Who were the Leaders of Jerusalem in the second temple period?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The leaders of Jerusalem in the second temple period were the high priests. This continued under the Persians (c. 539 – c. 332 BCE), the Greeks (c. 332–167 BCE), and the Hasmonean Kingdom (140–37 BCE).


The high priests were part of the Jewish priestly families that go back to Aaron, the first high priest of Israel and elder brother of Moses, through Zadok, who was a leading priest at the time of David and his son Solomon. This tradition ended in the 2nd century BCE during the rule of the Hasmoneans, when the position was occupied by other priestly families unrelated to Zadok.


The high priest was entrusted with the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30). Also, on Yom Kippur he entered the Holy of Holies, to atone for his house and for the people (Leviticus 16). He offered the sacrifices for the sins of the priests, or of the people, or of himself (Leviticus 4); and he served at the sacrifices after his own or another priest’s consecration (Leviticus 9). In addition, he offered a meal-offering every morning and evening for himself and the whole congregation of the priesthood (Leviticus 6:14–15).

List of High Priests in the Persian, Greek and Hasmonean Kingdoms:

  • Joshua, son of Jehozadak (515-490 BCE)
  • Ezra, son of Seraiah (Unknown)
  • Joiakim, son of Joshua (490-470 BCE)
  • Eliashib, son of Joiakim (470-433 BCE)
  • Joiada, son of Eliashib (433-410 BCE)
  • Johanan, son of Joiada (410-371 BCE)
  • Jaddua, son of Johanan (371-320 BCE)
  • Onias I, son of Jaddua (320-280 BCE)
  • Simon I, son of Onias (280-260 BCE)
  • Eleazar, son of Onias (260-245 BCE)
  • Manasseh, son of Jaddua (245-240 BCE)
  • Onias II, son of Simon (240-218 BCE)
  • Simon II, son of Onias (218-185 BCE)
  • Onias III, son of Simon (185-175 BCE)
  • Jason, son of Simon (175-172 BCE)
  • Menelaus (172-162 BCE)
  • Alcimus (162-159 BCE)
  • Jonathan Apphus (153-143 BCE)
  • Simeon Tassi, brother of Jonathan Apphus (142-134 BCE)
  • John Hyrcanus I, son of Simeon Tassi (134-104 BCE)
  • Aristobulus I, son of John Hyrcanus (104-103 BCE)
  • Alexander Jannaeus, son of John Hyrcanus (103-76 BCE)
  • John Hyrcanus II, son of Alexander Jannaeus (76-66 BCE)
  • Aristobulus II, son of Alexander Jannaeus (66-63 BCE)
  • John Hyrcanus II (63-40 BCE)
  • Antigonus, son of Aristobulos II (40-37 BCE)
  • Aristobulus III (37 BCE)
  • Ananelus (37-30 BCE)
  • Joshua ben Fabus (30-23 BCE)
  • Simon ben Boethus (23-5 BCE)
  • Matthias ben Theophilus (5-4 BCE)
  • Joazar ben Boethus (4 BCE)
  • Eleazar ben Boethus (4-3 BCE)
  • Joshua ben Sie (3 BCE – ?)
  • Joazar ben Boethus (? – 6 CE)
  • Ananus ben Seth (6-15 CE)
  • Ishmael ben Fabus (15-16)
  • Eleazar ben Ananus (16-17)
  • Simon ben Camithus (17-18)
  • Joseph Caiaphas (18-36)
  • Jonathan ben Ananus (36-37)
  • Theophilus ben Ananus (37-41)

Leaders Under the Romans

When the Romans ruled, they granted the Hasmonean King, Hyrcanus II, limited authority under the Roman governor of Damascus. And in 37 BCE, they appointed Herod, a son-in-law of Hyrcanus II, King of Judea. Ten years after Herod’s death (4 BCE), Judea came under direct Roman administration.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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