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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Incense. The sacred perfume offered to God by burning on the incense altar. The gums which composed it are mentioned in Exodus 30:34-38, including salt, for v. 35 reads, "seasoned with salt" in the R. V. Incense was to be burnt on the altar made for the purpose twice a day, in the morning when the lamps were dressed, and also when they were lighted in the evening. It might seem as if this work were restricted to the high priest, Exodus 30:7-8; but certainly the ordinary priests are found burning incense, Leviticus 10:1; and, in later times at least, those who so officiated were chosen by lot, Luke 1:8-9; the people being of course without, v. 10, and probably praying in silence: comp. Revelation 8:1; Revelation 8:3. There was another solemn burning of incense—and this was the high priest's peculiar office—on the great day of atonement. Leviticus 16:13. Jewish writers have said that the incense was to counteract the unpleasant smell which might arise from the carcases of victims. But it had a higher purpose. The psalmist, Psalms 141:2, indicates this, his words implying that prayer was in reality what incense was in symbol.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Incense'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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