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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:9

according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

Adam Clarke Commentary

His lot was, etc. - We are informed in the Talmud, that it was the custom of the priests to divide the different functions of the sacerdotal office among themselves by lot: and, in this case, the decision of the lot was, that Zacharias should at that time burn the incense before the Lord, in the holy place.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

According to the custom of the priest‘s office, his lot was. - The Jewish writers inform us that it was customary for the priests to divide their daily task by “lot.”

To burn incense - Incense is an aromatic or white rosin procured from trees, chiefly in Arabia. It is obtained by making incisions in the tree, and the gum flows out. It is distinguished for an especially pleasant “smell” when burned, and was therefore used in ancient worship. It was burned by the priest twice a day Exodus 30:7, and it seems to have been emblematic of prayer and praise, or of the grateful offerings of the heart wafted toward heaven. The incense used in the temple was made of stacte, onycha, and galbanum Exodus 30:34, with pure frankincense, and it was not lawful for this compound to be used elsewhere than in the house of God.

Into the temple - See the notes at Matthew 21:12. The part of the temple where incense was burned was the “holy place.”


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

According to the custom of the priest's office,.... In which, every man took his part in the execution of it by lot; and which was not an original settled law of God; but a custom, which, in process of time, through the number of the priests, took place, and prevailed: the occasion of it was this,

"at first, whoever would, might sweep the altar, or cleanse it----it happened that two alike ran, and came up to the ascent of the altar, and one thrust down the other, and he fell, and his leg was broke; and when the sanhedrim saw that they came into danger, they ordered that they should not cleanse the altar, but by lotF4Misn. Yoma, c. 2. sect. 1, 2. .

And so likewise all other sorts of service were settled by lot:

his lot was to burn incense, when he went into the temple of the Lord; where was the altar of incense, and which was burnt upon it morning and evening; see Exodus 30:1, and was typical of the continual intercession of Jesus Christ; and this part of service was assigned him by lot. The priests used to cast lots, what part they should take in the service of the temple, in the order of the course, to which they belongedF5Ib. sect. 2, 3, 4. ,

"There were four lots there, and this was the first lot (i.e. to cleanse the altar); the second lot was, who should slay (the sacrifice,) who should sprinkle (the blood), who should remove the ashes from the innermost altar, who should cleanse the candlestick, who should bring the members (or parts of the sacrifice) to the ascent of the altar----the third lot was, ye new ones, to the incense come, והפיסו, and "cast lots"; and the fourth, ye new ones, with the old ones, who shall bring up the parts from the ascent of the altar to the altar.

And this was not only the case on the day of atonement, to which these rules belong; but every day in the daily service and sacrifice, when the same rules were observed, as appears from the rubric of the daily sacrifice:F6Misn. Tamid. c. 3. sect. 1. .

"the president said unto them (the priests), come and cast lots who shall slay, who shall sprinkle, who shall remove the ashes from the innermost altar, who shall remove the ashes from the candlestick, who shall bring up the parts to the ascent of the altar, &c.

Again,F7Ib. c. 5. sect. 2. 4. ,

"he says to them, O ye new ones, to the incense come, and cast lots; and they cast lots, and he is worthy, whom he accounts worthy--and he that is accounted worthy of the incense, takes a vessel, and the vessel is like to a large golden bushel, that holds three kabs, and a bowl in the middle of it, full and heaped up with incense, with a cover, and a sort of a linen cloth put over it.

And it is afterwards saidF8Misn. Tamid. c. 6. sect. 3. ,

"he that is worthy of the incense, takes the bowl out of the vessel, and gives it to his friend, or he that is near to him; and if it is scattered from it, in the midst of it, he puts it into his fist; and they teach him, "saying", take care that thou dost not begin before thy face, that thou art not burnt: when he begins, he spreads it and goes out; and he that burns incense, may not do it, until the president says, burn incense.

