An accurate acquaintance with the sacrificial services and the Temple-rites at the time of Jesus Christ serves a double end. First it illustrates a considerable part of the New Testament history in a precise and striking manner. The Virgin Mother at her purification and the presentation of her First-Born, the Christ-child among the Rabbis, the Lord Jesus teaching in the Temple-courts, walking in Solomon's porch, sitting in the treasury, disputing with the scribes and the chief priests on the Feast of Tabernacles and finally denouncing their greed and hypocrisy, are a few of the events which will assume a new meaning when viewed in the light of the daily Temple-life.
But beside its historical interest our study has also a dogmatic and hermeneutic value. "The end of the Law is Jesus Christ, unto justice to every one that believeth" writes St. Paul to the Romans (10:4). The exact knowledge of the Law, of which the daily sacrificial services form no small or unimportant part, will beget a deeper knowledge and more devoted love of its fulfillment, the sacred person of the Word Incarnate. For here we shall see plainly "that the way into the Holies was not yet made manifest, whilst the former tabernacle was yet standing" (Heb 9:8).
This is the twofold purpose of the present work and at the same time the apology for its manifold shortcomings. Whilst the ancient sources and the modern literature bearing on the subject, make this work possible, the remoteness of the former and the abundance of the latter render it extremely laborious and irksome. Without pretending to have overcome all difficulties on historical and topographical questions, or to have settled all discrepancies concerning the same points, we refer the reader to those authors whose works have been especially consulted. While thus furnishing every one with the means to acquire a more detailed information, the author expresses his own obligation for the manifold assistance he has derived from the able works of so many industrious students in Jewish and Biblical Antiquities.
The foremost place among the sources belongs to the Bible, especially the Books of Kings, Chronicles, Esdras and the Gospel of St. Luke. The Talmudic tracts Tamid, Middoth and Bechoroth too deserve special mention. In the measurements of the Temple, Middoth has been followed exclusively, while Tamid has been the final authority on the daily service. In questions of profane history, the works of Josephus have been used extensively.
Among later authors and works the following are especially entitled to the writer's gratitude: Buxtorf, Lexicon Chaldaicum et Talmudicum; Kitto, Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature; Smith, Dictionary of the Bible; Keil, Handbuch der Biblischen Archaologie; Jahn, Biblical Archaeology; Haneberg, Die religiosen Alterthumer der Bibel; De Hamme, La Terre Sainte; Stanley, Syria and Palestine; Publications of the Palestine Exploration Fund; Geikie, The Holy Land and the Bible; Schottgen, Jesus der wahre Messias; Reuss, Geschichte der Schriften alten Testamentes; Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Zeiten; Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Jisrael; Sepp, Leben Jesu; Schurer, The Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ; Delitzsch, Jesus and Hillel; Farrar, Solomon, His Life and Times; Farrar, Seneca and St. Paul; Lemann, Valeur de l'Assemblee qui prononca la peine de mort centre Jesus Christ; Lightfoot, ministerium templi, quale erat tempore nostri servatoris; Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vortrage; Edersheim, The Temple, its ministry and services.
These names and works are not mentioned as if they were supposed to constitute a complete bibliography on the present topicthis may be found in almost every one of the most recent worksbut merely to acknowledge that they have been used very extensively. Not as if all could be recommended indiscriminately to every reader; but the careful student who knows how to distinguish between fact and fancy, will find in them a fruitful source of information on the most recondite points of Biblical Antiquity.
While reading this book it must be kept in mind that all we really know of Samuel, so often mentioned in the course of the narrative, is taken from the Protevangelium of James according to which he ministered in Zachary's place when the latter was afflicted with the miraculous dumbness. While therefore the general events supposed by and connected with the story are historical facts, the details of Samuel's life are fiction. Finally, the author will consider his labor repaid a thousandfold if his production assists even one soul to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
Jewish Measures and Money
I. Long Measures.
A digit = 0.912 inches
4 digits = 1 palm = 3.648 inches
3 palms = 1 span = 10.944 inches
2 spans = 1 cubit = 1 foot 9.888 inches
4 cubits = 1 fathom = 7 feet 3.552 inches
1.5 fathoms = 1 reed = 10 feet 11.328 inchest
N. B. 1o 400 cubits = 1 furlong; 5 furlongs = 1 Sabbath day's journey; 10 furlongs = 1 mile; 24 miles = 1 day's journey.
2o. According to other authorities, a cubit = 19.0515 inches; others again maintain that a cubit is equal to about 18 inches.
II. Liquid Measure.
A caph = 0.625 pints
1.3 caph = 1 log = 0.833 pints
4 logs = 1 cab = 3.333 pints
3 cabs = 1 hin = 1 gallon 2 pints
2 hins = 1 seah = 2 gallons 4 pints
3 seahs = 1 bath, or ephah = 7 gallons 4.5 pints
10 ephahs = 1 kor, or homer = 75 gallons 5.25 pints
III. Dry Measure
A gachal = 0.1416 pints
20 gachals = 1 cab = 2.8333 pints
1.8 cab = 1 omer = 5.1 pints
3.3 omers = 1 seah = 1 peck 1 pint
3 seahs = 1 ephah = 3 pecks 3 pints
5 ephahs = 1 letech = 16 pecks
2 letechs = 1 kor, or homer = 32 pecks
A gerah = 2.73 cents
10 gerahs = 1 bekah = 27.37 cents
2 bekahs = 1 shekel = 54.74 cents
50 shekels = 1 manch = 27 dollars 37.50 cents
60 manchs = 1 kikkar (talent) = 1642 dollars 50 cents
A gold shekel = 8 dollars 76 cents
A kikkar of gold = 26280 dollars
N.B. A shekel would probably purchase ten times as much as the same nominal amount will now.
Going Up To Jerusalem
It was after the sixth hour on an early Ellul-day in the year of Rome 748, that two lonesome travelers were journeying eastward, from Ain-Karim to Jerusalem. One was an old man, well stricken in years, while his companion had hardly reached the age of the early oriental manhood. Though not clad in any distinctively priestly dressfor such was worn only in the Temple at actual serviceZachary and Samuel may be recognized at first sight as belonging to the sacerdotal caste. Had all Jehovah's priests been as just and faithful to their duty as Zachary had been all the days of his life, Malachy would have had no reason to upbraid the priestly generation of his time, for turning aside from the way and causing many to stumble in the law.
Their journey may be divided into three parts of nearly equal length. For the first two miles the road ascends and winds over a high plateau, past the village Beit-Masmile. Then follows an undulating road, nearly three miles in length, across the Wadys Diab, Badawieh and Madineh. An easy walk of two miles more would have brought them to the northwestern corner-gate of the Holy City, had they been willing to avail themselves of the straight road.
Zachary is so wrapped up in his own thoughts, that he is alike insensible to the heat of a Syrian September sun, to the luscious fruits of the extensive vineyards at both sides of the road, and to the view of the Holy City, with its surrounding hills and mountains. It is, however, a glimpse rather than an impressive view of Jerusalem, which presents itself to the eye of the traveler on the high plateaumore than two thousand feet above the Mediterraneanacross which our friends pass in silence. All this and much more is seen and enjoyed by the youthful Samuel, Zachary's ward and presumptive heir. He notices in the vineyards especially all the particulars which he has often read in Isaiah's description of them: "My well beloved had a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; and he made a trench about it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out a winepress therein."
On the hill-tops, he compares the extensive western view with the limited eastern one. The former extends over the Mediterranean and suggests the world-embracing power of the Romans; the latter offers only a part of Jerusalem, and is cut off by the blue mountain ranges of Moab, most potent reminders of Egypt and Babylon. The questions concerning Daniel's seventy weeks and Jacob's prophecy that until the Messiah's coming the scepter should not pass from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, naturally revive with new vigor in Samuel's active and ardent mind.
One thought, however, overpowers all his other reflections. In that city lives Herod, the murderer of his grandfather Josiah, the deadly enemy of his father Ananiah, and the destroyer of his family. He himself would not have been allowed to return to Jerusalem, had not Matthiah pleaded for him at Herod's court. The old question, too, over which he has so often pondered, comes back to his mind: Why had his father Ananiah to flee to Babylon, while Zachary, his father's brother, was left unmolested?
"Son," replies Zachary, "when my father lost his life soon after Herod's accession, I was already known among my friends and acquaintances as the childless. Herod intended to disgrace and blot out our family forever; all its members who had hope of offspring were slain, unless they saved themselves by flight. I was spared, not through mercy, but through hatred. My childlessness was to be the final disgrace of our ruined house."
Now another object invites our attention. Close by the road Zachary points to the Upper Pool and the Fuller's Field, places hallowed by Isaiah's renowned prophecy given to Ahaz: "Behold the virgin is with child, and beareth a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
"Mar," says Samuel, "why do our people consider virginity a reproach? Will not the Messiah be a virgin's son?"
"In Judea," interrupts Zachary, "we are not called 'Mar' but Rabbi; it is not expedient to betray thy Babylonian origin and training to every master in Israel."
"With others," replies Samuel, "I shall be most careful about the choice of my words. As to thee, Mar, I cannot change my life-long habit of speech and thought. Thou shouldst seem a stranger to me, were I to call thee Rabbi. But thou hast not yet answered my question."
"In the Messiah," answers Zachary, "the Lord will create a new thing on the earth: a woman shall encompass a man. Yet, all this will be accomplished in such a way, that the Messiah will be as the dew of heaven, the offspring of the heavenly mother."
"If the Messiah is not to be the offspring of wedlock, the barren should not be despised as they are," interposed Samuel; "nor should Elizabeth thy wife consider barren a name of opprobrium. It afflicts my very soul to see how she shortens her days by grief over her childlessness."
"Alas, my son, there are more reasons than the one thou allegest for considering barrenness an evil and a reproach. The barren do not fullfil the creator's wish: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth'; they do not share God's blessing promised to Moses on condition of Israel's fidelity to Jehovah: 'There shall none cast her young, nor be barren in the land'; on the barren too rests Isaiah's curse hurled against Babylon: 'These two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children and widowhood.'"
Samuel is deeply moved by Zachary's sigh of grief. Only once before has he seen his father by adoption in such a state of sorrow, when a few days ago an inconsiderate chiefpriest spurned the old man's services asking: "How canst thou, childless though thou be, presume to stand among those blessed with offspring? Thy works are an abomination before the Lord, since he has deemed thee unworthy of fatherhood; for cursed is every one who has not begot a male or female in Israel."
"Am I not thy brother's son," Samuel suggests as another motive of consolation, "and the offspring of Elizabeth's sister Ismeria? In every Levirate marriage one's brother's seed is considered as one's own; and similar legal adoption has taken place in our own priestly family."
Zachary has meanwhile regained his habitual composure of manner. "When God hath tried me, he repeats after holy Job, "I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held fast to his steps; his way have I kept, and turned not aside. I have not gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth that which he appointed for me. But, my son," Zachary continues, "I am greatly perplexed at thy great ignorance of our priestly ancestry. Knowest thou not that no son of Aaron can minister in the Temple of Jehovah, unless he produces the proof of his sacerdotal pedigree? The children of Habaiah, of Hakkoz and of Barzillai who returned from Babylon, were deemed polluted and put from the priesthood, because they sought their registers among those that were reckoned by genealogy, and they were not found."
Our travelers have now reached the immediate vicinity of the western gate, corresponding to the Joppa Gate of to-day. A line of camels takes up for the moment all its available space. They meekly follow their leader striding on before them in white headdress and byssus shirt, with bare legs, carrying a bundle on his back, and holding a cord from the nose of the foremost camel in one hand, and a water bottle in the other. Several grave turbaned figures rest in the shade of a solitary olive tree, seated on the ground, and reclining in all the delight of idleness on their crossed legs. Roman soldiers and palace guards stand at the gate or lean against the city wall, jesting and conversing in a barbarous tongue.
To the right of the gate, in full view of the new arrivals, there stands the magnificent palace of Herod, on the very site of David's royal castle. Situated on the northwestern angle of Mount Zion, it is sheltered by the towers Hippicus, Phasaelus and Mariamne, all compactly built of immense marble blocks, square, strongly fortified, and defended by battlements and turrets. The towers have been erected by Herod, and named after his friend and his brother lost in battle, and after his favorite wife killed through jealousy.
This gentile portion of the Holy City has been the repeated theme of Pharisaic complaint. Jerusalem must be Levitically purer than any other city of the promised land; the paschal lamb, the thank-offerings, the second tithes may be eaten only in Jerusalem. No dead body may remain in the city overnight; no sepulchres are within, except those containing members of the house of David and that of the prophetess Hulda. No domestic fowls may be kept, no vegetable gardens planted, no furnace built. A favorite saying of the Rabbis has it: "The world is like unto an eye. The ocean surrounding the world is the white of the eye, its black is the world itself, the pupil is Jerusalem, but the image within the pupil is the sanctuary."
We cannot blame Zachary and his youthful companion for avoiding the western gate and the gentile quarter of the city. Turning to the right, they pass along the western side of the city, by the Lower Pool and enter, south of Jerusalem, the pleasant valley of Hinnom, now the figure of the place of future torment. This southern valley meets another and a deeper ravine which sweeps around the eastern side of the city, and separates it also on its northern side from the rocky plateau of which it forms a part. Well might the old inhabitants of Jebus look proudly down upon David and his host appearing under their walls; well might they exult in the strength of their everlasting gates, as they sent to David the mocking message: "Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither." What followed is well known. Joab first climbed that steep ascent, and won the chieftainship of David's hosts, and the everlasting gates lifted up their heads, and Israel's kings dwelt in the stronghold of Zion, and called it the "City of David."
But it is not the verdure of Hinnom nor the darkness of the Kedron valley that interest Zachary and Samuel on their roundabout way into Jerusalem. The point they have last touched in conversation, is too vitally connected with the young Aaronite's immediate future to be dismissed without further discussion. Samuel is about to assume the regular duties of the priesthood, and must therefore above and before all else produce evidence of his priestly descent.
"I meant to say, Mar," resumes Samuel, "that our family has been substituted in place of Abijah's family, and that we are, therefore, legally considered the offspring of Abijah."
"My son," replies Zachary, "thou only showest more clearly that thou dost not fully understand the history of the priestly families. The Book of Days (1 Chron 24:1-19) gives us the first clear outline of our genealogical divisions. The courses of the sons of Aaron were these: the sons of Aaron, Nedab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But Nedab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children; therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priestly office. And David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their ordering in their service. And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus were they divided: of the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen heads of fathers' houses; and of the sons of Ithamar, according to their fathers' houses, eight. Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for there were princes of the sanctuary and princes of God, both of the sons of Eleazar and of the sons of Ithamar."
"Do our genealogical records reach back to the period of David?" here inquires Samuel.
"Shemaiah the son of Nethanel the scribe, who was of the Levites," answers Zachary, "wrote them in the presence of the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the priests and of the Levites; one father's house being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar. Now the first lot came forth to Jehojarib, the second to Jedajah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Petahiah, the twentieth to Jehezkel, the one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul, the three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah. This, my son, was the ordering of them in their service, to come into the house of the Lord according to the ordinance given unto them by the hand of Aaron their father, as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded him."
"Before David's time our genealogical registers must have been greatly confused," observes Samuel.
"My son," patiently corrects Zachary, "king David was not the first to divide the priests into definite courses; the tradition of our fathers traces a similar division up to Moses, who is variously supposed to have arranged the sons of Aaron into eight or sixteen courses, to which on the one supposition, Samuel and David each added other eight courses, or, on the other, Samuel and David in conjunction the eight needed to make up the twenty-four which I mentioned a moment ago."
"Thou hast as yet said nothing of the Botte-Aboth or subdivisions, Mar," interrupts Samuel, "into which each of the twenty-four main divisions seems to be split up."
"The twenty-four courses," explains Zachary, "were at first called Machlekoth or divisions, Botte-Aboth or houses of fathers, Mishmaroth or watches. The first name merely indicates the generic idea of division; the second signifies that the division is made according to families; the third name denotes the office or service which each division is obliged to render in the Temple for a week at a time, whenever its turn of ministry demands it. The week of service, now as formerly, extends from Sabbath to Sabbath, the outgoing course offering the morning sacrifice, the entering course renewing the shew-bread and performing all the subsequent duties. On the Sabbath itself the whole course ministers; on feast-days any priest belonging to any of the twenty-four courses is admitted for service; on the Feast of Tabernacles all the twenty-four courses are on duty."
"Great, indeed," exclaims Samuel, "and impressive to behold must be the solemnity sustained by the sacerdotal functions of so many thousand priests. Truly may our Doctors say that he has never seen joy who has not seen the gladness of the Feast of Tabernacles." After this reflection Samuel draws Zachary's attention to the fact that he has not yet explained the priests' division into families.
"The service of the week is divided," resumes Zachary, "among the various families which constitute a course or Mishmar. If the course on duty consists of five families, three serve each one day of the week, and two each two days; if of six families, five serve each one day, and one two days; if of eight families, six serve each one day, and the other two jointly on one day, or if lastly of nine families, five serve each one day, and the four others serve in pairs on two days. All the particulars regarding the weekly service are arranged by the Sarim or princes of the courses, and the Rashim or heads of the families. For as Mishmar denotes a whole course, and Beth-Ab a single family belonging to the course, so Rosh-Hammishmar and Rosh-Beth-Ab signify the chief of a course and of a family respectively."
"Malachy's command," observes Samuel, "that the priests' lips should keep knowledge, and that all should seek the law at his mouth has not been neglected by thee; being about to enter the number of messengers of the Lord, I must endeavor to follow thy good example not less than thy verbal instructions. But it pains me exceedingly to see thee so weak and feeble. Thy ill-health seemed to all of us a sufficient excuse for not going up to the Temple."
