THE TEMPLE - ITS MINISTRY AND SERVICE #3
From the book by that name, by Alfred Edersheim
TEMPLE ORDER, REVENUES, AND MUSIC
"For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the
sanctuary by the high-priest for sin, are burned without the
camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people
with His own blood, suffered without the gate." - HEBREWS xiii.
TEMPLE GLORY GONE
To the devout and earnest Jew the second Temple must, in
comparison of the house in her first glory, have indeed
appeared as nothing. 1 True, in architectural splendour the
second, as restored by Herod, far surpassed the first Temple. 2
But, unless faith had recognised in Jesus of Nazareth 'the Desire
of all nations, who should 'fill this house with glory,' 3 it
would have been difficult to draw other than sad comparisons.
Confessedly, the real elements of Temple-glory no longer existed.
The Holy of Holies was quite empty, the ark of the covenant, with
the cherubim, the tables of the law, the book of the covenant,
Aaron's rod that budded, and the pot of manna, were no longer in
the sanctuary. The fire that had descended from heaven upon the
altar was extinct. What was far more solemn, the visible
1 Hagg. ii. 3.
2 The Talmud expressly calls attention to this, and mentions as
another point of pre-eminence, that whereas the first Temple
stood 410, the second lasted 420 years.
3 Hagg. ii. 7.
presence of God in the Shechinah was wanting. 1 Nor could the
will of God be now ascertained through the Urim and Thummim, nor
even the high-priest be anointed with the holy oil, its very
composition being unknown. Yet all the more jealously did the
Rabbis draw lines of fictitious sanctity, and guard them against
HOLY CITY IN THREE PARTS
In general, as the camp in the wilderness had really
consisted of three parts - the camp of Israel, that of the
Levites, and that of God - so they reckoned three corresponding
divisions of the Holy City. From the gates to the Temple Mount
was regarded as the camp of Israel; thence to the gate of
Nicanor represented the camp of Levi; while the rest of the
sanctuary was 'the camp of God.' It is in allusion to this that
the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews compares Christ's
suffering 'without the gate' of Jerusalem to the burning of the
sin-offerings 'without the camp.' According to another Rabbinical
arrangement different degrees of sanctity attached to different
localities. The first, or lowest degree, belonged to the land of
Israel, whence alone the first sheaf at the Passover, the
firstfruits, and the two wave-loaves at Pentecost might be
brought; the next degree to walled cities in Palestine, where no
leper nor dead body 2 might remain; the third to Jerusalem
itself, since, besides many prohibitions to guard its purity, it
was only there lawful to partake of peace-offerings, of the
firstfruits, and of 'the second tithes.' Next came,
successively, the Temple Mount, from which all
1 The following five are mentioned by the Rabbis as wanting in
the last Temple: the ark, the holy fire, the Shechinah, the
spirit of prophecy, and the Urim and Thummim.
2 Luke vii. 12.
who were in a state of Levitical uncleanness were excluded; 'the
Terrace' or 'Chel,' from which, besides Gentiles, those who had
become defiled by contact with a dead body were shut out; the
Court of the Women, into which those who had been polluted might
not come, even if they 'had washed,' till after they were also
Levitically fit to eat of 'things sacred,' that is, after sunset
of the day on which they had washed; the Court of Israel, into
which those might not enter who, though delivered from their
uncleanness, had not yet brought the offering for their
purification; 1 the Court of the Priests, ordinarily accessible
only to the latter; the space between the altar and the Temple
itself, from which even priests were excluded if their bearing
showed that they did not realise the solemnity of the place; the
Temple, into which the priests might only enter after washing
their hands and feet; and, lastly, the Most Holy Place, into
which the high-priest alone was allowed to go, and that only once
ENTERING THE TEMPLE MOUNT
From these views of the sanctity of the place, it will
readily be understood how sufficient outward reverence should
have been expected of all who entered upon the Temple Mount.
