(particularly in heathen countries) were usually erected on quent, that they were to be found in almost every place in the banks of rivers, or on the sea-shore (Acts xvi. 13.), Judæa: but the Jews were not permitted to build one in a without any covering but galleries or the shade of trees. town, unless there were ten persons of leisure in it. Not Dr. Prideaux thinks the proseuche were of greater antiquity fewer than four hundred and eighty synagogues are said to than the synagogues, and were formed by the Jews in open have been erected in Jerusalem, previously to its capture and courts, in order that those persons who dwelt at a distance destruction by the Romans. In the evangelical history we from Jerusalem might offer up their private prayers in them, find, that wherever the Jews resided, they had one or more as they were accustomed to do in the courts of the temple or synagogues, constructed after those at Jerusalem: hence we of the tabernacle. In the synagogues, he further observes, find, in Acts vi. 9. synagogues belonging to the Alexanthe prayers were offered up in public forms, while the pro-drians, the Asiatics, the Cilicians, the Libertines, and the seucha were appropriated to private devotions: and from the Cyrenians, which were erected for such Jewish inhabitants of oratory, where our Saviour spent a whole night in prayer, those countries or cities, as should happen to be at Jerusalem. being erected on a mountain (Luke vi. 12.), it is highly probable that these proseucha were the same as the high places, so often mentioned in the Old Testament.1

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Form of a SYNAGOGUE ROLL of the Pentateuch.

I. Nature and origin of synagogues.-The synagogue of the libertines explained.-II. Form of the synagogues.-III. The officers or ministers.-IV. The service performed in the synagogues.-V. Ecclesiastical power of the synagogues.-VI. The Shemoneh Esreh, or Nineteen Prayers used in the syna

gogue service.

I. THE SYNAGOGUES were buildings in which the Jews assembled for prayer, reading and hearing the Sacred Scrip; tures, and other instructions. Though frequently mentioned in the historical books of the New Testament, their origin is not very well known; and many learned men are of opinion that they are of recent institution.

With regard to the synagogue of the LIBERTINES, a considerable difference of opinion exists among the learned, whether these Libertines were the children of freed men (Italian Jews or proselytes), or African Jews from the city or country called Libertus, or Libertina, near Carthage. The former opinion is supported by Grotius and Vitringa; the latter (which was first hinted by Oecumenius, a commentator in the close of the tenth century), by Professor Gerdes, Wetstein, Bishop Pearce, and Schleusner.

It is well known that the ancient Romans made a distinction between the Liberti and the Libertini. The Libertus was one who had been a slave, and obtained his freedom;4 the Libertinus was the son of a Libertus. But this distinction in after-ages was not strictly observed; and Libertinus also came to be used for one not born but made free, in opposition to Ingenuus or one born free. Whether the Libertini, mentioned in this passage of the Acts, were Gentiles, who had become proselytes to Judaism, or native Jews, who having been made slaves to the Romans were afterwards set at liberty, and in remembrance of their captivity called themselves Libertini, and formed a synagogue by themselves, is differently conjectured by the learned. It is proba ble, that the Jews of Cyrene, Alexandria, &c. erected synagogues at Jerusalem at their own charge, for the use of their brethren who came from those countries, as the Danes, Swedes, &c. built churches for the use of their own countrymen in London; and that the Italian Jews did the same; and because the greatest number of them were Libertini, their synagogue was therefore called the synagogue of the Libertines.