The account Maimonides givesF9Hilchot Tamidin, c. 4. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 25. 1. & Gloss in fol. 22. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Yoma, c. 2. sect. 1. of this matter, is as follows,

"all the services that they do every day, they do, בפייס, by lot; and how do they do it? All the priests of the houses of the fathers, of the day, go into the paved chamber, after the pillar of the morning has ascended, and clothe themselves with the priestly garments; and the president who is over the lots is with them, and they stand in a circle; and the president takes a mitre from off the head of one of them, and goes round with it, and the man from whom he begins to number, and they cast lots, as has been explained----how do they cast lots? they stand in a circle, and agree upon a number, eighty, a hundred, or a thousand, or whatsoever number they may agree upon; and the president says to them, put out your fingers, and they put out their fingers, one, or two; and if one puts out three, they number him three; and they do not put out the thumb in the sanctuary, because of deceivers; for the thumb is short, and easy to be put out, and to bend; and he that puts out the thumb, they do not number for him: and the president begins to number from the man that is known, whose mitre he took off first, and he numbers by their fingers, and returns in the round, until he has perfected the number they agreed upon; and the man that completes the number with his finger, he is he that goes out by the first lot to service: and why does he number the number they agree upon, by their fingers that they put out, and does not number them by the men themselves? Because it is forbidden to number Israel, but by means of another thing; as it is said, 1 Samuel 15:4 "And numbered them in Telaim". There were four lots they cast every day in the morning; the first lot; was, who should cleanse the altar: they cast lots, and he was worthy that was accounted worthy to cleanse it; and he sets the row in order, and brings up the two pieces of wood to the altar, and he brings in the censer full of fire, from the outer altar, to the golden altar, to burn incense upon it: and the second lot, thirteen were worthy of it, according to the order of their standing; how? the president says to them, put out your fingers, and he numbers in the way that has been explained; and he that goes out by the first lot, is he that slays the daily sacrifice of the morning; and the second that stands by his side, is he that receives the blood of the daily sacrifice, and sprinkles it; and the third that is next to the second, receives the ashes from the innermost altar, which is the altar of incense; and the fourth, that is by his side, cleanses the candlestick, and trims the lamps; and the fifth brings up the head of the daily sacrifice, and its leg to the ascent of the altar: and the sixth brings up the two shoulders; and the seventh brings up the extreme part of the backbone, and the other leg; and the eighth brings up the breast and the gullet; and the ninth brings up the two sides; and the tenth brings up the inwards; and the eleventh brings up the fine flour, and the drink offerings; and the twelfth brings up the things that were fried; and the thirteenth brings up the wine of the drink offerings: the third lot, the president says to them, "even" to all the men of the house of the father of that day, whoever has never burnt incense, let him come and "cast lots"; and they gather together to the president, and cast lots; and he that goes out by the lot first, he is he that is worthy to burn incense; the fourth lot, they all gather together, and cast lots to know who shall bring up the parts from the ascent of the altar, to the altar; they cast lots, and he is worthy who is accounted worthy: the daily evening sacrifice, they do not cast another lot for it; but every priest that is worthy of any service of the services of the morning, is worthy of the evening, except that of the incense; for they cast another lot for that in the evening; and every one may come, who has never burnt incense of the men of that house of the fathers, and cast lots for it; but if they have all of them burnt incense already, they all of them cast lots, in the morning, at the third lot; and he that is worthy of it in the morning, burns incense in the evening.

Hence it appears, that the burning of incense, as other parts of the priest's service, was by lot; and that they were new priests, or such who had never burnt incense, that cast lots for it: for it is a traditionF11T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 26. 1. , that no man ever burnt incense twice; the reason assigned for it is, because it makes a man rich; and therefore that every one might partake of the blessing in their turns, new ones were called unto it: whether Zacharias had ever burnt incense before, and whether he now did it in the morning or evening, is not certain,


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the n temple of the Lord.

(n) The temple was one, and the court another, for Zacharias went out of the court (or outward room) where all the people were (and therefore they are said to be without) and into the temple.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

his lot was to burn incense — The part assigned to each priest in his week of service was decided by lot. Three were employed at the offering of incense - to remove the ashes of the former service; to bring in and place on the golden altar the pan filled with hot burning coals taken from the altar of burnt offering; and to sprinkle the incense on the hot coals; and, while the smoke of it ascended, to make intercession for the people. This was the most distinguished part of the service (Revelation 8:3), and this was what fell to the lot of Zacharias at this time [Lightfoot].


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

9. According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

[According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was, &c.] "The ruler of the Temple saith, Come ye, and cast your lots [that it may be determined] who shall kill the sacrifice, who sprinkle the blood, who sweep the inner altar; who cleanse the candlestick, who carry the parts [of the sacrifice] to the ascent of the altar; the head, the leg, the two shoulders, the tail of the back bone, the other leg, the breast, the gullet, the two sides, the entrails, the flour, the two loaves, and the wine. He hath it, to whom it happens by lot."

