We know that the Kohanim were split into 24 mishmaros. Each was a distinct family, with a distinct family name. What were (some of) the names of the 24 families of Kohanim?


There are a number of sources that list the mishmarot or make mention of them. Some were mentioned in the comments.


Divrei Hayamim 1:24:7-18, as @JoelK noted, brings the list from the time of King David:

Yehoyariv, Yeda'ayah, Charim, S'eorim, Malkiyah, Miyamin, Hakotz, Aviyah, Yeshua, Sh'chanyahu, Elyashiv, Yakim, Chupah, Yeshve'av, Bilgah, Imer, Chezir, Hapi'tzetz, P'tachyah, Yechezkel, Yachin, Gamul, D'layahu, Ma'aziyahu

As I wrote here, in Yerushalmi Ta'anit 20a it says:

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

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

On which Rabbi Kanievsky wrote:

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

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.

In other words, in this list, the first eight are descendants of Elazar, the second eight are of Itamar and the last eight are also of Elazar.

From the time of the Second Temple there are three lists in Tanach:

Nechemiah 12:1-7 - mishmarot from Shivat Tzion at the time of Zerubavel and Yeshua Hakohen: S'rayah, Yirmiyah, Ezra, Amaryah, Maluch, Chatush, Sh'chanyah, Rechum, Meremot, Ido, Gintoi, Aviyah, Miyamin, Ma'adiyah, Shma'ayah, Yoyariv, Yeda'ayah (1), Salu, Amok, Chilkiyah, Yeda'ayah (2).

Listed here are only 22 mishmarot.

Nechemiah 12:12-24 - mishmarot from the time of Yoyakim the Kohen Gadol: S'rayah, Yirmiyah, Ezra, Amaryah, Melichu, Sh'vanyah, Charim, Me'rayaot, Ido, Ginaton, Aviyah, Minyamin, Mo'adiyah, Bilgah, Shma'ayah, Yoyariv, Yeda'ayah (1), Salai, Amok, Chilkiyah, Yeda'ayah (2).

Again, only 22, but some of the names have changed.

Nechemiah 10:2-9 - mishmarot that signed the treaty: S'rayah, Azaryah, Yirmiyah, Pashchur, Amaryah, Malkiyah, Chatush, Sh'vanyah, Maluch, Charum, Me'remot, Ovadyah, Daniel, Ginton, Baruch, Meshulam, Aviyah, Miyamin, Ma'aziyah, Bilgai, Shma'ayah.

Also only 22, with the some more name-changes.

The reason there are different names in the Second Temple period is because only four Kohen families - Yeda'ayah, Charim, Pashchur, Imer - returned during Shivat Tzion, so as punishment to the other families, the mishmarot were built out of these four families. (Arachin 12b) However, the gemara in Ta'anit 27b says that were one of these other families to return, they would be able to join the workforce, but would be demoted to a different spot on the list (the example brought in the gemara is from Yehoyariv, the first mishmar at the time of the First Temple - they would be demoted to sixth place (the last of Yeda'ayah)).

As for the differences between the lists, the following is from a chart I made (in Hebrew) on figuring out which mishmar is which and out of three lists of 22, what were the full 24. Some of it is my own work and some is based off of Prof. Yehoshua M. Grintz's book "Mechkarim Ba'Mikrah":

S'rayah, Yirmiyah, Ezra/Azaryah, Amaryah, Maluch/Malichu, Sh'chanyah/Sh'vanyah, Rachum/Charim, Mermot/Meremot/Merayot, Ido/Ovaday, Ginaton/Gintoi, Aviyah, Miyamin/Miymin/Minyamin, Mo'adyah/Ma'aziyah, Bilgah/Bilgai, Shma'ayah, Yoyariv, Yeda'ayah (1), Salu/Simlai, Amok, Chilkiyah, Yeda'ayah (2), Daniel, Chatush, Baruch.


"Braita of Mishmarot Kehunah" - Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Klein compared different piyutim that mentioned the names and hometowns of the different mishmarot of the post-destruction-of-the-Second-Temple era and concluded that during the time of the Talmud there was a known list that was passed down through the generations and was forgotten at some point. As it's a Talmudic-era source, he referred to it as a "braita". By comparing different piyutim and variant MSS found in the Cairo Genizah, he believed he could re-write the "braita", which he proceeded to do:

  • Mishmar Yehoyariv Mesarvei Meron
  • Mishmar Yeda'ayah Amok Tziporrim
  • Mishmar Charim Mifshatah
  • Mishmar Aital'o
  • [Mishmar] Malkiyah Beit Lechem
  • Mishmar Miyamin Yodfat
  • Mishmar Hakotz Ai'lav'o
  • Mishmar Aviyah Ido K'far Uziel
  • Mishmar Mishmar Yeshua Nisraf Arbel
  • Mishmar Sh'chanyah Chavurat K'vul
  • Mishmar Elyashiv Kohen Kaneh
  • Mishmar Yakim Pashchur Tzefat
  • Mishmar Chupah Beit Me'on
  • Mishmar Yeshv'av Chutzpit Shuchim
  • Mishmar Bilgah Ma'ariyah
  • Mishmar Imer Yevanit
  • Mishmar Chezir Mamliach
  • Mishmar Hapitzetz Natzrat
  • Mishmar Petachiyah Achlah Ahrav
  • Mishmar Yechezkel Migdal Nunyah
  • Mishmar Yachin K'far Yuchanah
  • Mishmar Gamul Beit Chovyah
  • Mishmar D'layah Ginton Tzalmin
  • Mishmar Ma'aziyah Chamat, Ariach and K'farniyah

