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Topical Scripture [P15a]

Scripture / Parables Section | Topical Scripture: Alphabetical | Categorized

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Topical Scripture

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priest / priestly / priesthood

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Note: Although various Old Testament practices are not binding under the New Covenant, such passages may nevertheless be useful for reference purposes.  Also note that verses contained herein are but a small sampling of Scripture related to this topic.

When Abram returned from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the kings who were allied with him, the king of Sodom went out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. [GEN 14:17-20]

Only the priests' lands Joseph did not take over. Since the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived off the allowance Pharaoh had granted them, they did not have to sell their land. [GEN 47:22]

Thus Joseph made it a law for the land in Egypt, which is still in force, that a fifth of its produce should go to Pharaoh. Only the land of the priests did not pass over to Pharaoh. [GEN 47:26]

Now Moses' father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel: how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt. [EX 18:1]

Moses went up the mountain to God. Then the LORD called to him and said, "Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob; tell the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites." [EX 19:3-6]

Then the LORD told Moses, "Go down and warn the people not to break through toward the LORD in order to see him; otherwise many of them will be struck down. The priests, too, who approach the LORD must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them." [EX 19:21-22]

"From among the Israelites have your brother Aaron, together with his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, brought to you, that they may be my priests. For the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron you shall have sacred vestments made. Therefore, to the various expert workmen whom I have endowed with skill, you shall give instructions to make such vestments for Aaron as will set him apart for his sacred service as my priest. These are the vestments they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocaded tunic, a miter and a sash. In making these sacred vestments which your brother Aaron and his sons are to wear in serving as my priests, they shall use gold, violet, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen." [EX 28:1-5]

"The robe of the ephod you shall make entirely of violet material. It shall have an opening for the head in the center, and around this opening there shall be a selvage, woven as at the opening of a shirt, to keep it from being torn. All around the hem at the bottom you shall make pomegranates, woven of violet, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen twined, with gold bells between them; first a gold bell, then a pomegranate, and thus alternating all around the hem of the robe. Aaron shall wear it when ministering, that its tinkling may be heard as he enters and leaves the LORD'S presence in the sanctuary; else he will die. You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, as on a seal engraving, 'Sacred to the LORD.' This plate is to be tied over the miter with a violet ribbon in such a way that it rests on the front of the miter, over Aaron's forehead. Since Aaron bears whatever guilt the Israelites may incur in consecrating any of their sacred gifts, this plate must always be over his forehead, so that they may find favor with the LORD. The tunic of fine linen shall be brocaded. The miter shall be made of fine linen. The sash shall be of variegated work. Likewise, for the glorious adornment of Aaron's sons you shall have tunics and sashes and turbans made. With these you shall clothe your brother Aaron and his sons. Anoint and ordain them, consecrating them as my priests. You must also make linen drawers for them, to cover their naked flesh from their loins to their thighs. Aaron and his sons shall wear them whenever they go into the meeting tent or approach the altar to minister in the sanctuary, lest they incur guilt and die. This shall be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants." [EX 28:31-43]

Take the vestments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself, and the breastpiece, fastening the embroidered belt of the ephod around him. Put the miter on his head, the sacred diadem on the miter. Then take the anointing oil and anoint him with it, pouring it on his head. Bring forward his sons also and clothe them with the tunics, gird them with the sashes, and tie the turbans on them. Thus shall the priesthood be theirs by perpetual law, and thus shall you ordain Aaron and his sons. [Taken from EX 29:5-9]

"The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed down to his descendants, that in them they may be anointed and ordained. The descendant who succeeds him as priest and who is to enter the meeting tent to minister in the sanctuary shall be clothed with them for seven days." [EX 29:29-30]

Thus I will consecrate the meeting tent and the altar, just as I also consecrate Aaron and his sons to be my priests. [EX 29:44]

"Aaron and his sons you shall also anoint and consecrate as my priests. To the Israelites you shall say: As sacred anointing oil this shall belong to me throughout your generations. It may not be used in any ordinary anointing of the body, nor may you make any other oil of a like mixture. It is sacred, and shall be treated as sacred by you. Whoever prepares a perfume like this, or whoever puts any of this on a layman, shall be cut off from his kinsmen." [EX 30:30-33]

"Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the meeting tent, and there wash them with water. Clothe Aaron with the sacred vestments and anoint him, thus consecrating him as my priest. Bring forward his sons also, and clothe them with the tunics. As you have anointed their father, anoint them also as my priests. Thus, by being anointed, shall they receive a perpetual priesthood throughout all future generations." Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him. [EX 40:12-16]

"When anyone wishes to bring a cereal offering to the LORD, his offering must consist of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense over it. When he has brought it to Aaron's sons, the priests, one of them shall take a handful of this fine flour and oil, together with all the frankincense, and this he shall burn on the altar as a token offering, a sweet-smelling oblation to the LORD. The rest of the cereal offering belongs to Aaron and his sons. It is a most sacred oblation to the LORD." [LEV 2:1-3]

