The Life of Jesus in Harmony
THE HIGH PRIEST, (Heb. hakkohen, "the priest," hakkohen haggadol, "the great
priest"). The high priest formed the culminating point in the Israelite
hierarchy. The first to fill this high position was Aaron.
Following the Captivity. An interval of about
fifty-two years elapsed between the high priests of the second and third
group, during which there was neither Temple
, altar, Ark, nor priest. Jehozadak, who should have succeeded Seraiah, lived
and died a captive at Babylon. The pontifical office revived in his son, Jeshua
(which see, and he stands at the head of this series), honorably distinguished
for his zealous cooperation with Zerubbabel in rebuilding the Temple and
restoring the dilapidated commonwealth of Israel
. His successors, so far as given in the OT, were Joiakim, Eliashib, Joiada,
Jonathan, and Jaddua. Jaddua was high priest in the time of Alexander the Great.
Jaddua was succeeded by Onias I, his son, and he again by Simon
the Just, the last of the men of the great synagogue
. Upon Simon's death, his son Onias being under age, Eleazar, Simon's brother,
succeeded him. The high priesthood of Eleazar is memorable as being that under
which the LXX version of the Scriptures was made at Alexandria.
After the high priesthood had been brought to the lowest degradation by the
apostasy and crimes of the last Onias or Menelaus, and after a vacancy of seven
years had followed the brief pontificate of Alcimus, his no less infamous
successor, a new and glorious succession of high priests arose in the Hasmonaean
family. This family was of the division of Jehoiarib <1 Chr. 24:7>, whose return
from captivity is recorded in <9:10>; <Neh. 11:10> and lasted from 153 B.C. until
the family was destroyed by Herod the Great
. Aristobulus, the last high priest of his line, was murdered by order of
Herod, his brother-in-law, 35 B.C.
"There were no fewer than twenty-eight high priests from the reign of Herod to
the destruction of the temple by Titus, a period of one hundred and seven
years. The New Testament introduces us to some of these later and oft-changing high
priests, viz., Annas, Caiaphas
, and Ananias. Theophilus, the son of Ananus, was the high priest from whom
Saul received letters to the synagogue at Damascus (Acts 9:1,14). Phannias, the
last high priest, was appointed by lot by the Zealots from the course of priests
called by Josephus Eniachim (probably) a corrupt reading for Jachim"