The “Sons of Zadok the Priest” in the Dead Sea Sect. Reprinted with permission from J. Liver, Revue de Qumran 6.



One of the vexed problems encountered by the student of the Judaean Desert literature is that of the “sons of Zadok the priests” alluded to in many focal statements in these writings. Precisely who are these sons of Zadok, and what is their status within the sectarian grouping? What relationship do they bear to priests in general, whose mention is interspersed throughout the writings? Wherein lies the point of historico-literary contact between the sons of Zadok of the sect and those encountered in Ezekiel’s cult regulations, and the song of thanksgiving toward the end of the Book of Ben-Sira? And lastly, what motivated the bestowal of the honorary appellation “the sons of Zadok the priests” or similar titles specifically in these works, whereas they make virtually no appearance in all the vast biblical and post-biblical literature dealing with the priesthood, its status and varied functions?

Any attempt to elucidate these questions must perforce remain in the realm of conjecture, due to the poorly preserved state and disputed interpretation of a portion of those Judaean desert documents wherein Zadok or the sons of Zadok are alluded to. Yet another factor is the paucity of the genealogical data pertaining to the priesthood, save for the Oniads, in the post-biblical period. Nonetheless, a proper comprehension of sect history, organization and eschatological aspirations predicates a clearly stated position on the “sons of Zadok the priests” and their place within the sect (1).


The texts containing the descriptive phrase “the sons of Zadok the priests” are to be found, by and large, within the framework of the Rule of the Community, the Rule of the Congregation and the Benedictions, i.e., compositions jointly comprising the one Rule Scroll (2).

The “sons of Zadok the priests” appear in the Rule of the Community in reference to the laws and regulations governing the organization of the “yahad”, the admission of new members within its confines and the outlining of their rights and obligations (3) (V, 1 -VI, 23). The sons of Zadok are mentioned at the very outset- “And this is the rule for the members of the Community, for those who volunteer to turn away from all evil… to become a community in the Law and with regard to property submitting response according to the sons of Zadok the priests who keep the Covenant and according to the majority of the members of the Community, those who hold fast to the Covenant. According to them shall decree be decided in all things, whether it concern the Law, or property, or justice” (V, 1-3); and immediately following- “Whoever comes to the Council of the Community shall enter into the Covenant of God in the presence of all the volunteers, and he shall undertake by binding oath to be converted to the Law of Moses… according to all that is revealed of it to the sons of Zadok the priests who keep the Covenant and seek His will, and to the majority of the members of their Covenant, they who volunteer together for His truth and to walk in His will” (V, 7-10).

In both texts the priestly sons of Zadok are those who keep the Covenant, i.e., the covenant of the “yahad” mentioned in juxtaposition with “the majority of the members of the Community those who hold fast to the Covenant” (V, 2-3) or “the majority of the members of their Covenant they who volunteer together for His truth” (V, 9-10). These, together with the sons of Zadok the priests, constitute the entire sect, or, according to another possible interpretation, we may regard the two components as comprising the group’s supreme authority (4). At any rate, this is the authoritative body as regards the sectary’s way of life concerning “the Law, or property, or justice” (V, 3). Anyone wishing to join the Community is dutybound to return to the Law of Moses “according to all that is revealed of it” (V, 8-9) to this grouping. “The sons of Zadok the priests” appear in both texts as the most eminent authority and class, a fact particularly noticeable in V, 9-10, wherein “the majority of the members of the Community” are depicted as “the majority of the members of their Covenant” of “the sons of Zadok the priests.” This phraseology, furthermore, points in the direction of a Zadokite priesthood comprising the founding nucleus of the sect and spiritual molders of its corpus juris and ideology.

A similar picture is conjured up by the introductory remarks in the Rule of the Congregation- “And this is the rule for all the congregation of Israel at the end of days when they shall gather [to wa]lk according to the law of the sons of Zadok the priests and of the members of their Covenant who have departed [from walking in] the way of the people” (5) (I, 1-3). We have before us a text which bears certain lines of resemblance with the description of the reception of new members into the Sect in the Rule of the Community (col. V), inasmuch as it is the community of Israel which is gathering to enter the Sect and not the other way around. Having assembled together they listen to a reading of the covenantal regulations (Rule of the Congregation I, 4-5). Here, too, we are aware of the superior status of the “sons of Zadok the priests”, whereas the remainder of the sect is alluded to as “the members of their Covenant”.

Further along in the Rule of the Congregation another important function is attributed to the Zadokite priests. They are alluded to in the rule pertaining to the order of the hosts of the community wherein the sons of Levi are to minister as “the chiefs, the judges, and the officers, according to the number of all their hosts, as assigned by the sons of Zadok the priests [and of all the h]eads of family of the Congregation” (I, 24-25). The unmistakable allusion in this instance is to the highest authority within the Sect = Israel during its organizational period at the end of days. At the side of the sons of Zadok the priests are the heads of family of the Congregation, apparently the elders of the community who have no special office. The scroll goes on to enumerate the various functionaries and officers to be called to the Council of the Community and states- “Such are the men of renown called to the assembly gathered for the Council of the Community in Israel in the presence of the sons of Zadok the priests” (II, 1-3). The Zadokite priests are thus accorded a place at the head of the assembled peers of the Sect = Israel when matters of decisive import are at stake.

The unique status of the Zadokite priests finds concrete expression in the Qumran Benedictions. While the scroll itself, broadly speaking, has been most incompletely preserved (6), the prose introduction to the benediction relating to the priestly sons of Zadok has been transmitted almost in its entirety- “Words of blessing for the man [of understanding to bless] the sons of Zadok the priests whom God has chosen to establish His Covenant for [ever and to t]est all His ordinances in the midst of His people and to instruct them according to His command; who have founded [His Covenant] in truth and heeded in righteousness all His precepts and walked according to His will” (III, 22-25). It is noteworthy that both the status and role allotted to the Zadokite priests in this text are identical with those assigned to them in the Rule of the Community and the Rule of the Congregation. These are primarily not cultic but didactic functions, as well as the supervision over the people’s observance of God’s commandments and laws. The prose introductory remarks to the various benedictions denote the status and role of the blessings’ beneficiaries. Consequently, the lack of allusion to any ritual function of the sons of Zadok the priests in these prefatory phrases is ample evidence that their unique place among the priesthood as a whole, lay not in the cultic sphere (7).

