William Smith.

A dictionary of the Bible; comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history online

. (page 214 of 316)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA dictionary of the Bible; comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history → online text (page 214 of 316)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the front, i. e., the breast and upper part of the
body, like the iiroofiis of the Greeks fsee Diet, of
Antiquif-ies, art. Tuxtca, p, 1172;. These were
clasped together on the shoulder with two large
onyx stones, each having engraved on it G of
the names of the tribes of Lsrael. It was further
uniterl by a ''curious girdle" of gold, blue, purple,
scarlet, and fine twine^l linen round the waist.
Upon it was placed the breastplate of judgment,
which in fact was a j^art of the ephod, and included
in the term in such j^assages as 1 Sam. ii. 28, xiv.
3, xxiii. 9, and was ^tened to it just above tiie
curious girdle of the ejjhod. Linen ephods were
also worn by other priests (1 ,Sam, xxii. 18), by
Samuel, who was only a Lente (1 Sam. ii. 18 ,
and by David when bringing up the ark (2 Sam.
vi. 14 J. The expression for wearing an ephod is
*' f/irded with a linen ephod." The ej^hod was also
frequently used in the idolatrous worship of the
Israelites. See Judg. viii. -7, xsru. 5, ic, [Ephod;


(c.) The Robe of the ephwl ^'J."?,. This was
of inferior material to the ephod it^^ it, being all of
blue (ver. 31 j, which implied its being only of
"woven work" ^^b^ ni;>.*0, xxxix. 22;. It was
worn immediately under the ephod, and was loneer
than it, though not so long as the broidered coat or
tunic '']*Zi;*n T\ir\2), according to some state-
ments (Bahr, W ii.e/, Kalisch, &c.;. The Greek
rendering, however, of yj^^ TroB-fipTjSf and Jo-
sephus'fi desciiption of it (JJ. J. v. 5, §7) seem to
outweigh the reas'jns given by Bahr for thinking
the robe only came down Ui the knees, and to make
it improbable that the tunic shonid have been seen
below the robe. It seems likely therefore that the
sleeves of the tonic, of white diajter linen, were the
only parts of it which were \-isible, in the case of
the high-prie-t, when he wore the blue robe over it.
For the h\u^ robe harl no jiI«^v*:s, but only sliU in
the sides for the arms to come through. It had a
hole for the hear! to jia«s through, with a border
round it of woven work, to prevent its Ix-ing rent.
The skirt of this robe hati a remai'kable trimming
of fKmiegiaiiatfrs ,n blue, red, and crimson, with a


bell of gold between eacli pomegranate alternately.
The bells were to give a sound when the high-
priest went in and came out of the Holy Place.
Josephus in the Antiquities gives no explanation of
the use of the bells, but merely speaks of the studied
beauty of their appearance. In his Jewish War,
however, he tells us that the bells signified thunder,
and the pomegi-anates lightning. For Philo's very
curious observations see Lightfoot's Works, ix. p, 25.

Neither does the son of Sirach very distinctly ex-
plain it (•Ecclus. xlv.), who in his description of the
high-priest's attire seems chiefly impressed with
its beauty and magnificence, and says of this trim-
ming, '* He compassed him with pomegranates and
with many golden bells round about, that as he
went there might be a sound, and a noise made
that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial
to the children of his people." Perhaps, however,
be means to intimate that the use of the bells was
to give notice to the people outside, when the high-
priest went in and came out of the sanctuary, as
Whiston, Vatablus, and many others have supposed.

