For they ran all of them to him, and begged of him: the women begged for their infants, and the men for the women, that he would not overlook them, but would procure some way or other for their deliverance. He therefore betook himself to prayer to God, that he would change the water from its present badness, and make it fit for drinking. And when God had granted him that favour, he took the top of a stick that lay down at his feet, and divided it in the middle, and made the section length ways.
He then let it down into the well, and persuaded the Hebrews that God had hearkened to his prayers, and had promised to render the water such as they desired it to be; in case they would be subservient to him in what he should injoin them to do; and this not after a remiss or negligent manner. And when they asked, what they were to do in order to have the water changed for the better? So they laboured at it till the water was so agitated and purged as to be fit to drink.
And now removing from thence, they came to Elim : which place looked well at a distance: for there was a grove of palm-trees: but when they came near it, it appeared to be a bad place. For the palm-trees were no more than seventy; and they were ill grown, and creeping trees, by the want of water: for the countrey about was all parched; and no moisture sufficient to water them, and make them hopeful and useful, was derived to them from the fountains; which were in number twelve: they were rather a few moist places, than springs: which not breaking out of the ground, nor running over, could not sufficiently water the trees.
And when they dug into the sand, they met with no water: and if they took a few drops of it into their hands, they found it to be useless, on account of its mud. The trees also were too weak to bear fruit, for want of being sufficiently cherished and enlivened by the water. So they laid the blame on their conductor, and made heavy complaints against him; and said, that this their miserable state, and the experience they had of adversity, were owing to him: for that they had then journeyed an intire thirty days, and had spent all the provisions they had brought with them: and, meeting with no relief, they were in a very desponding condition.
And by fixing their attention upon nothing but their present misfortunes, they were hindred from remembring what deliverances they had received from God, and those by the virtue and wisdom of Moses also; so they were very angry at their conductor, and were zealous in their attempt to stone him, as the direct occasion of their present miseries.
Seeing it is probable, that God tries their virtue, and exercises their patience by these adversities; that it may appear what fortitude they have, and what memory they retain of his former wonderful works in their favour: and whether they will not think of them upon occasion of the miseries they now feel. That as for himself, he shall not be so much concerned for his own preservation: for if he die unjustly, he shall not reckon it any affliction; but that he is concerned for them, lest, by casting stones at him, they should be thought to condemn God himself.
By this means Moses pacified the people, and restrained them from stoning him, and brought them to repent of what they were going to do. And because he thought the necessity they were under made their passion less unjustifiable, he thought he ought to apply himself to God by prayer and supplication: and going up to an eminence, he requested of God for some succour for the people, and some way of deliverance from the want they were in; because in him, and in him alone, was their hope of salvation.
And he desired that he would forgive what necessity had forced the people to do: since such was the nature of mankind, hard to please, and very complaining under adversities. Accordingly God promised he would take care of them, and afford them the succour they were desirous of. Now when Moses had heard this from God, he came down to the multitude.
But as soon as they saw him joyful at the promises he had received from God, they changed their sad countenances into gladness. So he placed himself in the midst of them, and told them, he came to bring them from God a deliverance out of their present distresses. Upon which Moses returned thanks to God for affording them his assistance so suddenly, and sooner than he had promised them. For as Moses was lifting up his hands in prayer, a dew fell down; and Moses, when he found it stick to his hands, supposed this was also come for food from God to them: he tasted it; and perceiving that the people knew not what it was, and thought it snowed; and that it was what usually fell at that time of the year, he informed them, that this dew did not fall from heaven after the manner they imagined; but came for their preservation and sustenance.
So he tasted it, and gave them some of it; that they might be satisfied about what he told them. They also imitated their conductor; and were pleased with the food; for it was like honey in sweetness, and pleasant taste; but like in its body to bdellium, one of the sweet spices: but in bigness equal to coriander seed.
And very earnest they were in gathering it. But they were enjoined to gather it equally, 3 the measure of an homer for every one, every day: because this food should not come in too small a quantity, lest the weaker might not be able to get their share, by reason of the overbearing of the strong in collecting it. However, these strong men, when they had gathered more than the measure appointed for them, they had no more than others; but only tired themselves more in gathering it. For they found no more than an homer apiece: and the advantage they got by what was superfluous was none at all; it corrupting, both by the worms breeding in it, and by its bitterness.
So divine and wonderful a food was this! It also supplied the want of other sorts of food to those that fed on it. Now the Hebrews call this food manna. For the particle man in our language is the asking of a question, what is this? So the Hebrews were very joyful at what was sent them from heaven.
Now they made use of this food for forty years: 1 or as long as they were in the wilderness. As soon as they were removed thence, they came to Rephidim: being distressed to the last degree by thirst: and while in the foregoing days they had light on a few small fountains, but now found the earth entirely destitute of water, they were in an evil case: and so they again turned their anger against Moses.
