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3. The third ceremony to be performed was that of offering sacrifice. All these rites, except circumcision, were performed by the women, as well as the men, who became proselytes: and it was a common notion among the Jews, that every person who had duly performed them all was to be considered as a new-born infant. Thus Maimonides expressly says:-"A Gentile who is become a proselyte, and a slave who is set at liberty, are both as it were new-born babes; which is the reason why those who before were their parents, are now no longer so."



I. Of the Levites.-II. The Priests, their functions, maintenance, and privileges.-III. The High Priest.-Succession to the pontifical dignity. His qualifications, functions, dress, and privileges. -IV. Officers of the Synagogue.-V. The Nazarites; nature of their vows.-VI. The Rechabites.-VII. The Prophets.

THE Jews, on the establishment of their republic, had no king but Jehovah himself; and the place appointed for their sacrifices and prayers was at the same time both the temple of their God and the palace of their sovereign. This circumstance will account for the pomp and splendour of their worship, as well as the number, variety, and gradations in rank of their ministers; which were first established by Moses, and afterwards renewed by David, with increased splendour, for the service of the temple. To this service the tribe of Levi was especially devoted, instead of the first-born of the tribes of Israel, and was disengaged from all secular labours. The honour of the priesthood, however, was reserved to the family of Aaron alone, the rest of the tribe being employed in the inferior offices of the temple:

1 Some learned men have supposed that our Lord alluded to this rabbinical tradition when he reproached Nicodemus with being a master in Israel (John iii. 10.), and yet being at the same time ignorant how a man could be born a second time. But it is most probable that Jesus Christ referred to that spiritual meaning of circumcision above noticed (see p. 258. and note 2 supra); because there are no traces of Jewish proselyte-baptism earlier than the middle of the second century. Consequently it is more likely that the Jews took the hint of proselyte-baptism from the Christians, after our Saviour's time, than that he borrowed his baptism from theirs; which, whenever it came into practice, was one of those additions to the law of God so severely censured by him. (Matt. xv. 9.) The arguments on the much disputed question, Whether baptism was in use, or not, before the time of our Saviour, are reviewed by Carpzov in his Apparatus Antiquitatum Sacrarum, p. 49, and by Dr. Jennings in his Jewish Antiquities, book i. c. 3. pp. 65-68. See also Dr. Whitby's Paraphrase and Notes on John iii. 4, 5, 6. It may not be irrelevant to remark that the learned Dr. Campbell refers our Lord's censure of Nicodemus, not to the rabbinical notion above mentioned, but rather to his entire ignorance of that effusion of the Spirit which would take place under the Messiah, and which had been so clearly foretold by the prophets. Translation of the Four Gospels, vol ii. pp. 515. 3d edit.

so that all the priests were Levites, but all the Levites were not priests.

I. Originally, the tribe of Levi was divided into the three families and orders of Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites (1 Chron. vi. 16., &c.), but afterwards they were divided by David (1 Chron. xxiii.) into four classes. Their principal office was to wait upon the priests, and be assisting to them in the service of the tabernacle and temple; so that they were properly the ministers and servants of the priests, and obliged to obey their orders. (Numb. iii. 9. 1 Chron. xxiii. 28.) But the particular duties incumbent upon them were different in the time of Moses, while the Israelites were in the wilderness, from those which they had to discharge afterwards, in the days of David and Solomon. In the wilderness the tabernacle was always in a moveable condition as well as the Israelites and at that time the chief business of the Levites was, when the Israelites journeyed, to take down the tabernacle, to carry it about as the host removed, to take care of all the instruments and sacred vessels belonging to it, and when the army pitched their tents to set them up again. Aaron, indeed, together with his sons the priests, were to take the ark of the covenant, the table of show-bread, the candlestick, the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt-offerings, with all the utensils belonging thereto, and to cover them up severally with decency and care, in the manner as described in Numb. iv. 5-15. But all these things were to be borne and carried by the Levites, in the doing of which the priests were to appoint every one of the Levites to his service and his burden. (ver. 19.) In order that we may the better understand this precept, it should be observed, that the Israelitish camp was never to move until the cloud (which was the token of the divine presence) was taken up and removed from off the tabernacle (Exod. xl. 36, 37. Numb. x. 11.); so that when the cloud rested upon the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the house, none but Aaron might enter into the most holy place, where the ark was, and that but one day in the year. But in their journeyings the glory of the Lord, which made that place so holy, being for the present removed in the cloud, when it was taken up from the tabernacle, not only Aaron, but also his sons the priests, might go into the most holy place without any irreverence, and cover the ark according to the directions given by God.