The Rabbis here also lay down certain rules, of which some are
such as a sense of propriety would naturally suggest, while
others strangely remind us of the words of our Saviour. Thus no
one was to come to it except for strictly religious purposes, and
neither to make the Temple Mount a place of thoroughfare, nor use
it to shorten
1 This class would include the following four cases: the cleansed
leper, a person who had had an issue, a woman that had been in
her separation, and one who had just borne a child. Further
explanations of each case are given in subsequent chapters.
the road. Ordinarily the worshippers were to enter by the right
and to withdraw by the left, avoiding both the direction and the
gate by which they had come. But mourners and those under
ecclesiastical discipline were to do the reverse, so as to meet
the stream of worshippers, who might address to them either words
of sympathy ('He who dwelleth in this house grant thee
comfort!'), or else of admonition ('He who dwelleth in this house
put it into thy mind to give heed to those who would restore thee
again!'). As already stated, it was expressly prohibited to sit
down in the Court of the Priests, an exception being only made in
favour of princes of the house of David, probably to vindicate
their consistency, as such instances were recorded in the past
history of Israel. Alike the ministering priests and the
worshippers were to walk backwards when leaving the immediate
neighbourhood where the holy service was performed, and at the
gate of Nicanor each one was to stand with his head bent. It
need scarcely be said that reverence in gesture and deportment
was enjoined while on the Temple Mount. But even when at a
distance from Jerusalem and the Temple, its direction was to be
noted, so as to avoid in every-day life anything that might seem
incongruous with the reverence due to the place of which God had
said, 'Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.' l
Probably from a similar feeling of reverence, it was
ordered, that when once a week the sanctuary was thoroughly
cleaned, any repairs found needful should be executed if possible
by priests or else by Levites, or at least by Israelites, and
only in case of extreme necessity by workmen not Levitically
1 1 Kings ix. 3.
OTHER RULES OF ENTRY
Other Rabbinical ordinances, however, are not so easily
explained, unless on the ground of the avoidance of every
occupation and undertaking other than worship. Thus 'no man might
go on the Temple Mount with his staff,' as if on business or
pleasure; nor yet 'with shoes on his feet' - sandals only being
allowed; nor 'with the dust upon his feet;' nor 'with his
scrip,' nor 'with money tied to him in his purse.' Whatever he
might wish to contribute either to the Temple, or for offerings,
or for the poor must be carried by each 'in his hand,' possibly
to indicate that the money about him was exclusively for an
immediate sacred purpose. It was probably for similar reasons
that Jesus transferred these very ordinances to the disciples
when engaged in the service of the real Temple. The direction,
'Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor
scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet
staves,' must mean, Go out in the same spirit and manner as you
would to the Temple services, and fear not - 'for the workman
is worthy of his meat.' 1 In other words: Let this new Temple
service be your only thought, undertaking, and care. 2
But, guard it as they might, it was impossible wholly to
preserve the sanctuary from profanation. For wilful, conscious,
high-handed profanity, whether in reference to the Temple or to
God, the law does not appear to have provided any atonement or
offering. To this the Epistle to the Hebrews alludes in the
well-known passage, so often misunderstood, 'For if we sin
wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the
1 Matt. x. 9,10.
2 On the reverence due in prayer, see a subsequent chapter.
truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which
shall devour the adversaries.' 1
DEATH BY GOD OR BEING "CUT OFF"
In point of fact, these terms of threatening correspond to
two kinds of Divine punishment frequently mentioned in the Old
Testament. The one, often referred to in the warning 'that he die
not,' is called by the Rabbis, 'death by the hand of Heaven or of
God;' the other is that of being 'cut off.' It is difficult to
distinguish exactly between these two. Tradition enumerates
thirty-six offences to which the punishment of 'cutting off'
attaches. From their graver nature, as compared with the eleven
offences on which 'death by the hand of God' was to follow, we
gather that 'cutting off' must have been the severer of the two
punishments, and it may correspond to the term 'fiery
indignation.' Some Rabbis hold that 'death by the hand of God'
was a punishment which ended with this life, while 'cutting off'
extended beyond it. But the best authorities maintain, that
whereas death by the hand of Heaven fell upon the guilty
individual alone, 'the cutting off' extended to the children
also, so that the family would become extinct in Israel. Such
Divine punishment is alluded to in 1 Cor. xvi. 22, under the
well-known Jewish expression, 'Anathema Maranatha' - literally,
Anathema when the Lord cometh!