In support of the second opinion above noticed, viz. that the Libertines derived their name from Libertus or Libertina, a city in Africa, it is urged that Suidas in his Lexicon, on the word Ares, says, that it was crevus, a national appellative; and that the Glossa interlinearis, of which Nicholas de Lyra made great use in his notes, has, over the word Libertini, e regione, denoting that they were so styled from a country. Further, in the acts of the celebrated conference with the Donatists at Carthage, anno 411, there is mentioned one Victor, bishop of the church of Libertina; and in the acts of the Lateran council, which was held in 649, there is mention of Januarius gratia Dei episcopus sanctæ ecclesiæ Libertinensis, Januarius, by the grace of God, bishop of the holy church of Libertina; and therefore Fabricius in his GeographiAlthough sacrifices could only be offered at the holy taber-cal Index of Christian Bishoprics, has placed Libertina in what nacle or temple, yet it does not appear that the Jews were was called Africa propria, or the proconsular province of restricted to any particular place for the performance of other Africa. Now, as all the other people of the several synagogues, exercises of devotion. Hence formerly, the praises of Jeho- mentioned in this passage of the Acts, are called from the vah were sung in the schools of the prophets, which the places whence they came, it is probable that the Libertines more devout Israelites seem to have frequented on Sabbath- were denominated in like manner; and as the Cyrenians and days and new moons for the purpose of instruction and Alexandrians, who came from Africa, are placed next to the prayer. (1 Sam. x. 5-11. xix. 18-24. 2 Kings iv. 23.) Libertines in that catalogue, the supporters of this opinion During the Babylonish captivity, the Jews, being deprived think it probable, that they also belonged to the same counof the solemn ordinances of divine worship, resorted to the try. But we have no evidence to show that there were any house of some prophet, or other holy man, who was in the natives of this place at Jerusalem, at the period referred to practice of giving religious instruction to his own family; in the Acts of the Apostles. On the contrary, as it is well and of reading the Scriptures. (Compare Ezek. xiv. 1. and xx. 1. with Neh. viii. 18.) At length these domestic con- jure impediente manumissi sunt. Ulpian. tit. i. $6. gregations became fixed in certain places, and a regular order of conducting divine worship was introduced. Philo2 thinks these edifices were originally instituted by Moses: but as no mention is made of them during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, their origin in Jerusalem is referred to the reigns of the Asmonæan princes, under whom they were first erected, and were soon greatly multiplied; though in Alexandria and other foreign places, where the Jews were dispersed, they were certainly of much greater antiquity. There appears to be an allusion to them in Psal. lxxiv. 4.8.

In the time of the Maccabees, synagogues became so fre1 Dr. Hammond on Lukev i. 12. and Acts xvi. 13-16. Calmet's Dict. voce Proseucha. Prideaux's Connection, part i. book vi. sub anno 444. vol i. pp. 387-390. edit. 1720.

Philo, De Vita Mosis, lib. iii. p. 685.
Josephus, De Bell. Jud. lib. vii. c. 3. §3.

Cives Romani sunt Liberti, qui vindictâ, censu, aut testamento nullo

This appears from the following passage of Suetonius concerning Claudius, who, he says, was, ignarus temporibus Appii, et deinceps aliquamdiu procreatos. In vita Claudii, cap. 24. §4. p. 78. Pitisci. Libertinos dictos, non ipsos, qui manumitterentur, sed ingenuos ex his

Quintilian. de Institutione Oratoria, lib. 5. cap. 10. p. 246. edit. Gibson, 1693. Qui servus est, si manumittatur, fit Libertinus-Justinian. Institut. Ingenuus est is, qui statim ut natus est, liber est; sive ex duobus ingenuis lib. i. tit. v. Libertini sunt, qui ex justa servitute manumissi sunt. Tit. iv. matrimonio aditus est, sive ex libertinis duobus, sive ex altero libertino, et

altero ingenuo.

Of these there were great numbers at Rome. Tacitus informs us

(Anal. lib. ii. cap. 85.) that four thousand Libertini, of the Jewish supersti

tion, as he styles it, were banished at one time, by order of Tiberius, into Sardinia; and the rest commanded to quit Italy, if they did not adjure, by a certain day. See also Suetonius in vita Tiberii, cap. 36. Josephus (Antiq. lib. xviii. cap. 3. § 5. edit. Haverc.) mentions the same fact. And Philo (Legat. ad Caium. p. 785. C. edit. Colon. 1613.) speaks of a good part of the city, beyond the Tiber, as inhabited by Jews, who were mostly Libertini, having been brought to Rome as captives and slaves, but, being made free by their masters, were permitted to live according to their own rites and customs.

known that, only about fifteen years before, great numbers of Jews, emancipated slaves, or their sons, were banished from Rome, it is most likely that the Libertines mentioned by Luke were of the latter description, especially as his account is corroborated by two Roman historians.