These texts bear indisputable witness that “the sons of Zadok” is not to be considered as a general sectarian appellation (8). Rather it is to be regarded as the distinctive connotation of a priestly hierarchy determining the sect’s spiritual image, formula¬ting its ordinances and elucidating its corpus juris. These very priests or their forebears were the indubitable nucleus round which the sect clustered. Having once reached this conclusion, it may additionally be pointed out that the term “the sons of Zadok the priests” is in itself instructive of the fact that we are not dealing with a group of individuals naming itself after a mere clerical or lay teacher who saw to the group’s sectarian coalescence. The meaning of the term is merely genealogical, with Zadok as reference to the ancient “father” of these priests to wit their pater eponimos, the high priest Zadok of the Davidic era, and the ancestor of the high priestly family from the early post-exilic days down to the Hasmonean revolt.

The aforementioned texts are virtually the sole sources for any such clearly-declineated conclusions concerning the sons of Zadok. These are all the references to the sons of Zadok to be found in the Rule Scroll, save for the following passage in the Rule of the Commu¬nity (IX, 12-15)- “These are the ordinances for the man of understanding that he may walk in them… and he shall study all understanding discovered throughout time together with the Decree of Time. He shall separate and weigh the בני הצדוק according to their spirits; and he shall support the elect of the time in accordance with the decision of His will.” The original text is most probably בני הצדק (“sons of righteousness”), as attested by one of the fragments of the Rule of the Community (4 Q Sereke) from Qumran Cave IV (9), and it alluds to all sect members and not to “the sons of Zadok the priest”.

The sons of Zadok are noted in two additional areas of sectarian literature—in the Florilegium (midrash on Psalms 1 and 2) and in the Damascus Document. Both cases are midrashic commentaries on texts from Ezekiel. The passage containing the Psalms midrash is part of a larger work comprising eschatological-type midrashim on various biblical texts, and is, in fact, preceded by a comparable study on passages of II Samuel 7 (10).

The exegetical system in these midrashim is based on free association of the cited biblical passages, the commentary being quite independant of the literal sense of these biblical texts. The midrash which expounds on the verse “Happy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked”, also appends an allusion from the Book of Ezekiel- “And they of whom it is written in the book of Ezekiel the prophet, that they shall not [defile themselves any more with] their idols, they are the sons of Zadok and men of their counsel [ ] end [ ] community (I, 16-17). The reference is to an eschatological prophecy in Ezekiel 37, 23- “And they shall not defile themselves any more with their idols… so shall they be My people.” We are consequently aware of an associative connection with the previously cited verse (I, 15-16), pertaining to “this people” of Isaiah 8, 11. As to the matter under discussion, those with whom the exposition of Psalms 1, 1 was concerned, those who ‘walked not in the counsel of the wicked’- “They are the sons of Zadok and the men of their counsel.” Y. Yadin was justified in detecting a comparison here with the Rule of the Congregation I, 2-3- “According to the law of the sons of Zadok the priests and of the members of their Covenant who have departed [from walking in] the way of the people- they are the men of His Counsel,” etc. The sons of Zadok are thus, in this midrash, the priestly descendants of Zadok and they are mentioned in conjunction with the men of their counsel, i.e., the sect itself. The midrash, in addition, hints at the convocation of the entire community of Israel at the end of days, as depicted in the Rule of the Congregation. The parallelism becomes even more acute by Yadin’s rendering for the end of I, 17- “in the] end [of days when they will gather in the] Community” ([ב] אחרית [הימים בהאספם ל]יחד) which, however, appears to me as unwarranted owing to a lack of the requisite physical space in the scroll (11) for an emendation of this sort.

The Damascus Document, however, refers to “sons of Zadok” in a different way. They are referred to in conjunction with a quotation from Ezekiel 44, 15 which the Dam. Doc. expounds in its special fashion. In this context the Dam. Doc. relates that- “God established His Covenant with Israel forever, revealing to them the hidden things in which all Israel had strayed” (III, 13-14), “and He built for them a sure house in Israel” (III, 19), “as God has assured them by the hand of the prophet Ezekiel, saying, ‘the priests and the Levites and the sons of Zadok who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me shall offer me fat and blood.’ The priests are the penitants of Israel who went out of the Land of Judah, and they who joined them. The sons of Zadok are the elects of Israel the (men) called by name who shall stand at the end of days” (III, 20 – IV, 4). The Ezekiel passage is quoted herein in a form different from the biblical text which is- « But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood.”

In the future cult regulations, as envisaged by Ezekiel, only the priestly progeny of Zadok are to perform the sacerdotal service (40, 46; 43, 19; 44, 13-15; 48, 11). This is in contrast with the position which emerges from sectarian literature, in which no difference is evidenced between the latter’s laws and the Torah, viz. all Aaronite priestly descendants are entitled to participate in the sacred service (12).

The Dam. Doc. text “The Priests and the Levites and the sons of Zadok” (13) presents us with a revised rendering of the biblical text, which is in no way to be construed as a copyist’s error, as evident from the exegesis itself. Moreover, the Levites are forbidden to sacrifice the animal fat and blood, in contrast to what is to be gleaned from the Dam. Doc. text of the Ezekiel passage. This condensed and revised passage is not a direct quotation, nor does it tally with the following verses in Ezekiel. A later exegetical goal was kept in mind. It may well be that this purposeful recension of the biblical verse is to be connected with the sect’s opposing view on the manner of priestly and Levitic temple service as laid down in Ezekiel 40-48.

The author of the Dam. Doc. comments on the words “the priests,” “the Levites,” “the sons of Zadok” as references to sect adherents, independent of the primary connotation of Bible verse and context. This hermeneutic approach is in general accordance with much of Judaean Desert literature, Dam. Doc. included. The words “the priests and the Levites” are explained as alluding to the origins and contemporaneous situation of this particular sect “the penitants of Israel who went out from the Land of Judah and they who joined them” (14), whereas the term “sons of Zadok” he interprets as a reference to “the elect of Israel, the (men) called by name who shall stand at the end of days.” The phrase “the end of days” as employed in the scrolls, has a decided eschatological connotation (15), while the expression- “The elect of Israel at the end of days”, appears in the eschatological midrash on Psalms 1-2 (4 Q Florilegium I, 19) (16). So, according to the midrashic exposition of the Dam. Doc. the sons of Zadok in Ez. 44, 15, stand for the members of the sect who are to serve as the latter-day Israel = Sect nucleus. It is not unreasonable to assume that the midrashic homily was also intended to state the fact that the present day “penitants of Israel” are actually meant as the elect of Israel in the end of days.

The allegorical exegesis on Ezekiel 44, 15, thus bears no direct relationship to “the sons of Zadok the priests” and their standing within the framework of the sect. There would appear to be insufficient warrant for the contention that the foregoing testifies to an unobtrusive debate, as it were, directed against the prominent status of the Zadokite priests within the sect (17). The place occupied by the Zadokite priests may be at the root of the sectarian commentary on Ezekiel 44, 15, binding together the sons of Zadok the priests with the elect of Israel in the eschatological era. Phrased somewhat differently, the present status of the Zadokite priests within the sect may be interpreted as resembling that of the sect in its entirety as the elect of Israel within the overall framework of the latter-day Israel.