"The room Gazith [in which the lots were cast] was in the form of a large hall: the casting of the lots was on the east side of it, some elder sitting on the west [Gloss: Some elder of the Sanhedrim, that instructed them in the custom and manner of casting the lot.] The priests stood about in circle; and the ruler coming, snatched off a cap from the head of this or that person, and by that they understood where the lot was to begin."

"They stood in a circle; and the ruler, coming, snatches off a cap from the head of this or that man: from him the lot begins to be reckoned, every one lifting up his finger at each number. The ruler also saith, 'In whomsoever the number ends, he obtains this or that office by lot: and he declares the number'; e.g., there is, it may be, the number one hundred, or threescore, according to the multitude of the priests standing round. He begins to reckon from the person whose cap he snatched off, and numbers round till the whole number is run out. Now, in whomsoever the number terminates, he obtains that office about which the lot was concerned. And so it is in all the lots."

I will not inquire at present whether this casting of lots was every day, or whether for the whole week, wherein such or such a course performed its attendance. It seems that at this time the number, whatever it was, for the choice of one to burn incense, ended in our Zacharias: whose work and business in this office, let it not be thought tedious to the reader to take an account of in these following passages:

[To burn incense.] "He whose lot it was to burn incense took a vessel containing the quantity of three cabs, in the midst of which there was a censer full and heaped up with incense; over which there was a cover."

"He to whom the lot fell of the vessel wherein the coals were to be taken up, takes it and goes up to the top of the altar; and there, stirring the fire about, takes out some of the hottest coals, and, going down, pours them into a golden vessel."

"When they had come from hence to the space between the altar and the porch of the Temple, one of them tinkles a little bell; by which, if any of the priests be without doors, he knows that his brethren the priests are about to worship: so that he makes all speed, and enters in. The Levite knows his brethren the Levites are beginning to sing, so he makes haste, and enters in too. Then the chief head or ruler of the course for that time sets all the unclean in the east gate of the court, that they may be sprinkled with blood."

"When they were about to go up the steps of the porch, those whose lot it was to sweep off the ashes from the inner altar and the candlestick went up first; he that was to sweep the altar went in first, takes the vessel, worships, and goes out."

"He who, by lot, had the vessel for gathering up the coals, placeth them upon the inner altar, lays them all about to the brim of the vessel, then worships and goes out."

"He who was to burn the incense takes the censer from the midst of the vessel wherein it was, and gives it to one standing by. If any incense had been scattered in the vessel, he gives it him into his hand; scatters the incense upon the coals, and goes out. He does not burn the incense till the ruler bids him do it."


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

His lot was to enter into the temple. In the service of the sanctuary nothing was left to accident or to human arrangement. The {lot} determined who was to perform each separate portion of the sacred service, and especially who was each morning and evening to burn incense before the Lord.

To burn incense. Burned on the altar of incense in the Holy Place morning and evening. To burn the incense was an office held so honorable that no one was allowed to perform it twice, since it brought the offering priest nearer the divine presence in the Holy of Holies than any other priestly act, and carried with it the richest blessing from on high, which all ought to have a chance of thus obtaining.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

His lot was (ελαχεelache). Literally, he obtained the lot. Second aorist active indicative of λαγχανωlagchanō to obtain by lot, a very old verb from Homer on. It is used either with the genitive as here, or the accusative as in Acts 1:17; 2 Peter 1:1. Papyri show examples with the accusative. It was only once in a lifetime that a priest obtained the lot of going (εισελτωνeiselthōn here nominative aorist active participle agreeing with the subject of ελαχεelache) into the sanctuary (τον ναονton naon not το ιερονto hieron the outer courts) and burning incense on the golden altar. “It was the great moment of Zacharias‘s life, and his heart was no doubt alert for the supernatural” (Ragg). The fortunate lot was “a white stone” to which Revelation 2:17 may refer.

Burn incense (του τυμιασαιtou thumiasai). Here only in the N.T. Occurs on inscriptions. Hobart finds it used by medical writers for fumigating herbs. “Ascending the steps to the Holy Place, the priests spread the coals on the golden altar, and arranged the incense, and the chief operating priest was then left alone within the Holy Place to await the signal of the president to burn the incense. It was probably at this time that the angel appeared to Zacharias” (Vincent).


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

His lot was ( ἔλαχε )

Four lots were drawn to determine the order of the ministry of the day: the first, before daybreak, to designate the priests who were to cleanse the altar and prepare its fires; the second for the priest who was to offer the sacrifice and cleanse the candlestick and the altar of incense; the third for the priest who should burn incense; and the fourth appointing those who were to lay the sacrifice and meat-offering on the altar, and pour out the drink-offering. There are said to have been twenty thousand priests in Christ's time, so that no priest would ever offer incense more than once.

