The Works of Flavius Josephus
Antiquities of the Jews
Antiquities of the Jews - Book III
CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF TWO YEARS
HOW MOSES WHEN HE HAD BROUGHT THE PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT LED THEM TO MOUNT SINAI; BUT NOT TILL THEY HAD SUFFERED MUCH IN THEIR JOURNEY
1. WHEN the Hebrews had obtained such a wonderful deliverance, the
country was a great trouble to them, for it
2. When Moses saw how much the people were cast down, and that the
occasion of it could not be contradicted, for
3. And now removing from thence they came to Elim; which place looked
well at a distance, for there was a grove of
4. But as for Moses himself, while the multitude were irritated and
bitterly set against him, he cheerfully relied
5. By this means Moses pacified the people, and restrained them from
stoning him, and brought them to repent of
6. But presently after this first supply of food, he sent them a
second; for as Moses was lifting up his hands in
7. As soon as they were removed thence, they came to Rephidim, being
distressed to the last degree by thirst; and
HOW THE AMALEKITES AND THE NEIGHBOURING NATIONS, MADE WAR WITH THE HEBREWS AND WERE BEATEN AND LOST A GREAT PART OF THEIR ARMY
1. THE name of the Hebrews began already to be every where renowned,
and rumors about them ran abroad. This
2. These proceedings of the people of those countries occasioned
perplexity and trouble to Moses, who expected
3. And with these words did Moses encourage the multitude, who then
called together the princes of their tribes,
4. So the armies joined battle; and it came to a close fight, hand
to hand, both sides showing great alacrity, and
5. On the next day, Moses stripped the dead bodies of their enemies,
and gathered together the armor of those that
THAT MOSES KINDLY RECEIVED-HIS FATHER-IN-LAW, JETHRO, WHEN HE CAME TO HIM TO MOUNT SINAI
NOW when Raguel, Moses's father-in-law, understood in what a prosperous
condition his affairs were, he willingly
HOW RAGUEL SUGGESTED TO MOSES TO SET HIS PEOPLE IN ORDER, UNDER THEIR RULERS OF THOUSANDS, AND RULERS OF HUNDREDS, WHO LIVED WITHOUT ORDER BEFORE; AND HOW MOSES COMPLIED IN ALL THINGS WITH HIS FATHER-IN-LAW'S ADMONITION
1. THE next day, as Raguel saw Moses in the of a crowd of business
for he determined the differences of those
2. This was the admonition of Raguel; and Moses received his advice
very kindly, and acted according to his
HOW MOSES ASCENDED UP TO MOUNT SINAI, AND RECEIVED LAWS FROM GOD, AND DELIVERED THEM TO THE HEBREWS.
1. NOW Moses called the multitude together, and told them that he
was going from them unto mount Sinai to
2. So they passed two days in this way of feasting; but on the third
day, before the sun was up, a cloud spread itself
3. When they were under these apprehensions, Moses appeared as joyful
and greatly exalted. When they saw him,
4. When he had said this, he brought the people, with their wives
and children, so near the mountain, that they
5. The first commandment teaches us that there is but one God, and
that we ought to worship him only. The second
6. Now when the multitude had heard God himself giving those precepts
which Moses had discoursed of, they
7. When matters were brought to this state, Moses went up again to
Mount Sinai, of which he had told them
8. But when the forty days, and as many nights, were over, Moses
came down, having tasted nothing of food
CONCERNING THE TABERNACLE WHICH MOSES BUILT IN THE WILDERNESS FOR THE HONOR OF GOD AND WHICH SEEMED TO BE A TEMPLE
1. HEREUPON the Israelites rejoiced at what they had seen and heard
of their conductor, and were not wanting in
2. Now when all things were prepared, the gold, and the silver, and
the brass, and what was woven, Moses, when he
3. As to the tabernacle itself, Moses placed it in the middle of
that court, with its front to the east, that, when the
4. As for the inside, Moses parted its length into three partitions.
At the distance of ten cubits from the most secret
5. There was also an ark made, sacred to God, of wood that was naturally
strong, and could not be corrupted. This
6. But in the holy place he placed a table, like those at Delphi.
Its length was two cubits, and its breadth one cubit,
7. Over against this table, near the southern wall, was set a candlestick
of cast gold, hollow within, being of the
8. Now between this candlestick and the table, which, as we said,
were within the sanctuary, was the altar of
CONCERNING THE GARMENTS OF THE PRIESTS, AND OF THE HIGH PRIEST
1. THERE were peculiar garments appointed for the priests, and for
all the rest, which they call Cohanoeoe
2. Over this he wore a linen vestment, made of fine flax doubled:
it is called Chethone, and denotes linen, for we call
3. Upon his head he wears a cap, not brought to a conic form nor
encircling the whole head, but still covering more
4. The high priest is indeed adorned with the same garments that
we have described, without abating one; only over
5. Besides these, the high priest put on a third garment, which was
called the Ephod, which resembles the Epomis of
6. The high priest's mitre was the same that we described before, and was wrought like that of all the other priests; above which 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 arose a cup of gold, which resembled the herb which we call Saccharus; but those Greeks that are skillful in botany call it Hyoscyamus. Now, lest any one that has seen this herb, but has not been taught its name, and is unacquainted with its nature, or, having known its name, knows not the herb when he sees it, I shall give such ,as these are a description of it. This herb is oftentimes in tallness above three spans, but its root is like that of a turnip (for he that should compare it thereto would not be mistaken); but its leaves are like the leaves of mint. Out of its branches it sends out a calyx, cleaving. to the branch; and a coat encompasses it, which it naturally puts off when it is changing, in order to produce its fruit. This calyx is of the bigness of the bone of the little finger, but in the compass of its aperture is like a cup. This I will further describe, for the use of those that are unacquainted with it. Suppose a sphere be divided into two parts, round at the bottom, but having another segment that grows up to a circumference from that bottom; suppose it become narrower by degrees, and that the cavity of that part grow decently smaller, and then gradually grow wider again at the brim, such as we see in the navel of a pomegranate, with its notches. And indeed such a coat grows over this plant as renders it a hemisphere, and that, as one may say, turned accurately in a lathe, and having its notches extant above it, which, as I said, grow like a pomegranate, only that they are sharp, and end in nothing but prickles. Now the fruit is preserved by this coat of the calyx, which fruit is like the seed of the herb Sideritis: it sends out a flower that may seem to resemble that of poppy. Of this was a crown made, as far from the hinder part of the head to each of the temples; but this Ephielis, for so this calyx may be called, did not cover the forehead, but it was covered with a golden plate, (14) which had inscribed upon it the name of God in sacred characters. And such were the ornaments of the high priest.
7. Now here one may wonder at the ill-will which men bear to us, and which they profess to bear on account of our despising that Deity which they pretend to honor; for if any one do but consider the fabric of the tabernacle, and take a view of the garments of the high priest, and of those vessels which we make use of in our sacred ministration, he will find that our legislator was a divine man, and that we are unjustly reproached by others; for if any one do without prejudice, and with judgment, look upon these things, he will find they were every one made in way of imitation and representation of the universe. When Moses distinguished the tabernacle into three parts, (15) and allowed two of them to the priests, as a place accessible and common, he denoted the land and the sea, these being of general access to all; but he set apart the third division for God, because heaven is inaccessible to men. And when he ordered twelve loaves to be set on the table, he denoted the year, as distinguished into so many months. By branching out the candlestick into seventy parts, he secretly intimated the Decani, or seventy divisions of the planets; and as to the seven lamps upon the candlesticks, they referred to the course of the planets, of which that is the number. The veils, too, which were composed of four things, they declared the four elements; for the fine linen was proper to signify the earth, because the flax grows out of the earth; the purple signified the sea, because that color is dyed by the blood of a sea shell-fish; the blue is fit to signify the air; and the scarlet will naturally be an indication of fire. Now the vestment of the high priest being made of linen, signified the earth; the blue denoted the sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and in the noise of the bells resembling thunder. And for the ephod, it showed that God had made the universe of four elements; and as for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related to the splendor by which all things are enlightened. He also appointed the breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod, to resemble the earth, for that has the very middle place of the world. And the girdle which encompassed the high priest round, signified the ocean, for that goes round about and includes the universe. Each of the sardonyxes declares to us the sun and the moon; those, I mean, that were in the nature of buttons on the high priest's shoulders. And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning. And for the mitre, which was of a blue color, it seems to me to mean heaven; for how otherwise could the name of God be inscribed upon it? That it was also illustrated with a crown, and that of gold also, is because of that splendor with which God is pleased. Let this explication (16) suffice at present, since the course of my narration will often, and on many occasions, afford me the opportunity of enlarging upon the virtue of our legislator.
OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF AARON
1. WHEN what has been described was brought to a conclusion, gifts not being yet presented, God appeared to Moses, and enjoined him to bestow the high priesthood upon Aaron his brother, as upon him that best of them all deserved to obtain that honor, on account of his virtue. And when he had gathered the multitude together, he gave them an account of Aaron's virtue, and of his good-will to them, and of the dangers he had undergone for their sakes. Upon which, when they had given testimony to him in all respects, and showed their readiness to receive him, Moses said to them, "O you Israelites, this work is already brought to a conclusion, in a manner most acceptable to God, and according to our abilities. And now since you see that he is received into this tabernacle, we shall first of all stand in need of one that may officiate for us, and may minister to the sacrifices, and to the prayers that are to be put up for us. And indeed had the inquiry after such a person been left to me, I should have thought myself worthy of this honor, both because all men are naturally fond of themselves, and because I am conscious to myself that I have taken a great deal of pains for your deliverance; but now God himself has determined that Aaron is worthy of this honor, and has chosen him for his priest, as knowing him to be the most righteous person among you. So that he is to put on the vestments which are consecrated to God; he is to have the care of the altars, and to make provision for the sacrifices; and he it is that must put up prayers for you to God, who will readily hear them, not only because he is himself solicitous for your nation, but also because he will receive them as offered by one that he hath himself chosen to this office. (17) The Hebrews were pleased with what was said, and they gave their approbation to him whom God had ordained; for Aaron was of them all the most deserving of this honor, on account of his own stock and gift of prophecy, and his brother's virtue. He had at that time four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2. Now Moses commanded them to make use of all the utensils which were more than were necessary to the structure of the tabernacle, for covering the tabernacle itself, the candlestick, and altar of incense, and the other vessels, that they might not be at all hurt when they journeyed, either by the rain, or by the rising of the dust. And when he had gathered the multitude together again, he ordained that they should offer half a shekel for every man, as an oblation to God; which shekel is a piece among the Hebrews, and is equal to four Athenian drachmae. (18) Whereupon they readily obeyed what Moses had commanded; and the number of the offerers was six hundred and five thousand five hundred and fifty. Now this money that was brought by the men that were free, was given by such as were about twenty years old, but under fifty; and what was collected was spent in the uses of the tabernacle.
3. Moses now purified the tabernacle and the priests; which purification was performed after the following manner: - He commanded them to take five hundred shekels of choice myrrh, an equal quantity of cassia, and half the foregoing weight of cinnamon and calamus (this last is a sort of sweet spice); to beat them small, and wet them with an bin of oil of olives (an hin is our own country measure, and contains two Athenian choas, or congiuses); then mix them together, and boil them, and prepare them after the art of the apothecary, and make them into a very sweet ointment; and afterward to take it to anoint and to purify the priests themselves, and all the tabernacle, as also the sacrifices. There were also many, and those of various kinds, of sweet spices, that belonged to the tabernacle, and such as were of very great price, and were brought to the golden altar of incense; the nature of which I do not now describe, lest it should be troublesome to my readers; but incense (19) was to be offered twice a-day, both before sun-rising and at sun-setting. They were also to keep oil already purified for the lamps; three of which were to give light all day long, (20) upon the sacred candlestick, before God, and the rest were to be lighted at the evening.
4. Now all was finished. Besaleel and Aholiab appeared to be the most skillful of the workmen; for they invented finer works than what others had done before them, and were of great abilities to gain notions of what they were formerly ignorant of; and of these, Besaleel was judged to be the best. Now the whole time they were about this work was the interval of seven months; and after this it was that was ended the first year since their departure out of Egypt. But at the beginning of the second year, on the month Xanthicus, as the Macedonians call it, but on the month Nisan, as the Hebrews call it, on the new moon, they consecrated the tabernacle, and all its vessels, which I have already described.
5. Now God showed himself pleased with the work of the Hebrews, and did not permit their labors to be in vain; nor did he disdain to make use of what they had made, but he came and sojourned with them, and pitched his tabernacle in the holy house. And in the following manner did he come to it: - The sky was clear, but there was a mist over the tabernacle only, encompassing it, but not with such a very deep and thick cloud as is seen in the winter season, nor yet in so thin a one as men might be able to discern any thing through it, but from it there dropped a sweet dew, and such a one as showed the presence of God to those that desired and believed it.
6. Now when Moses had bestowed such honorary presents on the workmen, as it was fit they should receive, who had wrought so well, he offered sacrifices in the open court of the tabernacle, as God commanded him; a bull, a ram, and a kid of the goats, for a sin-offering. Now I shall speak of what we do in our sacred offices in my discourse about sacrifices; and therein shall inform men in what cases Moses bid us offer a whole burnt-offering, and in what cases the law permits us to partake of them as of food. And when Moses had sprinkled Aaron's vestments, himself, and his sons, with the blood of the beasts that were slain, and had purified them with spring waters and ointment, they became God's priests. After this manner did he consecrate them and their garments for seven days together. The same he did to the tabernacle, and the vessels thereto belonging, both with oil first incensed, as I said, and with the blood of bulls and of rams, slain day by day one, according to its kind. But on the eighth day he appointed a feast for the people, and commanded them to offer sacrifice according to their ability. Accordingly they contended one with another, and were ambitious to exceed each other in the sacrifices which they brought, and so fulfilled Moses's injunctions. But as the sacrifices lay upon the altar, a sudden fire was kindled from among them of its own accord, and appeared to the sight like fire from a flash of lightning, and consumed whatsoever was upon the altar.
7. Hereupon an affliction befell Aaron, considered as a man and a father, but was undergone by him with true fortitude; for he had indeed a firmness of soul in such accidents, and he thought this calamity came upon him according to God's will: for whereas he had four sons, as I said before, the two elder of them, Nadab and Abihu, did not bring those sacrifices which Moses bade them bring, but which they used to offer formerly, and were burnt to death. Now when the fire rushed upon them, and began to burn them, nobody could quench it. Accordingly they died in this manner. And Moses bid their father and their brethren to take up their bodies, to carry them out of the camp, and to bury them magnificently. Now the multitude lamented them, and were deeply affected at this their death, which so unexpectedly befell them. But Moses entreated their brethren and their father not to be troubled for them, and to prefer the honor of God before their grief about them; for Aaron had already put on his sacred garments.
8. But Moses refused all that honor which he saw the multitude ready to bestow upon him, and attended to nothing else but the service of God. He went no more up to Mount Sinai; but he went into the tabernacle, and brought back answers from God for what he prayed for. His habit was also that of a private man, and in all other circumstances he behaved himself like one of the common people, and was desirous to appear without distinguishing himself from the multitude, but would have it known that he did nothing else but take care of them. He also set down in writing the form of their government, and those laws by obedience whereto they would lead their lives so as to please God, and so as to have no quarrels one among another. However, the laws he ordained were such as God suggested to him; so I shall now discourse concerning that form of government, and those laws.