II. It does not appear from the New Testament that the synagogues had any peculiar FORM. The building of them was regarded as a mark of piety (Luke vii. 5.); and they were erected within or without the city, generally in an elevated place, and were distinguished from the proseuchæ by being roofed. Each of them had an altar, or rather table, on which the book of the law was spread; and on the east side there was an ark or chest, in which the volume of the law was deposited. The seats were so disposed that the people always sat with their faces towards the elders, and the place where the law was kept; and the elders sat in the opposite direction, that is to say, with their backs to the ark and their faces to the people. The seats of the latter, as being placed nearer the ark, were accounted the more holy, and hence they are in the New Testament termed the chief seats in the synagogue; which the Pharisees affected; and for which our Lord inveighed against them. (Matt. xxiii. 6.) A similar precedency seems to have crept into the places of worship even of the very first Christians, and hence we may account for the indignation of the apostle James (ii. 3.) against the undue preference that was given to the rich. The women were separated from the men, and sat in a gallery enclosed with lattices, so that they could distinctly see and hear all that passed in the synagogue, without themselves being exposed to view.

III. For the maintenance of good order, there were in every synagogue certain OFFICERS, whose business it was to see that all the duties of religion were decently performed therein. These were,

1. The Axiowys, or Ruler of the synagogue. (Luke xiii. 14. Mark v. 22.) It appears from Acts xiii. 15., collated with Mark v. 22. and John vi. 59., that there were several of these rulers in a synagogue. They regulated all its concerns, and gave permission to persons to preach. They were always men advanced in age, and respectable for their learning and probity. The Jews termed them Hacamim, that is, sages or wise men, and they possessed considerable influence and authority. They were judges of thefts, and similar petty offences and to them Saint Paul is supposed to allude in 1 Cor. vi. 5., where he reproaches the Corinthian Christians with carrying their differences before the tribunals of the Gentiles, as if they had no persons among them who were capable of determining them. Is it so, says he, that there is not a WISE MAN among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? These rulers, likewise, had the power of inflicting punishment on those whom they judged to be rebellious against the law; in allusion to which circumstance Christ forewarned his disciples that they should be scourged in the synagogues. (Matt. x. 17.)

some better evidence than that of the talmudical rabbies is requisite, in order to prove their liturgies to be of so high an antiquity; especially since some of their prayers, as Dr. Prideaux acknowledges, seem to have been composed after the destruction of Jerusalem, and to have reference to it. It is evident they were composed when there was neither temple nor sacrifice; since the seventeenth collect prays, that God would restore his worship to the inner part of his house, and make haste, with fervour and love, to accept the burnt sacrifices of Israel,' &c. They could not, therefore, be the composition of Ezra, who did not receive his commission from Artaxerxes to go to Judæa, till more than fifty years after the second temple was built, and its worship restored. The probability is, that the forms of prayer for the synagogue worship were at first very few, and that some were in use in the time of Jesus Christ, the number of which was subsequently increased. To the eighteen prayers above mentioned, another was added, a short time before the destruction of the second temple, by Rabbi Gamaliel, or, according to some writers, by Rabbi Samuel, one of his scholars. It is directed against apostates and heretics, appellations which the Jews liberally employed to designate all Christians, whether of Jewish or of Gentile descent. This additional prayer is now inserted as the twelfth, and the number is nineteen. They are required to be said by all Jews without exception, who are of age, three times every day, either in public, at the synagogue, or at their own houses, or wherever they may happen to be. As some readers may be curious to see them, they are subjoined, at the end of this section.2