"Son," says Zachary, "the time of our Temple-service is a sacred time. The Law enjoins that priests come up to Jerusalem at the due seasons, properly washed and attired. While actually on service in the Temple, we are not allowed to drink wine, either by day or by night. The families of the course in attendance at Jerusalem which are not actually on duty, are also prohibited the use of wine except by night. Those priests who stay away, or are prevented from going up to Jerusalem at the time prescribed, must meet in the synagogues of their district, and pray and fast each day of their week of service, except on the sixth, the seventh and the first. For the Sabbath-joy prevents a fast not only on the day itself but also on the day preceding and following it. How then can I exempt myself from Jehovah's special service, when the whole course of Abijah fills the holy places of the Lord, and sings morning and evening the canticles of our fathers?"
"Ezra tells us," here interrupts Samuel, "that only four courses of priests returned from the Babylonian captivity: the children of Jedajah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three; the children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two; the children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven; the children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen (Ezra 2:36-39). Thou didst tell me a short while ago that our priestly clan has not been legally adopted instead of Abijah's course which did not return from Babylon. How then can we belong to the course of Abijah?"
"Only the children of Jedajah, Immer, Pashur and Harim, numbering in all four thousand two hundred and eighty-nine men returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon," explains Zachary. "But Nehemiah (12:1-7) mentions as many as twenty-two chiefs of the priests at the time of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. The same classes of divisions are met with at the time of Jeshua's successor Jojakim the high priest (Neh 12:12-21). Even some eighty years later the above four families comprised the whole body of the priesthood, as we learn from Ezra (10:18-22) who is believed to have brought two more courses of priests with him from Babylon. Shortly after, Nehemiah (10:3-9) enumerates twenty-one heads of priests, but only fourteen of these names are identical with the names of the previous lists. The organization of the priestly courses must, therefore, have undergone certain modifications in those times, so that the tradition of our fathers regarding this matter is in keeping with the records of the Ketubim."
"What thou sayest, Mar," interrupts Samuel, "renders it still more evident that without adoption the members of our course could never have been said to belong to Abijah. Or must I assume that Abijah's return from Babylon is one of the modifications delivered to us by the tradition of the fathers?"
"Only four courses of service came back from the exile, my son," eagerly responds Zachary, "viz.: Jedajah, Harim, Pashur and Immer. But the prophets that were among them arose and made twenty-four lots and put them into an urn. And Jedajah came up and drew five lots, which, including himself, would make six. And Pashur came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would made six. And Immer came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would make six. And Harim came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would make six. Then heads of the courses of service were appointed. And the courses were divided into houses. And there were courses consisting of five, six, seven, eight or nine houses (Jer. Taanith, 4, fol. 68). The ancient names were also given to the twenty-four new courses thus formed; thus we are only in name of the course of Abijah, though really we do not belong to that family, even by legal adoption."
While thus discussing their priestly pedigree, Zachary and Samuel reach the lower part of Mount Olivet. The first impression Jerusalem makes on one coming from the north, west, or south, may be summed up in the simple expression of a modern traveler: "I am strangely affected, but greatly disappointed." But the approach to Jerusalem from the east is really grand. By this way came sixty years before the period now under consideration, the first western army that ever confronted the Holy City, under the leadership of Pompey; by this way too Jesus will enter in triumph on that celebrated tenth day of Nisan, some thirty years from now.
"Great is the Lord," breaks out Zachary, "and highly to be praised, in the city of our God, in his holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion; on the sides of the north, the city of the great king" (Psa 48:1,2).
"Let Mount Zion be glad, let the daughters of Jerusalem rejoice," responds Samuel; "walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death" (Psa 48:11-14).
"I was glad when they said unto me," re-echoed Zachary, "let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet are standing within thy gates, O Jerusalem; Jerusalem, thou art builded as a city that is compact together: whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, for a testimony unto Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord" (Psa 122:1-4).
"Mar," says Samuel, "how do these thy words apply to the Holy City?"
"How canst thou fail to understand their meaning, when their practical application is before thy very eyes? Thou seest the deep ravines of Hinnom and of the Kedron encircling the city on three sides, like a natural fosse. Only over yonder, at its northwestern side, is the city bound as it were to the mainland. Thou seest also the four hills on which Jerusalem is built: the deep Tyropoeon, first runs from south to north, separating Mount Zion to the west, from Mount Moriah to the east; then turning sharply westward, it separates Mount Zion to the south from Mount Acra to the north; the Hasmonaean valley similarly divides Mount Acra to the west from Bezetha to the east, while an artificial fosse separates Mount Moriah to the south from Bezetha to the north. Truly then might the royal prophet sing: 'Jerusalem, thou art builded as a city joined companion-like together.'"
Zachary might equally well have referred the words "mark well her bulwarks, consider her palaces" to Jerusalem alone. Though the whole city is only about thirty-three stadia, or nearly four miles, in circumference, it has the appearance of an immense natural fortress. The deep valleys form so many natural moats, making of the four hills a series of fortress islands. Besides all this, there are at the time we now speak of, two city walls: the first runs from the western colonnade of the Temple on Mount Moriah along the northern brow of Zion, to the tower Hippicus, then along the west and south of Zion, and continues eastward till it merges into the southeastern angle of the Temple. Thus it defends Zion, Ophel, and together with the Temple walls, also Moriah. The second wall runs from the gate Genath, first north, then east, and terminates at the tower Antonia, at the northwest corner of the Temple. The first wall is further defended by sixty towers, the second wall by forty. Hippicus, Phasaelus and Mariamne have been named already as being situated on the northwestern side of Zion. The L-shaped tower of Antonia, seventy cubits high, is placed on a rocky elevation of fifty cubits, at the northwestern angle of the Temple. It communicates with the castle of Antonia by a double set of cloisters, with the Temple itself by a subterranean passage and also by stairs descending into the western porches of the Court of Gentiles. By this way, the chief captain Lysias, will rush to the rescue of St. Paul in order to save him from the infuriated multitude of Jewish zealots.
But Jerusalem is not merely a fortress, but also a city of palaces. In the whole civilized world there is no city like Jerusalem for architectural splendor. Syrian Antioch, imperial Rome and classic Athens have to yield in this respect to Zion and Moriah. High up, on the northwestern side of Mount Zion, which itself rises more than seventy cubits above Mount Moriah, though it is about sixty-six cubits lower than the summit of Mount Olivet, stands the royal palace of Herod, on the ancient site of the castle of David. The high priest's palace crowns the opposite or north eastern height of Mount Zion. On the eastern brow, south of the high priest's palace, is the immense Xystus, extending deep into the Tyropoeon valley. Surrounded by a covered colonnade, it serves as a place of public meeting, whenever great numbers are to be addressed. Near by is David's ancient palace; here the Maccabees have held their sway, and soon Agrippa will be master. Again, in its rear, stands Bernice's palace. On the southern slope of Mount Acra is the Repository of the Archives, and opposite it, on the other side of the cleft, probably abutting on the Temple, we see the council chamber of the Sanhedrin. Palaces of foreign princes, especially of such as have become Jewish proselytes, cover the heights of Mount Acra. The Hippodrome, south of the Temple on Mount Moriah, and the great sheep market, on the southeastern corner of the Temple, the Amphitheater, in the far northwestern part of the city, and the four hundred and eighty synagogues built in various quarters throughout Jerusalem, the magnificent pillars and monuments, the pools of Siloam and Bethesda, and finally the innumerable public buildings that adorn every street and thoroughfare, are too well known to need description. "Mark well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, that ye may tell the generation following."
But in this city of marble and cedar-covered palaces, the Temple-mount stands alone and unrivaled in its grandeur. Terrace upon terrace its courts ascend, and on its summit stands the Temple itself, high above the city, in the midst of marble cloisters, richly ornamented, while the brightness of its gold-plated walls blinds the spectator with its radiance when beheld in the light of the rising sun.
"I was glad when they said unto me," repeats Samuel, "let us go into the house of the Lord; our feet are standing within thy gates. How is it adorned with goodly stones and offerings! What manner of stones, and what manner of build ings!"
"Alas," sighs Zachary, "who is left among us that saw this house in its former glory? and how do we see it now? is it not in our eyes as nothing?"
"If thou quotest the prophet," replies Samuel, "thou must quote the whole prophet. 'Yet now be strong all ye people of the land, for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts; yet once it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts; and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.'"
"Whatever future glory may be in store for the house of the Lord," answers Zachary, "the words of Asaph have been verified for the present: O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy Temple have they defiled. And though they have not laid Jerusalem on heaps, nor given the dead bodies of thy servants to be meat unto the fowls of heaven, or the flesh of thy saints to the beasts of the earth, still we are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, O Lord! wilt thou be angry for ever? Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the kingdoms that call not upon thy name."
Samuel sincerely confesses that he does not understand the reason of Zachary's lamentation. "Is not the Temple rebuilt more magnificently than ever? is not even now Herod priding himself in the splendor and magnificence of the Lord's house? and are not those hundreds of workmen and masons who busily swarm around the outer wall, engaged in beautifying and enlarging the special inheritance of Jehovah?"
"Truly," says Zachary, "thy bones are full of the foolishness of thy youth. When fourteen years ago Herod began the work of building, priests and people rose up in a body and protested against his bold attempt. A thousand priests were, however, provided with new sacerdotal garments, and some of them were instructed in the arts of stone cutters and carpenters; then ten thousand most skilled workmen were selected, one thousand wagons gotten ready and the Temple of Zerubbabel was pulled down, part after part."
"Mar," says Samuel, "if thou speakest truth, what shall become of the prophecy of Haggai, according to which the latter glory of the second Temple is to be greater than that of the first? do not our teachers tell us that this greater glory will result from the presence of king Messiah in the second Temple? and now the second Temple has passed away, and king Messiah has not entered it"
"Son," replies Zachary, "be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything before God. When this house of Jehovah was building, they made curtains for the Temple and curtains for the court; and then they built the walls of the Temple outside the curtains, but those of the court inside the curtains. Thus the ordinances of the worship were continued while the Temple was building; the sacrifices were not interrupted, nor were any of the sacred vessels and implements displaced. During the same time it did not rain in the day-time, but the showers fell in the night, so that the work was not hindered. Thus the Temple itself, Holy of Holies, Holy and Vestibule, were built by the priests in a year and six months, upon which all the people were full of joy. And presently they returned thanks to God. They feasted and celebrated this restoration of the Temple, and were especially glad that His continuance of God's house had not been interrupted. The king himself sacrificed three hundred oxen to God, and the rest, every one according to his ability. The number of these sacrifices I cannot give, for no one could count them."
"And was there hammer or axe or tool of iron heard, while the Lord's house was building?" asks Samuel.
"The house was built of stone," replies Zachary, "made ready in the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building."
Zachary's answer was, no doubt, perfectly intelligible to Samuel. Had he not often been told that when his grandfather Josiah, together with the members of the Sanhedrin, was slain by Herod's servants, his father Ananiah had been concealed in the quarry for three days? It was owing to the exertions of Zachary that Ananiah escaped from that den, now called the "Cotton Grotto," and situated near the present Gate of Damascus. In 1852 an opening was accidentally discovered in a rubbish heap. One could enter it only by stooping and letting oneself drop down to the floor. Of late, the rubbish heap has been cleared away. First, one sees a rough floor of earth, and then solid rock. Huge stones lie scattered about in the heart of the quarry with mason's marks abounding on them. The marks appear so fresh that one quite fancies it must be dinner hour, and the workmen will return ere long. A huge mass of stone chippings makes it plain that the stones were dressed in this place. And those red marks! Early explorers of the foundation walls of the Temple were sorely puzzled over the mysterious letters and marks found in the tunnels which they drove along the ancient groundworks. Now we understand the Phenician lettering and numbering, containing instructions for the masons where to lay each stone. Did Herod employ Phenician workmen at the Temple, or must all of these Phenician builder directions be referred back to about three thousand years ago, when Solomon erected his Temple under the supervision of Hiram? The modern estimate that the weight of single stones in the foundation walls amounts to a hundred tons, and that their length is in several instances thirty-eight feet nine inches, fully explains Samuel's admiration of the stones.
"Lord, I have called upon thee; make haste unto me," exclaims Zachary. "Let my prayer be set forth as incense before thee; the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."
The smoke of the evening sacrifice is even now curling up slowly against the blue western sky. The music of the sacred services is wafted across the Kedron valley and re-echoes on the heights of Mount Olivet.
"Truly," rejoins Samuel, "thou leddest them in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. The pillar of cloud departed not from over them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go."
"Forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not," continued Zachary; "nor has thy care over thy people ceased, since they are in possession of the land. Never has adverse accident interrupted the services of the sanctuary, nor profaned the offerings. Never has rain extinguished the fire on the altar, nor contrary wind driven back the smoke of the sacrifices. Never has the crowd of worshipers wanted room to bow down before Jehovah and to worship before the God of Israel. Never has any one in Jerusalem lacked the means of celebrating the Passover, nor has any pilgrim lacked a bed on which to rest. Never has serpent or scorpion hurt within the precincts of the Holy City, nor did ever fire or ruin desolate her streets. Verily, the Lord dwelleth in safety by Benjamin, and Judah hath been brought in unto his people."
"Mar," says Samuel, "the words of Moses proceeding from thy mouth, have ever been a riddle to me. Why is it said of Benjamin that the beloved of the Lord dwelleth in safety by him? and of Judah that the Lord will bring him unto his people?
"How can a youth understand the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death," replies Zachary, "unless it be explained to him by the mouth of the ancients? Know then and understand that the porch, the sanctuary of the Temple and the altar of burnt-offerings are in Benjamin, while the courts of the women, of the Israelites and of the priests are situated in the lot of Judah. Hence the Lord and his beloved dwell in safety by Benjamin, and the congregation of the faithful is brought together in Judah."
"Surely," exclaims Samuel, "Solomon was wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda the sons of Mahol. Still I cannot understand why he built the Temple on such an uneven place. We were told in the Beth-Middrash that the summit of Moriah is one hundred and eight cubits higher than the ridge of the rock at the northeast angle of the Temple-mount, and one hundred cubits higher than the rock at its northwest angle, and one hundred and nine cubits higher than the same rock at the southwest corner. Why, nearly the whole platform on which it stands, seems to be raised by means of walls, arches and huge stone pillars."
"My son," replies Zachary in a tone of mild rebuke, "the knowledge of the Greeks and Gentiles is growing, but the memory of our prophets is daily decreasing. Do we not read in the Book of Samuel that Gad the prophet came to David, and said to him: Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite? So David bought the threshing-floor, and built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. And when Solomon erected the house of the Lord, he built it over the same threshing-floor of Araunah. But as all threshing-floors are on the highest points of hills and ridges, so was Araunah's on the very summit of Moriah. Nor could the height be cut down to obtain a large area for the intended Temple. That summit was sacred; for the angel of the Lord had stood on it, when David prayed unto the Lord to stay the pestilence that carried off seventy thousand men of Israel within the space of three days. The huge wall, the arches and the other supports became thus absolutely necessary, if the newly erected Temple was to leave the threshing-floor intact."
"There are other questions, Mar," continued Samuel, "that have frequently perplexed me, and no one has given me a clear answer. In the Psalms (46:4f) we read, 'There is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.' And again (Psa 87:7), 'They that sing as well as they that dance shall say, all my fountains are in thee.' Isaiah, too, speaks of drawing water out of the wells of salvation (12:3), and Ezekiel is most explicit of all in maintaining that the Temple of the Lord should abound in water: And he brought me back unto the door of the house; and behold waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward. And the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house, on the south of the altar. Then brought he me out by the way of the gate northward, and led me round by the way without, unto the outer gate, by the way of the gate that looketh toward the east; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. When the man went forth eastward with the line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he caused me to pass through the waters, waters that were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and caused me to pass through the waters, waters that were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand and caused me to pass though the waters, waters that were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass through; for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed through" (47:1-5).
"Son," replies Zachary, "this is not a question of words and names. You learn in the Beth-Midrash too much Gentile wisdom which puffeth up without satisfying the spirit. Do not the Psalms and the Prophets typify every kind of blessing by water? As, therefore, the source of a stream is the cause of growth and fruitfulness, and beauty to the whole adjacent plain, so is the Temple the only source of temporal and spiritual blessings, which God's goodness has bestowed on our nation, and on the world at large. Isaiah points out the principal source whence even our Temple receives its power of benediction. For the wells of salvation are none other than the merits and the graces of the king Messiah."
"In reality, then, the Temple is placed on a thirsty hill," infers Samuel from Zachary's typical explanation; "I had always imagined that Mount Moriah was really to Jerusalem what pure water is to a thirsty soul."
"The Scriptures may be said to be true even in a material and literal sense," resumes the old priest; "yonder, across the brook at our feet, is the Pool of Siloam. We see its length and its width, thirty-four cubits by twelve, but its depth is hidden from our view. At its north end, a small tunnel opens in the rock, bringing the water from the fountain Rogel, on the border line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Now this is the history of the tunnel which brings the water from Rogel to Siloam, down in the valley, through a passage measuring eleven hundred and forty cubits, though the straight course is only seven hundred and thirty-six cubits. While the excavators were lifting up the pick, each towards the other, and while there were yet three cubits to be broken through, the voice of one called to his neighborfor there was an excess in the rock on the right. They rose up, they struck on the west of the excavation, the excavators struck, each to meet the other, pick to pick. And then flowed the waters from their outlet to the pool, for a distance of a thousand cubits, and three-fourths of a cubit was the height of the rock over the excavation. At its lowest, however the tunnel runs one hundred and four cubits below the surface."
"Here, then, is Rogel at which the faithful Jonathan and Achimaas stayed and learned from a maid the counsel Chusai had given to Absalom," observes Samuel, speaking to himself rather than to his companion.