9. I will now treat of what I before omitted, the garment of the high priest: for he [Moses] left no room for the evil practices of [false] prophets; but if some of that sort should attempt to abuse the Divine authority, he left it to God to be present at his sacrifices when he pleased, and when he pleased to be absent. (21) And he was willing this should be known, not to the Hebrews only, but to those foreigners also who were there. For as to those stones, (22) which we told you before, the high priest bare on his shoulders, which were sardonyxes, (and I think it needless to describe their nature, they being known to every body,) the one of them shined out when God was present at their sacrifices; I mean that which was in the nature of a button on his right shoulder, bright rays darting out thence, and being seen even by those that were most remote; which splendor yet was not before natural to the stone. This has appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy, as to despise Divine revelation. Yet will I mention what is still more wonderful than this: for God declared beforehand, by those twelve stones which the high priest bare on his breast, and which were inserted into his breastplate, when they should be victorious in battle; for so great a splendor shone forth from them before the army began to march, that all the people were sensible of God's being present for their assistance. Whence it came to pass that those Greeks, who had a veneration for our laws, because they could not possibly contradict this, called that breastplate the Oracle. Now this breastplate, and this sardonyx, left off shining two hundred years before I composed this book, God having been displeased at the transgressions of his laws. Of which things we shall further discourse on a fitter opportunity; but I will now go on with my proposed narration.
10. The tabernacle being now consecrated, and a regular order being settled for the priests, the multitude judged that God now dwelt among them, and betook themselves to sacrifices and praises to God as being now delivered from all expectation of evils and as entertaining a hopeful prospect of better times hereafter. They offered also gifts to God some as common to the whole nation, and others as peculiar to themselves, and these tribe by tribe; for the heads of the tribes combined together, two by two, and brought a waggon and a yoke of oxen. These amounted to six, and they carried the tabernacle when they journeyed. Besides which, each head of a tribe brought a bowl, and a charger, and a spoon, of ten darics, full of incense. Now the charger and the bowl were of silver, and together they weighed two hundred shekels, but the bowl cost no more than seventy shekels; and these were full of fine flour mingled with oil, such as they used on the altar about the sacrifices. They brought also a young bullock, and a ram, with a lamb of a year old, for a whole burnt-offering, as also a goat for the forgiveness of sins. Every one of the heads of the tribes brought also other sacrifices, called peace-offerings, for every day two bulls, and five rams, with lambs of a year old, and kids of the goats. These heads of tribes were twelve days in sacrificing, one sacrificing every day. Now Moses went no longer up to Mount Sinai, but went into the tabernacle, and learned of God what they were to do, and what laws should be made; which laws were preferable to what have been devised by human understanding, and proved to be firmly observed for all time to come, as being believed to be the gift of God, insomuch that the Hebrews did not transgress any of those laws, either as tempted in times of peace by luxury, or in times of war by distress of affairs. But I say no more here concerning them, because I have resolved to compose another work concerning our laws.
THE MANNER OF OUR OFFERING SACRIFICES
1. I WILL now, however, make mention of a few of our laws which belong to purifications, and the like sacred offices, since I am accidentally come to this matter of sacrifices. These sacrifices were of two sorts; of those sorts one was offered for private persons, and the other for the people in general; and they are done in two different ways. In the one case, what is slain is burnt, as a whole burnt-offering, whence that name is given to it; but the other is a thank-offering, and is designed for feasting those that sacrifice. I will speak of the former. Suppose a private man offer a burnt-offering, he must slay either a bull, a lamb, or a kid of the goats, and the two latter of the first year, though of bulls he is permitted to sacrifice those of a greater age; but all burnt-offerings are to be of males. When they are slain, the priests sprinkle the blood round about the altar; they then cleanse the bodies, and divide them into parts, and salt them with salt, and lay them upon the altar, while the pieces of wood are piled one upon another, and the fire is burning; they next cleanse the feet of the sacrifices, and the inwards, in an accurate manner and so lay them to the rest to be purged by the fire, while the priests receive the hides. This is the way of offering a burnt-offering.
2. But those that offer thank-offerings do indeed sacrifice the same creatures, but such as are unblemished, and above a year old; however, they may take either males or females. They also sprinkle the altar with their blood; but they lay upon the altar the kidneys and the caul, and all the fat, and the lobe of the liver, together with the rump of the lamb; then, giving the breast and the right shoulder to the priests, the offerers feast upon the remainder of the flesh for two days; and what remains they burn.
3. The sacrifices for sins are offered in the same manner as is the thank-offering. But those who are unable to purchase complete sacrifices, offer two pigeons, or turtle doves; the one of which is made a burnt-offering to God, the other they give as food to the priests. But we shall treat more accurately about the oblation of these creatures in our discourse concerning sacrifices. But if a person fall into sin by ignorance, he offers an ewe lamb, or a female kid of the goats, of the same age; and the priests sprinkle the blood at the altar, not after the former manner, but at the corners of it. They also bring the kidneys and the rest of the fat, together with the lobe of the liver, to the altar, while the priests bear away the hides and the flesh, and spend it in the holy place, on the same day; (23) for the law does not permit them to leave of it until the morning. But if any one sin, and is conscious of it himself, but hath nobody that can prove it upon him, he offers a ram, the law enjoining him so to do; the flesh of which the priests eat, as before, in the holy place, on the same day. And if the rulers offer sacrifices for their sins, they bring the same oblations that private men do; only they so far differ, that they are to bring for sacrifices a bull or a kid of the goats, both males.
4. Now the law requires, both in private and public sacrifices, that the finest flour be also brought; for a lamb the measure of one tenth deal, - for a ram two, - and for a bull three. This they consecrate upon the altar, when it is mingled with oil; for oil is also brought by those that sacrifice; for a bull the half of an hin, and for a ram the third part of the same measure, and one quarter of it for a lamb. This hin is an ancient Hebrew measure, and is equivalent to two Athenian choas (or congiuses). They bring the same quantity of oil which they do of wine, and they pour the wine about the altar; but if any one does not offer a complete sacrifice of animals, but brings fine flour only for a vow, he throws a handful upon the altar as its first-fruits, while the priests take the rest for their food, either boiled or mingled with oil, but made into cakes of bread. But whatsoever it be that a priest himself offers, it must of necessity be all burnt. Now the law forbids us to sacrifice any animal at the same time with its dam; and, in other cases, not till the eighth day after its birth. Other sacrifices there are also appointed for escaping distempers, or for other occasions, in which meat-offerings are consumed, together with the animals that are sacrificed; of which it is not lawful to leave any part till the next day, only the priests are to take their own share.
CONCERNING THE FESTIVALS; AND HOW EACH DAY OF SUCH FESTIVAL IS TO BE OBSERVED
1. THE law requires, that out of the public expenses a lamb of the first year be killed every day, at the beginning and at the ending of the day; but on the seventh day, which is called the Sabbath, they kill two, and sacrifice them in the same manner. At the new moon, they both perform the daily sacrifices, and slay two bulls, with seven lambs of the first year, and a kid of the goats also, for the expiation of sins; that is, if they have sinned through ignorance.
2. But on the seventh month, which the Macedonians call Hyperberetaeus, they make an addition to those already mentioned, and sacrifice a bull, a ram, and seven lambs, and a kid of the goats, for sins.
