Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Jesus is personally named in the Old Testament

book-chronicles-one-books-bible-38716516The following is a list of verses from 1 Chronicles 24:6-19, where the names of the priests were chosen by lot apportioning their division of service. What is both interesting and surprising are the meanings of their Hebrew names. In them is found the story of Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) meaning “he will save”. Jesus is sent and the Holy Spirit anoints Him to be the one who will reconnect man back into fellowship with God.

In the list the verse number is listed first (the letter ‘a’ or ‘b’ … refers to the first part of the verse, or the second part etc). The text of the verse, with the English form of the name in bold, is then followed by the Hebrew name and the Romanised form of that name, which is followed by the meaning of the Hebrew name. Most of the meanings of the names seem to be relevant to the story of redemption through Christ.

Verse 6a And Shemaiah שְׁמַעיָהּ Shma`yah  Jah has heard

יָהּ Jah is God’s personal name. He has heard our cries and will answer our prayers (Psalm 34:17).

Verse 6b the son of Nethaneel נְתַנאֵל Nthane’l — given of God

Shemaiah is the son ‘given of God’ because ‘Jah has heard’. God gave his only begotten Son, because God has heard our prayers (Genesis 22:2; John 3:16).

the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes,

Verse 6c and Zadok the priest, צָּדוֹק Tsadowq — just (in a moral sense)

God is just (2 Thessalonians 1:6).

and Ahimelech

Verse 6d the son of Abiathar, אֶביָתָר ‘Ebyathar  father of abundance (i.e. liberal)

God is the father of abundance, He is abundant in mercy (2 Peter 1:2)

and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken

Verse 6e for Eleazar, אֶלעָזָר ‘El`azar God (is) helper

God is my helper.  I will not fear what man shall do to me (Hebrews 13:6).

and one taken for Ithamar.

In the verses below, lots were taken to create the divisions of the priestly service. Only two names are mentioned in each verse.

Verse 7a Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, יְהוֹיָרִיבּ Yhowyariyb  Jahovah will contend

The LORD God will contend for us (Psalms 35:1).

Verse 7b the second to Jedaiah, יְדַעיָה Ykda`yah Jah has known

The LORD God is omniscient and hence has known everything from the creation of the world (1 Corinthians 2:11,16).

Verse 8a The third to Harim, חָרִם Charim — to seclude, specifically (by a ban) to devote to religious uses (especially destruction)

Verse 8b the fourth to Seorim, שְׂעוֹרִים S`oriym — barley grains

Verse 9a The fifth to Malchijah,מַלכִּיָה  Malkiyah — king of (i.e. appointed by) Jah

Jesus though the Son of God is a king appointed by Jah. Jesus is King of kings (Revelation 19:16).

Verse 9b the sixth to Mijamin, מִיָמִן Miyamin from מִניָמִין Minyamiyn — from (the) right hand

Jesus comes from the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans 8:34).

A priest of the course (or division) of Abijah

Verse 10a The seventh to Hakkoz, קוֹץ Qowts — a thorn

Verse 10b the eighth to Abijah,אֲבִיָה  ‘Abiyah — worshipper of Jah.

John the Baptist’s father Zechariah was priest according to the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5,8). And John preceded Jesus.

Verse 11a The ninth to Jeshua, יֵשׁוַּע Yeshuwa` — he will save

Jesus was given his name by an angel from God because He will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus (Yeshua, Joshua) is explicitly named here. Yeshua may have been a common Hebrew name but at the time of His birth one of the priests Zechariah was of the division of Abijah. Now see what follows Yeshua in the same verse…

Verse 11b the tenth to Shecaniah,שְׁכַניָה  Shkanyah — Jah has dwelt (Shekinah, Shechinah, or Schechinah (Hebrew: שְׁכַינָה), Hebrew noun meaning dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God and his cosmic glory.)

The divine presence of God, the Holy Spirit, was definitely on Jesus and we see the picture of this in Luke 3:21,22. Man was separated from God, so God sent His only begotten Son.

Verse 12a The eleventh to Eliashib, אֶליָשִׁיבּ ‘Elyashiyb — God will restore

God will restore man back into communion with God, through Christ vicariously sacrificing and atoning for our sins.

