Priest, Hebrew (כֹּהֵן, koh, ἱερεύς ). We base the following article upon the Scriptural information, with important additions from other and more modern sources.) SEE SACERDOTAL ORDER.
I. General Considerations. —
1. The Name.
(1.) The English word priest is generally derived from the New Test. term presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, elder), the meaning of which is, however, essentially different from that which was intended by the ancient terms. It would come nearer if derived from προϊvστημι or προϊvσταμαι "to preside," etc. It would then correspond to Aristotle's definition of a priest, "presiding over things relating to the gods" (Polit. 3, 14), and with the very similar one in Heb 5:1: "Every high-priest taken from among men is constituted on the behalf of men, with respect to their concerns with God, that he may present both gifts and sacrifices for sins." It would then adequately represent the ἱερεύς (ὁ ἱερὰ ῥέζων) of the Greeks, and the sacerdos (a sacris faciundis) of the Latins. SEE PRESBYTER.
(2.) It is unfortunate that there is nothing like a consensus of interpreters as to the etymology of the above Hebrew word kohên. Its root-meaning, uncertain as far as Hebrew itself is concerned, is referred by Geseniuls (Thesaurus, s.v.) to the idea of prophecy. The kohên delivers a divine message, stands as a mediator between God and man, represents each to the other. This meaning, however, belongs to the Arabic, not to the Hebrew form, and Ewald connects the latter with the verb הֵכִין (hekin), to array, put in order (so in Isa 61:10), seeing in it a reference to the primary office of the priests as arranging the sacrifice on the altar (Alterthüm. p. 272). According to Saalschütz (Archaöl. der Hebr. c. 78), the primary meaning of the word is to minister, and he thus accounts for the wider application of the name (as below). Bahr (Symbolik, 2, 15) connects it with an Arabic root=קרב, to draw near.
Of these etymologies, the last has the merit of answering most closely to the received usage of the word. In the precise terminology of the law, it is used of one who may "draw near" to the Divine Presence (Ex 19:22; Ex 30:20) while others remain afar off, and is applied accordingly, for the most part, to the sons of Aaron, as those who were alone authorized to offer sacrifices. In some remarkable passages it takes a wider range. It is applied to the priests of other nations or religions, to Melchizedek (Ge 14:18), Potipherah (Ge 41:45), Jethro (Ex 2:16), to those who discharged priestly functions in Israel before the appointment of Aaron and his sons (Ex 19:22). A case of greater difficulty presents itself in 2Sa 8:18, where the sons of David are described as priests (kohanim), and this immediately after the name had been applied in its usual sense to the sons of Aaron. The writer of 1Ch 18:17, as if reluctant to adopt this use of the title, or anxious to guard against mistake, gives a paraphrase, "the sons of David were first at the king's hand" (A. V. "chief about the king"). The Sept. and A.V. suppress the difficulty by translating kohanim into αὐλάρχαι and "chief officers." The Vulg. more honestly gives "sacerdotes." Luther and Coverdale follow the Hebrew strictly, and give "priests." The received explanation is that the word is used here in what is assumed to be its earlier and wider meaning, as equivalent to rulers, or, giving it a more restricted sense, that the sons of David were Vicarii Regis, as the sons of Aaron were Vicarii Dei (comp. Patrick, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, ad loc., Keil on 1Ch 18:17). It can hardly be said, however, that this accounts satisfactorily for the use of the same title in two successive verses in two entirely different senses. Ewald accordingly (Alterthüm. p. 276) sees in it an actual suspension of the usual law in favor of members of the royal house, and finds a parallel instance in the acts of David (2Sa 6:14) and Solomon (1Ki 3; 1Ki 15). De Wette and Gesenius, in like manner, look on it as a revival of the old household priesthoods. These theories are in their turn unsatisfactory, as contradicting the whole spirit and policy of David's reign, which was throughout that of reverence for the law of Jehovah and the priestly order which it established. A conjecture midway between these two extremes is perhaps permissible. David and his sons may have been admitted not to distinctively priestly acts, such as burning incense (Nu 16:40; 2Ch 26:18), but to an honorary, titular priesthood. To wear the ephod in processions (2Sa 6:14), at the time when this was the special badge of the order (1Sa 22:18), to join the priests and Levites in their songs and dances, might have been conceded, with no deviation from the law, to the members of the royal house. There are some indications that these functions (possibly this liturgical retirement from public life) were the lot of the members of the royal house who did not come into the line of succession, and who belonged, by descent or incorporation, to the house of Nathan, as distinct from that of David (Zec 12:12). The very name Nathan, connected as it is with Nethinim, suggests the idea of dedication. SEE NETHINIM. The title kohên is given to Zabud, the son of Nathan (1Ki 4:5). The genealogy of the line of Nathan in Luke 3 includes many names-Levi, Eliezer, Malchi, Jochanan, Mattathias, Heli-which appear elsewhere as belonging to the priesthood. The mention in 1 Esdr. 5, 5 of Joiakim as the son of Zerubbabel, while in Ne 12:10 he appears as the son of Jeshua, the son of Josedek, indicates either a strange confusion, or a connection, as yet imperfectly understood, between the two families. The same explanation applies to the parallel cases of Ira the Jairite (2Sa 20:26), where the Sept. gives ἱερεύς. It is noticeable that this use of the title is confined to the reigns of David and Solomon, and that the synonym "at the king's hand" of 1Ch 18:17 is used in 25:2 of the sons of Asaph as "prophesying" under their head or father, and of tie relation of Asaph himself to David in the choral service of the Temple.
2. Essential Idea of the Hebrew Priesthood. — This may be called mediation; hence the fact that in the epistle to the Hebrews mediator and priest are considered as synonymous. Yet by this the specific object of the priesthood, in contradistinction to the two other theocratical offices of prophet and king, is by no means sufficiently expressed. The prophet is also a mediator between God and man, since he speaks to the latter in the name of tie former; while the king is the mediator of the judicial and executive power of God among his people, acting in the name of Jehovah. The priest also was clothed with representative power (De 18:5); but this power was mainly directed to represent the people as a holy people in the presence of Jehovah, and to prepare a way by which they themselves might approach God.
Israel was the full-grown family of God, and the domestic priesthood was to become a nation of priests, a royal priesthood (Ex 19:3-6; De 7:6; Nu 16:3). But that Israel was chosen to be the royal priesthood with respect to other nations, like many other things, was only expressed in idea, and not actually realized in fact. Israel was incapacitated by its natural sinfulness, and by its incessant transgressions of the very law through the fulfillment of which it was to be sanctified, to penetrate into the immediate presence of God (Ex 19:21). Hence the necessity of the nation having individual representatives to mediate between them and Jehovah. As a separate element the priesthood represented the nation as yet unfit to approach God. The people offered their gifts to God by means of a separated class from among themselves, and in connection with the propitiatory sacrifices this was calculated to keep alive the consciousness of their estrangement from God. The very place assigned to the priests in the camp was expressive of this idea, that they keep "the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel" (Nu 3:38).
The insufficiency of the priesthood was expressed by their being excluded from the most holy place. Only the high-priest, in whom the idea of this typical institution concentrated, could penetrate thither; and he only as the type of the future Mediator who was absolutely to lead us into the most holy of the world of spirits. Because the priests were not altogether removed from the sins of the people, even the chief-priest had access only once a year to the most holy, and that just on the day when the entire guilt of the nation was to be atoned for. He had on that occasion to confess his own sin, and bring a sin-offering; to lay aside his magnificent robes of office, and to officiate in a plain linen garment. Moreover, when he entered the dark, narrow space of the most holy, the cloud of incense was to cover the mercy-seat "that he die not" (Le 16:13).
The idea of mediation between God and the people is expressed by the priest presenting the atonement for the congregation, and the gifts of a reconciled people (הקרִיב, Le 21:7; Nu 16:5; Nu 17:5). Again, he brings back from God's presence-the blessing of grace, mercy, and peace (Le 9:24, etc.; Nu 6:22-27). In the earliest families of the race of Shem the offices of priest and prophet were undoubtedly united; so that the word originally denoted both, and at last the Hebrew idiom kept one part of the idea and the Arabic another (Gesenius, Hebraisches und Chalddisches Handworterbuch [Leips. 1823]). It is worthy of remark that all the persons who are recorded in Scripture as having legally performed priestly acts, but who were not strictly sacerdotal, come under the definition of a prophet, viz. persons who received supernatural communications of knowledge generally, as Adam, Abraham (Ge 20:7), Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Job, Samuel, Elijah (comp. Lu 1:70). The following definition of a priest may be found sufficiently comprehensive: A man who officiates or transacts with God on behalf of others, statedly, or for the occasion.
3. Origin of the Sacerdotal Order. — The idea of a priesthood connects itself, in all its forms, pure or corrupted, with the consciousness, more or less distinct, of sin. Men feel that they have broken a law. The power above them is holier than they are, and they dare not approach it. They crave for the intervention of some one of whom they can think as likely to be more acceptable than themselves. He must offer up their prayers, thanksgivings, sacrifices. He becomes their representative in "things pertaining unto God." He may become also (though this does not always follow) the representative of God to man. The functions of the priest and prophet may exist in the same person. The reverence which men pay to one who bears this consecrated character may lead them to acknowledge the priest as being also their king. The claim to fill the office may rest on characteristics belonging only to the individual man, or confined to a single family or tribe. The conditions of the priesthood, the office and influence of the priests, as they are among the most conspicuous facts of all religions of the ancient world, so do they occupy a like position in the history of the religion of Israel.
No trace of a hereditary or caste priesthood meets us in the worship of the patriarchal age. (For its occasional appearance in a general form, see § 3.) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob perform priestly acts, offer sacrifices, "draw near" to the Lord (Ge 12:8; Ge 18:23; Ge 26:25; Ge 33:20). To the eldest son, or to the favored son exalted to the place of the eldest, belongs the "goodly raiment" (Ge 27:15), the "coat of many colors" (Ge 37:3), in which we find perhaps the earliest trace of a sacerdotal vestment (comp. Blunt, Script. Coincid. 1, 1; Ugolino, 13:138). Once, and once only, does the word kohên meet us as belonging to a ritual earlier than the time of Abraham. Melchizedek is "the priest of the most high God" (Ge 14:18). The argument of the Epistle to the Hebrews has a historical foundation in the fact that there are no indications in the narrative of Genesis 14 of any one preceding or following him in that office. The special divine names which are connected with him as the priest of "the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth," render it probable that he rose, in the strength of those great thoughts of God, above the level of the other inhabitants of Canaan. In him Abraham recognized a faith like his own, a life more entirely consecrated, the priestly character in its perfection. SEE MELCHIZEDEK. In the worship of the patriarchs themselves, the chief of the family, as such, acted as the priest. The office descended with the birthright, and might apparently be transferred with it. As the family expanded, the head of each section probably stood in the same relation to it. The thought of the special consecration of the first-born was recognized at the time of the Exodus (see below). A priesthood of a like kind continued to exist in other Shemitic tribes. The Book of Job, whatever may be its date, ignores altogether the institutions of Israel, and represents the man of Uz as himself "sanctifying" his sons, and offering burnt-offerings (Job 1:5). Jethro is a "priest of Midian" (Ex 2:16; Ex 3:1). Balak himself offers a bullock and a ram upon the seven altars on Pisgah (Nu 23:2, etc.).
In Egypt the Israelites came into contact with a priesthood of another kind, and that contact must have been for a time a very close one. The marriage of Joseph with the daughter of the priest of On — a priest, as we may infer from her name, of the goddess Neith (Ge 41:45) SEE ASENATH the special favor which he showed to the priestly caste in the years of famine (Ge 47:26), the training of Moses in the palace of the Pharaohs, probably in the colleges and temples of the priests (Ac 7:22)—all this must have impressed the constitution, the dress, the outward form of life upon the minds of the lawgiver and his contemporaries. Little as we know directly of the life of Egypt at this remote period, the stereotyped fixedness of the customs of that country warrants us in referring to a tolerably distant past the facts which belong historically to a later period, and in doing so we find coincidences with the ritual of the Israelites too numerous to be looked onl as accidental, or as the result of forces which were at work independent of each other, but taking parallel directions. As circumcision was common to the two nations (Herod. 2, 37), so the shaving of the whole body (ibid.) was with both part of the symbolic purity of the priesthood, once for all with the Levites of Israel (Nu 8:7), every third day with those of Egypt. Both are restricted to garments of linen (Herod. 2, 37, 81; Plutarch, De Isid. 4; Juven. 6:533; Ex 28:39; Eze 44; Eze 18). The sandals of byblus worn by the Egyptian priests were but little removed from the bare feet with which the sons of Aaron went into the sanctuary (Herod. 2, 37). For both there were multiplied ablutions. Both had a public maintenance assigned, and had besides a large share in the flesh of the victims offered (ibid. 1. c.). Over both there was one high-priest. In both the law of succession was hereditary (ibid.; comp. also Spencer, De Leg. Hebr. 3, 1, 5, 11; Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 3, 116). They were exempt from taxes. Wine was allowed to them only in the strictest moderation, and entire abstinence from it was required during the fasts, which were frequent (Plutarch, De Isid. 6). Each grade of the priests was distinguished by its peculiar costume. The high-priests, who, among other official duties, anointed the king, wore a mantle made of an entire leopard-skin; as did the king, when engaged in priestly duties. The sacerdotal order constituted one of the four principal castes, of the highest rank, next to the king, and from whom were chosen his confidential and responsible advisers (comp. 2Sa 8:18; 1Ch 18:17; Isa 19:11; Diodorus, 1, 73); they associated with the monarch, whom they assisted in the performance of his public duties, to whom they explained from the sacred books those lessons which were laid down for his conduct (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 1, 237, 257-282). SEE EGYPT.