FORTY STRIPES SAVE ONE - REBELS BEATING -
DEATH ON THE SPOT
To these two Divine punishments corresponded other two by
the hand of man - the ' forty stripes save one,' and the
so-called 'rebels' beating.' The distinction between them is
easily explained. The former were only inflicted after a regular
judicial investigation and sentence,
1 Heb. x. 26,27.
and for the breach of some negative precept or prohibition; while
the latter was, so to speak, in the hands of the people, who
might administer it on the spot, and without trial, if any one
were caught in supposed open defiance of some positive precept,
whether of the Law of Moses or of the traditions of the elders.
The reader of the New Testament will remember such popular
outbursts, when the men of Nazareth would have cast Jesus over
the brow of the hill on which their city was built, 1 and when
on at least two occasions the people took up stones in the Temple
to stone Him. 2 It is a remarkable fact, that when the Lord
Jesus and when His martyr Stephen were before the Sanhedrim, 3
the procedure was in each case in direct contravention of all the
rules of the Rabbinical criminal law. In each case the sitting
terminated in 'the rebels' beating,' both when they 'buffeted the
Master' and 'smote Him with the palms of their hands,' and when
'they ran upon' Stephen 'with one accord, and cast him out of the
city, and stoned him.' For the rebels' beating was really unto
death. The same punishment was also to have been inflicted
upon Paul, when, on the charge of having brought a Gentile beyond
the enclosure in the court open to such, 'the people ran
together, and they took Paul, and drew him out of the Temple,'
and 'went about to kill him.' This summary mode of punishing
supposed 'rebellion' was probably vindicated by the example of
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar. 4 On the other hand, the mildness
of the Rabbinical law, where religious feelings were not
involved, led to modifications of the punishment
1 Luke iv. 29.
2 John viii. 59; x. 31.
3 Matt. xxvi. 59,68; Acts vii. 57,58.
4 Numb. xxv. 7,8.
prescribed in Deut. xxv. 2,3. Thus because the words were,
'by a certain number, forty stripes he may give him,' instead of
a simple direction to give the forty stripes, the law was
construed as meaning a number near to forty, or thirty-nine,
which accordingly was the severest corporeal punishment awarded
at one time.
THIRTEEN STRIPES IN TOTAL - HERE'S WHY
If the number of stripes were less than thirty-nine,
it must still be some multiple of three, since, as the scourge
was composed of three separate thongs (the middle one of calf's
leather, the other two of asses', with a reference to
Isaiah i. 3), each stroke of the scourge in reality inflicted
three stripes. Hence the greatest number of strokes administered
at one time amounted only to thirteen. The law also most
particularly defined and modified every detail, even to the
posture of the criminal. Still this punishment, which St.Paul
underwent not less than five times at the hands of the Jews, 1
must have been very severe. In general, we can only hope that it
was not so often administered as Rabbinical writings seem to
During the scourging, Deut. xxviii. 58,59, and at its close
Psa. lxxxviii. 38, were read to the culprit. After the punishment
he was not to be reproached, but received as a brother. 2
TEMPLE WORSHIPPERS - THE NUMBER
That strict discipline both in regard to priests and
worshippers would, however, be necessary, may be inferred even
from the immense number of worshippers which thronged Jerusalem
and the Temple.
According to a late computation, the Temple could have held
'within its colossal girdle' 'two amphitheatres of the size of
the Coliseum.' As the latter is reckoned to
1 2 Con xi. 24.
2 Further details belong to the criminal jurisprudence of the
have been capable, inclusive of its arena and passages, of
accommodating 109,000 persons, the calculation that the Temple
might contain at one time about 210,000 persons seems by no means
exaggerated 1 It will readily be believed what immense wealth
this multitude must have brought to the great national sanctuary.
