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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7768 priests, function in OT times
7768 priests, function in OT times

7768 priests, function in OT times

Priests had a unique role: administering the sanctuary, offering sacrifice and leading and teaching the people. Accordingly they were set apart by a special code of conduct.

The priests were set apart

They were consecrated to the Lord Lev 22:9 See also Ex 28:1,4,41; Ex 29:1,44; Ex 30:34; Ex 31:10; Ex 35:19; Ex 39:41

They were not to incur uncleanness Lev 21:1 Some exceptions to uncleanness by touching a corpse are listed in verses 2-3. See also Eze 44:25

They were not to shave or mutilate themselves Lev 21:5 See also Eze 44:20

They were not to marry any but a virtuous Israelite Lev 21:7 See also Eze 44:22

They were not to drink wine before entering the sanctuary Lev 10:9 See also Eze 44:21

They were disqualified by physical defects Lev 21:17 See also Lev 21:18-22

They were not to allow outsiders to eat the sacred offerings Lev 22:15-16 See also Lev 24:9; 1Sa 21:4; Mt 12:4

They were not to own land in Israel Nu 18:20 See also Eze 44:28

They were not to offer unacceptable sacrifices Lev 22:20 See also Mal 1:7-9

They were to obey God’s law meticulously Lev 22:31 See also Eze 44:24

The priests supervised the sanctuary

They only had access to holy things Nu 3:10 See also Nu 4:5; Eze 40:45-46; Eze 44:16; Joel 2:17

They tended the sanctuary lamps Ex 27:21

They carried the ark Dt 31:9 See also Jos 3:8,15,17; Jos 4:9,16; Jos 6:12

The priests supervised the sacrifices

Lev 1:5 See also Lev 1:8; Lev 2:2; 1Ch 9:30

The priests led the nation

As role models Mal 2:6

As teachers Eze 44:23 See also Lev 10:10; Dt 31:10-13; Ezr 7:6; Mal 2:7

As judges Dt 17:9 See also Dt 19:17; Dt 21:5; 2Ch 19:8; Eze 44:24

As encouragers in battle Nu 10:8 See also Jos 6:4; 2Ch 13:12

Prophetic criticism of the priests

La 4:13 See also Jer 2:8; Jer 6:13; Eze 7:26; Eze 22:26; Hos 4:6-9; Hos 6:9; Zep 3:4

See also

5358judges
6682mediation
7340clean and unclean
7404ordinances
7424ritual law
7435sacrifice, in OT
7464teachers of the law

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