PRIEST, HEBREW PRIESTHOOD (prest, bebra prest'bOlid), (Heb, ko'hane', priest:Sept.
lepe6s, hee-eh-rooce' V ul. sacerdos).
The English word is generally derived from the New Testament term presbyter (elder), the mean ing of which, is, however, essentially different from that which was intended by the ancient terms. It would come nearer, if derived from rpotornp.4 or rpotoralaat, 'to preside,' etc. It would then correspond to Aristotle's definition of a priest, ray 71-pds root Beath. sc6pios, 'presiding over things re lating to the gods' (Polit. iii, t4), and with the very similar one in Heb. v:t, "every high-priest taken from among men, is constituted on the behalf of men, with respect to their concerns with God (rd rpor rev Oda.), that he may present both gifts and sacrifices for sins.' The primitive meaning of the Hebrew word is i not easily determined, because the verb, in its radical form, nowhere occurs. Gesenius observes: 'In Arabic it denotes to prophesy, to foretell as a soothsayer, and among the heathen Arabs the sub stantive bore the latter signification; also that of a mediator or middle person, who interposed in any business, which seems to be its radical mean ing, as prophets and priests were regarded as mediators between men and the Deity. In the earliest families of the race of Shem, the offices of priest and prophet were undoubtedly united; so that the word originally denoted both, and at last the Hebrew idiom kept one part of the idea, and the Arabic another' (Hebraisclies and Chal daisches Handworterbuch, Leipz., 1823). It is worthy of remark, that all the persons who are recorded in Scripture as having legally performed priestly acts, but who were not stirctly sacerdotal, come under the definition of a prophet, viz., per sons who received supernatural communications of knowledge generally, as Adam, Abraham (Gen. xx :7), Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Job, Samuel, Elijah (comp. Luke i :70). The primary meaning of the Hebrew word is regarded by Kimchi, Castell, Gig geius, Ernesti, Simonis, Tittmann, and Eichhorn, to be, the rendering of honorable and dignified service, like that of ministers of state to their sovereign. Nearly similar is the idea adopted by
Cocceius and Schultens, viz., drawing near, as to a king or any supreme authority. The following definition of a priest may be found sufficiently comprehensive :—A man whoofficiates or transacts with God on behalf of others, statedly, or for the occasion.
1. Garments of Priesthood. The designation and call of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood are commanded in Exod. xxviii:1; and holy gar ments to be made for Aaron, 'for glory and for beauty' (verse 2), and for his sons (verse 40), by persons originally skillful, and now also in spired for the purpose (verse 3), the chief of whom were Bezaleel and Aholiab (xxxi :2-6). As there were some garments common both to the priests and the high-priest, we shall begin with those of the former, taking them in the order in which they would be put on.
(1) Fine Linen. The first was 'firk!ii breeches,' or drawers (Exod. X xviii:42). These were to he of fine twined-linen, and to reach from the loins to the middle of the thighs. According to Josephus, whose testimony, however, of course, relates only to his own time, they reached only to the middle of the thigh, where they were tied fast (Antiq. iii, 7, I). Such drawers were worn universally in Egypt. In the sculptures and paint ings of that country. the figures of workmen and servants have no other dress than a short kilt or apron, sometimes simply bound about the loins and lapping over in front : other figures have short loose drawers; while a third variety of this ar ticle was closely fitted, and extending to the knees. This last sort of drawers seems to have been peculiar in Egypt to the gods, and to the priests, whose attire was often adapted to that of the idols on which they attended. The priests, in common with other persons of the upper classes, wore the drawers under other robes. No mention occurs of the use of drawers by any other class of persons in Israel except the priests, on whom it was enjoined for the sake of decency.