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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Priest, High-Priest, etc. A priest may be defined as one who officiates or transacts with God on behalf of others statedly, or for the occasion ().

The designation and call of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood are commanded in ; and holy garments to be made for Aaron, 'for glory and for beauty' (), and for his sons (), by persons originally skillful, and now also inspired for the purpose (), the chief of whom were Bezaleel and Aholiab (). As there were some garments common both to the priests and the high-priest, we shall begin with those of the former, taking them in the order in which they would be put on.


Fig. 296—Drawers and girdle

1. The first was 'linen-breeches,' or drawers (). These were to be of fine twined linen, and to reach from the loins to the middle of the thighs. Such drawers were worn universally in Egypt. No mention occurs of the use of drawers by any other class of persons in Israel except the priests, on whom it was enjoined for the sake of decency.

2. The coat of fine linen or cotton (). This was worn by men in general (); also by women (; ), next to the skin. It was to be of woven work. Josephus states that it reached down to the feet, and sat close to the body; and had sleeves, which were tied fast to the arms; and was girded to the breast a little above the elbows by a girdle. It had a narrow aperture about the neck, and was tied with certain strings hanging down from the edge over the breast and back, and was fastened above each shoulder. But this garment, in the case of the priests and high-priest, was to be broidered (), 'a broidered coat,' by which Gesenius understands a coat of cloth worked in checkers or cells.


Fig. 297—Girdle and tunic

3. The girdle (). This was also worn by magistrates (). The girdle for the priests was to be made of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework (). Josephus describes it as often going round, four fingers broad, but so loosely woven that it might be taken for the skin of a serpent; and that it was embroidered with flowers of scarlet, and purple, and blue, but that the warp was nothing but linen. The mode of its hanging down is illustrated by the fig. 299, where the girdle is also richly embroidered; while the imbricated appearance of the girdle may be seen very plainly in fig. 296. The next, fig. 297, of a priestly scribe of ancient Egypt, offers an interesting specimen of both tunic and girdle.

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

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Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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