Imágenes de páginas

to see, that all could not come at every festival; and therefore that they must have deferred it till some one that was subsequent; for they could not send them by another, since it was essential that the offerer should be present himself.

I have dwelt thus long on the different sacrifices and offerings on account of their importance. Should any thing else, that is deemed essential, be considered as omitted, it may probably be found in our subsequent inquiries concerning the daily service and the solemn festivals.


The Daily Service of the Temple.


Manner of conducting it. The priests on duty prepared for the coming of the

president of the lots. They went with him round the Court of Israel: got the high priest's meat-offering : retired to the chamber of lots : cast the first lot for him who should begin to remove the ashes from the altar : returned to the chamber of lots to cast for thirteen different pieces of service : sent for the lamb for the morning sacrifice : opened the seven doors of the Court of Israel: trumpets sounded to collect the musicians and stationary men: lamb killed : lamps of the golden candlestick trimmed: ashes on the altar of incense removed : retired to the chamber of lots to pray, repeat the command. ments and phylacteries : Cast lots a third time for offering incense on the golden altar, and laying the morning sacrifice on the altar: the way in which these were done. Four of the prayers which the people uttere i while the incense was burning. The priest who offered the incense, and his three as. sociates bless the people from the steps of the porch. The meat-offering of the daily sacrifice, and the sacrifice of the high priest presented: the drink. offering poured out: the morning service concluded by the musicians singing the psalm for the day. The employment of the priests during the middle of the day. The manner of conducting the evening service. Four reflections1. The regularity and order with which every thing was conducted. 2. The many circumstances which tended to give solemnity to the service. 3. The light which it throws on the history of Zacharias in Luke 1. 9, &c. 4. The tendency it had to lead men to Christ. The standing regulations of the Sanhedrin to preserve order and decency; and their similarity to the instructions which Christ gave his disciples in Matt. x. 9, 10.

As the manner of conducting the daily service of the Temple comes next to be considered, I shall endeavour


[ocr errors]

to describe it as clearly as possible. Let us begin then with the morning, and go on through the day until the evening

It was formerly observed, when describing the Court of Israel, that the chief residence of the priests on duty, was in that building near the north-west corner of the Court of Israel, called Bithmuked. And it may now be observed, that the first thing they did, after enjoying repose, was to bathe, in the rooms provided for that purpose. For none might go into the Court of the Priests to serve (not even those who were ceremonially clean,) who had not previously washed their bodies in water: evidently denoting, that those should be holy, whose office it was to bear the vessels of the sanctuary. But this immersion of the whole body in the morning was not repeated through the day. They frequently, however, washed their hands and feet; for their duty led them to go often out of, and return to, the Court; and at all these times they ran to the laver to wash before they resumed their office. Perhaps it was to this that our Saviour alluded, when he said to Peter, in John xiii. 10, “ He that is washed needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.”

The priests, having thus bathed and dressed (which they were obliged to do at an early hour, on account of the president of the lots,) held themselves in readiness for his arrival: for they were quite uncertain as to the particular time of his knocking to obtain admission : it being sometimes the cock crowing, sometimes after it, and sometimes before it. Perhaps this uncertainty on his part, and watchfulness on their's, may have given ground to the following exhortation of our Saviour, or at least may be considered as illustrating it:*—“ Watch

2 Mark xiii. 35, 36.

ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.”

We are not told how long the president of the lots remained at Bithmuked, but it probably was not long. From that apartment, therefore, they all issued, through a door which communicated with the Court of Israel, having candles or torches in their hands, and dividing themselves into two companies, the one going round the back of the Temple, along the west and south sides of the Court of Israel, and the other along the north and east side of the same Court, until they met at the pastryman's chamber, on the south side of the gate Nica

, nor; where, when they were come, the one company asked, if all was safe and well, and the other answered, 6. Yes, all is well :” on which they called upon the pastryman to make the cakes for the high priest's meatoffering

This being done, the president and priests all retired to the south-east corner of the Court, to that half of the chamber Gezith which entered from the Court of Israel, to cast the lots; which was performed in the following manner :-Having formed themselves into a circle, and fixed upon some number at pleasure, as sixty, eighty, or one hundred, the president took off one of their bonnets, to mark the person at which the numeration began, and said, “ Here will I begin to count; hold up your fingers :" then he counted the number previously agreed upon; and the person at whom it ended, was the person who first began to remove the ashes from the altar of burnt-offering. We are told by the Jewish writers, that this manner of casting lots was appointed by the Sanhedrin, both for the sake of solemnity and safety. For it being considered

honourable to be the first that removed the ashes from the altar, a bustle sometimes ensued, and, in the jostling to get forward, a priest at one time was pushed over the ascent, and had his leg broken. To prevent, therefore, the repetition of such indecencies, the Sanhedrin determined to settle it by lot. Micaho speaks of a different way from the former; for, when lamenting the fate of the Jews, he says, “ They shall have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord.”

The particular person being thus chosen, he left his companions in the room Gezith, washed his hands and feet at the laver, took the silver chaffing-dish that usually stood on the west side of the altar, and ascended the altar to begin his work. But it may be proper to remark, that there were three fires constantly burning on the top of the altar; namely, the great fire for the sacrifices; a small fire from which they took the coals into the Holy Place that were required to burn the incense; and another small fire, which was intended to insure a constant supply of that element on the sacred pile ; for (as every one knows) the sacred fire was never allowed to expire. It was with the largest of these that the priest appointed had to do. He began, therefore, with drawing the coals this way and that, to separate the ashes from the unconsumed wood and pieces of flesh; and having filled his chaffing-dish with ashes, de

; scended to the pavement, turned towards the east side of the ascent to the altar, and laid them down in the place that was allotted for the garbage of the birds, and the ashes that were cleansed from off the golden altar.

This was the signal to the rest of the priests. They left, therefore, the room Gezith, and hasted to wash their hands and feet; when, some taking the shovels and hooks that were required in the service, ascended the altar, and placing themselves round its several sides, proceeded to finish what the other had begun, by drawing the unconsumed wood and flesh aside, collecting the ashes into a heap, and filling the vessel called Pesecether (anda,) which contained half an omer, as often, I presume, as was necessary, till the whole were


Chap. ii. 5.

b Lev, yi. 13.

, I removed, although this is not specifically mentioned: while others of the priests who had remained below, emptied that large vessel into smaller ones, and carried the ashes to a calm place without the city, whence no one might take them for any purpose whatever. These things were usually done about the dawn; but on the three great festivals they began much sooner; and on the day of expiation, they began at midnight.

The ashes being thus removed, the next thing in order was the renewal of the fires, beginning with the fire for the sacrifices, which they called the great pile

and this they placed rather towards (; מערכה גדולה)

the east side of the altar.

The second fire, whence they took the coals for the incense, was made of the wood of the fig-tree only, and was placed on the south-west corner, as the place that was most convenient for the priest appointed to take it into the Holy Place. And the third, or that intended for preserving the flame alive, was kindled on any side of the altar indifferently. Thus, when the several fires were renewed, the unconsumed parts of the former day's sacrifices were replaced, in order to be burnt, before the morning and other sacrifices were ready for offering.

The next duty, after renewing the fires, was the re

a Ley. vi. 9-12.

b Lightf. Heb, and Talm, Exer. John xix, 31.

« AnteriorContinuar »