{d.) The fourth article peculiar to the high-priest
is the mitre or upper turban, with its gold plate,
engraved witli Holiness to the Lord, fastened to
it by a ribbon of blue. Josephus applies the tei-m
r)S3VD (fj.a(rya€ij.<pd-^s) to the turbans of the
common priests as well, but says that in addition
to this, and sewn on to the top of it, the high-priest
had another turban of bl ue ; that beside this he
had outside the turban a triple crown of gold, con-
sisting, that is, of 3 rims one above the other, and
terminating at top in a kind of conical calyx, like
the inverted calyx of the herb hyoscyamus. Jo-
sephus doubtless gives a true account of the
high-priest's turban as worn in his day. It may
be fairly conjectm-ed that the crown was appended
when the Asmoneans united the temporal monarchy
with the priesthood, and that this was continued,
though in a modified shape, ^ after the sovereignty
was taken from them. Josephus also describes the
weraXot/, the lamina or gold plate, which he says
covered the forehead of the high-priest. In Ant. vii.
3, §8, he says that the identical gold plate made
in the days of Moses existed in his time ; and Whis-
ton adds in a note that it was still preserved in the
time of Origen, and that the inscription on it was
engraved in Samaritan characters {Ant. iii, 3, §6).
It is certain that R. Eliezer, who flourished in
Hadrian's reign, saw it at Rome. It was doubt-
less placed, with other spoils of the Temple, in the
Temple of Peace, which was bui'nt down in the
reign of Commodiis. These spoils, however, are
expressly mentioned as pai-t of Alaric's plunder
when he took Rome. They were carried by Gen-
seric into Africa, and brought by Behsarius to By-
zantium, where they adorned his triumph. On the
warning of a Jew the emperor ordered them back
to Jerusalem, but what became of them is not
known (Reland, de Spoliis Templi).

(e.) The broidered coat, l^BEiTl njh3, was a
tunic or long shiit of linen with a tessellated or
diaper pattern, like the setting, of a stone. The
girdle, IDJ3K, also of linen, was wound round the
body several times from the breast downwards, and
the ends hung down to the ancles. The breeches or
drawers, D''D33D, of linen, covered the loins and



^ Josephus {A. J. XX. 10) says that Pompey would
not allow Hyrcanus to wear the diadem, when he
restored him to the high priesthood.

thighs ; and the bonnet or HV^l^D was a turban
of linen, partially covering the head, but not in the
form of a cone like that of the high-priest when
the mitre was added to it. These four last were
common to all priests. Josephus speaks of the
robes {ivSvfj.aTa) of the chief priests, and the
tunics and girdles of the priests, as foi'ming part of
the spoil of the Temple, [B. J. vi. 8. §3). Aaron,
and at his death Eleazar (Num. xx. 26, 28), and
their successors in the high-priesthood, were so-
lemnly inaugurated into their office by being clad in
these eight articles of dress oij seven successive days.
From the time of the second Temple, when the
sacred oil (said to have been hid by Josiah, and
lost) was wanting, this putting on of the gaiinents
was deemed the official investiture of the ofiice.
Hence the robes, which had used to be kept in one
of the chambers of the Temple, and were by Hyr-
canus deposited in the Baris, which he built on pur-
pose, were kept by Herod iu the same tower, which
he called Antonia, so that they might be at his abso-
lute disposal. The Romans did the same till the
government of Vitellius in the reign of Tiberius,
when the custody of the robes was restored to the
Jews {Ant. xv. 11, §4; xviii. 4, §3),

