I've a question regards Zerubavel: why is he called the son of Shealtiel?

In Ezra 3:2 and 3:8, Haggai 1:1, 1:12, 1:14, 2:2, 2:23, Nechemyah 12:1, Zerubavel is called the son of Shaltiel, while in Divrei Hayamim 1 Chapter 3:17-19 it seems to be Pedayah who's the real father.

On the website of Dafyomi it said:

(a) Why does the Gemara discuss Zerubavel? He was not the son of Yechanyah (whom the Gemara is discussing), but rather a later descendant (Yechanyah's great-grandson). (See MAHARSHAL here. The SEDER HA'DOROS points out that although the verse usually refers to Zerubavel as the son of Shaltiel, he was actually the son of Pedayah and the grandson of Shaltiel. He was called "Zerubavel ben Shaltiel" because "grandsons are like sons," and perhaps because the verse wants to link him to Shaltiel, a more prestigious personage that Pedayah.)

But wasn't Shealtiel the brother of Pedayah, and thus the uncle of Zerubavel?

P.S. could it be that in this case Zerubavel is nonetheless called the son of Shealtiel because of the commandment given in Devarim 25:5-6?

1 Answer 1


The commentaries I've come across all seem to agree that Zerubavel was indeed the biological son of Pedaya.

A number of approaches are offered to explain why he is nonetheless referred to as the son of Shealtiel:

Radak to Divrei HaYamim I 3:18-19 understands that Pedaya was a son of Shealtiel, such that Zerubavel was a grandson of Shealtiel. Zerubavel is referred to as Shealtiel's son due to the principle 'grandsons are like sons'.

Conversely, Ibn Ezra to Ezra 3:2 understands that Pedaya was a brother of Shealtiel. Zerubavel is referred to as Shealtiel's son because Shealtiel raised him (presumably after Pedaya's early death).

Malbim to Divrei HaYamim I 3:19 understands that Shealtiel died childless and Pedaya performed yibbum, marrying Shealtiel's widow. The son of this union, Zerubavel, is therefore referred to as the son of Pedaya's deceased brother Shealtiel, following the principle of Devarim 25:6. (Malbim says that this is the intent of Ibn Ezra quoted above; I fail to understand how he reads Ibn Ezra in this way.)

  • Thus, the Malbim uses the idea presented by IBN Ezra i.e. that they were brothers, and one raised the child of the other.
    – Levi
    Jan 16, 2020 at 5:56
  • @Levi I guess. Although according to Malbim, Pedaya raised his own biological son (who was only known as Shealtiel's son due to the princuiples of yibbum)
    – Joel K
    Jan 16, 2020 at 7:32
  • The yibbum rule doesn't seem to be used in general judaism.stackexchange.com/q/49101/759
    – Double AA
    Jun 10, 2021 at 16:22

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