Facts such as these leave scarcely any room for doubt that there was a connection of some kind between the Egyptian priesthood and that of Israel. The latter was not, indeed, an outgrowth or imitation of the former. The faith of Israel in Jehovah, the one Lord, the living God, of whom there was no form or similitude, presented the strongest possible contrast to the multitudinous idols of the polytheism of Egypt. The symbolism of the one was cosmic, "of the earth earthy," that of the other, chiefly, if not altogether, ethical and spiritual. But looking, as we must look, at the law and ritual of the Israelites as designed for the education of a people who were in danger of sinking into such a polytheism, we may readily admit that the education must have started from some point which the subjects of it had already reached, must have employed the language of symbolic acts and rites with which they were already familiar. The same alphabet had to be used, the same root-forms employed as the elements of speech, though the thoughts which they were to be the instruments of uttering were widely different. The details of the religion of Egypt might well be used to make the protest against the religion itself at once less startling and more attractive. At the time of the Exodus there was as yet no priestly caste. The continuance of solemn sacrifices (Ex 5:1,3) implied, of course, a priesthood of some kind, and priests appear as a recognized body before the promulgation of the Law on Sinai (Ex 19:22). It has been supposed that these were identical with the "young men of the children of Israel" who offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings (Ex 24:5) either as the first-born or as representing in the freshness of their youth the purity of acceptable worship (comp. the analogous case of" the young man the Levite" in Judges 17:and Ewald, Alterthümer, p. 273). On the principle, however, that difference of title implies in most cases difference of functions, it appears more probable that the "young men" were not those who had before performed priestly acts, but were chosen by the lawgiver to be his ministers in the solemn work of the covenant, representing, in their youth, the stage in the nation's life on which the people were then entering (Keil, ad loc.). There are signs that the priests of the older ritual were already dealt with as belonging to an obsolescent system. Though they were known as those that "come near" to the Lord (Ex 19:22), yet they are not permitted to approach the Divine Presence on Sinai. They cannot "sanctify" themselves enough to endure that trial. Aaron alone, the future high-priest, but as yet not known as such, enters with Moses into the thick darkness. It is noticeable also that at this transition-stage, when the old order was passing away, and the new was not yet established, there is the proclamation of the truth, wider and higher than both, that the whole people was to be "a kingdom of priests" (Ex 19:6). The idea of the life of the nation was that it was to be as a priest and a prophet to the rest of mankind. They were called to a universal priesthood (comp. Keil, ad loc.). As a people, however, they needed a long discipline before they could make the idea a reality. They drew back from their high vocation (Ex 20:18-21). As for other reasons, so also for this, that the central truth required a rigid, unbending form for its outward expression, a distinctive priesthood was to be to the nation what the nation was to mankind. The position given to the ordinances of the priesthood indicated with sufficient clearness that it was subordinate, not primary, a means and not an end. Not in the first proclamation of the great laws of duty in the Decalogue (Ex 20:1-17), nor in the application of those laws to the chief contingencies of the people's life in the wilderness, does it find a place. It appears together with the ark and the tabernacle, as taking its position in the education by which the people were to be led towards the mark of their high calling. As such we have to consider it.
II. Personal Characteristics of the Hebrew Priesthood, -
1. Consecration. — The functions of the HIGH-PRIEST, the position and history of the LEVITES as the consecrated tribe, have been fully discussed under those heads. It remains to notice the characteristic facts connected with "the priests, the sons of Aaron," as standing between the two. Solemn as was the subsequent dedication of the other descendants of Levi, that of the priests involved a yet higher consecration. A special word (קָדִשׁ, kadásh) was appropriated to it. Their old garments were laid aside. Their bodies were washed with clean water (Ex 29:4; Le 8:6) and anointed with the perfumed oil, prepared after a prescribed formula, and to be used for no lower purpose (Ex 29:7; Ex 30:22-33). The sons of Aaron, it may be noticed, were simply sprinkled with the precious oil (Le 8:30). Over Aaron himself it was poured till it went down to the skirts of his clothing (Le 8:12; Ps 133:2). The new garments belonging to their office were then put on them (see below). The truth that those who intercede for others must themselves have been reconciled was indicated by the sacrifice of a bullock as a sin-offering, on which they solemnly laid their hands, as transferring to it the guilt which had attached to them (Ex 29:10; Le 8:18). The total surrender of their lives was represented by the ram slain as a burnt- offering, a "sweet savor" to Jehovah (Ex 29:18; Le 8:21). The blood of these two was sprinkled on the altar, offered to the Lord. The blood of a third victim, the ram of consecration, was used for another purpose. With it Moses sprinkled the right ear, that was to be open to the divine voice; the right hand and the right foot, that were to be active in divine ministrations (Ex 29:20; Le 8:23-24). Lastly, as they were to be the exponents, not only of the nation's sense of guilt, but of its praise and thanksgiving, Moses was to "fill their hands" with cakes of unleavened bread and portions of the sacrifices, which they were to present before the Lord as a wave-offering. This appears to have been regarded as the essential part of the consecration; and the Heb. "to fill the hand" is accordingly used as a synonym for "to consecrate" (Ex 29:9; 2Ch 13:9). The whole of this mysterious ritual was to he repeated for seven days, during which they remained within the Tabernacle, separated from the people, and not till then was the consecration perfect (comp. on the meaning of all these acts, Bähr, Symbolik, vol. 2, ch. 5, § 2). Moses himself, as the representative of the Unseen King, is the consecrator, the sacrificer throughout these ceremonies; as the channel through which the others receive their office, he has for the time a higher priesthood than that of Aaron (Selden, De Synedr. 1, 16; Ugolino, 12:3). In accordance with the principle which runs through the history of Israel, he, the ruler, solemnly divests himself of the priestly office and transfers it to another. The fact that he had been a priest was merged in his work as a lawgiver. Only once in the language of a later period is the word kohên applied to him (Ps 99:6).
The consecrated character thus imparted did not need renewing. It was a perpetual inheritance transmitted from father to son through all the centuries that followed. We do not read of its being renewed in the case of any individual priest of the sons of Aaron. Only when the line of succession was broken, and the impiety of Jeroboam intruded the lowest of the people into the sacred office, do we find the reappearance of a like form (2Ch 13:9) of the same technical word. The previous history of Jeroboam and the character of the worship which he introduced make it probable that, in that case only, the ceremonial was, to some extent, Egyptian in its origin. In after-times the high-priest took an oath (Heb 7:23) to bind him, as the Jews say, to a strict adherence to established customs (Mishna, Yoma, 1, 5).
2. Dress. — The "sons of Aaron" thus dedicated were to wear during their ministrations a special apparel at other times apparently they wore the common dress of the people. The material of the sacred garments was to be linen, and not wool (Eze 44; Eze 17; Le 21:1-10); but Ewald (Alterthümer, p. 317), Josephus (Ant. 4:8), and the rabbins (Mass. Kilaim, p. 9) maintain that the holy garments were made of a mixture of wool and linen, called שִׁעִטּנֵז (shaatnez); and a typical meaning is found in this by Braun (Vest. Sac. Hebr. § 30), as if it was to signify the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood; while Eze 44:17, which restricts the material to linen, was considered significant of the simplicity of the New Test. SEE HETEROGENEOUS. The prohibition in Le 19:19; De 22:11 against the people generally wearing any garments of such "mingled" material was hence explained by Josephus that they might not assume what was characteristic of the priests (Ant. 4:11). But the more satisfactory and natural view is that the priests only wore linen, and that the Israelites were prohibited from wearing the mixture to teach them that even in garments they should avoid all needless artificiality, and to respect the creation of God in the simplicity of the material. SEE LINEN. It is well known that the Roman poets speak of the Egyptian priests as the linigeri, the wearers of linen (Juvenal, Sat. 6; Ovid, Met. 1). The reason for fixing on this material is given in Eze 44:18; but the feeling that there was something unclean in clothes made from the skin or wool of an animal was common to other nations. Egypt has already been mentioned. The Arab priests in the time of Mohammed wore linen only (Ewald, Alterthüm. p. 289). As there were some garments common both to the priests and the high priest, we shall begin with those of the former, taking them in the order in which they would be put on. SEE APPAREL.
(1.) The first was be מִכנסֵי בָד, "linen breeches," or drawers (Ex 28:42; Sept. περισκελῆ λινά; Vulg. feminalia linea). These extended from the loins to the thighs, and were "to cover their nakedness." The verecundia of the Hebrew ritual in this and in other places (Ex 20:26; Ex 28:42) was probably a protest against some of the fouler forms of nature-worship, as e.g. in the worship of Peor (Maimonides, Moreh Nebochim, 3, 45; Ugolino, 13:385), and possibly, also, in some Egyptian rites (Herod. 2, 60). According to Josephus, whose testimony, however, of course relates only to his own time, they reached only to the middle of the thigh, where they were tied fast (Ant. 3, 7, 1). Such drawers were worn universally in Egypt. In the sculptures and paintings of that country the figures of workmen and servants have no other dress than a short kilt or apron, sometimes simply bound about the loins and lapping over in front; other figures have short loose drawers; while a third variety of this article, fitting closely and extending to the knees, appears in the figures of some idols, as in the cut. This last sort of drawers seems to have been peculiar in Egypt to the gods, and to the priests, whose attire was often adapted to that of the idols on which they attended. The priests, in common with other persons of the upper classes, wore the drawers under other robes. No mention occurs of the use of drawers by any other class of persons in Israel except the priests, on whom it was enjoined for the sake of decency. SEE BREECHES.
(2.) Over the drawers was worn the "coat of fine linen" (כּתֹנֶת שֵׁשׁ, kethôneth shesh, tunica byssina, Ex 39:27), a close-fitting shirt or cassock, such as was worn by men in general (Ge 37:3), also by women (2Sa 13:18; Song 5; Song 3), next to the skin. It was white, but with a diamond or chess-board pattern on it (Bahr, Symb. vol. 2, ch. 3, § 2). This came nearly to the feet (ποδήρης χιτών, Josephus, Ant. 3, 7, 1), and was to be woven in its garment-shape (not cut out and then sewed together), like the χιτὼν ἄῤῥαφος of Joh 19:23, in which some interpreters have even seen a token of the priesthood of him who wore it (Ewald, Gesch. 5, 177; Ugolino, 13:218). Here also modern Eastern customs present an analogy in the woven, seamless ihram worn by the Mecca pilgrims (Ewald, Alterthüm. p. 289). Josephus further states that it sat close to the body, and had sleeves, which were tied fast to the arms, and was girded to the breast a little above the elbows by a girdle. It had a narrow aperture about the neck, and was tied with certain strings hanging down from the edge over the breast and back, and was fastened above each shoulder (Ant. 3, 7, 2). But this garment. in the case of the priests and high priest, was to be broidered (Ex 28:4), כּתֹנֶת תִּשׁבֵּוֹ, "a broidered coat," by which Gesenius understands a coat of cloth worked in checkers or cells. Braun compares it to the reticulum in the stomach of ruminant animals (De Vestitu, 1, 17). The Sept. gives χιτὼν κοσυμβωτός, which seems to refer to the tassels or strings; Vulg. linea stricta, which seems to refer to its close fitting.