(3.) Aaron had peculiar functions. To him alone
it appertained, and he alone was permitted, to enter
the Holy of Holies, which he did once a year, on the
great day of atonement, when he sprinkled the blood
of the sin-ofiering on the mercy-seat, and burnt in-
cense within the vail (Lev. xvi.). He is said by the
Talmudists, with whom agree Lightfoot,Selden, Gro-
tius, Winer, Bahr, and many others, not to have
worn his full pontifical robes on this occasion, but to
have been clad entirely in white linen (Lev. xvi. 4,
32). It is singular, however, that on the other
hand Josephus says that the great fast day was the
chief, if not the only day in the yop-r, when the
high-priest wore all his robes {B. J. v. 5, §7),
and in spite of the alleged impropriety of his
wearing his splendid apparel on a day of humilia-
tion, it seems far more probable that on the one
Occasion when he performed functions peculiar to
the high-priest, he should have worn his full dress.
Josephus too could not have been mistaken as to
the fact, which he repeats {cont. Ap. lib. ii. §7),
where he says the high-priests alone might enter
into the Holy of Holies, " propriS, stola circuma-
micti." For although Selden,*" who strenuously sup-
ports the Rabbinical statement that the high-priest
only wore the 4 linen garments when he entered
the Holy of Holies, endeavours to make Josephus
say the same thing, it is impossible to twist
his words into this meaning. It is true on the
other hand, that Lev. xvi. distinctly prescribes that
Aaron should wear the 4 priestly garments of
linen when he entered into the Holy of Holies, and
put them off immediately he came out, and leave
them in the Temple ; no one being present in the
Temple while Aai'on made the atonement (ver. 17).
Either therefore in the time of Josephus this law
was not kept in practice, or else we must reconcile
the apparent contradiction by supposing that in
consequence of the great jealousy with which the
high-priest's robes were kept by the civil power at
this time, the custom had arisen for him to wear
them, not even always on the 3 great festivals
(Ant. xviii. 4, §3), but only on the great day of

' Selden himself remarks (cap. vii. in Jin.) that
Josephus and others always describe the pontifical
robes by the name of t^s a-ToAris apxiepaTiK^?.



expiation. Clad in this gorgeous attire he would
enter the Temple in presence of all the people, and
after having performed in secret, as the law requires,
the .rites of expiation in the linen dress, he would
resume his pontifical robes and so appear again in
public. Thus" his wearing the robes would easily
come to be identified chiefly with the day of atone-
ment ; and this is perhaps the most probable explana-
tion. In other respects the high-priest performed
the functions of a priest, but only on new moons aud
other .great feasts, and on such solemn occasions as
the dedication of the Temple under Solomon, under
Zerubbabel, &c. [Atonement, day of.]

(4.) The high-priest had a peculiar place in the
law of the manslayer, and his taking sanctuary in
the cities of refuge. The manslayer might not
leave the city of refuge during the lifetime of the
existing high-priest who was anointed with the
holy oil (Num. xxxv. 25, 28). It was also for-
bidden to the high-priest to follow a funeral, or
rend his clothes for the dead, according to the pre-
cedent in Lev. x. 6.

The other respects in which the high-priest ex-
ercised superior functions to the other priests arose
rather fi'om his position and opportunities, than were
distinctly attached to his office, and they conse-
quently varied with the personal character and abili-
ties of the high-priest. Such were refoi-ms in religion,
restorations of the Temple and its service, the pre-
servation of the Temple from intrusion or profana-
tion, taking the lead in ecclesiastical or civil affairs,
judging the people, presiding in the Sanhedrim
(which, however, he is said by Lightfoot rarely to
have done), and other similar transactions, in which
we find the high-priest sometimes prominent, some-
times not even mentioned. (See the historical part of
this article.) Even that portion of power which most
naturally ftn^ usually fell to his share, the rule of
the Temple, and the government of the priests and
Levites who ministered there, did not invariably
fall to the share of the high-priest. For the title
'* Ruler of the House of God," D>n^«n"n*3 l^JJ.

■ v: T " • :j

which usually denotes the high-piiest, is sometimes
given to those who were not high-priests, as e. g.
to Pashur the son of Immer in Jer. xx. 1 ; comp.
1 Chr. xii. 27. The Rabbins speak veiy fre-
quently of one second in dignity to the high-priest,
whom they call the Sagan, and who often acted in
the high-priest's rooni.s He is the same who in the
0. T. is called *' the second priest" (2 K. xxiii. 4,
XXV. 18). They say that Moses was sagan to Aai'on.
Thus' too it is explained of Annas and Caiaphas
(Luke iii. 2), that Annas was sagan. Ananias is
also thought by some to have been sagan, acting
for the high-priest (Acts xxiii. 2). In like manner
they say Zadok and Abiathar were high-priest and
sagan in the time of David. The sagan is also very
frequently called Memunneh, or Prefect of theTemple,
and upon him chiefly lay the care and charge of
the Temple services (Lightfoot, passim). If the
high-priest was incapacitated from officiating by
any accidental uncleanness, the sagan or vice-high-
priest took his place. Thus, e. g., the Jerusalem
Talmud tells a story of Simon son of Kamith, that
"on the eve of the day of expiation, he went out
to speak with the king, and some spittle fell upon
his garments and defiled him : therefore Jiidah his
brother went in on the day of expiation, and served

