Ancestry of the Mishmarot Kehunah


In 1 Divrei Hayamim 24:4 it says about the dividing of the Mishmarot Kehunah:

"The sons of Eleazar turned out to be more numerous by male heads than the sons of Ithamar, so they divided the sons of Eleazar into sixteen chiefs of clans and the sons of Ithamar into eight clans."

And then it lists all of the Mishmarot.

Is there any way of knowing which Mishmarot were descended from Elazar and which from Itamar? I would have thought it would be simply the first 16 go to Elazar and the last 8 to Itamar, but verse 5 says the order of the Mishmarot was decided by lottery, so I guess not.

(Edit: Note: I've just found an essay by Prof. Yehoshua Meir Grinetz in which he discusses at length different aspects of the Mishmarot of the time of Ezra and Nechemiah and somehow manages to deduce which belonged to Elazar and which to Itamar)

Why should this post be closed?


Just to clarify: According to Rashi on v. 5, the lottery was to determine the order of the Mishmaros. ‭DonielF‭ 2 months ago

@DonielF thanks, I edited my question. Personally, I think that can be understood from pshat, too. ‭Harel13‭ 2 months ago

1 answer


In Yerushalmi Taanit 20a it says:

ר' זעיר' בשם רב הונה להזיר י"ז שחזר המחזיר לאלעזר

Translation: R' Zeir' in the name of Rav Hunah "to Hazir 17", that returned the cycle to Elazar.

On which Rabbi Kanievsky writes:

שח' משמרות ראשונות לאלעזר וח' שאחר כך לאיתמר ומי"ז ואילך חזר המחזור לאלעזר היינו שמונה משמרות נוספות של אלעזר.

Translation: That the first eight mishmarot were of Elazar and the next eight were of Itamar and from 17 and onward the cycle returned to Elazar, meaning his eight mishmarot added over those of Itamar.

And so it also written in perush Or Yesharim:

"לחזיר שבעה עשר" - המשמר השבעה עשר היה של חזיר (המשמרות נקראו על שם ראשי בתי האבות) ודרשו את השם 'חזיר' - "שחזר המחזור לאלעזר" - כשהוסיפו שמונה משמרות לאלעזר וקבעו על פי גורלות את סדר עשרים וארבעה המשמרות העלו בגורל תחילה שמונה משמרות מאלעזר ושמונה מאיתמר ואחר העלו בגורל עוד שמונה משמרות מאלעזר ונמצא שבמשמר השבעה עשר חזר מחזור סדר המשמרות לאלעזר ועל שם חזרה זו נקרא משמר זה בשם 'חזיר'

Translation: To Chazir seventeen - the seventeenth mishmar was that of Chazir (the mishmarot were named after the head of the house) and they explained the name 'Chazir' - "that the cycle returned to Elazar" - when they added eight mishmarot to Elazar and decided by lots the order of the twenty-four mishmarot, they drew by lottery first eight mishmarot from Elazar and eight from Itamar and then drew by lottery eight more mishmarot from Elazar and so it was found that in the seventeenth mishmar the cycle of the order of the mishmarot returned to Elazar and after that return (chazarah) that mishmar was called by the name of 'Chazir'.

So in other words, the first eight and last eight were of Elazar and the middle eight were of Itamar.


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