"Isaiah too speaks of that fountain," adds Zachary, "and represents it as a symbol of David's royal house, when he says: The people hath cast away the waters of Siloam that go softly. For thou must remember that the slope of the tunnel is very gentle, so that the water always flows very leisurely. Nehemiah, describing how he went out by night to view the walls of Jerusalem, calls Rogel the dragon-fountain."
"Behold, Mar, those women with the water jars disappear within the fountain," exclaims Samuel.
"Where thou seest the women descend," quietly remarks Zachary, "there are two flights of steps hewn in the rock, which lead down to the water. Though the water seems to issue from under the second step, it is really believed to come from under the Temple. Hence, thou understandest, my son, why on the Feast of Tabernacles, at the time of the morning sacrifice, a priest accompanied by a joyous procession with music, goes down to the Pool of Siloam, to draw three logs of water in a golden pitcher. When his brethren carry up the pieces of the victim to lay them on the altar, the priest re-enters the Water-Gate, and is received by a threefold blast of the silver trumpets. He then ascends the altar and turns to the left, where there are two silver basins with narrow holesthe eastern somewhat wide for the wine, and the western narrower for the water. Into these the wine of the drink-offering is poured, and at the same time the water from Siloam. Meanwhile the people cries out to the priest: 'Raise thy hand.' For they are anxious to see the water flowing into the basin."
"You do not imply, Mar," resumed Samuel, "that the whole water supply of the Temple is drawn from Rogel and the Pool of Siloam? A single fountain cannot furnish all the water daily used in the sacred service and satisfy, besides, the needs of all the water-carriers who are even now surrounding Rogel."
"Our understanding, son, is not the limit of the power of nature or of God, Still, thou rightly supposest that there is another source of water supply in the Temple besides Rogel. Of the latter I have spoken first because its waters best illustrate the living waters which Ezekiel saw proceeding from under the Temple. The aqueduct which supplies the Temple is more than three hundred and twenty stadia in length, and derives its waters from three sources; from the hills about Hebron, from Ethan, and from the three pools of Solomon. The abundance of the supply may be gathered from the following facts which were communicated to us last year, at the season of the long drought, in order to allay our fear for the sacrificial supply. The overflow of Ethan, when drained into the Lower Pool of Gihon, presents an area of nearly four acres of water. Besides, the whole Temple-mount is perfectly honey-combed with rock-hewn cisterns, in which the water from Solomon's pools, near Bethlehem, is stored. The cisterns are connected by a series of channels cut in the rock, so that when one is full, the water runs into the next, and so on, till the final overflow is carried off by a channel into the Kedron. One of the cisterns, called the Great Sea, contains two million gallons, and the total number of gallons that can be stored exceeds ten millions."
Here the conversation of our friends is suddenly interrupted by a scene peculiar to Jerusalem. A group of persons approaches the tomb of Absolom, dragging with them two wayward boys, apparently about ten years of age. There is a scuffle and an angry cry, and then the whole party takes its stand in front of the monument. To any one versed in Jewish customs the whole proceeding is fully intelligible. Do not the Rabbis from the earliest ages enjoin: "If any one in Jerusalem has a disobedient child, he shall take him out to the valley of Jehoshaphat, to Absolom's Monument, and force him, by words or stripes, to hurl stones at it, and to curse Absolom, meanwhile telling him the life and fate of that rebellious son?" An avenging providence has thus really turned Absolom's endeavor to perpetuate his name into his everlasting disgrace. For we read in the second Book of Samuel (18:18) that Absolom, in his life-time, had reared up for himself a pillar which is in the king's dale; for he said: I have no son to keep my name in remembrance; and he called the pillar after his own name; and it is called to this day Absolom's place. Impressed with this sad spectacle, and without regarding the tomb of Jehoshaphat to the east, or the tomb now called after St. James the Less, about one hundred cubits south, or the tomb of Zechariah, by the south entry of the former, the two priests turn their face to Jerusalem, resolved to enter the Holy City without further delay.
From the Temple-mount to the western base of Olivet, it is not more than two or three hundred cubits straight across, though the distance to the summit of Mount Olivet is about half a mile, or according to Josephus, five furlongs. Since Olivet is always fresh and green, and the coolest, the pleasantest, the most sheltered walk about Jerusalem, the throng of people passing hither and thither over the bridge across the Kedron, is no matter of astonishment. To Olivet's shady retreats the inhabitants of Jerusalem often come to recreate or meditate. Among its groves of myrtle, pine, cypresses and cedars Jochanan ben Zaccai, one of the most celebrated Rabbis, will soon teach his numerous class of pupils.
Zachary and Samuel pass on among the crowd, across the Kedron, into the broad evening shadows of the Temple and its mountain. At times, a demure Pharisee or a long-robed scribe salutes the old priest in the solemn oriental fashion, a process which delays our wayfarers considerably. A certain patronizing air marks, however, even the slightest signs of courtesy extended by the proud Jerusalemites to the childless country-priest. Passing into the city, they first ascend the steep street of the lower Ophel, the quarter of the Nethinim, or Temple-slaves. Higher up, they enter the quarter of the priests and Levites; but all along the road, Zachary is called and known as the husband of "Elizabeth the barren." A few steps more, and the travelers turn to the right of the narrow marble-paved street, cross the elevated foot-way running along the street for the use of the newly purified, and disappear in the entrance of a massive stone house belonging to Matthiah the prefect of lots.
About the Cockcrowing
There was a gentle rap at the door of the sleeping apartment in the House of Stoves or the Beth-Moked. Matthiah the prefect of the lots was at the door. Standing in the dining room, he was surrounded by ten priests of the course of Abijah who had been on duty as watchmen during the night. For though the Hebrews divided the night into three, and later into four night-watches, lasting four and three hours respectively, they did not change the nightly Temple-guard. No sooner has Matthiah knocked, than the door is opened to him. Did Jesus allude to this custom, when He said: "Watch therefore; for ye know not when the Lord of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning?" (Mark 13:35). The words of the Rabbis render such an allusion very probable: "Sometimes he came at the cockcrowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later," is the Rabbinic formula regarding the arrival of the prefect of the lots.
"All ye who have washed, come and cast lots," says Matthiah glancing rapidly through the sleeping apartment. And a strange spectacle it presents, a sight more amusing than interesting to a western observer. The scanty yellow light of a solitary lamp hanging from the ceiling reveals to us, at first, a mass of stalwart men, thirty or more in number, all clad in white close-fitting tunics of linen, or byssus, reaching down to their heels, all wearing a kind of turban of the same material, and all girded with a broad byssus sash, having ornaments of purple, scarlet and blue embroidered upon it. The strict uniformity in all particulars, down to the narrow sleeves, shows us immediately that we have before us the pattern of the priestly attire.
Allowing the men to pass, for they seem eager to begin their daily round of duties, we enter a moment and examine the sleeping apartment. The ceiling, we notice at once, is part of a vaulted roof, which must cover the whole one-storied building. The sides of the room are not perpendicular, as they seemed at first, but they are merely sets of stone-stairs leading up almost to the very ceiling. The lowest step, broader than the succeeding ones, apparently serves as a bench. But the uppermost step is broadest of all. The tall figures which now begin to stir on it, show that it is a recess rather than a mere step or shelf. Abiathar the head of that division of Abijah's course, which will be on duty to-day, and a number of ancients belonging to the same division, descend from the top of the stone-stairs and proceed to a door in the northeastern corner of the sleeping apartment.
But what is moving in front of us, on the very floor? We cannot be deceived; there are more human forms stretched out at full length, and covered with their simlahs, their heads resting on pillows. Near the head of every one, there lies a small bundle of clothing which he snatches up as he rises and moves like the rest towards the door in the northeastern corner. If we may believe Matthiah, the little parcel contains the four pieces of priestly apparel; the short breeches covering merely the hips and thighs, the alb, the girdle and the cap or turban. They are given by Pinchas the wardrobe-keeper to every priest, when he comes to the Temple on the eve of his daily ministry.
And here rises Ben Gabar the chief door-keeper from his undignified place of nightly rest. Instead of going immediately to the door in the northeastern corner, he takes hold of a stout iron ring on which he has been lying, and assisted by Matthiah he lifts up a thick marble slab, one cubit square, under which the Temple-keys are fastened to an iron chain. The keys are unfastened and then Ben Gabar follows his colleagues to the mysterious northeastern corner, where he disappears like the rest.
We easily understand the reason why all the late risers pass through this same door. Descending a spiral stairway, and passing through a long vaulted corridor, they come to their well appointed bathrooms. For no priest may enter upon his sacred services without having taken a bath in the morning. As soon as one has performed his legal ablution, he vacates the room for his successor and goes to the furnace, where he dries himself before the fire and then puts on his priestly apparel. After this he may return through the same vaulted passage, lit up at both ends, and join his fellow-priests in the ministry.
The morning bath renders the priest fit for a whole day's service; but it must be renewed after every occasion of doing his needs. Moses's precept, however, that "if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even" is rigorously observed in the Temple. In such a case, the priest rises at night, takes his bath and returns to rest until the morning. Instead of joining the other priests in the sacred ministry, he must, in the morning, leave the Beth-Moked by its northern doorthe others passing through the southern gate into the Court of Priestsand remain the whole day at the eastern entrance to the Court of Women in order to show the passers-by that he is excluded from the ministry on account of some Levitical uncleanness.
Leaving the late sleepers at their ablutions, we return to the crowd of eager men whom we met on entering with Matthiah the sleeping apartment of the Beth-Moked. They had risen early enough to perform their ablutions before the arrival of the prefect of the lots. In spite of his advanced age, Zachary was of their number. Long ago should his nightly resting place have been among the elders on the uppermost shelf of Beth-Moked. But Abiathar has long been accustomed to neglect Zachary, because he has not raised seed in Israel. And again, Zachary is a good and contented old man who may be overlooked with impunity. For even in the Temple-courts of Jehovah the maxim that a contented man is happy anywhere, and that it would be a pity to disturb him, being happy where and as he is, makes itself felt. Zachary's pillow has, therefore, these many years remained on the floor among the very youngest of the officiating priesthood, while the discontented and the loud have obtained more than their rights.
Matthiah opens the wicket in the large door which leads from the dining room into the Court of Priests, and all who are ready follow him into the outer darkness. Here they divide into two companies, each carrying a torch. For the Temple is lit up only on the Sabbath, when the torches may, therefore, be dispensed with. One company passes eastwards, the other westwards, to make the circuit of inspection. In order to follow them more intelligently, we must remember that the Temple-court is a rectangle, one hundred and eighty-seven cubits in length and a hundred and thirty-five cubits in width. A wall, twenty-five cubits high from the level of the Court of Priests, surrounds the whole, extending on the east side a hundred and thirty-five cubits beyond the Court of Israel, so as to inclose the Court of Women. A single porch, resting on a double row of columns, the height of which is forty cubits from their base, but only twenty-five cubits from the level of the Court of Priests, runs around the inclosed space in such a manner that the last row of columns is built into the wall. A balustrade, three cubits high, divides, on the east side, the Court of Priests from the Court of Israel. Both are one hundred and thirty-five cubits wide; but the former is a hundred and seventy-six cubits in length, while the latter is only eleven cubits long.
The Beth-Moked from which the two companies of priests start on their circuit of inspection, is situated in the northeastern corner of the Court of Priests. The company proceeding eastwards, along the northern wall, soon passes the Gate of Sacrifices and the Chamber Parvah. Here the skins of the sacrificed animals are salted, and the upper story contains the high-priest's bathrooms, Proceeding a little further, they pass the chamber containing the store of the sacrificial salt, and, close by, the Gate Nitzutz or Sparkgate, in the northeast corner of the Priests' Court. In the room above Nitzutz, ten more priests are preparing to join their companions in their ministerial duties, though they have been watching all night. For we must keep in mind that three of the twenty-four night-guards of the Temple, must be supplied from the ranks of the priests: that in Beth-Moked, that in Nitzutz, and that in the Chamber Abtinas. Thirty priests and two hundred and ten Levites are, therefore, on duty every night.
Leaving Nitzutz to the left, the company of patroling priests turns to the south, passing along the balustrade which separates, at its eastern extremity, the Priests' Court from that of the Israelites. The scanty light of the solitary torch does not reveal the boundary-line of the Court of Women to our left or the Temple proper and the altar of burnt-offerings to our right. The dull footfall of the bare-footed priests on the marble flooring is the only sound perceptible throughout the vast expanse of the Temple buildings. Hence the Rabinnic answer to the question: "What is the nightly cry in the Temple court?" points to only one possible explanation: "It is the cry of the Levite who is beaten and has his clothes burned." For, according to rule, the guard who does not rise at the approach of the Temple-captain and salute in the proper manner, or who is found asleep when on duty, is beaten and has his garments set on fire. Does St. John (Rev 16:15) allude to this rule when he says: "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments?"
The second company of patroling priests has, meanwhile, passed from Beth-Moked along the western wall to its southern extremity, and there, turning to the east, has followed the southern boundary-line of the Priests' Court. In the southwestern corner they passed the Wood-Gate; through this the altar-wood is carried into its proper room. Above and beyond it, are the apartments of the high priest and the assembly chamber of the honorable members of the "Priestly-Council" for affairs strictly connected with the Temple. Further east, Matthiah and his band passed the Gate of Firstlings through which the first-born fit for sacrifice were brought; there was also the Chamber Golah with the water apparatus which filled and emptied the laver. And finally, in the southeastern corner of the court, Matthiah's torch revealed the Water-Gate through which the water was brought on the Feast of Tabernacles, and near by, the Gazith, or hall of square polished stones, where the Sanhedrin assembled. Matthiah here repeated: "All ye who have washed, come and cast lots." At the sound of these words, ten more young men, clad in Sacerdotal attire, descended from the Chamber Abtinas above the Water-Gate, and joined the priestly patrol. They had been on guard during the night, and since there was a bathroom connected with the chamber, they could join the ministering priests without first going to the Beth-Moked for their morning bath.
Matthiah's band now turns northwards, following the balustrade at the eastern extremity of the court and after a few seconds it meets the first company coming southward, along the same balustrade. Those who are not too near the torches, or too much occupied with the cares of the new day, enjoy a most sublime spectacle. The sky overhead reminds one forcibly of the promise Abraham received, when he was told to look up to the stars, which, innumerable as they seemed, his posterity was to outnumber. The heavenly bodies do not merely shine afar, like gems inlaid in the firmament, but they seem to hang down like lamps radiant with unspeakable splendor, and beyond them one looks away into the infinite. That the stars should be adored as so many divinities in the countries neighboring on Palestine, in Syria and Mesopotamia, at a time when God's revelation had grown dim, and religious error was rampant among most nations of the earth, seems as natural as the admiration of the child at the whirl of a leaf and at the flow of water. For it is not the lot of unassisted human nature to rise through nature up to nature's God, like David does in his royal psalms: "O Jehovah, our God, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens. When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordainedwhat is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him?" (Psa 8:1-4) And what weight of meaning do not the words of Balaam the son of Beor, acquire under such circumstances: "I see him, but not now: I behold him, but not nigh: there shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite through the corners of Moab" (Num 24:17).
The two companies stand face to face. "Peace," the first salutes. "All in peace," the second answers. "It is well! all is well!" perhaps gives the meaning of these reports more accurately. Then three priests are deputed to prepare the high priest's meat-offering. They pass through the wide opening in the middle of the balustrade, descend two or three steps, each of which is half a cubit high, and crossing the Court of the Israelites, eleven cubits in width, they stand opposite the Nicanor Gate. Instead of passing through its heavy double doors, they turn to the right, and enter the chamber of the high priest's meat-offering. Here they mix one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour with oil. This mixture is then kneaded and baked in a flat pan, the Machabath, whence the whole, at a later period, will be known simply as the "baked" or the Chabitim.
Matthiah, with his two companies of priests, turns to the Hall of Polished Stones or the Gazith, in the southeastern corner of the court, in order to determine by lot who is to cleanse and prepare the altar of burnt-offerings. In former times, this office was not so determined, but was decided by a kind of running match. The priest who first reached the altar had a right to perform this duty. For many years was this primitive way of determining the proper person found sufficient, till on a certain day two priests claimed to have reached the altar at the same moment. A painful scene followed, and we are told that one of the rivals fell headlong on the marble floor from the circuit which ran around the altar of burnt-offerings, a height of six cubits.
Arrived at the Gazith, all the priests stand in a circle around Matthiah, and the latter seizes the cap of the one most convenient to his reach. By doing so, he binds himself to begin his count from the priest whose head he has uncovered. But is it not unlawful to count persons in Israel? For this very reason, every one present lifts up one, two or three fingers to serve as the object of the count. Matthiah loudly and distinctly says "seventy-two"he might have named any other number as the decisive oneand then counts the uplifted fingers till he reaches seventy-two. The lot falls on him whose fingers are counted last. A simpler way of determining by lot can hardly be imagined.
Zachary and a few of his most elderly companions approach Abdiah on whom the lot has fallen, and tell him that the silver chafing-dish is deposited in the western corner between the altar and its inclined access, warning him at the same time not to touch it or any other sacred vessel before having washed his hands and feet. For the hands and feet must be washed each time, however often, the priests come for service into the Temple or its courts. Abdiah leaves Gazith immediately, and proceeds in the dark, without taking a light with him. The fire of the altar is supposed to give light sufficient for his purpose. As to the washing of hands and feet, the laver of brass is huge enough to be found without difficulty, even in the dark of night. Situated between the altar and the porch of the Temple, a little to the south, it rests on twelve colossal lions; it has been altered by Ben Catin so as to enable twelve priests to perform their ablutions at the same time. Drained every evening, because the water standing in the laver overnight would be legally unclean, it is filled in the morning by machinery, constructed by the same Ben Catin. Rabbinic fable has it that the sound of the machinery as it fills the laver, can be heard as far as Jericho. Whatever truth there may be in this, the sound certainly admonishes the priests collected in the Gazith as well as those who are still in the Beth-Moked to keep themselves in readiness. Abdiah at the laver, laying the right hand on the right foot and the left hand on the left foot, allows the thin stream of water flowing from the nearest faucet to run over them successively. A turn of the spigot, and the ablution is performed. "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean wholly" (John 13:10).