But he at first avoided the fury of the multitude, and then betook himself to prayer to God: beseeching him that as he had given them food, when they were in the greatest want of it, so he would give them drink: since the favour of giving them food was of no value to them, while they had nothing to drink. And God did not long delay to give it them; but promised Moses that he would procure them a fountain, and plenty of water, from a place they did not expect any.
So he commanded him to smite the rock 5 which they saw lying there, with his rod; and out of it to receive plenty of what they wanted. For he had taken care that drink should come to them without any labour or pains-taking. When Moses had received this command from God, he came to the people, who waited for him, and looked upon him. For they saw already that he was coming apace from his eminence. As soon as he was come, he told them that God would deliver them from their present distress, and had granted them an unexpected favour: and informed them that a river should run for their sakes out of the rock.
But they were amazed at that hearing: supposing they were of necessity to cut the rock in pieces, now they were distressed by their thirst, and by their journey. While Moses only smiting the rock with his rod, opened a passage, and out of it burst out water, and that in great abundance, and very clear.
But they were astonished at this wonderful effect: and, as it were quenched their thirst by the very sight of it. So they drank this pleasant, this sweet water: and such it seemed to be as might well be expected where God was the donor. They were also in admiration how Moses was honoured by God: and they made grateful returns of sacrifices to God for his providence towards them. Now that scripture which is laid up in the temple 6 informs us, how God foretold to Moses, that water should in this manner be derived out of the rock.
How the Amalekites , and the neighbouring nations, made war with the Hebrews , and were beaten; and lost a great part of their army. The name of the Hebrews began already to be every where renowned, and rumours about them ran abroad. This made the inhabitants of those countries to be in no small fear. Accordingly they sent ambassadors to one another, and exhorted one another to defend themselves, and to endeavour to destroy these men.
Those that induced the rest to do so, were such as inhabited Gobolitis and Petra. They were called Amalekites , and were the most warlike of the nations that lived thereabout; and whose Kings exhorted one another, and their neighbours to go to this war against the Hebrews; telling them, that an army of strangers, and such an one as had run away from slavery under the Egyptians, lay in wait to ruin them: which army they were not, in common prudence, and regard to their own safety, to overlook, but to crush them before they gather strength, and come to be in prosperity; and perhaps attack them first in an hostile manner: as presuming upon our indolence in not attacking them before: and that we ought to avenge our selves of them for what they have done in the wilderness: but that this cannot be so well done when they have once laid their hands on our cities, and our goods: that those who endeavour to crush a power in its first rise, are wiser than those that endeavour to put a stop to its progress, when it is become formidable.
For these last seem to be angry only at the flourishing of others: but the former do not leave any room for their enemies to become troublesome to them. After they had sent such ambassages to the neighbouring nations, and among one another, they resolved to attack the Hebrews in battel.
These proceedings of the people of those countries occasioned perplexity and trouble to Moses: who expected no such warlike preparations. And when these nations were ready to fight, and the multitude of the Hebrews were obliged to try the fortune of war, they were in a mighty disorder, and in want of all necessaries; and yet were to make war with men who were thoroughly well prepared for it. That they were to suppose their own army to be numerous, wanting nothing, neither weapons, nor money, nor provisions; nor such other conveniences as when men are in possession of, they fight undauntedly; and that they are to judge themselves to have all these advantages in the divine assistance.
As also against mountains, and that sea which afforded them no way for escaping. So he exhorted them to be couragious at this time; and to look upon their intire prosperity to depend on the present conquest of their enemies. And with these words did Moses encourage the multitude: who then called together the Princes of their tribes, and their chief men, both separately and jointly.
The young men he charged to obey their elders: and the elders to hearken to their leader. So the people were elevated in their minds, and ready to try their fortune in battel; and hoped to be thereby at length delivered from all their miseries. So Moses sorted all that were fit for war into different troops: and set Joshua, the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, over them. One that was of great courage, and patient to undergo labours; of great abilities to understand, and to speak what was proper: and very serious in the worship of God; and indeed made like another Moses, a teacher of piety towards God.
He also appointed a small party of the armed men to be near the water; and to take care of the children, and the women, and of the intire camp. So that whole night they prepared themselves for the battel: they took their weapons, if any of them had such as were well made, and attended to their commanders; as ready to rush forth to the battel, as soon as Moses should give the word of command. Moses also kept awake; teaching Joshua after what manner he should order his camp. But when the day began, Moses called for Joshua again, and exhorted him to approve himself in deeds, such an one as his reputation made men expect from him: and to gain glory by the present expedition, in the opinion of those under him, for his exploits in this battel.
He also gave a particular exhortation to the principal men of the Hebrews, and encouraged the whole army, as it stood armed before him. And when he had thus animated the army, both by his words, and works, and prepared every thing, he retired to a mountain; and committed the army to God and to Joshua. So the armies joined battel; and it came to a close fight hand to hand: both sides shewing great alacrity; and encouraging one another.
When this was done, the Hebrews conquered the Amalekites by main force. And indeed they had all perished, unless the approach of the night had obliged the Hebrews to desist from killing any more. So our fore- fathers obtained a most signal and most seasonable victory: for they not only overcame those that fought against them, but terrified also the neighbouring nations, and got great and splendid advantages; which they obtained of their enemies by their hard pains in this battel.