The LORD said to Moses, "This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall present to the LORD (on the day he is anointed): one tenth of an ephah of fine flour for the established cereal offering, half in the morning and half in the evening. It shall be well kneaded and fried in oil on a griddle when you bring it in. Having broken the offering into pieces, you shall present it as a sweet-smelling oblation to the LORD. Aaron's descendant who succeeds him as the anointed priest shall do likewise. This is a perpetual ordinance: for the Lord the whole offering shall be burned. Every cereal offering of a priest shall be a whole burnt offering; it may not be eaten." [LEV 6:12-16]

This is the priestly share from the oblations of the LORD, allotted to Aaron and his sons on the day he called them to be the priests of the LORD; on the day he anointed them the LORD ordered the Israelites to give them this share by a perpetual ordinance throughout their generations. [LEV 7:35-36]

The priest who performs the purification ceremony shall place the man who is being purified, as well as all these offerings, before the LORD at the entrance of the meeting tent. [LEV 14:11]

The priest shall also take the log of oil and pour some of it into the palm of his own left hand; then, dipping his right forefinger in it, he shall sprinkle it seven times before the LORD. [LEV 14:15-16]

The rest of the oil in his hand the priest shall put on the head of the man being purified. Thus shall the priest make atonement for him before the LORD. [Taken from LEV 14:18]

When the priest has thus made atonement for him, the man will be clean. [Taken from LEV 14:20]

"This shall be an everlasting ordinance for you: on the tenth day of the seventh month every one of you, whether a native or a resident alien, shall mortify himself and shall do no work. Since on this day atonement is made for you to make you clean, so that you may be cleansed of all your sins before the LORD, by everlasting ordinance it shall be a most solemn sabbath for you, on which you must mortify yourselves. This atonement is to be made by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to the priesthood in succession to his father. He shall wear the linen garments, the sacred vestments, and make atonement for the sacred sanctuary, the meeting tent and the altar, as well as for the priests and all the people of the community. This, then, shall be an everlasting ordinance for you: once a year atonement shall be made for all the sins of the Israelites." Thus was it done, as the LORD had commanded Moses. [LEV 16:29-34]

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to Aaron's sons, the priests, and tell them: None of you shall make himself unclean for any dead person among his people, except for his nearest relatives, his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother or his maiden sister, who is of his own family while she remains unmarried; for these he may make himself unclean. But for a sister who has married out of his family he shall not make himself unclean; this would be a profanation. The priests shall not make bare the crown of the head, nor shave the edges of the beard, nor lacerate the body. To their God they shall be sacred, and not profane his name; since they offer up the oblations of the LORD, the food of their God, they must be holy. A priest shall not marry a woman who has been a prostitute or has lost her honor, nor a woman who has been divorced by her husband; for the priest is sacred to his God. Honor him as sacred who offers up the food of your God; treat him as sacred, because I, the LORD, who have consecrated him, am sacred. A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall [suffer the prescribed punishment - note: in such cases, the death penalty was prescribed]. The most exalted of the priests, upon whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been ordained to wear the special vestments, shall not bare his head or rend his garments, nor shall he go near any dead person. Not even for his father or mother may he thus become unclean or leave the sanctuary; otherwise he will profane the sanctuary of his God, for with the anointing oil upon him, he is dedicated to his God, to me, the LORD. The priest shall marry a virgin. Not a widow or a woman who has been divorced or a woman who has lost her honor as a prostitute, but a virgin, taken from his own people, shall he marry; otherwise he will have base offspring among his people. I, the LORD, have made him sacred." [Taken from LEV 21:1-15] 

No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any such defect may draw near to offer up the oblations of the LORD; on account of his defect he may not draw near to offer up the food of his God. [LEV 21:21]

"Neither a lay person nor a priest's tenant or hired servant may eat of any sacred offering." [LEV 22:10]

The sacred offerings which the Israelites contribute to the LORD the priests shall not allow to be profaned [Taken from LEV 22:15]

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you come into the land which I am giving you, and reap your harvest, you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest, who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD that it may be acceptable for you. On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this." [Taken from LEV 23:9-11]

However, if the one who took the vow is too poor to meet the fixed sum, the person must be set before the priest, who shall determine the sum for his ransom in keeping with the means of the one who made the vow. [LEV 27:8]

"When someone dedicates his house as sacred to the LORD, the priest shall determine its value in keeping with its good or bad points, and the value set by the priest shall stand." [LEV 27:14]

"If the object which someone dedicates to the LORD is a piece of his hereditary land, its valuation shall be made according to the amount of seed required to sow it, the acreage sown with a homer of barley seed being valued at fifty silver shekels. If the dedication of a field is made at the beginning of a jubilee period, the full valuation shall hold; but if it is some time after this, the priest shall estimate its money value according to the number of years left until the next jubilee year, with a corresponding rebate on the valuation. If the one who dedicated his field wishes to redeem it, he shall pay one fifth more than the price thus established, and so reclaim it. If, instead of redeeming such a field, he sells it to someone else, it may no longer be redeemed; but at the jubilee it shall be released as sacred to the LORD; like a field that is doomed, it shall become priestly property." [LEV 27:16-21]

The sons of Aaron were Nadab his first-born, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests who were ordained to exercise the priesthood. But when Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire before the LORD in the desert of Sinai, they met death in the presence of the LORD, and left no sons. Thereafter only Eleazar and Ithamar performed the priestly functions under the direction of their father Aaron. [NUM 3:2-4]