In order to understand the further course of Abdiah, we have to keep in mind the peculiar construction of the altar of holocausts to which he proceeds. It forms, indeed, the most prominent object in the Court of Priests. A square of thirty-two cubits, built of unhewn stones, it rises one cubit, and then narrows one cubit all around, so as to form a square of thirty cubits; again it rises five cubits, and contracts another cubit all around, thus presenting the appearance of an outer circuit. Finally, it rises three more cubits, a pile twenty-eight cubits in length and twenty-eight cubits in breadth, after which it seems to form a level surface. Its four corners, however, bear each a prominence, called horn, a cubit long, a cubit broad, a cubit high. Not including the marginal spaces, the corners of which are occupied by the horns, the upper surface of the altar is a square of twenty-six cubits. But not even this space is wholly reserved for sacrificial purposes. A sunken footway, one cubit wide and two cubits deep, runs at the distance of one cubit from the sides all around the altar, giving the ministering priests a suitable circuit to walk in. The actual surface of the altar is, therefore, a square of twenty-four cubits.
To sum up, the altar appears to consist of three parts: the base, thirty-two cubits square and one cubit high; the middle part, thirty cubits square and five cubits high; the top, twenty-eight cubits square and three cubits high. A look at the surface of the altar reveals three other characteristic features: the main part of the altar, a square of twenty-four cubits; the footway surrounding the main part on all sides, one cubit wide and two cubits deep; the external wall of the depressed circuit, one cubit thick and two cubits high, bearing on each of the four corners a horn, one cubit high, one cubit wide, one cubit long, and surrounding the whole altar except on the southern side where the inclined plane leads up to the altar. Here the wall of the groove is omitted, so as to give free access to the sacerdotal circuit.
But to return to Abdiah. No sooner has he washed his hands and feet, than he goes towards the southern part of the altar. Here he meets the inclined plane, thirty-two cubits long and sixteen cubits wide, which leads up to the priests' circuit. He first turns to the left and takes the silver chafing-dish which stands in the corner between the inclined ascent and the altar, and then rapidly walks up to the fire place on the altar. Scraping the fire, he removes the burnt coals and deposits them, three palms east of the inclined plane and twelve yards north of its rise. Finally, without turning in the narrow circuithe had entered it by the right sidehe walks around the sacrificial square and regains the inclined plane by the left opening of the circuit.
Abdiah's first service over, all the other priests advance from the Gazith to the laver to wash their hands and feet. Then taking shovels and three-pronged forks, they ascend the altar, move aside whatever remains of yesterday's sacrifices, and place the pieces on the sides of the altar. When the number of sacrifices offered on the previous day has been very great, the remaining pieces are deposited on the inclined plane. Next, the ashes are cleaned out and partly piled up on the round ash-heap in the middle of the altar, called "apple" from its spherical form. If to-day were a great feast-day, the ashes would remain on the altar, being reputed both an ornament and a certain sign that a great many sacrifices have been offered on the day preceding. As it is, part of the ashes is deposited in a place whence it will be removed during the course of the day.
Before parting, look once more at the "apple." It presents a very ordinary appearance, rendered still less remarkable by the little light thrown on it from the gleaming coals of the altar. Zachary too considers it very carefully. He has read in the Midrash that this diminutive looking heap holds, at times, upwards of three hundred cors of ashes. Measuring with his eye the whole surface of the altar, he cannot understand how even the square of twenty-four cubits can hold that amount. For he has never realized that the Rabbinic Doctors avowedly exaggerate in three points: regarding the quantity of ashes contained in the "apple," the size of the grapes in the Temple-porch, and the precious veil.
All the priests now descend from the altar, retiring by the left, and proceed to the Wood-Chamber, in the southwestern corner of the Temple-court. They return without delay, carrying each a certain amount of fuel. Abdiah, the foremost of all, bearing on his shoulder a log, is followed by Zachary and several other priests, all burdened with logs. The pieces on the shoulders and in the arms of the priests following these, are of a more diminutive size. Were it daylight, we should perceive that all the wood looks remarkably healthy; it shows no trace of corruption, no mark of the woodworm. In fact, before it is brought to the Wood-Chamber, a number of priests not actually engaged in the ministry of the altar, examine it piece by piece, and reject everything infected with any sign of legal impurity.
Abdiah places the great logs on the fire of holocausts at the eastern side of the altar, while the other priests deposit their smaller pieces either on the same fire or on another at the northern side of the altar; the latter is constantly kept up to supply the means for kindling the fire of sacrifices and the fire of incense, in case they should be extinguished. The fire of incense, kept on the south side of the altar, supplies the coals for the burning of incense in the inner Temple. Any kind of wood, excepting the vine and the cultivated olive, may serve as fuel for the eastern and the northern fires, though the wood of the fig, the nut and the wild olive is especially sought. Later Rabbis have given various reasons for the exclusion of the cultivated olive and the vine from the use of the altar. R. Papa says that they turn too soon into ashes; others think that the many knurs and knarls found in them, would prevent their smoke from ascending perpendicularly; Rabbi Acha, with a number of others, supposes that the vine and olive were excluded from this use, because they are the principal food-furnishing woods, and their sacrificial use would have proved very detrimental to the community. The fuel for the fire of incense is the wood of the fig-tree, or according to some, of the wild fig-tree, because this kind of wood gives very solid and durable coals, such as are needed on the altar of incense.
The three woodpiles, built in furnace-shape, being completed, the priests gather up the pieces of unburnt sacrifice, on the sides of the altar, and place them alongside the wood on the fire of burnt-offerings, set the three piles on fire, and leaving the altar by the left, return to the Gazith.
Meanwhile, a singular conversation took place in the furnace room of the Beth-Moked. Abiathar had taken his morning bath in the most leisurely way possible. Before he completed his dress, all the priests had left the lower part of the House of Stoves, excepting Obed, his life-long companion, a Herodian and scribe by profession.
"Didst thou see the son of the cursed Babylonian?" Abiathar addresses his friend.
"Thou sayest it," Obed replies in his dignified and calm manner. There is silence for several minutes, Obed looking abstractedly into the glowing fire, and Abiathar arranging his gray and venerable beard.
"Why dost thou try my patience?" resumes Abiathar, when he perceives that his companion will not continue his report without further inquiry. "What thinkest thou of our plan?"
"It has failed, Abiathar," laconically answers Obed.
"Thy speech is a sore trial for my soul," angrily says Abiathar. "Hast thou seen Salome, and informed her that Josiah's offspring is returned?"
"I have spoken to the king's sister, Abiathar," answers Obed; "I have heard from her own lips that Herod has given full permission for the restoration of Josiah's family."
"Canst thou tell me this in cold blood?" Abiathar rather hisses than speaks. "Rememberest thou not that through thy exertions Josiah was condemned to death with the other members of the Sanhedrin, was discovered in his safe hiding-place and dragged to the place of execution? Hast thou forgotten that thy own hand has blotted Josiah's and Ananiah's names from the priestly registers, and has forged the legal transfer of his family estate to thy own name?"
"Abiathar," contemptuously answers Obed, "if I have shed blood once, I may shed it again; what my hand has done in Josiah's case, it can do in thine own. Hast thou not trained me well in all the arts of deceit and cunning? Is it not for thee that I have exchanged the way of righteousness and the law of Jehovah with the crooked paths of sin and the tyranny of Herod? Thou holdest the office that belonged to Josiah's family for ages, presidest in his place over the course of Abijah, sittest in his chair in the council of the Sanhedrin. My fortune will follow me to Rome, Antioch or Babylon; if thou leavest Jerusalem, thou leavest all thy possession."
"Let not thy mouth speak foolishness," soothingly whispers Abiathar; "Josiah's family is not yet restored. Its registers are destroyed, and as to Ananiah's wife, I have taken care not to have her name entered on the list of Israelites."
"All thy care has been vain," simply retorts Obed. "Matthiah has procured Ismeria's genealogical record from Babylon."
"This must not be," excitedly exclaims Abiathar.
"The walls hear thee, friend," coolly remarks Obed. "It shall not be, if I can obtain possession of the document for a single moment."
"Knowest thou who keeps the record?" anxiously questions Abiathar.
"That is my secret," replies Obed. "Keep thou Zachary from the room of Pinchas, when the priests change dress."
The Sky Lit Up As Far As Hebron
"Come and cast lots," again resounds Matthiah's stentorian voice, as soon as the priests are gathered in Gazith. A circle immediately forms around the prefect of the lots, the turban of one of the priests is seized, the fingers of the sacred ministers are raised, the stated number is counted off on the uplifted fingers, in a word, ail is repeated that was done about the cockcrowing. Not less than thirteen offices are determined by the second lot. The priest on whom it falls, must slaughter the victim; the one next to him must sprinkle the blood upon the aitar; the third in order must remove the ashes from the altar of incense; the fourth has to trim the lamps of the candlestick; the fifth must carry the head and one of the hind legs of the victim to the altar; the sixth must carry the two forelegs; the seventh, the tail and the other hind leg; the eighth, the breast and the neck; the ninth, the two sides; the tenth, the entrails; the eleventh, the offering of fine flour; the twelfth, the baked meat-offering of the high priest; the thirteenth, the wine for the drink-offering.
"Ascend the pinnacle, and see whether the time of sacrifice is at hand," is Matthiah's next command. Immediately one of the bystanders ascends the very highest place on the top of Nitzutz, and gazes towards the region of the rising sun. "The morning shineth," runs his report. The bright sky of Palestine causes the heat of the day to radiate very quickly, so that the nights are as remarkable for their cold as the days for their heat. Thousands of years ago Jacob complained of the "drought consuming him by day, and the cold by night." This intense cold condenses all the moisture of the night air into drops, so that a heavy fog rests in the morning, like a sea, on the plains and reaches far up the sides of hill and mountain. Hosea speaks of these "morning clouds and the early dew that go away." But all this changes with sun-rise. Looking down from Nitzutz towards the Dead Sea, we notice the billowy masses of vapor sway and break up as soon as the light streams on them over the purple mountains of Moab; their shape and color change every moment in the kindling warmth of the sun, and instead of the whitish vapory color, which they had in the hollows of the landscape, they assume a fleecy, yellow tint on the slopes of the hills, then an opal and snowy brightness in the upper air, and finally they fade away into the unclouded sky.
"Is the sky lit up as far as Hebron?" is Matthiah's next question.
"The auroral column reaches as far as Hebron," the priest answers from the pinnacle. In fact, the oriental sun, suddenly rising above the horizon, appears like a cone of light.
"Fetch the victim," Matthiah replies. The two priests destined to slaughter the victim, and sprinkle its blood upon the altar, proceed to the Beth-Moked. Thus far we have become acquainted with only two apartments of the House of Stoves, the dining room and the sleeping apartment. But at its northwestern corner, there is an apartment in which the lambs for the sacrifice are kept about four days before they are actually immolated. Hence, at least six lambs are constantly in readiness in the Beth-Moked, where, once a day, they are examined as to their fitness for the altar. Another examination takes place the night before their immolation, and the last one on the very morning on which they are offered. This last scrutiny is performed by torch-light, lest the victim should have contracted a legal irregularity during the course of the night. The priests not engaged in fetching the victim, are busy about preparing the ninety-three instruments needed for the legal performance of the sacrifice. The Rabbis differ as to the reasons why the number of the sacrificial implements amounts to ninety-three. The treatise Chagigah of the Jerusalem Talmud maintains that ninety-three instruments must be employed, because the number of divine names in the three prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi is ninety-three; R. Hunna declares that this explanation is not only absurd, but rests on a false supposition. Maimonides, Bartenora and Jom Tob give the same explanation in a merely historic form, thus showing that they themselves do not consider it satisfactory. All instruments are, however, said to be of gold or silver.
The lamb is watered out of a golden bowl in order to facilitate its flaying; for the skin is thought to become less adhesive by the draught. The material of which the bowl is made, is called in question by a number of Jewish Doctors, who substitute brass instead of gold. But the majority follows the general maxim that there is no poverty in the place of riches. The bowl is deposited, together with the other instruments, on a silver table north of the altar. The incipient daylight reveals to us in the same place six rows of rings, four rings in each row, ingeniously constructed for the fastening of the victim. More to the north, are eight low columns, each provided with three hooks to hang up the victim while it is skinned and disemboweled. Between the columns, but still more to the north, there are eight marble tables, for the flesh, the fat and the cleaned entrails. Finally another marble table, near the same place, serves for the laying out of the different pieces. According to some authorities, the hooks are fastened into cedar beams, laid across each pair of columns. The smaller victims are hung up on the lower hooks, while the larger ones are suspended from the higher. At any rate, the Mosaic law, "and he shall kill it on the side of the altar, northward before the Lord," is fully observed in the arrangements of the various details.
The sacrificing priest, surrounded by his assistants, fastens the lamb to the second ring on the western end. We are told, indeed, that the lamb was not bound before being offered. But this merely means that its forefeet and its hind legs were not bound together. The same authorities admit that the lamb was fastened like Isaac was bound, when Abraham intended to immolate him. Again, they assign as a reason for not binding the victim, the fact that the victims of the Gentiles were bound forefoot to forefoot and hind leg to hind leg, when they were offered to the idols. The Jewish victims, on the contrary, have each forefoot bound to its corresponding hind leg; the victim's head, fastened in the second ring in the marble floor, is turned to the south, its face to the west, its tail to the north, its back to the east. Instead of seeing in the second ring, the ring second in any one row, several authors understand by it the western-most or first ring of the second row. Since the altar is ten cubits high, they say, and the first row of rings only five cubits north of the altar, the rays of the rising sun would not reach the hands of the sacrificing priest, were he to kill the victim at the second ring of the first row.
Meanwhile, the priests destined to cleanse the altar of incense and to dress the golden candle-stick have not been idle. From Ben Gabar the chief door-keeper they obtain the keys of the Temple proper, and from the prefect of the instruments they receive the golden Cuz and Teni; the former is shaped like a cup, the latter presents the appearance of a basket. Each with a key on his shoulder and one of the two implements in his hand, the two priests pass by the northwestern corner of the altar of holocausts, and proceed to the steps leading to the Temple proper, twenty-two cubits west of the altar. The stairway numbers twelve steps, each half a cubit high and one cubit wide. The third, sixth and ninth steps, however, are three cubits in width, and the landing is a flat, four cubits wide. Having ascended the steps, the two sacred ministers disappear from view through the curtained entrance of the Temple-porch. Though without doors, the entrance is most imposing. Its spacious dimensions, it is forty cubits high and twenty cubits wide, are still more enhanced by its five oak lintels. The lowest, twenty-two cubits long, spans the door posts of the entrance. The second, twenty-four cubits in length, is placed upon the thin layer of masonry resting immediately on the lowest beam. In a similar way, the third beam, twenty-six cubits long, follows the second, and the fourth, twenty-eight cubits long, rests upon the third; the fifth, thirty cubits in length, overtops all.
Before we follow the priests into the interior of the Temple, we must endeavor to obtain, by the light of the dawn, a general view of its external outlines. The sacred building proper is T-shaped, its main branch lying east and west. The part corresponding to the cross-line is, properly speaking, only the porch or the vestibule of the Temple. It is one hundred cubits long, but only eleven wide, and projects at both ends fifteen cubits beyond the main part. These shoulder-like extensions may have risen into flanking towers, covering the Holy and the Most Holy. At any rate, Rabbinic writers call the Temple lion-shaped, because its front is wider than its hinder parts. They see here an allusion to Jacob's words: "Judah is a lion's whelp; he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?" (Gen 49:9).
The interior sanctuary is only twenty cubits wide. Both its northern and southern walls are six cubits thick. Then follow on both sides, north and south, three stories of rooms, each story containing five apartments. The width of the lowest room measures six cubits. Next, comes a wall, five cubits thick, inclosing the two sets of rooms, and finally, a circuit, three cubits in width, runs along both the northern and southern side, being again inclosed by an outer wall, five cubits thick. The Temple proper is, therefore, both on its north and south side inclosed by walls and apartments, twenty-five cubits in width; these two widths of twenty-five cubits together with the Temple width of twenty cubits, give us the total of seventy cubits.
Next, a word about the length of the Temple and its various parts. We have seen that the eastern wall of the vestibule is five cubits thick, that the vestibule is eleven cubits wide, and that the wall of the Temple proper is six cubits thick. Then follows the Holy, forty cubits long, with a wooden wall, one cubit thick, at its western side. West of this is the Holy of Holies, twenty cubits long, and inclosed by a six cubit wall. Next follow three stories of rooms, having three chambers in the lowest, three in the middle, and two in the third story. The width of the lowest apartments is six cubits, and the thickness of the outside wall is five. The length of the whole Temple amounts, therefore, to one hundred cubits.
The height of the Temple too deserves special notice. From what has been said about the stairs leading to the entrance of the porch, we see that the floor of the building is six cubits higher than the surrounding court. Both the Holy and the Holy of Holies are forty cubits high; the rafters are one cubit thick; transversely on them rest the braces, two cubits thick; then follows a double flooring, the one of wood the other of cement, but both one cubit thick. Chambers, forty cubits high, overtop both the Holy and the Holy of Holies. Rafters, one cubit thick, braces, two cubits in thickness, and floorings of wood and cement, each one cubit thick, form the ceiling. Both the gabled cedar roof and its surrounding balustrade, three cubits high, are armed with golden spikes, one cubit long, in order to prevent the birds from resting on or soiling the sacred edifice. The height of the Temple, from the level of the court to the top of the spikes on the balustrade, amounts, therefore, to one hundred cubits.