(3.) The whole tunic was gathered at the waist by the "girdle" (אִבנֵט, abnet, Ex 28:40; Sept. ζώνη; Vulg. balteus; comp. Eze 44:17-19). This was also worn by magistrates (Isa 22:21). The girdle for the priests was to be made of fine twined linen, and blue and purple and scarlet of needlework (Isa 39:8). Josephus describes it as often going round, four fingers broad, but so loosely woven that it might be taken for the skin of a serpent; and that it was embroidered with flowers of scarlet and purple and blue, but that the warp was nothing but linen. The beginning of its circumvolution was at the breast, and when it had gone often round it was there tied, and hung loosely down to the ankles while the priest was not engaged in any laborious service, for in that position it appeared in the most agreeable manner to the spectators; but when he was obliged to assist at the offering of sacrifices and to do the appointed service, in order that he might not be hindered in his operations by its motion, he threw it to the left hand and bore it on his right shoulder (Ant. 3. 7, 2). The mode of its hanging down is illustrated in Fig. 4, where the girdle is also richly embroidered, while the imbricated appearance of the girdle (רֹקֵם מִעֲשֵׂה) may be seen very plainly in Fig. 1. The next cut (Fig. 3), of a priestly scribe of ancient Egypt, offers an interesting specimen of both tunic and girdle. SEE GIRDLE.
(4.) Upon their head they were to wear a turban (מִגבּעָה, migbeâh; Ex 28:40; Sept. κίδαρις; Vulg. tiara; A… "cap" or "bonnet," which two words are there synonymous) in the form of a cup-shaped flower, also of fine linen (Ex 39:28). In the time of Josephus it was circular, covering about half the head, something like a crown, made of thick linen swathes doubled round many times and sewed together, surrounded by a linen cover to hide the seams of the swathes, and sat so close that it would not fall off when the body was bent down (Ant. 3, 7, 3).
These garments they might wear at any time in the Temple, whether on duty or not, but they were not to sleep in them (Josephus, War, 5, 5, 7). When they became soiled they were not washed or used again, but torn up to make wicks for the lamps in the Tabernacle (Selden, De Synedr. 13:11). In Eze 42:14; Eze 44:17-19, there are directions that the priests should take off their garments when they had ministered, and lay them up in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; but these directions occur in a visionary representation of a temple, which all agree has never been realized, the particulars of which, though sometimes derived from known customs, yet at other times differ from them widely. The garments of the inferior priests appear to have been kept in the sacred treasury (Ezra 2, 69; Ne 7:70). They had besides them other "clothes of service," which were probably simpler, but are not described (Ex 31:10; Ezra 42, 14). In all their acts of ministration they were to be barefooted. This is inferred
(a) from the absence of any direction as to a covering for the feet;
(b) from the later custom;
(c) from the universal feeling of the East. Shoes were worn as a protection against defilement. In a sanctuary there was nothing that could defile.
Then, as now, this was the strongest recognition of the sanctity of a holy place which the Oriental mind could think of (Ex 3:5; Jos 5:15), and throughout the whole existence of the Temple service, even though it drew upon them the scorn of the heathen (Juven. Sat. 6, 159), and seriously affected the health of the priests (Ugolino, 8:976; 13:405), it was scrupulously adhered to.
The dress of the high-priest was precisely the same with that of the common priests in all the foregoing particulars; in addition to which he had
(1.) a robe, מעִיל , meil (Ex 28:4, ποδήρη, tunica). This was not a mantle, but a second and larger coat without sleeves; a kind of surtout worn by the laity, especially persons of distinction (Job 1:20; Job 2; Job 12, by kings; 1Sa 15:27; 1Sa 18:4; 1Sa 24:5-12). This garment, when intended for the high-priest, and then called "the robe of the ephod," was to be of one entire piece of woven work, all of blue, with an aperture for the neck in the middle of the upper part, having its rim strengthened and adorned with a border. The hem had a kind of fringe, composed of tassels, made of blue, purple, and scarlet, in the form of pomegranates; and between every two pomegranates there was a small golden bell, so that there was a bell and a pomegranate alternately all round (Ex 28:31-35). The use of these bells may have partly been that by the high-priest shaking his garment at the time of his offering incense on the great day of expiation, etc., the people without might be apprised of it, and unite their prayers with it (comp. Ecclus. 45, 9; Lu 1; Lu 10; Ac 10:4; Re 8:3-4). Josephus describes this robe of the ephod as reaching to the feet, and consisting of a single piece of stuff parted where the hands came out (Joh 19:23). He also states that it was tied round with a girdle embroidered with the same colors as the former, with a mixture of gold interwoven (Ant. 3, 7, 4). It is highly probable that this garment was also derived from Egyptian usage. There are instances at Thebes of priests wearing over the great-coat a loose sleeveless robe, which exposes the sleeves of the inner tunic. The fringe of bells and pomegranates seems to have been the priestly substitute for the fringe bound with a blue ribbon, which all the Israelites were commanded to wear. Many traces of this fringe occur in the Egyptian remains. The use assigned to it, "that looking on this fringe they should remember the Lord's commandments," seems best explicable by the supposition that the Egyptians had connected some superstitious ideas with it (Nu 15:37-40).
(2.) The ephod, אֵפוֹד, ἐπωμίς, superhumerale (Ex 28:4). This was a short cloak covering the shoulders and breast. It is said to have been worn by Samuel while a youth ministering before the Lord (1Sa 2; 1Sa 18); by David while engaged in religious service (2Sa 6:14); and by inferior priests (1Sa 22:18). But in all these instances it is distinguished as a linen ephod, and was not a sacred but an honorary vestment, as the Sept. understands it in 2Sa 6:14, στολὴν ἔξαλλον. The ephod of the high priest was to be made of gold, of blue, of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work, חשֵׁב. Though it probably consisted of one piece, woven throughout, it had a back part and a front part, united by shoulder-pieces. It had also a girdle; or, rather, strings went out from each side and tied it to the body. On the top of each shoulder was to be an onyx stone, set in sockets of gold, each having engraven upon it six of the names of the children of Israel, according to the precedence of birth, to memorialize the Lord of the promises made to them (Ex 28:6-12,29). Josephus gives sleeves to the ephod (Ant. 3, 7, 5). It may be considered as a substitute for the leopard-skin worn by the Egyptian high-priests in their most sacred duties, as in Fig. 4, where the ephod appears no less plainly. In other figures of Egyptian priests, the shoulder-pieces were equally apparent. They are even perceptible in Fig. 1. The Egyptian ephod is, however, highly charged with all sorts of idolatrous figures and emblems, and even with scenes of human sacrifices. The Sept. rendering of חשֵׁב, "cunning work," is ἔργον ὑφαντὸν ποικιλτοῦ, a woven-work of the embroiderer, a word which especially denotes a manufacturer of tissues adorned with figures of animals (Strabo, 17 p. 574, Sieb.). In the earlier liturgical costume, the ephod is mentioned as belonging to the high-priest only (Ex 28:6-12; Ex 39:2-5). At a later period it is used apparently by all the priests (1Sa 22:18), and even by others, not of the tribe of Levi, engaged in religious ceremonial (2Sa 6:14). SEE EPHOD. Then came
(3.) the breastplate, חשֶׁן, chôshen (Sept. περιστήθιον; Vulg. rationale); a gorget ten inches square, made of the same sort of cloth as the ephod, and doubled so as to form a kind of pouch or bag (Ex 29:9), in which were to be put the Urim and Thummim, which are also mentioned as if already known (Ex 28:30). The external part of this gorget was set with four rows of precious stones-the first row a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle; the second, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper-set in a golden socket. Upon each of these stones was to be engraven the name of one of the sons of Jacob. In the ephod, in which there was a space left open sufficiently large for the admission of this pectoral, were four rings of gold, to which four others at the four corners of the breastplate corresponded; the two lower rings of the latter being fixed inside. It was confined to the ephod by means of dark-blue ribbons, which passed through these rings; and it was also suspended from the onyx stones on the shoulder by chains of gold, or, rather, cords of twisted gold threads, which were fastened at one end to two other larger rings fixed in the upper corners of the pectoral, and by the other end going round the onyx stones on the shoulders, and returning and being fixed in the larger ring. The breastplate was further kept in its place by a girdle, made of the same stuff, which Josephus says was sewed to the breastplate, and which, when it had gone once round, was tied again upon the seam and hung down. Here is another adaptation and correction of the costume of the higher Egyptian priests, who wore a large, splendid ornament upon the breast, often a winged scarabaeus, the emblem of the sun, as in the cut, Fig. 5, which exhibits the connecting ring and chain to fasten it to the girdle.
(4.) The remaining portion of dress peculiar to the high-priest was the mitre, מִצנֵבֶת, mitsnebeth (Sept. χιΣαπλχ; Vulg. cidaris, Ex 28:4). The Bible says nothing of the difference between this and the turban of the common priests. It is, however, called by a different name. It was to be of fine linen (ver. 39). Josephus says it was the same in construction and figure with that of the common priest, but that above it there was another, with swathes of blue, embroidered; and round it was a golden crown, polished, of three rows, one above another, out of which rose a cup of gold, which resembled the calyx of the herb called by Greek botanists hyoscyamus lie ends a most labored description by comparing the shape of it to a poppy (Ant. 3, 7, 6). Upon comparing his account of the bonnet of the priests with the mitre of the high-priest, it would appear that the latter was conical. The cut, Fig. 6, presents the principal forms of the mitres worn by the ancient priests of Egypt, and affords a substantial resemblance of that prescribed to the Jews, divested of idolatrous symbols, but which were displaced to make way for a simple plate of gold, bearing the inscription, "Holiness to Jehovah." This plate (צִיוֹ, tsits; Sept. πέταλον; Vulg. lamina) extended from one ear to the other, being bound to the forehead by strings tied behind, and further secured in its position by a blue ribbon attached to the mitre (Ex 28:36-39; Ex 39:30; Le 8:9). Josephus says this plate was preserved to his own day (Ant. 8:3, 8; see Reland, De Spol. Templi, p. ]32). Such was the dress of the high priest: see a description of its magnificence in corresponding terms in Ecclus. 1, 5- 16.
Josephus had an idea of the symbolical import of the several parts of the pontifical dress. He says that being made of linen signified the earth; the blue denoted the sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and in the noise of its bells resembling thunder. The ephod showed that God had made the universe of four elements, the gold relating to the splendor by which all things are enlightened. The breastplate in the middle of the ephod resembled the earth, which has the middle place of the world. The girdle signified the sea, which goes round the world. The sardonyxes declare the sun and moon. The twelve stones are the twelve months or signs of the zodiac. The mitre is heaven, because blue (Ant. 3, 7, 7). He appears, however, to have had two explanations of some things, one for the Gentiles, and another for the Jews. Thus in this section he tells his Gentile readers that the seven lamps upon the golden candlesticks referred to the seven planets; but to the Jews he represents them as an emblem of the seven days of the week (War, 7:5, 5; Whiston's notes ad loc.). It was not always worn by the high-priest. It was exchanged for one wholly of linen, and therefore white, though of similar construction, when on the day of expiation he entered into the holy of holies (Le 16:4,23); and neither he nor the common priests wore their appropriate dress, except when officiating. It was for this reason, according to some, that Paul, who had been long absent from Jerusalem, did not know that Ananias was the high-priest (Ac 23:5). Bahr (Symbolik, vol. 2, ch. 3, § 1, 2) finds a mystic meaning in the number, material, color, and shape of the priestly vestments, discusses each point elaborately, and dwells in § 3 on the differences between them and those of the Egyptian priesthood. According to Fairbairn (Typol. of Script.), the garments represent the office, and the person who was officially invested was to have them sprinkled with a mixture of oil and sacrificial blood (Kurtz, Opfercultus, p. 292). These garments, which were first worn at the consecration, and which were preserved in the Temple when not actually required, were not allowed except to such as were legally consecrated for service, though they belonged to the house of Aaron. These garments were "holy garments" (Ex 28:4), made 'for glory and for beauty;" but they were not only for a glorious ornament, for the whole of the vestments bore a symbolical meaning, and the inscription on the golden plate which adorned the brow of the high-priest, "Holiness to Jehovah," might be properly applied to all the holy garments. The four pieces of the priestly attire were each and all of them required none was to fail; nor was it permitted to wear more than was prescribed; and the warning— "that he die not" (ver. 35, 43) seems to bear upon an exact fulfillment of the divine command in this, no less than in other things. The shining white of the linen garments typified that the servants of him who covers himself with light as with a garment (Ps 104:2; Daniel 2, 22; 7:9), and who dwelleth "in light which no man can approach unto" (1Ti 6:16), are clothed typically in light (Ex 34:29); so that the ministers should minister in the earthly sanctuary in the same livery as his ministers wear in the heavenly sanctuary (Da 12:6; Eze 10:2,7; Mt 17:2; Mt 28:3; Ac 10:30). But light (consequently white, as the most perfect reflection of light) is universally the type of salvation (Job 18:5, etc.; Ps 27:1; Isa 59:9), of righteousness (Ps 37:6; Mal 4:2), of purity and holiness (1 John 1, 5, 7); just as darkness, black, is the type of wickedness, uncleanness, etc. (Isa 5; Isa 20; La 4:7-8; Joh 3:19; Ro 3:12; 2Co 6:14). It is not without meaning that the priests, like the angels, are specially called the holy ones.
