Imágenes de páginas

§ 389. of the FiRST-FRUIts. 491

fered in sacrifice, they were, nevertheless, allotted for the use of the priests, the same as before, Deut. 15: 19—23. The first-born of other animals, of which in Exod. 13:13, the ass is given as an example, were to be slain, although they could not be offered in sacrifice, unless they were redeemed by offering a lamb in their stead, or by the payment of a certain sum, fixed by the estimation of the priest, said estimation being increased by the addition of a fifth, Lev. 27: 13. If they were not redeemed, they were sold, and the price was given to the priests. It was in this way, that the Hebrews exhibited their gratitude to God, who preserved their first-born in Egypt from impending destruction, Exod. 13: 2, 11–16. Num. 3:12, 13. In respect to the first born sons, there was an additional reason for the regulations, of which we have been speaking; since they were by birth priests, and were to be redeemed from serving at the altar, Num. 3: 20–51. It may be argued from Deut. 12: 6, 7, 14: 23. 15:19, 23, that there was what may be called an after first-born, and that the second-born of goats, sheep, and the ox-kind, were brought to the Tabernacle or Temple, and converted into eucharistical or thanksgiving offerings, which could not be done with the first-born, properly so called. But it was permitted to the owner if there were blemishes in them, to slay them at home, and to employ them, as food, in the usual way.

[ocr errors]

In speaking on the subject of first-fruits, it may be remarked here, that a division of them into two kinds cannot be established from the passages generally supposed, viz. Num. 18: 12, 13. Neh. 10:36–38. This alone follows from them, that the first fruits were offered, (per non-ri,) as a heave-offering. The first sheaf of barley, on the second day of the Passover, and the first loaves, on the feast of the Pentecost, were offered in the name of the people. But individuals also were bound to offer the first fruits of the vine, of fruit trees, of their grain, honey and wool, by means of which offerings they exhibited that gratitude, which was due to God, for the country he had given them, Exod. 23:19. Lev. 2: 12. Num. 15:17–21. 18: 11—13. Deut. 26:1–11. 492 § 390. of Tythes.

The offerings thus made became the property of the priests, Num18: 11—13. Deut. 18; 4.

Some suppose, that it was not necessary for those first fruits. which, before being presented, underwent some previous preparation, such as the loaves on the Pentecost, to be brought to the Temple, but that they could be offered to any priest in any place ; in the same way, that every Hebrew was bound to offer to some priest the shoulder shi, the cheeks Toro, and the maw rap, rivvorgov, omasum, of the animals, which he sacrificed at home. Consult Deut. 18; 3. Josephus, Antiquities, IV. 4, 4, and Philo DE SACERDotum HoNoribus et PRAEMiis p. 832.

It appears from Deut. 26: 1–11, that what are denominated the second first fruits were appropriated to the eucharistical sacrifices, and were consumed in the feasts, which were made from them ; and, accordingly, every Hebrew was commanded, when he brought his basket to the Tabernacle or the Temple, to set it down before the altar, and return thanks with a loud voice to God, who had given to his undeserving countrymen so rich an inheritance.

§ 390. Of Tythes.

Tythes are very ancient, and were exacted, in the earliest times, among almost all nations, Herod. I. 5, 77. Pausan. Eliac. 1. c. 10. Phocic. c. 11. Diodor. Sic. XX. 14. Abraham offered the tythes of his spoils to Melchisedec, priest of the most high God, Gen. 14:20. Jacob vowed unto God the tenth of all his income; a vow, which was observed both by himself and his posterity, Gen. 28:22. Tything is mentioned, as a practice well known and of ancient standing, in Deut. 12; 11, 17–19. 14:22, 23; and the precepts, which are there given in respect to it, aim at this point merely, viz. that the tythes should be presented at the Tabernacle for a thank-offering, with the exception, that, on every third year, the people might make a feast of them at their own houses, for the servants, widows, orphans, the poor, and the Levites, Deut. 14:28, 29. 26: 12–15. But before the tythes, which have now been mentioned, and which were denominated the second, were taken from the yearly

[merged small][merged small][graphic]

§ 391. of the sacred oil. 493

increase, there was another taken, called the first, Tobit 1: 7. The latter belonged to God, as the ruler of the state, and was assigned by Him as a sort of salary, to the Levites, for their services both sacred and civil, Lev. 27:30. Num. 18: 20–24. Deut. 14:22, 23. Neh. 13:5, 12. The tythe of the fruits of the earth could be redeemed, in case a fifth part of the estimated value was added to the whole amount ; in as much as the redeemer was thereby freed from the expense of transportation. But this liberty was not given in respect to the tythe of sheep, goats, and cattle, Lev. 27: 31. The tenth of the fruit and grain was easily estimated. In regard to animals, the ceremony was this. They passed one by one before a servant, who numbered them, and designated every tenth one by a rod, which he held in his hand. If another was afterwards substituted in place of the one then designated, they both fell to the Levites, Lev. 27:32, 33 comp. Jer. 33: 13. Ezek. 20. 37, 38. The Levites made a subsequent division of the tythes, and gave a tenth of them to the priests, Num. 18: 25–32. Neh. 10. 28, 13: 10–14. Mal. 3: 8–10, comp. Heb. 7, 5–7.