And now another look at the wings flanking the Holy and the Holy of Holies. We perceive, at a first glance, that they are considerably lower than the main building, which overtowers the Holy Places. At the height of about fifty cubits, their slanting roof abuts with its higher end on the inner wall. Outside windows are, therefore, impossible in both the Holy and the Holy of Holies.
The two sacred ministers at the entrance of the porch, have long ere this drawn the curtain covering the huge portal. While one of them opens the wicket in the Temple-door, we may be allowed to look about, and study by the pale morning light the various pieces of furniture found in the porch. To our right and left are cases holding the sacrificial knives. In front of us are two tables, one of marble and the other of gold. On the former the shewbread is deposited on the Sabbath, when it is brought into the Holy, on the latter it is placed on being brought out of the Holy. Near by are kept a number of dedicated gifts, such as the golden candelabra of the proselyte queen of Adiabene, the two golden crowns presented by the Maccabees and, above all, a gigantic vine of pure gold, the symbol of Israel, hung over the door leading into the Holy Place. The whole vine is made of votive offerings, each cluster being of a man's height. But the Rabbinic writers agree that their Doctors have somewhat exaggerated the size of the golden vine, and we may safely suppose that what they tell us concerning the golden chains hanging from the ceiling of the porch and serving the priestly candidates as ladders for ascending to the second story of the porch in order to view the gold crowns which ornament the window openings, is also the offspring of the same Rabbinic fancy.
We must now watch the priest opening the door of the Holy Place, if we wish to become acquainted with all its particulars. First, he moves aside the rich Babylonian curtain presenting the four Temple colors, the white of fine linen, blue, scarlet, and purple. It hangs in front of the two-leaved and gold-plated door. We hardly need to be reminded that the door is twenty cubits high and ten cubits wide, dimensions proper to all the doors inside the Temple court, the portal of the porch alone excepted. A first glance shows us also that there are two wickets in the door, one in its northern and one in its southern leaf. The latter is never opened, because it is supposed to represent the gate of which Ezekiel says: "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, neither shall any man enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it." There is an aperture above the northern wicket through which one of the priests thrusts his arm up to the shoulder, in order to reach and remove the bolt locking the door on the inside. Then he puts the other key into the outer bolt, and removes it also. Both priests now enter through the wicket into the Holy Placebut no, not yet into the Holy Place.
What has been told us concerning the thickness of the walls, assumes now a practical bearing. The gate through which we have entered is, indeed, one cubit inside the outer edge of the wall; but there still remains a thickness of five cubits to be passed through. Nor is this all. On the inner edge of the wall there is another two-leaved, gold-plated door, in dimensions equal to the outer door. This too is locked, both outside and inside. The outer bolt is easily removed; the inner occasions more serious difficulties. Turning to their right the priests enter a narrow passage, constructed in the very wall itself; through this they pass along the eastern side, northwards, till they reach the chamber at the northeastern corner of the Temple wall. The apartment is quite dark; accustomed as the two priests are to the place, they turn without further delay to the left, where they find a door leading through its northern wall into the Holy Place.
Had they been less acquainted with the inner construction of the Temple-building, they might have easily lost their way in the dark passage and the darker room. For the doors through which they passed were not the only ones in the room. Had they gone straight forward, they would have found a door leading into the adjoining apartment. A turn to the right would have brought them to a door leading into the circuit, which we saw flanking the northern and southern sides of the Temple. The latter's peculiar arrangement calls for a few words of explanation. Near the entrance through which we have come, there begins a gradual ascent, inclined at such an angle, that it reaches the height of the second story at the northwestern corner of the Temple. Turning then to the left, it runs in the form of a level passage through the outermost western wall; then it turns again to the left, and passes through the southern circuit, again at such an angle that it reaches the level of the third story at the southeastern corner of the building. From the apartment in the third story, at its southeastern corner, we may enter the hall over the Holy and the Most Holy Places. By a ladder fastened to the south side of this hall, one ascends to the roof of the building. In the same hall, over the Holy of Holies, we notice an aperture of peculiar construction; through this a basket or a box, holding a workman, is lowered into the Holy of Holies, whenever the high priest discovers that any repair is needed. The workman is thus prevented from "feeding his eyes," on anything holy in the place, excepting the very spot where he is engaged in his work.
Retracing our steps we notice, no doubt, that the chambers of the third story are wider than those of the second, and those of the second story wider than those of the first. The reason of this is easily understood. The rafters on which the ceilings of the various stories rest, are not inserted into the adjoining walls, but the walls themselves contract half a cubit with each story, and the rafters rest on the rectangular projections thus formed. While the lowest apartments are six cubits wide, those of the second story are seven cubits in width, and those of the third, eight. Every chamber has three doors, two leading to each of the adjoining rooms, and one to the room above.
We may follow the two priests who have, meanwhile, entered the Holy Place by the door leading through the northern wall. Here the sacred ministers first go towards the left, and open the inner, eastern door. Its two leaves are thrown back against the wall. In this way the color of the whole interior becomes uniform; for all the walls, except the parts immediately behind the door-leaves, are covered with gold. The leaves of the outer, eastern door are in the same way fastened against the sides of the entrance. Since each leaf is five cubits wide, it covers exactly the thickness of the wall between the outer and the inner door.
The silence of the night now ceases, and gives way to the loud signals of the day. According to Rabbinic traditions, the sound of Ben-Catin's machinery for filling the laver was not the only sound that reached to Jericho. The groaning of the inner Temple gate, the roar of the Magrephah, a signal-instrument emitting a compound of a hundred sounds at once, the voice of Gebini the herald, the screaming of the flutes, the melody of the Psalm, the trumpet blast, and the high priest's solemn voice as he pronounced the sacred name of God on the Day of Atonement, were one and all heard as far as Jericho. At Jericho too was perceived the fragrance of the incense; according to R. Eliezer ben Daglai's testimony, its redolence made the goats of Aba sneeze even on the mountains of Mikvor.
Scarcely have the two priests opened the inner door of the Temple, when the signal is given to open all the gates. Immediately after, the voice of Gebini fills the courts and reaches far beyond the huge inclosures of the Temple Mount to the adjacent parts of the Holy City: "Priests and Levites, to your duty!"
All within the sacred precincts, down to Abiathar, the most Sadducean minded head priest of the course of Abijah, who has till now remained in the warm department of the Beth-Moked, begin to stir about. The two hundred and ten Levites who have been on duty as watchmen during the night, leave their twenty-one stations. Five of these are at the five principal gates of the outer court, or the Court of Gentiles; four at the four corners of the same court, inside the inclosure; five more stations are at the five most important gates of the Court of Israel: at the Beautiful Gate, the Nicanor Gate, at Nitzutz, at Abtinas, and near Beth-Moked; four are at the four corners of the same court, but outside its wall, in the Court of Gentiles; one is in the treasury, one outside the Parbar Gate, and the last near the same place, but more remote from the Temple. Thus the words of 1 Chronicles (26:17): "eastward were six Levites, northward four a day, southward four a day, and for the storehouse two and two; for Parbar westward, four at the cause-way, and two at Parbar," are in their way verified, even in the Herodian Temple.
Turning to the east, we see the leaves of the Nicanor Gate slowly moving on their hinges. The gate is the more remarkable, because it alone is made of Corinthian brass, while all the others are plated with gold. Two most extraordinary events have occasioned this distinction of the Nicanor Gate. Nicanor, the Rabbis tell us, had the leaves made at Alexandria in Egypt. When he brought them to Jerusalem, a mighty storm obliged the sailors to throw one of the leaves overboard. Nicanor clutched firmly on to the other, and declared that he himself would be thrown with it into the raging sea. God heard his earnest prayer and calmed the storm, so that the second leaf was brought safely to Ptolemais. But miracles do not usually come singly. When the ship ran into harbor the first door-leaf, which had been thrown into the water, was found adhering to the bottom of the vessel. The extremely brilliant color of the brass was another motive for not plating the Nicanor Gate with gold, though all the other gates were subjected to this process.
Still facing eastward, a number of Levites moving towards the Beautiful Gate which leads into the Court of Women, attract our attention. Though the gate's dimensions do not differ from those of all the others, still its leaves are so massive that the united strength of at least twenty men is required to move them on their hinges. As soon as the groan of the Beautiful Gate is heard in the court, the priests in charge, standing near the table of fat, blow three blasts on their silver trumpets, summoning the Levites and the "representatives" of the people to their respective duties. The three blasts are described by the Rabbis as consisting of "an alarm in the midst, with a plain note before and after."
In order to follow the coming service with more ease, we must keep in mind that, like the priests, the Levites had, at the time of king David, been divided into twenty-four courses, which were to act as priests' assistants, as singers and musicians, as gate-keepers and guards, and as officers and judges. At that time, the Levites, counted from thirty years and upwards, were thirty-eight thousand in number.
Twenty-four thousand of these had the charge of the Temple under the jurisdiction of the priests. They had to look after the sacred vestments and vessels, the store houses and their contents, the preparation of the shewbread, the meat offerings, and the spices, to assist the priests in their work, to clean the sanctuary, and to take charge of the treasuries.
Six thousand Levites were officers and judges; in the Temple of Herod, there is, at the period of which we speak, no more room for these two employments of the Levites. On the one hand, all the civil and judicial power left to the Jews is now in the hands of the Sanhedrin; on the other, the number of Levites has been considerably diminished, during the time of the Babylonian captivity. While no less than four thousand two hundred and eighty-nine priests returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel and Joshua, only seventy-four priests' assistants came back, together with one hundred and twenty-eight singers, and a hundred and thirty-nine door-keepers. When Ezra returned he managed to bring with him thirty-eight more Levites; but even these were persuaded only after serious expostulation. The subordinate place assigned to the Levites, seems to have been the reason for their disinclination to return.
The Levitic ranks were, however, considerably strengthened by those children of Levi who had never left their native country. For since the Levites were more scattered over the whole land than the priests, few of them had been carried off into the Babylonian captivity. Hence the fact that in the catalogue of Levites, in the second Book of Ezra (12:8), we find a few more families than we meet with in the catalogue of those who returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:40ff; Neh 7:43f) is not so surprising as some have thought it. In another catalogue found in the same Book of Ezra (10:10-14), seventeen families are given as belonging to the Levites. At any rate, Josephus (Antiq. 7.14.7) testifies that each of the twenty-four courses of priests had in his time a corresponding course of Levites.
Still, it is certain beyond all reasonable doubt that the real descendants of Levi could not fully supply the deficiency in the Levitical ranks caused by the Babylonian captivity. In David's time there had been four thousand singers and four thousand door-keepers, besides the above mentioned six thousand judges and twenty-four thousand assistants. Not even the two hundred and twenty Nethinim or "given ones," could fully repair the lacking number. Strangers and captives as these latter were, they must have held a position analogous to that of the Gibeonites. According to the Rabbinic law the Nethinim are free indeed from taxation and military service, like the priests and Levites, but they are classed below a bastard, though above a proselyte; inter-marrying with Israelites is forbidden them, and membership of the congregation they cannot claim.
In addition to this, there is an analogous division of the people themselves into twenty-four courses of service, each of which has to take its turn in coming before the Lord every day for a whole week, while the daily sacrifice is being offered, by way of representing the body of the people. The division actually engaged in the performance or this duty, is known by the name Ma'amad or "station." But the entire lay-station does not necessarily go to Jerusalem, when its turn comes. The persons belonging to it, may meet together in the synagogues of the towns in or near which they reside, and there engage in the reading of the Scripture and prayer. A deputation suffices to represent them. And it is above all, this deputation which "stands by," while the sacrifice is offering; hence its members are named stationary men, and are bound to be in the Temple during the morning offering.
But to return to the sacrificing priest. So soon as the groaning of the eastern gate is heard in the court, the priest standing behind the sacrificial lamb, draws forward its windpipe and gullet, and quickly thrusts upward the knife, while his companion catches the flowing blood in a golden bowl. This is precisely the most important part of the sacrifice. If the lamb is killed by a lay-man, or with an ordinary knife, the sacrifice is still valid. But if the blood is caught in any but a consecrated vessel, or sprinkled by any one not a priest, or not Levitically clean, the sacrifice itself becomes invalid.
In order to sprinkle the blood according to the prescribed ritual, the priest holding the bowl proceeds first to the northeast corner of the altar, and then to its southwest corner, sprinkling both in such a way as to cover its two sides, or as it is described, in the form of the Greek letter Gamma. No blood touches the part above the red line which runs all around the middle of the altar. Above the line must be sprinkled the blood of sacrifices intended to be eaten; below it that of sacrifices wholly consumed by the fire. After going around the altar, the priest pours the rest of the blood at the base of its eastern extremity, on the south side. For there are, at this corner, two orifices; one on the southern, and one on the western side. The remnant of the blood which has been sprinkled in Holy Places is poured out on the western side; what remains of that sprinkled at the altar of holocausts itself, is poured out at the southern side. The blood is drained into chambers below and into a canal, which can be flushed at will, and is thus carried down into the Kedron and the royal gardens.
Meanwhile, the two sacred ministers whom we left in the Holy Place have not been idle. After opening the Temple gate,they turn towards the west, and have before them a hall, twenty cubits wide, forty cubits high and forty cubits long. The only light in the place comes from the few lamps burning on a huge candlestick at its south side, i. e., to the left of the advancing priests. Besides its gilded walls, only four objects within the Holy Place invite our attention. To our right, near the northern wall, we perceive a curiously wrought table; in front of us, near the western wall, another table of similar workmanship, but serving an entirely different purpose, may be seen; behind this table, on the very wall itself, a precious curtain, twenty cubits in length and ten in width, covers the entrance to another apartment; and in the fourth place, there is the candlestick to our left by the light of whose lamps we shall examine these four objects in a cursory way.
The shape and form of the table at our right immediately brings to our mind a description of the table of the shewbread, given in the Book of Exodus (25:23-30). Two cubits in length, a cubit in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height, it has "a golden crown to the border thereof round about." Like all the sacred furniture, it is placed lengthways in the Temple; the Ark of the Covenant alone, so long as it was in the possession of Israel, stood broadways. The table used in the first Temple was carried off to Babylon with the rest of the Temple furniture. The table of the second Temple too was taken away by Antiochus Epiphanes about 170 B. C. (1 Macc 1:22), and another was supplied by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc 4:49). According to Josephus (Antiq. 12.2.8,9), Ptolemy Philadelphus presented a fourth and most magnificent table. But its description does not agree with the representation of the table of shewbread found on the arch of Titus. Since the latter is supposed to represent that carried away by the Romans on their taking Jerusalem, we infer that the table before us is identical with the one furnished by the Maccabees. It is made of pure gold; its feet are turned out and represent those of animals, and its legs are about their middle connected by a golden plate, surrounded by a golden crown, similar to that encircling the top. Its dishes and spoons, covers and bowls, tubes and loaves, we leave for a future examination.
Turning to the left, our attention is first attracted by the precious veil on the western wall. We have not been deceived in our surmise that it covers the entrance into another apartment. A moment's reflection suffices to identify the hidden room. From what the sacred writing tells us, it cannot be any other than the Holy of Holies. We even know that the wall is made of wood, and is one cubit in thickness. According to the Rabbis, the high priest, who alone is permitted to enter the Most Holy, goes in by the southern edge of the veil, then walks across the width of the entrance, a space of ten cubits, and enters the Most Holy Place by the northern edge of the second veil, suspended on the other side of the wall. No light reveals the dimensions of that sacred place; Holy Scripture says that it is a square of twenty cubits, and forty cubits high. Not even the large stone, three digits high, in the place where formerly the ark and the mercy-seat stood, can be discerned in the darkness. When the high priest, on the Day of Atonement, enters the place, he follows special directions in order to find the exact location of the stone.
Since the veil is not yet "rent in twain from the top to the bottom," we must be satisfied with a closer examination of the objects on our side of it. Close to the veil stands a table, one cubit long and broad, and two cubits high. Like the altar of burnt-offerings, it has four horns at the four corners, which are of one piece with the rest of the table. Around its top runs a border or wreath reminding us of the balustrades around the eastern house-tops. From what we know of the Temple service, this must be the altar of incense, called also the golden altar, to distinguish it from the brazen altar, or the altar of burnt-offerings. Ezekiel calls it the altar of wood, and it is further described as the table that is before the Lord. In the tabernacle the altar of incense was made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold. The altar in Solomon's Temple was similar to the former in construction, but was made of cedar wood, covered with plates of gold. Antiochus Epiphanes removed this altar from the second Temple, but Judas Maccabaeus restored it, together with the other sacred furniture (1 Macc 1:21, 4:49). Though on the arch of Titus no altar of incense appears, we know for certain that it existed in the Herodian Temple, and was richly overlaid with gold. The fact that sweet incense is burnt upon it twice a day, and that the blood of atonement is sprinkled on it, gives it a special importance.
Simultaneously with the slaying of the lamb, the priest destined to clean the altar of incense, takes with his hands the burnt coals and ashes from its "top" or "roof," a special contrivance for burning the incense. Whatever cannot be removed with the hand, is swept away with a brush especially adapted to that purpose. So soon as both coals and ashes are deposited in the "Teni," the priest places it on the floor of the Holy Place, and withdraws from the sanctuary.