Temple ( ναὸν )

The sanctuary. See on Matthew 4:5.

Burn incense ( θυμιᾶσαι )

Only here in New Testament. The incensing priest and his assistants went first to the altar of burnt-offering, and filled a golden censer with incense, and placed burning coals from the altar in a golden bowl. As they passed into the court from the Holy Place they struck a large instrument called the Magrephah, which summoned all the ministers to their places. Ascending the steps to the holy place, the priests spread the coals on the golden altar, and arranged the incense, and the chief officiating priest was then left alone within the Holy Place to await the signal of the president to burn the incense. It was probably at this time that the angel appeared to Zacharias. When the signal was given, the whole multitude withdrew from the inner court, and fell down before the Lord. Silence pervaded the temple, while within, the clouds of incense rose up before Jehovah. (For a more detailed account see Edersheim, “The Temple, its Ministry,” etc.).


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

according to the custom of the priest's office1, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord2 and burn incense3.

  1. According to the custom of the priest's office. There were many duties in the temple service, and the priest in each course daily drew lots for these duties.

  2. His lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord. Not that group of buildings, courts, and enclosures which are called the temple; but the real sanctuary itself, the small but holy building which took the place of the tabernacle of the wilderness.

  3. And burn incense. The incense was made of a mixture of sweet spices. The temple incense was made of stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense, in equal parts, beaten very small (Exodus 30:7,8,34-38).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The description of the altar of incense, and of the institution of the rite, is contained in Exodus 30:1-8. Burning the incense in the temple was a duty of the highest interest and solemnity. The number of priests was so large that the falling of the lot to any individual was an important event in his life. He was to go alone into one of the most magnificent apartments in the world, and one which was connected, in the mind of every Jew, with associations of the deepest religious veneration and awe. There he was to perform a most solemn ceremony,--to burn incense, in the very antechamber, and almost in the presence of Jehovah, while thousands were waiting without in silence and solemnity. Thus this first announcement of the approach of the Messiah was made at a time and in a place in keeping with the moral grandeur of the events involved in the annunciation.

Luke 1:11,12. There is something mysterious in the strange, unearthly terror, with which the idea of any communication from the world of spirits is associated in the minds of men, in all ages of the world, and under every variety of circumstance. What had Zacharias to fear?


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

9.According to the custom of the priest’s office The law enjoined that incense should be offered twice every day, that is, every morning and at even, (Exodus 30:7.) The order of courses among the priests had been appointed by David, as we have already explained; and, consequently, what is here stated as to incense was expressly enjoined by the law of God. The other matters had been arranged by David, (1 Chronicles 24:3,) that each family might have its own turn, though David ordained nothing which was not prescribed by the law: he only pointed out a plan by which they might individually perform the service which God had commanded.

The word temple ( νὰος) is here put for the holy place; which deserves attention, for it sometimes includes the outer court. Now, Zacharias is spoken of as going into the temple, which none but priests were permitted to enter. And so Luke says that the people stood without, there being a great distance between them and the altar of incense; for the altar on which the sacrifices were offered intervened. It ought to be observed also that Luke says before God: for whenever the priest entered into the holy place, he went, as it were, into the presence of God, that he might be a mediator between him and the people. For it was the will of the Lord to have this impressed upon his people, that no mortal is allowed to have access to heaven, without a priest going before; nay that, so long as men live on the earth, they do not approach the heavenly throne, so as to find favor there, but in the person of the Mediator. Now, as there were many priests, there were not two of them permitted to discharge, at the same time, the solemn office of intercession for the people; but they were so arranged in classes, that only one entered the Holy Place, and thus there was but one priest at a time. The design of the incense was to remind believers that the sweet savor of their prayers does not ascend to heaven except through the sacrifice of the Mediator; and in what manner those figures apply to us must be learned from the Epistle to the Hebrews.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

Ver. 9. To burn incense] In the incense of prayer, how many sweet spices are burned together, by the fire of faith, as humility, love, &c.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:9. His lot Because some parts of the sacred service were more honourable than others, both the priests and Levites divided the whole among them by lot. The Jews tell us, that there were three priests employed about the service of the incense; one carried away the ashes left on the altar at the preceding service; another brought a pan of burning coals from the altar of sacrifice, and, having placed it on the golden altar, departed; a thirdwent in with the incense, sprinkled it on the burning coals, and, while the smoke ascended, made intercession for the people. This was the part that fell to Zacharias, and the most honourable in the whole service. Dr. Heylin renders this verse, According to the custom of distributing the sacerdotal functions, the lot fell upon him to enter into the sanctuary, and offer incense.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:9. ἔλαχε, he was allotted the office) The functions of the priests were distributed by lot.(5)τοῦ θυμιάσαι, of burning incense) Exodus 30:1, etc.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 1:8"


