Imatges de pàgina


On the Sacrifices and other Offerings of the Jews.

General classification of sacrifices and offerings;—I. Bloody OFFERINGs, and the divine origin of sacrifices;–1. Different kinds of victims;–2. Selection of victims;–3. Manner of presenting them;-4. Libations;–5. Immolation of the sacrifice;—6. The place and time appointed for sacrificing;-7. Different kinds of fire-sacrifices;–i. Burnt-offerings;–ii. Peace-offerings;–iii. Sin-offerings 5–iv. Trespass-offerings —National, regular, weekly, monthly, and annual sacrifices, II. UNBloody OFFERINGs.-III. DRINK OFFERINGs.—IV. ORDINARY Oblations, —the show-bread and incense.—V. Volunt ARy Oblations.— Corban–VI. PREscRibed Oblations;–1. First-fruits;— 2. Tithes.

THE sacrifices and oblations of the Jews demand particular notice in this sketch of their ecclesiastical state. Such a ritual as they were enjoined to observe, the multiplicity of victims they were appointed statedly to offer, together with the splendour of that external worship in which they were daily engaged,—all tended to replenish and adorn their language with numerous allusions, and striking metaphors derived from the pomp of their religion. Hence it is that the writings of the Jews, more than of any other people, abound with phrases and terms borrowed from the temple worship and service. The psalms and prophetical writings may in particular be adduced in illustration of this remark. Purge me with hyssop, says David, and I shall be clean. —Thou shalt be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness. (Psal, li. 7. 19.), Let my prayer come before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psal. cxli. 2.) Therefore will I offer the sacrifice of joy. (Psal. cxvi. 17.). The sin of Judah, says Jeremiah, is ----'graven upon the horns of your altars. (Jer. xvii. 1.)—Take away all our iniquity and receive us graciously; so will we render thee the calves of our lips. (Hos. xiv. 2.) Nor are similar examples wanting in the New Testament, whose inspired authors being educated in the Jewish religion, retain the same phraseology, which has enriched their writings with numerous beautiful and expressive allusions to the national sacrifices and ceremonies. Michaelis classes the offerings prescribed to the Israelites under three general heads—namely, bloody offerings, or sacrifices strictly so called : unbloody offerings, or those taken only from the vegetable kingdom; and drink-offerings, or libations, which were a kind of accompaniment to the two preceding. We shall follow this classifi


cation, as enabling us to present to our readers the most compendious account of the Jewish sacrifices. I. Bloody OFFERINGs were sacrifices properly and strictly so called; by which we may understand the infliction of death on a living creature, generally by the effusion of its blood in a way of religious worship, and the presenting of this act to God as a Supplication for the pardon of sin, and as a supposed mean of compensation for the insult and injury offered by sin to his majesty and government. Sacrifices have in all ages, and by almost every nation, been regarded as necessary to placate the divine anger, and to render the Deity propitious : but whether this universal notion derived its origin from divine revelation, or was suggested by conscious guilt and a dread of the divine displeasure, is a question that cannot be easily decided. It is however not improbable that it originated in the former, and prevailed under the influence of the latter. The Scripture account of sacrifices leads us to conclude that they were instituted by divine appointment, immediately after the entrance of sin by the fall of Adam and Eve, to be a type or significant emblem of the great atonement or all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ.” Accordingly, we find Abel, Noah, Abraham, Job, and others, offering sacrifices in the faith of the Messiah that was to be revealed; and the divine acceptance of their sacrifices is particularly recorded. 1. In all bloody sacrifices it was essential that the animals slaughtered should be clean; but it does not appear that all clean animals were to be offered indiscriminately. Fishes were not brought to the altar; and hence the Israelites are no where prohibited from eating their blood, but only that of birds and quadrupeds. |. vii. 26.) It would seem that all clean birds might be offered, (Lev. xiv. 4–7.) though the dove was the most common offering of this class. Of quadrupeds, oxen, sheep, and goats were the only kinds which were destined for the altar. No wild beasts were admissible; and hence comes the expression in the law of Moses (Deut. xii. 15.22. xv. 22.), It shall be eaten like the roe or the hart; by which he means to intimate that, in killing a beast, all religious intention and all idea of sacrifice was to be avoided.” 2. In the selection of the victims, the utmost care was taken to choose such only as were free from every blemish. Unless it were pure and immaculate, it was to be rejected, as a sacrifice unaccept: able to Jehovah. (Levit. xxii. 22.) In a beautiful allusion to this

1 To this notion of sacrifice our Saviour alluded in John xvi. 2, where he tells his disciples that such would be the enmity with which they should be pursued, that he who should kill them would be deemed to have slain a sacrifice lo acceptable to the Almighty—“He that killeth you shall think he doeth God serrice." In reference also to this notion of sacrifice, the apostle by a very beautiful and expressive figure represents Christ as loving us, and giving himself for us, an offering and a so. to God, of a sweet-smelling sarour. (Eph. v. 2.) Harwood's Introd to the New Test. vol. ii. p. 218.