2. The second part of this synagogue service is the read ing of the Scriptures, which is of three sorts, the KiriothShema, the reading of the whole law of Moses, and portions out of the prophets, and the Hagiographa or holy writings. (1.) The Kirioth-Shema consists of three portions of Scripture, viz. Deut. vi. 6-9. xi. 13-21. Num. xv. 37-41. As the first of these portions commences with the word shema, that is, hear, they are collectively termed the Shema, and the reading of them is called kirioth-shema, or the reading of the Shema. This reading or recital is preceded and followed by several prayers and benedictions; and, next to the saying of the nineteen prayers above noticed, is the most solemn part of the religious service of the Jews; who, believing the commands in Deut. vi. 7. and xi. 19. to be of perpetual obligation, repeat the Shema daily, every morning and evening.

(2.) The Law was divided into fifty-three, according to the Masorets, or, according to others, fifty-four Paraschioth or sections: for the Jewish year consisted of twelve lunar months, alternately of twenty-nine or thirty days, that is, of fifty weeks and four days. The Jews, therefore, in their division of the law into Paraschioth or sections, had a respect to their intercalary year, which was every second or third, and consisted of thirteen months; so that the whole law was read over this year, allotting one Paraschioth or section to every Sabbath; and in common years they reduced the fiftythree or fifty-four sections to the number of the fifty Sabbaths, occasion. They began the course of reading the first Sab bath after the feast of tabernacles; or rather, indeed, on the Sabbath-day before that, when they finished the last course of reading, they also made a beginning of the new course; that so, as the rabbies say, the devil might not accuse them to God of being weary of reading his law.

2. Next to the Apvos, or ruler of the synagogue, was an officer, whose province it was to offer up public prayers to God for the whole congregation: he was called She-by reading two shorter ones together, as often as there was liach Zibbor, or the angel of the church, because, as their messenger, he spoke to God for them. Hence also, in Rev. ii. iii. the presiding ministers of the Asiatic churches are termed angels.

3. The Chazan appears to have been a different officer from the Sheliach Zibbor, and inferior to him in dignity. He seems to have been the person, who in Luke iv. 20. ís termed impers, the minister, and who had the charge of the

sacred books.

IV. The service performed in the synagogue, on the Sabbath and on other holy days, consisted of three parts, viz. prayer, reading the Scriptures, and preaching, or exposition of the Scriptures.

(3.) The portions selected out of the prophetical writings are termed Haphtoroth. When Antiochus Epiphanes con quered the Jews about the year 163 before the Christian æra, he prohibited the public reading of the law in the synagogues, on pain of death. The Jews, in order that they might not be wholly deprived of the word of God, selected from other parts of the Sacred Writings fifty-four portions, which were termed HAPHTORAS, П (HPHTOROTH), from (PATAR), he dismissed, let loose, opened for though the Law was dismissed from their synagogues, and was closed to them by the edict of this persecuting king, yet the prophetic writings, not being under the interdict, were left open; and therefore they

1 The fifth, tenth, eleventh, and fourteenth collects have the same allu

1. The first part of the synagogue service is Prayer; for the performance of which, according to Dr. Prideaux, they had liturgies, in which are all the prescribed forms of the synagogue worship. The most solemn part of these prayers are the (SHEMONCH ESREH), or the eighteen prayers, which, according to the rabbies, were composed and instituted by Ezra, in order that the Jews, 'whose language after sion and reference as the seventeenth. See the original prayers in Maithe captivity was corrupted with many barbarous terms bor-monides de Ordine Precum, or in Vitringat (de Synag. vetere, lib. iii. part rowed from other languages, might be able to perform their ii. cap. 14. pp. 1033-1038.) who observes that the Talmudists will have the devotions in the pure language of their own country. Such (reduc ministerium Leviticum in Adytum Domas tuæ, as he translates it), seventeenth collect, which prays for the restoration of the temple worship, is the account which Maimonides gives, out of the Gemara, to have been usually recited by the king in the temple at the feast of taberof the origin of the Jewish liturgies; and the eighteen col-nacles; which is such an absurdity that it confutes itself, and shows how lects, in particular, are mentioned in the Mishna. However, are to be depended upon. little the Jewish traditions concerning the antiquity and use of their liturgies See pp. 106, 107. infra.

