THE TEMPLE - ITS MINISTRY AND SERVICE
by Alfred Edersheim
THE MORNING AND THE EVENING SACRIFICE
'And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office
before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of
the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went
into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the
people were praying without at the time of incense.' - LUKE 1.
BEFORE proceeding to describe the 'morning sacrifice,' it is
necessary to advert to a point of considerable interest and
importance. There can be no doubt that, at the time of Christ,
public prayer occupied a very prominent place in the ordinary
daily services of the Temple. Yet the original institution in the
law of Moses contains no mention of it; and such later instances
as the prayer of Hannah, or that of Solomon at the dedication of
the Temple, afford neither indication nor precedent as regards
the ordinary public services. The confession of the high-priest
over the scape-goat cannot be regarded as public prayer. Perhaps
the nearest approach to it was on occasion of offering the
firstfruits, especially in that concluding entreaty: 'Look down
from Thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Thy people
Israel, and the land which Thou hast given us, as Thou swarest
unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.' But,
after all, this was again private, not public prayer, and offered
on a private occasion, far different from the morning and evening
The wording of King Solomon's prayer implies indeed an act
of united and congregational worship, but, strictly speaking, it
conveys no more than that public supplication was wont to be
offered in times of public necessity. Nor can anything definite
be inferred from the allusions of Isaiah to the hypocrisy of his
contemporaries in spreading forth their hands and making many
It was otherwise after the return from Babylon. With the
institution and spread of synagogues designed for the two-fold
purpose, that in every place Moses should be read every Sabbath
day, and to provide a place 'where prayer was wont to be made' -
the practice of public worship soon became general. In Neh. xi.
17 we find already a special appointment 'to begin the
thanksgiving in prayer.' Afterwards progress in this direction
REGULATIONS OF THE RABBIS
The Apocrypha afford painful evidence how soon all
degenerated into a mere form, and how prayer became a work of
selfrighteousness, by which merit might be obtained. This brings
us to the Pharisees of the New Testament, with their ostentatious
displays of devotion, and the hypocrisy of their endless prayers,
full of needless repetitions and odious self-assertion. At the
outset we here meet, as usual, at least seeming contradictions.
On the one hand, the Rabbis define every attitude and gesture in
prayer, fix the most rigid formulas, trace each of them up to one
of the patriarchs, and would have us believe that the pious havc
their nine hours of devotion, laying down this curious principle,
suited to both worlds-- 'Prolix prayer protracts life.' On the
other hand, they also tell us that prayer may be contracted
within the narrowest limits, and that a mere summary of the
prescribed formulas is sufficient; while some of their number go
the length of strenuously contending for free prayer. In fact,
free prayer, liturgical formulas, and special prayers taught by
celebrated Rabbis, were alike in use. Free prayer would find its
place in such private devotions as are described in the parable
of the Publican and the Pharisee. It also mingled with the
prescribed liturgical formulas. It may be questioned whether,
even in reference to the latter, the words were always rigidly
adhered to, perhaps even accurately remembered. Hence the Talmud
lays it down (in the treatise Berachoth), that in such cases it
sufficed to say the substance of the prescribed prayers.
That liturgical formulas were used not only in the Temple,
but in the daily private devotions, cannot be doubted. The first
trace of them appears so early as in the arrangement of the
Psalter, each of its first four books closing with a 'eulogy,' or
benediction, and the fifth book with a psalm which may be
designated as one grand doxology. Although it is a task of no
The Rabbis ascribe the origin of the morning prayers to
Abraham, that of the afternoon prayers to Isaac, and of the
evening prayers to Jacob. In each case supposed Scriptural
evidence for it is dragged in by some artificial mode of
difficulty to separate the ancient prayers of Temple-times from
the later additions, which have gradually swelled into the
present Jewish prayer-book, it has, in great measure,
successfully been accomplished? Besides such liturgical formulas,
some prayers taught by celebrated Rabbis have been preserved. It
was in accordance with this practice that John the Baptist seems
to have given forms of prayer to his followers, and that the
disciples asked the Saviour to teach them to pray.