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

His lot was-temple of the Lord; more literally, he was chosen by lot to burn incense going into the temple of the Lord; that is, to go into the temple of the Lord to burn incense. The office of burning incense was esteemed the most honorable of all. It was assigned by lot for each day among the priests of the course, and no person could perform it more than once.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

9. ἱερατείας. The word is used by Aristotle, and in Hebrews 7:5, but the more common and classic form is ἱερωσύνης.

ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι. ‘He obtained by lot the duty of (entering and) burning incense.’ This was the loftiest and most coveted of priestly functions, Exodus 30:1-10; Numbers 16:1-40; Deuteronomy 33:10. King Uzziah was smitten with leprosy for trying to usurp it (2 Chronicles 26:18). Incense was a symbol of prayer (Psalms 141:2; Hebrews 9:4; Revelation 8:3-4), and Philo tells us that it was offered twice a day,—before the morning and after the evening sacrifice of a lamb. Incense was believed to atone, and the silent smoke of incense atoned for secret slander, T. B. Yoma, f. 44. 1; Wisdom of Solomon 18:21; Sirach 45:16. The ordinary construction after ἐγένετο would have been καὶ ἔλαχε as in Luke 5:1; Luke 5:12, Luke 9:51, &c., but St Luke more often omits the καί. The ἐγένετο is really pleonastic. Winer, E. T. p. 760. The τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι is governed by λαγχάνω as in ἔλαχε τοῦ βασιλεύειν. The word “custom” refers to the casting lots every day to see which priest was to burn the incense. The method of drawing lots is described in Yoma, f. 39. 1. Λαγχάνω may also be followed by the accusative as in Acts 1:17; 2 Peter 1:1. It was probably the morning offering at which Zacharias officiated.

εἰς τὸν ναόν. ‘Into the shrine or Holy Place.’ The golden altar of incense stood before the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (Exodus 30:6). The priest entered in white robes and with unsandalled feet with two attendants, who retired when they had made everything ready. The people waited outside in the Court of Israel praying in deep silence till the priest who was sacrificing the evening lamb at the great altar of Burnt Offering in the Court gave a signal to his colleague in the shrine, perhaps by the tinkling of a bell (Exodus 30:1-10; Psalms 141:2; Malachi 1:11). He then threw the incense on the fire of the golden altar, and its fragrant smoke rose with the prayers of the people. It was while performing this solemn function that John Hyrcanus also had received a divine intimation (Jos. Antt. XIII. 103). The word εἰσελθὼν means strictly that the lot had fallen to him after entering the Sanctuary; but the meaning is that the lot gave him the right “to enter and to burn the incense” (as it is rendered in the R. V[28]). The participle must be taken in close connection with the infinitive. Winer, p. 443.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9. To burn the incense—The composition of the sacred incense for the altar (which the Jews were forbidden to make for private use) is given in Exodus 30:34-38. It was in the performance of the service placed in a vase or cup, called the censer, upon the Golden Altar in the Holy Place, with burning coals beneath, producing by its smoke a powerful perfume, filling the Temple with its fragrance. As it was within the MOST HOLY, on the Sacred Ark, between the Cherubim, that God the King of Israel dwelt, whose house the Temple was, so the bread, the candlestick, and the incense were all, symbolically, furnishings for him.

Some have incorrectly supposed that Zacharias was High Priest. But that pontiff’s duty was to enter the MOST HOLY once a year to make expiation for the people; namely, on the great day of atonement.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:9. According to the custom of the priesthood. To be joined with what follows, not with what precedes. The ‘custom’ was to assign by lot for each day the various parts of the service to the priests of the course on duty for the week. The most honorable office, which fell to Zacharias on this occasion, was allotted to the same person but once, i.e., for one day during the week of service.

To enter into the temple of the Lord, i.e., ‘the holy place.’ Beyond this only the high-priest could go.