For the more regular performance of the several duties belonging to the tabernacle, the whole business was divided between the Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites. The first were principally concerned in carrying the ark and sacred vessels belonging to the tabernacle under the conduct of Eleazar the priest (Numb. iv. 16.), which being the most honourable employment, was given to them, most probably out of respect to Moses, who was descended from this family. The Gershonites and Merarites, under the direction of Ithamar, had the burden and charge of every thing else belonging to the tabernacle, as the coverings, hangings, woodwork, eords, pins, &c. (ver. 24-34.) Now when the Israelites were en

camped, these three families of Levites were to pitch their tents round three sides of the tabernacle, and Moses and Aaron with their sons round the fourth quarter; by which means they were so disposed, as to be each of them as near as conveniently they could to their respective charges. Such was the office of the Levites in the time of Moses. Afterwards, when the Israelites were settled in the promised land, this employment of the Levites in carrying the tabernacle and its utensils ceased; and therefore David and Solomon appointed them to new offices. They were chiefly indeed employed about the service of the temple, but during their recess, while they were not in attendance there, they were dispersed through the whole country, and employed in the service of the state as well as of the church. David made six thousand of them officers and judges (1 Chron. xxiii. 4.); they also took care to instruct the people where they resided in the Mosaic law, by expounding the several parts of it; and, according to the Jews, they kept the public records and genealogies of the several tribes.

In the business about the temple, some of the chief amongst them had the charge of the treasures of the temple. (1 Chron. xxvi. 20.) Others of a lower rank were to prepare the show-bread and unleavened cakes, with the proper quantity of flour for the morning and evening service. (1 Chron. xxiii. 29.) From which text it appears also that they had in their custody within the sanctuary the original standard for weights and measures, liquid and dry, according to which every thing of this kind was to be regulated. Hence it is we often read in Scripture of the shekel of the sanctuary, not that there were two sorts of shekels, one sacred and another civil, but because weights and measures, being reckoned among the sacred things, were kept in the sanctuary, as they were in the temples of the Pagans, and afterwards in Christian churches. Many of the Levites were likewise employed as porters, to guard the gates and passages into the temple. (1 Chron. ix. 17.) Others were more honourably employed as singers in the temple, and were to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise in the evening. (1 Chron. xxiii. 30.): and this we find they did in a very solemn manner at the dedieation of the temple. (2 Chron. v. 12, 13.) The whole body of the Levites in David's time amounted to thirty-eight thousand, from thirty years old and upwards (1 Chron. xxiii. 3.), of which number he appointed four and twenty thousand to attend the constant duty and work of the temple; and these being divided as the priests were into four and twenty courses (as appears from 1 Chron. xxiii. 24. and 2 Chron. xxxi. 17.), there were one thousand for each week. Six thousand again were to be officers and judges, as already mentioned, four thousand for porters, and four thousand for singers. (1 Chron. xxiii. 4, 5.) The four and twenty courses of singers are mentioned in 1 Chron. xxv. 8-31. This disposition of them was afterwards confirmed by Solomon when the temple was finished (2

1 Novels of Justinian, nov. 128. cap. 15.

Chron. viii. 14.): and all these had their chiefs or overseers as well as the priests. (Ezra viii. 29.) The duty of the porters was not only to be a military guard upon the temple, but to take care that no person who was unclean or uncircumcised might enter the court of the Israelites. (2 Chron. xxiii. 19.) And however mean their employment was, yet it was the pious desire of David, rather to be a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psal. lxxxiv. 10.) The order of singers was instituted by David, and it appears that the whole book of psalms was composed for this kind of devotion. David (by whom the greatest number was composed) directed many of them to the chief musician, for this very purpose, that they might be used in the service of the house of God. And we have one particular instance in which it is said, that David delivered this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. 1 Chron. xvi. 7.) The principal persons of this order, who had the superintendency over all the rest, were Heman and Asaph of the line of Gershon, and Jeduthun of the line of Merari, of whom we have an account in 1 Chron. xxv.

