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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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A vessel in which fire and incense were carried, in certain parts of the Hebrew worship. Little is known of its form. The censer for the daily offering was at first made of copper, Numbers 16:39 . That used on the great Day of Atonement, (and perhaps others also,) was made of pure gold, 1 Kings 7:50 Hebrews 9:4 . In the daily offering, the censer was filled with coals from the perpetual fire, and placed on the altar of incense, where the incense was thrown upon the coals, Exodus 30:1,7-10 . On the day of atonement, in the Holy of Holies, the censer must have been held in the hand, and probably by a handle, Leviticus 16:12,13 .

There are two Hebrew words, which are translated censer in our English Bibles. The one signifies strictly fire-pan. The other signifies incense-pan, a vessel for burning incense; but we do not know its exact shape.

The censers of the Egyptians had long handles, like a human arm and hand, upon the palm of which the incense-cup stood. Those of the Greeks and Romans had chains, by which they were carried, like those now used in the Romish service.

In the New Testament, where the twenty-four elders are said to have golden "vials" full of odors, Revelation 5:8 , the meaning is vessels of incense, censers, not vials in the present sense of the word.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Censer'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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