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told by the Jewish authors, that the other four times were in this chamber.
We are now come to the most easterly gate on the north side, which was called both the gate Nitsuo and the Gate of Song. It led also through the Sacred Fence into the Court of the Gentiles; and obtained the first name, either from the sparkling which the fire on the altar cast upon it, for it stood directly opposite to the altar; or because the mid-day sun shone upon it with peculiar brightness, and caused the gilding on it to sparkle, which could not happen to any of the other gates on that side of the Court, on account of their being overshadowed by the temple. Its other appellation, the Gate of Song, probably originated in its being near the desks, where the Levites sat when they sang and played during the service. On the east side of this gate was a room (marked No. 18, in Plate II.) for the Levites who kept ward; and above it, in a second story, was a room for the priests engaged in the same duty. And the only other chamber on this side, was that which was named the stone chamber; because all the vessels of earth or stone in the service were kept there. It was in that chamber, also, where the priest who was appointed to burn the red heifer was kept for seven days, that he might be duly purified, and prepared for that important duty.
Thus have we travelled round the Court of Israel. To some, these subjects may appear dry and uninteresting; but by those who are fond of Jewish antiquities, they will be duly appreciated. The author can only say, that no small care has been taken to render them perspicuous. VOL. I.
The Court of the Priests.
Its situation, dimensions, and height above the Court of Israel. The portion of
it appointed for the musicians and unofficiating priests. The times when the Israelites might enter the Court of the Priests, with the manner of their entry and return. The brazen altar; its size under the tabernacle; first and second temples, and the temple by Herod ; its position and figure, the man ner of sprinkling the blood; times when washed. The Cebesh, or ascent to the altar; its form and dimensions. The use of the red line round the altar. The sanctity of the altar-why steps were forbidden; the altars of earth -why groves and pillars were forbidden. Objects on the north side of the altar :—This side accounted the most holy; the place of rings; the tables, pillars, and hooks : the Molten Sea ; difficulties as to its capacity considered. Objects on the south side of the altar :-The silver and marble tables ; the station of the priests who blew the silver trumpets; more rings, tables, and hooks. The kinds of sacrifices that were killed on the south side of the altar. Space between the altar and the porch ; things for which it was remarkable. The Megrupitha, or bell, supposed to be a gurry or gong: an account of both these. The laver ; one only during the tabernacle; ten in Solomon's temple, and one only in the second temple ; how filled ; method of washing at it.
The Court of the Priests formed the fourth division of that part of the sacred ground, within which none but Jews might enter. The other three were the Sacred Fence, the Court of the Women, and the Court of Israel. But as many things will present themselves to notice under the general epithet of the Court of the Priests, it is necessary that we be very distinct. Let us begin then with its situation and dimensions :
This Court lay immediately within the Court of Israel, and completely occupied the space which that Court inclosed; so that the Court of the Priests resembled a mirror, and the Court of Israel the frame that surrounded the mirror. Its dimensions were as follow :-its length from east to west was one hundred and sixty-five cubits, or three hundred feet eleven inches : and its breadth from north to south one hundred and nineteen cubits, or two hundred and seventeen feet, consequently it was a piece of ground one hundred and sixty-five cubits long, by one hundred and nineteen broad; or, in other words, it contained one acre, one rood, thirty-nine poles, twenty-eight yards, and two feet English measure. The whole of this space was raised two cubits and a-half above the floor of the Court of Israel; and, therefore, by resorting to what was said of the other Courts, we may ascertain its comparative elevation. Thus, if it was two cubits and a-half higher than the Court of Israel, it must have been ten cubits above the Court of the Wo. men, twelve cubits and a-half above the Sacred Fence, and eighteen cubits and a-half higher than the floor of the Court of the Gentiles. It was separated all the way round from the Court of Israel, not only by this rise of two cubits and a-half, and by the pillars which supported the piazza of that Court, but also by railing between these pillars ; called “ ranges” by our translators in 2 Kings xi. 8. 15. And for eleven cubits on the east end, it was covered, like the Court of Israel, by having a second row of pillars at that distance out, to support the roof. In the first temple we are told, that the terraces of the house of the Lord were made of the algum trees that were brought from Ophir. Immediately on entering the railing, which separated the Court of the Priests from the east end of the Court of Israel, you began to ascend four steps, the first of which was a cubit broad and a cubit high, and the other three half a cubit each. Nor were these steps confined to the narrow spaces that formed the entry from one Court into the other, but they extended, within the railing, the whole length and width of the Court; and by these, as by a passage and stair, the Levites went along the inside of the railing on the east end, and ascended the desks, where they sang and played during the service : which desks, being of wainscoat, formed a division between them and the priests. Thus the space of eleven cubits, which we are describing, as cut off from the length of the Court, but extending the whole breadth of it, had two and a-half of these cubits unoccupied with the steps and desks of the Levites, and the other nine and a half for the priests to stand in that were unemployed in the service. It was from this last circumstance, of its being the common station of the unemployed priests, that it was often called the Court of the Priests to the exclusion of all the rest : and it was to screen them and the musicians from the sun and the rain, that it was covered above like the Court of Israel.
To prevent misconstruction, it may be proper to remark, that although the Court of the Priests was not accessible to all the Israelites, as that of the Israelites was to all the priests, yet they might come into it on three several occasions; namely, to lay their hands on the animals which they offered, or to kill them, or to wave some part of them; and then their coming was not by the east gate, and through the place where the priests stood, but ordinarily by the north or south side of the Court, according as the sacrifices were to be slain on the north or south sides of the altar. In general, it was a rule, that they never returned from this Court by the same door that they entered.*
Having thus examined that space on the east end of the Court, which was the ordinary station of the unofficiating priests, and the Levites who conducted the musical department of the service, let us now advance a little forward, and investigate the brazen altar on
* Ezekiel xlvi. 9.
which the sacrifices were always consumed. This stood immediately before the ground we have been describing, exactly on the spot where the threshing floor of Araunah, or Ornan, the Jebusite, formerly was ;" and nearly at an equal distance from either side of the Court. It was much larger than the altar erected by Moses, in the wilderness, or that by Solomon in the first temple, or that by the Israelites on their return from the captivity in the second; for Moses' altar was only five cubits square, and three cubits high ; of Shittim wood, overlaid with brass :Solomon's was twenty cubits square, and ten cubits high: either of solid brass, or of rough stones covered with brass :o that after the captivity was built in conformity to the model of that mentioned in Ezekiel xliii. 16, as the Jewish writers imform us, and was, consequently, twenty-four cubits square, and ten cubits high. For they interpreted the words, in the four squares thereof, to mean, that the surface of the altar made four squares of twelve cubits each; or, in other words, that Ezekiel took his measure from the centre to each side, and not along the side. The height is rather darkly expressed by our translators in verses 14, 15, but it will be ascertained if the several sums are added together: thus two, four, and four, are equal to ten.
The altar, in our Saviour's days, or in the temple, as beautified and enlarged by Herod, was thirty-two cubits square at the base, and ten cubits high. Josephus makes it fifteen cubits high, and forty cubits square,but Lightfoot follows the Talmud. The Talmudical writers give the following account of it:—The base was a cubit high, like Ezekiels, and thirty-two cubits on each side. It served both for ornament, and to allow the
a 2 Sam. xxiv, 16—18. 1 Chron. xxi. 15. 18. 28. 2 Chron. iii. 1. • Exod. xxvü. 1. xxxviii. 1, 2.
< 2 Chron. iv. I.
& Ch. xlüi. 13.