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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Fig. 122—Egyptian Censers

Censer, the vessel in which incense was presented in the temple (; ; ). Censers were used in the daily offering of incense, and yearly on the Day of Atonement, when the high-priest entered the Holy of Holies. On the latter occasion the priest filled the censer with live coals from the sacred fire on the altar of burnt-offering, and bore it into the sanctuary, where he threw upon the burning coals the 'sweet incense beaten small' which he had brought in his hand (). In this case the incense was burnt while the high-priest held the censer in his hand; but in the daily offering the censer in which the live coals were brought from the altar of burnt-offering was set down upon the altar of incense. This alone would suggest the probability of some difference of shape between the censers used on these occasions. The daily censers must have had a base or stand to admit of their being placed on the golden altar, while those employed on the Day of Atonement were probably furnished with a handle. In fact, there are different names for these vessels. We learn also that the daily censers were of brass (), whereas the yearly one was of gold. The form of the daily censer we have no means of determining beyond the fact that it was a pan or vase, with a stand whereon it might rest on the golden altar. The numerous figures of Egyptian censers, consisting of a small cup at the end of along shaft or handle (often in the shape of a hand), probably offer adequate illustration of those employed by the Jews on the Day of Atonement. There was, however, another kind of censer (Fig. 122, No. 1), less frequently seen on the Egyptian monuments, and likewise furnished with a handle, which will probably be regarded by many as offering a more probable resemblance.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Censer'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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