HEZIR, founder of the 17th priestly watch (I Chron. 24:15). The name is also borne by one of the leaders who signed the covenant with Nehemiah (Neh. 10:21). Possibly the reference is to the same family, the name becoming wrongly linked in transcription with the leaders of the people instead of the priests. In 1864 the discovery of a Hebrew inscription engraved above a catacomb in the valley of Kidron outside Jerusalem, close to the so-called tomb of Zechariah and Absalom's monument, brought to light the name of six brothers of the "sons of Hezir" and two sons of one of the brothers. This three-line inscription, dating from the first half of the first century B.C.E., is one of the longest of the Second Temple period and the writing shows an affinity to the scripts of the Gezer Calendar, the earlier Dead Sea Scrolls, and to the script of the Aramaic inscription on the tombstone of King Uzziah (dating from Second Temple times). The catacomb, which contains a number of chambers, has a facade of Doric columns and its architecture is unmistakably Greek in style, belonging therefore to the Hellenistic period. Priests of Jerusalem for whom such tombs were erected probably belonged to the hellenizing movement. It is therefore possible that the tomb dates from the middle of the second century B.C.E., the inscription being added two generations later.
N. Avigad, Maẓẓevot Kedumot be-Naḥal Kidron (1954), 37–78.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.