International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
COURT OF THE SANCTUARY; TABERNACLE; TEMPLE
kort, sank'-tu-a-ri: By "court" (chatser) is meant a clear space enclosed by curtains or walls, or surrounded by buildings. It was always an uncovered enclosure, but might have within its area one or more edifices.
1. The Tabernacle:
The first occurrence of the word is in Exodus 27:9, where it is commanded to "make the court of the tabernacle." The dimensions for this follow in the directions for the length of the linen curtains which were to enclose it. From these we learn that the perimeter of the court was 300 cubits, and that it consisted of two squares, each 75 ft., lying East and West of one another. In the westerly square stood the tabernacle, while in that to the East was the altar of burnt offering. This was the worshipper's square, and every Hebrew who passed through the entrance gate had immediate access to the altar (compare W. Robertson Smith, note on Exodus 20:26, Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, 435). The admission to this scene of the national solemnities was by the great east gate described in Exodus 27:13-16 (see EAST GATE).
2. Solomon's Temple:
The fundamental conception out of which grew the resolve to build a temple for the worship of Yahweh was that the new structure was to be an enlarged duplicate in stone of the tent of meeting (see TEMPLE). The doubling in size of the holy chambers was accompanied by a doubling of the enclosed area upon which the holy house was to stand. Hitherto a rectangular oblong figure of 150 ft. in length and 75 ft. in breadth had sufficed for the needs of the people in their worship. Now an area of 300 ft. in length and 150 ft. in breadth was enclosed within heavy stone walls, making, as before, two squares, each of 150 ft. This was that "court of the priests" spoken of in 2 Chronicles 4:9, known to its builders as "the inner court" (1 Kings 6:36; compare Jeremiah 36:10). Its walls consisted of "three courses of hewn stone, and a course of cedar beams" (1 Kings 6:36), into which some read the meaning of colonnades. Its two divisions may have been marked by some fence. The innermost division, accessible only to the priests, was the site of the new temple. In the easterly division stood the altar of sacrifice; into this the Hebrew laity had access for worship at the altar. Later incidental allusions imply the existence of "chambers" in the court, and also the accessibility of the laity (compare Jeremiah 35:4; Jeremiah 36:10 Ezekiel 8:16).
3. The Great Court:
In distinction from this "inner" court a second or "outer" court was built by Solomon, spoken of by the Chronicler as "the great court" (2 Chronicles 4:9). Its doors were overlaid with brass (bronze). Wide difference of opinion obtains as to the relation of this outer court to the inner court just described, and to the rest of the Solomonic buildings-particularly to "the great court" of "the house of the forest of Lebanon" of 1 Kings 7:9, 10. Some identify the two, others separate them. Did this court, with its brass-covered gates, extend still farther to the East than the temple "inner" court, with, however, the same breadth as the latter? Or was it, as Keil thinks, a much larger enclosure, surrounding the whole temple area, extending perhaps 150 cubits eastward in front of the priests' court (compare Keil, Biblical Archaeology, I, 171, English translation)? Yet more radical is the view, adopted by many modern authorities, which regards "the great court" as a vast enclosure surrounding the temple and the whole complex of buildings described in 1 Kings 7:1-12 (see the plan, after Stade, in G. A. Smith's Jerusalem, II, 59). In the absence of conclusive data the question must be left undetermined.
4. Ezekiel's Temple:
In Ezekiel's plan of the temple yet to be built, the lines of the temple courts as he had known them in Jerusalem are followed. Two squares enclosed in stone walling, each of 150 ft., lie North and South of one another, and bear the distinctive names, "the inner court" and "the outer court" (Ezekiel 8:16; Ezekiel 10:5).
5. Temple of Herod:
In the Herodian temple the old nomenclature gives place to a new set of terms. The extensive enclosure known later as "the court of the Gentiles" does not appear under that name in the New Testament or in Josephus What we have in the tract Middoth of the Mishna and in Josephus is the mention of two courts, the "court of the priests" and "the court of Israel" (Middoth, ii0.6; v. 1; Josephus, BJ, V, v, 6). The data in regard to both are difficult and conflicting. In Middoth they appear as long narrow strips of 11 cubits in breadth extending at right angles to the temple and the altar across the enclosure-the "court of Israel" being railed off from the "court of the priests" on the East; the latter extending backward as far as the altar, which has a distinct measurement. The design was to prevent the too near approach of the lay Israelite to the altar. Josephus makes the 11 cubits of the "court of Israel" extend round the whole "court of the priests," inclusive of altar and temple (see TEMPLE; and compare G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 506-9, with the reconstruction of Waterhouse in Sacred Sites of the Gospels, 111). For the "women's court," see TREASURY.
