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Samaritan High Priest

Family of the Samaritan High Priests, 1876. To the left is a scribe named Shalabi, to the right are Isaac the son of the High Priest Amram ben Shalma, then Abisha, the son of Amram's brother Pinehas, and finally Uzzi the son of the High Priest Yaacob ben Aaharon ben Shalma, the son of Amram's brother Aaharon.

The Samaritan High Priest is the high priest (kohen gadol) of the remaining Samaritan community in the Levant. According to the Samaritan's tradition, the office has existed continuously since the time of Aaron, the brother of Moses, and has been held by 133 priests in the last thirty-four centuries. However, the historicity of this claim is disputable; the office itself may go back into the Hellenistic period, which would still make it the oldest, constantly occupied, religious office in the world. One account by Josephus suggests that its office holders are an offshoot of the Zadokite high priests of Jerusalem from around the time of Alexander the Great.[1][2]

Samaritan Kohanim c. 1876. The inscription on the bottom label the persons from, left to right: "Phineas the Kohen, Jacob the Kohen, Isaac the Kohen". The small child is Jacob's daughter.

It appears, based upon the larger gaps in time between high priests, that several names might be missing, or that there were long periods of vacancy between priests.

The continuous lineage of Samaritan High Priests, descending directly from Aaron, through his son Eleazar, and his son Phinehas, was however disrupted in the early 17th century. In 1624, the last Samaritan High Priest of the line of Eleazar son of Aaron died without male succession, but descendants of Aaron's other son, Ithamar, remained and took over the office.[3]

List of Samaritan High PriestsEdit

  1. Sashai ben Abishua, who was a contemporary and rival of the Jewish High Priest Eli of Shiloah.
  2. Bakhi ben Abishua, probably identical to the Jewish High Priest Bukki.
  3. Shembet ben Nedab ben Uzziah ben Sashai, who served at the shrine to God at Shechem alone.
  4. Shallum ben Shembet,
  5. Hezekiah I ben Pedaiel ben Shembet,
  6. Jonathan I ben Abiathar (2 Samuel 15:27), served as a messenger during Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 15:36, 17:17).
  7. Jair ben Jonathan,
  8. Daliah I ben Hezekiah,
  9. Jair II ben Abiezer ben Jair,
  10. Jonathan II ben Mennah ben Abiezer
  11. Ishmael ben Koraiah ben Daliah
  12. Tobiah I
  13. Zadok
  14. Amram I
  15. Hilkiah
  16. Amram II
  17. Akkub I
  18. Akkubiah I ben Hoshea, who was a contemporary of Isaiah and King Hezekiah.
  19. Hillel
  20. Seriah
  21. Levi
  22. Nathaniel I
  23. Azariah sat as High Priest during the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem
  24. Abdael
  25. Hezekiah II
  26. Hananiah
  27. Amram III
  28. Hanan
  29. Hezekiah III
  30. Daliah II
  31. Akkub II
  32. Akkubiah II
  33. Levi I
  34. Eleazar II
  35. Manasseh, the son-in-law of Sanballat the governor
  36. Jair III
  37. Nathaniel II
  38. Joiachim
  39. Jonathan III, High Priest during the lifetime of Jesus
  40. Elishama, who held the office during the destruction of the second Jerusalem temple
  41. Shemaiah
  42. Tobiah II
  43. Amram IV
  44. Akabon I
  45. Phinhas II
  46. Levi II, who held the office during the revolt of Simon Bar Koziba
  47. Eleazar III
  48. Baba I
  49. Eleazar IV
  50. Akabon II
  51. Nathaniel III
  52. (~308-328 AD[4]) Baba II Rabba, ben Nathaniel
  53. Akabon III
  54. Nathaniel IV
  55. Akabon IV
  56. Eleazar V
  57. Akabon V
  58. Eleazar VI

  1. (1613–1624) Shelemiah ben Pinhas
  2. (1624–1650) Tsedaka ben Tabia Ha'abta'ai
  3. (1650–1694) Yitzhaq ben Tsedaka
  4. (1694–1732) Abraham ben Yitzhaq
  5. (1732–1752) Tabia ben Yiszhaq ben Avraham
  6. (1752–1787) Levi ben Avraham
  7. (1787–1855) Shalma ben Tabia
  8. (1855–1874) Amram ben Shalma
  9. (1874–1916) Yaacob ben Aaharon ben Shalma
    Samaritan High Priest Yaakov ben Aharon and the Abisha Scroll, 1905
  11. (1916–1932) Yitzhaq ben Amram ben Shalma ben Tabia
  12. (1933–1943) Matzliach ben Phinhas ben Yitzhaq ben Shalma
  13. (1943–1961) Abisha ben Phinhas ben Yittzhaq ben Shalma
  14. (1961–1980) Amram ben Yitzhaq ben Amram ben Shalma
  15. (1980–1982) Asher ben Matzliach ben Phinhas
  16. (1982–1984) Phinhas ben Matzliach ben Phinhas
  17. (1984–1987) Yaacob ben Ezzi ben Yaacob ben Aaharon
  18. (1987–1998) Yoseph ben Ab-Hisda ben Yaacov ben Aaharon {1919-1998}
  19. (1998–2001) Levi ben Abisha ben Phinhas ben Yitzhaq {1920-2001}
  20. (2001–2004) Shalom ben Amram ben Yitzhaq (Saum Is'haq al-Samiri){1922-2004}
  21. (2004–2010) Elazar ben Tsedaka ben Yitzhaq {1927-2010}
  22. (2010-2013) Aharon ben Ab-Chisda ben Yaacob
  23. (2013-) Aabed-El ben Asher ben Matzliach

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Josephus (1958). Jewish Antiquities. Loeb Classic Library, Josephus 6: Jewish Antiquities Books 9-11. Translated by Ralph Marcus. Harvard University Press. Book 11, chapter 7.2 – 8, p. 461-483.
  2. ^ Steinberg, David (20 August 2005). "The Origin and Nature of the Samaritans and their Relationship to Second Temple Jewish Sects". Section: "The Origin of the Samaritans: What Really Happened?". Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  3. ^ Sean Ireton (2003). "The Samaritans - A Jewish Sect in Israel: Strategies for Survival of an Ethno-religious Minority in the Twenty First Century". Anthrobase. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
  4. ^ Cohen, Jeffrey M. (1981). A Samaritan chronicle: a source-critical analysis of the life and times of the great Samaritan reformer, Baba Rabbah. Studia Post-Biblica 30. Leiden: Brill. pp. 225–226. ISBN 9789004062153.