The prayer spoken by the Lord far transcended any that
Jewish Rabbis ever conceived, even where its wording most nearly
approaches theirs. It is characteristic that two of its
petitions find no real counterpart in the prayers of the
Rabbis. These are: 'Forgive us our trespasses,' and 'Lead us not
into temptation.' In the Temple the people never responded to the
prayers by an Amen, but always with this benediction, 'Blessed be
the name of the glory of His kingdom for ever!' This formula was
traced up to the patriarch Jacob, on his death-bed. In regard to
'the kingdom,' whatever the Rabbis understood by it, the feeling
was so strong, that it was said: 'Any
1 We here specially refer to the classical work of Zunz, Die
Gottesd. Vortr: d. Juden, Berlin, 1832.
2 Luke xi. i.
3 It must always be kept in mind that such expressions as 'Our
Father,' 'Thy kingdom come,' and others like them, meant in the
mouth of the Rabbis a predominance of the narrowest Judaism; in
fact, the subjection of all the world to Rabbinical ordinances,
and the carnal glory of Israel.
4 Thus the words in our Authorised Version, Matt. vi. 13, 'For
Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Amen,' which are wanting in all the most ancient MSS., are only
the common Temple-formula of response, and as such may have found
their way into the text. The word 'Amen' was in reality a solemn
asseveration or a mode of oath.
prayer which makes not mention of the kingdom, is not a prayer at
ATTITUDE IN PRAYER
The attitude to be observed during prayer is very accurately
defined by the Rabbis. The worshipper was to stand, turning
towards the Holy Place; he was to compose his body and his
clothes, to draw his feet close together, to cast down his eyes,
at least at the beginning of his prayer, to cross his hands over
his breast, and to 'stand as a servant before his master, with
all reverence and fear.' Even the priests, while pronouncing the
priestly blessing, were to look to the ground. In regard to the
special manner of bowing before the Lord, a distinction was made
between bending the knees, bending the head, and failing
prostrate on the ground. The latter was not deemed 'fit for every
man, but only for such as knew themselves righteous men, like
TWO ELEMENTS IN PRAYER
In general the Rabbis distinguish two elements in prayer, on
the ground of the two terms used by Solomon, 2 --thanksgiving and
petition. To these correspond the two kinds of early Jewish
Elements in prayer: the Eulogies and the Tephillah. 3 And thus
far correctly, as the two Hebrew words for prayer indicate, the
one adoration, the other supplication, or, rather, intercession.
Both kinds of prayer found expression in the Temple
services. But only after the manifestation of Him, who in His
person united the Divine with the human
1 See Lightfoot, "De Minist. Templi", ch. X.
2 1 Kings viii. 28.
3 we regret not to enter more fully on the subject of prayer
among the Hebrews or on an analysis of the remnants of prayers in
Templetimes preserved to us. But this is not the place for such
discussions. See, however, a note farther on in this chapter.
4 Delitzsch, "Bibi. Com. caber Is." p.45 note.
nature, could adoration and supplication be fully called out.
Nay, the idea of supplication would only be properly realised
after the outpouring of the Spirit of adoption, whereby the
people of God also became the children of God. Hence it is not
correct to designate sacrifices as 'prayers without words.' 1
The sacrifices were in no sense prayers, but rather the
preparation for prayer. The Tabernacle was, as its Hebrew
designation shows, the place 'of meeting' 2 between God and
Israel; the sacrificial service, that which made such meeting
possible; and the priest (as the root of the word implies), he
who brought Israel near to God. Hence prayer could only follow
after the sacrifice; and its appropriate symbol and time was the
burning of incense. This view is expressed in the words: 'Let my
prayer be set forth before Thee as incense,' 3 and authorit-
atively confirmed in Rev. v. 8, where we read of the 'golden
vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints.'
BURNING THE INCENSE
It is this burning of incense which in the Gospel is alluded
to in connection with the birth of John the Baptist. 4 Zacharias
had come up from the hill country of Judaea, from the neighbour
hood of priestly Hebron, to minister in the Temple. 5 His course
--that of Abia - was on duty for the week, and the 'house of his
fathers' for that special day. More than that, the lot had fallen
on Zacharias for the most honourable
1 Pressel, in Herzog's Encycl. vol. iv. p.680.
2 The Ohel Moed., 'tabernacle of meeting' - not 'of the congrega-
tion,' as in our A.V. See Bahr's "Symbol." vol. i., and Keil's
"Arch." vol. i., on this and kindred subjects.