Many expressions in the Psalms show how great was the attachment of the devout-minded Hebrew in all ages to those courts of the Lord's house where he was accustomed to worship (e.g. Psalm 65:4; Psalm 84:2; Psalm 92:13; Psalm 96:8; 100:04:00; Psalm 116:19). The courts were the scene of many historical events in the Old Testament and New Testament, and of much of the earthly ministry of Jesus. There was enacted the scene described in the parable of the Pharisee and Publican (Luke 18:10-14).
W. Shaw Caldecott
sank'-tu-a-ri, sank'-tu-a-ri (miqdash, miqqedhash, qodhesh, "holy place"; hagion):
1. Nature of Article
2. The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis
The Three Stages
3. Difficulties of the Theory
(1) Slaughter Not Necessarily Sacrificial
(2) Sacrifice and Theophany
(3) Alleged Plurality of Sanctuaries
(4) The Altar of God's House
(5) Local Altars in Deuteronomy
4. The Alternative View
(1) Lay Sacrifice
(2) Three Pilgrimage Festivals
5. The Elephantine Papyri
The Elephantine Temple
1. Nature of Article:
The present article is designed to supplement the articles on ALTAR; HIGH PLACE; PENTATEUCH; TABERNACLE; TEMPLE, by giving an outline of certain rival views of the course of law and history as regards the place of worship. The subject has a special importance because it was made the turning-point of Wellhausen's discussion of the development of Israel's literature, history and religion. He himself writes: "I differ from Graf chiefly in this, that I always go back to the centralization of the cult, and deduce from it the particular divergences. My whole position is contained in my first chapter" (Prolegomena, 368). For the purposes of this discussion it is necessary to use the symbols J, E, D, H, and the Priestly Code (P), which are explained in the article PENTATEUCH.
It is said that there are three distinct stages of law and history.
2. The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis:
The Three Stages:
(1) In the first stage all slaughter of domestic animals for food purposes was sacrificial, and every layman could sacrifice locally at an altar of earth or unhewn stones. The law of JE is contained in Exodus 20:24-26, providing for the making of an altar of earth or stones, and emphasis is laid on the words "in every place ("in all the place" is grammatically an equally possible rendering) where I record my name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee." This, it is claimed, permits a plurality of sanctuaries. Illustrations are provided by the history. The patriarchs move about the country freely and build altars at various places. Later sacrifices or altars are mentioned in connection with Jethro (Exodus 18:12), Moses (Exodus 17:15, etc.), Joshua (Joshua 8:30), Gideon (Judges 6:26 etc.), Manoah (Judges 13:19), Samuel (1 Samuel 7:17, etc.), Elijah (1 Kings 18:32), to take but a few instances. Perhaps the most instructive case is that of Saul after the battle of Michmash. Observing that the people were eating meat with blood, he caused a large stone to be rolled to him, and we are expressly told that this was the first altar that he built to the Lord (1 Samuel 14:35). While some of these examples might be accounted for by theophanies or other special circumstances, they are too numerous when taken together for such an explanation to suffice. In many instances they represent the conduct of the most authoritative and religious leaders of the age, e.g. Samuel, and it must be presumed that such men knew and acted upon the Law of their own day. Hence, the history and the Law of Exodus 20 are in unison in permitting a multiplicity of sanctuaries. Wellhausen adds: "Altars as a rule are not built by the patriarchs according to their own private judgment wheresoever they please; on the contrary, a theophany calls attention to, or, at least afterward, confirms, the holiness of the place" (op. cit., 31).
(2) The second stage is presented by Deuteronomy in the Law and Josiah's reformation in the history. Undoubtedly, Deuteronomy 12 permits local non-sacrificial slaughter for the purposes of food, and enjoins the destruction of heathen places of worship, insisting with great vehemence on the central sanctuary. The narrative of Josiah's reformation in 2 Kings 23 tallies with these principles.
