Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

$ 369. Of the Duties of the Priests. Not only a descent from the family of Aaron, (Ezra 2: 62. Neh. 7: 64. Life of Josephus § 1. Josephus against Apion 1. 7.) but also a freedom from all bodily defects, was requisite, in order to a person's being qualified for the exercise of the sacerdotal office. Lev. 21: 16, 17.

The priests were commanded to abstain, when performing the sacred duties, which devolved upon them, from wine and every inebriating drink, Lev. 10: 8--11.

In the ages, immediately succeeding their original consecration to God, the priests entered upon their office at thirty years of age, but in later periods, at twenty, Num. 4: 3. 2 Chron. 31: 17.

Each class assigned by lot to every individual of the class his duties for the day. One, for instance, burnt incense, another on the Sabbath day changed the Shew-bread, another tended the fire on the altar for burnt-offerings, etc. Luke 1: 9.

$ 370. Dress of the High Priest.

Some of the articles of dress, which were worn by the highpriest, were very simple; for we are informed, (Lev. 16: 4, 23.) that, when, on the day of propitiation, he entered the Holy of holies, he was clad with a tunic, girdle, mitre, etc. made wholly of linen.

Other articles of his dress, which were as follows, were very splendid.

I. The meil, syn (mantle or outer garment.) This garment was likewise worn by the more wealthy of the laity. (See the 122d section.) The colour of this garment, when intended for the high priest, was blue, and the hem at the bottom was embroidered with pomegranates in purple and scarlet. Between the pomegranates, were suspended small bells of gold, which occasioned a tinkling sound, when the wearer of the mantle walked, Exod. 28: 31--35. 39: 5. comp. the Travels of Hasselquist, p. 55, 73.

II. THE EPHOD, 7Dx. This article of dress was worn by laymen also, as well as by the high priest. (See the 122d section.) The sacred Ephod, the one made for the high priest, differed from the others, in being fabricated of cotton, which was coloured

[ocr errors][merged small]

with crimson, purple, and blue, and in being ornamented with gold. In the time of Josephus, it was a cubit of the larger size in length, and was furnished with sleeves. Where it crossed the shoulders, it was adorned, in conformity to the command of Moses, with two onyx stones, on which the names of the twelve tribes, (six on each,) were engraved, Exod. 28: 6, 7.

III. THE PECTORAL OG BREAST-PLATE, 7 n. It was square, being about ten inches each way, and was made double in such a way, as to form inside a sort of bag or pouch, Exod. 39: 9. The external part of the Pectoral was set with four rows of precious stones, on which were seen the names of the twelve tribes. In the Ephod, (in which there was a square space left open, sufficiently large for the admission of the Pectoral,) were four rings of gold, to which four others at the four corners of the Pectoral corresponded. The Pectoral was confined to the Ephod by means of ribands of dark blue, which passed through these rings; and was suspended from the shoulders by chains of gold, which were fastened to the upper corners. It was confined to the body by the same girdle, which went round the Ephod.

SOME ACCOUNT or Urim and THUMMIM. The Urim and THUMMIM, by the aid of which the high priest sought responses from God, was deposited in the Pectoral. But what the Urim and THUMMIM was, is, nevertheless, a matter of uncertainty, and has been the source of various conjectures from different learned men.

The ornament, called Angela, which was worn, suspended from the neck, by the presiding judge in Egypt, and which was adorned with gems, (Diodor. Sic. I. 75.) affords no light on the subject.

The most probable opinion is, that Urim and Tuummim, [09718, ban", light and justice, Septuag. dňawois xai alndsca,) was a sacred lot, 1 Sam. 14: 41, 42. There were employed perhaps, in determining this lot, three precious stones, on one of which was engraven 72, Yes; on the other, s, No; the third being destitute of any inscription. The question proposed, therefore, was always to be put in such a way, that the answer might be direct, either

Yes or No, provided any answer was given at all. These stones were carried in the purse or bag, formed by the lining or inte

[merged small][ocr errors]

riour of the Pectoral, and when the question was proposed, if the high-priest drew out the stone, which exhibited Yes, the answer was affirmative ; if the one, on which No was written, the answer was negative; if the third, no answer was to be given, Josh. 7: 134 21. 1 Sam. 14: 10_-43. 28: 6. The remarks, which are made in these passages respecting the sacred lot, are very concise. It would seem, from the expressions, which are employed in Exod. 28: 30. that Urim and THUMMIM was more ancient, than the time of Moses, and it appears, furthermore, that it was never resorted to, subsequently to the time of David.

IV. THE MITRE, NO:37. The mitre of the high priest was the same, as far as respected its form, with that of the other priests, Exod. 28: 4, 40. 29: 5. There might perhaps have been a small difference to this effect, that the mitre of the former was a little higher, than that of the others, Exod. 39: 27, 28. In truth this agrees with what Josephus states, (Antiquities, III. 7. 6.) viz. that the mitre of the high priest was surmounted with something, which resembled a second mitre, the colour of which was purple and white intermixed.

