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William Rainey Harper.

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DEC 221910






SectioQ .S.'Rf^HZ



CONSTRUCTIVE BIBLE STUDIES

EDITED BY

WILLIAM R. HARPER and ERNEST D. BURTON



THE PRIESTLY ELEMENT IN THE
OLD TESTAMENT



BY

WILLIAM R. HARPER



THE PRIESTLY ELEMENT IN
THE OLD TESTAMENT

AN AID TO HISTORICAL STUDY /V -— f**A^_, ^^

DEC 221910

FOR USE IN ADVANCED BIBLE CLASSES



WILLIAM RAINEY HARPER

PROFESSOR OF SEMITIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO



Revised and Enlarged Edition



Constructive Bible Studies
college series



CHICAGO

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS

190!)



Copyright 1902, 1905 By
The University of Chicago



Published February 1902

Revised Edition March 1905

Second Impression August 1909



Composed and Printed By

The University of Chicago Press

Chicago, Illinois, U. S. A.



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.

This treatment of the Priestly Element in the Old Testament is
intended to serve as a guide for students who wish to take up the
questions relating to the subject from an historical point of view. The
materials for a preliminary study of the various topics are gathered
together, and arranged with suggestions as to order and method of
procedure.

It is thought that the work proposed is within the reach of the more
mature pupils in the Sunday school, although the needs of college and
theological students have been kept especially in mind.

The general results of modern historical criticism have been taken
as a basis for the work, since it is only from the point of view of his-
tory that these subjects may now be considered intelligently. Each
special topic connected with the general subject of the Priestly Ele-
ment furnishes a beautiful illustration of the growth and development
of Israelitish and Jewish thought under the controlling influence of a
conception of God which became more and more pure with the
advancing centuries.

Four methods of treatment have been employed, each being
deemed best adapted to the case in hand, viz.: in Chapter I, a sys-
tematic statement of the scope of the Priestly Element; in Chapters
II-IV, an historical statement covering in barest outline the story
of the Priestly Element as a whole, in its progress and development ;
in Chapters V-XI, a classified and comparative examination (indi-
cated by questions and suggestions based upon the material presented)
of the more important special factors which, taken together, con-
stitute the Priestly Element; in Chapters XII-XIX, a critical exam-
ination of the literature produced by the Priests, and of its
essential significance. The appendix on the vocabulary of wor-
ship will be found serviceable to those who wish to enter somewhat
carefully into a consideration of the details. In Appendix B there
will be found a classified list of the most important books, while in
Appendix C the more valuable recent literature (since 1901) has been
indicated.

Some experience in the use of this manual in the class-room seems
to indicate that it furnishes an opportunity whereby both instructor



VI PREFACE

and pupil may work with greatest freedom. It is not a text-book; nor
is it merely a syllabus. It may be adapted to almost every possible
method of teaching.

An effort has been made to indicate definitely and fully the
more accessible literature on each topic. I wish to express my appreci-
ation of the assistance rendered me by my colleague, Dr. John M. P.
Smith, especially in the arrangement and verification of the scriptural
references, and the references to the literature on the various topics.
For obvious reasons the latter have been arranged chronologically, the
literature in languages other than English being placed by itself.

In this more complete form (Chapters XII-XIX and the Appen-
dixes, constituting the new matter added to the first edition) it is
hoped that an outline has been prepared which will assist many
students in their desire to gain a reasonable familiarity with a really
large and complex subject.

William R. Harper.

February 22, tgo§.



CONTENTS.



Part I.

THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE PRIESTLY ELEMENT.
•Chapter I. — The general scope of the Priestly Element in the Old Testament i

Part II.

THE HISTORY OF THE PRIESTLY ELEMENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.

■Chapter II. — The history of worship in the earlier Old Testament period . . 13
'Chapter III. — The history of worship in the middle Old Testament period . . 27
•Chapter IV. — The history of worship in the later Old Testament period ... 42

Part III.

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE LAWS AND USAGES OF WORSHIP.

Chapter V. — The laws and usages concerning the priest, considered compara-
tively 61

Chapter VI, — The laws and usages concerning the place of ^worship, con-
sidered comparatively 74

"Chapter VII. — The laws and usages concerning sacrifice, considered compara-
tively 83

'Chapter VIII. — The laws and usages concerning feasts, considered compara-
tively 94

Chapter IX. — The laws and usages concerning the sabbath and kindred insti-
tutions, considered comparatively 108

•Chapter X. — The laws and usages concerning clean and unclean, considered

comparatively 119

Chapter XI. — The laws and usages concerning prayer and related forms of

worship, considered comparatively 131

Part IV.

THE LITERATURE OF WORSHIP— THE LEGAL LITERATURE.