Indeed, the Temple treasury had always been an object of cupidity
to foreigners. It was successively plundered by Syrians and
Romans, 2 though at the last siege the flames deprived Titus and
his soldiers of this booty. Even so liberal and enlightened a
statesman as Cicero inveighed, perhaps on the ground of
exaggerated reports, against the enormous influx of gold from all
lands to Jerusalem.
LIBERAL VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS
From Biblical history we know how liberal were the voluntary
contributions at the time of Moses, of David, and again of Joash
3 and of Josiah. 4 Such offerings to the Temple treasury
continued to the last a very large source of revenue. They might
be brought either in the form of vows or of free gifts. Any
object, or even a person, might be dedicated by vow to the altar.
If the thing vowed were suitable, it would be used;
1 See "Edinburgh Review" for January, 1873, p.18. We may here
insert another architectural comparison from the same interesting
article, which, however, is unfortunately defaced by many and
serious mistakes on other points. 'The length of the eastern
wall of the sanctuary,' writes the reviewer, 'was more than
double that of the side of the Great Pyramid; its height nearly
one-third of the Egyptian structure from the foundation. If to
this great height of 152 feet of solid wall you add the descent
of 114 feet to the bed of the Kedron, and the further elevation
of 160 feet attained by the pinnacle, we have a total of 426
feet, which is only 59 feet less than the Great Pyramid.'
2 The history of the Temple treasury would form an interesting
subject, on which for the present we cannot enter.
3 2 Chron. xxiv.
4 2 Kings xxii.
if otherwise, sold, and its value given to the treasury. Readers
of the New Testament know how fatally such spurious liberality
interfered with the most sacred duties of life. 1 From Jewish
tradition we gather that there must have been quite a race for
distinction in this respect. The wood, the incense, the wine, the
oil, and all other things requisite for the sacred services, as
well as golden and silver vessels, were contributed with lavish
hand. Certain families obtained by their zeal special
privileges, such as that the wood they brought should always be
first used for the altar fire; and the case of people leaving
the whole of their fortune to the Temple is so often discussed, 2
that it must have been a by no means uncommon occurrence. To this
practice Christ may have referred in denouncing the Scribes and
Pharisees who 'devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make
long prayers,' 3 For a good deal of this money went in the end
from the Temple treasury to them, although there is no evidence
of their intriguing for personal gifts.
Besides these votive offerings, and the sale of the
surplusage of incense, flour, etc., the people were wont on the
Sabbaths and feast-days to bring voluntary contributions 'in
their hand' to the Temple. 4
MEAT-OFFERING PROFITS AND HALF-SHEKEL TRIBUTE
Another and very large source of revenue was from the profit
made by the meat-offerings, which were prepared by the Levites,
and sold every day to the offerers. But by far the
1 Matt. xv. 5.
2 Shek. iv.
3 Matt. xxiii. 14. On the other hand, there are not a few
passages in the Mishnah inveighing against vows, and showing how
absolution from them may be obtained. A full treatment of the
subject belongs to Jewish antiquities and Rabbinical
4 The subject of 'Vows' will be again and more fully treated in a
largest sum was derived from the half-shekel of Temple tribute,
which was incumbent on every male Israelite of age, including
proselytes and even manumitted slaves. As the shekel of the
sanctuary was double the ordinary, the half-shekel due to the
Temple treasury amounted to about ls. 4d. (two denarii or a
didrachma). Hence, when Christ was challenged at Capernaum 1
for this payment, He directed Peter to give the stater, or two
didrachmas, for them both. This circumstance also enables us to
fix the exact date of this event. For annually, on the 1st of
Adar (the month before the Passover), proclamation was made
throughout the country by messengers sent from Jerusalem of the
approaching Temple tribute. On the 15th of Adar the money-
changers opened stalls throughout the country to change the
various coins, which Jewish residents at home or settlers abroad
might bring, into the ancient money of Israel. For custom had it
that nothing but the regular halfshekel of the sanctuary could be
received at the treasury. On the 25th of Adar business was
only transacted within the precincts of Jerusalem and of the
Temple, and after that date those who had refused to pay the
impost could be proceeded against at law, and their goods
distrained, 2 the only exception being in favour of priests, and
that 'for the sake of peace,' that is, lest their office should
come in disrepute. From heathens or Samaritans no tribute money
was to be received, the general rule in reference to all their
offerings being this: 'A votive and a free-will offering they
receive at their bands; but whatever is not either a votive or a
free-will offering (does not come under either category) is not
received at their
Matt. xvii. 24.
