Page images


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.


colour was


(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-
quency in all ages; yet the Hebrew
doctors admit that even Solomon,
who knew most other things, was in
ignorance respecting the red heifer.


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).





(6) A further instance of supposed affinity to the Egyptian ritual is discovered in the ceremonies ceremonial. appointed for the Hebrew nation on the greatest of their annual celebrations,—the Day of Atonement (Lev. xvi). It is there provided that the highpriest of Israel, after making atonement for himself and for his house, shall take two goats, and when they had been solemnly presented shall cast lots upon them; 'one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scape-goat [or, Azazel]. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin-offering: but the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scape-goat [or, on which Azazel's lot fell], shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scape-goat [or, to Azazel] into the wilderness.' And in the following verses of the same chapter, where the ceremony in question is minutely sketched, we gather the additional information, that the high-priest was to 'lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilder


points of


The practice of transferring, emblematically, the Minor sins of the offerer to the innocent victim chosen by him as their representative had doubtless its analogy' among the Old Egyptians, who, in some at

1 Herod. II. 39; Kenrick, I. 443, 444. Wilkinson, referring to this practice, argues from the negative

evidence of the sculptures that it
was no more than occasional and


CHAP. least of their oblations, prayed over the head of II. the victim that evils then impending might be all averted upon it; but there is no necessity whatever for supposing that a practice so graphic and so natural in itself was specially Egyptian, and not rather as primeval as the earliest dawn of the idea which prompted substitutionary offerings.

Why an explanation is sought

It is urged, however, that apart from any minor proofs of correspondency, the whole conception in Egypt. of the two goats as there appointed, and the seeming dualism connected with their mode of treatment, indicate still deeper tinges of Egyptian influence1. On minute inquiry this interpretation of the He brew ceremonial will be found to rest on the assumption that Azazel in the passage just recited is another name for Satan, and therefore that the final driving of the goat into the desert is, in Hebrew phraseology, a solemn renunciation of the powers of darkness, in the name of the whole reconciled community of Israel; or, in accordance with Egyptian forms of speech, a sending back of evil to the favourite haunts of its Typhonic author.

Who or

what was

Now the meaning of the word Azazel is conAzazel? fessedly involved in very great obscurity. One ancient derivation, as attested by the version of the Seventy (Tожоμжаîоя), makes the name equivalent to scape-goat ('hircus emissarius'); but how, it was demanded, passing by some other dis

1 Spencer, II. 450 sq. has advocated this view in his usual manner, contending that while the Hebrew practice of sending away the second goat partly recognised the heathen theory of sacrifice, the whole rite was calculated to impress the truth that sin-offerings are due to God

only, while the evil spirit, which he found in Azazel, was to be regarded as unclean, and as an object of abhorrence: cf. Bähr's criticism of these ideas, II. 693-695.

2 See the different interpretations of it in Winer, Realwört. s. v.

« PreviousContinue »