For when they had taken the enemies camp, they got ready booty for the publick, and for their own private families: whereas till then they had not any sort of plenty, of even necessary food. For they not only made slaves of the bodies of their enemies, but cowd their minds also; and after this battel became terrible to all that dwelt round about them. Moreover they acquired a vast quantity of riches: for a great deal of silver and gold was left in the enemies camp; as also brazen vessels, which they made common use of in their families: many utensils also that were embroidered, there were of both sorts; that is, of what were weaved; and what were the ornaments of their armour and other things that served for use in the family, and for the furniture of their rooms; they got also the prey of their cattel, and of whatsoever uses to follow camps, when they remove from one place to another.
So the Hebrews now valued themselves upon their courage; and claimed great merit for their valour. And they perpetually enured themselves to take pains; by which they deemed every difficulty might be surmounted: and this was the upshot of this battel. On the next day Moses spoiled the dead bodies of their enemies; and gathered together the armour of those that were fled; and gave rewards to such as had signalized themselves in the action, and highly commended Joshua, their General, who was attested to by all the army, on account of the great actions he had done. Nor was any one of the Hebrews slain: but the slain of the enemies army were too many to be enumerated.
So Moses offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to God, and built an altar, which he named the Lord, the Conqueror. He also foretold that the Amalekites should utterly be destroyed; and that hereafter none of them should remain; because they fought against the Hebrews: and this when they were in the wilderness, and in their distress also. Moreover, he refreshed the army with feasting.
And thus did they fight this first battel with those that ventured to oppose them, after they were gone out of Egypt. But, when Moses had celebrated this festival for the victory, he permitted the Hebrews to rest for a few days, and then he brought them out after the fight, in order of battel. For they had now many soldiers in light armour. And going gradually on, he came to Mount Sinai, in three months time after they were removed out of Egypt.
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At which mountain, as we have before related, the vision of the bush, and the other wonderful appearances, had happened. That Moses kindly received his father-in-law, Jethro , when he came to him to mount Sinai. And Moses took Zipporah his wife, and his children, and pleased himself with his coming. And when he had offered sacrifice, he made a feast for the multitude, near the bush he had formerly seen: which multitude, every one, according to their families, partook of the feast. But Aaron, and his family, took Raguel, and sung hymns to God, as to him who had been the author and procurer of their deliverance, and their freedom.
They also praised their conductor, as him by whose virtue it was that all things had succeeded so well with them. Raguel also, in his eucharistical oration to Moses, made great encomiums upon the whole multitude. And he could not but admire Moses for his fortitude, and that humanity he had shewed in the delivery of his friends. 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.
The next day as Raguel saw Moses in the midst of a crowd of business: for he determined the differences of those that referred them to him: every one still going to him, and supposing that they should then only obtain justice, if he were the arbitrator: and those that lost their causes thought it no great harm, while they thought they lost them justly, and not by partiality. Raguel however said nothing to him at that time; as not desirous to be any hindrance to such as had a mind to make use of the virtue of their conductor. But afterward he took him to himself: and when he had him alone, he instructed him in what he ought to do; and advised him to leave the trouble of lesser causes to others; but himself to take care of the greater, and of the peoples safety: for that certain others of the Hebrews might be found that were fit to determine causes: but that no body but a Moses could take care of the safety of so many ten thousands.
Be not therefore, says he, insensible of thine own virtue; and what thou hast done by ministring under God to the peoples preservation. Permit therefore the determination of common causes to be done by others: but do thou reserve thy self to the attendance on God only, and look out for methods of preserving the multitude from their present distress. Make use of the method I suggest to you, as to human affairs; and take a review of the army; and appoint chosen rulers over tens of thousands; and then over thousands; then divide them into five hundreds; and again into hundreds; and into fifties; and set rulers over each of them who may distinguish them into thirties; and keep them in order: and at last number them by twenties and by tens.
And let there be one commander over each number, to be denominated from the number of those over whom they are rulers; but such as the whole multitude have tried, and do approve of; as being good and righteous men: 8 and let these rulers decide the controversies they have one with another. But if any great cause arise, let them bring the cognizance of it before the rulers of an higher dignity.
But if any great difficulty arise that is too hard for even their determination, let them send it to thee. By these means two advantages will be gained; that the Hebrews will have justice done them; and thou wilt be able to attend constantly on God, and procure him to be more favourable to the people. This was the admonition of Raguel: and Moses received his advice very kindly, and acted according to his suggestion.
Nor did he conceal the invention of this method; nor pretend to it himself: but informed the multitude who it was that invented it. Nay he has named Raguel in the Books he wrote, as the person who invented this ordering of the people: as thinking it right to give a true testimony to worthy persons, although he might have gotten reputation by ascribing to himself the inventions of other men.