2 Shek. i. 3.
hands.' In support, Ezra iv. 3 was quoted. 1 The law also
fixed the rate of discount which the moneychangers were allowed
to charge those who procured from them the Temple coin, perhaps
to obviate suspicion of, or temptation to usury - a sin regarded
as one of the most heinous civil offences.
TOTAL AMOUNT FROM TEMPLE TRIBUTE
The total sum derived annually from the Temple tribute has
been computed at about 76,000 pound. 2 As the bankers were
allowed to charge a silver 'meah,' or about one-fourth of a denar
3 (2d.) on every half-shekel, their profits must have amounted
to nearly 9,500 pound, or, deducting a small sum for exceptional
cases, in which the 'meah' was not to be charged, 4 say about
9,000 pound - a very large sum, considering the value of money in
a country where a labourer received a 'denar' (8d.) for a day's
work, 5 and the 'good Samaritan' left only two denars (1s. 4d.)
in the inn for the keep of the sick man. 6 It must therefore
have been a very powerful interest which Jesus attacked, when in
the Court of the Temple He 'poured out the changers' money, and
overthrew the tables,' 7 while at the same time He placed
Himself in direct antagonism to the sanctioned arrangements of
the Sanhedrim, whom He virtually charged with profanity.
It had only been about a century before, during the reign of
Salome-Alexandra (about 78 B.C.), that Pharisaical the
Pharisaical party, being then in power, had carried an enactment
which the Temple tribute was to be
1 Shek. i. 5.
2 See Winer, "Real-Worterb." ii. 589.
3 Ersch's "Encycl." (Art. Juden, p.31) computes it at one-fifth;
Zunz ("Zur Gesch. u. Litt"., p.539) at one-third of a 'denar.' We
have adopted the view of Winer.
4 These are mentioned in Shek. i. 7. Our deduction is very
5 Matt. xx. 2.
6 Luke x. 35.
7 john ii. 15.
enforced at law. It need scarcely be said that for this there was
not the slightest Scriptural warrant. Indeed, the Old Testament
nowhere provided legal means for enforcing any payment for
religious purposes. The law stated what was due, but left its
observance to the piety of the people, so that alike the
provision for the Temple and for the priesthood must have varied
with the religious state of the nation. 1 But, irrespective of
this, it is matter of doubt whether the half-shekel had ever been
intended as an annual payment. 2 Its first enactment was under
exceptional circumstances, 3 and the mode in which, as we are
informed, a similar collection was made during the reign of
Joash, suggests the question whether the original institution by
Moses was not treated rather as affording a precedent than as
laying down a binding rule. 4 At the time of Nehemiah 5 we read
only of a self-imposed 'ordinance,' and at the rate of a third,
not a half-shekel. But long before the coming of Christ very
different views prevailed. 'The dispersed abroad' regarded the
Temple as the one bond of their national as well as their
religious life. Patriotism and religion swelled their gifts,
which far exceeded the legal dues. Gradually they came to regard
the Temple tribute as, in the literal sense of the words, 'a
ransom for their souls.' 6 So many were the givers and so large
their gifts that they were always first brought to certain
central places, whence the most honourable of their number
carried them as 'sacred ambassadors' to Jerusalem.
RICHES CONTRIBUTIONS FROM
The richest contributions came from those crowded
1 Mal. iii. 8-10.
2 See Michaelis, "Mos. Becht," vol. iii. pp.150, etc., and
Saalsciitz, "Das Mos. Becht," p.292.
3 Ex. xxx. 12.
4 2 Chron. xxiv. 6-11.