3 Psa. cxli. 2.
4 Luke 1. 9.
5 It has, however, been suggested that the correct reading of
Luke 1. 39 is not 'a city of Judah,' but 'the city of Juttah.'
Compare Josh. xxi. I6.
service in the daily ministry - that of burning the incense on
the golden altar within the Holy Place. For the first time in his
life, and for the last, would this service devolve on him. As the
pious old priest ministered within the Holy Place, he saw with
such distinctness that he could afterwards describe the very
spot, Gabriel standing, as if he had just come out from the Most
Holy Place, between the altar and the table of shewbread, 'on the
right side of the altar.' So far as we know, this was the first
and only angelic appearance in the Temple. For we cannot attach
serious importance to the tradition that, during the forty
years of his pontificate, an angel always accompanied Simeon the
just, when on the Day of Atonement he entered and left the Most
Holy Place, except the last year, when the angel left him in the
Sanctuary, to show that this was to be the end of his ministry.
What passed between Gabriel and Zacharias is beside our
present purpose. Suffice it to notice several details
incidentally mentioned in this narrative, such as that a special
lot was cast for this ministry; that the priest was alone in the
Holy Place while burning the incense; and that 'the whole
multitude of the people were praying without at the time of
FILLING THE LAVER
The lot for burning the incense was, as we have seen, the
third by which the order of the ministry for the day was
determined. The first lot, which in reality had been cast before
the actual break of day, was that to designate the various
priests who were to cleanse the altar and to prepare its
fires. The first of the priests on whom this lot had fallen
immediately went out. His brethren reminded him where the silver
chafing-dish was deposited, and not to touch any sacred vessel
till he had washed his hands and feet. He took no light with him;
the fire of the altar was sufficient for his office. Hands and
feet were washed by laying the right hand on the right foot, and
the left hand on the left. 1 The sound of the machinery, as it
filled the laver with water, admonished the others to be in
This machinery had been made by Ben Catin, who also altered
the laver so that twelve priests could at the same time perform
their ablutions. Otherwise the laver resembled that in the Temple
of Solomon. It was of brass. All the vessels in the Sanctuary
were of metal, the only exception being the altar of burnt-
offering, which was solid, and wholly of stones taken from
virgin soil, that had not been defiled by any tool of iron. The
stones were fastened together by mortar, pitch, and molten lead.
The measurement of the altar is differently given by Josephus and
the Rabbis. It seems to have consisted of three sections, each
narrower than the former: the base being thirty-two cubits wide,
the middle twenty-eight, and the top, where the fire was laid (of
course, not including the horns of the altar nor the space where
the priests moved), only twenty-four cubits. With the exception
of some parts of the altar, in which the cubit was calculated at
five hand-breadths, the sacred cubit of the Temple was always
reckoned at six handbreadths. Lastly, as readers of the New
Testament know, whatever touched the altar, or, indeed, any
sacred vessel, was regarded as 'sanctified' 2 but
1 Perhaps this might therefore be appropriately described as
washing 'the feet only,' John xiii. 10.
2 Matt. xxiii. 19.
no vessel could be dedicated to the use of the Temple which had
not been originally destined for it. 1
PREPARING THE ALTAR
But to return. While the assistant priests were waiting, the
first priest had taken the silver chafingdish, and scraped the
fire on the altar, removing the burnt coals, and depositing them
at a little distance north of the altar. As he descended, the
other priests quickly washed hands and feet, and took shovels and
prongs, with which they moved aside what of the sacrifices had
been left unburned from the previous evening, then cleaned out
the ashes, laying part on the great heap in the middle of the
altar, and the rest in a place whence it was afterwards carried
out of the Temple. The next duty was to lay on the altar fresh
wood, which, however, might be neither from the olive nor the
vine. For the fire destined to feed the altar of incense the wood
of the fig-tree was exclusively used, so as to secure good and
sufficient charcoal. The hitherto unconsumed pieces of the
sacrifice were now again laid upon the fire.
THE SECOND LOT
These preliminaries finished, the priests gathered once more
for the second lot. The priest on whom it fell was designated,
along with the twelve who stood nearest to him, for offering the
sacrifice and cleansing the candlestick and the altar of incense.