3. On the tenth day of the same lunar month, they fast till the evening; and this day they sacrifice a bull, and two rams, and seven lambs, and a kid of the goats, for sins. And, besides these, they bring two kids of the goats; the one of which is sent alive out of the limits of the camp into the wilderness for the scapegoat, and to be an expiation for the sins of the whole multitude; but the other is brought into a place of great cleanness, within the limits of the camp, and is there burnt, with its skin, without any sort of cleansing. With this goat was burnt a bull, not brought by the people, but by the high priest, at his own charges; which, when it was slain, he brought of the blood into the holy place, together with the blood of the kid of the goats, and sprinkled the ceiling with his finger seven times, as also its pavement, and again as often toward the most holy place, and about the golden altar: he also at last brings it into the open court, and sprinkles it about the great altar. Besides this, they set the extremities, and the kidneys, and the fat, with the lobe of the liver, upon the altar. The high priest likewise presents a ram to God as a burnt-offering.
4. Upon the fifteenth day of the same month, when the season of the year is changing for winter, the law enjoins us to pitch tabernacles in every one of our houses, so that we preserve ourselves from the cold of that time of the year; as also that when we should arrive at our own country, and come to that city which we should have then for our metropolis, because of the temple therein to be built, and keep a festival for eight days, and offer burnt-offerings, and sacrifice thank-offerings, that we should then carry in our hands a branch of myrtle, and willow, and a bough of the palm-tree, with the addition of the pome citron: That the burnt-offering on the first of those days was to be a sacrifice of thirteen bulls, and fourteen lambs, and fifteen rams, with the addition of a kid of the goats, as an expiation for sins; and on the following days the same number of lambs, and of rams, with the kids of the goats; but abating one of the bulls every day till they amounted to seven only. On the eighth day all work was laid aside, and then, as we said before, they sacrificed to God a bullock, a ram, and seven lambs, with a kid of the goats, for an expiation of sins. And this is the accustomed solemnity of the Hebrews, when they pitch their tabernacles.
5. In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians,) the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid of the goats which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days. But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following: They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest. They also at this participation of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to God.
6. When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice, (which weeks contain forty and nine days,) on the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost, but is called by the Hebrews Asartha, which signifies Pentecost, they bring to God a loaf, made of wheat flour, of two tenth deals, with leaven; and for sacrifices they bring two lambs; and when they have only presented them to God, they are made ready for supper for the priests; nor is it permitted to leave any thing of them till the day following. They also slay three bullocks for a burnt-offering, and two rams; and fourteen lambs, with two kids of the goats, for sins; nor is there anyone of the festivals but in it they offer burnt-offerings; they also allow themselves to rest on every one of them. Accordingly, the law prescribes in them all what kinds they are to sacrifice, and how they are to rest entirely, and must slay sacrifices, in order to feast upon them.
7. However, out of the common charges, baked bread [was set on the table of shew-bread], without leaven, of twenty-four tenth deals of flour, for so much is spent upon this bread; two heaps of these were baked, they were baked the day before the sabbath, but were brought into the holy place on the morning of the sabbath, and set upon the holy table, six on a heap, one loaf still standing over against another; where two golden cups full of frankincense were also set upon them, and there they remained till another sabbath, and then other loaves were brought in their stead, while the loaves were given to the priests for their food, and the frankincense was burnt in that sacred fire wherein all their offerings were burnt also; and so other frankincense was set upon the loaves instead of what was there before. The [high priest also, of his own charges, offered a sacrifice, and that twice every day. It was made of flour mingled with oil, and gently baked by the fire; the quantity was one tenth deal of flour; he brought the half of it to the fire in the morning, and the other half at night. The account of these sacrifices I shall give more accurately hereafter; but I think I have premised what for the present may be sufficient concerning them.
OF THE PURIFICATIONS
1. MOSES took out the tribe of Levi from communicating with the rest of the people, and set them apart to be a holy tribe; and purified them by water taken from perpetual springs, and with such sacrifices as were usually offered to God on the like occasions. He delivered to them also the tabernacle, and the sacred vessels, and the other curtains, which were made for covering the tabernacle, that they might minister under the conduct of the priests, who had been already consecrated to God.
2. He also determined concerning animals; which of them might be used for food, and which they were obliged to abstain from; which matters, when this work shall give me occasion, shall be further explained; and the causes shall be added by which he was moved to allot some of them to be our food, and enjoined us to abstain from others. However, he entirely forbade us the use of blood for food, and esteemed it to contain the soul and spirit. He also forbade us to eat the flesh of an animal that died of itself, as also the caul, and the fat of goats, and sheep, and bulls.
3. He also ordered that those whose bodies were afflicted with leprosy, and that had a gonorrhea, should not come into the city; (24) nay, he removed the women, when they had their natural purgations, till the seventh day; after which he looked on them as pure, and permitted them to come in again. The law permits those also who have taken care of funerals to come in after the same manner, when this number of days is over; but if any continued longer than that number of days in a state of pollution, the law appointed the offering two lambs for a sacrifice; the one of which they are to purge by fire, and for the other, the priests take it for themselves. In the same manner do those sacrifice who have had the gonorrhea. But he that sheds his seed in his sleep, if he go down into cold water, has the same privilege with those that have lawfully accompanied with their wives. And for the lepers, he suffered them not to come into the city at all, nor to live with any others, as if they were in effect dead persons; but if any one had obtained by prayer to God, the recovery from that distemper, and had gained a healthful complexion again, such a one returned thanks to God, with several sorts of sacrifices; concerning which we will speak hereafter.
4. Whence one cannot but smile at those who say that Moses was himself afflicted with the leprosy when he fled out of Egypt, and that he became the conductor of those who on that account left that country, and led them into the land of Canaan; for had this been true, Moses would not have made these laws to his own dishonor, which indeed it was more likely he would have opposed, if others had endeavored to introduce them; and this the rather, because there are lepers in many nations, who yet are in honor, and not only free from reproach and avoidance, but who have been great captains of armies, and been intrusted with high offices in the commonwealth, and have had the privilege of entering into holy places and temples; so that nothing hindered, but if either Moses himself, or the multitude that was with him, had been liable to such a misfortune in the color of his skin, he might have made laws about them for their credit and advantage, and have laid no manner of difficulty upon them. Accordingly, it is a plain case, that it is out of violent prejudice only that they report these things about us. But Moses was pure from any such distemper, and lived with countrymen who were pure of it also, and thence made the laws which concerned others that had the distemper. He did this for the honor of God. But as to these matters, let every one consider them after what manner he pleases.
5. As to the women, when they have born a child, Moses forbade them to come into the temple, or touch the sacrifices, before forty days were over, supposing it to be a boy; but if she hath born a girl, the law is that she cannot be admitted before twice that number of days be over. And when after the before-mentioned time appointed for them, they perform their sacrifices, the priests distribute them before God.
6. But if any one suspect that his wife has been guilty of adultery, he was to bring a tenth deal of barley flour; they then cast one handful to God and gave the rest of it to the priests for food. One of the priests set the woman at the gates that are turned towards the temple, and took the veil from her head, and wrote the name of God on parchment, and enjoined her to swear that she had not at all injured her husband; and to wish that, if she had violated her chastity, her right thigh might be put out of joint; that her belly might swell; and that she might die thus: but that if her husband, by the violence of his affection, and of the jealousy which arose from it, had been rashly moved to this suspicion, that she might bear a male child in the tenth month. Now when these oaths were over, the priest wiped the name of God out of the parchment, and wrung the water into a vial. He also took some dust out of the temple, if any happened to be there, and put a little of it into the vial, and gave it her to drink; whereupon the woman, if she were unjustly accused, conceived with child, and brought it to perfection in her womb: but if she had broken her faith of wedlock to her husband, and had sworn falsely before God, she died in a reproachful manner; her thigh fell off from her, and her belly swelled with a dropsy. And these are the ceremonies about sacrifices, and about the purifications thereto belonging, which Moses provided for his countrymen. He also prescribed the following laws to them: -
1. AS for adultery, Moses forbade it entirely, as esteeming it a happy thing that men should be wise in the affairs of wedlock; and that it was profitable both to cities and families that children should be known to be genuine. He also abhorred men's lying with their mothers, as one of the greatest crimes; and the like for lying with the father's wife, and with aunts, and sisters, and sons' wives, as all instances of abominable wickedness. He also forbade a man to lie with his wife when she was defiled by her natural purgation: and not to come near brute beasts; nor to approve of the lying with a male, which was to hunt after unlawful pleasures on account of beauty. To those who were guilty of such insolent behavior, he ordained death for their punishment.
