Josephus writes of the High Priesthood in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. Clearly the position of Sumo Sacerdote, High Priest, was on a level of Kingship, and he names Jesus the legitimate next-in line to be Sumo Sacerdote. Jesus was deprived of his rightful position by King Herod. Herod wants to give the position to Simon, who is only a Levite, one of many priest assistants to the Sumo Sacerdote who is not a Levite, but of the of the Alpha Beth of Tsadok. To get control of the Temple, Herod was to marry Simon’s daughter, Mariomni, and give Simon a big job promotion in order to bring his daughter up to the status of his own. Josephus glosses over this raw truth that Herod set avaricious eyes on the High Priesthood, or feared it, and sought to control it through these maneuvers. These are the words translated from Josephus:
“There was one Simon, a citizen of Jerusalem, the son of one Boethus, a citizen of Alexandria, and a priest of great note there. This man had a daughter who was esteemed the most beautiful woman of that time, and when the people of Jerusalem began to speak much in her commendation, it happened that Herod was much affected with what was said of her, and when he saw the damsel was much smitten with her beauty…so he thought it best to take the damsel for wife. But while Simon was of a dignity too inferior to be allied to him, but still too considerable to be despised, he governed his inclinations in the most prudent manner by augmenting the dignity of the family and making them more honorable; so he immediately deprived Jesus the son of Pha Bet of the high priesthood and conferred that dignity upon Simon and so joined in affinity with him.”
Pha Bet reminds me of Jesus’ words, “I am the al-Pha and the omega”. Al Pha Bet means Of the House of the Prophets. Mari Omni means beloved of the Most High, and was an oft used female name at the time in these royal families, with roots going back to New Kingdom Egyptian Hieroglyph names for the Queens, like Miriam, sister of Moses.
Josephus goes on to write of another member of the Herod family:
“Herod also, the brother of the deceased Agrippa, who was then possessed of the royal authority over Chalcis petitioned Claudius Caesar for the authority over the temple, and the money of the sacred treasure, and the choice of the High Priests. He obtained all that he petitioned for, so that after that time his authority continued among all his descendants till the end of the war”.
So it’s clear that Jesus was the true high priest, not of the Jews, but of the Israelites, according to the Old Testament order of Melchizedek, as he makes clear in The Gospel of Matthew. Jesus asks the Pharisees point blank, “how can I be David’s son?, and he points out in the sacred scripture that the Messiah would be of the Order of Melchizedek, his own House, and I’ll find that quote and post it in my next entry, along with a discussion of the location of Chalcis and why it matters. It matters much also, whether Jesus was the son of David or not. We’ll explore the reasons why this is so in future posts as well.