Now the LORD said to Moses: "Summon the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest, as his assistants. They shall discharge his obligations and those of the whole community before the meeting tent by serving at the Dwelling. They shall have custody of all the furnishings of the meeting tent and discharge the duties of the Israelites in the service of the Dwelling. You shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they have been set aside from among the Israelites as dedicated to me. But only Aaron and his descendants shall you appoint to have charge of the priestly functions. Any layman who comes near shall be put to death." The LORD said to Moses, "It is I who have chosen the Levites from the Israelites in place of every first-born that opens the womb among the Israelites. The Levites, therefore, are mine, because every first-born is mine. When I slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I made all the first-born in Israel sacred to me, both of man and of beast. They belong to me; I am the LORD." [NUM 3:5-13]

"Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, shall be in charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the established cereal offering, and the anointing oil. He shall be in charge of the whole Dwelling with all the sacred objects and utensils that are in it." [NUM 4:16]

The service of the Gershonites shall be entirely under the direction of Aaron and his sons, with regard to what they must do and what they must carry; you shall make each man of them responsible for what he is to carry. This, then, is the task of the Gershonites in the meeting tent; and they shall be under the supervision of Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest. [NUM 4:27-28]

"Likewise, every sacred contribution that the Israelites are bound to make shall fall to the priest. Each Israelite man may dispose of his own sacred contributions; they become the property of the priest to whom he gives them." [NUM 5:9-10]

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and tell them: If a man's wife goes astray and becomes unfaithful to him by having intercourse with another man, though her husband has not sufficient evidence of the fact, so that her impurity remains unproved for lack of a witness who might have caught her in the act; or if a man is overcome by a feeling of jealousy that makes him suspect his wife, whether she was actually impure or not: he shall bring his wife to the priest and shall take along as an offering for her a tenth of an ephah of barley meal. However, he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense over it, since it is a cereal offering of jealousy, a cereal offering for an appeal in a question of guilt. The priest shall first have the woman come forward and stand before the LORD. In an earthen vessel he shall meanwhile put some holy water, as well as some dust that he has taken from the floor of the Dwelling. Then, as the woman stands before the LORD, the priest shall uncover her head and place in her hands the cereal offering of her appeal, that is, the cereal offering of jealousy, while he himself shall hold the bitter water that brings a curse. Then he shall adjure the woman, saying to her, 'If no other man has had intercourse with you, and you have not gone astray by impurity while under the authority of your husband, be immune to the curse brought by this bitter water. But if you have gone astray while under the authority of your husband and have acted impurely by letting a man other than your husband have intercourse with you' - so shall the priest adjure the woman with this oath of imprecation - 'may the LORD make you an example of malediction and imprecation among your people by causing your thighs to waste away and your belly to swell! May this water, then, that brings a curse, enter your body to make your belly swell and your thighs waste away!' And the woman shall say, 'Amen, amen!'" [Taken from NUM 5:11-22]

The LORD said to Moses: "Make two trumpets of beaten silver, which you shall use in assembling the community and in breaking camp. When both are blown, the whole community shall gather round you at the entrance of the meeting tent; but when one of them is blown, only the princes, the chiefs of the troops of Israel, shall gather round you... But in calling forth an assembly you are to blow an ordinary blast, without sounding the alarm. It is the sons of Aaron, the priests, who shall blow the trumpets; and the use of them is prescribed by perpetual statute for you and your descendants. When in your own land you go to war against an enemy that is attacking you, you shall sound the alarm on the trumpets, and the LORD, your God, will remember you and save you from your foes. On your days of celebration, your festivals, and your new-moon feasts, you shall blow the trumpets... this will serve as a reminder of you before your God. I, the LORD, am your God." [Taken from NUM 10:1-4,7-10]

And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for him who sinned inadvertently; when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven. [Taken from NUM 15:28]

Moses also said to Korah, "Listen to me, you Levites! Is it too little for you that the God of Israel has singled you out from the community of Israel, to have you draw near him for the service of the LORD'S Dwelling and to stand before the community to minister for them? He has allowed you and your kinsmen, the descendants of Levi, to approach him, and yet you now seek the priesthood too. It is therefore against the LORD that you and all your band are conspiring. For what has Aaron done that you should grumble against him?" [NUM 16:8-11]

The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, to remove the censers from the embers; and scatter the fire some distance away, for these sinners have consecrated the censers at the cost of their lives. Have them hammered into plates to cover the altar, because in being presented before the LORD they have become sacred. In this way they shall serve as a sign to the Israelites." So Eleazar the priest had the bronze censers of those burned during the offering hammered into a covering for the altar, in keeping with the orders which the LORD had given him through Moses. This cover was to be a reminder to the Israelites that no layman, no one who was not a descendant of Aaron, should approach the altar to offer incense before the LORD, lest he meet the fate of Korah and his band. [NUM 17:1-5]