5 Neh. x. 32-34.
6 Ex. xxx. 12.
Jewish settlements in Mesopotamia and Babylon, to which 'the
dispersed' had originally been transported. Here special
treasuries for their reception had been built in the cities of
Nisibis and Nehardea, whence a large armed escort annually
accompanied the 'ambassadors' to Palestine. Similarly, Asia
Minor, which at one time contributed nearly 8,000 pound a year,
had its central collecting places.
In the Temple these moneys were emptied into three large
chests, which were opened with certain formalities at each of the
three great feasts. According to tradition these three chests
held three seahs each (the seah = 1 peck 1 pint), so that on the
three occasions of their opening twenty-seven seahs of coin were
USE OF TEMPLE REVENUES
The Temple revenues, were in the first place devoted to the
purchase of all 'public' sacrifices, that is, those offered in
the name of the 'whole congregation' of Israel, such as the
morning and evening sacrifices, the festive sacrifices etc. This
payment had been one of the points in controversy between the
Pharisees and the Sadducees. So great importance was attached
to it, that all Israel should appear represented in the purchase
of the public sacrifices, that when the three chests were emptied
they took expressly from one 'for the land of Israel,' from
another 'for the neighbouring lands' (that is, for the Jews there
resident), and from the third 'for distant lands.' Besides, the
Temple treasury defrayed all else necessary for the services of
the sanctuary; all Temple repairs, and the salaries of a large
staff of regular officials, such as those who prepared the
shewbread and the incense; who saw to the correctness of the
copies of the law used in the synagogues; who examined into the
Levitical fitness of sacrifices; who instructed the priests in
their various duties; 1 who, made the curtains, etc, - not
omitting, according to their own testimony, the fees of the
Rabbis. And after all this lavish expenditure there was not only
enough to pay for the repairs of the city-walls, the roads, and
public buildings, etc., about Jerusalem, but sufficient to
accumulate immense wealth in the treasury!
HYMNODY OF THE TEMPLE
To the wealth and splendour of the Temple corresponded the
character of its services. The most important of these, next, to
the sacrificial rites, was the hymnody of the sanctuary. We can
conceive what it must have been in the days of David and of
Solomon. But even in New Testament times it was such that St.
John could find no more adequate imagery to portray heavenly
realities and the final triumph of the Church than that taken
from the service of praise in the Temple. Thus, when first 'the
twenty-four elders,' representing the chiefs of the twenty-four
courses of the priesthood, and afterwards the 144,000,
representing redeemed Israel in its fulness (I2 x 12,000), sing
'the new song'---the former in heaven, the latter on Mount
Zion--they appear, just, as in the Temple services, as 'harpers,
harping - with their harps.' 2 Possibly there may also be an
analogy between the time when these 'harpers' are introduced and
the period in the Temple-service when the music began - just as
the joyous drink-offering was poured out. There is yet a third
reference in the Book of Revelation to 'the harps of God,' 3
with most pointed allusion, not to the ordinary, but to the
Sabbath services in the Temple. In this case the harpers'
1 'Ketuv.' evi. 1.
2 Rev. v. 8; xiv. 2,3.
3 Rev, xv. 2.
are all they 'that had gotten the victory over the beast.' The
Church, which has come out of great tribulation, stands
victorious 'on the sea of glass;' and the saints, 'having the
harps of God,' sing 'the song of Moses, the servant of God.' It
is the Sabbath of the Church; and as on the Sabbath, besides the
psalm for the day 1 at the ordinary sacrifice, they sung at the
additional Sabbatic sacrifice 2 in the morning, the Song of
Moses, in Deut. xxxii., and in the evening that in Ex. xv., so
the victorious Church celebrates her true Sabbath of rest by
singing this same 'Song of Moses and of the Lamb,' only in
language that expresses the fullest meaning of the Sabbath songs
in the Temple.
Properly speaking, the real service of praise in the Temple
was only with the voice. This is often laid down as a principle
by the Rabbis. What instrumental music there was, served only
to accompany and sustain the song. Accordingly, none other than
Levites might act as choristers, while other distinguished
Israelites were allowed to take part in the instrumental music.
The blasts of the trumpets, blown by priests only, formed---at
least in the second Temple - no part of the instrumental music of
the service, but were intended for quite different purposes.
