Under Darius, the Persian Empire’s approach regarding conquered territories changed drastically. Cyrus the Great assumed the existing administrative configuration of the Babylonian Empire. Under the Darius, however, a major shift in the social-political administration of conquered lands occurred. The act of relocating exiled communities to their place of origins and installing representatives of these various indigenous groups was at the heart of this new policy. As a result, the dominating cultic agenda for Jerusalem and the returning Jewish exiles for the several centuries was established. The leadership of the community was entrusted to Zerubabel, the nephew of Sheshbazar and the Zadokite priest Joshua, the son of Jehozadak.
Joshua and the Zadokite circles with him claimed descent from Zadok. Zadok had been a priest and loyal companion of David amidst internal conflict and intrigue. Furthermore, Zadok, had firmly supported Solomon as the legitimate heir to the throne. For the next 350 years until the Maccabean struggle, the line of Zadokite priests assuming the responsibility for the reformation of the Jerusalem cult was secure.
The first major impact of the rise of the Zadokite priesthood was the cultic transformations that occurred. According to Boccaccini, one of the most significant of these changes was the exclusion of most of the Levitical priestly circle from participating as full priests. For it is Boccaccini’s assertion that the no true distinction between the priests and Levites was known before the exile. For Boccaccini, this displacement occurred even as the communities still lived in exile in anticipation of restored worship in Jerusalem. Furthermore the basis of their legitimacy to assume priestly power was tied to the priestly holiness codes that reconstructed Israelite history with mythical view of priestly origins.
“YHWH spoke to Moses: …You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting…Put the sacral vestments on Aaron and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve Me as priest. Then bring his sons forward, put tunics on them, and anoint them as you have their father, that they may serve me as priests. This their anointing shall serve them for everlasting priesthood throughout the ages.” 
What is of greatest concern to us in this study is that the Zadokite priesthood achieved an amazing level of power in the restored Judean community. Though it appears that the Zadokites were not allowed administer the priesthood without strong resistance. For this we must turn briefly to the priestly genealogies preserved in the biblical texts because they offer insight into the complex evolvement of priestly leadership in post-exilic Judea. From Ezra-Nehemiah as well as the first book Esdras we are presented with lists of returnees representing four classes headed by the following individuals: Jedaiah, Immer, Pashhur, and Harim. Only one of the families, that of Jedaiah, is connected to the Zadokite line. No mention of the other’s relationship to the Zadokites is presented. As time passed, additional families were added to the genealogical lists detailing the priestly circles. They eventually totaled 24 classes which remained the standard throughout the Second Temple period and this division is attributed to David in the book of Chronicles. Aware of the multiplication of priestly families, rabbinic sources have offered some solutions to this phenomena and argued that it represented practical concerns only.
“The prophets among them then arose and made twenty-four lots and cast them in an urn . [Jedaiah, Harim, Pashhur, and Immer] came and drew five lots each, each making six including himself. “
Boccaccini, however, argues that the proliferation of priestly classes is instead due to the need on the part of the Zadokites to include various families for “political” purposes in their effort to assert control over the religious establishment. Perhaps the strongest support for his thesis can be found in the inclusion of priests descended from Abiathar (house of Eli) along with the descendents of Zadok. Abiathar the priest had served along with Zadok as priests under David’s reign, but had proved an unfaithful friend of Solomon and allied himself with Adonijah in his struggle to usurp the Solomon’s rise to the throne. Abiathar was ultimately banished and this was taken to fulfill the prophetic word regarding the fall of the priestly house of Eli.  How the descendents of Abiathar were counted among the restored priesthood is debatable, but Boccaccini contends that they must have presented a considerable power block to not only be listed along with the Zadokites but also maintain their separate identity. Whatever the case, The Ezekelian principle that the descendents of Zadok were alone to administer the priesthood appears to have been compromised.
“But the Levitical priests descended from Zadok, who maintained the service of My Sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from Me – they shall approach Me to minister to Me; they shall stand before Me to offer fat and blood- declares the L-rd G-d. They alone may enter My Sanctuary and the alone shall My Table to minister to Me; and they shall keep my charge. ..They shall declare to My people what is sacred and what is profane and inform them what is clean and what is unclean. In lawsuits , too it is they who shall act as judges; they shall act in accordance with My rules. They shall preserve My teachings and My laws regarding all My fixed occasions; and they shall maintain the sanctity of My Sabbaths.”