The LORD said to Aaron, "You and your sons as well as the other members of your ancestral house shall be responsible for the sanctuary; but the responsibility of the priesthood shall rest on you and your sons alone. Bring with you also your other kinsmen of the tribe of Levi, your ancestral tribe, as your associates and assistants, while you and your sons are in front of the tent of the commandments. They shall look after your persons and the whole tent; however, they shall not come near the sacred vessels or the altar, lest both they and you die. As your associates they shall have charge of all the work connected with the meeting tent. But no layman shall come near you. You shall have charge of the sanctuary and of the altar, that wrath may not fall again upon the Israelites. Remember, it is I who have taken your kinsmen, the Levites, from the body of the Israelites; they are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD for the service of the meeting tent. But only you and your sons are to have charge of performing the priestly functions in whatever concerns the altar and the room within the veil. I give you the priesthood as a gift. Any layman who draws near shall be put to death." The LORD said to Aaron, "I myself have given you charge of the contributions made to me in the various sacred offerings of the Israelites; by perpetual ordinance I have assigned them to you and to your sons as your priestly share. You shall have the right to share in the oblations that are most sacred, in whatever they offer me as cereal offerings or sin offerings or guilt offerings; these shares shall accrue to you and to your sons. In eating them you shall treat them as most sacred; every male among you may partake of them. As sacred, they belong to you." [NUM 18:1-10]

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned my anger from the Israelites by his zeal for my honor among them; that is why I did not put an end to the Israelites for the offense to my honor. Announce, therefore, that I hereby give him my pledge of friendship, which shall be for him and for his descendants after him the pledge of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous on behalf of his God and thus made amends for the Israelites." [NUM 25:10-13]

Then Moses said to the LORD, "May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, set over the community a man who shall act as their leader in all things, to guide them in all their actions; that the LORD'S community may not be like sheep without a shepherd." And the LORD replied to Moses, "Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man of spirit, and lay your hand upon him. Have him stand in the presence of the priest Eleazar and of the whole community, and commission him before their eyes. Invest him with some of your own dignity, that the whole Israelite community may obey him. He shall present himself to the priest Eleazar, to have him seek out for him the decisions of the Urim in the LORD'S presence; and as he directs, Joshua, all the Israelites with him, and the community as a whole shall perform all their actions." Moses did as the LORD had commanded him. Taking Joshua and having him stand in the presence of the priest Eleazar and of the whole community, he laid his hands on him and gave him his commission, as the LORD had directed through Moses. [NUM 27:15-23]

Aaron the priest ascended Mount Hor at the LORD'S command, and there he died in the fortieth year from the departure of the Israelites from the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor. [Taken from NUM 33:38-39] 

The homicide was bound to stay in his city of asylum until the death of the high priest. Only after the death of the high priest may the homicide return to his own district. [Taken from NUM 35:28]

(The Israelites set out from Beeroth Bene-jaakan for Moserah, where Aaron died and was buried, his son Eleazar succeeding him in the priestly office. From there they set out for Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah for Jotbathah, a region where there is water in the wadies.) "At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to be in attendance before the LORD and minister to him, and to give blessings in his name, as they have done to this day. For this reason, Levi has no share in the heritage with his brothers; the LORD himself is his heritage, as the LORD, your God, has told him." [DEUT 10:6-9]

"If in your own community there is a case at issue which proves too complicated for you to decide, in a matter of bloodshed or of civil rights or of personal injury, you shall then go up to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses, to the levitical priests or to the judge who is in office at that time. They shall study the case and then hand down to you their decision. According to this decision that they give you in the place which the LORD chooses, you shall act, being careful to do exactly as they direct. You shall carry out the directions they give you and the verdict they pronounce for you, without turning aside to the right or to the left from the decision they hand down to you. Any man who has the insolence to refuse to listen to the priest who officiates there in the ministry of the LORD, your God, or to the judge, shall die. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. And all the people, on hearing of it, shall fear, and never again be so insolent." [DEUT 17:8-13]

When he is enthroned in his kingdom, he shall have a copy of this law made from the scroll that is in the custody of the levitical priests. [DEUT 17:18]

"The whole priestly tribe of Levi shall have no share in the heritage with Israel; they shall live on the oblations of the LORD and the portions due to him. Levi shall have no heritage among his brothers; the LORD himself is his heritage, as he has told him." [DEUT 18:1-2]

"When you go out to war against your enemies and you see horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid of them, for the LORD, your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and say to the soldiers: 'Hear, O Israel! Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Be not weak-hearted or afraid; be neither alarmed nor frightened by them. For it is the LORD, your God, who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and give you victory.'" [DEUT 20:1-4]

The priests, the descendants of Levi, shall also be present, for the LORD, your God, has chosen them to minister to him and to give blessings in his name, and every case of dispute or violence must be settled by their decision. [DEUT 21:5]

"When you have come into the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage, and have occupied it and settled in it, you shall take some first fruits of the various products of the soil which you harvest from the land which the LORD, your God, gives you, and putting them in a basket, you shall go to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses for the dwelling place of his name. There you shall go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, 'Today I acknowledge to the LORD, my God, that I have indeed come into the land which he swore to our fathers he would give us.' The priest shall then receive the basket from you and shall set it in front of the altar of the LORD, your God." [Taken from DEUT 26:1-4]