An interesting thing about the listing of the "braita" is on the fourteenth mishmar, where it connects Yeshv'av with "Chutzpit". Melechet Shlomo wrote that the names Yeshv'av and Yeshvav (ישבאב, ישבב) are the same name (probably based off the Tosefta in Sukkah 4:13) and coincidentally (or not), R' Yeshvav Hasofer and Rabbi Chutzpit Hametorgeman are two of the Ten Martyrs. Another interesting thing is that prior to the recompilation of this "braita", "Yevanit" (mentioned in the kinot and piyutim (see below)) was identified with Bilgah, because of the story of Miriam bat Bilgah who became a Grecian apostate and kicked the mizbe'ach. However, thanks to the "braita" we know that Yevanit is a reference to Imer (and was another name for the town of Yamniah, according to Rabbi Klein in Eretz Hagalil, pg. 40).


Eicha Yashva Chavtzelet Hasharon by Rabbi El'azar Hakalir - The kina, as @DoubleAA noted, is about the fall of the mishmarot and includes nicknames and hometowns of the 24 mishmarot.

  • Mesarvei Meron (identified with Yehoyariv)
  • The Kohanim of Tzipporim (identified with Yeda'ayah)
  • Mif'sheta (identified with Charim)
  • Kohen Ai'tah Lo (identified with Se'orim)
  • from Beit Lechem (identified with Malkiyah)
  • Kohanei Ailav'o (identified with Hakotz)
  • K'far Uziel (identified with Aviyah)
  • Kohanei Arbel (identified with Yeshua)
  • Kohen Kevul (identified with Sh'chanyahu)
  • Elkanah (likely Elyashiv)
  • Kohen Tzefat (identified with Yakim)
  • Beit Kohen Me'on (identified with Chupah)
  • Yeshve'av
  • Ma'aryah (identified with Bilgah)
  • Yevanit (identified with Imer)
  • Mamlach (identified with Chezir)
  • Natzrat (identified with Hapitzetz)
  • O'chla Ahrav (identified with Petchyah)
  • Migdal Nunyah (identified with Yechezkel)
  • Beit Chovyah (identified with Gemul)
  • K'far Yuchanah (identified with Yachin)
  • Ginton Tzalmin (identified with D'layahu)
  • Chamat Ari'ach (identified with Ma'aziyah).

The identifications are based off of the braita brought above.

Eich Tenachamuni - I haven't been able to discover who the author is, but this kina is about the fall of the kohanim and mentions Mesarvei Me'ron. There's also a mention of "Bnei Chalak", so perhaps that's a reference to Mishmeret Chilkiyah.

For more on the braita and other piyutim and kinot based off of it, see here.


An inscription was found in a shul in ancient Caesarea featuring a list of the mishmarot:

enter image description here

There are a few differences between the Caesarea version and the B'raita. For example, in Caesarea it says "K'far Uziyah" while in the braita it says "K'far Uziel". It's possible that whoever made the Caesarea version had a different version of the "braita" (i.e. a different tradition of the locations of the mishmarot).

In 1970, an inscription was found on a column in a mosque in the Yemenite village Bit al-Khatzer listing the mishmarot. Not all of the inscription survived, but this is what was discernable:

  • [mishma]r Harevi'i (the Fourth)
  • [Malkiyah] Beit Lechem mishmar Hachamishi (the Fifth)
  • Miyamin Yodfat mishmar Hashishi (the Sixth)
  • Hakotz Ailav'o mishmar Hashvi'i (the Seventh)
  • Aviyah Ido K'far Uziel mishmar
  • Hashmini (the Eighth) Yeshua Nisrafarbel
  • mishmar Hatshi'i (the Ninth)
  • Sh'chanyah a[..]rah K'vul mishmar Ha['a'siri] (the Tenth)
  • Elyashiv Kohen Kaneh mishmar Achad A[sar] (the Eleventh)
  • Yakim Pashchur Tzefat mishmar Shneim A[sar] (the Twelfth)
  • [Chu]pah Beit Me'on mishmar Shloshah
  • [Asa]r (the Thirteenth, continues from previous line) Yeshv'av Chutzpit Shuchin
  • mishmar Arba'ah Asar (the Fourteenth)

It seems that whoever made this list also had the braita of the mishmarot kehunah.

Near Yerushalayim a tomb was found, belonging to some of the descendants of mishmar Chezir, bearing the inscription:

"This is the grave and the Nefesh (burial monument) of Eliezer Hania Yoazar Yehuda Shimon Yochanan Benei (sons of) Yosef Ben (son of) Oved Yosef and Elazar Benei (sons of) Hania, Kohanim of the Hezir family."

  • 3
    +1 V Comprehensive! Yasher Kochacho
    – Dov
    Dec 9 '20 at 9:38
  • 1
    Fantastic, not go print this in the back of every Bava Kamma and Taanit
    – MDjava
    Dec 9 '20 at 15:46

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