(3) The third great body of law (the Priestly Code, P) does not deal with the question (save in one passage, Leviticus 17). In Deuteronomy "the unity of the cult is commanded; in the Priestly Code it is presupposed..... What follows from this forms the question before us. To my thinking, this: that the Priestly Code rests upon the result which is only the aim of Deuteronomy" (Prolegomena, 35). Accordingly, it is later than the latter book and dates from about the time of Ezra. As to Leviticus 17:1-9, this belongs to H (the Law of Holiness, Leviticus 17:1-26:46), an older collection of laws than the Priestly Code (P), and is taken up in the latter. Its intention was "to secure the exclusive legitimation of the one lawful place of sacrifice..... Plainly the common man did not quite understand the newly drawn and previously quite unknown distinction between the religious and the profane act" (Prolegomena, 50). Accordingly, this legislator strove to meet the difficulty by the new enactment.
See CRITICISM (The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis).
3. Difficulties of the Theory:
(1) Slaughter Not Necessarily Sacrificial
The general substratum afforded by the documentary theory falls within the scope of the article PENTATEUCH. The present discussion is limited to the legal and historical outline traced above. The view that all slaughter of domestic animals was sacrificial till the time of Josiah is rebutted by the evidence of the early books. The following examples should be noted: in Genesis 18:7 a calf is slain without any trace of a sacrifice, and in 27:9-14 (Jacob's substitute for venison) no altar or religious rite can fairly be postulated. In 1 Samuel 28:24 the slaughter is performed by a woman, so that here again sacrifice is out of the question. If Gideon performed a sacrifice when he "made ready a kid" (Judges 6:19) or when he killed an animal for the broth of which the narrative speaks, the animals in question must have been sacrificed twice over, once when they were killed and again when the food was consumed by flames. Special importance attaches to Exodus 22:1 (Hebrew 21:37), for there the JE legislation itself speaks of slaughter by cattle thieves as a natural and probable occurrence, and it can surely not have regarded this as a sacrificial act. Other instances are to be found in Genesis 43:16 1 Samuel 25:11; 1 Kings 19:21. In 1 Samuel 8:13 the word translated "cooks" means literally, "women slaughterers." All these instances are prior to the date assigned to Deuteronomy. With respect to Leviticus 17:1-7 also, theory is unworkable. At any time in King Josiah's reign or after, it would have been utterly impossible to limit all slaughter of animals for the whole race wherever resident to one single spot. This part of theory therefore breaks down.
(2) Sacrifice and Theophany
The view that the altars were erected at places that were peculiarly holy, or at any rate were subsequently sanctified by a theophany, is also untenable. In the Patriarchal age we may refer to Genesis 4:26, where the calling on God implies sacrifice but not theophanies, Abram at Beth-el (12:8) and Mamre (13:18), and Jacob's sacrifices (31:54; 33:20). Compare later Samuel's altar at Ramah, Adonijah's sacrifice at En-rogel (1 Kings 1), Naaman's earth (2 Kings 5), David's clan's sacrifice (1 Samuel 20:6, 29). It is impossible to postulate theophanies for the sacrifices of every clan in the country, and it becomes necessary to translate Exodus 20:24 "in all the place" (see supra 2, (1)) and to understand "the place" as the territory of Israel.
(3) Alleged Plurality of Sanctuaries
The hypothesis of a multiplicity of sanctuaries in JE and the history also leaves out of view many most important facts. The truth is that the word "sanctuary" is ambiguous and misleading. A plurality of altars of earth or stone is not a plurality of sanctuaries. The early legislation knows a "house of Yahweh" in addition to the primitive altars (Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; compare the parts of Joshua 9:23, 27 assigned to J). No eyewitness could mistake a house for an altar, or vice versa.
(4) The Altar of God's House
Moreover a curious little bit of evidence shows that the "house" had quite a different kind of altar. In 1 Kings 1:50; 2:28;, we hear of the horns of the altar (compare Amos 3:14). Neither earth nor unhewn stones (as required by the Law of Exodus 20) could provide such horns, and the historical instances of the altars of the patriarchs, religious leaders, etc., to which reference has been made, show that they had no horns. Accordingly, we are thrown back on the description of the great altar of burnt offering in Exodus 27 and must assume that an altar of this type was to be found before the ark before Solomon built his Temple. Thus the altar of the House of God was quite different from the customary lay altar, and when we read of "mine altar" as a refuge in Exodus 21:14, we must refer it to the former, as is shown by the passages just cited. In addition to the early legislation and the historical passages cited as recognizing a House of God with a horned altar, we see such a house in Shiloh where Eli and his sons of the house of Aaron (1 Samuel 2:27) ministered. Thus the data of both JE and the history show us a House of God with a horned altar side by side with the multiplicity of stone or earthen altars, but give us no hint of a plurality of legitimate houses or shrines or sanctuaries.