8 There is a controversy as to whether the deputy
high-priest was the same as the Sagan. Lightfoot
thinks not.


in his stead ; and so their mother Kamith saw two
of her sons high-priests in one day. She had seven
sons, and they all served in the high-priesthood "
(Lightfoot, ix. 35). It does not appear by whose
authority the high-priests were appointed to their
office before there were kings of Israel. But as we
find it invariably done by the civil power in later
times, it is probable that, in the times preceding the
monarchy, it. was by the elders, or Sanhedrim. The
installation and anointing of the high-priest or
clothing him with the eight garments, which was
the foi-mal investiture, is ascribed by Maimonides to
the Sanhedrim at all times (Lightfoot, ix. 22).

It should be added, that the usual age for enter-
ing upon the functions of the priesthood, according
to 2 Chr. xxxi. 17, is considered to have been 20
years, though a priest or high-priest was not actually
incapacitated if he had attained to puberty, as ap-
pears by the example of Aristobulus, who was high-
priest at 17. Onias, the son of Simon the Just,
could not be high-priest, because he was but a child
at his father's death. Again, according to Lev. xxi.,
no one that had a blemish could officiate at the
altar. Moses enumerates 11 blemishes, which the
Talmud expands into 142. Josephus relates how
Antigonus mutilated Hyrcanus^ ears, to incapa-
citate him for being restored to the high-priest-
hood. Illegitimate birth was also a bar to the
high-priesthood, and the subtlety of Jewish dis-
tinctions extended this illegitimacy to being born of
a mother who had been taken captive by heathen
conquerors (Joseph, c. Apion. i. §7). ThusEleazar
said to John Hyrcanus (though, Josephus says,
falsely) that if he was a just man, he ought to
resign the pontificate, because his mother had been
a captive, and he was therefore incapacitated. Lev.
xxi. 13, 14, was taken as the ground of tliis and
similar disqualifications. For a full account of this
branch of the subject the reader is referred to Sel-
den's learned treatises De Successionibus, ^c, and
De Success, in Pontif. Ehraeor. ; aud to Prideaux,
ii. 306. It was the universal opinion of the Jews
that the deposition of a high-priest, which became
so common, was unlawful. Josephus {^Ant. xv. 3)
says that Antiochus Epiphanes was the fiist who
did so, when he deposed Jesus or Jason; Aristo-
bulus, who deposed his brother Hyrcanus, the se-
cond ; and Herod, who took away the high-priest-
hood from Ananelus to give it to Aristobulus the
Thii'd, See the story of Jonathan son of Ananus,
Ant. xix. 6, §4,

II. Theologically. The theological view of the
high-priesthood does not fall within the scope of
this Dictionary. It must suffice therefore to indi-
cate that suoh a view would embrace the considera-
tion of the office, diess, functions, and ministrations
of the high-priest, considered as t}'^ical of the
priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ, aud as setting
forth under shadows the truths which ai'e openly
taught under the Gospel. This has been done to a
gi'cat extent in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and is
occasionally done in other parts of Scripture, as,
e. g.. Rev. i. 13, where the irod'fipTjSt and the girdle
about the paps, ^re distinctly the robe, and the
curious girdle of the ephod, characteristic of the
high-priest. It would also embrace all the moral
and spiritual teaching supposed to be intended by
such bymbols. Philo {de vita Mosis), Origen
(Ilomil. in Lemt.'), Eusebius {Demonst. Evang.
lib. iii.) ; Epiphanius {cent. Melchized. iv. &c.),
Gregory Nazianzen (^Orot. i., Eliae Cretens., and
Comment, p. 195, Augustine (^Quaest. in Exod.)


may be cited among many others of the ancients
who have more or less thus treated the subject. Of
moderns, ^Bahr {Si/mholik des Mosaischen Cultus),
Fairbairn {Typology of Script.), Kalisch {Com-
ment, on Exod,) have entered fully into this sub-
ject, both from the Jewish and Christian point of
view .