Moses, with the levitical priests, then said to all Israel: "Be silent, O Israel, and listen! This day you have become the people of the LORD, your God. You shall therefore hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes which I enjoin on you today." [DEUT 27:9-10]

When Moses had written down this law, he entrusted it to the levitical priests who carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel, giving them this order: "On the feast of Booths, at the prescribed time in the year of relaxation which comes at the end of every seven-year period, when all Israel goes to appear before the LORD, your God, in the place which he chooses, you shall read this law aloud in the presence of all Israel. Assemble the people - men, women and children, as well as the aliens who live in your communities - that they may hear it and learn it, and so fear the LORD, your God, and carefully observe all the words of this law. Their children also, who do not know it yet, must hear it and learn it, that they too may fear the LORD, your God, as long as you live on the land which you will cross the Jordan to occupy." [DEUT 31:9-13]

Early the next morning, Joshua moved with all the Israelites from Shittim to the Jordan, where they lodged before crossing over. Three days later the officers went through the camp and issued these instructions to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD, your God, which the levitical priests will carry, you must also break camp and follow it, that you may know the way to take, for you have not gone over this road before. But let there be a space of two thousand cubits between you and the ark. Do not come nearer to it." Joshua also said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will perform wonders among you." And he directed the priests to take up the ark of the covenant and go on ahead of the people; and they did so. Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses. Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to come to a halt in the Jordan when they reach the edge of the waters." So Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God." He continued: "This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst, who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth will precede you into the Jordan. (Now choose twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel.) When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow; for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank." The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan, with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them. No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan, which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest, than the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed, from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan; while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah disappeared entirely. Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage. [JOSH 3:1-17]

After the entire nation had crossed the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, "Choose twelve men from the people, one from each tribe, and instruct them to take up twelve stones from this spot in the bed of the Jordan where the priests have been standing motionless. Carry them over with you, and place them where you are to stay tonight." Summoning the twelve men whom he had selected from among the Israelites, one from each tribe, Joshua said to them: "Go to the bed of the Jordan in front of the ark of the LORD, your God; lift to your shoulders one stone apiece, so that they will equal in number the tribes of the Israelites. In the future, these are to be a sign among you. When your children ask you what these stones mean to you, you shall answer them, 'The waters of the Jordan ceased to flow before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it crossed the Jordan.' Thus these stones are to serve as a perpetual memorial to the Israelites." The twelve Israelites did as Joshua had commanded: they took up as many stones from the bed of the Jordan as there were tribes of the Israelites, and carried them along to the camp site, where they placed them, according to the LORD'S direction. Joshua also had twelve stones set up in the bed of the Jordan on the spot where the priests stood who were carrying the ark of the covenant. They are there to this day. The priests carrying the ark remained in the bed of the Jordan until everything had been done that the LORD had commanded Joshua to tell the people. The people crossed over quickly, and when all had reached the other side, the ark of the LORD, borne by the priests, also crossed to its place in front of them. [JOSH 4:1-11]

"For the Levites have no share among you, because the priesthood of the LORD is their heritage; while Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received the heritage east of the Jordan which Moses, the servant of the LORD, gave them." [JOSH 18:7]

There was a man in the mountain region of Ephraim whose name was Micah. He said to his mother, "The eleven hundred shekels of silver over which you pronounced a curse in my hearing when they were taken from you, are in my possession. It was I who took them; so now I will restore them to you." When he restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she took two hundred of them and gave them to the silversmith, who made of them a carved idol overlaid with silver. Then his mother said, "May the LORD bless my son! I have consecrated the silver to the LORD as my gift in favor of my son, by making a carved idol overlaid with silver." It remained in the house of Micah. Thus the layman Micah had a sanctuary. He also made an ephod and household idols, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best. There was a young Levite who had resided within the tribe of Judah at Bethlehem of Judah. From that city he set out to find another place of residence. On his journey he came to the house of Micah in the mountain region of Ephraim. Micah said to him, "Where do you come from?" He answered him, "I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and am on my way to find some other place of residence." "Stay with me," Micah said to him. "Be father and priest to me, and I will give you ten silver shekels a year, a set of garments, and your food." So the young Levite decided to stay with the man, to whom he became as one of his own sons. Micah consecrated the young Levite, who became his priest, remaining in his house. Therefore Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, since the Levite has become my priest." [JUDG 17:1-13]

Hannah rose after one such meal at Shiloh, and presented herself before the LORD; at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost of the LORD'S temple. In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously, and she made a vow, promising: "O LORD of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives; neither wine nor liquor shall he drink, and no razor shall ever touch his head." As she remained long at prayer before the LORD, Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently; though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her, "How long will you make a drunken show of yourself? Sober up from your wine!" "It isn't that, my lord," Hannah answered. "I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD. Do not think your handmaid a ne'er-do-well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery." Eli said, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." She replied, "Think kindly of your maidservant," and left. She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and no longer appeared downcast. Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD, and then returned to their home in Ramah. When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the LORD remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him. [1SAM 1:9-20]

When Elkanah returned home to Ramah, the child remained in the service of the LORD under the priest Eli. [1SAM 2:11]