Meanwhile, the second priest who entered the Holy with us, has gone to the southern side of the sanctuary, and we see him now busy near the candlestick. The latter is placed southeast of the altar of incense, in a position symmetrical to that of the table of shewbread on the northeast side. Whether the candlestick be of beaten work or moulded, we cannot now determine. Josephus tells us that from its golden base, two cubits in height, a main shaft or reed springs and spreads into as many branches as there are planets, including the sun. Near its foot is a golden almond-shaped dish; a little higher up is a golden knop, and above it a flower, also of gold. Then there are two branches, one on each side, bowed, and reaching as high as the main shaft. Three golden cups are placed on each of them, in scollop-shell fashion. Above these is again a golden knop, a golden flower, and the socket. On the main shaft, above the two branches just described, is a golden boss, and over it two more branches extend, one on either side. Above these two is another golden boss, and two more branches, similar to the former. Higher up, on the main shaft, are three golden scollop-cups, a knop and a flower: all is so arranged that the heads of the various branches are all on the same level. The weight of the whole is one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and its value exclusive of the workman ship, amounts to about $25,380. The work is eighteen palms high.
The branches are not grouped around the main shaft, but placed parallel to one another in a single row. In the desert, when the candlestick had to be carried about, it was covered with a cloth of blue, and put with its appendages into badger-skin bags, which were supported on a bar. In Solomon's Temple there were ten candlesticks of this description, five on the right and five on the left of the altar of incense. In fact, they formed a sort of railing before the veil, and were connected by golden chains, under which on the Day of Atonement the high priest crept. They were taken to Babylon with the rest of the sacred furniture. The second Temple, like the Tabernacle, had only one candlestick, the one we see before us. For, at our period, Titus has not yet carried the spoils of the desecrated Temple to Rome, nor has Genseric taken the Jewish curiosities from Rome to Carthage, and much less has the victorious Belisarius as yet regained the golden candlestick and brought it back to Constantinople in order to deposit it in the Christian church at Jerusalem.
While we have examined the candlestick, the ministering priest has ascended its three stone steps. Since it is placed obliquely, so that its lamps look east and south, the large middle lamp is called the "western lamp." This name is well deserved, because the lamp in question is inclined westwards, to the Most Holy Place, while all the others are inclined towards the centre. The fact that not all the lamps are lit now, does not prove that they have not been burning during the night. In point of fact, all the seven lamps are lit in the evening to burn throughout the night, and only two are kept burning through the day. Rabbinic Doctors tell us that all the other lamps often go out during the night; but the western or central lamp is always found burning in the morning.
When the blood of the lamb is being sprinkled on the altar of burnt-offering the priest, with golden snuffers, trims the lamps that are still burning and pours in a new supply of oil. Then he removes the wicks and the old oil of the lamps which have been extinguished, supplies fresh wicks, pours in half a log of the purest olive oil, and relights them from one of the other lamps. The central lamp must, however, be relit from the fire on the altar of burnt-offering. Only five of the lamps are trimmed at this point of time; the other two are reserved for a later part of the service. The old oil and the remnants of the wicks are deposited in different compartments in the cup-shaped Cuz. It is from soiled priestly tunics, unfit for Temple wear as soon as soiled, that the wicks are usually made. The lamps trimmed, the priest leaves his Cuz on the second step of the ascent to the candlestick, and withdraws from the sanctuary for the present.
While these two ministers perform their service in the Holy Place and the sacrificing priests are busy in the court, the other ministers on duty are gathered in the Hall of Polished Stones and wait for the next casting of the lot. Though Obed has been destined to carry the victim's two sides to the altar, he utilizes the few moments he has to spare before his services will be needed. The younger members of the priesthood stand about in groups, discussing the number of sacrifices to be offered to-day, the prospects of the approaching Feast of Tabernacles, or the probable results of the next lot. Several of the older men stand alone, apparently absorbed in earnest prayer or devout meditation. Notwithstanding Zachary's air of devotion, Obed approaches and compliments him on the restoration of his house and family to wealth and rank. For a moment, the venerable old priest finds no answer. For many years past he has not received such expressions of sympathy from any one, much less from Abiathar's friends.
"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel," he answers at length, "for he hath visited and wrought redemption for my house."
"The Lord killeth and maketh alive," Obed replies, in the most devout tone of voice his long-practised hypocrisy can command; "the Lord maketh poor and maketh rich; he bringeth low, he also lifteth up. His ways are truly wonderful above our comprehension. Who could have expected that the glory of thy family should be exalted by the man who, a few years ago, blotted out its very name from the records of our nation?"
"Thy speech is a riddle to me, Obed," says Zachary, who has now directed his whole atten tion to his interlocutor. "Thou must know that Samuel's leave of return is not due to any change in Herod's disposition towards my family; Matthiah has exerted all the weight of his authority with the Herodians to obtain the desired permission."
"Herod's favors are not niggardly," Obed explains; "he is as generous in friendship as he is cruel in enmity. Salome has told me that her royal brother is about to marry one of his nieces to Samuel. Thus thy house shall be allied to the king's in kinship as well as in loyalty."
"I hate the congregation of evil-doers, and will not sit with the wicked," exclaims Zachary; "I will wash my hands in innocency; so will I compass thine altar, O Lord!"
"All honor to thy fidelity and uprightness," continues Obed; "but what evil can there be in Samuel's union with a princess of the Herodian family?"
"Art thou a stranger in Israel, Obed?" gasps Zachary. "Knowest thou not that by such a marriage Samuel and his offspring would be forever excluded from the altar? The past misfortunes of my family are as nothing, when compared with this reputed exaltation."
"Zachary," says Obed, "the time has passed when the priestly office was the most desirable boon in our nation. Educated in Babylon, as he is, Samuel may wisely prefer a position at court, or in the army, to our despised Temple service."
"Samuel, O Lord, loves the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwelleth. Gather not his soul with sinners, nor his life with men of blood. Remember, O Lord, that he has left untold riches and innumerable friends in Babylon, to stand in thy Holy Place and minister in the congregation of thy faithful!"
"Art thou a stranger in Israel?" retaliates Obed; "knowest thou not that Samuel's family registers have been destroyed? For this very reason does Herod wish to unite him to the royal house, seeing that his restoration to any priestly office is beyond his power."
"The deceit of the wicked has failed," calmly replies Zachary; "Samuel's genealogical record, sufficient to secure him a place at the altar of the Lord, is safe in my keeping."
Obed can hardly conceal the smile of satisfaction which for the moment lights up his countenance; two of the priests who are standing in the door-way of Gazith give a sign to Obed that his services are needed in the court, and Zachary is overjoyed to be relieved from the importunity of his tempter.
Outside, the slain victim is meanwhile hung by its left hind leg on one of the hooks, is flayed and divided up according to the Jewish ritual. The flaying extends first down to the breast; then the head is cut off and handed to the priest destined to carry it to the altar. Next, the flaying is completed, the heart is split so as to let out all the blood, and the forelegs are cut off and handed to the attendant priest. After this, the right hind leg is separated and given to the priest who holds the head. In the next place, the belly of the lamb is laid open, the fat removed and placed on the head, or rather on that place of the neck where the deadly knife has pierced. For the head must be held in such a way that the part referred to is uppermost. After this, the intestines are handed to the priest destined to carry them to the altar; the latter proceeds to the building nearby, where he washes his part of the victim at least twice. A third ablution is performed on one of the marble tables which stand be tween the columns. Then the lungs are separated from the liver, and the liver from the reticule. The breast is cut off and given to a priest. Next, the priest goes to the right side of the victim and cuts off the part between the second front and the second hind rib without touching, however, the spinal column. The side, together with the liver, is handed to the attending priest. Then the neck including the two front ribs is cut off and, together with the wind-pipe, the heart and the lungs, is handed to the priest who holds the breast. Again the priest approaches the victim, and its left side including the second hind rib and the corresponding portion of the spinal column is cut off, and with the spleen adhering to it, handed to him who holds the right side. Then the hind part of the lamb is separated from its left hind leg, having the tail, the kidneys and the reticule adhering to it, and the whole is given to that attendant priest who has till now received nothing to carry. Finally, the remaining hind leg is removed from the hook and handed to the same sacred minister.
The six priests who hold the various parts walk in procession towards the altar. The first carries the head in his right hand, holding it by the horns, the nostrils turned towards his arm and the fat resting on top; in his left hand he carries the right hind leg, turning its thin end outward. The second carries the right forefoot in his right hand, and the left forefoot in his left. The lower ends are again turned outward. The third in line carries in his right hand the hinder part of the lamb with the adhering portions, holding the tail between his fingers; in his left he holds the left hind leg, the lower end turned outward. The fourth priest holds in his right hand the victim's breast, in his left he carries the neck and its adhering parts, holding the whole by the two front ribs. The fifth in line carries the two sides, the right in his right, the left in his left, the flayed side being turned uppermost. The sixth holds a flat dish in his hands with the entrails of the victim upon it, its trotters resting on the entrails. After these six follow three more priests: the first carries the offering of fine flour, the second the baked meat offering of the high priest, the third the wine for the drink-offering.
The procession of the nine priests winds its way slowly and solemnly past the altar of burnt-offering, to the western corner of its ascent, and nearly halfway up the altar. Here the parts of the victim are deposited to be salted. For every sacrifice must be salted with salt, except the blood of the sprinkling, the wood for the fire, and the drink-offering. Indeed, the whole slope of the altar's ascent is covered with salt; this precaution is considered necessary to prevent the barefooted priests from slipping when going up the incline. Since there is a huge heap of salt kept in the building at the northeastern corner of the court, not far from the place of salting, the latter performance is soon finished. All the ministers then proceed to the Hall of Polished Stones, in the southeastern corner of the court, and there join their companions who till now have not been favored with any special sacrificial duty.
Before we follow them, we may be permitted to cast a glance at the sacrificing priest who carries away the skin of the victim to the building in the centre of the northern wall of the court. There it is salted and, together with the skins of the other victims, kept till the eve of the Sabbath, when all the sacrificial skins of the week's burnt, sin, and trespass-offerings are distributed among the course of priests that has been on duty during the week.
About the Third Hour
It is not in the Temple only that the new day has produced fresh signs of life. Morning is always most interesting in Palestine, and above all in its capital, Jerusalem. In the narrow lanes among the houses, people are driving their camels, sheep and goats afield. Here and there a man is on the way to his daily work, with his plough on his shoulder.
At the sides of the broader streets, the sellers of sweetmeats and fruits preside over their boxes and baskets, sitting cross-legged on the projecting front ledges of the house arches in all the glory of turban, flowing robes and bare legs. Milk, bread and vegetables have their own purveyors, turbaned figures of imposing dignity, who seem to think their dens the most important spot in the Holy City, as the Holy City is the most important spot on the face of the earth. Garlic, leeks, carrots, radishes like Bologna sausages in length and thickness, find numerous buyers. Fishshops are frequent, and cobblers drive a brisk trade in the open air, mending sandals and slippers that would be thrown into the dust-bin in any other part of the civilized world.
Veiled women too pass along frequently, ordinarily dressed in a long sack of blue cloth, without any folds, but reaching from the head to the bare feet. In parts, the streets are even crowded with strange Oriental figures, which from time to time must press closely together to let a drove of mules or asses pass, laden with mysterious cases, ready for export, or with huge rough stones or boxes of oranges. Servants too with weights that seem overwhelming trot along through a way readily opened for them through selfish motives. Then there are strings of silent, splay-footed camels, freighted with portmanteaus, boxes, barrels, or loads of wheat and furniture. One is more than once reminded of the burdens heavy and grievous to be borne, to which Jesus compares the legal exactions of the scribes and the Pharisees.
But the attention of the inhabitants of the Holy City is not wholly absorbed in earthly pursuits. A look at the four western entrances of the exterior Temple court reveals to us such a crowd of devout and eager worshippers that we are tempted to regard this day either as a special feast or, at least, as an exceptional day of national devotion. The crowds from the Lower City ascend by flights of steps to the most northerly of the western gates, close by the castle of Antonia. The inhabitants of the suburbs, or Parbar, enter by the two gates that occupy the central portion of the western inclosure.
But by far the greatest number approaches from the Hill of Zion, the city of David, by a most magnificent avenue leading to the southwestern angle of the Temple. The colossal bridge on which they come, connects the royal palace on Zion with the Royal Porch of the Temple, spanning the whole intervening valley of the Tyropoeon. Each arch of the bridge springs forward about fifty-six cubits, and its key-stones are sixteen cubits in length by four cubits in thickness. The bridge's roadway across the cleft between the two mountains, is two hundred and thirty-six cubits long and thirty-three or thirty-four cubits wide. On looking over its parapet, one sees into the depth of the Tyropoeon valley, not less than one hundred and fifty cubits below. The city too is spread out before us like a map, with its straggling suburbs, its rich orchards, its fair gardens, and most remarkable of all, the "garden of roses" or the royal garden, south of the Holy City, in the valley between the Mount of Offence and the Hill of Evil Council.
Attractive as the view is, it does not delay any of the many passengers from Mount Zion. Not as if the place itself did not admit of any disorderly crowd of men; before many years will have passed, the most riotous mob that ever trod the streets of the City of David, will pass that bridge, counting Roman soldiers, elderly Pharisees, learned scribes, grave looking priests and misled patriots among its number, with "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world" in its midst, jeering, blaspheming, reviling, as only natives of the East know how to do. But there is no indication of such disorder to-day. Long-robed scribes, graybearded Pharisees with their Phylacteries conspicuous on their foreheads, and deeply veiled women walk in one long and eager procession towards the high portals of the Temple Mount. The men often greet each other with the profound oriental salam, but no such sign of recognition or friendship is extended to the women. Within a few years from now R. Akiba will give his famous decision against him who has saluted a woman in the street, fining him four hundred sus.
Entering with the devout multitude, we find ourselves in the Royal Porch, which consists of four rows of columns, forty pillars in each row, arranged in such a way that the fourth row is inserted into the southern wall of the Court of Gentiles. Two more pillars serve as a kind of a screen where the porch opens upon the bridge. By this arrangement is obtained a central nave, thirty cubits in width, and two side aisles, each twenty cubits wide. The pillars which form the nave are over sixty-six cubits high, while the two outer rows are only a little more than thirty-three cubits in height. All pillars have Corinthian capitals, and a double spiral runs around their base. Each pillar's thickness is such that three men, with their arms extended, "fathom it round and join their hands again." The roofs are adorned with a profusion of sculptures in wood, representing many sorts of figures. The middle part is twice as high as the two side roofs. The inner front of the wall is adorned with beams, resting upon pillars, which are built into the solid masonry. According to Josephus, the front itself is of polished stone, whose beauty surpasses the belief of such as have not seen it, and greatly amazes all who see it.
From the top of this colonnade one has a view into the Kedron valley close by, to the stupendous depth of three hundred cubits. Josephus tells us that if any one looks from the top of the battlement down into the valley below, he becomes giddy, and his sight cannot reach to such an immense depth. No wonder then that Satan will choose this precise point for tempting Jesus with the words: "If thou art the son of God, cast thy self down: for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and on their hands they shall bear thee up, lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone."
A number of worshippers begin to occupy seats on the bench which runs all along the back wall of the Royal Porch. The reason is easily learned from one of the bystanders; they are proselytes, and therefore forbidden to enter the Court of Women or that of the Israelites.
The Royal Porch has a real claim to the name "Solomon's Porch," though it has never been known by that title. Its foundations, indeed, do not date from the time of that great king, but it stands on the ground formerly occupied by the king's stables and the palace to which he brought the daughter of Pharaoh. King Herod has extended the platform of the Temple so as to include these localities. "It is impossible to realize the effect produced by a building longer and higher than most Christian Cathedrals, standing on a solid mass of masonry almost equal in height to the tallest of our church spires. And this is only one of the porches which forms the southern enclosure of the first, or outermost court of the Temple called the Court of Gentiles, though Rabbinic writers commonly name it 'the mount ain of the house.'"
Following the main stream of new arrivals, we pass obliquely through the western end of the Royal Porch and then turn to our left, where we enter a marble-paved, unroofed, rectangular space. The Rabbis tell us that it forms a square of five hundred cubits. Walls surround the whole place, but a single glance shows us that their height is not the same on the four sides. The eastern wall, right in front of us, is considerably lower than any of the other three. Nor are the Doctors at a loss to account for this fact. When the priest slays the red heifer on the Mount of Olives, he must sprinkle its blood seven times towards the Most Holy Place. Were the eastern wall so high as are the walls on the south, north or west, the sacrificing priest could not see the Most Holy over Solomon's Porch, which is built against that wall. Solomon's Porch is, on the whole, constructed like the Royal Porch by which we have entered. It contains, however, only a double colonnade, instead of the triple one we have observed in the Royal Porch. Its pillars are all monoliths, wholly cut out of one block of marble, each pillar being twenty-five cubits high. Double rows of these pillars run, in fact, all round the three sides of the court not occupied by the Royal Porch. A flat cedar roof, richly ornamented, rests on the Corinthian pillars and abuts on the wall, in which the outer row of pillars is inserted. Benches and seats, placed at random throughout the various parts of the porches, invite the worshippers to friendly religious intercourse, to discuss matters relating to the Temple or the national hope of Israel.
We have already seen that Solomon's Porch runs along the eastern wall, thus joining the Royal Porch in the southeastern corner of the court. The porch bears Solomon's name, not because he constructed it, but because it rests on foundations remaining from the first Temple. This porch owes its importance mainly to the fact that, being situated east of the court, it faces the principal entrance to the Court of Women, and to that of Israel. Here will Jesus walk on that memorable day when he will declare plainly: "I and my Father are one." Here too will S. Peter speak to the assembled multitudes, running together after the remarkable miracle at the Beautiful Gate.
Allowing ourselves to be carried along still further by the stream of worshippers, we pass through a marble screen, three cubits high, having so far as we can learn from the Rabbinic Doctors, thirteen different entrances. Any one willing to take the trouble, will see that it surrounds the whole inner Temple building. The latter is situated in the Court of Gentiles in such a way that the free space left on its south side is broader than that at its north side, and the latter is broader than the space at the west side, though narrower than that on the east side. The Temple proper is, therefore, located in the northwest corner of the Court of Gentiles, and the free space around it becomes narrower as one passes from the south to the east, from the east to the north, and from the north to the west.