Whence we may learn the virtuous disposition of Moses. But of such his disposition, we shall have proper occasion to speak in other places of these Books. How Moses ascended up to Mount Sinai ; and received laws from God ; and delivered them to the Hebrews. Now Moses called the multitude together, and told them; that he was going from them unto Mount Sinai, to converse with God; to receive from him and to bring back with him a certain oracle. But he enjoined them to pitch their tents near the mountain; and prefer the habitation that was nearest to God, before one more remote.
Nay indeed it cannot be looked at without pain of the eyes. And besides this, it was terrible and inaccessible on account of the rumor that passed about, that God dwelt there. But the Hebrews removed their tents, as Moses had bidden them, and took possession of the lowest parts of the mountain; and were elevated in their minds, in expectation that Moses would return from God with promises of the good things he had proposed to them.
So they feasted, and waited for their conductor; and kept themselves pure, as in other respects, so also from accompanying with their wives for three days: as he had before ordered them to do. And they prayed to God, that he would favorably receive Moses in his conversing with him; and bestow some such gift upon them by which they might live well.
They also lived more plentifully as to their diet; and put on their wives and children more ornamental and decent clothing than they usually wore. So they passed two days in this way of feasting. But on the third day, before the sun was up, a cloud spread it self over the whole camp of the Hebrews; such an one as none had before seen; and encompassed the place where they had pitched their tents.
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And while all the rest of the air was clear, there came strong winds, that raised up large showers of rain, which became a mighty tempest. There was also such lightening, as was terrible to those that saw it; and thunder with its thunderbolts were sent down, and declared God to be there present in a gracious way to such as Moses desired he should be gracious.
Now as to these matters, every one of my readers may think as he pleases: but I am under a necessity of relating this history as it is described in the sacred books. This sight, and the amazing sounds that came to their ears, disturbed the Hebrews to a prodigious degree: for they were not such as they were accustomed to. And then the rumor that was spread abroad how God frequented that mountain, greatly astonished their minds: so they sorrowfully contained themselves within their tents; as both supposing Moses to be destroyed by the divine wrath; and expecting the like destruction for themselves.
When they were under these apprehensions, Moses appeared as joyful, and greatly exalted. When they saw him, they were freed from their fear, and admitted of more comfortable hopes as to what was to come. The air also was become clear and pure of its former disorders, upon the appearance of Moses. Whereupon he called together the people to a congregation, in order to their hearing what God would say to them.
I therefore charge you for his sake, and the sake of his works, and what we have done by his means, that you do not put a low value on what I am going to say, because the commands have been given by me that now deliver them to you: nor because it is the tongue of a man that delivers them to you. But if you have a due regard to the great importance of the things themselves, you will understand the greatness of him whose institutions they are; and who has not disdained to communicate them to me for our common advantage. For it is not to be supposed that the Author of these institutions is barely Moses, the son of Amram, and Jochebed; but he who obliged the Nile to run bloody for your sakes; and tamed the haughtiness of the Egyptians by various sorts of judgments: he who provided a way through the sea for us: he who contrived a method of sending us food from heaven, when we were distressed for want of it: he who made the water to issue out of a rock, when we had very little of it before: he by whose means Adam was made to partake of the fruits both of the land, and of the sea; he by whose means Noah escaped the deluge; he by whose means our fore-father Abraham, of a wandring pilgrim was made the heir of the land of Canaan: he by whose means Isaac was born of parents who were very old: he by whose means Jacob was adorned with twelve virtuous sons: he by whose means Joseph became a potent Lord over the Egyptians: he it is who conveys these instructions to you by me as his interpreter.
And let them be to you venerable, and contended for more earnestly by you than your own children and your own wives: for if you will follow them, you will lead an happy life, you will enjoy the land fruitful, the sea calm, and the fruit of the womb born compleat, as nature requires; you will be also terrible to your enemies. For I have been admitted into the presence of God, and been made a hearer of his incorruptible voice; so great is his concern for your nation, and its duration.
And they all heard a voice that came to all of them from above: insomuch that no one of these words escaped them: which Moses wrote in two tables: which it is not lawful for us to set down directly; but their import we will declare. The first commandment teaches us that there is but one God; and that we ought to worship him only. The second, commands us not to make the image of any living creature to worship it. The third, that we must not swear by God in a false matter.
The fourth, that we must keep the seventh day, by resting from all sort of work. The fifth, that we must honour our parents. The sixth, that we must abstain from murder. The seventh, that we must not commit adultery. The eighth, that we must not be guilty of theft. The ninth, that we must not bear false witness. The tenth, that we must not admit of the desire of any thing that is anothers. Now when the multitude had heard God himself giving those precepts which Moses had discoursed of, they rejoiced at what was said; and the congregation was dissolved.
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But on the following days they came to his tent, and desired him to bring them besides other laws from God. Accordingly he appointed such laws; and afterward informed them in what manner they should act in all cases: which laws I shall make mention of in their proper time. When matters were brought to this state, Moses went up again to mount Sinai, of which he had told them beforehand. He made his ascent in their sight: and while he stayed there so long a time, for he was absent from them forty days, fear seized upon the Hebrews, lest Moses should have come to any harm. Nor was there any thing else so sad, and that so much troubled them, as this supposal, that Moses was perished.