used them in place of the others. It was from this custom | prophets (which were substituted for the former), as they of the Jews, that the primitive Christians adopted theirs, of reading a lesson every Sabbath out of the Old and New Testaments. The following tables exhibit the paraschioth or section of the law, and the haphtoroth or sections of the

have been read together ever since the days of the Asmoneans or Maccabees, and as they continue to be read in the various synagogues belonging to the English, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, and German Jews.





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..i. 1. to vi. 8.

.vi. 9. to xi. 32.

..xii. 1. to xvii. 27. ......xviii. 1. to xxii. 24.

V. nnn Chaiyeh Sarah,.....xxiii. 1. to xxv. 18.

vi. nn Toledoth,..

vii. Vaiyetse,..



ix. Vaiyesheb,

x. ppp Mikkets,.

xi. Vaiyiggash,

xii. Vayechei,....

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...xxv. 19. to xxviii. 9.
..xxviii. 10. to xxxii. 3.
.xxxii. 4. to xxxvi. 43.
.xxxvii. 1. to xl. 23.
..xli. 1. to xliv. 17.
..xliv. 18. to xlvii. 27.
...xlvii. 28. to 1. 26.


..i. 1. to vi. 1.

.vi. 2. to ix. 35. ....x. 1. to xiii. 16. ..xiii. 17. to xvii. 16. .xviii. 1. to xx. 26. .... xxi. 1. to xxiv. 18.

,Bo el Paraoh בא אל פרעה .XV ,Beshalach בשלה .xvi

,Mishpatim משפטים .xviii ,Terumah תרומה .xix ,Tetsaveh תצוה .XX ,Kei tissa כי תשא .xxi .,Vayakhel ויקהל .xxii

xxiii. p Pekudey,..


..xxv. 1. to xxvii. 19. ...xxvii. 20. to xxx. 10.

.xxx. 11. to xxxiv. 35. ...xxxv. 1. to xxxviii. 20. ...xxxviii. 21. to xl. 38.


p Vaiyikra,..............i. 1. to vi. 7.

xxvi. Shemini, xxvii. yn Tazriâ,. xxviii. y Metsorâ,..

.,Vaiyikra Tsau ויקרא צו .XXV

.,Acharey Moth אחרי מות .xxix ,Kedushim קדשים .XXX

.,Behar Sinai בהר סיני .xxxii

xxxi. 8 Emor,.......

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.vi. 8. to viii. 36
.ix. 1. to xi. 47.
.xii. 1. to xiii. 59.
..xiv. 1. to xv. 33.
...xvi. 1. to xviii. 30.

.xix. 1. to xx. 27.
....xxi. 1. to xxiv. 23
....xxv. 1. to xxvi. 2..
...xxvi. 3. to xxvii. 34.


,Behaalotica בהעלתך .xxxvi

Xxxvii. Shelach,.

xxxviii. p Korach,. xxxix. npn Chukkath,.

.,Balak בלק .xl

xli. Pinchas, xlii. no Mattoth, xliii. yon Masêy,

xliv. D

...i. 1. to iv. 20.
..iv. 21. to vii. 89.
.viii. 1. to xii. 16.
.xiii. 1. to xv. 41.
.xvi. 1. to xviii. 32.
..xix. 1. to xxii. 1:
.xxii. 2. to xxv. 9.
..xxv. 10. to xxx. 1.
....xxx. 2. to xxxii. 42.
..xxxiii. 1. to xxxvi. 13.



xlv. nn Vaethchanan,.