(5) Local Altars in Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy also recognizes a number of local altars in 16:21 (see ICC, at the place) and so does Later Deuteronomistic editors in Joshua 8:30;. There is no place for any of these passages ia the Wellhausen theory; but again we find one house side by side with many lay altars.
4. The Alternative View:
(1) Lay Sacrifice
The alternative view seeks to account for the whole of the facts noted above. In bald outline it is as follows: In pre-Mosaic times customary sacrifices had been freely offered by laymen at altars of earth or stone which were not "sanctuaries," but places that could be used for the nonce and then abandoned. Slaughter, as shown by the instances cited, was not necessarily sacrificial. Moses did not forbid or discourage the custom he found. On the contrary, he regulated it in Exodus 20:24-26 Deuteronomy 16:21 to prevent possible abuses. But he also superimposed two other kinds of sacrifice-certain new offerings to be brought by individuals to the religious capital and the national offerings of Numbers 28; Numbers 29 and other passages. If the Priestly Code (P) assumes the religious capital as axiomatic, the reason is that this portion of the Law consists of teaching entrusted to the priests, embracing the procedure to be followed in these two classes of offerings, and does not refer at all to the procedure at customary lay sacrifices, which was regulated by immemorial custom. Deuteronomy thunders not against the lay altars-which are never even mentioned in this connection-but against the Canaanite high places. Deuteronomy 12 contemplates only the new individual offerings. The permission of lay slaughter for food was due to the fact that the infidelity of the Israelites in the wilderness (Leviticus 17:5-7) had led to the universal prohibition of lay slaughter for the period of the wanderings only, though it appears to be continued by Deuteronomy for those who lived near the House of God (see Deuteronomy 12:21, limited to the case "if the place.... be too far from thee").
(2) Three Pilgrimage Festivals.
The JE legislation itself recognizes the three pilgrimage festivals of the House of God (Exodus 34:22 f). One of these festivals is called "the feast of weeks, even of the bikkurim (a kind of first-fruits) of wheat harvest," and as Exodus 23:19 and 34:26 require these bikkurim to be brought to the House of God and not to a lay altar, it follows that the pilgrimages are as firmly established here as in Deuteronomy. Thus we find a House (with a horned altar) served by priests and lay altars of earth or stone side by side in law and history till the exile swept them all away, and by breaking the continuity of tradition and practice paved the way for a new and artificial interpretation of the Law that was far removed from the intent of the lawgiver.
5. The Elephantine Papyri:
The Elephantine Temple.
Papyri have recently been found at Elephantine which show us a Jewish community in Egypt which in 405 B.C. possessed a local temple. On the Wellhausen hypothesis it is usual to assume that the Priestly Code (P) and Deuteronomy were still unknown and not recognized as authoritative in this community at that date, although the Deuteronomic law of the central sanctuary goes back at least to 621. It is difficult to understand how a law that had been recognized as divine by Jeremiah and others could still have been unknown or destitute of authority. On the alternative view this phenomenon will have been the result of an interpretation of the Law to suit the needs of an age some 800 years subsequent to the death of Moses in circumstances he never contemplated. The Pentateuch apparently permits sacrifice only in the land of Israel: in the altered circumstances the choice lay between interpreting the Law in this way or abandoning public worship altogether; for the synagogue with its non-sacrificial form of public worship had not yet been invented. All old legislations have to be construed in this way to meet changing circumstances, and this example contains nothing exceptional or surprising.
J. Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, chapter i, for the critical hypothesis; H. M. Wiener, EPC, chapter vi, PS passim for the alternative view; POT, 173;.
Harold M. Wiener
SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY; SACRED SHEKEL
(sheqel ha-qodhesh (Numbers 7 passim)): The same as the silver shekel mentioned under SHEKEL (which see), except in Exodus 38:24, where it is used in measuring gold. The term is used for offerings made for sacred purposes.