2. As for the priests, he prescribed to them a double degree of purity (25) for he restrained them in the instances above, and moreover forbade them to marry harlots. He also forbade them to marry a slave, or a captive, and such as got their living by cheating trades, and by keeping inns; as also a woman parted from her husband, on any account whatsoever. Nay, he did not think it proper for the high priest to marry even the widow of one that was dead, though he allowed that to the priests; but he permitted him only to marry a virgin, and to retain her. Whence it is that the high priest is not to come near to one that is dead, although the rest are not prohibited from coming near to their brethren, or parents, or children, when they are dead; but they are to be unblemished in all respects. He ordered that the priest who had any blemish, should have his portion indeed among the priests, but he forbade him to ascend the altar, or to enter into the holy house. He also enjoined them, not only to observe purity in their sacred ministrations, but in their daily conversation, that it might be unblamable also. And on this account it is that those who wear the sacerdotal garments are without spot, and eminent for their purity and sobriety: nor are they permitted to drink wine so long as they wear those garments. (26) Moreover, they offer sacrifices that are entire, and have no defect whatsoever.
3. And truly Moses gave them all these precepts, being such as were observed during his own lifetime; but though he lived now in the wilderness, yet did he make provision how they might observe the same laws when they should have taken the land of Canaan. He gave them rest to the land from ploughing and planting every seventh year, as he had prescribed to them to rest from working every seventh day; and ordered, that then what grew of its own accord out of the earth should in common belong to all that pleased to use it, making no distinction in that respect between their own countrymen and foreigners: and he ordained, that they should do the same after seven times seven years, which in all are fifty years; and that fiftieth year is called by the Hebrews The Jubilee, wherein debtors are freed from their debts, and slaves are set at liberty; which slaves became such, though they were of the same stock, by transgressing some of those laws the punishment of which was not capital, but they were punished by this method of slavery. This year also restores the land to its former possessors in the manner following: - When the Jubilee is come, which name denotes liberty, he that sold the land, and he that bought it, meet together, and make an estimate, on one hand, of the fruits gathered; and, on the other hand, of the expenses laid out upon it. If the fruits gathered cometo more than the expenses laid out, he that sold it takes the land again; but if the expenses prove more than the fruits, the present possessor receives of the former owner the difference that was wanting, and leaves the land to him; and if the fruits received, and the expenses laid out, prove equal to one another, the present possessor relinquishes it to the former owners. Moses would have the same law obtain as to those houses also which were sold in villages; but he made a different law for such as were sold in a city; for if he that sold it tendered the purchaser his money again within a year, he was forced to restore it; but in case a whole year had intervened, the purchaser was to enjoy what he had bought. This was the constitution of the laws which Moses learned of God when the camp lay under Mount Sinai, and this he delivered in writing to the Hebrews.
4. Now when this settlement of laws seemed to be well over, Moses thought fit at length to take a review of the host, as thinking it proper to settle the affairs of war. So he charged the heads of the tribes, excepting the tribe of Levi, to take an exact account of the number of those that were able to go to war; for as to the Levites, they were holy, and free from all such burdens. Now when the people had been numbered, there were found six hundred thousand that were able to go to war, from twenty to fifty years of age, besides three thousand six hundred and fifty. Instead of Levi, Moses took Manasseh, the son of Joseph, among the heads of tribes; and Ephraim instead of Joseph. It was indeed the desire of Jacob himself to Joseph, that he would give him his sons to be his own by adoption, as I have before related.
5. When they set up the tabernacle, they received it into the midst of their camp, three of the tribes pitching their tents on each side of it; and roads were cut through the midst of these tents. It was like a well-appointed market; and every thing was there ready for sale in due order; and all sorts of artificers were in the shops; and it resembled nothing so much as a city that sometimes was movable, and sometimes fixed. The priests had the first places about the tabernacle; then the Levites, who, because their whole multitude was reckoned from thirty days old, were twenty-three thousand eight hundred and eighty males; and during the time that the cloud stood over the tabernacle, they thought proper to stay in the same place, as supposing that God there inhabited among them; but when that removed, they journeyed also.
6. Moreover, Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet, which was made of silver. Its description is this: - In length it was little less than a cubit. It was composed of a narrow tube, somewhat thicker than a flute, but with so much breadth as was sufficient for admission of the breath of a man's mouth: it ended in the form of a bell, like common trumpets. Its sound was called in the Hebrew tongue Asosra. Two of these being made, one of them was sounded when they required the multitude to come together to congregations. When the first of them gave a signal, the heads of the tribes were to assemble, and consult about the affairs to them properly belonging; but when they gave the signal by both of them, they called the multitude together. Whenever the tabernacle was removed, it was done in this solemn order: - At the first alarm of the trumpet, those whose tents were on the east quarter prepared to remove; when the second signal was given, those that were on the south quarter did the like; in the next place, the tabernacle was taken to pieces, and was carried in the midst of six tribes that went before, and of six that followed, all the Levites assisting about the tabernacle; when the third signal was given, that part which had their tents towards the west put themselves in motion; and at the fourth signal those on the north did so likewise. They also made use of these trumpets in their sacred ministrations, when they were bringing their sacrifices to the altar as well on the Sabbaths as on the rest of the [festival] days; and now it was that Moses offered that sacrifice which was called the Passover in the Wilderness, as the first he had offered after the departure out of Egypt.
MOSES REMOVED FROM MOUNT SINAI, AND CONDUCTED THE PEOPLE TO THE BORDERS OF THE CANAANITES
A LITTLE while afterwards he rose up, and went from Mount Sinai; and, having passed through several mansions, of which we will speak he came to a place called Hazeroth, where the multitude began again to be mutinous, and to Moses for the misfortunes they had suffered their travels; and that when he had persuaded to leave a good land, they at once had lost land, and instead of that happy state he had them, they were still wandering in their miserable condition, being already in want water; and if the manna should happen to fail, must then utterly perish. Yet while they spake many and sore things against the there was one of them who exhorted them to be unmindful of Moses, and of what great pains he had been at about their common safety; not to despair of assistance from God. The multitude thereupon became still more unruly, and mutinous against Moses than before. Hereupon Moses, although he was so basely abused by them encouraged them in their despairing conditioned and promised that he would procure them a quantity of flesh-meat, and that not for a few days only, but for many days. This they were not to believe; and when one of them asked, whence he could obtain such vast plenty of what he promised, he replied, "Neither God nor I, we hear such opprobrious language from will leave off our labors for you; and this soon appear also." As soon as ever he had this, the whole camp was filled with quails, they stood round about them, and gathered great numbers. However, it was not long ere God punished the Hebrews for their insolence, those reproaches they had used towards him, no small number of them died; and still to this day the place retains the memory of this destruction and is named Kibrothhattaavah, which is, Graves of Lust.