3. Regulations. — The idea of a consecrated life, which was thus asserted at the outset, was carried through a multitude of details. Each probably had a symbolic meaning of its own. Collectively they formed an education by which the power of distinguishing between things holy and profane, between the clean and the unclean, and so ultimately between moral good and evil, was awakened and developed (Eze 44; Eze 23). Before they entered the tabernacle the priests were to wash their hands and their feet (Ex 30:17-21; Ex 40:382). During the time of their ministration thiey were to drink no wine or strong drink (Le 10:9; Eze 44; Eze 21). Their function was to be more to them than the ties of friendship or of blood, and, except in the case of the nearest relationships (six degrees are specified, Le 21:1-5; Eze 44; Eze 25), they were to make no mourning for the dead. The high-priest, as carrying the consecrated life to its highest point, was to be above the disturbing power of human sorrow even in these instances. Public calamities seem to have been an exception, for Joacim the high-priest, and the priests, in such circumstances, ministered in sackcloth with ashes on their mitres (Judith 4:14, 15; comp. Joe 1:13). Customs which appear to have been common in other priesthoods were (probably for that reason) forbidden them. They were not to shave their heads. They were to go through their ministrations with the serenity of a reverential awe, not with the orgiastic wildness which led the priests of Baal, in their despair, to make cuttings in their flesh (Le 19:28; 1Ki 18:28), and carried those of whom Atys was a type to a more terrible mutilation (De 23:1). The same thought found expression in two other forms affecting the priests of Israel. The priest was to be one who, as the representative of other men, was to be physically as well as liturgically perfect. The idea of the perfect body, as symbolizing the holy soul, was, as might be expected, wide-spread among the religions of heathenism. "Sacerdos non integri corporis quasi mall ominis res vitanda est" (Seneca, Controv. 4:2). As the victim was to be without blemish, so also was the sacrificer (comp. Bahr, Symbol. vol. 2. ch. 2, § 3). The law specified in broad outlines the excluding defects (Le 21:17-21), and these were such as impaired the purity, or at least the dignity, of the ministrant. The morbid casuistry of the later rabbins drew up a list of not less than 144 faults or infirmities which involved permanent, and of twenty- two which involved temporary deprivation from the priestly office (Carpzov. App. Crit. p. 92, 93; Ugolino, 12:54; 13:903); and the original symbolism of the principle (Philo, De Vict. and De Monarch. 2, 5) was lost in the prurient minuteness which, here as elsewhere, often makes the study of rabbinic literature a somewhat repulsive task. If the Christian Church has sometimes seemed to approximate, in the conditions it laid down for the priestly character, to the rules of Judaism, it was yet careful to reject the Jewish principles, and to rest its regulations simply on the grounds of expediency (Constt. Apost. 77, 78). The marriages of the sons of Aaron were, in like manner, hedged round with special rules. There is, indeed, no evidence for what has sometimes been asserted, that either the high priest (Philo, De Monarch. 2, 11; 2, 229, ed. Mang.; Ewald, Alterthüm. p. 302) or the other sons of Aaron (Ugolino, 12:52) were limited in their choice to the women of their own tribe, and we have some distinct instances to the contrary. It is probable, however, that the priestly families frequently intermarried, and it is certain that they were forbidden to marry an unchaste woman, or one who had been divorced, or the widow of any but a priest (Le 21:7,14; Eze 44; Eze 22). The prohibition of marriage with one of an alien race was assumed, though not enacted in the law; and hence the reforming zeal of a later time compelled all who had contracted such marriages to put away their strange wives (Ezr 10:18), and counted the offspring of a priest and a woman taken captive in war as illegitimate (Josephus, Ant. 3, 10; 11:4; c. Apion. 1, 7), even though the priest himself did not thereby lose his function (Ugolino, 12:924). The high-priest was to carry the same idea to a yet higher point, and was to marry none but a virgin in the first freshness of her youth (Le 21:13). Later casuistry fixed the age within the narrow limits of twelve and twelve and a half (Carpzov. App. Crit. p. 88). It followed, as a matter of necessity, from these regulations that the legitimacy of every priest depended on his genealogy. A single missing or faulty link would vitiate the whole succession. To those genealogies, accordingly, extending back unbroken for 2000 years, the priests could point, up to the time of the destruction of the Temple (Josephus, c. Apion. 1, 7). In later times, wherever the priest might live-Egypt, Babylon, Greece-he was to send the register of all marriages in his family to Jerusalem (ibid.). They could be referred to in any doubtful or disputed case (Ezr 2:62; Ne 7:64). In them was registered the name of every mother as well as of every father (ibid.; comp. also the story already referred to in Suidas, s.v. Ι᾿ησοῦς). It was the distinguishing mark of a priest, not of the Aaronic line, that he was ἀπάτωρ, ἀμήτωρ, ἀγενεαλόγητος (Heb 7:3), with no father or mother named as the ground of his title.
The age at which the sons of Aaron might enter upon their duties was not defined by the law, as that of the Levites was. Their office did not call for the same degree of physical strength; and if twenty-five in the ritual of the Tabernacle (Nu 8:24) and twenty in that of the Temple (1Ch 23:27) was the appointed age for the latter, the former were not likely to be kept waiting till a later period. In one remarkable instance, indeed, we have an example of a yet earlier age. The boy Aristobulus at the age of seventeen ministered in the Temple in his pontifical robes, the admired of all observers, and thus stirred the treacherous jealousy of Herod to remove so dangerous a rival (Josephus, Ant. 15:3, 3). This may have been exceptional, but the language of the rabbins indicates that the special consecration of the priest's life began with the opening years of manhood. As soon as the down appeared on his cheek the young candidate presented himself before the Council of the Sanhedrim, and his genealogy was carefully inspected. If it failed to satisfy his judges, he left the Temple clad in black, and had to seek another calling; if all was right so far, another ordeal awaited him. A careful inspection was to determine whether he was subject to any one of the 144 defects which would invalidate his priestly acts. If he was found free from all blemish, he was clad in the white linen of the priests, and entered on his ministrations. If the result of the examination was not satisfactory, he was relegated to the half-menial office of separating the sound wood for the altar from that which was decayed and worm-eaten, but was not deprived of the emoluments of his office (Lightfoot, Temple Service, ch. 6).
4. Functions. — The work of the priesthood of Israel was, from its very nature, more stereotyped by the Mosaic institutions than any other element of the national life. The functions of the Levites-less defined, and therefore more capable of expansion-altered, as has been shown, SEE LEVITE, from age to age; but those of the priests continued throughout substantially the same, whatever changes might be brought about in their social position and organization. The duties described in Exodus and Leviticus are the same as those recognized in the books of Chronicles, and those which the prophet- priest Ezekiel sees in his vision of the Temple of the future. They, assisting the high-priest, were to watch over the fire on the altar of burnt-offerings, and to keep it burning evermore both by day and night (Le 6:12; 2Ch 13:11); to feed the golden lamp outside the veil with oil (Ex 27:20-21; Le 24:2); to offer the morning and evening sacrifices, each accompanied with a meal-offering and a drink offering, at the door of the tabernacle (Ex 29:38-44). These were the fixed, invariable duties; but their chief function was that of being always at hand to do the priest's office for any guilty, or penitent, or rejoicing Israelite. The worshipper might come at any time. If he were rich and brought a bullock, it was the priest's duty to slay the victim, to place the wood upon the altar, to light the fire, to sprinkle the altar with the blood (Le 1:5). If he were poor and brought a pigeon, the priest was to wring its neck (Le 1:15). In either case he was to burn the meal- offering and the peace offering which accompanied the sacrifice (Le 2:2,9; Le 3:11). After the birth of every child, the mother was to come with her sacrifice of turtle-doves or pigeons (Le 12:6; Lu 2; Lu 22-24), and was thus to be purified from her uncleanness. A husband who suspected his wife of unfaithfulness might bring her to the priest, and it belonged to him to give her the water of jealousy as an ordeal, and to pronounce the formula of execration (Nu 5:11-31). Lepers were to come, day by day, to submit themselves to the priest's inspection, that he might judge whether they were clean or unclean, and when they were healed perform for them the ritual of purification (Le 13:14; comp. Mr 1:44). All the numerous accidents which the law looked upon as defilements or sins of ignorance had to be expiated by a sacrifice, which the priest of course had to offer (Leviticus 15:1-33). As they thus acted as mediators for those who were laboring under the sense of guilt, so they were to help others who were striving to attain, if only for a season, the higher standard of a consecrated life. The Nazarite was to come to them with his sacrifice and his wave-offering (Nu 6:1-21). In the final establishments at Jerusalem it belonged to the priests to act as sentinels over the holy place, as to the Levites to guard the wider area of the precincts of the Temple (Ugolino, 13, 1052).
Other duties of a higher and more ethical character are hinted at, but were not and probably could not be, the subject of a special regulation. They were to teach the children of Israel the statutes of the Lord (Le 10:11; De 33:10; 2Ch 15:3; Eze 44:23-24). The "priest's lips" (in the language of the last prophet looking back upon the ideal of the order) were to "keep knowledge" (Mal 2:7). Through the w hole history, with the exception of the periods of national apostasy, these acts, and others like them, formed the daily life of the priests who were on duty. The three great festivals of the year were, however, their seasons of busiest employment. The pilgrims who came up by tens of thousands to keep the feast came each with his sacrifice and oblation. The work at such times was, on some occasions at least, beyond the strength of the priests in attendance, and the Levites had to be called in to help them (2Ch 29:34; 2Ch 35:14). Other acts of the priests of Israel, significant as they were, were less distinctively sacerdotal. They were to bless the people at every solemn meeting, and that this part of their office might never fall into disuse, a special formula of benediction was provided (Nu 6:22-27). During the journeys in the wilderness it belonged to them to cover the ark and all the vessels of the sanctuary with a purple or scarlet cloth before the Levites might approach them (Nu 4:5-15). As the people started on each day's march they were to blow "an alarm" with long silver trumpets (Nu 10:1-8)-with two if the whole multitude were to be assembled, with one if there was to be a special council of the elders and princes of Israel. With the same instruments they were to proclaim the commencement of all the solemn days, and days of gladness (Nu 10:10); and throughout all the changes in the religious history of Israel this adhered to them as a characteristic mark. Other instruments of music might be used by the more highly trained Levites and the schools of the prophets, but the trumpets belonged only to the priests. They blew them (but in that case the trumpets were of rams' horns) in the solemn march round Jericho (Jos 6:4), in the religious war which Judah waged against Jeroboam (2Ch 13:12), when they summoned the people to a solemn penitential fast (Joe 2:1,15). In the service of the second Temple there were never to be less than twenty-one or more than eighty-four blowers of trumpets present in the Temple daily (Ugolino, 13:1011). The presence of the priests on the field of battle for this purpose, often in large numbers, armed for war, and sharing in the actual contest (1Ch 12:23,27; 2Ch 20:21-22), led, in the later periods of Jewish history, to the special appointment at such times of a war-priest, deputed by the Sanhedrim to be the representative of the high-priest, and standing next but one to him in the order of precedence (comp. Ugolino, 12:1031 [De Sacerdote Casfrensi]; 13:871). Jost (Judenth. 1, 153) regards the war- priest as belonging to the ideal system of the later rabbins, not to the historical constitution of Israel. De 20:2, however, supplies the germ out of which such an office might naturally grow. Judas Maccaboeus, in his wars, does what the war-priest was said to do (I Mace. 3, 56).
Other functions are intimated in Deuteronomy which might have given them greater influence as the educators and civilizers of the people. They were to act (whether individually or collectively does not distinctly appear) as a court of appeal in the more difficult controversies in criminal or civil cases (De 17:8-13). A special reference was to be made to them in cases of undetected murder, and they were thus to check the vindictive blood-feuds which it would otherwise have been likely to occasion (21, 5). It must remain doubtful, however, how far this order kept its ground during the storms and changes that followed. The judicial and the teaching functions of the priesthood remained probably for the most part in abeyance through the ignorance and vices of the priests. Zealous reformers kept this before them as an ideal (2Ch 17:7-9; 2Ch 19:8-10; Eze 44; Eze 24), but the special stress laid on the attempts to realize it shows that they were exceptional. The teaching functions of the priest have probably been unduly magnified by writers like Michaelis, who aim at bringing the institutions of Israel to the standard of modern expediency (Comm. on Laws of Moses, 1, 35-52), as they have been unduly depreciated by Saalschütz and Jahn.