Now there was a variety in their sentiments about it: some saying that he was fallen among wild beasts; and those that were of this opinion were chiefly such as were ill disposed to him: but others saying, that he was departed and gone to God. But the wiser sort were led by their reason to embrace neither of those opinions, with any satisfaction; thinking that it was a thing that sometimes happens to men to fall among wild beasts and perish that way, so it was probable enough that he might depart and go to God, on account of his virtue: they therefore were quiet, and expected the event.
Yet were they exceeding sorry upon the supposal that they were deprived of a governor, and a protector; such an one indeed as they could never recover again. Nor would this suspicion give them leave to expect any comfortable event about this man: nor could they prevent their trouble and melancholy upon this occasion. However, the camp durst not remove all this while; because Moses had bid them afore to stay there. But when the forty days, and as many nights, were over, Moses came down; having tasted nothing of food, usually appointed for the nourishment of men.
His appearance filled the army with gladness; and he declared to them, what care God had of them, and by what manner of conduct of their lives they might live happily. Telling them, that during these days of his absence he had suggested to him also that he would have a tabernacle built for him, into which he would descend when he came to them: and how we should carry it about with us when we remove from this place; and that there would be no longer any occasion for going up to mount Sinai; but that he would himself come and pitch his tabernacle amongst us; and be present at our prayers.
As also that the tabernacle should be of such measures and construction as he had shewed him; and that you are to fall to the work, and prosecute it diligently. When he had said this, he shewed them the two tables, with the ten commandments engraven upon them: five upon each table: and the writing was by the hand of God. Concerning the Tabernacle which Moses built in the wilderness, for the honour of God: and which seemed to be a Temple. For of these materials did Moses build the Tabernacle: which did not at all differ from a moveable and ambulatory temple.
Now when these things were brought together with great diligence; for every one was ambitious to further the work, even beyond their ability; he set architects over the works, and this by the command of God: and indeed the very same which the people themselves would have chosen had the election been allowed to them. Now their names are set down in writing in the sacred Books; and they were these: Besaleel , the son of Uri , of the tribe of Judah, the grandson of Miriam, the sister of their conductor; and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach , of the tribe of Dan.
Now the people went on with what they had undertaken with so great alacrity, that Moses was obliged to restrain them, by making proclamation, that what had been brought was sufficient; as the artificers had informed him. So they fell to work upon the building of the Tabernacle. Moses also informed them, according to the direction of God, both what the measures were to be, and its largeness; and how many vessels it ought to contain, for the use of the sacrifices. The women also were ambitious to do their parts, about the garments of the priests, and about other things that would be wanted in this work, both for ornament, and for the divine service itself.
Every one of the pillars also had a ring. Their chapiters were of silver; but their bases were of brass: they resembled the sharp ends of spears, and were of brass, fixed into the ground. Cords were also put through the rings, and were tied at their farther ends to brass nails of a cubit long; which at every pillar were driven into the floor, and would keep the Tabernacle from being shaken by the violence of winds. But a curtain of fine soft linen went round all the pillars, and hung down in a flowing and loose manner from their chapiters, and enclosed the whole space, and seemed not at all unlike to a wall about it.
And this was the structure of three of the sides of this enclosure. But as for the fourth side, which was fifty cubits in extent, and was the front of the whole: twenty cubits of it were for the opening of the gates, wherein stood two pillars on each side, after the resemblance of open gates: these were made wholly of silver, and polished; and that all over, excepting the bases, which were of brass. Now on each side of the gates there stood three pillars, which were inserted into the concave bases of the gates, and were suited to them; and round them was drawn a curtain of fine linen.
But to the gates themselves, which were twenty cubits in extent, and five in height, the curtain was composed of purple, and scarlet, and blue, and fine linen, and embroidered with many and divers sorts of figures, excepting the figures of animals. Within these gates was the brazen laver, for purification; having a bason beneath, of the like matter. Whence the Priests might wash their hands, and sprinkle their feet. And this was the ornamental construction of the enclosure about the court of the Tabernacle, which was exposed to the open air. As to the Tabernacle itself, Moses placed it in the middle of that court, with its front to the east; that when the sun arose, it might send its first rays upon it.
Its length when it was set up, was thirty cubits, and its breadth was twelve [ten] cubits. The one of its walls was on the south, and the other was exposed to the north, and on the back part of it remained the west. It was necessary that its height should be equal to its breadth [ten cubits]. There were also pillars made of wood, twenty on each side: they were wrought into a quadrangular figure; in breadth a cubit and an half; but the thickness was four fingers: they had thin plates of gold affixed to them, on both sides, inwardly and outwardly: they had each of them two tenons, belonging to them, inserted into their bases; and these were of silver.