Immediately after casting this second lot, the president directed
one to ascend some 'pinnacle,' and see whether it was time to
kill the daily sacrifice. If the priest
1 It is impossible in this place to enter into full details
either about the laver, the altar of burnt-offering, or indeed
any of the vessels of the ministry. These and similar topics
belong to Biblical archaeology.
reported, 'The morning shineth already,' he was again asked, 'Is
the sky lit up as far as Hebron?' If so, the president ordered
the lamb to be brought from the chamber by the Beth-Moked, where
it had been kept in readiness for four days. Others fetched the
gold and silver vessels of service, of which the Rabbis enumerate
ninety-three. The sacrificial lamb was now watered out of a
golden bowl, and anew examined by torch-light, though its
Levitical fitness had been already ascertained the evening
before. Then the sacrificing priest, surrounded by his
assistants, fastened the lamb to the second of the rings on the
north side of the altar - in the morning in the western, in the
evening in the eastern corner. 1 The sacrifice was held
together a by its feet, the fore and hind feet of each side being
tied together 2 its head was laid towards the south and fastened
through a ring, and its face turned to the west, while the
sacrificing priest stood on the east side. The elders who
carried the keys now gave the order for opening the Temple gates.
As the last great gate slowly moved on its hinges, the priests,
on a signal given, blew three blasts on their silver trumpets,
summoning the Levites and the 'representatives' of the people
(the so-called 'stationary men') to their duties, and announcing
to the city that the morning sacrifice was about to be offered.
Immediately upon this the great gates which led into the Holy
Place itself were opened to admit the priests who were to cleanse
the candlestick and the altar of incense.
The opening of these gates was the signal for
1 The sacrifice was always offered against the sun.
2 This was a point in dispute between the orthodox and the
heterodox. See Maimonides, "Yad ha Chaz., Tr. On the Dally Sacr."
chap. i. 9.
actually slaying the sacrificial lamb.
SLAYING OF THE LAMB
The sacrifice was offered in the following manner. One
priest drew forward the windpipe and gullet of the sacrifice, and
quickly thrust upwards the knife, while another caught the blood
in a golden bowl. Standing at the east side of the altar, he
sprinkled it, first at the north east, and then at the south-west
corner, below the red line which ran round the middle of the
altar, in each case in such manner as to cover two sides of the
altar, or, as it is described, in the form of the Greek letter
(gamma). The rest of the blood was poured out at the base of the
altar. Ordinarily, the whole of this service would of course be
performed by priests. But it was valid even if the sacrifice had
been killed by a layman, or with an ordinary knife. Not so if the
blood were caught up in any but a consecrated vessel, or
sprinkled by other than the hands of a priest who at the time was
Levitically fit for the service.
THE ALTAR OF INCENSE AND
We proceed to describe the service of those whose duty it
was to cleanse the altar of incense and to dress the golden
candlestick in the Holy Place. A few particulars as to each of
these will not be out of place. The triumphal Arch of Titus in
Rome bears a representation of the golden mortars in which the
incense was bruised, and of the golden candlestick, but not of
the altar of incense. Still, we can form a sufficiently accurate
idea of its appearance. 1 It was square, one cubit long and
broad, and two cubits high, that is, half a cubit higher than the
1 See the notices in the Mishnah, and Maimonides, and the
articles in the Encycl., specially those of Herzog and Winer.
shewbread, but one cubit lower than the candlestick, and it had
'horns' at each of its four corners. It was probably hollow, and
its top covered with a golden plate, and like an Eastern roof,
surrounded by what resembled a balustrade, to prevent the coals
and incense from falling off. Below this balustrade was a massive
crown of gold. The incense burned upon this altar was prepared of
the four ingredients mentioned in Ex. xxx. 34, with which,
according to the Rabbis, seven others were mixed, besides a small
quantity of 'Ambra,' and of a herb which gave out a dense smoke.
To these thirteen substances 1 salt was of course added. The
mode of preparing the incense had been preserved in the family of
"Abtinas." The greatest care was taken to have the incense
thoroughly bruised and mixed. Altogether 368 pounds were made for
the year's consumption, about half a pound being used every
morning and evening in the service. The censer for the Day
of Atonement was different in size and appearance from that for
ordinary days. 2 The golden candlestick was like that delineated
in Ex. xxv. 31, etc., and is sufficiently known from its
representation on the Arch of Titus.