At first Aaron was to burn incense on the golden altar every morning when he dressed the lamps, and every evening when he lighted them, but in later times the common priest performed this duty (Lu 1:8-9); to offer, as the Jews understand it, daily, morning and evening, the peculiar meal-
offering he offered on the day of his consecration (Exodus 29); to perform the ceremonies of the great day of expiation (Leviticus 16); to arrange the shewbread every Sabbath, and to eat it in the holy place (Le 24:9); but he must abstain from the holy things during his uncleanness (Le 22:1-3); also if he became leprous, or contracted uncleanness (ver. 4-7). If he committed a sin of ignorance, he must offer a sin offering for it (Le 4:3-13); and so for the people (ver. 12-22). He was to eat the remainder of the people's meal offerings with the inferior priests in the holy place (Le 6:16); to judge of the leprosy in the human body or garments (Le 13:2-59); to adjudicate legal questions (De 17:12). Indeed, when there was no divinely inspired judge, the high-priest was the supreme ruler till the time of David, and again after the Captivity. He must be present at the appointment of a new ruler or leader (Nu 27:19), and ask counsel of the Lord for the ruler (ver. 21). Eleazar, with others, distributes the spoils taken from the Midianites (Nu 21:21,26). To the high-priest also belonged the appointment of a maintenance from the funds of the sanctuary to an incapacitated priest (1Sa 2:36, margin). Besides these duties, peculiar to himself, he had others in common with the inferior priests. Thus, when the camp set forward, "Aaron and his sons" were to take the tabernacle to pieces, to cover the various portions of it in cloths of various colors (1Sa 4:5-15), and to appoint the Levites to their services in carrying them; to bless the people in the form prescribed (1Sa 6:21), to be responsible for all official errors and negligences (1Sa 18:1), and to have the general charge of the sanctuary (ver. 5).
5. Maintenance. — Functions such as these were clearly incompatible with the common activities of men. At first the small number of the priests must have made the work almost unintermittent, and, even when the system of rotation had been adopted, the periodical absences from home could not fail to be disturbing and injurious, had the priests been dependent on their own labors. The serenity of the priestly character would have been disturbed had they had to look for support to the lower industries. It may have been intended (see above) that their time, when not liturgically employed, should be given to the study of the law, or to instructing others in it. On these grounds, therefore, a distinct provision was made for them. The later rabbins enumerate no less than twenty-four sources of emolument. Of these the chief only are given here (Ugolino, 13:1124). They consisted,
(1) of one tenth of the tithes which the people paid to the Levites— i.e. one percent on the whole produce of the country (Nu 18:26-28).
(2.) Of a special tithe every third year (De 14:28; De 26:12).
(3.) Of the redemption-money, paid at the fixed rate of five shekels a head, for the first-born of man or beast (Nu 18:14-19). It is to be noticed that the law, by recognizing the substitution of the Levites for the first-born, and ordering payment only for the small number of the latter, in excess of the former, deprived Aaron and his sons of a large sum which would otherwise have accrued to them (Numbers 3, 44-51).
(4.) Of the redemption-money paid in like manner for men or things especially dedicated to the Lord (Leviticus 27).
(5.) Of spoil, captives, cattle, and the like, taken in war (Nu 31:25-47).
(6.) Of what may be described as the perquisites of their sacrificial functions, the shewbread, the flesh of the burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, trespass-offerings (Nu 18:8-14; Le 6:26,29; Le 7:6-10), and, in particular, the heave-shoulder and the wave-breast (Le 10:12-15).
(7.) Of an undefined amount of the first-fruits of corn, wine, and oil (Ex 23:19; Le 2; Le 14; De 26:1-10). Of some of these, as "most holy," none but the priests were to partake (Le 6:29). It was lawful for their sons and daughters (Le 10:14), and even in some cases for their home-born slaves, to eat of others (Le 22:11). The stranger and the hired servant were in all cases excluded (Le 22:10).
(8.) On their settlement in Canaan the priestly families had thirteen cities assigned them, with "suburbs" or pasture-grounds for their flocks (Jos 21:13-19.) While the Levites were scattered over all the conquered country, the cities of the priests were within the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, and this concentration was not without its influence on their subsequent history. SEE LEVITE. These provisions were obviously intended to secure the religion of Israel against the dangers of a caste of pauper-priests, needy and dependent, and unable to bear their witness to the true faith. They were, on the other hand, as far as possible removed from the condition of a wealthy order. Even in the ideal state contemplated by the book of Deuteronomy, the Levite (here probably used generically, so as to include the priests) is repeatedly marked out as an object of charity, along with the stranger and the widow (De 12:12,19; De 14:27-29). During the long periods of national apostasy, tithes were probably paid with even less regularity than they were in the more orthodox period that followed the return from the Captivity (Ne 13:10; Mal 3:8-10). The standard of a priest's income, even in the earliest days after the settlement in Canaan, was miserably low (Jg 17:10). Large portions of the priesthood fell, under the kingdom, into a state of abject poverty (comp. 1Sa 2:36). The clinging evil throughout their history was not that they were too powerful and rich, but that they sank into the state from which the law was intended to preserve them, and so came to "teach for hire" (Mic 3:11; comp. Saalschütz, Archäologie der Hebriaer, 2, 344-355).
It will be noticed that neither the high-priest nor common priests received "any inheritance" at the distribution of Canaan among the several tribes (Nu 18:20; De 18:1-2), but were maintained, with their families, upon certain fees, dues, perquisites, etc., arising from the public services, which they enjoyed as a common fund. Perhaps the only distinct prerogative of the high-priest was a tenth part of the tithes assigned to the Levites (18, 28; comp. Ne 10:38); but Josephus represents this also as a common fund (Ant. 4:4, 4).
6. Classification and Statistics. — The earliest historical trace of any division of the priesthood and corresponding cycle of services belongs to the time of David. Jewish tradition indeed recognizes an earlier division, even during the life of Aaron, into eight houses (Gem. Hieros. Taanith, in Ugolino, 13:873), augmented during the period of the Shiloh-worship to sixteen, the two families of Eleazar and Ithamar standing in both cases on an equality. It is hardly conceivable, however, that there could have been any rotation of service while the number of priests was so small as it must have been during the forty years of sojourn in the wilderness, if we believe Aaron and his lineal descendants to have been the only priests officiating. The difficulty of realizing in what way the single family of Aaron were able to sustain all the burden of the worship of the tabernacle and the sacrifices of individual Israelites may, it is true, suggest the thought that possibly in this, as in other instances, the Hebrew idea of sonship by adoption may have extended the title of the "Sons of Aaron" beyond the limits of lineal descent, and, in this case, there may be some foundation for the Jewish tradition. Nowhere in the later history (to we find any disproportion lile that of three priests to 20.000 Levites. The office of supervision over those that "kept the charge of the sanctuary," entrusted to Eleazar (Nu 3; Nu 32), implies that some others were subject to it besides Ithamar and his children, while these very keepers of the sanctuary are identified in ver. 38 with the sons of Aaron who are encamped with Moses and Aaron on the east side of the tabernacle. The allotment of not less than thirteen cities to those who bore the name, within little more than forty years from the Exodus, tends to the same conclusion, and at any rate indicates that the priesthood were not intended to be always in attendance at the tabernacle, but were to have homes of their own, and therefore, as a necessary consequence, fixed periods only of service. Some notion may be formed of the number on the accession of David from the facts (1) that not less than 3700 tendered their allegiance to him while he was as yet reigning at Hebron over Judah only (1Ch 12:27), and (2) that one twenty- fourth part were sufficient for all the services of the statelier and more frequented worship which he established. To this reign belonged, accordingly, the division of the priesthood into the four-and-twenty "courses" or orders מִחלקוֹת (Sept. διαιρέσεις, ἐφημερίαι, 1Ch 24:1-19; 2Ch 23:8; Lu 1:5), each of which was to serve in rotation for one week, while the further assignment of special services during the week was determined by lot (Lu 1:9) under a subordinate prefect (2Ki 11:5,7), but all attended at the great festivals (2Ch 5:11). The first of these courses was that which had Jehoiarib at the head of it. It was reckoned the most honorable. Josephus values himself on his descent from it (Life, § 1). Mattathias, the father of the Maccabees, descended from it (1 Macc. 2:1). Abijah was the head of the eighth course, to which Zacharias, the father of the Baptist, belonged (Lu 1:5). Each course appears to have commenced its work on the Sabbath, the outgoing priests taking the morning sacrifice, and leaving that of the evening to their successors (2Ch 23:8; Ugolino, 13:319). In this division, however, the two great priestly houses did not stand on an equality. The descendants of Ithamar were found to have fewer representatives than those of Eleazar (a diminution that may have been caused partly by the slaughter of the priests who accompanied Hophni and Phinehas [Ps 78; Ps 64], partly by the massacre at Nob), and sixteen courses accordingly were assigned to the latter, eight only to the former (1Ch 24:4; comp. Carpzov. App. Crit. p. 98). The division thus instituted was confirmed by Solomon, and continued to be recognized as the typical number of the priesthood. It is to be noted, however, that this arrangement was to some extent elastic. Any priest might be present at any time, and even perform priestly acts, so long as he did not interfere with the functions of those who were officiating in their course (Ugolino, 13:881), and at the great solemnities of the year as well as on special occasions like the opening of the Temple, they were present in great numbers. On the return from the Captivity there were found but four courses out of the twenty-four, each containing, in round numbers, about a thousand (Ezr 2:36-39). The causes of this great reduction are not stated, but large numbers must have perished in the siege and storm of Jerusalem (La 4:16), and many may have preferred remaining in Babylon. Out of these returning exiles, however, to revive, at least, the idea of the old organization, the four-and twenty courses were reconstituted, bearing the same names as before, and so continued till the destruction of Jerusalem (Josephus, Ant. 7:14, 7). If we may accept the numbers given by Jewish writers as at all trustworthy, the proportion of the priesthood to the population of Palestine during the last century of their existence as an order must have been far greater than that of the clergy has ever been in any Christian nation. Over and above those that were scattered in the country and took their turn, there were not fewer than 24,000 stationed permanently at Jerusalem and 12,000 at Jericho (Gemar. Hieros. Taanith. fol. 67, in Carpov. App. Crit. p. 100). It was a Jewish tradition that it had never fallen to the lot of any priest to offer incense twice (Ugolino, 12:18). Oriental statistics are, however, always open to some suspicion those of the Talmuld not least so; and there is, probably, more truth in the computation of Josephums, who estimates the total number of the four houses of the priesthood, referring apparently to Ezr 2:36, at about 20,000 (c. Apion. 2, 7). Another indication of number is found in the fact that a "great multitude" could attach themselves to the "sect of the Nazarenes" (Ac 6:7), and so have cut themselves off, sooner or later, from the Temple services, without any perceptible effect upon its ritual. It was almost inevitable that the great mass of the order, under such circumstances, should sink in character and reputation. Poor and ignorant, despised and oppressed by the more powerful members of their own body, often robbed of their scanty maintenance by the rapacity of the high-priests, they must have been to Palestine what the clergy of a later period has been to Southern Italy dead weight on its industry and strength, not compensating for their unproductive lives by any services rendered to the higher interests of the people. The rabbinic classification of the priesthood, though belonging to a somewhat later date, reflects the contempt into which the order had fallen. There were
(1) the heads of the twenty-four courses, known sometimes as ἀρχιερεῖς;
(2) the large number of reputable officiating but inferior priests;
(3) the plebeii, or (to use the extremest formula of rabbinic scorn) the "priests of the people of the earth," ignorant and unlettered;
(4) those that, through physical disqualifications or other causes, were non-efficient members of the order, though entitled to receive their tithes (Ugolino, 12:18; Jost, Judenth. 1, 156).