Now, we have been delving, thus far, into Judean Desert literature containing references to the sons of Zadok (18). Mention need also be made of the cryptic passage in the Dam. Doc. V, 4-5, “and it remained hidden (and) was (not) revealed until Zadok arose.” The verse is connected with the prohibition against polygamy (IV, 21), a strictly sectarian prohibition which the Dam. Doc. tries to support by exposition of biblical texts, “and those who entered the ark, two and two they went into the ark. And as to the prince, it is written, He shall not multiply wives for himself” (19) (V, 1). In this connection it was stated- “But David did not read the sealed Book of the Law which was in the ark, because it had not been opened in Israel since the day that Eleazar and Joshua and the Elders died, forasmuch as they worshipped Ashtoreth, and it was hidden (and) was (not) revealed until Zadok arose. And the deeds of David were reckoned except the blood of Uriah, and God left them to him,” (V, 2-6). We are not concerned, in this instance, with the reason underlying the desire of the Dam. Doc. to justify David’s actions. The question pertains rather to the identification of Zadok and his relationship with the sons of Zadok of the Sect (20). It is dubious whether a link can be found between this particular Zadok and the identically-named priest of the Davidic period, namely the “father” of the priests sons of Zadok. For, if the assumption were to prove correct, it would be far removed from the statement, “But David did not read the sealed Book of the Law,” the more so as the Bible recounts no such discovery at that time. Equally difficult is the attempt to identify this figure with Hilkiah, high priest and Zadokite descendant under Josiah, although the book of the Torah was then discovered. The proposal, on the other hand, to regard the Zadok mentioned in this connection as the appellation of the founder of the Sect, the Teacher of Righteousness, is quite conceivable (21). Support for this last proposal may be found from the usage of the expression “revealed” (נגלה) as employed by the Dead Sea Sect. It denotes the authorized exposition of the Torah known to none but the Sect’s ini¬tiates (cf. especially the Rule of the Community V, 8-9- “to return to the Law of Moses… according to everything which has been revealed of it (לכל הנגלה ממנה) to the sons of Zadok the priests… and to the majority of the members of their Covenant”) (22).

Additional support for this contention may be gleaned from the fact that the matter under consideration concerns a point of law on which the people in general and the sect differed. Yet another possibility may lie in the exercise of a more precise interpretation of עד עמוד found in the Damascus Document in an eschatological context- “until there shall arise the Anointed” (XII, 23; XIV, 18); “until there shall arise the Teacher of Righteousness at the end of Days (עד עמוד יורה הצדק באחרית הימים; VI, 10-11). If this be the case, the implication of עד עמוד צדוק in Dam. Doc. V, 5 is to the righteous teacher at the end of days when the Law of Moses, whose authorized sectarian interpretation had hitherto remained a strictly esoteric affair (Dam. Doc. III, 13-17), will have been revealed to all Israel.

It is noteworthy, in this connection, that the historical Teacher of Righteousness was a priest, as we learn from the Pesher on Psalm 37 which states, inter alia- “the interpretation of this refers to the Priest, the Teacher of [Righteousness]” (23) and, we may reasonably assume, from among the Zadokite priesthood. Additional basis for this view may be sought in the figure of the eschatological יורה הצדק who is identifiable with one or other of the figures referred to in sectarian literature, as the nation’s leader in the messianic era (24).


The selfsame texts in the Rule Scroll, wherein mention is made of “the sons of Zadok the priests”, contain parallel references to “the sons of Aaron the priests” or to the priests in general. These references to priests or to Aaronite priests frequently appear in Sectarian literature in texts where no mention is made of the sons of Zadok. The question now arises whether the connotations “the sons of Zadok the priests” and “the sons of Aaron the priests” were interchanged indiscriminately, and all priests were considered as Zadokite descendants, or were the sons of Zadok actually set apart from the remainder of the sect’s priesthood? Any attempted response to this query must base itself on a careful scrutiny of the sectarian writings per se. Examination of the usage of the appellation “sons of Zadok” prior to the growth and establishment of the Dead Sea Sect is equally essential.

An examination of the many sectarian texts in which the priesthood finds mention, will not be of much assistance in this respect. The usual expression is either “priests” or, for variety’s sake, “the sons of Aaron”. It is in the very nature of things for the scribal author to have had recourse to these usages when depicting the sectarian organization (as long as no specific delineation was intended between the various priestly groupings), regardless of the application of the appellative “sons of Zadok” to the priestly caste in its entirety or in part.

We will, therefore, concentrate our efforts on examining those writings wherein the “sons of Zadok the priests” are noted in conjunction with the “sons of Aaron” or with the “priests”. As previously stated, column V of the Rule of the Community as well as the Rule of the Congregation mention “the sons of Zadok the priests who keep the Covenant” which group, when joined with “the majority of the members of the Community, those who hold fast to the Covenant” constitute the supreme Sectarian authority. An apparently similar implication is to be perceived in the references to Aaronite progeny. Thus, we read in the Rule of the Community V, 20-22- “And when any man enters the Covenant to do according to all these ordinances by participating with the holy Congregation, they shall examine his spirit in common, (distinguishing) between one and the other according to his understanding and his works with regard to the Law; on the authority of the sons of Aaron who volunteer in the community to uphold His Covenant and to attend to all the commandments which He has commanded, and on the authority of the majority of Israel who volunteer to return, in the community, to His Covenant.” Succinctly put, the body which determines an individual’s eligibility within the Sect consists of the sons of Aaron together with the majority of Israel. The “sons of Zadok,” however, are mentioned in conjunction with the separation of the community from the evildoers and the ordinances of the sect in general, while the “sons of Aaron” are mentioned in conjunction with matter of individuals applying for entrance into the fold. Furthermore, the references to the “sons of Zadok” lay greater stress on their exalted status in relationship to all the rest, than is evident in passages referring to the sons of Aaron.

The sons of Zadok are they “who keep the Covenant” (שומרי הברית) as against the remaining members of the community designated as “they who hold fast to the Covenant” (המחזיקים בברית) or “they who volunteer for the Covenant” (המתנדבים בברית). In contrast, both the sons of Aaron and the majority of Israel are “they who volunteer in the Community” (המתנדבים ביחד).

