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Dictionaries :: Zadok

Easton's Bible Dictionary


righteous. (1.) A son of Ahitub, of the line of Eleazer (2Sa 8:17; 1Ch 24:3), high priest in the time of David (2Sa 20:25) and Solomon (1Ki 4:4). He is first mentioned as coming to take part with David at Hebron (1Ch 12:27,28). He was probably on this account made ruler over the Aaronites (27:17). Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests on several important occasions (1Ch 15:11; 2Sa 15:24-29,35,36); but when Adonijah endeavoured to secure the throne, Abiathar went with him, and therefore Solomon "thrust him out from being high priest," and Zadok, remaining faithful to David, became high priest alone (1Ki 2:27,35; 1Ch 29:22). In him the line of Phinehas resumed the dignity, and held it till the fall of Jerusalem. He was succeeded in his sacred office by his son Azariah (1Ki 4:2; 1Ch 6:3-9).

(2.) The father of Jerusha, who was wife of King Uzziah, and mother of King Jotham (2Ki 15:33; 2Ch 27:1).

(3.) "The scribe" set over the treasuries of the temple by Nehemiah along with a priest and a Levite (Neh 13:13).

(4.) The sons of Baana, one of those who assisted in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh 3:4).

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary


just; justified

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


za'-dok (tsadowq, once tsadhoq (1Ki 1:26), similar to tsaddiq, and tsadduq, post-Biblical, meaning justus, "righteous"; Septuagint Sadok): Cheyne in Encyclopedia Biblica suggests that Zadok was a modification of a Gentilic name, that of the Zidkites the Negeb, who probably derived their appellation from the root ts-d-q, a secondary title of the god they worshipped. At the same time Cheyne admits that cultivated Israelites may have interpreted Zadok as meaning "just," "righteous"-a much more credible supposition.

(1) Zadok the son of Ahitub (2Sa 8:17)-not of Ahitub the ancestor of Ahimelech (1Sa 14:3) and of Abiathar, his son (1Sa 22:20).

(2) Zadok father of Jerusha, mother of Jotham, and wife of Uzziah king of Judah (2Ki 15:33; 2Ch 27:1).

(3) Zadok the son of Ahitub and father of Shallum (1Ch 6:12) or Meshullam (Ne 11:11), and the ancestor of Ezra (7:1,2).

(4) Zadok the son of Baana, a wall-builder in the time of Nehemiah (Ne 3:4), and probably one of the signatories to the covenant made by the princes, priests and Levites of Israel (Ne 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 (Ne 3:29).

(6) Zodak a scribe in the time of 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 (2Sa 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 (2Sa 15:24-36; 17:15,17-21).

(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 (2Sa 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 (1Ki 1:8,26,32-45).

(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 (1Ki 2:26,27,35; 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 (1Ch 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 (1Ch 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 (1Ch 15:11; 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 (1Ch 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 1Ch 18:16, named Abiathar; see above) of the sons of Ithamar (1Ch 24:3). In 1Ch 24:6 Ahimelech is called the son of Abiathar, while in 18:16, Abiathar's son is Abimelech-which suggests that the letters "b" and "h" were interchangeable in the name of Abiathar's sons.

(6) When Solomon was anointed king, Zodak was anointed (sole) priest (1Ch 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 (2Sa 8:17) and afterward Abiathar (2Sa 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 2Ch 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 (1Ch 29:22) is not inconsistent with the statement (1Ki 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 EB, article "Ahitub"), but an adventurer, a soldier of fortune who had climbed up into the priest's office, though by what means is not known (Wellhausen, GJ, 145);

(2) that up till Zadok's appearance the priesthood had been in Ithamar's line, though, according to the insertion by a later writer in the text of 1Sa 2 (see 2:27 ff), in Eli's day it was predicted that it should pass from Eli's house and be given to another;

(3) that when Abiathar or Ahimelech or both were deposed and Zadok instituted sole high priest by Solomon, this fictitious prophecy was fulfilled-though in reality there was neither prophecy nor fulfillment;

(4) that during the exile Ezekiel in his sketch of the vision-temple represented the Zadokites as the only legitimate priests, while the others of the line of A were degraded to be Levites;

(5) that in order to establish the legitimacy of Zadok the writer of the Priestly Code (P) invented his Aaronic descent through Eleazar and inserted the fictitious prophecy in 1 Samuel.

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 2Sa 8:17 to have been intentionally corrupted, presumably by a late redactor, the original form of the verse having been, according to criticism (Wellhausen, TBS, 176 f): "Abiathar the son of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, and Zadok were priests." But if this was the original form of the words it is not easy to explain why they should have been so completely turned round as to say the opposite, namely, that Ahimelech was the son of Abiathar, and that Ahitub was the father of Zadok., when in reality he was the father of Ahimelech. If, as Cornill admits (Einl, 116), the Chronicler worked "with good, old historical material," it is not credible that he made it say the opposite of what it meant.

(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 (GI, 20) that when David came to the throne he "attached importance to having as priests the heirs of the old family who had served the Ark at Shiloh." But if so, he had Abiathar of the line of Ithamar at hand, and did not need to go to the army for a priest. If, however, it be urged that in making Zadok a priest he gave him an inferior rank to Abiathar, and sent him to Gibeon where the tabernacle was, why should both sources so persistently place Zadok before Abiathar?

(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 (1Sa 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.

Written by T. Whitelaw

Smith's Bible Dictionary



(1.) Son of Ahitub and one of the two chief priests in the time of David, Abiathar being the other. Zadok was of the house of Eleazar the son of Aaron (1 Chronicles 24:3) and eleventh in descent from Aaron (1 Chronicles 12:28). He joined David at Hebron after Saul's death (1 Chronicles 12:28) and thenceforth his fidelity to David was inviolable. When Absalom revolted and David fled from Jerusalem, Zadok and all the Levites bearing the ark accompanied him. When Absalom was dead, Zadok and Abiathar were the persons who persuaded the elders of Judah to invite David to return (2 Samuel 19:11). When Adonijah, in David's old age, set up for king, and had persuaded Joab, and Abiathar the priest, to join his party, Zadok was unmoved, and was employed by David to anoint Solomon to be king in his room (1 Kings 1:34). For this fidelity he was rewarded by Solomon who "thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord," and "put in Zadok the priest" in his room (1 Kings 2:27; 2:35). From this time, however, we hear little of him. Zadok and Abiathar were of nearly equal dignity (2 Samuel 15:35-36; 19:11). The duties of the office were divided, Zadok ministered before the tabernacle at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39). Abiathar had the care of the ark at Jerusalem.

(2.) According to the genealogy of the high priests in 1 Chronicles 6:12, there was a second Zadok, son of a second Ahitub son of Amariah, about the time of King Ahaziah. It is probable that no such person as this second Zadok ever existed, but that the insertion of the two names is a copyist's error.

(3.) Father of Jerushah, the wife of King Uzziah and mother of King Jotham (2 Kings 15:33; 2 Chronicles 27:1).

(4.) Son of Baana, and

(5.) Son of Immer, persons who repaired a portion of the wall in Nehemiah's time (Nehemiah 3:4; 3:29).

(6.) In 1 Chronicles 9:11 and Nehemiah 11:11, mention is made, in a genealogy, of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub; but it can hardly be doubtful that Meraioth is inserted by the error of a copyist, and that Zadok the son of Ahitub is meant.


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