HOW MOSES SENT SOME PERSONS TO SEARCH OUT THE LAND OF THE CANAANITES, AND THE LARGENESS OF THEIR CITIES; AND FURTHER THAT WHEN THOSE WHO WERE SENT WERE RETURNED, AFTER FORTY DAYS AND REPORTED THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE A MATCH FOR THEM, AND EXTOLLED THE STRENGH OF THE CANAANITES THE MULTITUDE WERE DISTURBED AND FELL INTO DESPAIR; AND WERE RESOLVED TO STONE MOSES, AND TO RETURN BACK AGAIN INTO EGYPT, AND SERVE THE EGYPTIANS
1. WHEN Moses had led the Hebrews away from thence to a place called Paran, which was near to the borders of the Canaanites, and a place difficult to be continued in, he gathered the multitude together to a congregation; and standing in the midst of them, he said, "Of the two things that God determined to bestow upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country, the one of them ye already are partakers of, by the gift of God, and the other you will quickly obtain; for we now have our abode near the borders of the Canaanites, and nothing can hinder the acquisition of it, when we now at last are fallen upon it: I say, not only no king nor city, but neither the whole race of mankind, if they were all gathered together, could do it. Let us therefore prepare ourselves for the work, for the Canaanites will not resign up their land to us without fighting, but it must be wrested from them by great struggles in war. Let us then send spies, who may take a view of the goodness of the land, and what strength it is of; but, above all things, let us be of one mind, and let us honor God, who above all is our helper and assister."
2. When Moses had said thus, the multitude requited him with marks of respect; and chose twelve spies, of the most eminent men, one out of each tribe, who, passing over all the land of Canaan, from the borders of Egypt, came to the city Hamath, and to Mount Lebanon; and having learned the nature of the land, and of its inhabitants, they came home, having spent forty days in the whole work. They also brought with them of the fruits which the land bare; they also showed them the excellency of those fruits, and gave an account of the great quantity of the good things that land afforded, which were motives to the multitude to go to war. But then they terrified them again with the great difficulty there was in obtaining it; that the rivers were so large and deep that they could not be passed over; and that the hills were so high that they could not travel along for them; that the cities were strong with walls, and their firm fortifications round about them. They told them also, that they found at Hebron the posterity of the giants. Accordingly these spies, who had seen the land of Canaan, when they perceived that all these difficulties were greater there than they had met with since they came out of Egypt, they were aftrighted at them themselves, and endeavored to affright the multitude also.
3. So they supposed, from what they had heard, that it was impossible to get the possession of the country. And when the congregation was dissolved, they, their wives and children, continued their lamentation, as if God would not indeed assist them, but only promised them fair. They also again blamed Moses, and made a clamor against him and his brother Aaron, the high priest. Accordingly they passed that night very ill, and with contumelious language against them; but in the morning they ran to a congregation, intending to stone Moses and Aaron, and so to return back into Egypt.
4. But of the spies, there were Joshua the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb of the tribe of Judah, that were afraid of the consequence, and came into the midst of them, and stilled the multitude, and desired them to be of good courage; and neither to condemn God, as having told them lies, nor to hearken to those who had aftrighted them, by telling them what was not true concerning the Canaanites, but to those that encouraged them to hope for good success; and that they should gain possession of the happiness promised them, because neither the. height of mountains, nor the depth of rivers, could hinder men of true courage from attempting them, especially while God would take care of them beforehand, and be assistant to them. "Let us then go," said they, "against our enemies, and have no suspicion of ill success, trusting in God to conduct us, and following those that are to be our leaders." Thus did these two exhort them, and endeavor to pacify the rage they were in. But Moses and Aaron fell on the ground, and besought God, not for their own deliverance, but that he would put a stop to what the people were unwarily doing, and would bring their minds to a quiet temper, which were now disordered by their present passion. The cloud also did now appear, and stood over the tabernacle, and declared to them the presence of God to be there.
HOW MOSES WAS DISPLEASED AT THIS, AND FORETOLD THAT GOD WAS ANGRY AND THAT THEY SHOULD CONTINUE IN THE WILDERNESS FOR FORTY YEARS AND NOT, DURING THAT TIME, EITHER RETURN INTO EGYPT OR TAKE POSSESSION OF CANAAN
1. MOSES came now boldly to the multitude, and informed them that God was moved at their abuse of him, and would inflict punishment upon them, not indeed such as they deserved for their sins, but such as parents inflict on their children, in order to their correction. For, he said, that when he was in the tabernacle, and was bewailing with ears that destruction which was coming upon them God put him in mind what things he had done for them, and what benefits they had received from him, and yet how ungrateful they had been to him that just now they had been induced, through the timorousness of the spies, to think that their words were truer than his own promise to them; and that on this account, though he would not indeed destroy them all, nor utterly exterminate their nation, which he had honored more than any other part of mankind, yet he would not permit them to take possession of the land of Canaan, nor enjoy its happiness; but would make them wander in the wilderness, and live without a fixed habitation, and without a city, for forty years together, as a punishment for this their transgression; but that he had promised to give that land to our children, and that he would make them the possessors of those good things which, by your ungoverned passions, you have deprived yourselves of.
2. When Moses had discoursed thus to them according to the direction of God, the multitude, grieved, and were in affliction; and entreated Most to procure their reconciliation to God, and to permit them no longer to wander in the wilderness, but bestow cities upon them. But he replied, that God would not admit of any such trial, for that God was not moved to this determination from any human levity or anger, but that he had judicially condemned them to that punishment. Now we are not to disbelieve that Moses, who was but a single person, pacified so many ten thousands when they werre in anger, and converted them to a mildness temper; for God was with him, and prepared way to his persuasions of the multitude; and as they had often been disobedient, they were now sensible that such disobedience was disadvantageous to them and that they had still thereby fallen into calamities.
3. But this man was admirable for his virtue, and powerful in making
men give credit to what he delivered, not only during the time of his natural
life, but even there is still no one of the Hebrews who does not act even
now as if Moses were present, and ready to punish him if he should do any
thing that is indecent; nay, there is no one but is obedient to what laws
he ordained, although they might be concealed in their transgressions.
There are also many other demonstrations that his power was more than human,
for still some there have been, who have come from the parts beyond Euphrates,
a journey of four months, through many dangers, and at great expenses,
in honor of our temple; and yet, when they had offered their oblations,
could not partake of their own sacrifices, because Moses had forbidden
it, by somewhat in the law that did not permit them, or somewhat that had
befallen them, which our ancient customs made inconsistent therewith; some
of these did not sacrifice at all, and others left their sacrifices in
an imperfect condition; many were not able, even at first, so much as to
enter the temple, but went their ways in this as preferring a submission
to the laws of Moses before the fulfilling of their own inclinations, they
had no fear upon them that anybody could convict them, but only out of
a reverence to their own conscience. Thus this legislation, which appeared
to be divine, made this man to be esteemed as one superior to his own nature.
Nay, further, a little before the beginning of this war, when Claudius
was emperor of the Romans, and Ismael was our high priest, and when so
great a famine (27) was come upon us, that one tenth deal [of wheat] was
sold for four drachmae, and when no less than seventy cori of flour were
brought into the temple, at the feast of unleavened bread, (these cori
are thirty-one Sicilian, but forty-one Athenian medimni,) not one of the
priests was so hardy as to eat one crumb of it, even while so great a distress
was upon the land; and this out of a dread of the law, and of that wrath
which God retains against acts of wickedness, even when no one can accuse
the actors. Whence we are not to wonder at what was then done, while to
this very day the writings left by Moses have so great a force, that even
those that hate us do confess, that he who established this settlement
was God, and that it was by the means of Moses, and of his virtue; but
as to these matters, let every one take them as he thinks fit.
(1) Dr. Bernard takes notice here, that this place Mar, where the waters were bitter, is called by the Syrians and Arabians Mariri, and by the Syrians sometimes Morath, all derived from the Hebrew Mar. He also takes notice, that it is called The Bitter Fountain by Pliny himself; which waters remain there to this day, and are still bitter, as Thevenot assures us and that there are also abundance of palm-trees. See his Travels, Part I. ch. 26. p. 166.
