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“ consecrated by the garments” (

19 72179 ;) and, being thus arrayed and anointed, he was prepared for the work of his office, which was three-fold.

1. To offer sacrifices for the people, some of which he performed alone, as on the great day of atonement in the Most Holy Place; some with the assistance of the priests, as the offering of incense and trimming the lamps at certain times in the Holy Place; and some with the assistance both of the priests and Levites, as all the services of the brazen altar, where the Levites assisted in killing, flaying, and removing the bodies of the beasts that were sacrificed. But the particular seasons for these services, diurnal, sabbatical, monthly, and annual, ars of too great variety and extent to be discussed in this place.

2. The second part of the high priest's office was his blessing the people; which was either at stated seasons, according to the form prescribed in Numb. vi. 23—27, or occasional, as when Eli blessed Hannah."

3. And the third part of his office was to judge the people, either in things concerning the house and worship of God, or in hard and difficult cases of a civil nature, when he was joined with the civil judge or ruler. Dr. Owen, in his Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews,d makes him also to have been, ex officio, a member of the Sanhedrin, which he considers countenanced by Deut. xvii. 8—13, although he owns that this is denied by some of the Jews.

He held his high priest's office always for life, until near the end of the Jewish polity, when money and power unfortunately rendered it an object either of emolument or ambition. It is easy to see, that in every

a 1 Sam. i. 17.
c Deut, xvii. 12,

b Zech. iii, 6, 7.

Vol. i. Exercit. 23.


period of the Jewish state, policy and piety would both unite in rendering the anointed of the Lord respectable. Accordingly, besides the splendour of his dress, and the dignity of his office, there were certain things of a civil nature in which he differed from other men: it was necessary that he should be free from bodily defect ;" he could neither marry a widow, nor a woman who had been divorced, nor a profane woman, but only a virgin;" he might not rend his clothes for the dead, nor follow the corpse of any relative to the grave;' he might not

; be veiled if others were, or unveiled if they happened to be so; and while others sat on the ground he must sit on a seat, &c. In short, the Jewish policy seems to have been, never to allow this principal functionary to forget that he was the priest of God, and solemnly separated from the rest of men. Yet, high as his character, in a sacred point of view, was, he was not raised above the law; for there were circumstances which shewed, that, in civil matters, the crown was always superior to the mitre. Thus, he might be a witness in a civil cause, and if necessary, evidence might be given against him; he might act as a judge occasionally, and, when guilty, could himself be judged. If he so far forgot the sanctity of his character, as to do any thing that required even whipping, he was suspended from his office, punished by the Sanhedrin, and then reinstated. His shoe might be pulled off for not raising seed unto his brother,although by the law he was not permitted to marry a widow. These, and several other things that could be mentioned, serve to shew, that the sanctity of his character did not remove him beyond civil control. It was a doctrine contrary to this in the popes of Rome, that

• Ib, x. 6.

· Lev, xxi. 17-21.

Deut. xxv. 5.

b lb. xxi. 7-15.
• Levit. xxi, 13, 14.

created at one time such immense disturbances in the kingdoms of Europe. There is one particular still concerning the priesthood, which ought not to be overlooked, and that is, the succession of the high priests, from their first appointment in the wilderness till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, a period which divides itself into three parts, namely, the Tabernacle, the Temple of Solomon, and the Temple after the Captivity.

Let us begin with those who held that office during the time of the Tabernacle. They were thirteen, viz. Aaron;a Eleazar his son ;' Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, who is tenaciously held by the Jews to be Elias; Abishua, the son of Phinehas ; Bukki, the son of Abishua; Uzzi, the son of Bukki; Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi; and Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah;a after whom, the office of high priest changed for a season, from the line of Eleazar to that of Ithamar; for Eli, the next high priest, was of the family of Ithamar. This is not mentioned, indeed, in so many words in Scripture; but Ahimelech is said to be of Ithamar's line, and Ahime. lech is understood to be a descendant of Eli, whose priesthood is mentioned in 1 Sam. i. 9. After Eli, therefore, came Phinehas, his son;' then Ahitub, the eldest son of Ichabod, and grandson of Phinehas ;then Ahiah, or Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub;' and, lastly, Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech.