Prideaux (Connection, 1, 129), following the Jewish tradition, affirms that only four of the courses returned from Babylon— Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim (for which last, however, the Babylonian Talmud has Joiarib)— because these four only are enumerated in Ezr 2:36-39; Ne 7:39-42. He accounts for the mention of other courses, as of Joiarib (1 Macc. 2, 1) and Abiah (Lu 1:5), by saying that those four courses were subdivided into six each, so as to keep up the old number of twenty- four, which took the names of the original courses, though not really descended from them. But this is probably an invention of the Jews, to account for the mention of only these four families of priests in the list of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7. However difficult it may be to say with certainty why only those four courses are mentioned in that particular list, we have the positive authority of 1Ch 9:10, and Ne 11:10, for asserting that Joiarib did return; and we have two other lists of courses, one of the time of Nehemiah (Ne 10:2-8), the other of Zerubbabel (Ne 12:1-7); the former enumerating twenty-one, the latter twenty-two courses; and the latter naming Joiarib as one of them, and adding, at ver. 19, the name of the chief of the course of Joiarib in the days of Joiakim. Thus there can be no reasonable doubt that Joiarib did return. The notion of the Jews does not receive any confirmation from the statement in the Latin version of Josephus (c. Apion. 2, 8) that there were four courses of priests, as it is a manifest corruption of the text for twenty- four, as Whiston and others have shown (note to Life of Josephus, § 1). The preceding table gives the three lists of courses which returned, with the original list in David's time to compare them by. The courses which cannot be identified with the original ones, but which are enumerated as existing after the return, are as follows:
For some account of the courses, see Lewis, Orig. Hebr. bk. 2, ch. 7.
III. Historical Review of the Hebrew Priesthood. —
1. In Patriarchal Times. —
(1.) We accede to the Jewish opinion that Adam was the first priest. The divine institution of sacrifices, immediately after the fall, seems connected with the event that "the Lord God made coats of skins to Adam and his wife, and clothed them" (Ge 3:21)-that is, with the skins of animals which had been offered in sacrifice, for the permission to eat animal food was not given till after the Deluge (Ge 1:29; Ge 9:3)—expressive of their faith in the promise of the victorious yet suffering "seed of the woman" (ver. 15); and judging from the known custom of his immediate descendants, we infer that Adam, now also become the head and ruler of the woman (ver. 16), officiated in offering the sacrifice as well on her behalf as his own. Judging from the same analogy, it seems further probable that Adam acted in the same capacity on behalf of his sons, Cain and Abel (and possibly of their children), who are each said to have "brought" his respective offering, but not to have personally presented it (Ge 4:3-5). The place evidently thus indicated would seem to have been the situation of "the cherubim," at the east of the garden of Eden (Ge 3:24), called "the face" (Ge 4:14), and "the presence of the Lord" (ver. 16; comp. Hebrew of Ex 34:24; Le 9:5), and from which Jehovah conferred with Cain (Ge 4:9): circumstances which, together with the name of their offering, מִנחָה, which, sometimes at least, included bloody sacrifices in after-times (1Sa 2:17; 1Sa 26:19; Mal 1:13-14), and the appropriation of the skins to the offerer (comp. Le 7:8), would seem like the rudiments of the future Tabernacle and its services, and when viewed in connection with many circumstances incidentally disclosed in the brief fragmentary account of things before the Exodus-such as the Sabbath (Ge 2:2-3), the distinction observed by Noah, and his burnt- offerings upon the altar of clean and unclean beasts (Ge 8:20), the prohibition of blood (Ge 9:4), tithes (Ge 14:20), priestly blessing (ver. 19), consecration with oil, and vows (Ge 28:18-22), the Levirate law (Ge 38:8), weeks (Ge 29:27), distinction of the Hebrews by their families (Ex 2:1), the office of elder during the bondage in Egypt (Ex 3:16), and a place of meeting with Jehovah (Ex 5:22; comp. 25. 22)-would favor the supposition that the Mosaic dispensation, as it is called, was but an authoritative re- arrangement of a patriarchal Church instituted at the fall. The fact that Noah officiated as the priest of his family, upon the cessation of the Deluge, is clearly recorded in Ge 8:20, where we have an altar built, the ceremonial distinctions in the offerings already mentioned, and their propitiatory effect, "the sweet savor," all described in the words of Leviticus (Le 1; Le 9; Le 11:47). These acts of Noah, which seem like the resumption rather than the institution of an ordinance, were doubtless continued by his sons and their descendants, as heads of their respective families. Following our arrangement, the next glimpse of the subject is afforded by the instance of Job, who "sent and sanctified his children" after a feast they had held, and offered burnt-offerings, עֹלוֹת, "according to the number of them all," and "who did this continually," either constantly or after every feast (Job 1:5). A direct reference, possibly to priests, is lost in our translation of Job 12:19, "he leadeth princes (כֹּהֲנִים; Sept. ἱερεῖς;' Vulg. sacerdotes; a sense adopted in Dr. Lee's Translation [Lond. 1837]) away spoiled." May not the difficult passage, Job 33:23, contain an allusion to priestly duties? A case is there supposed of a person divinely chastised in order to improve him (19, 22): "If then there be a messenger (מָלָאך, which means priest, Ec 5:6; Mal 2:6) with him," "an interpreter" (מֵלִיוֹ, or mediator generally, 2Ch 32:31; Isa 43:27, one among a thousand, or of a family, Jg 6:15, "my family," literally "my thousand," comp. Nu 1:16, "to show to man his uprightness," or, rather, "duty," Pr 14:2, part of the priest's office in such a case, Mal 2:7; comp. De 24:8), then such an individual "is gracious," or, rather, will supplicate for him, and saith, "Deliver him from going down into the pit," or grave, for "I have found a ransom," a cause or ground in him for favorable treatment, namely, the penitence of the sufferer, who consequently recovers (25:29). The case of Abraham and Abimelech is very similar (Ge 20:3-17), as also that of Job himself, and his three misjudging friends, whom the Lord commands to avert chastisement from themselves by taking to him bullocks and rams, which he was to offer for them as a burnt-offering, and to pray for them (Job 42:8). The instance of Abram occurs next in historical order, who upon his first entrance into Canaan, attended by his family, "built an altar, and called upon the name of the Lord" (Ge 12:7-8). Upon returning victorious from the battle of the kings, he is congratulated by Melchizedek, the Canaanitish king of Salem, and "priest of the most high God" (Ge 14:18). For the ancient union of the royal and sacerdotal offices, in Egypt and other countries, see Wilkinson's Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (Lond. 1842), 1, 245. Abram next appears entering into covenant with God as the head and representative of his seed; on which occasion those creatures only are slain which were appointed for sacrifice under the law (Ge 15:9-21). Isaac builds an altar, evidently as the head of his family (Ge 15:21,21), his younger son Jacob offers a sacrifice, זֶבָח (Ge 15:21,21), and "calls his brethren to eat of it" (comp. Le 7:15); builds an altar at Shalem (Ge 33:20), makes another by divine command, and evidently as the head of his household, at Bethel (Ge 35:1-7), and pours a drink-offering, נֶסֶך (comp. Nu 15:7, etc.), upon a pillar (ver. 14).
(2.) We next find Jethro, priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses, probably a priest of the true God (Ex 3:1), and possibly his father also (Ex 2:16), in the same capacity. In Ex 5:1,3, the whole nation of the Israelites is represented as wishing to sacrifice and to hold a feast to the Lord. The first step, though very remote, towards the formation of the Mosaic system of priesthood was the consecration of the first-born, in memory of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt (Ex 13:2,14-16); for, instead of these, God afterwards took the Levites to attend upon him (Nu 3:12). As to the popular idea, both among Jews and Christians, that the right of priesthood was thus transferred from the first-born generally to the tribe of Levi, or, rather, to one family of that tribe, we consider, with Patrick, that it is utterly groundless (Commentary on Exodus 19:22; Nu 3:12; see Vitringa, Observationes Sacrae, 2, 33; Outram, De Sacrificiis, 1, 4). The substance of the objections is that Aaron and his sons were consecrated before the exchange of the Levites for the first-born; that the Levites were afterwards given to minister unto them, but had nothing to do with the priesthood; and that the peculiar right of God in the first-born originated in the Exodus. The last altar, before the giving of the law, was built by Moses, probably for a memorial purpose only (Ex 17:15; comp. Jos 22:26-27). At this period the office of priest was so well understood, and so highly valued, that Jehovah promises as an inducement to the Israelites to keep his covenant, that they should be to him "a kingdom of priests" (Ex 19:6), which, among other honorable appellations and distinctions originally belonging to the Jews, is transferred to Christians (1Pe 2:9). The first introduction of the word priests, in this part of the history, is truly remarkable. It occurs just previous to the giving of the law, when, as part of the cautions against the too eager curiosity of the people, lest they should "break through unto the Lord and gaze" (Ex 19:21), it is added, "and let the priests which come near unto the Lord sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break through upon them" (ver. 22). Here, then, priests are incontestably spoken of as an already existing order, which was now about to be remodified. Nor is this the last reference to these anti-Sinaitic priests. Selden observes that the phrases "the priests the Levites" (De 17:9) and "the priests the sons of Levi" (De 21:5), and even the phrase "the Levites alone" (De 18:6; comp. 1), are used to include all others who had been priests before God took the sons of Aaron peculiarly to serve him in this office (De Synedr. 2, 8, p. 2, 3). Aaron is summoned at this juncture to go up with Moses unto the Lord on Mount Sinai (Ex 19:24). Another remarkable circumstance is then recorded. Moses, now acting as "mediator," and endued with an extraordinary commission, builds an altar under the hill, and sends "young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord": (24, 5). Various interpretations are given to the phrase "young men;" but, upon a view of all the circumstances, we incline to think that they were young laymen, purposely selected by closes for this act, in order to form a complete break between the former priesthood and the new, and that the recommencement and re-arrangement of the priesthood under divine authority might be made more palpably distinct. In the same light we consider the many priestly acts performed by Moses himself, at this particular time, as in Ex 29:25; Ex 40:25,27,29; like those of Gideon (Jg 6:25-27), of Samuel (1Sa 7:9), and of David (1Ch 21:26). Yet these especial permissions, upon emergencies and extraordinary occasions, had their limits, as may be seen in the fate of "the men of Bethshemesh" (1Sa 6:19), and of Uzzah (2Sa 6:7).
2. The Aaronic Priesthood. —
(1.) Early Period. — The next event in the history of the subject is the public consecration of Aaron and his sons, according to the preceding regulations (Leviticus 8). At their first sacerdotal performances (Leviticus 9) the divine approbation was intimated by a supernatural fire which consumed their burnt-offering (ver. 24). The general satisfaction of the people with these events was, however, soon dashed by the miraculous destruction of the two elder sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, for offering strange fire (Le 10:1), probably under the influence of too much wine, since the prohibition of it to the priests when about to enter the Tabernacle seems to have originated in this event (ver. 9). Moses forbade Aaron and his sons to uncover their heads, or to rend their clothes on this occasion; but the whole house of Israel were permitted to bewail the visitation (ver. 6). The inward grief, however, of Eleazar and Ithamar caused an irregularity in their sacerdotal duties, which was forgiven on account of the occasion (ver. 16-20). Aaron now appears associated with Moses and the leading men of the several tribes in taking the national census (Nu 1; Nu 3, etc.), and on other grand state occasions (Nu 26:2-3; Nu 31:13-26; Nu 32:2; Nu 34:17). The high-priest appears ever after as a person of the highest consequence. The dignity of the priesthood soon excited the emulation of the ambitious; hence the penalty of death was denounced against the assumption of it by any one not belonging to the Aaronic family (ver. 10), and it was soon after miraculously inflicted for this crime. This instance proves that the Aaronic line did not establish itself without a struggle. The rebellion of Korah, at the head of a portion of the Levites as representatives of the first-born, with Dathan and Abiram as leaders of the tribe of the first-born son of Jacob (Nu 16:1), showed that some looked back to the old patriarchal order rather than forward to the new, and it needed the witness of "Aaron's rod that budded" to teach the people that the latter had in it a vitality and strength which had departed from the former. It may be that the exclusion of all but the sons of Aaron from the service of the Tabernacle drove those who would not resign their claim to priestly functions of some kind to the worship (possibly with a rival tabernacle) of Moloch and Chiuti (Am 5:25-26; Eze 20:16). The death of Aaron introduces the installation of his successor which appears to have simply consisted in arraying him in his father's pontifical garments (Nu 20:28). Thus also Jonathan the Asmonaean contented himself with putting on the high-priest's habit, in order to take possession of the dignity (1 Macc. 10:21; comp. Josephus, Ant. 13:2, 3). The high esteem in which the priesthood was held may be gathered from the fact that it was promised in perpetuity to Phinehas and his family as a reward for his zeal (Nu 25:13). Prominent as was the part taken by the priests in the daily march of the host of Israel (Nu 10:8), in the passage of the Jordan (Jos 3:14-15), in the destruction of Jericho (Jos 6:12-16), the history of Micah shows that within that century there was a strong tendency to relapse into the system of a household instead of an hereditary priesthood (Judges 17). The frequent invasions and conquests during the period of the Judges must have interfered (as stated above) with the payment of tithes, with the maintenance of worship, with the observance of all festivals, and with this the influence of the priesthood must have been kept in the background. If the descendants of Aaron, at some unrecorded crisis in the history of Israel, rose, under Eli, into the position of national defenders, it was only to sink in his sons into the lowest depth of sacerdotal corruption. For a time the prerogative of the line of Aaron was in abeyance. The capture of the ark, the removal of the Tabernacle from Shiloh, threw everything into confusion, and Samuel, a Levite, but not within the priestly family, SEE SAMUEL, sacrifices, and "comes near" to the Lord; his training under Eli, his Nazaritish life, his prophetic office, being regarded apparently as a special consecration (comp. Augustine, c. Faust. 12:83; De Civ. Dei, 17:4). For the priesthood, as for the people generally, the time of Samuel must have been one of a great moral reformation; while the expansion, if not the foundation, of the schools of the prophets at once gave to it the support of an independent order, and acted as a check on its corruptions and excesses, a perpetual safeguard against the development from it of any Egyptian or Brahminic caste-system (Ewrald, Gesch. Isr. 2, 185), standing to it in much the same relation as the monastic and mendicant orders stood, each in its turn, to the secular clergy of the Christian Church. Though Shiloh had become a deserted sanctuary, Nob (1Sa 21:1) was made for a time the center of national worship, and the symbolic ritual of Israel was thus kept from being forgotten. The reverence which the people feel for the priests, and which compels Saul to have recourse to one of alien blood (Doeg the Edomite) to carry his murderous counsel into act, shows that there must have been a great step upwards since the time when the sons of Eli "made men to abhor the offerings of the Lord" (1Sa 22:17-18). The reign of Saul was, however, a time of suffering for them. He had manifested a disposition to usurp the priest's office (1Sa 13:9). The massacre of the priests at Nob showed how insecure their lives were against any unguarded or savage impulse. (It is to be noticed that while the Hebrew text gives eighty-five as the number of priests slain, the Sept. increases it to 305, Josephuus [4 nt. 6:12] to 385.)