* The divine origin of sacrifices is fully proved by Archbp. Magee, in his Dis courses on the Atonement, vol. i. pp. 44–60, and vol. ii. pp. 39–46’184–180.

9 Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. iii. p. 95.


circumstance, St. Paul beseeches Christians, by the mercies of God,
to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which
is their reasonable service. (Rom. xii. 1.) Hence also Jesus Christ
is styled a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet. i. 19.)
Further, it was a custom among nations contiguous to Judaea, and par-
ticularly among the Egyptians,' to set a seal upon a victim that was
deemed proper for sacrifice. With this custom the Jews could not
be unacquainted ; and it is possible that similar precautions were in
use among themselves, especially as they were so strictly enjoined
to have their sacrifices without spot and without blemish. To such
a usage Jesus Christ is supposed to have alluded, when speaking
of the sacrifice of himself, he says—Him hath God the Father
SEALED. (John vi. 27. 51.) “Infinite justice found Jesus Christ to
be without spot or blemish, and therefore sealed, pointed out and
accepted him as a proper sacrifice and atonement for the sin of the
whole world. Collate Heb. vii. 26–28. Eph. v. 27. 2 Pet. iii. 14.
and especially Heb. ix. 13, 14. For, if the blood of BULLs and of
goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth,
—how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal
Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences
from dead works s”
3. The victim thus chosen, being found immaculate, was led u

to the altar by the person offering the sacrifice; who laid his hand
upon its head, on which he leaned with all his strength; and, while
the sacrifice was offering said some particular prayers; and if seve-
ral persons united in offering the same victim, they put their hands
upon it in succession.” By this imposition of hands the person
presenting the victim acknowledged the sacrifice to be his own;
that he loaded it with his iniquities; that he offered it as an atone-
ment for his sins; that he was worthy of death because he had
sinned, having forfeited his life by violating the law of God; and
that he entreated God to accept the life of the innocent animal in
the place of his own. In this respect the victims of the Old Tes-
tament were types of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God that TAKETH
Away the sin of the world (John i. 39.), and on whom Jehovah in

The following account of the manner in which the Egyptians provided white bulls for their sacrifices, will materially explain the custom above alluded to.— "They sacrifice white bulls to Apis, and for that reason make the following trial. If they find one black hair upon him, they consider him as unclean. In order that they may know this with certainty, the priest appointed for this purpose views overy part of the animal both standing and lying on the ground: after this, he traws out his tongue, to see if he be clean by certain signs; and in the last place he inspects the hairs of his tail, that he may be sure they are, as by nature they should be... If, after this search, the animal is found unblemished, he signifies it by tying a label to his horns; then, having applied wax, he seals it with his ring, and they lead him away, for it is death to sacrifice one of these animals, unless he has been marked with such a seal.” Herodotus, lib. ii. c. 38. vol. i. p. 113. edit. Oxon.

* Dr. A. Clarke, on John vi. 27.

*The nature and mystical import of laying hands on the head of the victim are largely considered by Archbp. Magee in his Discourses on the Atonement, vol. i. pp. 336–377, o


the fulness of time laid the iniquity of us all." (Isa. liii. 6. with 1 Pet. ii. 24.)

4. Further, in certain cases it was required that the victim should be one, on which never came yoke (Numb. xix. 2. Deut. xxi. 3. 1 Sam. vi. 3.); because any animal which had been used for a common purpose, was deemed improper to be offered in sacrifice to God.”

5. When the victim devoted to the sacrifice was brought before the altar, the priest, having implored the divine favour and acceptance by prayer, poured wine upon its head : and after the performance of this solemn act of religion, which was termed a libation, the victim was instantly led to the slaughter. To this circumstance St. Paul, knowing the time of his martyrdom to be very near, has a very striking allusion; respecting this rite, which immediately preceded the death of the victim, as already performed upon him, implying that he was now devoted to death, and that his dissolution would speedily follow. I am now ready to be offered, says he (2 Tim. iv. 6.); literally, I am already poured out as a libation ; the time of my departure is at hand. A similar expressive sacrificial allusion occurs in Phil. ii. 17. Yea, says the holy apostle, and if I be Pot RED OUT so the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. In this passage he represents the faith of the Philippians as the sacrificial victim, and compares his blood, willingly and joyfully to be shed in martyrdom, to the libation poured out on occasion of the sacrifice.”