III. To pass to the historical view of the subject.
The history of the high-priests embraces a period
of about 1370 years, according to the opinion of
the present writer, and a succession of about 80
high-priests, beginning with Aaron, and ending
with Phannias. "The number of all the high-
priests (says Josephus, Ant. xx. 10) from Aaron
. . . until Phanas . . . was 83," where he gives
a comprehensive account of them. They naturally
arrange themselves into three groups — (a.) those
before David; (&.) those from David to the capti-
vity; (c.) those from the return from the Baby-
lonish captivity till the cessation of the ol^ce at
the destruction of Jerusalem. The two former
have come down to us in the canonical books of
Scripture, and so have a few of the earliest and
the latest of the latter; but for by far the larger-
portion of the latter group we have only the au-
thoiity of Josephus, the Talmud, and some other
profane writers.

(a.) The high-pdests of the first group who are
distinctly made known to us as such are — 1. Aaron ;
2. Eleazar; 3. Phinehas; 4. Eli; 5. Ahitub
(1 Chr. ix. 11 ; Neh. xi. U ; 1 Sam. xiv. 3) ; 6.
Ahiah ; 7. Ahimelech. Phinehas the son of Eli,
and father of Ahitub, died before his father, and so
was not high-priest. Of the above the three first
succeeded in regular order, Nadab and Abihu,
Aaron's eldest sons, having died in the wilderness
(Lev. X.). But Eli, the 4th, was of the line of
Itharaar. What was the exact interval between
the death of Phinehas and the accession of Eli,
what led to the transference of the chief priesthood
from the line of Eleazar to that of Ithamar, and
whether any, or which, of the descendants of Elea-
zar between Phinehas and Zadok (seven in number,
viz., Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth,
Amariah, Ahitub), were high-priests, we have no
means of determining from Scripture. Judg. xx.
28, leaves Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, priest at
Shiloh, and 1 Sam. i. 3, 9, finds Eli high-priest
there, with two gi'own-up sons priests under him.
The only clue is to be found in the genealogies, by
which it appears that Phinehas was 6th in succes-
sion from Levi, while Eli, supposing him to be the
same generation as Samuel's gt'andfather, would be
10th. If however Phinehas lived, as is probable,
to a great old age, and Eli, as his age admits, be
placed about half a generation hackwarder, a very
Small intei-val will remain. Josephus asserts {Ant.
viii. 1, §3) that the father of Bukki' — whom he
calls Joseph, and {Ant. v. 11, §5) Abiezer, i. e.,
Abishua — was the last high-priest of Phinehas's
line, 'before Zadok. This is probably a true tradi-
tion, though Josephus, with characteristic levity,
does not adhere to it in the above passage of his
5th book, where he makes Bukki and Uzzi to have
been both high-priests, and Eli to have succeeded
Uzzi ; or in bk. xx. 10, where he reckons the high-
priests before Zadok and Solomon to have been 13
(a reckoning which includes apparently all Elea-
zar's descendants dowa to Ahitub), and adds Eli
and his son Phinehas, and Abiathar, whom he calls
Eli's gi'andson. If Abishua died, leaving a son or
grandson under age, Eli, as head of the line of Itha-



