands of the various tribes.  These laws were all decided on before they entered Canaan, and changed when the tribes settled in their land.

Local shrines were established besides having the Tabernacle and these were often served by the Levites.  King David reorganized the priesthood and levites about the future Temple in Jerusalem and arranged 24 watches of priests and the same amount of watches of levites, singers and gatekeepers.  When the kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah after Solomon's death, this may have changed.

Ezekiel replaced the non-Jewish NETHINIM with the Levites but was unable to execute his plan.  In the law-halakhah,  the levite is regarded as 2nd  to the priest in  reading from the Torah and has the privilege of laving the priest's hands before the priest blesses the people.

When Jeroboam I of Israel at the cities Dan and Bethel, priests not of the tribe of Levi were permitted to serve and continued after Josiah destroyed the high places of Samaria, but not as acting priests.
When the 1st Temple was built, changes took place in the mode of service.  The high priest didn't have to go into battle with the Ark and stopped giving oracles through the Urim and Thummim.

Until the Hasmonean Period, the high priest came from the family of Zadok and had a deputy helper.  Ordinary priests were just teachers.

From the time of Hezekiah and especially Josiah, all worship was centered in the Jerusalem Temple which made the priesthood a strong organization.  The high priests were loyal to King David and his dynasty.

When the 43,000 Judeans returned from Babylonia, only 4 priestly families had returned.  In this 2nd Temple times, the priests exceeded the levites and received part of the levitical tithes which contributed to their wealth which became well known.

From the time of Jehemiah, the high priest was regarded as the head of the community if the regular leader was absent.  In the early Hellenistic Period, he collected the taxes and gave them to the king.  This contact with rulers led to assimilation among large sections of the priesthood.  Some managed to keep their religious zeal and from them came the Hasmoneans who renewed national spirit.

The wealthy and powerful priestly families joing the aristocratic SADDUCEE party, while others left to join the ESSENES who stayed away from the Temple service.
King Herod
Under King Herod, the high priest, Phinehas ben Havta, was again elected by the Sanhedrin, as laid down by the rabbis.  The first Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron.  He and his descendants were promised the priesthood and the Zadokites traced their ancestry to him. He stabbed Zimri and his girlfriend, the head of a clan in the tribe of Simeon as he had consorted with a Midianite woman.  His act is accredited with stopping a plague upon the Israelites for committing harlotry with Midianite women.   He received a holding on Mt. Ephraim and was still officiating at the time of the campaign of the tribes against Benjamin.

Update: 7/21/15 Chicks and eggs became commerical 2300 years ago in Judah, 200 years before the idea had occurred in Europe.  That was in the 4th century BCE in the Hellenistic period.  At least we know that they may have created our famous Chicken soup then.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia on Priests, Levites

1 comment:

  1. nadene, my own family ancestry includes the name katz. i found out about that name and was so interesting how that came about.

    what i found about it: As a Jewish surname, Katz is an abbreviation formed from the Hebrew initials of the term Kohen Tzedeq (Hebrew: כּ״ץ‎), meaning "priest of justice"/"authentic priest" or Kohen Tzadok meaning the name-bearer is of patrilineal descent of the Kohanim sons of Zadok. It has been used since the seventeenth century, or perhaps somewhat earlier, as an epithet of the descendants of Aaron. The collocation is most likely derived from Melchizedek ("king of righteousness"), who is called the priest ("kohen") of the most high God (Genesis xiv. 18), or perhaps from Psalm cxxxii. 9: Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness ("tzedeq"). The use of the abbreviated and Germanicized "Katz" likely coincided with the imposition of German names on Jews in Germany in the 18th or 19th centuries.

    our family name was further changed and anglicanized to catt. what a bunch of changes that went thru ;) from katz to katt to catt in, of all places to wind up...mississippi (from indiana according to a 1900 census record that his son gave as family info to say that ancestor was part of the katz/katt migration from pa and originally from germany). the war of 1812 saw indiana platoons head for new orleans and one evidently stayed down south and married a choctaw indian woman. my grgrgr-grandfather john james catt was that man.
    my ancestors from what i have on them thus far and as far back as i can get it for now, was from wuertemberg germany and came to america to settle in pa to wva and oh and on over to indiana. they must have been converted in germany as there are baptisim records in nagold germany i believe that i read lutheran. this was in the very early 1700's. by the time he went south he was a baptist according to church records in mississippi. all i have is family oral history and having real difficulty documenting to verify but circumstantially it seems it adds up as i have several ftdna matches that have the katz (married maurer) name and on the family tree origins map and the little flag of common ancestors on my paternal side (but the name was actually from a katz woman and her illegitimate son) pops up guessed it......wuertemberg germany. so the paper trail has grown cold but the jtest on eurogenes shows ashkenazi jew in a small amount in my dna kit and those common matches i have point me to these wuertemberg germany katz. what a story to tell if i could find out everything that went on there going all the way back~~~~it all really intrigues me. maybe my family dna goes back to aaron??? don't know. too circumstantial perhaps but possible right?

    well another good article. i've come to expect them! :) i enjoy your posts very much. so much to pique my interest and.....concerns too. thanks!

    (interesting also that jonathan pollard is in the news again isn't it?)