In each of which bases there was a socket to receive the tenon. But the pillars on the west wall were six. Now all these tenons and sockets accurately fitted one another; insomuch that the joints were invisible: and both seemed to be one intire and united wall. It was also covered with gold, both within and without. The number of pillars was equal on the opposite sides, and there were on each part twenty: and every one of them had the third part of a span in thickness. So that the number of thirty cubits were fully made up between them. But as to the wall behind, where the six pillars made up together only nine cubits, they made two other pillars, and cut them out, of one cubit: which they placed in the corners, and made them equally fine with the other.
Now every one of the pillars had rings of gold affixed to their fronts outward, as if they had taken root in the pillars; and stood one row over- against another round about: through which were inserted bars gilt over with gold; each of them five cubits long, and these bound together the pillars; the head of one bar running into another, after the nature of one tenon inserted into another.
But for the wall behind, there was but one row of bars, that went through all the pillars: into which row ran the ends of the bars on each side of the longer walls. The male with its female being so fastened in their joints, that they held the whole firmly together: and for this reason was all this jointed so fast together, that the Tabernacle might not be shaken, either by the winds, or by any other means; but that it might preserve it self quiet and immoveable continually.
As for the inside, Moses parted its length into three partitions. At the distance of ten cubits from the most secret end, Moses placed four pillars; whose workmanship was the very same with that of the rest; and they stood upon the like bases with them; each a small matter distant from his fellow. Now the room within those pillars was the Most Holy Place : but the rest of the room was the Tabernacle , this was open for the Priests. However this proportion of the measures of the Tabernacle proved to be an imitation of the system of the world. For that third part thereof which was within the four pillars, to which the Priests were not admitted, is, as it were, an Heaven, peculiar to God.
But the space of the twenty cubits, is, as it were, sea and land, on which men live: and so this part is peculiar to the Priests only. But at the front, where the entrance was made, they placed pillars of gold, that stood on bases of brass, in number seven. But then, they spread over the Tabernacle veils of fine linen, and purple, and blue, and scarlet colours, embroidered.
The first veil was ten cubits every way: and this they spread over the pillars which parted the temple, and kept the most holy place concealed within: and this veil was that which made this part not visible to any. Now the whole temple was called The Holy Place : but that part which was within the four pillars, and to which none were admitted, was called The Holy of Holies. This veil was very ornamental, and embroidered with all sorts of flowers, which the earth produces: and there were interwoven into it all sorts of variety that might be an ornament, excepting the forms of animals.
Another veil there was which covered the five pillars that were at the entrance. It was like the former in its magnitude, and texture, and colour. And at the corner of every pillar a ring retained it from the top downwards, half the depth of the pillars; the other half affording an entrance for the Priest, who crept under it.
Over this there was a veil of linen, of the same largeness with the former. It was to be drawn this way or that way by cords, whose rings fixed to the texture of the veil, and to the cords also, were subservient to the drawing and undrawing of the veil, and to the fastening it at the corner: that then it might be no hindrance to the view of the sanctuary: especially on solemn days: but that on other days, and especially when the weather was inclined to snow, it might be expanded, and afford a covering to the veil of divers colours.
Whence that custom of ours is derived, of having a fine linen veil after the temple has been built, to be drawn over the entrances. But the ten other curtains were four cubits in breadth, and twenty eight in length, and had golden clasps, in order to join the one curtain to the other, which was done so exactly, that they seemed to be one intire curtain. These were spread over the temple, and covered all the top, and parts of the walls, on the sides and behind, so far as within one cubit of the ground.
Clergy, Priests & Priestesses in Ancient Egypt
There were other curtains of the same breadth with these, but one more in number, and longer; for they were thirty cubits long. But these were woven of hair, with the like subtilty as those of wool were made; and were extended loosely down to the ground: appearing like a triangular front and elevation at the gates: the eleventh curtain being used for this very purpose. There were also other curtains made of skins above these, which afforded covering and protection to those that were woven, both in hot weather, and when it rained.
And great was the surprize of those who viewed these curtains at a distance: for they seemed not at all to differ from the colour of the sky. But those that were made of hair, and of skins, reached down in the same manner as did the veil at the gates, and kept off the heat of the sun; and what injury the rains might do. And after this manner was the Tabernacle reared. There was also an ark made sacred to God, of wood that was naturally strong, and could not be corrupted.
This was called Eron , in our own language. Its construction was thus: its length was five spans, 2 but its breadth and height was each of them three spans. It was covered all over with gold, both within and without; so that the wooden part was not seen. It had also a cover united to it, by golden hinges, after a wonderful manner: which cover was every way evenly fitted to it, and had no eminences to hinder its exact conjunction. There were also two golden rings belonging to each of the longer boards, and passing through the intire wood; and through them gilt bars passed along each board; that it might thereby be moved and carried about as occasion should require.
For it was not drawn in a cart by yokes of kine, but borne on the shoulders of the Priests. Upon this its cover were two images; the Hebrews call them Cherubim. They are flying creatures: but their form is not like to that of any of the creatures which men have seen: though Moses said he had seen such beings near the throne of God.