In the service of the tabernacle Moses did not appoint the use of any musical instruments; he only caused some trumpets to be made which upon solemn occasions were to be sounded, at the time when the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were upon the altar. (Numb. x. 10.) But David, by the advice of the prophets Gad and Nathan, introduced several kinds of music into the service of the temple, as a thing highly conducive to inspire the people with respect, with joy, and with affection for the solemnities and assemblies of religion. (2 Chron. xxix. 25. 1 Chron. xxiii. 5. and xxv. 1.) These instruments were confided to the care of the Levites; some of whom played on instruments, while others sang psalms, but all were divided into companies, over whom a president was placed. (1 Chron. XXV.)

The mere circumstance of birth did not give the Levites a title to officiate; they were obliged also to receive a sort of consecration, which consisted chiefly in sprinkling them with water, in washing, and in offering sacrifices. (Numb. viii. 6, 7, 8.) The usual age, at which the Levites were to enter on their office, was at five and twenty years, and so to continue till fifty. (Numb. viii. 24, 25.) But there was a particular precept which restrained the Kohathites (one of the three branches) from being employed to carry the holy things belonging to the sanctuary, till they were of the age of thirty (Numb. iv. 30.), probably, because these being the most valuable and important of all the moveables belonging to the tabernacle, required therefore persons of greater experience and strength. Afterwards, when David new-moulded the constitution of the Levites, he (by the same authority which empowered him to give directions about the building and situation of the house of God), ordered that for the future the Levites should be admitted at the age of twenty years. (1 Chron. xxiii. 24.) It does not appear by the first institution of the Levites that they had any peculiar habit in the ceremonies of

religion, by which they were distinguished from other Israelites. None of the Levites, of what degree or order soever, had any right to sacrifice, for that was the proper duty of the priests only: the Levites indeed were to assist the priests in killing and flaying the sacrifices, and, during the time they were offered up, to sing praises to God and in this sense the two passages in 1 Chron. xxiii. 31. and 2 Chron. xxxi. 2. are commonly understood; neither had they any title to burn incense to the Lord; and though the speech of Hezekiah (mentioned in 2 Chron. xxix. particularly ver. 11.) seems to imply otherwise, yet we ought to consider that he is there speaking to the priests as well as to the Levites. It was upon account of their aspiring to the priest's office in this particular of burning incense, that Korah and his company (who were Levites) were miraculously destroyed, and their censers ordered to be beaten into broad plates, and fixed upon the altar, to be perpetual monuments of their presumptuous sacrilege, and a caution to all the children of Israel, that none presume to offer incense before the Lord, but the seed of Aaron, who alone were commissioned to the priestly office.

As the Levites were subordinate to the priests, so they the Levites had others under them, called Nethinims, whose business it was to carry the water and wood, that was wanted in the temple for the use of the sacrifices, and to perform other laborious services there. They were not originally of Hebrew descent, but are supposed to have been chiefly the posterity of the Gibeonites, who for their fraudulent stratagem in imposing upon Joshua and the Hebrew princes (Josh. ix. 3-27.), were condemned to this employment, which was a sort of honourable servitude. We read in Ezra, that the Nethinims were devoted by David and the other princes to the service of the temple (Ezra viii. 20.), and they are called the children of Solomon's servants (Ezra ii. 58.), being probably a mixture of the race of the Gibeonites, and some of the remains of the Canaanites, whom Solomon constrained to various servitudes. (1 Kings ix. 20, 21.) They had a particular place in Jerusalem where they dwelt, called Ophel, for the conveniency of being near the service of the temple. (Neh. iii. 26.)

In order to enable the Levites to devote themselves to that service, forty-eight cities were assigned to them for their residence on the division of the land of Canaan; thirteen of these were appropriated to the priests, to which were added the tithes of corn, fruit, and cattle. The Levites, however, paid to the priests a tenth part of all their tithes; and as they were possessed of no landed property, the tithes which the priests received from them were considered as the first fruits which they were to offer to God. (Num. xviii. 21-24.)

II. Next to the Levites, but superior to them in dignity, were the ordinary PRIESTS, who were chosen from the family of Aaron exclusively. They served immediately at the altar, prepared the

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