A man of God came to Eli and said to him: "This is what the LORD says: 'I went so far as to reveal myself to your father's family when they were in Egypt as slaves to the house of Pharaoh. I chose them out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priests, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the ephod before me; and I assigned all the oblations of the Israelites to your father's family. Why do you keep a greedy eye on my sacrifices and on the offerings which I have prescribed? And why do you honor your sons in preference to me, fattening yourselves with the choicest part of every offering of my people Israel?' This, therefore, is the oracle of the LORD, the God of Israel: 'I said in the past that your family and your father's family should minister in my presence forever. But now,' the LORD declares, 'away with this! for I will honor those who honor me, but those who spurn me shall be accursed. Yes, the time is coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father's family, so that no man in your family shall reach old age. You shall witness as a disappointed rival all the benefits enjoyed by Israel, but there shall never be an old man in your family. I will permit some of your family to remain at my altar, to wear out their eyes in consuming greed; but the rest of the men of your family shall die by the sword. You shall have a sign in what will happen to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: both shall die on the same day. I will choose a faithful priest who shall do what I have in heart and mind. I will establish a lasting house for him which shall function in the presence of my anointed forever. Then whoever is left of your family will come to grovel before him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and will say: Appoint me, I beg you, to a priestly function, that I may have a morsel of bread to eat.'" [1SAM 2:27-36]

The ark of the LORD had been in the land of the Philistines seven months when they summoned priests and fortune-tellers to ask, "What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us what we should send back with it." They replied: "If you intend to send away the ark of the God of Israel, you must not send it alone, but must, by all means, make amends to him through a guilt offering. Then you will be healed, and will learn why he continues to afflict you." When asked further, "What guilt offering should be our amends to him?", they replied: "Five golden hemorrhoids and five golden mice to correspond to the number of Philistine lords, since the same plague has struck all of you and your lords. Therefore, make images of the hemorrhoids and of the mice that are infesting your land and give them as a tribute to the God of Israel. Perhaps then he will cease to afflict you, your gods, and your land." [1SAM 6:1-5]

Then Saul said, "Let us go down in pursuit of the Philistines by night, to plunder among them until daybreak and to kill them all off." They replied, "Do what you think best." But the priest said, "Let us consult God." [1SAM 14:36]

David went to Ahimelech, the priest of Nob, who came trembling to meet him and asked, "Why are you alone? Is there no one with you?" David answered the priest: "The king gave me a commission and told me to let no one know anything about the business on which he sent me or the commission he gave me. For that reason I have arranged a meeting place with my men. Now what have you on hand? Give me five loaves, or whatever you can find." But the priest replied to David, "I have no ordinary bread on hand, only holy bread; if the men have abstained from women, you may eat some of that." David answered the priest: "We have indeed been segregated from women as on previous occasions. Whenever I go on a journey, all the young men are consecrated - even for a secular journey. All the more so today, when they are consecrated at arms!" So the priest gave him holy bread [Taken from 1SAM 21:2-7]

But the king said, "You shall die, Ahimelech, with all your family." The king then commanded his henchmen standing by: "Make the rounds and kill the priests of the LORD, for they assisted David. They knew he was a fugitive and yet failed to inform me." But the king's servants refused to lift a hand to strike the priests of the LORD. The king therefore commanded Doeg, "You make the rounds and kill the priests!" So Doeg the Edomite went from one to the next and killed the priests himself, slaying on that day eighty-five who wore the linen ephod. Saul also put the priestly city of Nob to the sword [Taken from 1SAM 22:16-19]

Then King David summoned Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, son of Jehoiada. When they had entered the king's presence, he said to them: "Take with you the royal attendants. Mount my son Solomon upon my own mule and escort him down to Gihon. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king of Israel, and you shall blow the horn and cry, 'Long live King Solomon!'" [1KGS 1:32-34]

Then King Solomon sent Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, who struck him dead. The king said to Abiathar the priest: "Go to your land in Anathoth. Though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David and shared in all the hardships my father endured." So Solomon deposed Abiathar from his office of priest of the LORD, thus fulfilling the prophecy which the LORD had made in Shiloh about the house of Eli. [1KGS 2:25-27]

The king appointed Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, over the army in his place, and put Zadok the priest in place of Abiathar. [1KGS 2:35]

The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary, the holy of holies of the temple. The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark, sheltering the ark and its poles from above. The poles were so long that their ends could be seen from that part of the holy place adjoining the sanctuary; however, they could not be seen beyond. (They have remained there to this day.) There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets which Moses had put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites at their departure from the land of Egypt. When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD'S glory had filled the temple of the LORD. [1KGS 8:6-11]

After taking counsel, the king made two calves of gold and said to the people: "You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt." And [Jeroboam] put one in Bethel, the other in Dan. This led to sin, because the people frequented these calves in Bethel and in Dan. He also built temples on the high places and made priests from among the people who were not Levites. [Taken from 1KGS 12:28-31]

Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this event, but again made priests for the high places from among the common people. Whoever desired it was consecrated and became a priest of the high places. This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth. [1KGS 13:33-34]