Even the posture of the performers showed this, for while
the Levites stood at their desks facing towards the sanctuary, or
westwards, the priests, with their silver trumpets, stood exactly
in the opposite direction, on the west side of the rise of the
altar, by the 'table of the fat,' and looking eastwards or down
the courts. On ordinary days the priests blew seven times, each
1 Psa. xcii.
2 Numb. xxviii. 9,10.
time three blasts--a short sound, an alarm, and again a sharp
short sound (Thekiah, Theruah, and Thekiah), 1 or, as the Rabbis
express it, 'An alarm in the midst and a plain note before and
after it.' According to tradition, they were intended
symbolically to proclaim the Kingdom of God, Divine Providence,
and the Final Judgment. The first three blasts were blown when
the great gates of the Temple - especially that of Nicanor - were
opened. Then, when the drink-offering was poured out, the Levites
sung the psalm of the day in three sections. After each section
there was a pause, when the priests blew three blasts, and the
people worshipped. This was the practice at the evening, as at
the morning sacrifice.
SOUNDING THE EVE OF THE SABBATH
On the eve of the Sabbath a threefold blast of the 'priests'
trumpets summoned the people, far as the sound was carried over
the city, to prepare for the holy day, while another threefold
blast announced its actual commencement. On Sabbaths, when,
besides the ordinary, an additional sacrifice was brought, and
the 'Song of Moses' sung - not the whole every Sabbath, but
divided in six parts, one for every Sabbath, - the priests
sounded their trumpets additional three times in the pauses of
the Sabbath psalm. 2
1 Inferring from the present usage in the Synagogue, Saalschiitz
("Gesch. d. Musik bei d. Hebr.") has thus marked them -
The Thekiah and the Theruah:
2 All these regulations are stated in "Mishnah, Succah," v. 5.
Further details about Temple hymns and Temple music are given in
the description of the daily service, and in that of the Sabbath
and the various feast-days.
THE INFLUENCE OF DAVID
The music of the Temple owed its origin to David, who was
not only a poet and a musical composer, but who also invented
musical instruments, 1 especially the ten-stringed 'Nevel' or
lute. 2 From the Book of Chronicles we know how fully
this part of the service was cultivated, although the
statement of Josephus, 3 that Solomon had provided forty
thousand harps and lutes, and two hundred thousand silver
trumpets, is evidently a gross exaggeration. The Rabbis enumerate
thirty-six different instruments, of which only fifteen are
mentioned in the Bible, and of these five in the Pentateuch. As
in early Jewish poetry there was neither definite and continued
metre (in the modern sense), nor regular and premeditated rhyme,
so there was neither musical notation, nor yet any artificial
harmony. The melody was simple, sweet, and sung in unison to the
accompaniment of instrumental music. Only one pair of brass
cymbals were allowed to be used. 4 But this 'sounding brass' and
'tinkling cymbal' formed no part of the Temple music itself, and
served only as the signal to begin that part of the service. To
this the apostle seems to refer when, in I Cor. xiii. I, he
compares the gift of 'tongues' to the sign or signal by which the
real music of the Temple was introduced.
That music was chiefly sustained by the harp (Kinnor) and
the lute (Nevel). Of the latter (which was probably used for
solos) not less than two nor
1 Amos vi. 5; 1 Chron. xxiii. 5.
2 Psa. xxxiii. 2; cxliv. 9.
3 "Ant." viii. 3,8.
4 For particulars on all points connected with Jewish art,
poetry, and science, I must refer to my "History of the Jewish
more than six were to be in the Temple orchestra; of the former,
or harp, as many as possible, but never less than nine. There
were, of course, several varieties both of the Nevel and the Kin-
nor. The chief difference between these two kinds of stringed
instruments lay in this, that in the Nevel (lute or guitar) the
strings were drawn over the sounding-board, while in the Kinnor
they stood out free, as in our harps. 1
Of wind-instruments we know that, besides their silver
trumpets, the priests also blew the Shophar or horn, notably at
the new moon, on the Feast of the New Year, 2 and to proclaim
the Year of Jubilee, 3 which, indeed, thence derived its name.