But what is the meaning of yonder stragglers receding from the crowd of worshippers, and approaching the Temple from its left side, instead of entering by the common access at its right? The guard at the northwestern corner of the marble screen is about to obtain the desired information.
"Why dost thou approach by the left?" he asks in an imperative tone.
"I am in sorrow," the lonely worshipper replies.
"He who dwelleth in this house grant thee comfort," the guard answers.
"I am separated from Israel, because I am unclean," the man continues in explanation of his former statement.
"He who dwelleth in this house put it into thy mind to heed those who would restore thee again!" the guard answers.
And those tablets with inscriptions posted up on the pillars that rise at regular intervals above the marble screen? Being written in Latin and Greek, they may be deciphered without the assistance of an interpreter. "No stranger," they read, "may enter within this balustrade. Whoever offends, is responsible to himself for his death which will ensue." Even S. Paul will experience that this threat is not meaningless. On the mere suspicion that he has taken Trophimus the Ephesian proselyte into the prohibited inclosure, the Jews will rise up against him in wild excitement, and they would tear him to pieces, did not the commandant of the fortress Antonia, on the northwest corner of the Court of Gentiles, hurry to his aid with a band of Roman soldiers (Acts 21:26).
At the risk of our lives we follow the crowd of devout worshippers, behaving, so far as possible, like the rest of the bystanders. Passing through the marble inclosure, we meet a flight of fourteen steps, each half a cubit high, leading up to a terrace ten cubits wide, and surrounding the whole inner wall of the Temple. The terrace is called Chel, and is, according to some authors, not subject to the same laws of purity as the inner Temple courts. At least, it is certain that several regulations pertaining to the Court of Priests, do not regard the Chel. Thus, in the former, no one but a prince of David's royal blood is allowed to be seated. It is for this reason that the Beth-Moked, the Gazith and the two other buildings, occupying the corners of the Court of Priests, extend beyond the limit of the court, properly so called, into the Chel. This provision is rendered absolutely necessary by the said regulation; without it the meeting of the Sanhedrin in Gazith and the sleeping of the priests in the House of Stoves would be impossible.
A solid wall, forty cubits high, rises on the inner limits of the Chel, having four gates on both its north and south side, but only one on the east. With six of these gates, three on the north and three on the south side, we are already acquainted. They are the Water-Gate, the Gate of Firstlings and the Wood-Gate on the south; the Gate Nitzutz, the Gate of Sacrifices and the Gate of Beth-Moked on the north. The fourth northern and southern gates both open at the eastern extremity of the inclosing wall into the Court of Women. But they are hardly used on ordinary occasions like to-day. The whole stream of worshippers is easily swallowed up by the eastern or the Beautiful Gate.
Like the eight side-entrances, the Beautiful Gate is two-leaved, twenty cubits high and ten cubits wide; it too has superstructures and chambers, supported by two pillars, and is covered with gold and silver-plating. But the excellence of its workmanship, and the magnificence of its whole appearance betray at once that it is the principal entrance to the Temple of the Lord. Twelve easy steps, each half a cubit high and half a cubit wide, lead up through the wall, and only privileged beggars are allowed to take here their daily position, in order to profit by the charity of the devout Israelites. Similar sights are presented at the doors of the European Cathedrals at the present day. It is here that Sts. Peter and John will meet the man, lame for many years, and restore him by the power of Jesus' name. From this place the beggar will follow them into the Court of Women "walking and leaping and praising God." Near by, in fact just opposite, is Solomon's Porch, whither all the people will crowd after the service in order to behold the miraclefor all Jerusalem knows the lame beggar at the Beautiful Gateand to hear Peter's famous sermon announcing the Messiahship of Jesus the Crucified.
But all these associations are not yet connected with the gate and the court. The place in itself offers sufficient interest to keep our attention far longer than we can afford to bestow upon it, the time of the morning sacrifice being now at hand. Any one of the worshippers willingly explains to us the principal features of the court. It is a square of one hundred and thirty-five cubits; its pavement presents the same fine tesselated marble which we noticed in the Court of Gentiles. Its north, east and south sides are surrounded by single porches built in the same style as those in the outer court, only their height and breadth are not so pretentious. The porches are provided with seats constructed and arranged as those of the outer court. For the apartments contrived in the four corners of the court we have, at present, only a passing glance, reserving a more accurate examination of the same for a later period.
Though we have constantly spoken of the Court of Women, we have already intimated that men are not excluded from it. Its name, therefore, indicates rather that women are allowed to worship in it, than that it is reserved for them exclusively. A number of Rabbinic Doctors assure us that they are allowed only on the raised galleries, constructed along three sides of the court. According to the same testimony, it is only for sacrificial purposes that any woman may dare to enter the lower part of the court. The gallery is accessible by a stairway, leading up to it through the wall at the Beautiful Gate. The women now present on the floor of the court, are to appear at the Gate of Nicanor towards the close of the morning sacrifice, when the first-born are redeemed and the mothers after child-birth are purified.
Continuing our way onward with the seemingly more devout Pharisees, who are not content with assisting at the coming service in the Court of Women, we approach its western extremity, and there confront another flight of steps, fifteen in number, each half a cubit high, half a cubit broad, and semi-circular in shape. Here the Levites sing on the Feast of Tabernacles the fifteen psalms of degrees. Here too, close by the Nicanor Gate, at the head of the stairs, takes place all that must be done before the Lord; here the cleansed lepers and the women after child-birth present themselves for purification; the suspected wife here drinks the water of jealousy.
Passing through the Gate of Nicanor wholly made of Corinthian brass,we enter the Court of Israel properly so called. It measures only eleven cubits from east to west, while it extends like the Court of Women, one hundred and thirty-five cubits north and south. For all practical purposes we may consider it as being one with the Court of Priests, from which it is separated by a balustrade only one cubit in height. Two steps, each half a cubit high, lead up to it. Besides, in the Priests' Court one mounts again by three semicircular steps of the legal height to a kind of pulpit or platform, on which as well as on the fifteen steps the Levites sing during the ordinary service. But does it not appear irreverent on our part to indulge in a curious examination of the sacred Temple courts and walls, while the devout multitude is absorbed in prayer, either lying prostrate on the floor or standing with uplifted hands? And what are the priests doing all this while?
We remember that after salting the divers parts of the victim, the priests withdrew to the Hall of Polished Stones. So soon as they are assembled, the prefect of the lots Matthiah, orders the recital of the morning blessing. In slow and solemn tone of voice, all join in the following prayers: "With great love hast thou loved us, O Lord, our God, and with much overflowing pity hast thou pitied us. Our father and our king! for the sake of our fathers who trusted in thee, and thou taughtest them the statutes of life, have mercy upon us, and enlighten our eyes in thy law; cause our hearts to cleave to thy commandments; unite our hearts to love and to fear thy name, and we shall not be put to shame, world without end. For thou art a God who preparest salvation, and us hast thou chosen from among all nations and tongues, and hast in truth brought us to thy great name, Selah, in order that we in love may praise thee and thy unity. Blessed be the Lord who in love chose his people Israel."
"I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor the likeness of any form that is in the heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guilt less that taketh his name in vain."
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."
"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
"Thou shalt do no murder."
"Thou shalt not commit adultery."
"Thou shalt not steal."
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against, thy neighbor."
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's." (Exodus 20:2-17)
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be upon thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thy house and upon thy gates." (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
"And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul, that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine and thy oil. And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you. Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, talking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, upon the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of the heavens above the earth." (Deuteronomy 11:13-21)
"And the Lord spake unto Moses saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of each border a cord of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that you go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go a whoring, that ye may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God." (Numbers 15:37-41)
These prayers ended Matthiah calls in a loud voice: "Let the new ones approach and cast lots!" Zachary, in spite of his old age, is among the new ones. For the lot to be cast will determine him who is to burn the incense. No one may perform this duty twice, or twice take part in the casting of the third lot, except in the rare case that all priests present have previously ministered in this office. From the words of Deuteronomy (33:10,11), the learned in the law infer that a special blessing attaches to the performance of this duty, a blessing which extends even to the priest's temporal goods. For the text says,: "They shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt-offerings upon thine altar. Bless Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise up against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again."
Never during all the long years of his faithful service has Zachary been called upon to perform this office of special divine benediction. Nor is he more successful now. Matthiah seizes the cap and counts the determined number of uplifted fingers in the customary way, and the lot falls on Simon, one of the youngest priests of the whole course of Abijah.
"O," sighs Zachary within his heart, "that my vexation were but weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! It would be heavier than the sands of the seas. The arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof my spirit drinketh up: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me."
"God does not cast away a perfect man," loudly jeers Abiathar; "neither can he uphold the evil-doers. If thou wert pure and upright, Zachary, surely God would now awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous."
"If I have sinned," murmurs Zachary, "what do I unto thee, O thou watcher of men? why hast thou set me as a mark for thee, so that I am a burden to myself?"
Meanwhile Simon selects two of his young companions as his assistants for the burning of incense, and Matthiah loudly invites those present to stand in line for the fourth lot, by which those are chosen who must lay the sacrifice and the meat-offerings on the altar, and pour out the drink-offering. All on whom no lot has fallen are now allowed to withdraw for the day. Accordingly, they prepare to retire to the building in the Court of Israel, north of the Gate of Nicanor. Pinchas the priestly wardrobe-keeper reigns here supreme. The sacerdotal garments are kept in ninety-six chests, each of the four articles of the priestly dress being placed in a separate compartment, bearing an inscription in accordance with its contents. "Breeches," "tunics," "girdles," "turbans," such are the various inscriptions engraven on the chests of the wardrobe. Since the apparel of the different courses is not mixed, there must be twenty-four boxes for every one of the four articles of the sacerdotal dress.
When the priests are on the point of starting for Pinchas's department, Abiathar calls aloud for Abdiah and Zachary. A Levite is about to be scourged and they are to be present as witnesses and assistant ministers. Zachary bows his head in silent submission to his superior's orders, though he would rather suffer pain and shame himself than see it inflicted on any one else. On noticing his reluctance, Abiathar rejoices in his heart, at having discovered this simple way of annoying one whom he considers his deadly enemy. For does not the headship of Abijah's course as well as Abiathar's place in the Sanhedrin, rightfully belong to Zachary? As to Zachary's childlessness, which has thus far been the only obstacle preventing him from enjoying his rights, a whim of Herod with a corresponding decree of the obsequious Sanhedrin may, at any time, make Samuel Zachary's legal heir and thus restore its full rights to Josiah's house.
Meanwhile Ben Bebai leads the culprit into a remote apartment of the Gazith, Zachary and Abijah following them. The law referring to this punishment, as contained in Deuteronomy (25:2-3), prescribes "by a certain number, forty stripes he may give him." Instead of being taken as a simple direction to give forty stripes, the law is explained as meaning a number near to forty, or thirty-nine, which accordingly is the severest corporeal punishment inflicted at one time. Even if the number of stripes be less than forty-nine, it is always a multiple of three, since the scourge is composed of three separate thongs, so that every stroke inflicts three stripes. The middle thong is made of calf's leather, the other two of asses', to verify Isaiah's words, "the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider" (1:3).
Every detail of the punishment is determined by law. Ben Bebai inflicts the first third of the stripes on the culprit's bare breast, being careful that the ends of the thongs do not reach below the navel. The sufferer is tied in a reclining position during this portion of the punishment. The second and third parts of the legal number of stripes are inflicted on the bare back, over the sufferer's right and left shoulder respectively, his position being now a stooping one. From the Rabbinic description of this punishment and from St. Paul's words "of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one" (2 Cor 11:24), we rightly infer its painful severity.
While Ben Bebai administers the legal number of stripes, Abdiah reads aloud the words of Deuteronomy (28:58-59), appointed for this occasion: "If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God; then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance." So soon as the punishment is over, and the victim has his garments replaced, Zachary reads Asaph's soothing words (Psa 78:38): "But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath." The last part of the law ordaining that after his punishment the culprit is not to be reproached, but received as a brother, is fulfilled so far as the sufferer's painful condition permits.
While Zachary and Abdiah are thus detained in the Gazith, the other priests not destined by lot for one of to-day's sacred services pass across the court to the priestly wardrobe. As soon as they enter, Pinchas hands them their laydress. They divest themselves of girdle and tunic, and put on the common tunic, girdle and semlah. Then the priestly breeches are taken off, and excepting his grave and decorous deportment, there is now nothing external to distinguish the priest from the layman.
By appointment, Samuel was to meet Zachary on his way to Pinchas's department. Accordingly, he has taken his position in the Court of Israel, and closely watches all the white-robed figures, as they noiselessly glide by. Samuel's look becomes more troubled with the passage of every priest, and when the last two approach, he resolves, in spite of his reverent awe for the sacred place, to inquire for the reason of Zachary's delay. Obed has been observing all Samuel's movements, and now beckons him to come to Pinchas's department.
"Zachary is detained in the Gazith," he addresses Samuel, so soon as they are hid from the looks of the devout multitudes, "but he will join thee presently."
Samuel casts an inquiring look at Obed; but the sacred surroundings and Obed's priestly attire re-assure him. Obed notices Samuel's anxiety and smiling tells him of his lifelong friendship for Zachary, and his acquaintance with Zachary's family concerns. He shows that he knows the object of Samuel's presence, and hints at Zachary's disappointment over Samuel's projects.
"Zachary is my father's brother," explains Samuel, "and the last words of my dying mother were an exhortation to consult him in all my doubts and follow his advice in my way of life."
"The wisdom of youth, Samuel, consists in obedience to the counsels of old age. Zachary fears to offend thy youthful longings by revealing to thee his wishes concerning thy future."
"I have anticipated every one of Zachary's wishes," Samuel says more to himself than to his companion; "I have considered all his words as sacred; why then should he fear to disclose to me the wisdom of his counsel?"
"Samuel, the eye of old age reaches further than the eye of youth; as the offspring of Aaron is the chosen mediator between God and man, so old age is the natural link between the past and the future. What will our priesthood be in the future? Thou hast seen the priests of Bel and Istar at Babylon : dost thou envy their position or esteem their calling? What Babylon's priests are to us, our priests are to the Romans and to the world at large."
For a moment Samuel is fairly stunned by Obed's impious words; not even the most bitter enemies of the Jewish race whom Samuel has met at Babylon have allowed themselves such language as he now hears in the house of the Lord from the lips of God's chosen priest and reputed servant. Obed immediately perceives his mistake, and embracing Samuel exclaims: "A true Israelite, in whom there is no guile." Then he leads his youthful companion to the place where Zachary's laydress is kept, and touching the clothing with a rather vigorous gesture of the hand, assures Samuel that he may there safely wait for Zachary's arrival. The whole apparel falls to the floor, and while they pick up the articles of dress, a case with a document drops out. Taking up the roll carefully, Samuel opens it and explains that it contains his genealogical record. Obed admires the well formed Babylonian letters which appear so irregular and are, nevertheless, drawn with such evident precision. After thus handling the document for a minute or two, Obed returns it with the greatest care, and Samuel who has noticed nothing extraordinary, hides it in Zachary's dress.
"Wilt thou, then, enter the ministering priesthood in spite of thy mother's wish?" resumes Obed.
"It was my mother's wish that I should follow Zachary's guidance," answers Samuel rather impatiently.
"Zachary prefers to see thee united to Herod's family. Arrangements have been made for thy marriage with the king's niece."
"Whoever thou be," says Samuel decidedly, "thou speakest untrue."
"Youth is always rash," patiently rejoins Obed; "hast thou ever compared the soldier's glory, the ruler's power, the sovereign's wealth, with the obscurity, the lowliness and poverty of Jehovah's priest? His fame is circumscribed by the walls of the Temple, his resources are limited to the morsels he picks from the burnt-offerings, his occupation is that of the butcher and the woodcutter."
"Stranger! may the God of our fathers open thine eyes to the glory of our nation and the dignity of the priesthood. A day in the courts of the Lord is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness."
"Samuel, I hoped to be a herald of glad tidings unto thee; God knoweth my sorrow at being thus obliged to pain thee. Thou seest this document, signed by Zachary's own hand? Take and read."
With trembling hands and pallid countenance, Samuel received the scroll from Obed. There is no mistake; it bears the seal of Herod and below it Zachary's signature. The first part contains the customary phraseology of a marriage contract and would hardly interest Samuel, were it not for the fact that his own name figures as that of the bridegroom. With an artificial calmness Samuel glances at the conditions of the transaction. Herod's grandson is to marry Samuel's sister, and in order to render such a union possible, the bride's house must be raised to the level of the royal family by the proposed marriage of Samuel. Zachary is appointed member of the Seventy-One, and Samuel may choose a position according to his liking, either at court or in the army. Another glance at the signatures, and the document is torn into pieces. Then Samuel quietly takes the scroll hid in Zachary's dress and without even looking at Obed he prepares to leave the wardrobe.
"Thy doom is sealed, son of Ananiah," Obed utters with a voice that might have proceeded from the inmost heart of hatred incarnate, and instantly disappears into a curtained recess.
Zachary and Abdiah have, meanwhile, found their way to the wardrobe; in fact, their unexpected appearance at the entrance was the cause of Obed's sudden departure. Samuel walks on with hurried steps, completely insensible to all his surroundings. The last few moments have been an eternity. A deep abyss yawns between the past and the present. His life has been a constant dream. Intellectually he has worshiped idols, his will has clung to deceit, and his lovehis love is about to change to hatred. His state is similar to the soul's condition immediately after leaving its mortal body; its past views of things are so many lies, its affections are sins, its supports are broken reeds, its love is folly, only its relations to God are eternal truth.
"Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear," murmurs Samuel.
"Though war should rise against me," answers Zachary, who has overheard Samuel's soliloquy, "even then will I be confident."