Now, while one set of priests were busy in the Court of the
Priests offering the sacrifice, the two on whom it devolved to
trim the lamps of the candlestick and to prepare the altar of
incense had gone into the Holy Place. As nearly as possible while
the lamb was being slain without, the first of these
1 Jos.' "Jewish War," v. 5, s.
2 Here also all details are beyond our present province. But
it may be remarked that the expression in Heb.ix.4, rendered in
our Authorised Version 'which had the golden censer,' implies no
more than that the censer belonged to the 'Holiest of all'
('having the golden censer'), not that the censer ordinarily
stood in the Most Holy Place.
priests took with his hands the burnt coals and ashes from the
golden altar, and put them into a golden vessel-called 'ten' -
and withdrew, leaving it in the sanctuary. Similarly, as the
blood of the lamb was being sprinkled on the altar of
burnt-offering, the second priest ascended the three steps, hewn
in stone, which led up to the candlestick. He trimmed and
refilled the lamps that were still burning, removed the wick and
old oil from those which had become extinguished, supplied fresh,
and relit them from one of the other lamps. But the large central
lamp, towards which all the others bent, and which was called the
western, because it inclined westward towards the Most Holy
Place, might only be relit by fire from the altar itself. Only
five, however, of the lamps were then trimmed; the other two were
reserved to a later period of the service.
SALTING THE SACRIFICE
Meantime in the Court of the Priests the sacrifice had been
hung on one of the hooks, flayed, cut up according to rules, 1
cleaned, and handed to the six priests who were successively to
carry up the pieces to the rise of the altar, where they were
salted and deposited. For 'every sacrifice must be salted with
salt' - nay, everything that was laid on the altar, except the
drink-offering. 2 At the same time, three other priests carried
up to the rise of the altar the daily meat-offering, that of the
high-priest, and the drink-offering. The skins of the sacrifices
were salted, and on the
1 These rules are so detailed that the priests, on any of whom
the lot might at any time fall for this service, must have
undergone very careful previous training.
2 To this the Rabbis add somewhat needlessly; the blood of
sprinkling and the wood for the fire!
eve of each Sabbath distributed among the 'course' of priests
that had been on ministry. 1
PRAYER BEFORE THE THIRD LOT
And now the most solemn part of the service was about to
begin. For the third time the priests assembled in the 'Hall of
Polished Stones,' to draw the third and the fourth lots. But
before doing so the president called on them to join in the
prescribed prayers. Tradition has preserved these to us.
Subjecting them to the severest criticism, 2 so as to eliminate
all later details, the words used by the priests before the third
and fourth lots were as follows:
'With great love hast Thou loved us, O Lord our God, and with
much overflowing pity hast Thou pitied us. Our Father and our
King, for the sake of our fathers who trusted in Thee, and Thou
taughtest them the statutes of life, have mercy upon us, and
enlighten our eyes 3 [in Thy law; cause our hearts to cleave to
Thy commandments; unite our hearts to love and to fear Thy name,
and we shall not be put to shame, world without end. For Thou
art a God who preparest salvation, and us hast Thou chosen from
among all nations and tongues, and hast, in truth, brought us
near to Thy great name, Selah, in order] that we in love may
praise Thee and Thy Unity. Blessed be the Lord, who in love
chose His people Israel.'
After this prayer the ten commandments were (at one time)
wont to be repeated, a practice discon-
1 This in the case of burnt-, sin-, and trespass-offerings. The
skins of the other offerings belonged to the offerers themselves.
2 Compare the very full discussion of the subject in Zunz,
"Gottesd. Vortr." PP.369 and following. Still, the matter is not
quite clear of critical difficulties.
3 The words here and afterwards within square brackets are
regarded by Jost (Gesch, d. Jud.) as a later addition.
tinued, however, lest the Sadducees should declare them to be the
only essential part of the law. Then all assembled said the
so-called 'Shema' 1 (Hear, O Israel, etc., Deut. vi. 4, etc.),
which may be designated as a sort of 'credo' or 'belief.' It
consisted of these three passages - Deut. vi. 4-9; xi. I3-2I; and
Numb. xv. 37-41.