Over the forehead of the high priest, a plate of gold, 277.7 34 was fastened to the mitre by a blue fillet. It was inscribed with the words, 79179277, holy to the Lord; a device, which conveyed the symbolic instruction, that the high priest bore the iniquity of those, who were in any way deficient in their gifts and offerings, Exod. 28: 36_-38. 29: 6. 39: 31.

Josephus informs us, that, in the time of our Saviour, the mitre was encircled with a triple crown of gold, which was added to it by the Maccabean priests, who were priests and princes, at the same time.

Note. Remarks of Michaelis on Urim and THUMMIM.

[" That in making distributions of property, and in cases of disputes relative to meum and tuum, recourse was had to the lot, in default of any other means of decision, will naturally be supposed. The whole land was partitioned by lot; and that, in aftertimes, the lot continued to be used, even in courts of justice, we see from Prov. 16: 33. 18: 18; where we are expressly taught to remember, that it is Providence which maketh the choice, and that therefore we ought to be satisfied with the decision of the lot, as the

[ocr errors][merged small]

will of God. It was for judicial purposes, in a particular manner, that the sacred lot, called Urim and Thummim was employed ; and on this account, the costly embroidered pouch, in which the priest carried this sacred lot on his breast, was called the judicial ornament.

“I cannot here enter into a philological and antiquarian inquiry concerning Urim and Thummim, because it would be too extensive, particularly considering how much it has already been the subject of controversy. Those who wish to know my sentiments upon it, in a few words, will find them in my Note upon Exod. 28: 30 ; and the passage whence I have principally deduced the explanation there given, in 1 Sam. 14: 41. of the Hebrew original. . “But was this sacred lot used likewise in criminal trials? Yes; only to discover the guilty, not to convict them: for in the only two instances of its use in such cases, which occur in the whole Bible, viz. in Josh. 7: 14–18. and 1 Sam. 14: 37--45. we find the confessions of the two delinquents, Achan and Jonathan, annexed. It appears also, to have been used only in the case of an oath being transgressed, which the whole people had taken, or the leader of the host in their name ; but not in the case of other crimes; for an unknown murder, for example, was not to be discovered by recourse to the sacred lot.” Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, Art. 304.]



The priests and Levites, while the government continued a theocracy, were ministers both to the church and the state, but they were not, like the priests under the Gospel, teachers of the people. Not being instructers of the people in the ordinary sense of the terms, they were not required to dwell in the cities and villages occupied by the rest of the community, but dwelt in cities of their own; a circumstance, which of itself proves, that they were not public instructers.

While we say, they were not teachers of the people in the ordinary sense of the terms, we are willing to admit, that they were their teachers in the following respect. They had the superintendance of the ceremonies and regulations, which respected the

[merged small][ocr errors]

instituted mode of worship; they appointed the festival days ; guarded against sacrifices being offered to other gods than Jehovah ; saw, that no unlawful victims were presented and no illegal ceremonies employed ; determined what was clean and what unclean ; and, furthermore, in the character of civil judges, decided what was agreeable to the Law, and what was not.

The passages, in which they are represented, as teaching the people, (for instance, Deut. 33: 10, and Mal. 2: 6–9,) have reference to such duties, as have now been hinted at. Compare Micah 3: 11. Hosea 4: 6, and 2 Chron. 15: 13.

If it be objected to the ground, which we take on this question, that king Jehoshaphat sent out, on a certain time, Levites for the express purpose of teaching the people in religion, (2 Chron. 17: 7-9;) the answer is, it is true; but it was, nevertheless, an extraordinary and solitary instance.

After the Captivity, we do indeed find them once called upon to render into the Aramaean dialect the passages of the Law, which had been publicly read in the Hebrew, but we do not find them addressing the people themselves, Neh. 8: 7. Respecting those, who sung Psalms in the Temple, it may be remarked, that they were in truth the instruments of communicating salutary instruction to their hearers, but they were very unlike the public teachers in the Church at the present time.

Furthermore, the priests, by the sacred ceremonies, which they performed, revived religious principles in the minds of the people, but this, certainly, did not constitute them public teachers of religion, in the customary sense of the words.

THE PROPHETS were much more like the pastors of churches or ministers of the present day, but still they differed from them in many respects. For instance,

I. They were the immediate messengers from God, and came with a more exalted authority.

II. 'They had the liberty of expressing their sentiments on civil, as well as on religious matters.

III. Their communications were made only to the more informed part of the people. : IV. They did not instruct at stated periods, but were teachers extraordinary, who taught according to the exigency of the times.

Those prophets, who collected assemblies on the Sabbaths and

« AnteriorContinuar »