Similarly we find in the Rule of the Community V, 6- “that they shall atone for all who are volunteers for the holiness of Aaron and for the House of truth in Israel, and for those who join them.” Generally, the sons of Zadok are mentioned together with “the majority of the members of the Community” (V, 2-3), “the majority of the members of their Covenant” (V, 9), and “the members of their Covenant” (Rule of the Congregation I, 2), to wit, the sons of Zadok and all the rest (25). When, contrariwise, the sons of Aaron appear in a similar context, invariably the mention is of Aaron and Israel as two distinct entities, each possessed of the intrinsic status, and together constituting the sect (26). This holds true for the previously quoted texts as for numerous other references in sectarian literature (27).

I do not mean to imply any inflexible and clearcut delineation between the “sons of Zadok” and “the sons of Aaron.” So, it is not quite clearly defined in the Rule of the Congregation I, where the subject is the enrolling and mustering of Israel (= the sect) within the community’s hosts. Here the mustering and gradation is “according to the de]cision of the sons [of Aar]on the priests and of all the heads of family of the Congregation” (I, 16; cf. also I, 23-24); the formula is similar to that used in the Rule of the Community V, 20-24, concerning the acceptance and gradation of new members. Lines 24-25, however, where the matter of chiefs, judges, and officers is being discussed, read- “according to the number of all their hosts, as assigned by the sons of Zadok the priests [and of all the h]eads of family of the Congregation.” A difference of a sort nonetheless exists where status and authority are affected between the “sons of Zadok the priests” and the “sons of Aaron” or just “priests”; nevertheless, the designation “sons of Zadok” need not perforce indicate distinction between this grouping and the remaining sectarian priesthood. One may even, though diffidently, assume that the title merely connotes a more exalted status in certain contexts (28).

Of particular importance in gauging the position of the Zadokite priests in the Dead Sea Sect is the Scroll of the Benedictions. This scroll, as we have already noted, contains, inter alia, the specific benediction- “Words of blessing for the man [of understanding to bless] the sons of Zadok the priests” (Benedictions III, 22). The poorly preserved state of the scroll on the whole (29) rules out the possibility of determining with any degree of assurance whether blessings were directed solely at the Zadokite priesthood or perchance there were blessings for other priests, too. The remaining benedictory headings in the extant sections of the Benedictions are- “Words of blessi[ng] for the man of understanding to bless those who fear [God]” (I, 1), and “For the man of understanding to bless the Prince of the Congregation” (V, 20). No blessings of priests other than the “sons of Zadok” are here mentioned.

The editor, J. T. Milik, has already had occasion to indicate that in all likelihood additional blessings and their appropriate headings were originally contained in the Benedictions. The question to be asked, in this case, is whether there are ample enough grounds to justify the assumption that specific blessings were allotted for members of the priesthood other than the “sons of Zadok”. The existence of a benediction for the Prince of the Congregation would tend to lend support to the thesis of a blessing for the high priest. Milik, in fact, is of the opinion that the passage preceding the blessing for the sons of Zadok is part and parcel of such a high-priestly benediction (30). He justly draws attention to III, 1- “May the Lord lift His countenance upon thee and the sweet o[dour of thy sacrifices…]” which might serve as evidence of sorts that the remarks are directed at a priest. (The latter portion of the line is restored according to Milik.) Compare also line 2- “and He may give heed to thy holy offerings” et alibi. Viewed thus, the Benedictions contained blessings dedicated both to the high priest and to the sons of Zadok as representing the priesthood in its entirety.

An opposing stand has been taken by Licht in his commentary on the Rule Scroll (31). He offers a subdivision of the blessings which differs from that of the previously-cited scholar. It is his opinion that the high priest is alluded to in the passage at the bottom of col. IV and the top of col. V of the Benedictions (that is, following the blessing for the Zadokite priests) wherein mention is made of “a diadem of holy of holies” (IV, 28). From all appearances this would refer to the gold band on the high priest’s forehead. There is the additional expression “ministering in a royal palace” (IV, 25-26) which is to read as an apparent hint at the high priest’s entrance within the confines of the Holy of Holies. The relevant exaltedly laudatory phraseology would preclude any possibility of reference to an entire priestly group.

According to this interpretation, the blessing reserved for the high priest is in juxtaposition with that of the Prince of the Congregation; and are both placed at the end of the Benedictions. This is quite fitting, as these are the two anointed of God destined to rule together over Israel at the end of days (32). J. Licht maintains that the passage preceding the blessing for the sons of Zadok (which, in Milik’s view, is reserved for the high priest) is in fact, directed at the priests, i.e., those not considered sons of Zadok. The latter are granted a special blessing. The Benedictions may thus be seen to distinguish between the ordinary priestly ranks and the priests sons of Zadok.

Even without relying on this proposed solution to the problem of the appropriate blessing sequence, we possess conclusive testimony that the Dead Sea Sect recognized the prerogative of the ordinary run of priests to participate in the sacred service side by side with their Zadokite colleagues. In the War Scroll II, 2 “the twenty-six chiefs of the courses (mishmaroth) shall serve with their courses” were mentioned. These priestly courses include the twenty-four serving during the Second Commonwealth and listed in I Chronicles 24 (33).

This becomes quite evident from the fragment of a sectarian priestly courses list from Qumran Cave 4, published by Milik (34). Enumerated herein is the schedule to be observed during the “first year”, indubitably the first year of the specifically sectarian temple service at the end of days. The mishmaroth mentioned in this fragment- Maosiah, Jedaiah, Seorim, Jeshua, J(eh)oiarib, are well known from I Chronicles 24. S. Talmon (35) has demonstrated that the times of service of the priestly courses as detailed in this list are an indication that the sect’s arrangement in this respect was based on the Chronicler’s, only slightly modified. As explicitly stated in I Chronicles 24, 1-7, the list of courses runs the gamut of the priestly families, the sons of Ithamar and the sons of Eleazar alike, viz. including those who were not considered sons of Zadok. In point of fact, the prerogative of the Ithamarides to serve in a priestly capacity is explicitly mentioned in the War scroll XVII, 2-3- “[Eleazar] and Ithamar He established in His [priestly] Covenant for eternity.”

Sectarian writings referring to the right of the entire priesthood to participate in the holy service (as, for example, in the War Scroll, List of Priestly Courses and Benedictions) concern themselves with the end of days. It was only to be expected that the Dead Sea Sect, trusting as it did that the apocalyptic era would find all of Israel within the sectarian fold, would not exclude the priesthood. Worthy of note in this respect is the lack of any attempt to prejudice the rights of the non-Zadokite priestly houses where temple service was concerned.