THE LOT FOR INCENSE
After this the lot was cast for burning the incense. No one
might take part in it who had ministered in that office before, unless
in the very rare case that all present had previously so
officiated. Hence, while the other three lots held good for the
evening service, that for the incense required to be repeated. He
on whom this lot fell chose from among his friends his two
assistants. Finally, the third was succeeded by the fourth lot,
which designated those who were to lay on the altar the sacrifice
and the meat-offerings, and to pour out the drink-offering.
OFFERING THE INCENSE
The incensing priest and his assistants now approached first
the altar of burnt-offering. One filled with incense a golden
censer held in a silver vessel, while another placed in a golden
bowl the burning coals from the altar. As they passed from the
court into the Holy Place, they struck a large instrument (called
the 'Magrephah'), at the sound of which the priests hastened from
all parts to worship, and the Levites to occupy their places in
the service of song; while the chief of the 'stationary men'
ranged at the Gate of Nicanor such of the people as were to be
1 So named from the first word, Shema, 'Hear,' viz. 'O Israel,'
etc. By one of the strangest mistakes, Lightfoot confounds the
contents of the 'Shema' with those of the phylacteries.
fied that day. 1 Slowly the incensing priest and his assistants
ascended the steps to the Holy Place, preceded by the two priests
who had formerly dressed the altar and the candlestick, and who
now removed the vessels they had left behind, and, worshipping,
withdrew. Next, one of the assistants reverently spread the coals
on the golden altar; the other arranged the incense; and then the
chief officiating priest was left alone within the Holy Place, to
await the signal of the president before burning the incense.
It was probably while thus expectant that the angel Gabriel
appeared to Zacharias. As the president gave the word of command,
which marked that 'the time of incense had come,' 'the whole
multitude of the people without' withdrew from the inner court,
and fell down before the Lord, spreading their hands 2 in silent
IMAGERY OF THE APOCALYPSE
It is this most solemn period, when throughout the vast
Temple buildings deep silence rested on the worshipping
multitude, while within the sanctuary itself the priest laid the
incense on the golden altar, and the cloud of 'odours' 3 imagery
in the rose up before the Lord, which serves as the image of
heavenly things in this description: 4 'And when He had opened
the seventh seal, there
1 The description of the daily sacrifice is given at length in
the Mishnic tractate Tamid. See specially sect. v.
2 The practice of folding the hands together in prayer dates from
the fifth century of our era, and is of purely Saxon origin. See
Holemann, "Bibel St." i. p.150, quoted by Delitzscb, u. s.
3 Rev. v. 8. It is a curious inconsistency on the part of
Maimonides, to assign this rationalistic object for the use of
incense in the Templethat it counteracted the effluvia from the
4 Rev. viii. c, 3,4. According to Tamid, vi. 3, the incensing
priest 'bowed down,' or prayed, on withdrawing backwards from
the Holy Place.
was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour ... And
another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden
censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should
offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar
which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which
came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out
of the angel's hand.'
PRAYERS WITH INCENSE
The prayers offered by priests and people at this part of
the service are recorded by tradition as follows: 1 'True it is
that Thou art Jehovah our God, and the God of our fathers; our
King and the King of our fathers; our Saviour and the Saviour of
our fathers; our Maker and the Rock of our salvation; our Help
and our Deliverer. Thy name is from everlasting, and there is no
God beside Thee. A new song did they that were delivered sing to
Thy name by the sea-shore; together did all praise and own Thee
as King, and say, Jehovah shall reign who saveth Israel. 2
'Be graciously pleased, Jehovah our God, with Thy
1 A few details for those who wish fuller information. Tradition
has preserved two kinds of fragments from the ancient Jewish
liturgy in the times of the Temple. The one is called the
'Tephillah,' or Prayer, the other the 'Eulogies,' or
Benedictions. Of the latter there are eighteen, of which the
three first and the three last are the oldest, though four, five,
six, eight, and nine are also of considerable antiquity. Of the
ancient Tephilloth four have been preserved - two used before and
two (in the morning, one) after the Shema. The first morning and
the last evening Tephillah are strictly morning and evening
prayers. They were not used in the Temple service. The second
Tephillah before the Shema was said by the priests in the 'Hall
of Polished Stones,' and the first Tephillah after the Shema by
priests and people during the burning of incense. This was
followed by the three last of the eighteen Eulogies. Is it not a
fair inference, then, that while the priests said their prayers
in 'the hall,' the people repeated the three first Eulogies,
which are of equal antiquity with the three last, which we know
to have been repeated during the burning of incense?