Chapter XII. — The Deuteronomic code of laws 155

Chapter XIII. — Ezekiel's contribution 170

Chapter XIV. — The priestly code of laws 180

vii



via CONTENTS

Part V.

THE LITERATURE OF WORSHIP— THE HISTORICAL LITERATURE.

Chapter XV. — The priestly narrative in the Hexateuch 195

Chapter XVI. — The books of Chronicles 208

Chapter XVII. — The books of Ezra and Nehemiah 218

Part VI.

THE LITERATURE OF WORSHIP— THE HYMNAL LITERATURE.
Chapter XVIII. — The priestly element in the Psalter 233

Part VII.

THE PERMANENT VALUE OF THE PRIESTLY ELEMENT.
'Chapter XIX. — The essential significance of the priestly element 257

Appendixes.

A. The vocabulary of worship; lists of the more important words 273

B. Classified lists of important books 280

'C. New literature on the priestly element 282



CHAPTER I.

THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE PRIESTLY ELEMENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.

§1. Three Elements Enter into Religion. — The reli-
gion of an individual or nation depends upon the promi-
nence given to one or another of these elements :

(i) Worship, or, more technically, cult, a word which Pss. 103:1; 150.
expresses the general attitude of the individual or group
of individuals toward an outside higher world of super-
natural or divine existence, and includes the outward
acts that in various forms symbolize the inward thought.

(2) Belief, or, more technically, creed, a word which Deut. 6:4;

John 3 : 36.

expresses the peculiar intellectual position entertained
by an individual or group of individuals concerning cer-
tain facts supposed to be essential, and their explana-
tion.

(3) Conduct, Q>x, more technically, ^//zzVj, which includes Mic. 6:8;
all the acts and feelings of man in so far as they are James 1:27.
related to his duties to himself and to his fellows, and

to the fundamental ideas of right and wrong.

§2. Three Great Channels of Revelation are found in
the Old Testament ; through these, separately and
together, there has come down to us a wonderful story
of the interworking of God and man. These are :

(i) The word of the prophet, including the utter- Jer. 18:18;
ances through centuries of that unique order established
to give to the Hebrew nation and to the world the
"word" of God.

(2) The counsel of the sage, including the wise say- Jer. 18:18;

ings and philosophical teachings (in the form of proverbs, 30; 8:14.

riddles, essays, dialogues, etc.) found, for example, in the

books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes.

(-?") The instruction (or law) of the priest, which forms Jer. 18:18;
^■^' \ / r Ps. 19:7.

the subject of consideration in this and the following
studies.

§ 3. The Place of Worship is First of All to be Noticed.
— In ancient times because it seemed to men i\\3.i certain



PRIESTLY ELEMENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT



I Kings 14:23;
I Chron. 21 :29;
Exod. ig:2, 3, 12.

Gen. 12:6; 13:18.



Gen. 16: 13, 14.



Gen. 31:44-54;
Gen. 28:18-22.



Exod. 20:24-26;

1 Kings 7:48;

2 Kings 16:10-15;
Exod. 27: 1-8;

I Kings 2:28-30.



Josh. 4:11;

1 Sam. 4:3-6;

2 Sam. 6:2-17;
Exod. 25:10-21;
Exod. 25:22.



2 Sam. 7: 2-6;
Exod. , chap. 26;
Exod. 33: 7-9;
Numb. 17: 4, 12, 13.



I Kings 6: 1, 2,11-

14, 37, 38;
Ezek. 43:1-12;
Hag. 1:4-14;
Ezra 3: 12, 13;

6:13-18.



places were more favored by the gods than were others, in
modern times because men fancy that a certain environ-
ment is especially conducive to the spirit of worship, the
place has always been a subject of greatest importance.
The place was in early days something connected with
nature :

(i) High places, or hills, were especially sought as
being the abode of God.

(2) Trees of a notable character are frequently referred
to as connected with worship.

(3) Springs, or wells, are places by the side of which
angels were thought to dwell.

(4) Sacred stones are mentioned as places to which
the god came to meet his worshiper, and on which food
was placed or libations of oil poured out.

In each of these places Jehovah had shown his pres-
ence, and it was for this reason that the hill or tree or
spring or stone was sacred. (From Numb. 22 : 41 it is to
be seen that this idea of sacred places was found among
other nations; cf. also Isa. 16: 12.)

The place was also often something of a more or less
artificial ch^.r2icXt\, as is seen in the use of —

(5) The altar, which was sometimes only of loose
earth thrown up ; at others, of unhewn stone ; at still
others, of gold and precious stones. This altar was the
refuge and asylum of him who fled the hand of ven-
geance, the witness of vows, the place on which the sac-
rifice was laid.

(6) The ark, or chest, a sacred box in which certain
sacred things were deposited ; which was used in case ot
war, because it was thought to afford protection ; and
was designated as a place of communion with God.