And burn incense. At the time of the morning and of the evening sacrifice. The sacrifice was offered on the great altar of burnt-offering, which stood outside in the court of the priests. One priest took fire from this altar to the altar of incense, and then left the priest, whose duty it was to bum incense, alone in the holy place; the latter (Zacharias in this case), at a signal from the priest presiding at the sacrifice, kindled the incense.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 1:9. κατὰ τὸ ἔθος is to be connected with ἔλαχε: casting lots, the customary manner of settling who was to have the honour.— εἰσελθὼν is to be connected with θυμιάσαι, not with ἔλαχε. The meaning is that entering the sanctuary was the necessary preliminary to offering incense: in one sense a superfluous remark (Hahn), yet worth making in view of the sacredness of the place. A great affair to get entrance into the ναός.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 1:9. His lot was to burn incense — “Because some parts of the sacred service were more honourable than others, both the priests and Levites divided the whole among them by lot. The Jews tell us, that there were three priests employed about the service of the incense; one who carried away the ashes left on the altar at the preceding service; another who brought a pan of burning coals from the altar of sacrifice, and, having placed it on the golden altar, departed; a third, who went in with the incense, sprinkled it on the burning coals, and, while the smoke ascended, made intercession for the people. This was the part that fell to Zacharias, and the most honourable in the whole service.” — Macknight. When he went into the temple of the Lord — As the original word here is not το ιερον, but τον ναον, it ought to have been rendered, the house, or sanctuary. The former word, properly signifying the temple, comprehended the whole edifice, with all its enclosures, piazzas, and other buildings; the latter included only what is termed, by way of eminence, the house, consisting of the vestibule, the holy place or sanctuary, and the most holy. The altar of incense, on which the perfumes were burned, was in the sanctuary; the people who were praying without, were in the temple, εν το ιερω, in the court of Israel, though not in what was strictly called the house of God. See note on Matthew 21:12.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

It was his lot. The priests drew lots for the different functions to be performed in the same week; and now it fell by lot to Zacharias, to burn or offer up incense, morning and evening, in that part of the temple called the holy, where was the altar of incense: Zacharias was in this part of the tabernacle. (Witham) --- See Exodus xxx. 6, 8.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

According to. Greek. kata. App-104.

his lot was = it fell to him by lot.

to burn incense. Greek. thumiao. Occurs only here in N.T. incense. The first recorded use of incense by man began in disobedience (Numbers 16:6), and the last ended in unbelief (Luke 1:20),

when he went = going.

into. Greek eis. App-104.

the Temple = The Naos, or Shrine; i.e. "the Holy Place". Not

hieron (the Temple courts). See note on Matthew 23:1, Matthew 23:8.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. According to the custom or the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple.

The part assigned to each priest during his week of service was decided by lot. Three were employed at the offering of incense: to remove the ashes of the former service; to bring in and place on the golden altar the pan filled with hot burning coals taken from the altar of burnt offering; and to sprinkle the incense on the hot coals, and, while the smoke of it ascended, to make intercession for the people. This was the most distinguished part of the service (Revelation 8:3), and this was what fell to the lot of Zacharias at this time [Lightfoot].


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

9. He was chosen by lot. In order to remove the "human element," specially marked stones were used to determine who was to do each separate part of the worship to God (compare Proverbs 16:33; Acts 1:26). So he went into the temple of the Lord. Into the Holy Place. Philo mentions an Altar of Incense placed between the Seven-branched Lampstand and the [table which held] the Bread of the Presence. [ Hebrews 9:4 speaks of a "gold altar for the burning of incense" in the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) in the Tent (the portable temple originally used in the Wilderness).] Incense was burned on the altar in the Holy Place each morning and evening. This was such an honor, that no one was permitted to do this more than once. It brought the serving priest closer to the Divine Presence in the Most Holy Place than any other priestly service, and because of the special blessing connected with it, it was believed that all should have their time to share in it.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9)His lot was to burn incense.—The order of the courses was, as has been said, one of rotation. The distribution of functions during the week was determined by lot. That of offering incense, symbolising, as it did, the priestly work of presenting the prayers of the people, and joining his own with them (Psalms 141:2; Revelation 5:8), was of all priestly acts the most distinctive (2 Chronicles 26:18). At such a moment all the hopes of one who looked for the Christ as the consolation of Israel would gather themselves into one great intercession.

Into the temple of the Lord—i.e., the Holy Place, into which none but the priests might enter.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
his
Exodus 30:7,8; 37:25-29; Numbers 16:40; 1 Samuel 2:28; 1 Chronicles 6:49; 23:13; 2 Chronicles 26:16; 2 Chronicles 29:11; Hebrews 9:6

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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