2 Now follow in the text the three last 'Eulogies.'
people Israel, and with their prayer. Restore the service to the
oracle of Thy house; and the burnt-offerings of Israel and their
prayer accept graciously and in love; and let the service of Thy
people Israel be ever well-pleasing unto Thee.
'We praise Thee, who art Jehovah our God, and the God of our
fathers, the God of all flesh, our Creator, and the Creator from
the beginning! Blessing and praise be to Thy great and holy name,
that Thou hast preserved us in life and kept us. So preserve us
and keep us, and gather the scattered ones into Thy holy courts,
to keep Thy statutes, and to do Thy good pleasure, and to serve
Thee with our whole heart, as this day we confess unto Thee.
Blessed be the Lord, unto whom belongeth praise.
'Appoint peace, goodness, and blessing; grace, mercy, and
compassion for us, and for all Israel Thy people. Bless us, O our
Father, all of us as one, with the light of Thy countenance. For
in the light of Thy countenance hast Thou, Jehovah, our God,
given us the law of life, and loving mercy, and righteousness,
and blessing, and compassion, and life, and peace. And may it
please Thee to bless Thy people Israel at all times, and at every
hour with Thy peace. [May we and all Thy people Israel be
remembered and written before Thee in the book of life, with
blessing and peace and support]. Blessed be Thou, Jehovah, who
blessest Thy people Israel with peace.'
These prayers ended, he who had formerly trimmed the
candlestick once more entered the Holy Place, to kindle the two
lamps that had been left unlit; and then, in company with the
incensing priest, took his stand on the top of the steps which
led down to the Court of the Priests. 1 The other three who had
also ministered within the Holy Place gathered beside him, still
carrying the vessels of their ministry; while the rest of the
priests grouped themselves on the steps beneath. Meanwhile he on
whom the fourth lot had fallen had ascended to the altar. They
whose duty it was handed to him, one by one, the pieces of the
sacrifice. Upon each he pressed his hands, and next flung them
confusedly upon the fire, that so the flesh of the sacrifice
might be scattered as well as its blood sprinkled. After that he
ranged them in order, to imitate as nearly as possible the
natural shape of the animal. This part of the service was not
unfrequently performed by the high-priest himself.
The priests, who were ranged on the steps to the Holy Place,
now lifted their hands above their heads, spreading and joining
their fingers in a peculiar mystical manner. 2 One of their
number, probably the incensing priest, repeated in audible voice,
followed by the others, the blessing in Numb. vi. 24-26: 'Jehovah
bless thee, and keep thee Jehovah make His face shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up His countenance upon
thee, and give thee peace.' To this the people responded,
'Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, from everlasting to
everlasting.' In the modern synagogues
1 According to Maimonides, it was at this part of the service,
and not before, that the sound of the Magrephah summoned the
priests to worship, the Levites to their song, and the
'stationary men' to their duties.
2 The high-priest lifted his hands no higher than the golden
plate on his mitre. It is well known that, in pronouncing the
priestly blessing in the synagogue, the priests join their two
outspread hands, by making the tips of the first fingers touch
each other. At the same time, the first and second, and the
third and fourth fingers in each hand are knit together, while a
division is made between those fingers by spreading them apart. A
rude representation of this may be seen in Jewish cemeteries on
the gravestones of priests.
the priestly blessing is divided into three parts; it is
pronounced with a disguised voice and veiled faces, while the
word 'Lord' is substituted for the name of 'Jehovah.' 1 Of
course all this was not the case in the Temple. But if it had
been the duty of Zacharias, as incensing priest for the day, to
lead in the priestly blessing, we can all the better understand
the wonder of the people as 'he beckoned unto them, and remained
speechless,' 2 while they waited for his benediction.
