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  • Dr. David Neiman

History of the Sadducees Part 13

After describing the garments that the priests should wear in their service and other details that pertain to the priests alone, he goes on to state their authority over the people.

44:23. "They shall teach My people to distinguish between the sacred and the profane and the clean and the unclean."

44:24. "They shall sit in judgment over any disputes and shall judge according to My laws. And My teachings and My law, and all of My appointed times they shall keep and they shall sanctify My Sabbath days."

It is clear and unequivocal that these declarations in the Torah and in the words of the Prophet Ezekiel establish the supremacy of the Priesthood of the descendants of Tzadok. These are powerful scriptural foundations for the rights of the Tzadokite priesthood to retain their position as the High Priests of Israel.

In addition to these divinely inspired statements by Moses and Ezekiel, there is one more element in the Zadokite claim, and that is the precedent of their having retained the priesthood for more than three hundred and fifty years.

Despite the fact that they had been ousted by the Hasmoneans, they still felt that they were, in truth, the only legitimate priests of the House of Israel. They no doubt regretted their betrayal of Judaism during the period when they submitted to the dictates of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but time had passed and they felt that they were, in some manner, cleansed of their sin by the passage of time and their return to the traditions of the Torah as they understood them.

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