In this ark he put the two tables whereon the ten commandments were written; five upon each table; and two and a half upon each side of them: and this ark he placed in the most holy place. But in the holy place he placed a table, like those at Delphi. Its length was two cubits, and its breadth one cubit, and its height three spans. It had feet also, the lower parts of which were compleat feet, resembling those which the Dorians put to their bedsteads: but the upper parts towards the table were wrought into a square form.
The table had a hollow towards every side, having a ledge of four fingers depth, that went round about, like a spiral; both on the upper and lower part of the body of the work. Upon every one of the feet was there also inserted a ring, not far from the cover: through which went bars of wood beneath, but gilded; to be taken out upon occasion: there being a cavity where it was joined to the rings: for they were not intire rings; but before they came quite round they ended in acute points: the one of which was inserted into the prominent part of the table, and the other into the foot: and by these it was carried when they journeyed.
Above those loaves were put two vials full of frankincense. Now after seven days other loaves were brought in their stead, on the day which is by us called the Sabbath: for we call the seventh day the Sabbath: but for the occasion of this invention of placing loaves here we will speak to it in another place. Over against this table, near the southern wall, was set a candlestick of cast gold, hollow within, and being of the weight of one hundred pound: which the Hebrews call cinchares : which, if it be turned into the Greek language, it denotes a talent.
It was made with its knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls: which ornaments amounted to seventy in all. By which means the shaft elevated it self on high from a single base, and spread itself into as many branches as there are planets: including the sun among them. It terminated in seven heads, in one row, all standing parallel to one another; and these branches carried seven lamps, one by one, in imitation of the number of the planets: these lamps looked to the east and to the south, the candlestick being situate obliquely. Now between this candlestick, and the table, which, as we said, were within the sanctuary, was the altar of incense; made of wood indeed, but of the same wood of which the foregoing vessels were made, such as was not liable to corruption.
It was intirely crusted over with a golden plate. Its breadth on each side was a cubit; but the altitude double. Upon it was a grate of gold, that was extant above the altar; which had a golden crown encompassing it round about; whereto belonged rings and bars; by which the Priests carried it, when they journeyed. Before this Tabernacle there was reared a brazen altar: but it was within made of wood: five cubits by measure on each side: but its height was but three: in like manner adorned with brass plates, as bright as gold.
It had also a brasen hearth of net work; for the ground underneath received the fire from the hearth, because it had no basis to receive it. Hard by this altar lay the basins, and the vials, and the censers, and the caldrons, made of gold. But the other vessels, made for the use of the sacrifices, were all of brass. And such was the construction of the Tabernacle: and these were the vessels thereto belonging. Which were the garments of the Priets, and of the High Priest.
Concerning the Priesthood of Aaron : with the manner of the purifications and sacrifices: as also concerning the festivals: and how each day was then disposed of: with other laws. Such was therefore the habit of the rest: but when the Priest approaches the sacrifices, he purifies himself with the purification which the law prescribes.
And in the first place he puts on that which is called Machannase : which means somewhat that is fast tied. It is a girdle composed of fine twined linen; and is put about the privy parts: the feet being to be inserted into them in the nature of breeches: but above half of it is cut off, and it ends at the thighs, and is there tied fast.
It is called Chethone , and denotes linen, for we call linen by the name of Chethone. This vestment reaches down to the feet, and fits close to the body; and has sleeves that are tied fast to the arms: it is girded to the breast a little above the elbows, by a girdle often going round, four fingers broad: but so loosely woven, that you would think it were the skin of a serpent. It is embroidered with flowers of scarlet, and purple, and blue, and fine twined linen: but the warp was nothing but fine linen.
The beginning of its circumvolution is at the breast, and when it has gone often round it is there tied, and hangs loosely there down to the ankles. I mean this, all the time the Priest is not about any laborious service: for in this position it appears in the most agreeable manner to the spectators. But when he is obliged to assist at the offering sacrifices, and to do the appointed service, that he may not be hindred in his operations by its motion, he throws it to the left, and bears it on his shoulder.
Moses indeed calls this belt Abaneth ; but we have learned from the Babylonians to call it Emia ; for so it is by them called. It is called Massabazanes. Upon his head he wears a cap, not brought to a conick form, or including the intire head, but still including more than the half of it.
It is called Masnaemphthes : but its make is such, that it seems to be a crown. It is made of thick swaths, but the contexture is of linen: and it is doubled round many times, and sewed together: besides which, a piece of fine linen covers the whole cap, from the upper part, and reaches down to the forehead, and hides the seams of the swaths, which would otherwise appear indecently: this adheres closely upon the solid part of the head, and is thereto so firmly fixed, that it may not fall off during the sacred service about the sacrifices.
So we have shewed you what is the habit of the generality of the Priests. The High Priest is indeed adorned with the same garments that we have described without abating one. But over these he puts on a vestment of a blue colour. This also is a long robe, reaching to his feet. In our language it is called Meeir , and is tied round with a girdle, embroidered with the same colours and flowers as the former, with a mixture of gold interwoven. Now this vesture was not composed of two pieces, nor was it sewed together upon the shoulders and the sides, but it was one long vestment so woven as to have an aperture for the neck; not an oblique one, but parted all along the breast and the back.