After the priestly blessing the meat-offering was brought,
and, as prescribed in the law, oil added to it. Having been
salted, it was laid on the fire. Next the high-priest's daily
meat-offering was presented, consisting of twelve cakes broken in
halves-twelve halfcakes being presented in the morning, and the
other twelve in the evening. Finally, the appropriate
drink-offering was poured out upon the foundation of the altar. 3
THE TEMPLE MUSIC
Upon this the Temple music began. It was the duty of the
priests, who stood on the right and the left of the marble table
on which the fat of the sacrifices was laid, at the proper time
to blow the blasts on their silver trumpets. There might not be
less than two nor more than 120 in this service; the former in
accordance with the original institution, 4 the latter not to
exceed the number at the dedication of the first Temple. 5 The
priests faced the people, looking eastwards, while the Levites,
who crowded the fifteen steps which led
1 Dr.Geiger has an interesting argument to show that in olden
times the pronunciation of the so-called ineffable name
'Jehovah,' which now is never spoken, was allowed even in
ordinary life. See "Urschrift u. Uebers d. Bibel," p.259, etc,
2 Luke 1. 22.
3 Perhaps there may be an allusion to this in Rev. vi. 9,10.
4 Numb. x, 2.
5 2 Chron. v. 12.
from the Court of Israel to that of the Priests, turned westwards
to the sanctuary. On a signal given by the president, the priests
moved forward to each side of him who struck the cymbals.
Immediately the choir of the Levites, accompanied by instrumental
music, began the Psalm of the day. It was sustained by not less
than twelve voices, with which mingled the delicious treble from
selected voices of young sons of the Levites, who, standing by
their fathers, might take part in this service alone. The number
of instrumental performers was not limited, nor yet confined to
the Levites, some of the distinguished families which had
intermarried with the priests being admitted to this service. 1
The Psalm of the day was always sung in three sections. At
the close of each the priests drew three blasts from their silver
trumpets, and the people bowed down and worshipped. This closed
the morning service. It was immediately followed by the
sacrifices and offerings which private Israelites might have to
bring, and which would occasionally continue till near the time
for the evening service. The latter resembled in all respects
that of the morning, except that the lot was only cast for the
incense; that the incense was burned, not, as in the morning,
before, but after the pieces of the sacrifice had been laid on
the fire of the altar, and that the priestly blessing was
ORDER OF THE PSALMS
The following was the order of the Psalms in the daily
service of the Temple 2 On the first day of the week they sang
Psalm xxiv., 'The earth is the Lord's,' etc., in commemoration of
the first day of creation,
1 It is a curious coincidence that of the two families named in
the Talmud as admitted to this service, one - that of
Tsippariah--should have been 'from Emmaus' (Luke xxiv. 13).
2 "Tamid," sect. vii., and Maimonides in "Tamid."
when 'God possessed the world, and ruled in it.' On the second
day they sang Psalm xlviii., 'Great is the Lord, and greatly to
be praised,' etc., because on the second day of creation 'the
Lord divided His works, and reigned over them.' On the third day
they sang Psalm lxxxii., 'God standeth in the congregation of the
mighty,' etc., 'because on that day the earth appeared, on which
are the judge and the judged.' On the fourth day Psalm xciv. was
sung, 'O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth,' etc., 'because
on the fourth day God made the sun, moon, and stars, and will be
avenged on those that worship them. On the fifth day they sang
Psalm lxxxi., 'Sing aloud unto God our strength,' etc., 'because
of the variety of creatures made that day to praise His name.' On
the sixth day Psalm xciii. was sung, 'The Lord reigneth,' etc.,
'because on that day God finished His works and made man, and the
Lord ruled over all His works.' Lastly, on the Sabbath day they
sang Psalm xcii., 'It is a good thing to give thanks unto the
Lord,' etc., 'because the Sabbath was symbolical of the
millennial kingdom at the end of the six thousand years'
dispensation, when the Lord would reign over all, and His glory
and service fill the earth with thanksgiving.'
To be continued
You will note in the last sentance, the Jews believed in the
somewhat popular teaching still around today, the 7,000 year plan
of God. Like many other teachings of the Jews, this was and is an
error. The Bible nowhere states God is working on a 7,000 year
plan. If Bishop Usher is correct that man was created in 4,004
B.C. then the 6,000 years has come and gone, and the Kingdom of
God has not come to earth for the last 1,000 years. The truth of
the matter is that mankind has been on the earth for well more
than 6,000 years. Hence God was NEVER working on a 7,000 year