The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest. He gave the captains King David's spears and shields, which were in the temple of the LORD. And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king's behalf. Then Jehoiada led out the king's son and put the crown and the insignia upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, "Long live the king!" Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in the temple of the LORD. When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out, "Treason, treason!" Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: "Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her," he added, "let him die by the sword." He had given orders that she should not be slain in the temple of the LORD. She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where she was put to death. Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD'S people; and another covenant, between the king and the people. Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. After appointing a detachment for the temple of the LORD, Jehoiada with the captains, the Carians, the guards, and all the people of the land, led the king down from the temple of the LORD through the guards' gate to the palace, where Joash took his seat on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace. [2KGS 11:9-20]

Joash did what was pleasing to the LORD as long as he lived, because the priest Jehoiada guided him. [2KGS 12:3]

For the priests Joash made this rule: "All the funds for sacred purposes that are brought to the temple of the LORD - the census tax, personal redemption money, and whatever funds are freely brought to the temple of the LORD - the priests may take for themselves, each from his own clients. However, they must make whatever repairs on the temple may prove necessary." Nevertheless, as late as the twenty-third year of the reign of King Joash, the priests had not made needed repairs on the temple. Accordingly, King Joash summoned the priest Jehoiada and the other priests. "Why do you not repair the temple?" he asked them. "You must no longer take funds from your clients, but you shall turn them over for the repairs." So the priests agreed that they would neither take funds from the people nor make the repairs on the temple. The priest Jehoiada then took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the stele, on the right as one entered the temple of the LORD. The priests who guarded the entry would put into it all the funds that were brought to the temple of the LORD. When they noticed that there was a large amount of silver in the chest, the royal scribe (and the priest) would come up, and they would melt down all the funds that were in the temple of the LORD, and weigh them. The amount thus realized they turned over to the master workmen in the temple of the LORD. They in turn would give it to the carpenters and builders working in the temple of the LORD, and to the lumbermen and stone cutters, and for the purchase of the wood and hewn stone used in repairing the breaches, and for any other expenses that were necessary to repair the temple. None of the funds brought to the temple of the LORD were used there to make silver cups, snuffers, basins, trumpets, or any gold or silver article. Instead, they were given to the workmen, and with them they repaired the temple of the LORD. Moreover, no reckoning was asked of the men who were provided with the funds to give to the workmen, because they held positions of trust. The funds from guilt-offerings and from sin-offerings, however, were not brought to the temple of the LORD; they belonged to the priests. [2KGS 12:5-17]

The king of Assyria gave the order, "Send back one of the priests whom I deported, to go there and settle, to teach them how to worship the God of the land." So one of the priests who had been deported from Samaria returned and settled in Bethel, and taught them how to venerate the LORD. [2KGS 17:27-28]

The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned together before him. The king went up to the temple of the LORD with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: priests, prophets, and all the people, small and great. He had the entire contents of the book of the covenant that had been found in the temple of the LORD, read out to them. Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the LORD that they would follow him and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book. And all the people stood as participants in the covenant. Then the king commanded the high priest Hilkiah, his vicar, and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the objects that had been made for Baal, Asherah, and the whole host of heaven. He had these burned outside Jerusalem on the slopes of the Kidron and their ashes carried to Bethel. He also put an end to the pseudo-priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the vicinity of Jerusalem, as well as those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, moon, and signs of the Zodiac, and to the whole host of heaven. From the temple of the LORD he also removed the sacred pole, to the Kidron Valley, outside Jerusalem; there he had it burned and beaten to dust, which was then scattered over the common graveyard. He tore down the apartments of the cult prostitutes which were in the temple of the LORD, and in which the women wove garments for the Asherah. He brought in all the priests from the cities of Judah, and then defiled, from Geba to Beer-sheba, the high places where they had offered incense. He also tore down the high place of the satyrs, which was at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua, governor of the city, to the left as one enters the city gate. The priests of the high places could not function at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem; but they, along with their relatives, ate the unleavened bread. [Taken from 2KGS 23:1-9] 

Johanan became the father of Azariah, who served as priest in the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem. [1CHRON 5:36]

Thus all Israel was inscribed in its family records which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel. Now Judah had been carried in captivity to Babylon because of its rebellion. The first to settle again in their cities and dwell there were certain lay Israelites, the priests, the Levites, and the temple slaves. [1CHRON 9:1-2]

It was the sons of priests, however, who mixed the spiced ointments. [1CHRON 9:30]

David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, and said to them: "You, the heads of the levitical families, must sanctify yourselves along with your brethren and bring the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place which I have prepared for it. Because you were not with us the first time, the wrath of the LORD our God burst upon us, for we did not seek him aright." Accordingly, the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with poles, as Moses had ordained according to the word of the LORD. [1CHRON 15:11-15]

The descendants of Aaron also were divided into classes. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died before their father, leaving no sons; therefore only Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests. David, with Zadok, a descendant of Eleazar, and Ahimelech, a descendant of Ithamar, assigned the functions for the priestly service. But since the descendants of Eleazar were found to be more numerous than those of Ithamar, the former were divided into sixteen groups, and the latter into eight groups, each under its family head. Their functions were assigned impartially by lot, for there were officers of the holy place, and officers of the divine presence, descended both from Eleazar and from Ithamar. The scribe Shemaiah, son of Nethanel, a Levite, made a record of it in the presence of the king, and of the leaders, of Zadok the priest, and of Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, and of the heads of the ancestral houses of the priests and of the Levites, listing two successive family groups from Eleazar before each one from Ithamar. [1CHRON 24:1-6]