It is now in place to inquire as to the particular significance one is to attach to the special blessing reserved for the priestly sons of Zadok in Benedictions. From the fact that this work contains a benediction for the Prince of the Congregation destined to arise at the end of days, we may conclude that these benedictions were intended for a ceremony which is to take place in the eschatological age of the selfsame congregation depicted in the Rule of the Congregation (36). A close look will disclose that these benedictions were not intended for a recurrent ceremony, but rather for a specific, clearly-defined event during the early organizational stages of Israel = Sect in the last days. Indeed, the benediction meant for the Zadokite priests states- “[May He re]new for thee דש לכה)[יח]) the Covenant of the priesthood” (Benedictions III, 26). The words יחדש לכה appear on col. V, 5, within a mutilated text, evidently part of a blessing reserved for the high priest. Thus we read in the blessing reserved for the Prince of the Congregation, “and for whom He will renew His Covenant forever וברית[ולע]ד יחדש לו)) (37), that He may restore the kingdom of His people forev[er]” (V, 21). In all likelihood, the ceremony alluded to in these benedictions is that of renewal of the covenant “for all the Congregation of Israel at the end of days, when they shall gather [… to wa]lk according to the law of the sons of Zadok the priests” (Rule of the Congregation I, 1-2). The Zadokite priests are allotted a decisive role during this formative stage of the Israel = Sect as denoted in the Congregation Rule. Here we have a projection of the status and functions of the Zadokite priests in the sect’s actual formation and organization. This being the case, we may comprehend why the Benedictions boasts a special blessing for the sons of Zadok commencing with the words- “Whom God has chosen to establish His Covenant for[ever and to t]est all His ordinances in the midst of His people and to instruct them according to His command” (III, 22-23). No testimony is available in sectarian literature as to whether the sect actually numbered priests other than those of Zadokite lineage. Nonetheless, it is difficult to con¬ceive of a sect which counted in its ranke Israelites and Levites, that would contain only Zadokite priests and not even a minor number of other priests. If one is to gauge from sectarian provisions for the eschatological era, it is not an unlikely assumption that the latter priestly category suffered no relegation to a status inferior to the Zadokite priests, in matters affecting their sacerdotal functions. The Rule of the Community, indeed, which regulates the sect’s ordinances and rituals, records the role of priests, without any additional qualifications, in matters touching upon the annual covenant ceremonial (I, 16 ff.) as well as the session of the Community council (VI, 3; VIII, 1 ff., etc.). Only in affairs that affected the sect’s most authoritative bodies was there mention of the “sons of Zadok the priests”.


Before embarking on an attempted reply to the query concerning the unique status of authority and leadership occupied by the sons of Zadok in the Dead Sea Sect, we must first ascertain what we know about the sons of Zadok before the sect came into being. More specifically- which of the priestly families claimed to be of Zadokite lineage and what is the implication of the term “sons of Zadok.”

A considerable number of theories, not a few of them farfetched, have been forwarded on the matter of the ancestry of Zadok the priest at the time of David, and concerning the rela¬tionship of the Zadokite line to the Aaronites. Common to all the various approaches is the effort to elucidate the processes leading to the establishment of the biblical traditions associated with the Aaronite and Zadokite priests, as well as the processes concerning the priesthood and its organization after the return from the Babylonian exile.

None of these theories, however, need concern us for the period under review, beginning with the Maccabean revolt, because traditions concerning the priests and the priestly genealogy were already established a long time previously. We are not in possession of sufficient contemporaneous source material concerning the priests, but it may be assumed that the position was not dissimilar to that depicted in the Book of Chronicles.

The one clear aspect to emerge concerning the Zadokite House is the latter’s priestly service from the inception of the Second Temple era until the Maccabean revolt. Such a conclusion may feasibly be drawn from a combination of factors in Chronicles, the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and information collated from the writings of Josephus Flavius. Whilst several generations in the genealogical sequence are undoubtedly lacking here and there, and problems of chronology still remain unsolved, there is a clear relationship betwixt Onaiad and Zadokite ancestry.

Let us quickly scan the source data at our disposal. The following books supply the composite picture of the Zadokite priestly family tree whose roots reach back to Eleazar, son of Aaron, and continue onward until the return- I Chronicles 5, 29-41; Ezra 7, 1-5; Nehemiah 12, 9-11, 22. The passage in I Chronicles 5 which concludes with Jehozadak, son of the high priest at the time of the destruction of the First Temple (cf. II Kings 25, 18), under¬lines the fact that Jehozadak “went into captivity when the Lord carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.” We are thus apprised of the link with the descendants of Jeshua, son of Jehozadak, high priest at the time of the Return (38). The final name on the list of high priests in Nehemiah 12 is Jaddua, whose time may certainly be fixed as the initial half of the fourth century B.C. The Jaddua mentioned by Josephus (Antiquities XI, viii, 2-7, 306-347) as being alive at the time of Alexander the Great, is one of the progeny of Jaddua referred to in Nehemiah (39). Jad¬dua mentioned by Josephus fathered Onias; the latter being ancestor of the high priesthood (as recounted by Josephus) until the Antiochide decrees (40).

In essaying to establish whether “sons of Zadok” was a decidedly Oniad attribute or did it also apply to other priestly houses, we have only meagre data and vague surmises to show for our efforts. Evidence to the effect that others besides the lineal descendants of Jeshua, son of Jehozadak, traced their ancestry to Zadok, is to be found in the genealogy of Ezra the Scribe (Ezra 7, 1-5). The latter, after claiming to be the grandson of Seraiah, grandfather of Jeshua, proceeds to trace his descent from Zadok and Aaron (41). Nor is it unwarranted to view the high priestly stock, in its broadest context, as claiming Zadokite ancestry. This may be inferred from Ezekiel’s own cult regulations, under which only “the sons of Zadok… from among the sons of Levi come near to the Lord to minister unto Him” (Ezekiel 40, 46; 43, 19; 44, 15; 48, 11). The factual background and significance of Ezekiel’s demand notwithstanding, it is unimaginable that it concerns a negligible number of priests, to wit, the immediate members of the high priestly family during the First Temple period.

The scope of the high priest’s family is hinted at on several occasions in Ezra and Nehemiah, although the pertinent passages do not refer to this family as the House of Zadok. Amongst the four priestly families described as returning from exile (Ezra 2, 36 = Nehemiah 7, 39), the one listed first is that of the descendants of Jedaiah (of the house of Jeshua) totalling 973 souls. It may, of course, be argued that the former attributed their ancestry to the ancient house of Jeshua, and indeed, the name Jeshua appears in the Old Testament as the name of various familial groupings. Nevertheless, this proposal is to be rejected on several grounds. The name was among those in most common use during the Second Commonwealth and is not evident in earlier sources (42), and it would thus be hard to assume that it was an ancient familial appellation. A more likely assumption would be to regard the words “of the house of Jeshua” as referring to the fact that Jeshua, the high priest after the Return belonged to the family of Jedaiah. Substantiation for this viewpoint can be found in a comparison of the order of the priestly families in the list of the returnees as noted in Ezra 2, 36-38 with the names of those expelling their foreign wives during the days of Esra (ibid., 10, 18 ff.). In Ezra 2, 36-38, the following priestly families are enumerated- Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, Immer, Pashhur, Harim, while in Ezra 10, 18 ff., the order of the priestly families is- descendants of Jeshua son of Jeho¬zadak and brothers, the sons of Immer, the sons of Harim, and the sons of Pashhur. Here we have at the beginning of the list the name of the high priest at the time of the Return instead of that of Jedaiah (43).

