Hebrew Priesthood Priest

priests, gold, high-priest, exod, aaron, garments, sons, ephod, lev and stones

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(3) The Breastplate. Then came the breast plate, a gorget, ten inches square, made of the same sort of cloth as the ephod, and doubled so as to form a kind of pouch or bag (Exod. xxxix: 9), in which was to be put the URINE and Taunt mint, which are also mentioned as if already known (xxviii:3o). The external part of this gorget was set with four rows of precious stones; the first row, a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle; the second, an emerald, a sapphire, and a dia mond; the third, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst ; and the fourth, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper,—set in a golden socket. Upon each of these stones was to be engraven the name of one of the sons of Jacob. In the ephod, in which there was a space left open sufficiently large for the ad mission of this pectoral, were four rings of gold, to which four others at the four corners of the breastplate corresponded; the two lower rings of the latter being fixed inside. It was confined to the ephod by means of dark blue ribands, which passed through these rings; and it was also sus pended from the onyx stones on the shoulder by chains of gold, or rather cords of twisted gold threads, which were fastened at one end to two other larger rings fixed in the upper corners of the pectoral, and by the other end going round the onyx stones on the shoulders, and returning and being fixed in the larger ring. The breast plate was further kept in its place by a girdle, made of the same stuff, which Josephus says was sewed to the breastplate, and which, when it had gone once round was tied again upon the seam and hung down. (See BREASTPLATE OF TIIE HIGH-PRIEST.) (4) The Mitre. The remaining portion of dress peculiar to the high-priest was the mare (Exod. xxviii:4). The Bible says nothing ul the dif ference beween this and the turban of the com mon priests. It is, however, called by a different 1171111C. It was to be of fine linen (verse 39). Jo sephus says it was the same in construction and figure with that of the common priest, but that above it there was another, with swathes of blue, embroidered, and round it was a golden crown, polished, of three rows, one above another, out of which rose a cup of gold, which resembled the calyx of the herb called by Greek bota nists, hyoseyamus. He ends a most labored description by comparing the shape of it to a poppy (iii, 7, 6). Upon com paring his account of the bon net of the priests with the mitre of the high-priests, it would appear that the latter was conical. The mitres worn by the ancient priests of Egypt afford a substantial resemblance of that prescribed to the Jews, divested of idolatrous symbols, hut which were displaced to make way for a simple plate of gold, bearing the inscription, 'Holiness to Jehovah.' This lamina, extended from one ear to the other, being bound to the forehead by strings tied be hind, and further secured in its position by a blue riband at tached to the mitre (Exod. x xviii :36-39 ; xxxix :3o ; Lev.

viii :9). Josephus says this nlate was preserved to his own day ("kilo. viii, 3-8: see Re land, De Spol. Templi, p. 132). Such was the dress of the high-priest ; see a description of its magnificence in corre sponding terms in Ecclus. 1:5-16; Josephus had an idea of the symbolical import of the several parts of it. He says, that being made of linen signified the earth; the blue denoted the sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and in the noise of its bells resembling thunder. The ephod showed that God had made the universe of four elements, the gold relating to the splendor by which all things arc enlightened. The breastplate in the

middle of the ephod resembled the earth, which has the middle place of the world. The girdle signified the sea, which goes round the world. The sardonyxes declare the sun and moon The twelve stones are the twelve months or signs of the zodiac. The mitre is heaven, because blue (iii, 7, 7). He appears, however, to have had two explanations of some things, one for the Gentiles, and another for the Jews. Thus in this section, he tells his Gentile readers that the seven lamps upon the golden candlesticks referred to the seven planets; but to the Jews he represents them as an emblem of the seven days of the week (De Bell. Jud. vii, 5. 5; Whiston's notes in loc.). The magnificent dress of the high-priest was not al ways worn by him. It was exchanged for one wholly of linen, and therefore white, though of similar construction, when on the day of expiation he entered into the Holy of Holies (Lev. xvi:4, 23) ; and neither he nor the common priests wore their appropriate dress, except when officiating. It was for this reason, according to some, that Paul, who had been long absent from Jerusalem, did not know that Ananias was the high-priest (Acts xxiii :5). In Ezek. xlii :14 ; xliv :17-19, there are directions that the priests should take ff their garments when they had ministered, and lay them up in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; but these directions occur in a visionary representation of a temple, which all agree has never been realized, the particulars of which, though sometimes derived from known customs, yet at other times differ from them widely. The garments of the inferior priests ap pear to have been kept in the sacred treasury (Ezra ii :69 ; Neh. vii :70).

3. Consecration. The next incident in the history is, that Moses receives a command to con secrate Aaron and his sons to the priests' office (Exod. xxviii :4t), in the manner and for the succession below described: (1) Ceremonies. They were to be washed at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (xxix :4), where the altar of burnt offering stood (x1:6, 29). Aaron was then robed in his pontifical garments (verses 4-6), and anointed with a pro fusion of oil (verse 7) ; whence he was called 'the priest that is anointed' (Lev. iv :3, etc.; Ps. cxxxiii :2). This last act was the peculiar and only distinguishing part of Aaron's consecration; for the anointing of his sons (Exod. xxx :30) re lates only to the unction (xxix :20, by a mixture made of the blood of the sacrifice and of the anointing oil, which was sprinkled upon both Aaron and his sons, and upon their garments, as part of their consecration. Hence then Aaron re ceived two unctions. In after times the high-priest took an oath (Heb. vii :23) to bind him, as the Jews say, to a strict adherence to established cus toms (Illishna, tit. Yoma, i, 5). The other details of this ceremony of consecration are all contained in one chapter (Exod. xxix), to which we must be content to refer the reader. The entire cere mony lasted seven days, on each of which all the sacrifices were repeated (Lev. viii :33), to which a promise was added, that God would sanc tify Aaron and his sons, that is, declare them to be sanctified, which he did, by the appearance of his glory at their first sacrifice, and by the fire which descended and consumed their burnt-offer ings (Lev. ix :23, 24).

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