mar, might have become high-priest as a matter of
course, or he might have been appointed by the
ciders. His having judged Israel 40 years (1 Sam.
iv. 18) marks him as a man of ability. If Ahiah
and Ahimelech are not variations of the namg of
the same person, they must have been brothers,
since both were sons of Ahitub. The high-priests
then before David's reign may be set down as eight
in number, of whom seven are said in Scripture to
have been high-priests, and one by Josephus alone.
The bearing of this on the chronology of the times
from the Exodus to David, tallying as it does with
the number of the ancestors of David, is too im-
portant to be passed over in silence. It must also
be noted that the tabernacle of God, during the high-
priesthood of Aaron's successors of this first gi'oup,
was pitched at Shiloh in the tribe of Ephraim, a
fact which marks the strong influence which the
temporal power already had in ecclesiastical affaij's,
since Ephraim w.as Joshua's tribe, as Judah was
David's (Josh.xxiv. 30, 33 ; Judg. xx. 27, 28, xxi.
21 ; 1 Sam. i. 3, 9, 24, iv. 3, 4, xiv. 3, &c. ; Ps.
Ixxviii. 60). This strong influence and interfer-
ence of the secular power is manifest throughout
the subsequent history. This first period was also
marked by the calamity which befell the high-
priests as the guardians of the ark, in its capture
by the Philistines. This probably suspended all
inquiries by Urim and Thummim, which were
made before the ark (1 Chr. xiii. 3 ; comp. Judg. xx,
27 ; 1 Sam. vii. 2, xiv. 18), and must have greatly
diminished the influence of the high-priests, on
whom the largest share of the humiliation expressed
in the name Ichabod, would naturally fall. The
rise of Samuel as a prophet at this very time, and
his paramount influence and importance in the
State, to the entire eclipsing of Ahiah the priest,
coincides remarkably with the absence of the ark,
and the means of inquii'ing by Urim and Thum-

(6.) Passing to the second group, we begin with the
unexplained circumstance of there being two priests
in the reign of David, apparently of nearly equal
authority, viz., Zadok and Ahiathar(l Chr. xv. 11 ;
2 Sam, viii. 17). Indeed it is only fi'om the de-
position of Abiathar, and the placing of Zadok in
his room, by Solomon (1 K. ii, 35), that we leara
certainly that Abiathar was the high-priest, and
Zadok the second. Zadok was son of Ahitub, of
the line of Eleazar (1 Chr. vi. 8), and the first
mention of him is in 1 Chr. xii. 28, as "a young
man, mighty in valour," who joined David in
Hebron after Saul's death, with 22 captains of his
father's house. It is therefore not unlikely that
after the death of Ahimelech and the secession of
Abiathar to David, Saul may ha-ve- made Zadok
priest, as far as it was possible for him to do so
in the absence of the ark and the high-priest's robes,
and that David may have avoided the difBculty of
deciding between the claims of his faithful friend
Abiathar, and his new and important ally Zadok
(who perhaps was the means of attaching to David's
cause the 4600 Levites and the 3700 priests who
came under Jeboiada their captain, ver. 26, 27),
by appointing them to a joint priesthood : the first
place, with the Ephod, and Urim and Thummim,
remaining with Abiathar, who was in actual pos-
session of them. Certain it is that from this time
Zadok and Abiathar are constantly named together,
and singulai'ly Zadok always first, both in the book
of Samuel and that of Kings. We can, however,
trace very clearly lip to a certain point the division

3 G



of the priestly offices and diguities between them,
coinciding as it did with the divided state of the
Levitical worship in. David's time. For we learn
from 1 Chr. xvi. 1-7, 37 compared with 39, 40,
and yet more distinctly from 2 Chr. i. 3, 4, 5, that
the tabernacle and the brazen altar made by Moses
and Bezaleel in the wilderness, were at this time at
Gibeon, while the ark was at Jerusalem, in the se-
parate tent made for it by David. [Gibeon, p. 693.]
Now Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests
were left " before the tabernacle at Gibeon " to offer
burnt-offerings unto the Lord morning and evening,
and to do according to all that is written in the
law of the Lord (1 Chr. xvi. 39, 40). It is there-
fore obvious to conclude that Abiathar had special
charge of the ark and the services connected with
it, which agi'ees exactly with the possession of the
ephod by Abiathar, and his previous position with

Online LibraryWilliam SmithA dictionary of the Bible; comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history → online text (page 214 of 316)