(7) The tent, or tabernacle, a dwelling in which the
ark was preserved, and around which the holiest associa-
tions clustered. Moses made most practical use of it, and
it came to occupy an important place in Hebrew thought
and tradition.

(8) The temple, which with the progress of civilization
(the establishment of courts and the building of palaces)
took the place of the tent, as being more dignified than



GENERAL SCOPE OF PRIESTLY ELEMENT 3

a tent. There was {a) Solomon's temple, erected at a
significant period of national development; {f) the tem-
ple of Ezekiel's vision, which was destined to play an
important part in the history of Israel's religious
thought ; and {c) the second temple, erected with some
disappointment, after the return from exile.

It is to be noted, once more, that communion with Exod. 3:2-5;
God is sought and obtained in connection with natural ^' '^^'
places (hilk, trees, springs, stones) and with places
constructed by man (altars, ark, tent, temple). It will
be at a later time, when temples are destroyed, men
are scattered, groups living here and there, when the
realistic conception gives place to the idealistic, and
the material to the spiritual, that synagogues and
churches will spring into existence, and, thus in still
another form, satisfy the inward craving of humanity
for a sacred place, in which to offer worship to the unseen
powers.

§ 4. The Priest, or Minister of worship, was the second
necessity of worship, the first being the place. It was the
priest \^h.o conducted the worship.

(i) His function was threefold: to carry the ark, to Deut. 10:8;

TudEr< 17* 7~i^'

minister to Jehovah, to bless in his name. In the earliest 18:3-6;

Lev. 8:1-10.
times the need of having some such priest was felt, his

presence being thought to be attended with peculiar

blessing.

(2) The priest-idea became so strong in Israel that Deut. 14:4;

^ ' i^ ^ Exod. 19:6;

the nation itself was understood to be a nation of priests, Ezra 7:21, 25, 36.

or a priestly nation, set apart to minister to the other

nations of the world. After the exile, kings ceased to sit

on Israel's throne ; and priests, under the form of a

hierarchy, controlled the affairs of the nation. This fact

shows how great a role the priest played in Israelitish

history.

(-?) Besides the priests and prophets who served and i Kings iStig-aa;

• T 1, 2 Kings 23: 4, 5;

spoke for Jehovah, there were at many times m Israel s Ezek. 8:15,16.
history priests and prophets whose lives were devoted to
the service of other gods.

§ 5. Sacrifice was the most significant act of worship
in ancient times.



PRIESTLY ELEMENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT



Gen. i8: i-8;
I Sam. i: 3-8;

9:23-35;
I Chron. 16: 1-3.



Ps. 51:18, 19;
Isa. i: 11-17;
Lev., chaps. 1-7;

8-10; 11; 12-15;

etc.



Gen. 8:20;
Lev., chaps. 4, 9.



Lev. 3: 1-6;
Judg. 20: 26.



Gen. 35: 14;
Exod. 29: 40, 41;
Nunjb. 28:7.

Ezod. 30:1, 7-9,
Numb. 4: 16.



Lev., chaps. 5, 7,

14;
Numb. 6: 11.



(i) At first this was a social meal, a banquet in which
the offerer and his friends participated and to which the
deity was invited. There are frequent references to such
sacrificial meals in which the members of a family, or of
a clan, or, indeed, of a whole nation took part. This meal
was full of joy, sometimes boisterous. Those who par-
ticipated were eating and drinking with the deity ; it was
a communion of the worshiper and his god.

(2) In later times sacrifice became more formal, and
gradually grew into an exclusively religious act. The
prophets strongly denounced sacrifice in which the true
spirit of worship was lacking, or which in itself, without a
proper life, was thought to gain Jehovah's favor. The
book of Leviticus is devoted to the subject of sacrifice,
viz., the method, the kinds, etc., etc. This more formal
and exclusively religious conception of sacrifice came to
prevail universally in the last centuries of Israel's history.

(3) Several different kinds of offerings or sacrifice
were distinguished, according as each expressed a par-
ticular purpose, or was presented by a particular method ;
among these were :

{a) The burnt-offeriy7g, which consisted of the burning
of a whole animal of the proper kind upon an altar as an
offering to Jehovah.

if) The peace-offering, which was also an animal sacri-
fice, but differed from the burnt-offering in that it
provided for the giving of only the blood and certain
specified parts of the animal to Jehovah, the rest being
eaten by the sacrificial guests.

{c) The drink-offering, which was a libation of wine,
or oil, usually made in connection with other offerings.

{d) The incense-offering, in which fragrant spices were
burned with the thought that the rising fragrance was
acceptable to Jehovah.

(



Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe priestly element in the Old Testament : an aid to historical study, for use in advanced Bible classes → online text (page 1 of 28)