Topics for Discussion from Sanders, Judaism, Chapter Six: Outline of Main Points

Priests and Levites in the society:

Supported by people: Rabbinic tradition: Tithes were not being given to Levites, but (at least primarily) to Priests. Corroboration in Judith, Jubilees.
Estimates of numbers: 20,000 Priests and Levites.
Division into Priestly courses in weekly rotation.

Functions of Priests and Levites:



Priests as administrators:

Mishnah Sheqalim Ch. 5:

Who were the functionaries in the Temple?
Yohanan son of Phineas in charge of the seals. Ahiah in charge of libations. Matathiah son of Samuel in charge of lotteries. Petahiah in charge of bird offerings... Ben Ahiah in charge of those with bowel ailments. Nehuniah the trench-digger. Gevini the herald. Ben Gever in charge of closing the gates. Ben Bebai in charge of the wicks. Ben Arza in charge of the cymbals. Hugras son of Levi in charge of the music. The House of Garmu in charge of preparing the showbread. The house of Avtinos in charge of the preparation of the incense. Eleazar in charge of the curtains and Phineas in charge of the wardrobe.
There should never be fewer than three treasurers and seven chief administrators...

Mishnah Sheqalim 5:3:

There were four seals in the Temple, on which was written: Calf, Ram, Kid or Sinner ...
Anyone who needed libations would go to Yohanan who was in charge of the seals. He would pay him money and receive from him a seal. Then he would go to Ahiah who was in charge of the libations and give him the seal, and receive from him the libations. Then in the evening the two [priests] would meet, and Ah iah would take out his seals and exchange them for cash. If there was too much, then the Temple would enjoy the profit. If there was too little, then Yohanan would pay out of his private funds, because the Temple is always given the advantage.
If someone misplaces their seal, then they wait until evening. If they find a surplus over the amount of the seals, they give it to him. Otherwise, he loses out. They used to date the seals on account of deceivers.

Mishnah Yoma Ch. 2:

Originally anyone who wanted to remove the ashes from the altar would do so. When there were too many, they would race up the ramp, and the first one to arrive within four cubits would win the privilege. If there was a tie, the official in charge would say : Put out your fingers...
It once happened that two of them were tied as they raced up the ramp, and one of them pushed his fellow, who fell and broke his leg. When the court observed that it was becoming dangerous, they decreed that the removal of the ashes should only be assigned according to a lottery.
There were four lotteries, of which this was the first.
The second lottery was for who would slaughter, who would pour the blood, who would remove the ashes from the inner altar, who would remove the ashes from the candelabrum , who would carry the limbs up the ramp: The head and the [right hind] leg, the two forelegs, the hindquarters and the hind leg, the breast and the ribs, the two sides, the innards, the flour, the meal-cakes and the wine. Thirteen Priests participated...
The third lottery: All those who have never offered incense, come draw lots!
The fourth: Both veterans and novices, to determine who will carry the limbs from the ramp to the altar.

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