These were the thirteen high priests who are mentioned as filling the office between its first institution in the wilderness and the building of Solomon's Temple. Yet I doubt, after all, whether there were more than twelve; for Phinehas appears to have been the chief of the priests rather than the chief priest himself, since he died before Eli, and it is often asserted by the Jews, that the office of high priest in the first ages of the Jewish church, was always held during the life of the possessor. We are not informed particularly of the length of any of their priesthoods, except that of Eli, which is said to have been forty years :* but it is not difficult to strike an average, for the office of high priest was instituted during the first year that the Israelites were in the wilderness; and we are told, that between that and the building of the Temple was four hundred and eighty years ;" consequently, if we divide four hundred and eighty by twelve, the number of high priests, we have forty as the common average. It is therefore rather a singular coincidence, that the average of all the high priesthoods, between the erection of the Tabernacle and the building of the first Temple, should have been exactly the length of that assigned to Eli.

• Lev, viii. 7.
. Ib. xxiv, 3.
i lb. xxii. 20.

b Num. xx. 28.
fi Sam. xiv. 3,

c Ib. xxv, 13.
& Ib. xiv. 3.

d 1 Chron. vi. 46.
A Ib. xiv. 3. xxi. 11.

But let us now attend to the succession of high priests from the building of Solomon's Temple till the beginning of the seventy years' captivity. As soon as Solomon was settled on the throne he removed Abiathar from the office, as having been guilty of treason in the conspiracy of Adonijah,' and placed Zadok in his room, thereby removing the priesthood from the line of Ithamar back to that of Eleazar. This Zadok was the great grandson of that Mesaiah, who preceded Eli in the office of high priest, and after his death the sacerdotal dignity descended to his son Ahimaaz;' then to Azariah, the son of Ahimaaz;' then to Johanan, the son of Azariah ;6 and then to Azariah, the son of Johanan." He is the person who is said, in 1 Chron. vi. 10, to have executed the priest's office in the Temple that Solomon built at Jerusalem; and the difficulty lies in what these words can mean; for it is not likely that four high priests would have died in the short space of eleven years and a-half, or twelve years, namely, between the accession of Solomon to the throne, and the dedication of the Temple.

1 1 Sam. iv, 18.

i Chron. vi, 7, 8. ' i Cbron, pi. 9.

6 i Kings vi. 1. E lb. i. 5. 7 ; i. 26, 27.
• 2 Sam. IV. 36: 1 Chron. vi. 8.
6 Ibid.

* i Chron, vi, 10.

The Jewish solution of it is, that he was the Azariah who withstood King Uzziah so nobly, when, in defiance of the law, he had gone into the Temple to burn incense:" but such an explanation is, although plausible at first sight, scarcely admissible; for if we deduct, aecording to Lightfoot, two thousand nine hundred and ninety, (or the year of the world in which Solomon ascended the throne, and chose Zadok to be high priest) from three thousand two hundred and fifty-two, or the year that Lightfoot fixes upon as that in which Uzziah committed so impious an act, we have two hundred and sixty-two years as the interval. Let us divide these then by five, the number of high priests, including Azariah, and we have fifty-two years and a-half as the average of these priesthoods, which is surely by far too much. What then are we to understand by the words in question? I answer, that we may, perhaps, ascertain

I their meaning by the following process :-Lightfoot, in his Chronicle, states the beginning of the Captivity to have happened in the year of the world 3401 ; deduct two thousand nine hundred and ninety, or the year of Solomon's coming to the throne, and you have four hundred and eleven years as the interval. But there were thirteen high priests between his accession and the Captivity: divide then four hundred and eleven by thirteen, and you have thirty-one years and a half as

• 2 Chron, xxvi, 17, 18.

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