We have no knowledge as to which of the twenty-four priestly courses were descendants of the Jedaiah family (44). The Chronicler attributes the establishment of the priestly courses to King David and to Zadok the priest (I Chronicles 24, 3 f.). The latter was considered a lineal descendant of the high priest Eleazar; he, together with Ahimelech who stemmed from the progeny of Ithamar, arranged the priestly courses division- sixteen from among the sons of Eleazar and eight from among the sons of Ithamar. The difficulty lies in our not being apprised as to who were the sons of Eleazar and who of Ithamarite stock. The entire matter of the subdivision into Eleazarite and Ithamarite descent and certainly the rivalry between the two houses in the matter of preference in the Lord’s service appears to have become devoid of any actual content in the Chronicler’s time. The latter introduced the subject of this subdivision, having associated the matter of priestly arrangements, including the organization of priestly courses, with King David himself. Had the Chronicler been in possession of any tradition in this respect, namely, which of the priestly families are Eleazarite and which Ithamarite, detailed information would most assuredly have been forthcoming, akin to his usual approach concerning priestly genealogies, wherever the pertinent data was available. Contrariwise, the Chronicler feels no need for the genealogies and family ties of the various courses during the Return. In his view of things, these arrangements were, to all intents and purposes, of ancient origin. Any alterations that occurred during the Second Temple period and which were in opposition to the customary procedure at the time of the Return, were regarded by the Chronicler as no more than a revival of antique practice.

In contrast to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah which make no mention at all of the Zadokite House (and were it not for the genealogy in the Book of Chronicles we should not have been aware even of Jeshua’s Zadokite association) the latter occupy an honored place in Chronicles. This fact emerges, inter alia, from a study of the narratives recounting Zadok’s part in Davidic cultic arran¬gements. The high priest during Hezekiah’s reign is also called (II Chronicles 31, 10) (45) “Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok”. As to Zadok himself, I Chronicles 29, 22 relates that during the Solomonic unctional rite, Zadok the priest was simultaneously anointed (46). Similarly evident is the fact that in the eyes of the Chronicler, the house of Zadok are primarily the high priestly family. A connotation in a similar vein of “the sons of Zadok” is to be found in the song of thanksgiving toward the end of the Hebrew version of Ben-Sira- “Give thanks to Him that choseth the sons of Zadok to be priests” (Ben-Sira 51, 12). The blessing follows immediately upon the preceding “Give thanks to Him that maketh a horn to sprout for the house of David.” The close proximity of the two entitles us to deduce that the blessing was not intended for the priests in general, but rather for the high priests (47).

We are, consequently, in a position to state that the appellative “sons of Zadok” underwent a certain transformation from the conclusion of the First Temple period to the end of the Persian period. Ezekiel’s cult regulations depict the “sons of Zadok” as a ramified familial grouping from among the priesthood whose descent was traced back to Zadok himself. The Ezra data fit into this pattern. Later writings, however (Chronicles, Ben-Sira), conceive “the sons of Zadok” or “the House of Zadok” as referring to the high priestly family.

This conceptual evolution (as it affects both the restriction of connotation and the aura of authority and honor attaching to the title “sons of Zadok”) is bound up with the status of ruler and leader, attaching to the figure of the high priestly descendants of Zadok, a position maintained throughout the Persian and Hellenistic periods. The crisis in the affairs and status of the high priesthood during the period of Antiochide decrees may serve to shed light on the reason for the non-appearance of the “sons of Zadok” in liturgic or Talmudic literature. During the Oniad priestly reign, the appellative became linked to this family. When the Oniads lost their position of authority and ceased to serve as high priests, while other priestly families came to the fore, the appellative “sons of Zadok” came to be used less and less. The foregoing description is thus to be viewed as the background for the position held by the “sons of Zadok” within the Dead Sea Sect.

The Ben-Sira song of thanksgiving benediction- “Give thanks to Him that choseth the sons of Zadok to be priests” appears in a work not too far removed in time, relatively speaking, from the date of the Judaean Desert literature. Credence is allegedly lent to a relationship of sorts between the author of this song of thanksgiving and the Dead Sea Sect by virtue of the fact that mention of “the sons of Zadok” in extra-biblical writings is restricted to Ben-Sira and sectarian literature. One scholar (48) has even ventured the thought that the Ben-Sira passage already alluded to is actually a later interpolation penned by a sectary in possession of a Ben-Sira manuscript. A copy of this emended version, the reasoning goes, ultimately found its way into the Cairo genizah. The opinion that the Ben-Sira song of thanksgiving is a sectarian product, is completely unwarranted, however, the latter having left no identifiable clues. Nor is one to seek any close ideological relationship between Ben-Sira and the literature of the Dead Sea Sect, though the former work was in the sectaries’ possession (49). While some similarities in ideological approach between the two may be present (50), a greater basic contrast would be difficult to entertain. On the one hand, there is Ben-Sira, the sedate man of wisdom, sociable in nature and savoring every-day pleasures (51). Strikingly different from this personage is the isolationist desert sect, warringly fanatic, with all its esoteric teachings and severely exacting pattern of existence. The Ben-Sira benediction already alluded to (on the election of the sons of Zadok to the priesthood), is merely a reflection of the position of authority and respect enjoyed by the Oniad House prior to the Antiochide decrees.

Whatever be our outlook on Ezekiel’s remarks concerning the priestly sons of Zadok and their implications for priestly history (52), there can be no connecting the position held by “the sons of Zadok the priests” within the Dead Sea Sect and the prophet’s cult regulations. The sect differed from Ezekiel as regards priestly temple service, and acknowledged the right of all priests (not only those of Zadokite lineage) to participate in the sacred rites. Furthermore, the Damascus Document exposition (III, 20 – IV, 4) on Ezekiel 44, 15 (concerning the sons of Zadok), departs from the literal interpretation of the prophetic text, not only by virtue of its allegorical exegesis, but in the very passage quoted. One reason for this approach undoubtedly lies in the sect’s rejection of Ezekiel’s demands regarding the exclusive rights of the Zadokite priests (53), demands which, most probably, never really took hold in practice.