A border also was sewed to it, lest the aperture should look too indecently. It was also parted where the hands were to come out. Besides these, the High Priest put on a third garment, which was called the Ephod : which resembles the Epomis of the Greeks.
Its make was after this manner. It was woven to the depth of a cubit, of several colours, with gold intermixed, and embroidered; but it left the middle of the breast uncovered. It was made with sleeves also. Nor did it appear to be at all differently made from a short coat. But in the void place of this garment there was inserted a piece of the bigness of a span, embroidered with gold, and the other colours of the Ephod. It is called Essen [the Breast- plate ] which in the Greek language signifies the Oracle. This piece exactly filled up the void space in the Ephod.
It is united to it by golden rings at every corner, the like rings being annected to the Ephod; and a blue ribband was made use of to tie them together by those rings; and that the space between the rings might not appear empty, they contrived to fill it up with stitches of blue ribbands.
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There were also two Sardonyxes upon the Ephod; at the shoulders, to fasten it, in the nature of buttons, having each end running to the Sardonyxes of gold, that they might be buttoned by them. On these were engraven the names of the sons of Jacob, in our own countrey letters, and our own tongue: six on each of the stones, on either side: and the elder sons names were on the right shoulder. Twelve stones also there were upon the breast- plate, extraordinary in largeness and beauty: and they were an ornament not to be purchased by men, because of their immense value.
These stones however stood in three rows, by four in a row, and were inserted into the breast-plate it self, and they were set in ouches of gold, that were themselves inserted in the breast-plate: and were so made, that they might not fall out. Now the first three stones were, a sardonyx, a topaz, and an emerald. The second row contained a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire. The first of the third row was a ligure, then an amethist, and the third an agate; being the ninth of the whole number.
The first of the fourth row was a chrysolyte, the next was an onyx, and then a beryl, which was the last of all. Now the names of all those sons of Jacob were engraven in these stones, whom we esteem the heads of our tribes; each stone having the honour of a name, in the order according to which they were born. And whereas the rings were too weak of themselves to bear the weight of the stones, they made two other rings, of a larger size, at the edge of that part of the breast-plate, which reached to the neck; and inserted into the very texture of the breast-plate, to receive chains finely wrought, which connected them with golden bands to the tops of the shoulders, whose extremity turned backwards, and went into the ring, on the prominent back part of the Ephod.
And this was for the security of the breast-plate, that it might not fall out of its place. There were also golden loops that admitted its fringes at each extremity of the girdle, and included them intirely. Out of which arose a cup of gold, which resembled the herb which we call Saccharus ; but those Greeks that are skilful 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 a description of it.
This herb is oftentimes in tallness above three spans; but its root is like that of a turnep; for he that should compare it thereto would not be mistaken; but its leaves are like to 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 farther 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 an hemisphere, and that, as one may say, turned accurately in a lath, 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.
Only once a year, on Yom Kippur , the High Priest would enter this room and pray to God on behalf of the Israelite nation. A remarkable monologue by a Hasidic rabbi in the Yiddish play The Dybbuk conveys a sense of what the Jewish throngs worshiping at the Temple must have experienced during this ceremony:.
God's world is great and holy. The holiest land in the world is the land of Israel. In the land of Israel the holiest city is Jerusalem. In Jerusalem the holiest place was the Temple, and in the Temple the holiest spot was the Holy of Holies There are seventy peoples in the world.
The holiest among these is the people of Israel. The holiest of the people of Israel is the tribe of Levi. In the tribe of Levi the holiest are the priests. Among the priests, the holiest was the High Priest There are days in the [lunar] year. Among these, the holidays are holy. Higher than these is the holiness of the Sabbath. There are seventy languages in the world. The holiest is Hebrew. Holier than all else in this language is the holy Torah, and in the Torah the holiest part is the Ten Commandments.
In the Ten Commandments the holiest of all words is the name of God And once during the year, at a certain hour, these four supreme sanctities of the world were joined with one another. And because this hour was beyond measure holy and awesome, it was the time of utmost peril not only for the High Priest but for the whole of Israel. For if in this hour there had, God forbid, entered the mind of the High Priest a false or sinful thought, the entire world would have been destroyed.
To this day, traditional Jews pray three times a day for the Temple's restoration. Over the centuries, the Muslims who eventually took control of Jerusalem built two mosques on the Temple Mount , the site of the two Jewish Temples. This was no coincidence; it is a common Islamic custom to build mosques on the sites of other people's holy places.
Since any attempt to level these mosques would lead to an international Muslim holy war jihad against Israel, the Temple cannot be rebuilt in the foreseeable future. Sources : Joseph Telushkin. Jewish Literacy. NY: William Morrow and Co. Reprinted by permission of the author. Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library. Living in Jerusalem.
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