Hebrew Priesthood Priest

priests, verse, verses, altar, high-priest, common, num, lev, offer and aaron

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(2) Successive Priesthood. Thus were Aaron and his sons and their descendants separated for ever, to the office of the priesthood, from all other Israelites. There was consequently no need of any further consecration for them or their de scendants. The firstborn son of Aaron succeeded him in the office, and the elder son among all his descendants; a rule which, though deviated from in after times, was ultimately resumed. The next successor was to he anointed and consecrated in his father's holy garments ( Exod. xxix :29), which he must wear seven days when he went into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister (verse 3o; comp. Num. xx :26-28; xxxv :25), and make an atonement for all things and persons (Lev. xvi :32-34), and for himself (comp. verse it), besides the offering (vi :20-22). The common priests were required to prove their descent from Aaron. No age was prescribed for their entrance on their ministry, or retirement from it.

4. Duties of the High.Priest. We shall now give a summary of the duties and emolu ments of the high-priest and common priests re spectively. Besides his lineal descent from Aaron, the high-priest was required to be free from ev ery bodily blemish or defect (Lev. xxi :16-23) ; but though thus incapacitated, yet, his other quali fications being sufficient, he might eat of the food appropriated to the priests (verse 22). He must not marry a widow, nor a divorced woman, or profane, or that had been a harlot, but a virgin Israelitess (verse 14). In Ezekiel's vision a gen eral permission is given to the priests to marry a priest's widow (xliv :22). The high-priest might not observe the external signs of mourning for any person, or leave the sanctuary upon re ceiving intelligence of the death of even father or mother (verses 10-12; comp.x :7). Public calamities seem to have been an exception, for Joacim the high-priest, and the priests, in such circum stances ministered in sackcloth with ashes on their mitres (Judith iv :t4, 15; comp. Joel i:t3). He must not eat anything that died of itself, or was torn of beasts (Lev. xxii :8) ; must wash his hands and feet when he went into the tabernacle of the congregation. and when he approached the altar to minister (Exod. xxx :19-21, sq.). At first Aaron was to burn incense on the golden altar every morning when he dressed the lamps, and every evening when he lighted them, but in later times the common priest performed this duty (Luke i :8, 9) ; to offer, as the Jews understand it, daily morning and evening, the peculiar meat offering he offered on the day of his consecration (Exod. xxix) ; to perform the ceremonies of the great day of expiation (Lev. xvi) ; to arrange the shew-bread every Sabbath, and to eat it in the holy place (xxiv:9) ; must abstain from the holy things during his uncleanness (xxii :1-3) ; also if he became leprous, or contracted uncleanness (verses 4-7). If he committed a sin of ignorance he must oiler a sin-offering for it (iv:3-13); and so for the people (verses 12-22) ; was to eat the remainder of the people's meat-offerings with the inferior priests in the holy place (vi:16); to judge of the leprosy in the human body or gar ments (xiii:2-59); to adjudicate legal questions (Deut. xvii:12). Indeed when there was no di vinely inspired judge, the high-priest was the su preme ruler till the time of David, and again after the captivity. lie must be present at the appointment of a new ruler or leader (Num. xxvii:19), and ask counsel of the Lord for the ruler (verse 21). Elcazar with others distributes the spoils taken from the 1\lidianites (Num. xxxi: 21, 26). To the high-priest also belonged the ap pointment of a maintenance from the funds of the sanctuary to an incapacitated priest (I Sam. ii:36, margin). Besides these duties, peculiar to himself, he had others in common with the in ferior priests. Thus, when the camp set forward, 'Aaron and his sons' were to take the tabernacle to pieces, to cover the various portions of it in cloths of various colors (iv:5-15), and to appoint the Levites to their services in carrying them; to bless the people in the form prescribed (vi: 23-27), to be responsible for all official errors and negligences (xviii:r), and to have the gen eral charge of the sanctuary (verse 5).

5. Emoluments of the High-Priest. Neither the high-priest nor common priests received 'any inheritance' at the distribution of Canaan among the several tribes (Num. xviii:2o; Deut. xviii: 1, 2), but were maintained, with their families, upon certain fees, dues, perquisites, etc., arising from the public services, which they enjoyed as a common fund. Perhaps the only distinct prerog ative of the high-priest was a tenth part of the tithes assigned to the Levites (Num. xviii:28; comp. Neh. x :38) ; but Josephus represents this also as a common fund (Antiq. iv, 4, 4).

6. General Duties of the Priests. (i) Be sides those duties already mentioned as com mon to them and the high-priests, they were re quired to prove their descent from Aaron, to be free from all bodily defect or blemish (Lev. xxi: 16-23) ; (2) must not observe mourning, except for near relatives (xxi:1-5) ; must not marry a woman that had been a harlot, or divorced, or profane. (3) The priest's daughter who commit ted whoredom was to be burnt, as profaning her father (xxi:9). (4) The priests were to have the charge of the sanctuary and altar (Num. xviii :5). (5) The fire upon the altar being once kindled (Lev. i:7), the priests were always to keep it burning (vi:13). (6) In later times, and upon extraordinary occasions, at least, they flayed the burnt-offerings (2 Chron. xxix:34), and killed the Passover (Ezra vi:go). (7) They were to receive the blood of the burnt-offerings in basins (Exod. xxiv:6), and sprinkle it round about the altar, arrange the wood and the fire, and to burn the parts of the sacrifices (Lev. i :5-to). (8) If the burnt sacrifice were of cloves, the priest was to nip off the head with his finger-nail, squeeze out the blood on the edge of the altar, pluck off the feathers, and throw them with the crop into the ash pit, divide it down the wings, and then completely burn it (verses 15-17). (9) Ile was to offer a lamb every morning and evening (Num. xxvin :3), and a double number on the Sabbath (verse 9), and the burnt-offerings ordered at the beginning of months (verse 11), and the same on the Feast of Unlenvyn«1 Bread (verse 19), and on the day of the First Fruits (verse 26) : (to) to receive the meat-offering of the offerer, bring it to the altar, take of it a memorial, and burn it upon the altar (Lev. ii); (1r) to sprinkle the blood of the peace-offerings upon the altar round about, and then to offer of it a burnt-offering (iii); (12) to offer the sin-offering for a sin of ignor ance in a ruler or any of the common people (iv:22-25) ; (13) toeat the sin-offering in the holy place (vi :26; comp. x:r6-18) ; (14) to offer the trespass-offering (verses 6-19; vi :6, 7), to sprinkle its blood round about the altar (vil :2), to cat of it, etc. (verse 6); (15) to eat of the shcw-bread in the holy place (xxiv :9) ; (16) to offer for the purification of women after childbirth (xii: 6, 7); (17) to judge of the leprosy in the human body or garments; to decide when the leper was cleansed, and to order a sacrifice for him (xiv: 3, 4) ; to administer the rites used at pronounc ing him clean (verses 6, 7); to present him and his offering before the Lord, and to make an atonement for him (verses 10-32) ; to judge of the leprosy in a house (xiv :33-47), to decide when it was clean (verse 48), and to make an atonement for it (verses 49-53) ; (18) to make an atonement for men cleansed from an issue of uncleanness (xv :14, 15), and for women (verses 29, 3o) ; (19) to offer the sheaf of First Fruits (xxiii:ro, 11); (2o) to estimate the commutation in money for persons in cases of a singular or extraordinary vow (xxvii:8), or for any devoted unclean beast (verses'', i2),or for a house (verse 14), or field (xviii:23); (2t) to conduct the or deal of the bitter water (Num. v:12-31). (See

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