1 On the vicarious import of the Mosaic sacrifices, see Archbp. Magee's Dis courses on the Atonement, vol. i. pp. 353–366.

2 The heathens, who appear to have borrowed much from the Hebrews, were very scrupulous in this particular. Neither the Greeks, nor the Romans (who had the same religion, and consequently the same sacrifices with the Greeks), nor indeed the Egyptians, would offer an animal in sacrifice that had been employed in agriculture. Just such a sacrifice as that prescribed here does Diomede vow to offer to Pallas. Iliad, x. 291–294.

Qs vvy pot ost\ouca rapiraga, kal us ovXaage. Xot 3' aveya peća, Bev ovov, tupuperwrov, Aöunrmy, #y aro uro {vyov myayev avmp' Troy rot gyu. peow, Xpudov keptytvas. So now be present, O, celestial maid, So still continue to the race thine aid. A yearling heifer falls beneath the stroke Untam’d, unconscious of the galling yoke. With ample forehead and with spreading horns, Whose tapering tops refulgent gold adorns. Popp, altered. In the very same words Nestor promises a similar sacrifice to Pallas. Odyss. iii.38 Thus also Virgil. Georg. iv. 550. Quatuor eximios priestanti corpore tauros, Ducit, et intacta totidem cervice juvencas. From his herd he culls, For slaughter, four the fairest of his bulls: Four heifers from his female stock he took, All fair, and all unknowing of the yoke. DRYDEN. It is very probable that the Gentiles learnt"their first sacrificial rites from the Patriarchs; and on this account we need not wonder to find so many coincidences in the sacrificial system of the patriarchs and Jews, and of all the neighbouring nations, , (Dr. A. Clarke, on Numb. xix. 2.)

* Parkhurst's Greek Lexicon, p. 621. Drs. Macknight and A. Clarke on the passages cited.

6. The animal thus conducted to the altar was next immolated, by cutting the throat and windpipe entirely through at one stroke; the blood being caught in a vessel, and sprinkled round about upon the altar. By this sprinkling the atonement was made, for the blood was the life of the beast, and it was always supposed that life went to redeem life. (Lev. i. 5–7.) The blood remaining after these aspersions, was poured out at the foot of the altar, either all at once, or at different times, according to the nature of the sacrifice offered. Around the altar there was a kind of trench into which the blood fell; whence it was conveyed by subterraneous channels into the brook Cedron. This altar, being very high, is considered by Lamy as a type of the cross to which our Saviour was fixed, and which he washed with his precious blood. The victim being thus immolated, the skin was stripped from the neck; its breast was opened; its bowels were taken out, and the back bone was cleft. It was then divided into quarters; so that, both externally and internally, it was fully exposed to view. To this custom of laying open the victim, St. Paul has a very beautiful and emphatic allusion in one of the most animated descriptions ever written, of the mighty effects produced by the preached Gospel. (Heb. iv. 12, 13.) The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; for all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. Previously to laying the sacrifice on the altar, it was salted for the fire (Lev. ii. 13. Ezek. xliii. 24. Mark ix. 46.); the law prohibiting any thing to be offered there which was not salted : and according to the nature of the sacrifice, either the whole or part of the victim was consumed upon the altar, where the priests kept a fire perpetually burning.

7. Before the building of the temple, sacrifices were offered up at the door of the tabernacle; but after its erection it was not lawful to offer them elsewhere. (Deut. xii. 14.) This prohibition took from the Jews the liberty of sacrificing in any other place. The victims might indeed be slain in any part of the priest's court, but not without its precincts: and there they were also obliged to sacrifice the paschal lamb. All the victims were to be offered by daylight, and the blood was always to be sprinkled on the same day that they were slain; as it became polluted as soon as the sun was set. If, however, the sprinkling had been made in the day-time, the o and entrails of the victim might be consumed during the might.

8. The sacrifices of the altar were, in general, called by the Hebrews Korbanim, that is, offerings or oblations to God, from the Hebrew word karab, to approach or bring nigh. This term consequently denotes something o, nigh, in order to be dedicated or offered to God, to whom the person offering thus had access in the

way appointed by the law; and therefore, at the close of the enumeWOL., iii. 37.

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