Instead of greeting the old priest in the customary way, Samuel rejoins with a significant emphasis and decision: "Mine head shall be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy." Then looking straight into Zachary's face; Samuel adds: "All my inward friends abhor me, and they whom I loved are turned against me."
Uttering these words he is about to leave the wardrobe, when Zachary steps in his way, and with all the authority of his age demands an explanation of Samuel's words and conduct.
"The shreds of yonder parchment cry out against thee to heaven! Thou hast betrayed my soul to my enemies, thou hast despised the dignity of Jehovah's priesthood, thou hast sold thy conscience for a place in the Sanhedrin."
"Samuel, judgest thou thy friends unheard?" replies the old priest with a voice quivering with emotion. "As God liveth I know not what thou sayest."
"The stranger, with anointed beard and smooth countenance, thy friend and accomplice, has shown me the contract by which thou hast bound me to Herod's niece, and removed me and mine forever from the altar of the Most High."
"Obed the Herodian has deceived thy simplicity, Samuel; Matthiah will bear witness to my truthfulness. For more than ten years has he kept the contract by which I have promised thee to his daughter Ismeria, provided it should so please thee and her. I should not have openly told thee of this, had not the circumstances forced me."
The sound of the Magrephah which now fills all the Temple courts prevents further explanations. For while the conversation took place in the department of Pinchas, Simon, the incensing priest, has taken a silver saucer covered with a lid, inside of which there is a smaller golden saucer containing the incense. The latter is composed in strict accordance with the divine precept (Exo 30:34): "The Lord said to Moses: Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight; and thou shalt make of it incense, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy: and thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. And the incense which thou shalt make, according to the composition thereof ye shall not make for yourselves: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. Whoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, he shall be cut off from his people."
According to the Rabbinic writers, thirteen substances, not reckoning the salt, form the component parts of incense. Ambra and a herb giving out a dense smoke are especially mentioned. The whole year's service requires a total amount of about three hundred and sixty-eight pounds of incense, about half a pound being burned every morning and evening.
Josephus has it that the thirteen kinds of sweet smelling ingredients are furnished by the sea, in order to signify that God is the Lord of all things, both of the habitable and the uninhabitable parts of the earth, and that all must be dedicated to his service. In a similar spirit the same author explains that the seven lamps signify the seven planets, and that the twelve loaves of showbread mean the twelve signs of the Zodiac. We are already acquainted with a side gate, called after Abtinas, in the southeastern corner of the inner court, close by the Gazith. The name is due to the fact that the family of Abtinas, which has charge of the incense manufacture, exercises its art in the Chamber of Abtinas, situated over this gate, and forming part of the Gazith.
One of Simon's assistants has in the meantime taken a silver and a golden pan, the former large enough to hold four, and the latter to hold three kabsa kab is nearly three pintsand ascending the altar of burnt-offering, he fills the silver pan with live coals from the fire on the south side of the altar, and empties the vessel into the golden pan. About one kab of coals is supposed to be spilled during this process.
To prevent accidents, the spilled coals are carefully swept into the channel which carries all the offal of the Temple into the valley of Kedron. On Sabbath days the spilled coals are covered over with a pot-shaped vessel, large enough to hold half a homer, or a little over sixteen pecks. It serves three purposes: to carry out the ashes from the altar of burnt-offering, to cover the spilled coals on the Sabbath, and to cover any reptile that may be found in the court on the Sabbath. For on the day of rest neither reptile nor coal can be removed from the court, though the reptile must be removed even on this day, if it is found in the porch of the Temple itself.
Simon and his two assistants, the one carrying the censer filled with burning coals, the other holding the double incense-boat, turn to their left and slowly approach the steps of the Temple porch. They are preceded by the two priests who in the morning cleansed the altar of incense and trimmed the lamps of the candlestick. Passing through the space between the altar and the stairs, they sound the Magrephah and for a moment no one in the Holy City can hear the voice of his friend and his neighbor. The priests, on hearing the sound, know that the hour of incense has come; they hasten to a place between the Court of Israel and the altar of burnt-offering, to bow down and adore. The Levites, too, hear the Magrephah, and know that they must hurry to their pulpit-shaped platform in the Court of Priests so as to be in time for the approaching psalmody. The chief of the "stationary men" recognizes in the sound a signal for bringing all those that are to be purified to the Gate of Nicanor, and for arranging them in their legal position.
Three of the more elderly priests speak a few solemn words to the youthful Simon, before the latter reaches the foot of the stair-way leading to the Temple porch. "Take care," says the first; "begin at the off-side of the altar," adds another; "beware of the fire," is a third's warning. Slowly the incensing priest, preceded by the two assistants and the two other sacred ministers, ascends the easy steps of the Temple porch, and soon disappears within the door of the sanctuary. When the altar of incense is reached, he who has cleansed it takes the Teni, makes a low reverence and withdraws. His companion approaches the candlestick, and trims the two lamps left untrimmed in the morning; he then takes up the Cuz, makes a deep reverence and withdraws. Then the censer-bearer spreads the live coals upon the altar of incense, and evenly distributes them on the surface with the foot of the censer. After this he too makes a deep reverence, and retires from the sanctuary. Meanwhile, the assistant who carries the incense-boat, takes the interior golden saucer out of the exterior silver one, and hands it to Simon. He carefully pours the few grains spilled in the external boat, into the hand of the sacred minister, and then retires, imitating his companion in the low reverence.
No sooner has the presiding priest seen the last assistant minister appear in the Temple porch, than he gives the loud command, "burn the incense." Trembling and awestruck, Simon extends his hand with the golden incense-boat, and pours the precious material upon the burning coals, being careful to begin at the further end of the altar, facing the Holy of Holies. The cloud of sweet smelling perfume fills the whole place, and Simon lies prostrate before the face of the Most High.
In the courts without, the whole multitude falls down before the Lord, spreading the hands in silent prayer. Tradition has faithfully preserved the very words: "True it is that thou art Jehovah our God, and the God of our fathers; our Saviour and the Saviour of our fathers; our King and the King of our fathers; our Maker and the rock of our salvation; our Help and our Deliverer. Thy name is from everlasting, and there is no God beside thee. A new song did they that were delivered sing to thy name by the sea-shore; together did they all praise and own thee as king, and say Jehovah shall reign who saveth Israel."
"Be graciously pleased, Jehovah our God, with thy people Israel, and with their prayer. Restore the service to the oracle of thy house; and the burnt-offerings of Israel and their prayer accept graciously and in love; and let the service of thy people Israel be ever well pleasing unto thee."
"We praise thee, who art Jehovah our God, and the God of our fathers, the God of all flesh, our Creator, and the Creator from the beginning! Blessing and praise be to thy great and holy name, that thou hast preserved us in life and kept us. So preserve us and keep us, and gather the scattered ones into thy holy courts, to keep thy statutes, and to do thy good pleasure, to serve thee with our whole heart, as this day we confess unto thee. Blessed be the Lord unto whom belongeth praise."
"Appoint peace, goodness and blessing, grace, mercy, and compassion for us, and for all Israel, thy people. Bless us, oh our Father, all of us as one, with the light of thy countenance. For in the light of thy countenance hast thou, Jehovah, our God, given us the law of life, and loving mercy, and righteousness, and blessing, and compassion, and life and peace. And may it please thee to bless thy people Israel at all times, and at every hour with thy peace. May we and all thy people Israel be remembered and written before thee in the book of life, with blessing and peace and support. Blessed be thou, Jehovah, who blessest thy people Israel with peace."
After the prayer, the priest who has trimmed the candlestick, once more enters the Holy Place, and there lights two lamps which are to burn throughout the day before the Lord. This duty performed, he joins the incensing priest and in his company leaves the sanctuary in order to take his stand together with the three other sacred ministers at the top of the stairs which lead from the Temple porch down into the Court of Priests. They all hold the insignia, as it were, of their morning office in their hand, the Teni, the Cuz, the censer, the silver saucer for the incense-boat, and the incense-boat itself. The rest of the priests who are not actively engaged about the burnt-offering and its accompanying sacrifices, gather together on the steps in front of the Temple porch.
He on whom the fourth lot has fallen, now ascends the altar, and entering the sacerdotal circuit on the south side, he turns to the right and proceeds to the middle of the east side. The priests who carried the divers parts of the victim and the necessary sacrifices to the inclined ascent, take up their several portions, and present them to the priest in front of the altar, who presses his hands upon them severally, and then flings them confusedly upon the altar. Thus the victim's flesh is scattered, as its blood has been sprinkled at the foot of the altar. When all the parts are laid on the altar, the priest arranges them, as well as he can, in the same relative position which they occupied in the live victim.
Look once more at the five priests standing on the stairs which lead to the Temple porch. Grouped in a semi-circular line, they lift up their hands above their head, while they join their fingers in a mystical way, so as to separate the thumbs from the fingers, and the two inner from the two outer fingers. May we not suppose that in this manner the mystery of the Holy Trinity is, at least, obscurely indicated? Simon clearly and distinctly pronounces the priestly blessing, the other four joining in the words so soon as they hear Simon's voice: "Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee; Jehovah make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." In a slow and solemn tone of voice the vast multitudes of the devout worshipers respond: "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting." (Numbers 6:24-26).
Perhaps the Jewish ceremonial of to-day will throw light on the ritual blessing of old. In the synagogues the reputed Jewish priest joins his uplifted and outspread hands by making the tips of the first fingers touch each other. At the same time, the thumb is separated from the hand, and the first and second fingers of each hand are knit together, and divided from the joint third and fourth fingers. Representations of this ceremony may be seen on the tombstones of Jewish priests. Though the word "Jehovah" is replaced by "Lord" in the present synagogue blessing, it is not certain that a similar substitution was customary at the time we are considering. The disguised voice and the veiled face now customary, may be safely supposed to have been entirely unknown in the blessing at Zachary's time.
When the voice of the priests dies out in the courts, and the smoke of the burnt-offering curls upward through the morning air, the meat-offering is presented to the Lord. According to God's explicit command, laid down in the Book of Numbers (15:4,5), "he that offereth his oblation shall offer unto the Lord a meat-offering of a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour mingled with the fourth part of a hin of oil: and wine for the drink-offering, the fourth part of a hin, shalt thou prepare with the burnt-offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb." Oil is, as a matter of course, added in the prescribed manner and quantity. For, as the Rabbinic Doctors tell us, every meat-offering prepared in a vessel has three pourings of oil; the first, into the vessel, the second, to mingle with the flour; the third after the offering is ready. Lastly, salt is added to the sacrifice, and the whole is laid on the fire.
Next, the high priest's meat-offering is oiled, salted and placed on the altar. It consists of twelve half-cakes, the other halves being reserved for the evening sacrifice.
The order of the meat-offerings here described does not contradict the words of St. Paul: "For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people" (Heb 7:26-27). For the Apostle principally insists on the inefficiency of the Old Testament sacrifices as compared with the bloody sacrifice of the New Law; besides, he only maintains that the high priest's sin-offering must precede the people's. But the daily meat-offering is not the high priest's sin-offering.
Finally, the drink-offering is poured out at the foot of the altar. When the priest is bending forward to perform this duty, the presiding priest, standing near the southeastern horn of the altar of burnt-offering, waves a handkerchief-like piece of cloth. Upon this signal, Ben Arsa, the keeper of the warning cymbal, who stands near the table of fat, west of the ascent to the altar, strikes his instrument. Immediately, the priests take their position to the right and left of Ben Arsa, their face turned eastward, towards the people. The Levites crowding the fifteen steps of the Nicanor Gate, face westward, towards the sanctuary. The Levitical choir accompanied by instrumental music, begins the psalm of the day.
Not less than twelve voices may ever sustain the choir, and the charming treble of specially trained Levites' children mingles with the deep voices of their fathers. The offspring of the children now singing in the Temple, will rehearse on the memorable Sunday of Christ's entry into Jerusalem the psalm which they have rendered on the preceding Feast of Tabernacles: "Save now, we beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, we beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord." And Jesus himself will defend their song against their jealous parents by referring to the words of the psalm: "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise."
The number of the instrumental performers is not limited, nor is the office confined to the Levites strictly so called. Several prominent families, intermarried with the priestly tribe, are admitted to the rank of musicians. But as to the trumpeters, they may not be fewer than two, nor more numerous than a hundred and twenty; for there were only a hundred and twenty present at the dedication of the first Temple, which number may, therefore, not be exceeded. Besides, only priests may blow the silver trumpets.
The other musical instruments may be reduced to three classes: wind instruments, stringed instruments, and vibrating instruments. Josephus testifies that Solomon, after the erection of the first Temple, made two hundred thousand trumpets according to the command of Moses, two hundred thousand garments of fine linen for the singers that were Levites, and forty thousand musical instruments, and such as were invented for the singing of hymns called Nablae and Cinyrae, or psalteries and harps, made of electrum. No doubt this report is a gross exaggeration. For as to the vibrating bars and surfaces, only one pair of cymbals was allowed to be used. Indeed, even this "sounding brass" and "tinkling cymbal" does not belong to the Temple music proper; it only gives the signal when the latter is to begin. May not the Apostle have considered this as an additional reason for comparing it with the external extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost?
The Rabbis mention so many as thirty-six different kinds of musical instruments, of which the Bible knows only fifteen, and the Pentateuch only five. The principal stringed instruments are the Nebel (lute) and the Kinnor (harp). The chief difference between these two instruments consists in this, that in the Nebel the strings are drawn over the sounding board, while in the Kinnor they stand out free as in our harp. Besides, according to Josephus, the Nebel had twelve strings and was played with one hand, while the Kinnor had only ten strings and was played with the plectrum. The Rabbinic doctors accurately determine the number of each kind of instruments allowable in the Temple music. There may not be fewer than two, and not more than six Nebels, while the Kinnors must at least be nine, and they may be multiplied at pleasure. There are, of course, several varieties of both Nebel and Kinnor; but from all we know of them, we must infer that the Kinnor is the chief and leading instrument, while the Nebel serves as its accompaniment.
Besides the cymbals and stringed instruments, reed pipes or flutes are also used in the Temple on twelve different occasions: "the day of killing the first, and that of killing the second Passover, the first day of unleavened bread, Pentecost, and the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles." Not less than two and not more than twelve flutes are allowed on these occasions, and the melody must close with the notes of only one flute. Every Jew is bound to provide at least two flutes and one mourning woman at the funeral of his wife. The sound of the same instrument is heard at the joyful marriage feasts and at the processions of the pilgrims going up to Jerusalem and chanting in festive strains the Psalms of Degrees.
In addition to these we know of three other wind instruments employed in the Temple. The first is the organ-shaped Magrephah, consisting according to Rabbinic tradition of a row of ten pipes, each of which has ten holes, and is thus eanbled to emit ten different sounds. This instrument seems to have served merely for giving signals. Trumpets too, are in regular use, and while the playing of the instruments hitherto mentioned is left to the Levites, with some doubtful exceptions as to the use of the reed-pipes, the blowing of trumpets is reserved to the priests. Priests also blow the Shophar or horn. Originally the Shophar was a ram's horn, but probably later on it was made of brass. Its loud and far-sounding tones make it especially fit for the feast of the New Year and for fast days, on which occasions it alone is blown in the synagogues outside of Jerusalem. The year of Jubilee, too, is announced by the sound of the Shophar, and what is more, derives its name from this practice. If the New Moon be added to the occasions thus far mentioned, we have a complete list of the occasions on which the use of the Shophar is prescribed. It may be of interest to know that on the Feast of the New Year a priest with the Shophar is placed between those who blow the trumpets, while on fast-days priests with the Shophar stand on each side of the trumpeters.
But the vocal music is of far more importance in the Temple service than the instrumental. It should seem that in the first Temple the people responded while the Levites led the song (1 Chron 16:36; Jer 33:11; Psa 68:26). When the foundations of the second Temple were laid, and when the wall of Jerusalem was dedicated, the singing was again antiphonal; but the two choirs soon combined and sang in unison in the Temple (Ezra 3:10,11; Neh 12:27,40). In Ezra (2:65) and in Nehemiah (7:67) there is even mention of women singing in the Temple. But the female voices must have been soon replaced by the boys treble. The Rabbinic Doctors maintain that a good voice is an essential qualification for a Levite. The Temple melodies are perhaps best represented by the synagogue airs now in use; Gregorian music, too, must have an affinity with the Jewish psalmody. Absolute certainty on matters of this nature cannot be expected at a period when the sanctuary and the Holy City have been sacked ten times by hostile armies.
We are more fortunate when there is question of the special hymns that were chanted on the several days of the week, after the burnt-offering was laid on the altar. Psalm 24 "the earth is the Lord's," was chanted on the first day of the week in commemoration of the first day of creation. For on that day "God possessed the world and ruled it." On the second day "the Lord divided his works and ruled over them"; hence they sang Psalm 48, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised." On the third day "the earth appeared, on which are the Judge and the judged," a fact commemorated by Psalm 82, "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty." Because God will be avenged on them that worship the sun, the moon and the stars which he made on the fourth day, Psalm 94 is sung on Wednesday: "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth." "Sing aloud unto God our strength," or Psalm 81 was intoned on the fifth day to celebrate the "variety of creatures made that day to praise his name." On the sixth day "God finished his works and made man, and the Lord ruled over his works"; hence they sang Psalm 93 "The Lord reigneth." The Sabbath is the symbol of the kingdom at the end of the six thousand years dispensation, when the Lord will reign over all, and his glory and service fill the earth with thanksgiving: Psalm 92, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord," is therefore specially adapted to the Sabbath day.
To-day, as on all other occasions, the Psalm is sung in three sections: at the close of each the priests draw three blasts from their silver trumpets, while the people adore and worship. The Psalm ended, the great bulk of the worshippers leave the Temple, going out by the left. Only priests, Levites and special devotees prolong their prayers and tarry in the courts.
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