They could but wait in silence for the coming of a deliverer in David. One at least among them shared his exile, and, so far as it was possible, lived in his priestly character, performing priestly acts, among the wild company of Adullam (1Sa 23:6,9). Others probably were sheltered by their remoteness, or found refuge in Hebron as the largest and strongest of the priestly cities. When the death of Saul set them free, they came in large numbers to the camp of David, prepared apparently not only to testify their allegiance, but also to support him, armed for battle, against all rivals (1Ch 12:27). They were summoned from their cities to the great restoration of the worship of Israel, when the ark was brought up to the new capital of the kingdom (1Ch 15:4). For a time, however (another proof of the strange confusion into which the religious life of the people had fallen), the ark was not the chief center of worship; and while the newer ritual of psalms and minstrelsy gathered round it under the ministration of the Levites, headed by Benaiah and Jahaziel as priests (1Ch 16:5-6), the older order of sacrifices was carried on by the priests in the Tabernacle on the high-place at Gibeon (1Ch 16:37-39; 1Ch 21:29; 2Ch 1; 2Ch 3). We cannot wonder that first David and then Solomon should have sought to guard against the evils incidental to this separation of the two orders, and to unite in one great temple priests and Levites, the symbolic worship of sacrifice and the spiritual offering of praise.
The reigns of these two kings were naturally the culminating period of the glory of the Jewish priesthood. They had a king whose heart was with them, and who joined in their services dressed as they were (1Ch 15:27) while he yet scrupulously abstained from all interference with their functions. The name which they bore was accepted (whatever explanation may be given of the fact) as the highest title of honor that could be borne by the king's sons (2Sa 8:18). They occupied high places in the king's council (1Ki 4:2,4), and might even take their places, as in the case of Benaiah, at the head of his armies (1Ch 12:27; 1Ch 27:5), or be recognized, as Zabud the son of Nathan was, as the "king's friends," the keepers of the king's conscience (1Ki 4:5; Ewald, Gesch. 3, 334).
The account here given has been based on the belief that the books of the Old Test. give a trustworthy statement of the origin and history of the priesthood of Israel. Those who question their authority have done so, for the most part, on the strength of some preconceived theory. Such a hierarchy as the Pentateuch prescribes is thought impossible in the earlier stages of national life, and therefore the reigns of David and Solomon are looked upon, not as the restoration, but as the starting-point of the order (Von Bohlen, Die Genesis, Einl. § 16). It is alleged that there could have been no tribe like that of Levi, for the consecration of a whole tribe is without a parallel in history (Vatke, Bibl. Theol. 1, 222). Deuteronomy, assumed for once to be older than the three books which precede it, represents the titles of the priest and Levite as standing on the same footing, and the distinction between them is therefore the work of a later period (George, Die älteren Jüd. Feste, p. 45, 51; comp. Bahr, Symbolik, bk. 2, ch. 1, § 1, whence these references are taken). It is hardly necessary here to do more than state these theories.
(2.) Middle Period. — The position of the priests under the monarchy of Judah deserves a closer examination than it has yet received. The system which has been described above gave them for every week of service in the Temple twenty-three weeks in which they had no appointed work. Was it intended that they should be idle during this period? Were they actually idle? They had no territorial possessions to cultivate. The cities assigned to them and to the Levites gave but scanty pasturage to their flocks. To what employment could they turn?
1. The more devout and thoughtful found, probably, in the schools of the prophets that which satisfied them. The history of the Jews presents numerous instances of the union of the two offices. SEE LEVITE. They became teaching-priests (2Ch 15:3), students, and interpreters of the divine law. From such as these, men might be chosen by the more zealous kings to instruct the people (2Ch 17:8), or to administer justice (2Ch 19:8).
2. Some, perhaps, as stated above, served in the king's army. We have no ground for transferring our modern conceptions of the peacefulness of the priestly life to the remote past of the Jewish people. Priests, as we have seen, were with David at Hebron as men of war. They were the trumpeters of Abijah's army (2Ch 13:12). The Temple itself was a great armory (2Ch 23:9). The heroic struggles of the Maccabees were sustained chiefly by their kindred of the same family (2 Macc. 7:1).
3. A few chosen ones might enter more deeply into the divine life, and so receive, like Zechariah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, a special call to the office of a prophet.
4. We can hardly escape the conclusion that many did their work in the Temple of Jehovah with a divided allegiance, and acted at other times as priests of the high-places (Ewald, Gesch. 3, 704).
Not only do we read of no protests against the sins of the idolatrous kings, except from prophets who stood forth, alone and unsupported, to bear their witness, but the priests themselves were sharers in the worship of Baal (Jer 2:8), of the sun and moon, and of the host of heaven (Jer 8:1-2). In the very Temple itself they "ministered before their idols" (Eze 44:12), and allowed others, "uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh," to join them (ibid. 7). They ate of unclean things and polluted the Sabbaths. There could be no other result of this departure from the true idea of the priesthood than a general degradation. Those who ceased to be true shepherds of the people found nothing in their ritual to sustain or elevate them. They became as sensual, covetous, and tyrannical as ever the clergy of the Christian Church became in its darkest periods; conspicuous as drunkards and adulterers (Isa 28:7-8; Isa 56:10-12). The prophetic order, instead of acting as a check, became sharers in their corruption (Jer 5:31; La 4:13; Zep 3:4). For the most part, the few efforts after better things are not the result of a spontaneous reformation, but of conformity to the wishes of a reforming king. In the one instance in which they do act spontaneously-their resistance to the usurpation of the priest's functions by Uzziah— their protest, however right in itself, was yet only too compatible with a wrong use of the office which they claimed as belonging exclusively to themselves (2Ch 26:17). The discipline of the Captivity, however, was not without its fruits. A large proportion of the priests had either perished or were content to remain in the land of their exile; but those who did return were active in the work of restoration. Under Ezra they submitted to the stern duty of repudiating their heathen wives (Ezr 10:18-19). They took part-though here the Levites were the more prominent-in the instruction of the people (Ezr 3:2; Ne 8:9-13). The root- evils, however, soon reappeared. The work of the priesthood was made the instrument of covetousness. The priests of the time of Malachi required payment for every ministerial act, and would not even "shut the doors" or "kindle fire" for naught (Mal 1:10). They "corrupted the covenant of Levi" (Mal 2:8). The idea of the priest as the angel, the messenger, of the Lord of Hosts was forgotten (ibid. 7; comp. Ec 5:6). The inevitable result was that they again lost their influence. They became "base and contemptible before all the people" (Mal 2:9). The office of the scribe rose in repute as that of the priest declined (Jost, Judenth. 1, 37, 148). The sects that multiplied during the last three centuries of the national life of Judaism were proofs that the established order had failed to do its work in maintaining the religious life of the people. No great changes affected the outward position of the priests under the Persian government. When that monarchy fell before the power of Alexander they were hearty enough to transfer their allegiance. Both the Persian government and Alexander had, however, respected the religion of their subjects, and the former had conferred on the priests immunities from taxation (Ezr 6:8-9; Ezr 7:24; Josephus, Ant. 11:8). The degree to which this recognition was carried by the immediate successors of Alexander is shown by the work of restoration accomplished by Simon the son of Onias (Ecclus. 1, 12-20); and the position which they thus occupied in the eyes of the people, not less than the devotion with which his zeal inspired them. prepared them doubtless for the great struggle which was coming, and in which, under the priestly Maccabees, they were the chief defenders of their country's freedom. Some, indeed, at that crisis were found among the apostates. Under the guidance of Jason (the heathenized form of Joshua) they forsook the customs of their fathers; and they who as priests were to be patterns of a self-respecting purity left their work in the Temple to run naked in the circus which the Syrian king had opened in Jerusalem (2 Macc. 4:13, 14). Some, at an earlier period, had joined the schismatic Onias in establishing a rival worship (Josephus, Ant. 12:3, 4). The majority, however, were true-hearted; and the Maccabean struggle which left the government of the country in the hands of their own order, and, until the Roman conquest, with a certain measure of independence, must have given to the higher members of the order a position of security and influence. The martyr-spirit showed itself again in the calmness with which they carried on the ministrations in the Temple, when Jerusalem was besieged by Pompey, till they were slain even in the act of sacrificing (Josephus, Ant. 14:4, 3; War, 1, 7, 5). The reign of Herod, on the other hand, in which the high-priesthood was kept in abeyance, or transferred from one to another at the will of one who was an alien by birth and half a heathen in character, must have tended to depress them.
(3.) Closing Period. — It will be interesting to bring together the few facts that indicate the position of the priests in the New-Testament period of their history. The division into four-and-twenty courses is still maintained (Lu 1:5; Josephus, Life, 1), and the heads of these courses, together with those who have held the high priesthood (the office no longer lasting for life), are "chief priests" (ἀρχιερεῖς) by courtesy (Carpzov. App. Crit. p. 102), and take their place in the Sanhedrim. The number scattered throughout Palestine was, as has been stated, very large. Of these the greater number were poor and ignorant, despised by the more powerful members of their own order, not gaining the respect or affection of the people. The picture of cowardly selfishness in the priest of the parable of Lu 10:31 can hardly be thought of as other than a representative one, indicating the estimate commonly and truly formed of the character of the class. The priestly order, like the nation, was divided between contending sects. The influence of Hyrcanus, himself in the latter part of his life a Sadducee (Josephus, Ant. 13:10, 6), had probably made the tenets of that party popular among the wealthier and more powerful members, and the chief-priests of the Gospels and the Acts, the whole ἀρχιερατικὸν γένος (Ac 4:1,6; Ac 5:17), were apparently consistent Saddlucees, sometimes combining with the Pharisees in the Sanhedrim, sometimes thwarted by them, in persecuting the followers of Jesus because they preached the resurrection of the dead. The great multitude (ὄχλος), on the other hand, who received that testimony (6, 7) must have been free from or must have overcome Sadducean prejudices. It was not strange that those who did not welcome the truth which would have raised them to a higher life should sink lower and lower into an ignorant and ferocious fanaticism. Few stranger contrasts meet us in the history of religion than that presented in the life of the priesthood in the last half century of the Temple — now going through the solemn sacrificial rites and joining in the noblest hymns, now raising a fierce clamor at anything which seemed to them a profanation of the sanctuary, and rushing to dash out the brains of the bold or incautious intruder, or of one of their own order who might enter while under some ceremonial defilement, or with a half-humorous cruelty setting fire to the clothes of the Levites who were found sleeping when they ought to have been watching at their posts (Lightfoot, Temple Service, ch. 1). The rivalry which led the Levites to claim privileges which had hitherto belonged to the priests has already been noticed. SEE LEVITE. In the scenes of the last tragedy of Jewish history the order passes away, without honor, "dying as a fool dieth." The high-priesthood is given to the lowest and vilest of the adherents of the frenzied Zealots (Josephus, War, 4:3, 6). Other priests appear as deserting to the enemy (ibid. 6:6, 1). It is from a priest that Titus receives the lamps, and gems, and costly raiment of the sanctuary (ibid. 6:8, 3). Priests report to their conquerors the terrible utterance "Let us depart" on the last Pentecost ever celebrated in the Temple (ibid. 6:5, 3). It is a priest who fills up the degradation of his order by dwelling on the fall of his country with a cold-blooded satisfaction, and finding in Titus the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Test. (ibid. 6:5, 4). The destruction of Jerusalem deprived the order at one blow of all but an honorary distinction. Their occupation was gone. Many families must have altogether lost their genealogies. Those who still prided themselves on their descent were no longer safe against the claims of pretenders. The jealousies of the lettered class, which had been kept under some restraint as long as the Temple stood, now had full play, and the influence of the rabbins increased with the fall of the priesthood. The position of the priests in mediaeval and modern Judaism has never risen above that of complimentary recognition. Those who claim to take their place among the sons of Aaron are entitled to receive the redemption- money of the firstborn, to take the law from its chest, and to pronounce the benediction in the synagogues (Ugolino, 12:48).
