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order, with both, to defray the expense of the public festivals. It is in reference to this, that they explain Deut. xiv. 22, 23. 6 Thou shalt surely tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, and of thy wine, and of thy oil, and of the firstlings of thy herds, and of thy flocks: that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.") Josephus also speaks of these feasts which were made in the Temple, and in the holy city. We may therefore conclude, that the nine preceding articles were the stipends of the Jewish priesthood; and that God intended them to be so liberal, in order to give weight to their instructions, as well as to compensate for their having no lot among the tribes of Israel. Indeed, we have positive evidence that, besides the regular collection of the half shekel annually, for the ordinary expenses of the Temple, the morning and evening burnt-offerings for the sabbaths, for the new moons, and for the set feasts, were provided, not by the priests, but by the king, in order to keep the stipends entire for their support."
It is but just, however, to own, that when the nation was poor, after their return from the Captivity, and when mutual privations became necessary, the funds of the priesthood were evidently trenched upon, and part of them was applied to the support of the Temple ;e with the consent, no doubt, of that body, who were as forward, as others to give their aid to the support of religion, when necessity required their example.
I have not been able to learn in what proportions these items of support were divided ; but, as the priests were
. Godwin's Moses and Aaron, book vi. ch. 3. b Calmet Art. Tithes.
positively precluded from inheritances in land, and yet appear to have been possessed of very different degrees of wealth, it would seem but natural to conclude, that there was some scale of proportions, according to which the ranks of the priesthood received their respective shares. Indeed, we have some general mention of this in 2 Chron. xxxi. 15—19.
Thus have we run over a variety of particulars respecting the priesthood: there are yet, however, two things, which one would wish to know respecting them, and these are their marriages and numbers.
Of their marriages we know but little. Like the high priests, they were forbidden to marry a widow, or one divorced; but might marry virgins, or the widow of a priest;' and it was reckoned disgraceful to marry either into families of bad character, or having hereditary diseases. b
Concerning their numbers, we have very few hints in Scripture. When God made choice of the family of Aaron, a short time after the Israelites came out of Egypt, A.M. 2514, and before Christ, 1490, there were only himself and his four sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar; the two eldest of whom soon died, and left the priesthood exclusively to the families of Eleazar and Ithamar. We have no more notice of them, as distinct from the rest of the tribe of Levi, for four hundred and forty-three years, or till the time that the Israelites met to make David king, A.M. 2957, and before Christ 1047, when Jehoiada is said to be the leader of three thousand seven hundred Aaronites; and Zadok, another person mighty in valour, with twenty-two captains, all his brethren. The next notice we have of them is a short time after, at the bringing up of the ark from Kirjathjearim, but they are not particularly specified :* it is only said in what manner some of them were employed on the occasion. It may be remarked, that at this time, and for a great while before, the ark and tabernacle were in separate places; the one being formerly at Kirjathjearim, and Obededom, and now at Jerusalem, while the tabernacle of the congregation remained at Gibeon: now, therefore, was the time when the pious David appointed attendants for each ; for Benaiah and Jahaziel was appointed to the ark at Jerusalem,' and Zadok and his brethren to the tabernacle at Gibeon. Afterwards, however, he altered this arrangement; for, having proposed to build a temple to Jehovah, and the proposal having been accepted, God gave him, by particular inspiration, a model of the temple and all its service; and therefore, among other things, he divided the priesthood into twenty-four courses, but without giving us the sum total of the order. We have already seen, that the number of those who returned from Babylon was four thousand two hundred and eighty-nine ;8 some of these had unfortunately taken strange wives," whom they afterwards divorced ; but the whole of them, when Nehemiah came, were so changed to the better, that the heads of their families signed the national covenant of adherence to the true worship of Jehovah ;i and most of them resided at Jerusalem, where their presence and influence were much needed. We have the number of those who resided at Jerusalem particularly mentioned in Neh. xi. 10—14. They were one thousand one hundred and ninety-two; and were a part of the one thousand seven hundred and sixty which are mentioned in 1 Chron. ix.
a Ezek. xliv. 22.
b Lev. xxi. 7.
· Exod. xxviii, 1.
* 1 Chron. xv. 4, 5.
Ib. x, 19–22.
c i Chron. xvi. 6.
10—13; the rest being scattered throughout the country. Yet we are not to suppose that the Jews, who served in their courses at the Temple, in our Saviour's days, were so very few : for, in the Hebrew writings, we read of numerous stations of them in different places; and Josephus says, that there were four tribes of priest's and every tribe above five thousand persons. Now this happened after our Saviour's death; for Josephus was living at the time that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
There is one thing still which we ought to notice concerning the priesthood, and that is, the care that was taken to prevent them from being polluted by any ceremonial defilement; and, consequently, disqualified for public service. Now, in this respect, they were to be holier than other men; for, besides the caution to avoid ordinary violations of the Divine law, their mourning for the dead, and consequent defilement on that account, was confined to the nearest relations, lest the service of God should be interrupted.
The preceding statements contain all that is necessary to be known at present, concerning the priesthood. Any other observations which such a religious establishment may suggest, will be noticed when we treat of the other orders who ministered at the Temple.
The reason why they were chosen; nature of their employment during the Ta.
bernacle. The twenty-four courses during the Temple; three catalogues of these. Their employments while at the Temple, threefold, Ist, As porters and servants through the day. 2nd. As guards along with the priests during
a Neb, xi. 20.
Ley. xxii, 1-10.
In his second book against Apion.
the night. The man of the Mountain of the House, who? 3d. As musicians. The temple Music, either vocal or instrumental. The instrumental music, three kinds. 1st. Wind instruments, as the trumpet, flute, timbrel, tabret, and organ. 20. Instruments with strings, as the psaltery and harp. 3d. Those that sounded by concussion, as the cymbals. A particular account of all these. The maximum and minimum of the Temple band. Account of the music during divine service. The psalms sung on the different days of the week. Every psalm divided into three parts: the 24th Psalm given as an example. The meaning of Selah, and the number of times it occurs in Scripture. How the Levites were employed at home. The age when they might serve, and could retire from service; the form of their consecration; their distinctive dress. The thirty-five Levitical cities: the Cities of Refuge described ; the other funds for their support; their numbers.
After having treated of the priests, the ministers of the Temple, next in order, that present themselves to our consideration, are the Levites.
These included the whole tribe of Levi, except the family of Aaron; and they were chosen to the service of
l the Tabernacle and Temple in place of the first-born of the males of Israel, which, in Old Testament times, were accounted holy to the Lord. Accordingly, when the numbers of the two were taken, and the Levites were found to be considerably fewer than the first-born males of Israel, those of the first-born that were too many, were ordered to be redeemed at the rate of five shekels, or 12s. 6d. each, allowing the shekel to be half-a-crown;" and the money to be given to Aaron and his sons, as a part of their allotted subsistence. At that time, also, as the Levites stood in need of cattle to feed round the suburbs of their cities, and afford them the conveniences of milk, butter, cheese, and animal food, so the cattle which they then happened to have, were considered at that time, as an equivalent for all the firstlings of the cattle that the Israelites then had. And, accordingly, the firstlings were not then brought, as they were en
a Numb. iji. 12.
Ib, iü. 47.
6 Ib. iii. 43; iii. 22. 28. 34. a 1b. iii, 48-51.