Who was Amariah in the Bible?

A common Old Testament name used by Israelite priestly families

Hebrew name: אֲמַרְיָ֫הוּ (amar-yahu)

Name meaning: “Yahweh has commanded/command of Yahweh”

a. Son of Meraioth (1Chronicles6:7) – 1Chronicles6 mentions Amariah as the son of Meraioth and father of Ahitub, a direct descendant of Levi. His grandson was Zadok, a prominent high priest who served under King David.

b. Son of Azariah (1Chronicles6:11) – Another Levite named Amariah is mentioned in 1Chronicles6:11. This individual was also a descendant of Levi and an ancestor of Ezra.

c. Son of Hebron (1 Chronicles 23:19) – 1 Chronicles lists Amariah as a son of Hebron, the familial head of a clan of Levites related to Moses. He is listed in 1 Chronicles 24:23 as one of the Levites serving in the court of David.

d. A chief-priest under Jehoshaphat (2Chronicles19:11) – 2Chronicles19 recounts impactful legal reforms made by Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah (early 8th century B.C.). Amariah is named as the chief priest and primary advisor over various judges appointed by Jehoshaphat to decide on legal matters.

e. A temple worker (2 Chronicles 31:15) – Amariah is mentioned as an assistant to Kore, a Levitical priest who oversaw temple offerings under Hezekiah, the 13th king of Judah (late 8th or early 7th century B.C.). As was the law, an allotment of temple offerings would be apportioned to the priests. Amariah’s job was apparently to assist in distributing these portions.

f. A post-exile priest (Nehemiah 10:3) – Amariah is listed among the first wave of Jewish exiles who returned to their homeland with Zerubbabel (mid-6th century B.C.). He is also mentioned in Nehemiah 12:2 and Nehemiah 12:13. The community signed a covenant commitment to keep the Law as they attempted to rebuild Jerusalem. Amariah was one of the signatories of this agreement.

g. Descendant of Binnui (Ezra 10:42) – Amariah is listed among the former exiles who returned to Jerusalem under Ezra (mid-5th century B.C.). To restore the community’s covenant relationship with God, Ezra ordered all men who had married foreign wives while in Babylon to divorce. Amariah was one of the individuals who agreed to do so.

h. Son of Shephatiah (Nehemiah 11:4) – Amariah is mentioned as a descendant of Athaiah, the head of a post-exile family that returned to Judah.

i. Ancestor of the prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 1:1) – Zephaniah was a literary prophet (a prophet who wrote Scripture) and his words are recorded in the book of Zephaniah (late 7th century B.C.). In the first verse of his prophecies, Amariah is noted as one of his ancestors, along with Hezekiah.


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