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..i. 1. to iii. 22. .iii. 23. to vii. 11. ..vii. 12. to xi. 25. .xi. 26. to xvi. 17. ...xvi. 18. to xxi. 9.. ....xxi. 10. to xxv. 19. ....xxvi. 1. to xxix. 8. ....xxix. 9. to xxx. 20. ....xxxi. 1. to xxxi. 30. ...xxxii. 1. to xxxii. 52. liv. naman ni Vezot Habaracah,..xxxiii. 1. to xxxiv. 12.

. ,Tabo תבוא . ,Nitsabim געבים .li

,Haazinu האזינו .liii

lii. Vaiyelec,.

It is a circumstance highly deserving of notice, that the celebrated prophecy, quoted by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost from the prophet Joel (ii. 28-32.) forms a part of the Pentecostal service of the Karaite Jews in the Crimea. "Such, however, is the fact; and may we not conclude, from the pertinacity with which this ancient sect have adhered to VOL. II. O

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lxi. 10, 11. lxii. 1-12. Ixiii. 1-9...Ditto.

Hos. xiv. 1-9. Mic. vii. 18-20. .....Isa. lv. 6-13. lvi. 1-8. 2 Sam. xxii. 1-51. Some say Ezek.

xvii. 22-24. xviii. 1-32...................Hos. xiv. 1-9. Joel ii. 1-27.1 Josh. i. 1-18. Eccl. i.-xii. inclusive,...Ditto.2

their primitive institutions, that the same coincidence took place in the apostolic age ?" Dr. Henderson's Biblical Researches, &c. p. 326.

The above tables are copied from Dr. A. Clarke's Commentary on Deut. xxxiv., who states that he has in general followed the divisions in the best Masoretic Bibles, from which our common English Bibles in some cases

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.

The mere circumstance of birth did not give the Levites a title to officiate; they were obliged to receive a sort of consecration, which consisted chiefly in sprinkling them with water, in washing, and in offering sacrifices. (Num. viii. 6, 7, 8.) The usual age, at which the Levites were to enter on their office, was at five-and-twenty years, and they continued till fifty. (Num. 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 (Num. 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 on 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 firstfruits which they were to offer to God. (Num. xviii. 21-24.)2

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 victims, and offered the sacrifices. They kept up a perpetual fire on the altar of the burnt sacrifices, and

also in the lamps of the golden candlestick in the sanctuary; they kneaded the loaves of shew-bread, which they baked, and offered on the golden altar in the sanctuary: and changed them every Sabbath-day. Every day, morning and evening, a priest (who was appointed at the beginning of the week by lot) brought into the sanctuary a smoking censer of incense, which he set upon the golden table, and which on no account was to be kindled with strange fire, that is, with any fire but that which was taken from the altar of burnt sacrifice. (Lev. x. 1, 2.) And as the number and variety of their functions required them to be well read in their law, in order that they might be able to judge of the various legal uncleannesses, &c. this circumstance caused them to be consulted as interpreters of the law (Hos. iv. 6. Mal. ii. 7, &c. Lev. xiii. 2. Num. v. 14, 15.), as well as judges of controversies. (Deut. xxi. 5. xvii. 8-13.) In the time of war, their business was to carry the ark of the covenant, to sound the holy trumpets, and animate the army to the performance of its duties. To them also it belonged publicly to bless the people in the name of the Lord.