Then David gave to his son Solomon the pattern of the portico and of the building itself, with its storerooms, its upper rooms and inner chambers, and the room with the propitiatory. He provided also the pattern for all else that he had in mind by way of courts for the house of the LORD, with the surrounding compartments for the stores for the house of God and the stores of the votive offerings, as well as for the divisions of the priests and Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the liturgical vessels of the house of the LORD. [1CHRON 28:11-13]

Then David said to his son Solomon: "Be firm and steadfast; go to work without fear or discouragement, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or abandon you before you have completed all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. The classes of the priests and Levites are ready for all the service of the house of God; they will help you in all your work with all those who are eager to show their skill in every kind of craftsmanship. Also the leaders and all the people will do everything that you command." [1CHRON 28:20-21]

And on that day they ate and drank in the LORD'S presence with great rejoicing. Then for a second time they proclaimed David's son Solomon king, and they anointed him as the LORD'S prince, and Zadok as priest. [Taken from 1CHRON 29:22]

When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the Levites took up the ark, and they carried the ark and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels that were in the tent; it was the levitical priests who carried them. [2CHRON 5:4-5]

My God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place. And now, "Advance, LORD God, to your resting place, you and the ark of your majesty. May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful ones rejoice in good things. LORD God, reject not the plea of your anointed, remember the devotion of David, your servant." [2CHRON 6:40-42]

But the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. [2CHRON 7:2]

Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. The priests were standing at their stations, as were the Levites, with the musical instruments of the LORD which King David had made for "praising the LORD, for his mercy endures forever," when David used them to accompany the hymns. Across from them the priests blew the trumpets and all Israel stood. [2CHRON 7:6]

And according to the ordinance of his father David he appointed the various classes of the priests for their service, and the Levites according to their functions of praise and ministry alongside the priests, as the daily duty required. The gatekeepers of the various classes stood guard at each gate, since such was the command of David, the man of God. There was no deviation from the king's command in any respect relating to the priests and Levites or the treasuries. All of Solomon's work was carried out successfully from the day the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid until the house of the LORD had been completed in every detail. [2CHRON 8:14-16]

Now the priests and Levites throughout Israel presented themselves to him from all parts of their land, for the Levites left their assigned pasture lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons repudiated them as priests of the LORD. In their place, he himself appointed priests for the high places and satyrs and calves he had made. [2CHRON 11:13-15]

But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests ministering to the LORD are sons of Aaron, and the Levites also have their offices. [2CHRON 13:10]

"See, God is with us, at our head, and his priests are here with trumpets to sound the attack against you. Do not battle against the LORD, the God of your fathers, O Israelites, for you will not succeed!" [2CHRON 13:12]

But Jeroboam had an ambush go around them to come at them from the rear; so that while his army faced Judah, his ambush lay behind them. When Judah turned and saw that they had to battle on both fronts, they cried out to the LORD and the priests sounded the trumpets. Then the men of Judah shouted; and when they did so, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. [2CHRON 13:13-15]

For a long time Israel had no true God, no priest-teacher and no law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was present to them. [2CHRON 15:3-4]

"See now, Amariah is high priest over you in everything that pertains to the LORD, and Zebadiah, son of Ishmael, is leader of the house of Judah in all that pertains to the king; and the Levites will be your officials. Act firmly, and the LORD will be with the good." [2CHRON 19:11]

Joash did what was pleasing to the LORD as long as Jehoiada the priest lived. [2CHRON 24:2]

After some time, Joash decided to restore the LORD'S temple. He called together the priests and Levites and said to them: "Go out to all the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel that you may repair the house of your God over the years. You must hasten this affair." But the Levites did not hasten. Then the king summoned Jehoiada, who was in charge, and said to him: "Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax levied by Moses, the servant of the LORD, and by the assembly of Israel, for the tent of the testimony?" For the wicked Athaliah and her sons had damaged the house of God and had even turned over to the Baals the dedicated resources of the LORD'S temple. At the king's command, therefore, they made a chest, which they put outside the gate of the LORD'S temple. They had it proclaimed throughout Judah and Jerusalem that the tax which Moses, the servant of God, had imposed on Israel in the desert should be brought to the LORD. All the princes and the people rejoiced; they brought what was asked and cast it into the chest until it was filled. Whenever the chest was brought to the royal officials by the Levites and they saw that it contained much money, the royal scribe and an overseer for the high priest came, emptied the chest, then took it back and returned it to its place. This they did day after day until they had collected a large sum of money. Then the king and Jehoiada gave it to the workmen in charge of the labor on the LORD'S temple, who hired masons and carpenters to restore the temple, and also iron-and bronze-smiths to repair it. The workmen labored, and the task of restoration progressed under their hands. They restored the house of God according to its original form, and reinforced it. [2CHRON 24:4-13] [Note: The term "masons" above refers to craftsmen and should not be confused with individuals belonging to anti-Catholic Masonic organizations which have been condemned by the Church.] 

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