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CHAP. at his decisions, and the same idea of strict inte
grity was further hinted by the fact that Truth herself was pictured with closed eyes, and that the judges, in funereal rituals found at Thebes, were also represented 'without hands.' There is, however, far greater difficulty in ascertaining the precise complexion of the Hebrew usage which is frequently compared with this. The narrative respecting the institution of it will be found in Exod. xxviii. 30: 'And thou shalt put in the breast-plate' of judgment [or, righteousness], the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.' We read again (Numb. xxvii. 21) that on the designation of Joshua to the leadership which had been previously enjoyed by Moses: 'He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask [counsel] for him, after the judgment of Urim before the Lord;' implying that the wonderful emblems here connected with the breastplate of the high-priest were meant, as being one with it, to serve the purpose of an oracle, whatever
emblem was rather 'promissory' than
1 It has been urged (for example,
qualities.' Yet as precisely the same phrase occurs in Exod. xxv. 16, 21, where the allusion is to the placing of the two Tables within the ark, we can hardly doubt that the Authorised Version is here correct, and that the Urim and Thummim were something superadded, and materially separable from the breast-plate: cf. Bähr, II. 108, 109. In Lev. viii. 8, it is said expressly, 'And he put the breast-plate upon him; also he put in the breast-plate the Urim and the Thummim.'
-that these two mys וְנָתַתָּ אֶל־חֹשֶׁן
terious names (Urim and Thummim)
be the right interpretation of the method in which CHAP. responses were detected and delivered (cf. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6).
The intimations, therefore, of a common parent- Points of age for the Egyptian and the Hebrew symbols, are restricted chiefly to the circumstance that both may be described as solemn badges, and that some judicial characteristics are attributed to their possessors in the two cases respectively. The chief judge, among his other decorations, wore about his neck the chain of office, with a precious seal, or effigy of truth, suspended from it: the chief priest, in asking guidance from Jehovah, wore the breastplate of righteousness, containing in the precious stones of which it was composed an emblem of collective Israel; and armed with it he was directed to 'go in unto the holy place for a memorial before the Lord continually.' But the statement of this semblance of external approximation, or rather of remote affinity in the uses of the two solemn symbols, is enough to make us thoroughly conscious of their general dissimilitude. The Aaronic breastplate, for example, was not worn in any court of human judicature; it had no reference to the ordinary business of the individual Hebrew, but to special difficulties connected with the fortunes of the whole sacred corporation; neither was it meant to quicken in the spirit of the wearer a conviction of his personal frailty, or his need of more than ordinary watchfulness in executing his high office.
Whence, then, grew the prevalent notion that Thummim some very close affinity existed between the emblems now in question? It is clearly traceable to
CHAP. the rendering, which had been adopted in the Septuagint1, of the expression Thummim. That Hebrew word has there been made equivalent to 'Truth' (aλnoeia), and as the great Egyptian goddess, who presided over the courts of law, and aided the decisions of Osiris in the under-world, had also borne the name of Truth (Thmei), it was conjectured that the traces of a radical connexion between Thmei and Thummim, or in other words between the Hebrew and Egyptian customs, had been halfunconsciously attested by the Alexandrine version of the Pentateuch. But this conjecture has been seriously weakened, if not overthrown entirely, by other considerations: first, that 'Thummim' is a regular Hebrew form, grammatically unconnected with the Coptic Thmei; secondly, that in rendering Thummim' into Greek, the Seventy have departed from the letter of the Hebrew text and so confounded qualities which really differ; and thirdly, that the error introduced by them may probably have had its origin, like others of the same description, in their strong Egyptian bias.
Probable meaning of
I may add that when the glorious properties of the Hebrew light and of perfection had been thus ascribed em
1 Urim (D) is rendered onAwols in LXX, and (more literally) pwrioμol in Aquila. The plural form is best explained as a plur. majest., so that it points to the idea of Divine illumination. The same account must be given of the plural form in Thummim (D') which the LXX, and Philo after them, have rendered åλnoeia, and Aquila (more literally) Teλewσels. Wilkinson, who seems to accept the ren
dering of the LXX, thinks that the 'dual or plural word' (Thummim) corresponds to the Egyptian notion of the 'two truths,' (cf. above, p. 85), or two similar figures, marking a double capacity of the goddess (2nd ser. II. 28, 29). He also gives a drawing of a breast-plate, where both Ra (the Sun) and Thmei are represented together; which is doubtless a still closer parallel to 'Lights' and 'Perfections.'
phatically to the Hebrew breast-plate by affixing CHAP. to it the significant symbols of the Urim and Thummim, the high-priest was made to bear the whole of the oracular apparatus' with him as 'a memorial before the Lord.' If, therefore, in accordance with some other texts of Holy Scripture the inserted emblems may be construed' as uniting into one the highest moral qualities ascribable to God Himself, it is no idle fancy to conclude that Aaron so adorned and bearing on his heart the names of the children of Israel, was to them a vivid image of the law of mediation (cf. Numb. xvi. 47, 48), and to us a luminous shadow of 'the Mediator between God and man,' who having in the fulness of the times obtained a more excellent ministry, has gathered up into Himself the various functions of the mediatorial office.
THE RED HEIFER.
(5) In the law prescribed through Moses, Why the (Numb. xix.) for the cleansing of those Hebrews specifically who had been defiled by touching a dead body, there is special mention of the colour of the victim to be offered up on such occasion; that its ashes, mingled with the lustral water, might conduce to the removal of the disability contracted, and so 'sanctify to the purifying of the flesh' (Heb. ix. 13). The victim was to be a red cow or heifer, without spot; and as no other valid reason seemed to be suggested for the naming of one definite colour,
1 See this point well drawn out in Mr Tomkins's Essay (as above) pp. 84 sq.
2 Maimonides wrote a special treatise De Vacca rufa, and the subject
has been handled with singular fre-
CHAP. fresh recourse was had by certain writers to the ancient usages of Egypt in the hope of thence extracting the desired elucidation. We have noted in the last chapter that red was the Typhonic colour, and therefore if full credit may be given to the account of Plutarch, the Egyptians 'never sacrificed any but perfectly red cattle.' It is plain, however, that if any foreign reference was intended, the idea of counteracting2, not of copying the Egyptian custom is involved in the selection by the Hebrews of a cow or heifer in the place of the more usual ox (Lev. iv. 14); since, both those animals, as we have seen already3, were invested with peculiar sacredness throughout the Valley of the Nile. The truth will probably turn out to be, that the adoption of the red colour in both cases corresponded only because of its inherent fitness to express the thought which it was made to symbolise in each community. It was the colour of blood"; and while in Egypt this idea was readily connected with the deadly, scathing, sanguinary powers of Typhon, it became in the more ethical system of the Hebrews a remembrancer of moral evil flowing out into its penal consequences, or an image of unpardoned sin (cf. Is. i. 15, 18).
1 Above, p. 77.
2 This view is strongly urged by Spencer, whose work contains a very full discussion De Vitula rufa Deo immolanda; but Hengstenberg, as before, p. 182, while conceding the partial truth involved in it, has suggested that the offering was feminine to make it accord more fully with the common Hebrew word for sin, which is also of the feminine gender.
3 Above, p. 76.
Hengstenberg, Ibid. p. 188. Bähr adopts a different view: 'Das Thier war...Antidotum gegen den Tod und die Todesgemeinschaft, und musste eben darum auf den Begriff Leben hinweisen; das geschah nun schon durch sein Geschlecht, noch mehr und bestimmter aber durch sein Aussehen, es trug die Lebensfarbe,' (II. 500).