The priests were divided by David into twenty-four classes (1 Chron. xxiv. 7-18.); which order was retained by Solomon (2 Chron. viii. 14.); and at the revivals of the Jewish religion by the kings Hezekiah and Josiah. (2 Chron. xxxi. 2. xxxv. 4, 5.) As, however, only four classes returned from the Babylonish captivity (Ezra ii. 36-39. Neh. vii. 39-42. xii. 1.), these were again divided into twenty-four classes, each of which was distinguished by its original appellation. This accounts for the introduction of the class or order of Abiah, mentioned in Luke i. 5., which we do not find noticed among those who returned from the captivity. One of these classes went up to Jerusalem every week to discharge the sacerdotal office, and succeeded one another on the Sabbath-day, till they had all attended in their turn. To each order was assigned a president (1 Chron. xxiv. 6. 31. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14.), whom some critics suppose to be the same as the chief priests so often mentioned in the New Tes tament, and in the writings of Josephus. The prince or prefect of each class appointed an entire family to offer the daily sacrifices: and at the close of the week they all joined together in sacrificing. And as each family consisted of a great number of priests, they drew lots for the different offices which they were to perform. It was by virtue of such lot that the office of burning incense was assigned to Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, when he went into the temple of the Lord. (Luke i. 9.) According to some Jewish writers, there were three priests employed in the offering of the incense; one, who carried away the ashes left on the altar at the preceding service; another, who brought a pan of burning coals from the altar of sacrifice, and, having placed it on the golden altar, departed; a third, who went in with the incense, sprinkled it on the burning coals, and, while the smoke ascended, made intercession for the people. This was the particular office which fell by lot to Zacharias; and it was accounted the most honourable in the whole service. This office could be held but once by the same person.4

The sacerdotal dignity being confined to certain families, every one who aspired to it was required to establish his descent from those families: on this account the genealogies of the priests were inscribed in the public registers, and were preserved in the archives of the temple. Hence, in order to preserve the purity of the sacerdotal blood, no priest was permitted to marry a harlot or profane woman, or one who had been divorced; and if any one laboured under any bodily defect, this excluded him from serving at the altar. Purity of body and sanctity of life were alike indispensable; nor could any one undertake the priestly office, in the early period of the Jewish polity, before he had attained thirty years, or, in later times, the age of twenty years. According to Maimonides, the priest whose genealogy was defective in any respect was clothed in black, and veiled in black, and sent without the verge of the court of the priests; but every one that was found perfect and right was clothed in white, and went in and ministered with his brethren the priests. It is not improbable that St. John refers to this custom of the

3 See Matt. xxvii. 1. Acts iv. 23. v. 24. ix. 14. 21. xxii. 30. xxiii. 14. xxv.

15. xxvi. 10.; and also Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xx. c. 8. §8. De Bell. Jud. lib. iv. c. 3. 67. c. 4. § 3. et de vita sua, $§ 2. 5. 4 Macknight, and Wetstein, on Luke i. 9.

Ezra ii. 62. Neh. vii. 64. Josephus contra Apion, lib. i. §7. et in vita sua, $1. Lev. xxi. 7. 17-23. Num. iv. 3. 2 Chron. xxxi. 17. Maimonides has enumerated not fewer than 140 bodily defects which disqualified persons Home's Script. Hist. of Jews, vol. ii. pp. 214–221. Schulzii Archæol. for the priesthood. See Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. iii. c. 12. § 2. and com Hebr. pp. 227-231. pare Carpzov's Apparatus Antiquitatum Sacrarum, p. 89. et seq.

1 See p. 16. suprà.

used them in place of the others. It was from this custom | prophets (which were substituted for the former), as they of the Jews, that the primitive Christians adopted theirs, of reading a lesson every Sabbath out of the Old and New Testaments. The following tables exhibit the paraschioth or section of the law, and the haphtoroth or sections of the

have been read together ever since the days of the Asmonæans or Maccabees, and as they continue to be read in the various synagogues belonging to the English, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, and German Jews.


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lxi. 10, 11. lxii. 1-12. Ixiii. 1-9...Ditto.

Hos. xiv. 1-9. Mic. vii. 18-20.....Isa. lv. 6-13. lvi. 1-8. 2 Sam. xxii. 1-51. Some say Ezek.

xvii. 22-24. xviii. 1-32.........Hos. xiv. 1-9. Joel ii. 1-27.! Josh. i. 1-18. Eccl. i.-xii. inclusive,...Ditto.2

their primitive institutions, that the same coincidence took place in the apostolic age?" Dr. Henderson's Biblical Researches, &c. p. 326.

The above tables are copied from Dr. A. Clarke's Commentary on Deut. xxxiv., who states that he has in general followed the divisions in the best Masoretic Bibles, from which our common English Bibles in some cases

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