Originally the Shophar was probably a ram's horn, 4 but
afterwards it was also made of metal. The Shophar was chiefly
used for its loud and far-sounding tones. 5 At the Feast of the
New Year, one priest with a Shophar was placed between those who
blew the trumpets; while on fast- days a priest with a Shophar
stood on each side of them - the tones of the Shophar being
prolonged beyond those of the trumpets. In the synagogues out of
Jerusalem the Shophar alone was blown at the New Yeas, and on
fast-days only trumpets.
The flute (or reed pipe) was played in the Temple on twelve
special festivities. 6 These were: the day of killing the first,
and that of killing the second Passover, the first day of
unleavened bread, Pentecost, and the eight days
I The opposite is the generally received opinion. But see the
article 'Music,' by Leyrer, in "Herzog's Encycl."
2 Psa. lxxxi. 3.
3 Lev. xxv. 9.
4 Jos.,"Ant." v. 5, 6.
5 Ex. xix. 16,19; xx. 18; Isa. lviii. 1.
6 The flute was used in Alexandria to accompany the hymns at the
love feasts of the early Christians, up to the year 190, when
Clement of Alexandria introduced the harp in its place. See
Leyrer "u. s."
of the Feast of Tabernacles. Quite in accordance with the social
character of these feasts, the flute was also used by the festive
pilgrim-bands on their journey to Jerusalem, to accompany 'the
Psalms of Degrees,' or rather of 'Ascent,' 1 sung on such
occasions. It was also customary to play it at marriage feasts
and at funerals; 2 for according to Rabbinical law every Jew was
bound to provide at least two flutes and one mourning woman at
the funeral of his wife. In the Temple, not less than two nor
more than twelve flutes were allowed, and the melody was on such
occasions to close with the notes of one flute alone.
ORGAN INSTRUMENT AND HUMAN VOICE
Lastly, we have sufficient evidence that there was a kind of
organ used in the Temple (the Magrephah), but whether merely for
giving signals or not, cannot be clearly determined.
As already stated, the service of praise was mainly
sustained by the human voice. A good voice was the one
qualification needful for a Levite. In the second Temple female
singers seem at one time to have been employed. 3 In the Temple
of Herod their place was supplied by Levite boys. Nor did the
worshippers any more take part in the praise, except by a
responsive Amen. It was otherwise in the first Temple, as we
gather from I Chron. xvi. 36, from the allusion in Jer. xxxiii.
11, and also from such Psalms as xxvi. 12; lxviii. 26. At the
laying of the foundation of the second Temple, and at the
dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the singing seems to have
been antiphonal, or in responses, 4 the two choirs afterwards
apparently combining, and singing
1 Isa. xxx. 29.
2 Matt. ix. 23.
3 Ezra ii. 65; Neh. vii. 67
4 Ezra iii. 10,11; Neh. xii. 27,40.
in unison in the Temple itself. Something of the same kind was
probably also the practice in the first Temple. What the melodies
were to which the Psalms had been sung, it is, unfortunately, now
impossible to ascertain. Some of the music still used in the
synagogue must date from those times, and there is no reason to
doubt that in the so-called Gregorian tones we have also
preserved to us a close approximation to the ancient hymnody of
the Temple, though certainly not without considerable
But how solemn must have been the scene when, at the
dedication of Solomon's Temple during the service of praise, 'the
house was filled with a cloud, even the house of Jehovah; so that
the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud:
for the glory of Jehovah had filled the house of God!' 1
Such music, and such responsive singing, might well serve,
in the Book of Revelation, as imagery of heavenly realities, 2
especially in that description of the final act of worship in
Rev. xiv. 1-5, where at the close of their antiphony the two
choirs combine, as at the dedication of the second Temple, to
join in this grand unison, 'Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent
1 2 Chron. v. 13,14.
2 Rev. iv. 8,11; v. 9,12; vii. 10-12.
3 Rev. xix. 6,7; comp. also Rev. v. 13.
To be continued