The position of the Zadokite priests within the Dead Sea Sect is related with the latter’s emergence on the historical scene. The initiators of the sect and molders of its spiritual visage (amongst these the priestly Teacher of Righteousness) (54), were indubitably from among the Zadokite priests. Clear testimony to this effect is supplied by the sources and many scholars have voiced agreement in this respect. Despite the more nebulous situation on the question of source evidence to sectarian origins, relevant literature and archaeological findings permit one to adduce that the sect first appears on the scene with the decline of Oniad and establishment of Hasmonean rule (55).
Apparently the sect sprang forth from circles spiritually close to the Hasidim, the extreme pietists who had fled into the desert after the promulgation of Antiochide edicts. Among them were also members of the priestly aristocracy and of the High Priestly family of Zadokites. Soil such as this produced and nourished the sect which could not make its peace with the Hasmonean House, to the extent that eventually it had become segregated from the national entity.

Many a scholar had searched for the underlying cause of the stress placed in sectarian literature on the leadership vested in “the sons of Zadok the priests”. The proffered reason lies not only in the unique status of the Zadokite priests within the sect itself, but also in its background of polemic against the Hasmonean priests who had appropriated the high priesthood from the House of Onias (56). Sectarian opposition to the Hasmonean dynasty and all it represented is, of course, not to be gainsaid. By the very nature of things, the high priestly family at the sect’s helm would regard the Hasmoneans as usurpers. The question, however, remains- do we possess any source evidence to corroborate the thesis that the argument with the Hasmonean rulers included the contention that the Hasmonean priesthood were of non-Zadokite lineage, and consequently unfit for the high priesthood.

As stated previously, insufficient data prevents us from determining which of the priesthood during the Hellenistic era were reckoned as descendants of Zadok. Source evidence proves that the Hasmonean line traced itself to the priestly course of Jehoiarib (I Macc. 2, 1) and thus presumably from the priestly aristocracy (57). If we are to be precise in our understanding of the expression employed in Matathias’ speech in I Macc. 2, 53- “Phineas our father”, the Jehoiarib priestly course must be regarded as having been counted amongst Eleazar’s progeny, i.e., the same branch of the Aaronites which the Zadokites belonged to (58). In the Old Testament Jehoiarib is generally mentioned together with Jedaiah—the priestly family with which the high priest of the Return, Jeshua, son of Jehozadak, was associated. Jehoiarib and Jedaiah are mentioned together in the list of priestly families in Nehemiah 12, 6, 19; the list of Jerusalem’s first settlers (I Chronicles 9, 10) (59) and specifically in the list of priestly courses contained in I Chronicles 24 which indubitably antedates the Maccabean revolt (60).

We have already had occasion to note that it would not be unwarranted to assume that the ramified family of Jedaiah are, in fact, the sons of Zadok of the First Temple period, and that several of the priestly courses were branches of this ramified family (61). We may also reasonably assume that prominent among the priestly courses that branched off from the Jedaiah family was the Jehoiarib course. Such an inference may be adduced from the juxtaposition of Jedaiah and Jehoiarib in Return sources and from the prominent status of the latter in the list of the twenty-four priestly courses. These deductions notwithstanding, we are constantly enjoined to keep one point in mind- any investigations into the question of priestly genealogy from early post-exilic days, based as they are on indirect evidence, will lack any real significance for the period within our purview. Testimony gleaned from the Book of Chronicles and the song of thanksgiving in Ben-Sira tends to confirm the opinion that, at this time, the term “sons of Zadok” referred solely to the High Priestly family excluding the Jehoiarib course which the Hasmonean family belonged to.

Our investigations concerning the concept “sons of Zadok” and the descent of the Hasmonean House, may apparently justify the proposal of some scholars that by stressing the position of the priestly “sons of Zadok” within the sect, the sectaries were, in actuality, taking a polemic stand against the Hasmoneans. No concrete evidence, however, is available to support such a contention, whereas numerous and important considerations may be mustered for rejecting this thesis.

It is undeniable that until the Antiochide decrees, the high priesthood was an hereditary affair, remaining within the province of a single family over the course of hundreds of years and invariably transmitted from father to son. Concomitant patterns and procedures were developed. The prerogative of the house of Zadok to High Priesthood, as well as the view tending toward Zadokite election as Israel’s high priesthood, was based on the centuries-old tradition. Fundamentally speaking, however, this exalted office was not perforce the exclusive province of any one priestly family (62). One may surmise that during the First Temple period as well, there was an interchange of families from amongst whose ranks the high priest was chosen (63). This situation prevailed without hindrance after the decline of Hasmonean rule until the destruction of the Second Temple (64). The sources at our disposal, at any rate, which contended against the very Hasmonean House, that had been chosen by the populace to assume the high priesthood, make no mention of Hasmonean unfitness in this respect which may be traceable to their lineage (65).

How did the Dead Sea Sect view the matter? While nothing explicit may be garnered from sectarian writings, it is possible to gauge the sect’s outlook by the following- a) references in its writings to “the sons of Zadok the priests” and the anointed priest at the end of days; b) the nature of the arguments broached against the Jerusalemite priests. In our scrutiny of the sectaries’ allusions to the “sons of Zadok the priests”, we perceived a decided lack of any controversial stand against other priestly categories. Generally speaking, Zadokite priests are mentioned in conjunction with their position of authority within the sect and not in relation to cultic matters.

The sons of Zadok are nowhere mentioned in these writings in connection with the Anointed of Aaron, who was to serve as high priest in the end of days. It is, of course, permissible to assume that, in the sect’s own view, the high priest in the eschatological era would stem from that priestly family which maintained a position of authority within the sect, in other words, the sons of Zadok (66). No reason was felt, however, to stress this aspect unduly, which would have been self-evident were the question of the legality of the Jerusalemite high priest to have been the subject of contention against the Hasmonean House. Judaean Desert writings, moreover, whilst containing severe recriminations against the priests of Jerusalem, headed by the Wicked Priest, contain no depreciatory statements on the issue of usurption of high priestly authority.

Epigraphical and archaeological findings, as previously pointed out, substantiate the view (concerning the Dead Sea Sect history) that the genesis of the sect and its segregation from the mass of the nation occurred quite some time after the establishment of the Hasmonean rule (67). It would thus be hard to contend that at this time, after several Hasmonean high priests already officiated, the members of the sect were to segregate themselves from the national entity owing to polemics concerning the legitimacy of the Hasmonean high priests (68). Our approach is lent added support from the Habakkuk Pesher where it is stated of the Wicked Priest, adversary of the Teacher of Righteousness, that he “was called by the name of truth at the beginning of his coming” (VIII, 9), and only “when he ruled over Israel, his heart rose up and he abandoned God and betrayed the precepts because of riches and he stole,” etc. (VIII, 9-11). Not priestly lineage, but personal acts and outlook are thus seen to be the underlying cause of sectarian wrath.