- $391. Of the Sacred Oil.

THE SACRED oil, with which the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the golden candlestick, the table, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt-offerings, the laver, and all the sacred utensils, and indeed the priests themselves were anointed, was composed of an hin of the oil of olives, of the richest myrrh, bip: no on; of cassia, HP ; of cinnamon, bip: ship ; and of sweet calamus FT22. bpm. The proportions of the mixture were five hundred parts of the myrrh and cassia, and two hundred and fifty of the cinnamon and calamus. This ointment, which could not be applied in any other way than those mentioned at the head of this section under penalty of excision from the people, conferred an honour on the persons and things anointed with it. Exod. 30: 20–33.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The person, who confirmed his assertion by a voluntary oath, pronounced the same, with his right hand elevated. Sometimes the swearer omitted the imprecation, as if he were afraid, and shuddered to utter it, although it was, from other sources, suffieiently well understood, Gen. 14: 22, 23. Ps. 106: 26. S0: 18. Ezek. 17: 18. Sometimes the imprecation was, as follows; “This and more than this may God do to me,” 2 Sam. 3: 9, 35. Ruth 1: 17. 1 K. 2: 23. 2 K. 6: 31. Sometimes the swearer merely said: “Let God be a tritness;” and sometimes affirmed saying; “As surely as God lireth,” Jer. 42: 5. Ruth. 3: 13. 1 Sam. 14:45. 20:3, 21. It is to be recollected, that the remarks which have now been made, apply to the person, who uttered the oath himself of his own accord. When an oath was eracted, whether by a judge or another, the person, who exacted it, put the oath in form ; and the person, to whom it was put, responded by saying, Tes, irs, so let it be: or gave his response in other expressions of like import, such as at einas, Num. 5: 19–22. Lev. 5: 1. Prov. 29: 24. 1 K. 22: 16. Deut 27: 15–26. Sometimes the exacter of the oath merely used the following adjuration, viz. I adjure you by the liring God to answer, whether the thing be so or not. And the person sworn accordingly made answer to the point inquired of Num. 5:22. Matt. 26:63. It should be remarked here, though the formulary of assent on the part of the respondent to an oath was frequently AMEN, AMEN, that this formulary did not always imply an oath, but, in some instances, was merely a protestation. We see from the nature of these adjurations, why the Niphal form of the verb is used, viz.::p:, to strear, properly to be strorn. As the oath was an appeal to God, (Lev. 19:12. Deut. 6: 13.) the taking of a false oath was deemed a heinous crime, and perjury, accordingly, was forbidden in those words, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in rain, i.e. shalt not call God to witness in pretended confirmation of a falsehood, Exod. 20. 6. It was a common thing in Egypt in the time of Joseph, to swear by the life of the king, Gen. 42: 15; and this practice pre

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

vailed subsequently among the Hebrews, 1 Sam. 25, 26. 2 Sam. 11 11. 14: 19, comp. Ps. 63: 11. The Hebrews also swore by cities and consecrated places, such as Hebron, Shilo, and Jerusalem. A person sometimes swore by himself and sometimes by the life of the person before whom he spoke, viz. z by myself, Tojei on by thee or by thy life, 1 Sam, l: 26. 2 K. 2: 2. Gen. 43:20. 44; 18. Exod. 4: 10, 13. Num. 12: 11. Josh. 7: S. Judg. 6: 13, 15. 1 K. 3: 17, 26. In some instances, persons adjured others by the beasts of the field, (Canticles 2, 7.) a sort of adjuration, which, to the present day makes it appearance in the writings of the Arabian poets. Consult the Koran, Sura 85. 1–3. 86: 1, 11—13. 89: 1–4. 9:1 –4. 91: 1–8, etc. t The Jews, in the time of Christ, were in the habit of swearing by the altar, by Jerusalem, by heaven, by the earth, by themselves, by their heads, by the gold of the Temple, by sacrifices, etc. Because the name of God was not mentioned in these oaths, they considered them, as imposing but small, if any obligation, Martialis, Epigra MAT. XI. 95. And we, accordingly, find, that the Saviour takes occasion to inveigh, in decided terms, against such arts of deception, Matt. 5: 33–37. 23: 16–22. It is against oaths of this kind, and these alone, (not against an oath uttered in sincerity) that he expresses his displeasure, and prohibits them. This is clear, since he himself consented to take upon him the solemnity of an oath, Matt. 26: 63; and since Paul himself, in more than one instance, utters an adjuration. Compare Rom. 9: 1. 2 Cor. 1:23. In the primitive periods of their history, the Hebrews religiously observed an oath, (Josh. 9. 14, 15.) but we find, that in later times, they were often accused by the prophets of perjury. After the Captivity, the Jews became again celebrated for the scrupulous observance of what they had sworn to, but corruption soon increased among them ; they revived the old forms, the words without the meaning; and acquired among all nations the reputation of perjurerS.

« AnteriorContinuar »