The greatest effect, Boccaccini adds was the widening of the boundaries to embrace the those outside the Zadokite line and in effect create multiple priestly functionaries. Josephus defines this power when he describes the Judean form of political authority as:
“A form of government that was aristocratical, but mixed with oligarchy, for the high priests were at the head of their affairs, until the posterity of the Hasmoneans set up kingly government.” 
The Zadokites in conjunction with other priestly families joined together and managed to form a priestly class that enjoyed almost complete supremacy.
The Zadokite Worldview
Zadokite Judaism was characterized by its views on cosmic and social structures. Rules and regulations were extremely important and enforced in maintaining proper boundaries. In the Torah, the writings typically attributed to the Priestly tradition are predominantly, concerned with the manner in which G-d arranged the cosmic order of creation. For the Zadokites, G-d organized the cosmos by defining the boundaries of not only time, but of space and society as well. Grades of holiness were inherent in creation and the preservation of the harmony of these spheres. G-d’s exclusive Temple, which ideally stood at the center of the world, was led by His only legitimate priesthood. As Boccaccini explicates:
“Its architecture and structure together with its personnel and ordered liturgical calendar replicated the sacred geography of creation, the social hierarchy of human kind, and the internal times of the cosmos.”
Society reflected this hierarchy and the priesthood naturally found itself at the highest level of this sphere followed by the general priesthood and Levitical s families. This order continued to span outward by encompassing the people of Israel, the nations, and even animals and nature and included diminishing levels of impurity. At the heart of this ideology was a passage from Leviticus:
“I am YHWH your G-d; I have separated you from the people; so you must separate between clean and unclean animals…You shall be holy to me, for I YHWH am holy. I separated you from the peoples that you may be mine.”
Diminishing spheres of authority were not limited to people, however. Space or geographical boundaries around the Temple, Jerusalem, and greater Israel were at the top of this hierarchy. Time was also sacred and this is evidenced in the great emphasis on cyclical celebrations in rhythm with the agricultural year. The sacred order was indeed fragile, but the Zadokite worldview did not include extreme measures that would necessitate the destruction or reformulation of the current order. Despite the challenges, the world remained the good and ordered universe created by G-d as His most perfect act.
The stability of the world was inherently tied to the concept of boundaries and these boundaries were preserved by the meticulous observance of the relationship evidenced in Israel’s covenant with G-d. Observance of the covenant reflected particularly in the adherence to Sabbath laws and cultic worship in accordance with Zadokite directives preserved the order of the world.
Resistance to Zadokite Judaism
The rise of the Zadokites as the dominating force articulating a new religious and political reconstituted order in Judea was not without its significant conflicts. The first of these can be traced to the arrival of Ezra-Nehemiah and their engagement with the “peoples of the land.” The conflict was religious and political in nature and was reviewed previously. The exile had only affected the higher echelons of society. The land remained inhabited by individuals of Israelite descent that continued to worship YHWH in forms largely unaltered by changing political realities of the day. With the return of the exilic community and its legal assertion to dominate the Judean political and religious life, the “remainees” were required to adhere to the new order.
By Rabbi Bejarano-Gutierrez
II Samuel 8:17.
 I Kings 1:32-46.
 Gabriele Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002) p.43. Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism, ( New York: Ktav, 1991), 108.
 Exodus 40:12-15.
 Gabriele Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 61.
 Nehemiah 11:10-14; 7:39-42; 1 Esdras 5:24-25; 9:18-22; Ezra 2:36-39; 10:18-22.
 I Chronicles 24:1-19.
 Y. Ta’an 68a; Ta’an 2:1-2. Quoted from Louis H. Feldman and Meyer Reinhold, Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans: Primary Readings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996).
 I Kings 2:27; I Samuel 2:27-34; 3:11-14
 Ezekiel 44: 15-24. Quoted from The Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia: JPS, 1985).
 Gabriele Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002) , 63.
 Josephus Antiquities 11:111. Quoted from Louis H. Feldman and Meyer Reinhold, Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans: Primary Readings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996).
 Ibid. 80. The Temple as the replica of both divine and human realm served as the place of interaction for both of them.
 Leviticus 20:24-26. Quoted from The Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia: JPS, 1985).
 Gabriele Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 74.
 Ibid. 76.
 Ibid. 77.
 Ezra 4:44-5; 6:21.