(2)The additions here to Moses's account of the sweetening of the waters at Marah, seem derived from some ancient profane author, and he such an author also as looks less authentic than are usually followed by Josephus. Philo has not a syllable of these additions, nor any other ancienter writer that we know of. Had Josephus written these his Antiquities for the use of Jews, he would hardly have given them these very improbable circumstances; but writing to Gentiles, that they might not complain of his omission of any accounts of such miracles derived from Gentiles, he did not think proper to conceal what he had met with there about this matter. Which procedure is perfectly agreeable to the character and usage of Josephus upon many occasions. This note is, I confess, barely conjectural; and since Josephus never tells us when his own copy, taken out of the temple, had such additions, or when any ancient notes supplied them; or indeed when they are derived from Jewish, and when from Gentile antiquity, — we can go no further than bare conjectures in such cases; only the notions of Jews were generally so different from those of Gentiles, that we may sometimes make no improbable conjectures to which sort such additions belong. See also somewhat like these additions in Josephus's account of Elisha's making sweet the bitter and barren spring near Jericho, War, B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 3.
(3) It seems to me, from what Moses, Exodus 16:18, St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:15, and Josephus here say, compared together, that the quantity of manna that fell daily, and did not putrefy, was just so much as came to an omer apiece, through the whole host of Israel, and no more.
(4) This supposal, that the sweet honey-dew or manna, so celebrated in ancient and modern authors, as falling usually in Arabia, was of the very same sort with this manna sent to the Israelites, savors more of Gentilism than of Judaism or Christianity. It is not improbable that some ancient Gentile author, read by Josephus, so thought; nor would he here contradict him; though just before, and Antiq. B. IV. ch. 3. sect. 2, he seems directly to allow that it had not been seen before. However, this food from heaven is here described to be like snow; and in Artapanus, a heathen writer, it is compared to meal, color like to snow, rained down by God," Essay on the Old Test. Append. p. 239. But as to the derivation of the word manna, whether from man, which Josephus says then signified What is it or from mannah, to divide, i.e. a dividend or portion allotted to every one, it is uncertain: I incline to the latter derivation. This manna is called angels' food, Psalm 78:26, and by our Sacior, John 6:31, etc., as well as by Josephus here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. III. ch. 5. sect. 3, said to be sent the Jews from heaven.
(5) This rock is there at this day, as the travelers agree; and must be the same that was there in the days of Moses, as being too large to be brought thither by our modern carriages.
(6) Note here, that the small book of the principal laws of Moses is ever said to be laid up in the holy house itself; but the larger Pentateuch, as here, some where within the limits of the temple and its courts only. See Antiq. B. V. ch. 1. sect. 17.
(7) This eminent circumstance, that while Moses's hands were lift up towards heaven, the Israelites prevailed, and while they were let down towards the earth, the Amalekites prevailed, seems to me the earliest intimation we have of the proper posture, used of old, in solemn prayer, which was the stretching out of the hands [and eyes] towards heaven, as other passages of the Old and New Testament inform us. Nay, by the way, this posture seemed to have continued in the Christian church, till the clergy, instead of learning their prayers by heart, read them out of a book, which is in a great measure inconsistent with such an elevated posture, and which seems to me to have been only a later practice, introduced under the corrupt state of the church; though the constant use of divine forms of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, appears to me to have been the practice of God's people, patriarchs, Jews, and Christians, in all the past ages.
(8) This manner of electing the judges and officers of the Israelites by the testimonies and suffrages of the people, before they were ordained by God, or by Moses, deserves to be carefully noted, because it was the pattern of the like manner of the choice and ordination of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, in the Christian church.
(9) Since this mountain, Sinai, is here said to be the highest of all the mountains that are in that country, it must be that now called St. Katherine's, which is one-third higher than that within a mile of it, now called Sinai, as Mons. Thevenot informs us, Travels, Part I. ch. 23. p. 168. The other name of it, Horeb, is never used by Josephus, and perhaps was its name among the Egyptians only, whence the Israelites were lately come, as Sinai was its name among the Arabians, Canaanites, and other nations. Accordingly when (1 Kings 9:8) the Scripture says that Elijah came to Horeb, the mount of God, Josephus justly says, Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 13. sect. 7, that he came to the mountain called Sinai: and Jerome, here cited by Dr. Hudson, says, that he took this mountain to have two names, Sinai and Choreb. De Nomin. Heb. p. 427.
(10) Of this and another like superstitious notion of the Pharisees, which Josephus complied with, see the note on Antiq. B. II. ch. 12. sect. 4.
(11) This other work of Josephus, here referred to, seems to be that which does not appear to have been ever published, which yet he intended to publish, about the reasons of many of the laws of Moses; of which see the note on the Preface, sect. 4.
(12) Of this tabernacle of Moses, with its several parts and furniture, see my description at large, chap. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. hereto belonging.
(13) The use of these golden bells at the bottom of the high priest's long garment, seems to me to have been this: That by shaking his garment at the time of his offering incense in the temple, on the great day of expiation, or at other proper periods of his sacred ministrations there, on the great festivals, the people might have notice of it, and might fall to their own prayers at the time of incense, or other proper periods; and so the whole congregation might at once offer those common prayers jointly with the high priest himself to the Almighty See Luke 1:10; Revelation 8:3, 4. Nor probably is the son of Sirach to be otherwise understood, when he says of Aaron, the first high priest, Ecelus. 45:9, "And God encompassed Aaron with pomegranates, and with many golden bells round about, that as he went there might be a sound, and a noise made that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people."
(14) The reader ought to take notice here, that the very Mosaic Petalon, or golden plate, for the forehead of the Jewish high priest, was itself preserved, not only till the days of Josephus, but of Origen; and that its inscription, Holiness to the Lord, was in the Samaritan characters. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 3. sect. 8, Essay on the Old Test. p. 154, and Reland, De pol. Templi, p. 132.
(15) When Josephus, both here and ch. 6. sect. 4, supposes the tabernacle to have been parted into three parts, he seems to esteem the bare entrance to be a third division, distinct from the holy and the most holy places; and this the rather, because in the temple afterward there was a real distinct third part, which was called the Porch: otherwise Josephus would contradict his own description of the tabernacle, which gives as a particular account of no more than two parts.
(16) This explication of the mystical meaning of the Jewish tabernacle and its vessels, with the garments of the high priest, is taken out of Philo, and fitted to Gentile philosophical notions. This may possibly be forgiven in Jews, greatly versed in heathen learning and philosophy, as Philo had ever been, and as Josephus had long been when he wrote these Antiquities. In the mean time, it is not to be doubted, but in their education they must have both learned more Jewish interpretations, such as we meet with in the Epistle of Barnabas, in that to the Hebrews, and elsewhere among the old Jews. Accordingly when Josephus wrote his books of the Jewish War, for the use of the Jews, at which time he was comparatively young, and less used to Gentile books, we find one specimen of such a Jewish interpretation; for there (B. VII. ch. 5. sect. 5) he makes the seven branches of the temple-candlestick, with their seven lamps, an emblem of the seven days of creation and rest, which are here emblems of the seven planets. Nor certainly ought ancient Jewish emblems to be explained any other way than according to ancient Jewish, and not Gentile, notions. See of the War, B. I. ch. 33. sect. 2.
(17) It is well worth our observation, that the two principal qualifications required in this section for the constitution of the first high priest, (viz. that he should have an excellent character for virtuous and good actions; as also that he should have the approbation of the people,) are here noted by Josephus, even where the nomination belonged to God himself; which are the very same qualifications which the Christian religion requires in the choice of Christian bishops, priests, and deacons; as the Apostolical Constitutions inform us, B. II. ch. 3.