Verse 12b the twelfth to Jakim, יָקִים Yaqiym  he will raise

Christ will rise from the dead after His death on the cross (Romans 8:34).

Verse 13a The thirteenth to Huppah, חוּפָּה Chuppah   a canopy, chamber, closet, defence

Verse 13b the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, יֶשֶׁבאָב Yesheb’ab   seat of (his) father

After His resurrection Christ sits on the seat of His Father (Ephesians 1:20). All people must eventually appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to our deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Verse 14a The fifteenth to Bilgah, בִּלגָּה Bilgah — desistance, which is generally defined as the cessation of offending.

At Christ’s death on the cross the veil of the Temple was ripped open because He paid the ultimate price as our kinsman-Redeemer (Boaz is one in the book of Ruth) and now no Temple worship is needed. The offence was fully paid on the cross (Colossians 2:14; Isaiah 53:8).

Verse 14b the sixteenth to Immer, אִמֵּר ‘Immer  talkative אָמַר ‘amar to answer

Jesus answered to God on our behalf, so that we are freely justified through faith (Romans 3:24).

Verse 15a The seventeenth to Hezir, חֵזִיר Cheziyr  protected, to enclose

We, through faith, are protected by God’s power for salvation (1 Peter 1:5; Psalm 91:4).

Verse 15b the eighteenth to Aphses, פִּצֵּץ Pitstsets — dispersive

Verse 16a The nineteenth to Pethahiah, פְּתַחיָה Pthachyah  Jah has opened

God has opened the way to heaven through His only begotten Son — a new and living way for us to go through the curtain. (Hebrews 10:20).

Verse 16b the twentieth to Jehezekel, יְחֶזקֵאל Ychezqe’l  (Ezekiel) — God will strengthen

 God will strengthen all who call upon Him (Isaiah 41:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Verse 17a The one and twentieth to Jachin, יָכִין Yakiyn  he will establish

God will establish His kingdom (Daniel 2:44).

Verse 17b the two and twentieth to Gamul, גָּמוּל Gamuwl  rewarded

God will reward those who do good according to their works (Romans 2:6)

Verse 18a The three and twentieth to Delaiah,  דְּלָיָה Dlayah  Jah has delivered

God has delivered those who believe from death (2 Corinthians 1:10)

Verse 18b the four and twentieth to Maaziah מַעַזיָה Ma`azyah — rescue of Jah

We have been rescued by God through Christ (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:8,9).

Verse 19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the LORD, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.

A Priest of the Division of Abijah

During the Second Temple period, the twenty-four priestly divisions served in the temple at Jerusalem in a rotation system. A list of priestly divisions is found in these verses above, 1 Chronicles 24:7-18, which is usually dated by scholars to the fifth century B.C.. There is no mention there, however, of any fixed order of service. Only in post-biblical traditions is it mentioned that the priestly divisions served according to a weekly rotation system.1

The priests themselves lived not only in Jerusalem but also in other settlements in the land of Israel. When it was “time for the division to go up [to Jerusalem]” (Mishnah, Ta’anit 4:2), the priests left their homes, went up to Jerusalem for a week, and afterwards returned to their homes in Judea or Galilee.1

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia [Abijah]: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course. (Luke 1:5,8)

According to the gospel of Luke, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth was of the “daughters of Aaron,” that is the daughter of a priest. All priests were of the lineage of Aaron, this it was common at that time to refer to people of priestly stock as descendants of Aaron. For example, a first-century inscription found in Jerusalem in 1971 mentions the heroic exploits of a person who introduces himself as: “I Abba son of the priest Eleaz[ar] the son of the great Aaron.”

In the above list of the priests we see not only the message of God sending His only begotten Son as Savior but also we see Jesus (Yeshua) specifically mentioned following Abijah the priest of whose division Zechariah was. Then we see in the same verse a reference to the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus was the last Priest between God and man. No other was required.

But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Hebrews 10:12)

Yeshua offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to pay for all sins of the world forever. Now there is no need for a priesthood anymore. Case closed!


  1. Shmuel Safrai, A Priest of the Division of Abijah, February 01, 1989

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.