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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) Zadok the son of Ahitub (2 Samuel 8:17 ) - not of Ahitub the ancestor of Ahimelech (1 Samuel 14:3 ) and of Abiathar, his son (1 Samuel 22:20 ).
(2) Zadok father of Jerusha, mother of Jotham, and wife of Uzziah king of Judah (2 Kings 15:33; 2 Chronicles 27:1 ).
(3) Zadok the son of Ahitub and father of Shallum (1 Chronicles 6:12 ) or Meshullam (Nehemiah 11:11 ), and the ancestor of Ezra (Ezra 7:1 , Ezra 7:2 ).
(4) Zadok the son of Baana, a wall-builder in the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:4 ), and probably one of the signatories to the covenant made by the princes, priests and Levites of Israel (Nehemiah 10:21 ) - in both places his name occurring immediately after that of Meshezabel.
(5) Zodak the son of Immer, and, like the preceding, a repairer of the wall (Nehemiah 3:29 ).
(6) Zodak a scribe in the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:13 ). Whether this was the same as either of the two preceding cannot be determined.
The first of these filled a larger place in Old Testament history than either of the others; and to him accordingly the following paragraphs refer. They set forth the accounts given of him first in Samuel and Kings and next in Chronicles; after which they state and criticize the critical theory concerning him.
1. In Samuel and Kings:
(1) In these older sources Zodak first appears in David's reign, after Israel and Judah were united under him, as joint occupant with Ahimelech of the high priest's office and his name taking precedence of that of his colleague Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar (2 Samuel 8:17 ).
(2) On David's flight from Jerusalem, occasioned by Absalom's rebellion, Zadok and Abiathar (now the joint high priest), accompanied by the whole body of the Levites, followed the king across the Kidron, bearing the Ark of the Covenant, which, however, they were directed to carry back to the city, taking with them their two sons, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, to act as spies upon the conduct of the rebels and send information to the king (2 Samuel 15:24-36; 2 Samuel 17:15 , 2 Samuel 17:17-21 ).
(3) On the death of Absalom, Zodak and Abiathar were employed by David as intermediaries between himself and the elders of Judah to consult about his return to the city, which through their assistance was successfully brought about (2 Samuel 19:11 ).
(4) When, toward the end of David's life, Adonijah the son of Haggith, and therefore the crown prince, put forward his claim to the throne of all Israel, taking counsel with Joab and Abiathar, Zodak along with Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, espoused the cause of Solomon, Bathsheba's son, and acting on David's instructions anointed him as king in Gihon (1 Kings 1:8 , 1 Kings 1:26 , 1 Kings 1:32-45 ).
(5) Accordingly, when Solomon found himself established on the throne, he put Zodak in the room of Abiathar, i.e. made him sole high priest, while retaining Abiathar in the priestly office, though deposed from a position of coordinate authority with Zodak (1 Kings 2:26 , 1 Kings 2:27 , 1 Kings 2:35; 1 Kings 4:4 ).
2. In Chronicles:
(1) As in the earlier sources so in these, Zodak's father was Ahitub and his son Ahimaaz - the information being added that they were all descendants from Aaron through Eleazar (1 Chronicles 6:50-53 ).
(2) Among the warriors who came to Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul to David was "Zodak, a young man mighty of valor," who was followed by 22 captains of his father house (1 Chronicles 12:26-28 ).
(3) Along with Abiathar and the Levites, Zodak was directed by David to bring up the Ark from the house of Obed-edom to the tent pitched for it on Mt. Zion, when Zodak was appointed to officiate at Gibeon, while Abiathar, it is presumed, ministered in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:11; 1 Chronicles 16:39 ).
(4) Toward the end of David's reign Zodak and Abimelech the son of Abiathar acted as priests, Zodak as before having precedence (1 Chronicles 18:16 ).
(5) To them was committed by the aged king the task of arranging the priests and Levites according to their several duties, it being intimated by the narrator that Zodak was of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech (in 1 Chronicles 18:16 , named Abiathar; see above) of the sons of Ithamar (1 Chronicles 24:3 ). In 1 Chronicles 24:6 Ahimelech is called the son of Abiathar, while in 1 Chronicles 18:16 , Abiathar's son is Abimelech - which suggests that the letters
(6) When Solomon was anointed king, Zodak was anointed (sole) priest (1 Chronicles 29:22 ).
Obviously a large measure of agreement exists between the two narratives. Yet some points demand explanation.
3. Harmony of the Accounts:
(1) The seeming discrepancy between the statements in the earlier sources, that Zodak's colleague in the high priest's office is first named Ahimelech (2 Samuel 8:17 ) and afterward Abiathar (2 Samuel 15:24 ), should occasion little perplexity. Either Ahimelech and Abiathar were one and the same person - not an unlikely supposition (see above); or, what is more probable, Abiathar was Ahimelech's son and had succeeded to his father's office.