(18) This weight and value of the Jewish shekel, in the days of Josephus, equal to about 2s. 10d. sterling, is, by the learned Jews, owned to be one-fifth larger than were their old shekels; which determination agrees perfectly with the remaining shekels that have Samaritan inscriptions, coined generally by Simon the Maccabee, about 230 years before Josephus published his Antiquities, which never weigh more than 2s. 4d., and commonly but 2s. 4d. See Reland De Nummis Samaritanorum, p. 138.
(19) The incense was here offered, according to Josephus's opinion, before sun-rising, and at sun-setting; but in the days of Pompey, according to the same Josephus, the sacrifices were offered in the morning, and at the ninth hour. Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 4. sect. 3.
(20) Hence we may correct the opinions of the modern Rabbins, who say that only one of the seven lamps burned in the day-time; whereas our Josephus, an eyewitness, says there were three.
(21) Of this strange expression, that Moses "left it to God to be present at his sacrifices when he pleased, and when he pleased to be absent," see the note on B. II. against Apion, sect. 16.
(22)These answers by the oracle of Urim and Thummim, which words signify, light and perfection, or, as the Septuagint render them, revelation and truth, and denote nothing further, that I see, but the shining stones themselves, which were used, in this method of illumination, in revealing the will of God, after a perfect and true manner, to his people Israel: I say, these answers were not made by the shining of the precious stones, after an awkward manner, in the high priest's breastplate, as the modern Rabbins vainly suppose; for certainly the shining of the stones might precede or accompany the oracle, without itself delivering that oracle, see Antiq. B. VI. ch. 6. sect. 4; but rather by an audible voice from the mercy-seat between the cherubims. See Prideaux's Connect. at the year 534. This oracle had been silent, as Josephus here informs us, two hundred years before he wrote his Antiquities, or ever since the days of the last good high priest of the family of the Maccabees, John Hyrcanus. Now it is here very well worth our observation, that the oracle before us was that by which God appeared to he present with, and gave directions to, his people Israel as their King, all the while they submitted to him in that capacity; and did not set over them such independent kings as governed according to their own wills and political maxims, instead of Divine directions. Accordingly we meet with this oracle (besides angelic and prophetic admonitions) all along from the days of Moses and Joshua to the anointing of Saul, the first of the succession of the kings, Numbers 27:21; Joshua 6:6, etc.; 19:50; Judges 1:1; 18:4-6, 30, 31; 20:18, 23, 26-28; 21:1, etc.; 1 Samuel 1:17, 18; 3. per tot.; 4. per tot.; nay, till Saul's rejection of the Divine commands in the war with Amalek, when he took upon him to act as he thought fit, 1 Samuel 14:3, 18, 19, 36, 37, then this oracle left Saul entirely, (which indeed he had seldom consulted before, 1 Samuel 14:35; 1 Chronicles 10:14; 13:3; Antiq. B. 7 ch. 4 sect 2.) and accompanied David, who was anointed to succeed him, and who consulted God by it frequently, and complied with its directions constantly (1 Samuel 14:37, 41; 15:26; 22:13, 15; 23:9, 10; 30:7, 8, 18; 2 Samuel 2:1; 5:19, 23; 21:1; 23 :14; 1 Chronicles 14:10, 14; Antiq. B IV ch. 12 sect. 5). Saul, indeed, long after his rejection by God, and when God had given him up to destruction for his disobedience, did once afterwards endeavor to consult God when it was too late; but God would not then answer him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets, 1 Samuel 28:6. Nor did any of David's successors, the kings of Judah, that we know of, consult God by this oracle, till the very Babylonish captivity itself, when those kings were at an end; they taking upon them, I suppose, too much of despotic power and royalty, and too little owning the God of Israel for the supreme King of Israel, though a few of them consulted the prophets sometimes, and were answered by them. At the return of the two tribes, without the return of the kingly government, the restoration of this oracle was expected, Nehemiah 7;63; 1 Esd. 5:40; 1 Macc. 4:46; 14:41. And indeed it may seem to have been restored for some time after the Babylonish captivity, at least in the days of that excellent high priest, John Hyrcanus, whom Josephus esteemed as a king, a priest, and a prophet; and who, he says, foretold several things that came to pass accordingly; but about the time of his death, he here implies, that this oracle quite ceased, and not before. The following high priests now putting diadems on their heads, and ruling according to their own will, and by their own authority, like the other kings of the pagan countries about them; so that while the God of Israel was allowed to be the supreme King of Israel, and his directions to be their authentic guides, God gave them such directions as their supreme King and Governor, and they were properly under a theocracy, by this oracle of Urim, but no longer (see Dr. Bernard's notes here); though I confess I cannot but esteem the high priest Jaddus's divine dream, Antiq. B. XI. ch. 8. sect. 4, and the high priest Caiaphas's most remarkable prophecy, John 11:47-52, as two small remains or specimens of this ancient oracle, which properly belonged to the Jewish high priests: nor perhaps ought we entirely to forget that eminent prophetic dream of our Josephus himself, (one next to a high priest, as of the family of the Asamoneans or Maccabees,) as to the succession of Vespasian and Titus to the Roman empire, and that in the days of Nero, and before either Galba, Otho, or Vitellius were thought of to succeed him. Of the War, B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. This, I think, may well be looked on as the very last instance of any thing like the prophetic Urim among the Jewish nation, and just preceded their fatal desolation: but how it could possibly come to pass that such great men as Sir John Marsham and Dr. Spenser, should imagine that this oracle of Urim and Thummim with other practices as old or older than the law of Moses, should have been ordained in imitation of somewhat like them among the Egyptians, which we never hear of till the days of Diodorus Siculus, Aelian, and Maimonides, or little earlier than the Christian era at the highest, is almost unaccountable; while the main business of the law of Moses was evidently to preserve the Israelites from the idolatrous and superstitious practices of the neighboring pagan nations; and while it is so undeniable, that the evidence for the great antiquity of Moses's law is incomparably beyond that for the like or greater antiquity of such customs in Egypt or other nations, which indeed is generally none at all, it is most absurd to derive any of Moses's laws from the imitation of those heathen practices, Such hypotheses demonstrate to us how far inclination can prevail over evidence, in even some of the most learned part of mankind.
(23) What Reland well observes here, out of Josephus, as compared with the law of Moses, Leviticus 7:15, (that the eating of the sacrifice the same day it was offered, seems to mean only before the morning of the next, although the latter part, i.e. the night, be in strictness part of the next day, according to the Jewish reckoning,) is greatly to be observed upon other occasions also. The Jewish maxim in such cases, it seems, is this: That the day goes before the night; and this appears to me to be the language both of the Old and New Testament. See also the note on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 4, and Reland's note on B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 28.
(24) We may here note, that Josephus frequently calls the camp the city, and the court of the Mosaic tabernacle a temple, and the tabernacle itself a holy house, with allusion to the latter city, temple, and holy house, which he knew so well long afterwards.
(25) These words of Josephus are remarkable, that the lawgiver of the Jews required of the priests a double degree of parity, in comparison of that required of the people, of which he gives several instances immediately. It was for certain the case also among the first Christians, of the clergy, in comparison of the laity, as the Apostolical Constitutions and Canons every where inform us.
(26) We must here note with Reland, that the precept given to the priests of not drinking wine while they wore the sacred garments, is equivalent; to their abstinence from it all the while they ministered in the temple; because they then always, and then only, wore those sacred garments, which were laid up there from one time of ministration to another.
(27) See Antiq, B. XX. ch. 2. sect, 6. and Acts 11:28.