« AnteriorContinuar »
signed by two names; viz.counsellors (Soubi, BOULEVTAU,) and sitters (Ilapedpoi.) Joseph of Arimathea is supposed to have been a member of this consistory; for in Mark xv. 43, he is called an honourable counsellor. (ovhEVTNS Tipos.) These then were the permanent officers of the Temple, and accordingly they differed from those next mentioned, whose period of service was only temporary
The sixth office in point of dignity was, the chief priest of every course, or the person who presided over the course that served for the week. He was commonly a member of the Sanhedrin: and all the heads of the courses are those who are known by the names of chief priests in the gospels.
The seventh office in point of dignity was that of the heads of the houses of their fathers. And the eighth, or lowest order among the priests, were the ordinary priests. But besides the orders already mentioned, there were fifteen overseers, over fifteen several companies, in so many several employments, whose names were as follow:
1. The overseer concerning the times, who, either personally, or by deputy, when it was time to begin the service, cried out, “O) ye priests, to your service! O ye Levites, to your desks! O ye Israelites, to your station!” And immediately these went to their several employments.
2. The overseer for shutting the doors, by whose appointment they were opened and shut, and who also took care that the trumpets were sounded when the doors were set open. It would appear, that he was a person appointed by the amercelin, to act as their deputy: for the latter had the keeping and disposing of the keys which opened the gates of the Court of Israel.
3. The overseer of the guards, captain of the Temple, or, the man of the Mountain of the House, who visited the Levites' guards every night, preceded by lighted torches, to praise or punish them as he found they deserved. His common salutation to them was, “ Peace be unto you;" to which they made a suitable reply. But if they were asleep, he either beat them with his rod, or set fire to their clothes.
4. The overseer of the singers, who appointed to every one his particular department in the vocal music, trumpets, and stringed instruments.
5. The overseer of the cymbal music; which, as we shall see in a subsequent page, was of a different kind from the former.
6. The overseer of the lots, or he who cast the lots every morning for the different services to be performed by the priests.
7. The overseer about birds, or he who provided turtles and pigeons for those who needed them; sold them at the stated prices; and was accountable to the treasurer for the money.
8. The overseer of the tickets, or scals. They were of four kinds, each kind having a distinct mark. Thus the first kind had the word bay, ogel, or a calf, marked on it. The second, 7i, zecer, a male; the third, '70, gedi, a kid ; and the fourth xoin, huta, a sinner. The particular uses of them were as follow:-When
any person brought a sacrifice, for which he needed a drink. offering, he went to the overseer of the tickets, informing him of what kind his sacrifice was. This led the overseer to consult the law, what kind of drink-offering was requisite; and, after having done so, he gave the person the ticket that his sacrifice needed. Thus, if it was a ram, he gave him the ticket marked 71, or a
male ; if a sin-offering, the ticket marked xon, or a sinner; and so on of the rest. But these tickets were not given till the price of the drink-offering was laid down; and, when paid, the person carried his ticket to
9. The overseer of the drink-offerings, who had them all in readiness to give to the offerers; the tickets which they brought being both a direction to him what to give, and an evidence that the price had been paid. At the close of every day's service, the overseer of tickets, and the overseer of drink-offerings, compared accounts, and the former delivered the money he had got to the treasurer, or one of the kathûlikin.
10. The overseer of the sick, or (to speak in the language of modern times) the physician of the priesthood; whose office it was to prescribe for those who had caught colds, cholics, or dysenteries, from their walking barefooted and thin-clothed during the service; or who had unfortunately fallen sick from other causes.
11. The overseer of the waters, whose office it was to take care that Jerusalem, but especially the Temple, should have abundance of water, both for the daily service, and for the vast numbers who collected together at the three great festivals. If the Nicodemus mentioned in the gospel, be the same Nicodemus that is mentioned in the Talmud, he appears to have been placed over this department.
12. The overseer at the making of the shew-bread. 13. The overseer at the making of incense. 14. The overseer of the workmen that made the veils.
15. The overseer of those who made garments for the priests.
Such were the gradations of rank among the priesthood, and the several overseers attached to the Temple: but it will be proper to enter with more minuteness into the characters and duties of the priests and Levites.
Before the giving of the law, the first-born of every family was the priest of the family. Thus Abraham, Job, Abimelech, Laban, Isaac, and Jacob, are mentioned as discharging that important office. But after the delivery of the law from Mount Sinai, the office in Israel was confined to the family of Aaron and tribe of Levi, who obtained no lot among the tribes on the division of the land, God thereby wishing to teach them, that the minds of their countrymen was the soil they ought to cultivate; yet their subsistence, on that account, was not allowed to be precarious. For the tithes of the produce were the support of the tribe, when residing at home, and the perquisites of the Temple their fund of maintenance while engaged in duty. Thus were they freed from bodily labour and worldly cares: the productions of the earth were delivered to them ready prepared by the different families of Israel : the proprietors of the soil supported the teachers of religion ;' and by this wise and just provision, these teachers were enabled to dedicate their time to spiritual duties.
But let us attend particularly to this first national establishment, of which we have any authentic account.
Their courses during the first Temple; the way in which these were revived after the Captivity. The three ranks into which each course was subdivided. Their manner of attendance at the Temple; the day of the week on which they entered upon, and left off attendance. How the unofficiating priests were employed at home: the age at which they began to serve, and were excused from serving. The form of consecration at different periods of the Jewish economy: the dress they wore while on duty: how procured-how
a 1 Cor. ix. 11, 13, 14.
applied when old: their ordinary dress when at bome: their duties in the Temple: their employment at home. The general utility of the priesthood. The manses and glebes of the Jewish clergy. The nine items which composed their stipends. How the half shekel for every Israelite was applied. The marriages and numbers of the priesthood.
The Jewish priests were the descendants of the family of Aaron, and as Nadab and Abihu died without children, the whole of the priesthood was confined to the descendants of Eleazar and Ithamar. We have but little information concerning the number of the priests, as distinct from the Levites, during the continuance of the Tabernacle (though it must have been very considerable:) nor do we know very distinctly all the offices which were assigned to the different sons of Aaron. But when the Temple was about to be erected, we find David, by Divine appointment,“ dividing the whole posterity of Eleazar and Ithamar into twenty-four courses ; viz. sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight of the house of Ithamar; each of which courses was to serve a week in its turn: and in this state they appear to have remained all the time of the first Temple. When, however, the Jews returned from Babylon, after the seventy years' captivity, very few of these courses returned with them; they either preferred to remain in that country, or had lost their genealogies; so that those which did return, were confined to four, whose names were as follow :The course of Jedaiah, which corresponded with the second of the ancient courses; the course of Harim, which corresponded with the third ; the course of Immer, which corresponded with the sixteenth; and the course of Pashur, whose name is not mentioned in the courses of David." We find, indeed, one Pashur frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, as the son of
a 1 Chron. xxviii. 11. 13. 19. 6 Ib, xxiv, 1-19. 2 Chron. xxii. 4. 8. • Ezra ii. 36-39. Neh, vii, 39-42.