In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Zadok

  • Introduction
  • Monographs on the Zadokite Priesthood in the Hebrew Bible
  • Journal Articles on Zadok as a Dramatic Persona
  • Journal Articles on Zadok’s Origin
  • Journal Articles on Zadok’s Relation to the Other Priestly Families
  • Journal Articles on Zadok’s Relation to the Cult
  • Journal Articles on a Variety of Aspects Related to Zadok
  • Articles in Edited Volumes on the Biblical Character of Zadok
  • Reference Resources on the Biblical Character of Zadok
  • The Genealogies in 1 Chronicles
  • The “Other Zadok”: Zadok the Scribe in Nehemiah 13.13
  • Zadok in Later Reception

Biblical Studies Zadok
Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer
  • LAST MODIFIED: 11 January 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0229


The name and character of Zadok appears in three places in the Hebrew Bible: in the David Narrative in the Deuteronomistic history (2 Samuel, 1 Kings), in the David narrative in the Chronicler’s history (1 Chronicles), and in the priestly genealogies (1 Chronicles 6.3–12, 6.50–53, 24.1–3). In addition, Ezekiel refers extensively to “the sons of Zadok” (Ezekiel 40.46, 43.19, 44.15, 48.11). Zadok appears for the first time in 2 Samuel 8.15–18 as part of a list of David’s officials: Joab is the head of the army; Jehoshaphat is the recorder; Seraiah is secretary; and Zadok and Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar, are priests, as are David’s sons. The scholarly discussions about Zadok fall roughly into one of three categories. First, scholars seek to understand Zadok’s origin: Was he a member of the older clergy located at Shiloh, a member of a rivaling priestly family from Hebron, a priest from Gibeon, a Jebusite priest from Jerusalem, or a member of the old royal Jebusite family? There is, as of today, no consensus view in this matter, yet most scholars view Zadok as a homo novus with no ties to the early Israelite priesthood at Shiloh. Second, exegetes attempt to understand Zadok’s role in the David narrative. Questions arise as to Zadok’s historicity and his clerical/administrative/political power at David’s court. Scholars also discuss his overall function as a dramatic persona in the various subsections of the narrative: David’s flight from Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion, the rivalry between Adonijah and Solomon, and the crowning of Solomon. In addition, much ink has been spilled in trying to understand the interplay between David’s two chief priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and the way that these two characters represent the conflict between the Zadokite and the Elide priesthoods. Third, many scholarly treaties have been devoted to the postmonarchic conflict between the various priestly lines: the Zadokites, the Aaronites, and the Levites. The term “Zadokite” denotes priests who are—or at least claim to be—the descendants of Zadok. This term does not appear in the Deuteronomistic history or the Chronicler’s history. Moreover, few priests in the monarchic era are described as being descendants of Zadok, the two exceptions being Azariah, who was Zadok’s son (1 Kings 4.2, עזריהו בן צדוק), and Azariah, the chief priest during Hezekiah’s reign (2 Chronicles 31.10a, ויאמר אליו עזריהו הכהן הראש לבית צדוק). Instead, the “sons of Zadok” (בני צדוק) appear in full force only in the last part of the book of Ezekiel (42.13 [LXX], 43.19, 44.10–16). While much of this debate is not concerned with the actual literary/historical figure of Zadok, his name and his origin have a bearing on the understanding of the later history of the high priesthood.

General Works on the Priesthood in the Hebrew Bible

Given Zadok’s role as the first chief priest of the united monarchy, he has a given place in any discussion of the history of the priesthood in ancient Israel/the Hebrew Bible.

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