IV. Relation of the Jewish Priesthood to the Christian Ministry. — The language of the New-Test. writers in relation to the priesthood ought not to be passed over. They recognize in Christ the first-born, the king, the Anointed, the representative of the true primeval priesthood after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7:8), from which that of Aaron, however necessary for the time, is now seen to have been a deflection. But there is no trace of an order in the new Christian society bearing the name and exercising functions like those of the priests of the older Covenant. The synagogue, and not the Temple, furnishes the pattern for the organization of the Church. The idea which pervades the teaching of the Epistles is that of a universal priesthood. All true believers are made kings and priests (Re 1:6; 1Pe 2:9), offer spiritual sacrifices (Ro 12:1), may draw near, may enter into the holiest (Heb 10:19-22), as having received a true priestly consecration. They, too, have been washed and sprinkled as the sons of Aaron were (Heb 10:22). It was the thought of a succeeding age that the old classification of the high priest, priests, and Levites was reproduced in the bishops, priests, and deacons of the Christian Church. The history of language presents few stranger facts than those connected with these words. Priest, our only equivalent for ἱερεύς, comes to us from the word which was chosen because it excluded the idea of a sacerdotal character. Bishop has narrowly escaped a like perversion, occurring as it does constantly in Wiclif Häersion as the translation of ἀρχιερεύς (e.g. Joh 18:15; Heb 8:1). The idea which was thus expressed rested, it is true, on the broad analogy of a threefold gradation, and the terms "priest," "altar," "sacrifice," might be used without involving more than a legitimate symbolism; but they brought with them the inevitable danger of reproducing and perpetuating in the history of the Christian Church many of the feelings which belonged to Judaism, and ought to have been left behind with it. If the evil has not proved so fatal to the life of Christendom as it might have done, it is because no bishop or pope, however much he might exaggerate the harmony of the two systems, has ever dreamed of making the Christian priesthood hereditary. We have perhaps reason to be thankful that two errors tend to neutralize each other, and that the age which witnessed the most extravagant sacerdotalism was one in which the celibacy of the clergy was first exalted, then urged, and at last enforced.
V. Literature. — For the similarity in the religion of ancient Greece, see Potter, Archaeologia (Lond. 1775), 1, 202; of ancient Rome, Adam, Antiquities (Edinb. 1791), p. 293, § Ministri Sacrorum. For the resemblances between the religious customs of the ancient Egyptians and those of the Jews, we refer especially to Kitto, Pictorial History of Palestine (Lond. 1844). On the Hebrew priesthood in general, see Kiper, Das Priesterthum des Alten Bundes (Berl. 1865). For particular topics, see Kiesling, De Leibus Mos. circa Sacerd. Vitio Corporis laborantes; Kall, De Morbis Sacerdot. V. T. ex Ministerii eor. Conditione oriundis (Hahn. 1745); Jablonskii Pantheon, Proleg. § 29, 41, 43; Munch. De Matrimonio Sacerd. V. T. cum Filiab. Sacer. (Nuremb. 1747); Kohl, De State, etc. (Lips. 1735); Rechenberg, id. (ibid. 1760); Stiebritz, De Sacerdotum Vitiis Corpore (Hal. 1742); Curtiss, The Levitical Priests (Lond. 1877). For the theology of the subject, see Dr. J. P. Smith, Discourses on the Sacrifice and Priesthood of Christ (Lond. 1842); Jardine, Christian Sacerdotalism (ibid. 1871). See also the works cited by Danz, Wörterbuch, s.v. Priester; Darling, Cyclopaedia Bibliographica, vol. 1, col. 1812.
PRIEST is a contraction of the word presbyter (Greek πρεσβύτερος), and is derived probably from the old French or Norman prestre. It was in the Saxon, first preost, later prest. The German and Dutch words are priester;
the modern French, prêtre; the Italian, prete; but the Spanish is most like the original form it is presbitero. In its most general signification, the word is the title of a minister of public worship, but is specially applied to the minister of sacrifice or other mediatorial offices. In the early history of mankind, the functions of the priest seem to have commonly been discharged by the head of each family; but, on the expansion of the family into the state, the office of priest became a public one, which absorbed the duties as well as the privileges which before belonged to the heads of the separate families or communities. It thus came to pass that in many instances the priestly office was associated with that of the sovereign, whatever might be the particular form of sovereignty. But in many religious and political bodies, also, the orders were maintained in complete independence, and the priests formed a distinct, and, generally speaking, a privileged class. SEE EGYPT; SEE HINDUISM. The priestly order, in most of the ancient religions, included a graduated hierarchy; and to the chief, whatever was his title, were assigned the most solemn of the religious offices entrusted to the body. Compare the preceding article.
In the Christian Church the word has been used in place of the two Greek words (1) πρεσβύτερος, which really signifies an elder, and (2) ἱερεύς, which corresponds to the Latin sacerdos, i.e. one who offers sacrifice- words which are exceedingly dissimilar in meaning, but, used in this indiscriminate manner, convey a false idea as to the respective offices of priest and preacher. The Christian preacher or minister answers rather to the ancient prophet than to the Old-Testament priest. As ἱερεύς; means one who offers sacrifices, and as sacrifices have been abolished since the offering of the one perfect and all-sufficient Sacrifice, it follows that, in the strict and official sense, there are no "sacrificers" under the New- Testament or Christian dispensation. If, therefore, the claims of the ministers of the Church are made to rest upon a precise analogy to those founded upon the priestly functions of an abrogated dispensation, it surely becomes the advocates of such claims to prove from the Christian Institute that the conceived analogy exists. But where is the proof? There is not a single passage in "the book" of apostles and evangelists to support the assumption. Nowhere are the ministers of the Gospel represented as "sacrificers;" nowhere is provision made for such a succession, as in any respect similar to the Levitical, and still less the Aaronical priesthood. To the prophets, and rulers of the synagogues, it is admitted that there are allusions descriptive of ministerial duties; for the work of instruction was the appropriate business of these ecclesiastical functionaries, and not performing the services of a prescribed ritual. But sacerdotal dignities are nowhere ascribed to Christian presbyters.
The priesthood, as a religious order, perished with Judaism. The priesthood was the shadow, and disappeared when the substance came. As a mediator, Jesus Christ is the only priest; as a servant of God, whose duty it is to consecrate his full time and energies and thoughts to the divine service, every Christian is a "priest unto God." The New Testament, therefore, contains no hint of any priest, nor of any officer answering to a priest, in the early Church; and, on the contrary, contains many passages which teach more or less directly and distinctly that the priesthood of the class is merged in the priestly character of Jesus Christ and that of the whole discipleship (comp. Heb 2:17; Heb 3:1; Heb 4:14; Heb 5:5-10; Heb 7:27-28; Heb 10:11-12; Re 5:10). It is very clear that the apostles, when they so plainly assert the abolition of sacrifices since the offering of the one perfect and all-sufficient Sacrifice, could never intend to institute such an office as a sacrificing priest. When they use the term, they apply it to Christ alone. The office of a Christian pastor is not to atone, but to preach the atonement. In Ro 15:16 the application of the term by the apostle Paul is figurative. The modern minister answers rather to the ancient prophet than to the ancient priest. At least this is the universal opinion of nearly all Protestant Christendom, though some relics of the old priestly idea of a special sacerdotal order, with peculiar privileges and prerogatives, and possessing peculiar holiness, still linger in the Church.
The advocates of hierarchical claims, whether Romish, Greek, or Protestant Christians, assume that ministers are entitled to be regarded as succeeding to the same relation to the Church with that which was sustained by the priesthood under the Jewish economy. Hence the terms and offices peculiar to the ancient priests are conceived to be analogous to the functions and designations of the Christian ministry. On this assumption, it is contended that the duties performed and the authority exercised under the direct sanction of the Most High are now transferred to those who are duly qualified, by a certain order of succession, to discharge the offices of the ministry under the present dispensation. In the grades of the hierarchy the priesthood is second in order only to that of bishop. Bishops and priests possess the same priestly authority, but the bishop has the power of transmitting it to others, which an ordinary priest cannot do. 'he priest is regarded as the ordinary minister of the Eucharist, whether as a sacrament or as a sacrifice; of baptism, penance, and extreme unction; and although the contracting parties are held in the modern schools to be themselves the ministers of marriage, the priest is regarded by all schools of Roman divines as at least the normal and official witness of its celebration. The priest is also officially charged with the instruction of the people and the direction of their spiritual concerns, and, by long established use, special districts, called parishes (q.v.), are assigned to priests, within which they are entrusted with the care and supervision of the spiritual wants of all the inhabitants. The holy order of priesthood can only be conferred by a bishop, and he is ordinarily assisted by two or more priests, who, in common with the bishop, impose hands on the candidate. The rest of the ceremonial of ordination consists in investing the candidate with the sacred instruments and ornaments of his order, anointing his hands, and reciting certain prayers significant of the gifts and the duties of the office. Dens defines the priesthood as "a sacred order and sacrament, in which power is conferred of consecrating the body of Christ, of remitting sins, and of administering certain other sacraments." Accordingly, at the consecration of a priest, after unction and prayer, the chalice, with wine and water, and the paten upon it with the host, are given to him, with these awful words, "Receive power to offer the sacrifice of God, and to celebrate mass for the living and the dead." Moreover, he receives formally the power to forgive sins. The distinguishing vestment of the priest is the chasuble (Lat. plareta). In Roman Catholic countries, priests wear even in public a distinctive dress.
In some portions of the Episcopal Church the idea is maintained that the modern clergyman is the successor of the ancient priest, because this term is used in the Prayer-book to designate the clerical office. Says Fluyter: "The Greek and Latin words which we translate 'priest' are derived from words that signify holy; and so the word priest, according to the etymology, signifies him whose mere charge and function are about holy things, and therefore seems to be a most proper word to him who is set apart to the holy public service and worship of God, especially when he is in the actual ministration of holy things. If it be objected that, according to the usual acceptation of the word, it signifies him that offers up a sacrifice, and therefore cannot be allowed to a minister of the Gospel, who hath no sacrifice to offer, it is answered that the ministers of the Gospel have sacrifices to offer (1Pe 2:5): 'Ye are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices of prayer, praises, thanksgiving,' etc. In respect of these, the ministers of the Gospel may safely, in a metaphorical sense be called priests; and in a more eminent manner than other Christians, because they are taken from among men to offer up these sacrifices for others. But besides these spiritual sacrifices mentioned, the ministers of the Gospel have another sacrifice to offer, viz. the unbloody sacrifice, as it was anciently called, the commemorative sacrifice of the blood of Christ, which does as really and truly show forth the death of Christ as those sacrifices under the law did; and in respect of this sacrifice of the Eucharist the ancients have usually called those that offer it up priests." See Killen, Ancient Church, p. 644; Martensen, Dogmatics; Fairbairn, Typology; Calvin, Institutes; Coleman, Manual on Prelacy and Ritualism, p. 167 sq.; Stratten, Book Of the Priesthood; Howitt, On Priestcraft; Dwight, Theology; Schaff, Hist. of the Apost. Church; Elliott, Delineation of Romanism (see Index); Sumner, Principles at Stake (Lond. 1868, 8vo), ch. 3; Christian Quar. April, 1873, art. 4; Meth. Quar. Rev. July, 1873, art. 2; Studien u. Kritiken, 1862, No. 1; Bapt. Quar. Oct. 1870; Christian Monthly, Feb. 1865, p. 188. SEE BISHOP; SEE CLERGY; SEE PREACHER.