(2) Zodak's appearance as a young soldier among the captains who brought David to Jerusalem (assuming that Zodak the soldier was Zodak the priest, which is not absolutely certain) need create no difficulty, if Zodak was not then of age to succeed his father in the priestly office. The earlier sources do not make Zodak an acting priest till after David's accession to the throne of all Israel.
(3) Neither should it prove an insoluble problem to explain how, soon after David's accession to the throne of Judah and Israel, Zodak should be found engaged along with Abiathar in bringing up the Ark to Mt. Zion, as by this time Zodak had obviously entered on the high-priestly office, either in succession to or as colleague of his father.
(4) That Zodak was left to officiate at Gibeon where the tabernacle was, while Abiathar was selected to exercise office in the capital, in no way conflicts with the earlier account and seems reasonable as a distribution of official duties. Why Zodak was sent to Gibeon, where the tabernacle was, and not kept at Jerusalem whither the Ark had been brought, he being always named before Abiathar and probably looked upon as the principal high priest, may have had its reason either in the fact that the king regarded Gibeon as the central sanctuary for national worship, the tabernacle being there (Solomon obviously did; see 2 Chronicles 1:3 ), and therefore as the proper place for the principal high priest; or in the fact that Zodak was younger than Abiathar and therefore less fitted than his older colleague to be at court, as an adviser to the king.
(5) That toward the end of David's reign, not Abiathar, but his son Ahimelech (or Abimelech), should be introduced as joint high priest with Zodak will not be surprising, if Abiathar was by this time an old man, as his father was at the beginning of David's reign. That grandfather and grandson should have the same name is as likely to have been common then as it is today.
(6) That Zodak should have been appointed sole high priest on Solomon's accession (1 Chronicles 29:22 ) is not inconsistent with the statement (1 Kings 4:4 ) that under Solomon Zodak and Abiathar were priests. Abiathar might still be recognized as a priest or even as a high priest, though no longer acting as such. The act of deposition may have affected his son Ahimelech as well, and if both father and son were degraded, perhaps this was only to the extent of excluding them from the chief dignity of high priest.
4. The Higher Critical Theory:
The higher criticism holds: (1) that the Zadok of David's reign was not really an Aaronite descended from Eleazar through Ahitub, who was not Zadok's father but Ahimelech's (Gray in
5. Criticism of This Theory:
(1) This theory proceeds upon the assumption, not that the Chronicler was a post-exilic writer (which is admitted), but that he deliberately and purposely idealized and to that extent falsified the past history of his people by ascribing to them a faithful adherence to the Levitical institutions of the Priestly Code, which, according to this theory, were not then in existence - in other words by representing the religious institutions and observances of his own age as having existed in the nation from the beginning. Were this theory established by well-accredited facts, it would doubtless require to be accepted; but the chief, if not the only, support it has is derived from a previous reconstruction of the sacred text in accordance with theory it is called on to uphold.
(2) That the father of Zadok was not Ahitub, a priest of the line of Eleazar, is arrived at by declaring the text in 2 Samuel 8:17 to have been intentionally corrupted, presumably by a late redactor, the original form of the verse having been, according to criticism (Wellhausen,
(3) If Zadok was not originally a priest, but only a military adventurer, why should David have made him a priest at all? Wellhausen says (
(4) If Zadok was originally a soldier not connected with the priesthood, and only became a priest after David came to Jerusalem, why should the earlier source have omitted to record this, when no reason existed, so far as one can discover, why it should have been left out? And why should the priestly disposed Chronicler have incorporated this in his narrative when all his inclinations should have moved him to omit it, more especially when he was intending to invent (according to the critical theory) for the young warrior an Aaronite descent?
(5) That the prediction of the fall of Eli's house (1 Samuel 2:27-36 ) was inserted by a late writer to justify its supersession by the line of Zadok has no foundation except the presupposition that prediction is impossible, which fair-minded criticism cannot admit. The occurrence of the word "anointed" it is contended, presupposes the monarchy. This, however, it only predicts; and at the most, as Driver sees (Introduction , 164), cannot prove the fictitious character of the prophecy, but merely that it has been "recast by the narrator and colored by the associations with which he himself is familiar"; and even this is entirely hypothetical.
(6) Ezekiel's reference to Zadok's descendants as the only legitimate priests in the vision-temple does not prove that Zadok himself was a soldier who climbed up into the priesthood. Even if the critical interpretation of the vision-temple were correct, it in no way affects the personality of Zadok, and certainly does not disprove his original connection with the priesthood or his descent from Eleazar.
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Zadok'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/z/zadok.html. 1915.