In conclusion I should like to review briefly the status of “the sons of Zadok the priests” within the Dead Sea Sect, its implication and background, hitherto discussed in detail, but only in conjunction with the texts concerned. Amongst the adherents of the Dead Sea Sect were the Zadokite priests who traced their ancestry to the High Priestly family of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, as well as other priests descended from different priestly families. The “sons of Zadok the priests” occupied a position of leadership and authority during the sect’s existence; and this same status was assigned to them in the eschatological era. This precedence was theirs not by virtue of any special rights in matters of priestly ritual, but rather owing to their authority concerning the maintenance of the ordinances of the sect and the interpretation of its precepts and beliefs.

The founders of the sect who also determined its overall image were the priestly descendants of Zadok. The circumstances surrounding the establishment of the sect and the halo of honor and leadership still inherent in the connotation “sons of Zadok” may serve to explain the position held by the “sons of Zadok the priests” within the framework of the Dead Sea Sect and the unmistakably clear expression of this position in sectarian literature.

Difficulties and unsolved problems still abound, both as regards the “sons of Zadok” within the sectary framework and as seen against the background of the history of the Zadokite priests in general. One can but hope that publication of additional sectarian writings, whether already known as extant, or as yet to make their appearance, will assist us in our search for solutions to these problems.

(1) Controversy in this respect commenced with the publication of the Damascus Document (discovered in the Cairo genizah) in 1910 by S. SCHECHTER, who entitled his study, Fragments of a Zadokite Work, assuming that the sect founder was called Zadok and that the sectaries were consequently named sons of Zadok (see- S. SCHECHTER, Documents of Jewish Sectaries I, 1910, pp. XVIII-XXI). Varying opinions were already then expressed (see- M. H. SEGAL, The Damascus Covenant, Hashiloah XXVI [1912], pp. 396 ff. [Hebrew]; H. H. ROWLEY, The Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1952, pp. 79-82), while other theories were expounded with the disclosure of the Judean Desert Scrolls (see- R. NORTH, The Qumran “Sadducees”, in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly XVII (1955), pp. 164-188; M. BURROWS, More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1958, pp. 257-261; and other appended studies). Several hypotheses were voiced when only few of the pertinent data were before the scholars; others still based themselves on attempts to fix the date of the Dead Sea Sect either prior to the Hasmonean revolt, at the time of the fall of the Second Temple, or even later. In the present state of research as regards the history and literature of the Dead Sea Sect, I deem it superfluous to present a detailed listing of the various arguments or, for that matter, to engage in debate with them.

(2) See- J. T. MILIK, Qumran Cave I, 1955, pp. 107-108, 118-119.

(3) See- J. LICHT, The Rule Scroll, 1965, pp. 107-115 (Hebrew). I wish to thank my friend, Dr. LICHT, who was kind enough to peruse my essay and offer his comments.

(4) For a detailed discussion- J. LICHT, ibidem, pp. 109-112.

(5) Readings and restoration of the text according to J. T. MILIK, Qumran Cave I, p. 110; J. LICHT, The Rule Scroll, p. 252; as well as other restorations of the text in the Rule of the Congregation and the Benedictions, below.

(6) See- J. T. ΜILIΚ, Qumran Cave I, pp. 118-119.

(7) On the problem of the scope of the benediction of the sons of Zadok the priests and the mention of other than Zadokite priests in the Benedictions, see below.

(8) As proposed by- S. SCHECHTER, Documents of Jewish Sectaries, I, 1910, pp. XVIII-XXI; R. H. CHARLES, The Apocrypha and Pseudoepigrapha of the 0. T., II, 1913, pp. 787-794; H. H. ROWLEY, The Teacher of Righteousness and the Dead Sea Scrolls, in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library XL (1957), p. 138; and others.

(9) See J. T. MILIK, Revue Biblique LXVII (1960), p. 414; see also J. LICHT, The Rule Scroll, p. 195.

(10) The text was published by J. M. ALLEGRO, in Journal of Biblical Literature LXXXVII (1958), pp. 350-354; and discussed by Y. YADIN, in Israel Exploration Journal IX (1959), pp. 95-98, who suggested readings and text restoration preferable, in the main, to those of ALLEGRO. The text here is mainly according to YADIN.

(11) One reading proposed by YADIN for line 19 (expounding on Psalm 2, 1) is as follows- [פ]שר הדבר [על בני צדוק הכוה]נים וה[נלוים עמהם] בחירי ישראל באחרית הימים. This is a conceivable rendering; but owing to the fragmentary state of the text, any restoration is uncertain. The other restoration, preferred by Yadin, and based on the Damascus Docu¬ment V, 3-4, reads- נים וה[מה][פ[שר הדבר [על בני צדוק הכוה. The latter is difficult on several counts- a) the restoration of וה[מה] is too short for the relatively large gap in the scroll; b) the vaw, clearly visible in the text, lends support to the opinion that “the Elect of Israel in the end of days” are not to be identified with the “sons of Zadok”; c) in the Damascus Document V, 3-4, “sons of Zadok”, quoted from Ezekiel, was allegorically interpreted as reference to the elect of Israel (and see below). In our case, however, there is no cause for departing from the literal meaning. “The sons of Zadok the priests” (if we are to accept YADIN’S restoration), may not be construed as identical with Israel’s elect.

(12) See below.

(13) It is dubious whether one may link the text of Ezekiel 44, 15, found in the Dam. Doc. with those of the Vulgate and the Peshitta- “and the priests and the Levites sons of Zadok”, as the latter renderings make the Levites sons of Zadok. The Dam. Doc., on the other hand, interconnects Levite and priest, while the sons of Zadok stand alone, as may be inferred from the midrash on the passage.

(14) The Dam. Doc. rendering before us offers no explicit commentary on the word והלוים, although it is referring to the latter when it states-והנלוים עמהם . Some scholars proposed to emend the text and read-והלוים הם הנלוים עמהם (cf. Ch. RABIN, The Zadokite Documents, 1958, p. 13). The expression may, however, be an abbreviated usage. It is apparent, at any rate, that the midrashic interpretation of the Ezekiel passage in the Dam. Doc. combines Levites and priests. As to the term הנלוים עמהם, cf. Rule of the Community V, 6.

(15) Cf. Dam. Doc. VI, 10-11; Rule of the Congregation I, 1; Habakkuk Pesher IV, 5-6; IX, 5-6; 4 Q Florilegium I, 11-12. 15. 19 (Journal of Biblical Literature LXXVII (1958), pp. 353-354); 4 Q

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