161 religious encyclopedia harmoa Harmony of the Gospels

Download 5.36 Mb.
Size5.36 Mb.
1   ...   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   ...   46

High Places

daughter of Jephthah, Judges xi. 40). The oracle

in Dent. xxxiii. 19 implies worship on the moun­

tains led by the tribes of Issachar and Zebulon.

That the high places used by Israel during the

period of the kings were taken over from the pre­

Hebraic inhabitants of Canaan is held as almost

axiomatic. The establishment of a new holy place

came about usually through some supernatural

phenomenon (as Jacob's dream, which showed that

the spot was the haunt of deity, Gen. xxviii. 10

sqq., or the appearance of the angel of destruction

at the threshing floor of Araunah, II Sam. xxlv.

16). For mountain tops as places of worship under

the Hebrews of. I Kings xiv. 23; II Kings xvi. 4,

xvii. 10; Hos. iv. 13; Jer. ii. 20, iii. 6, vii. 2; Ezek.

vi. 13, xx. 27 29. Especially illuminating is Jer.

iii. 2, where "high places" is the rendering of she­

phayim, from shaphah, " to be bare," the idea prob­

ably being that bare peaks, offering an unobstructed

view of heaven, were especially propitious. Ac­

cording to Pa. lxviii. 16, God especially desires to

dwell on the hill of Zion.

The Hebrew term bamah (pl. bamoth), "high

place " (cf. Aasyr. bamatu, pl. bamati, the latter

used in the sense of " hill country"), probably

means " a crest." That the term is not merely

figurative is proved by the fact that people " go

up " to the high place (I Sam. ix. 13, 19; Isa. xv.

2) and " come down " from it (I Sam.

3. Hebrew x. 5, ix. 25; of. Ezek. xx. 29). The

High word has occasionally the significance

Places. of " mountain stronghold " (Ezek.

xxxvi. 2), and so (in the plural) is

symbolical of dominion (Dent. xxxii. 13; II Sam.

xxii. 34; Isa. lviii. 14). But in general the use of

the word is religious; it may have lost its physical

meaning and have come to denote simply " sanc­

tuary," though generally as an elevation. In prose

it always means a place of worship, though it is

synonymous at times with gibh'ah, " hill," and

ramah, " lofty place " (cf. Ezek. xx. 28 29, xvi.

16, 24 25, 31, 39). It occurs in the plural as an

element in names (Num. xxi.19 20, 28, R. V.; Josh.

xiii. 17); and it is found on the Moabite Stone (q.v.)

as the name of a Moabitic sanctuary for Chemosh

(line 3) and as an element in a place name (line

27). It is debatable whether " all the worship of

Old Israel was worship at the high places " (EB,

ii. 2066), since it is by no means certain that at all

the shrines, e.g., under the sacred trees (see GRovEA

AND TREES, SACRED), " high places " existed

(though cf. I Kings xiv. 23). Yet that the word

was not always used in its physical sense appears

from the cases in which the bamoth were in valleys

(Jer. vii. 31, xix. 2, 5), in cities (I Kings xiii. 32;

II Kings xvii. 9, 29, xxiii. 5), in the temple (Jer.

vii. 31; Ezek. xvi. 34), at the entrance to the city

(II Kings xxiii. 8), or near the city (I Sam. ix. 25,

x. 5). In these cases the bamah must have been

an artificial mound, perhaps resembling on a small

scale the Babylonian ziggurat (cf. the notice of the

Phenician coin, ut sup.). It is to be noted that in

some cases these ziggurats bore the name of moun­

tain or hill, thus revealing the idea which under­

lay their construction. This artificial construction

is made quite clear by the cases in which the bamah

is distinguished from the hill on which it stood (I Kings xi. 7, xiv. 23; Ezek. vi. 3). The accessories of the high places were the mazzebah, a stone pillar (see MEMORIALS AND SACRED STONES); the ash­erah (q.v.), a wooden post or pole; the altar (q.v.); often images of some description (see IMAGES AND IMAGE WORSHIP, I., and cf. II Chron. xiv. 3); Ephod and Teraphim (qq.v.; cf. Judges viii. 27, xvii. 5; I Sam. xxi. 9); often a sacred tree (I Sam. xxii. 6); a structure like a house or shrine, cf. the " houses of high places " (I Kings xii. 31, xiii. 32; II Kings xxiii. 19). A house for the ark is indi­cated at Shiloh (I Sam. iii. 3), and one at Nob (I Sam. xxi. 9), while at these places were prob­ably deposited sacred trophies, e.g., of war (cf. the last passage cited). The attendants were kohanim, " priests " (I Kings xii. 32, xiii. 2, 32), called also kemarim (II Kings xxiii. 5); kedheshim and ke­dheshoth, " male and female diviners," perhaps in the latter case prostitutes (Hos. iv. 14; Dent. xxiii. 18; I Kings xiv. 24, xv. 12), and prophets (I Sam. x. 5, 10). The practises indicated for these places by Hosea are festivals, joyous gatherings of the family or clan, while the individual was not prohibited from attending, with sacrifices and li­bations, offerings of corn, wine, oil, flax, wool, and fruits; licentious intercourse was also practised here, since female devotees were attached to the shrines; divination was common and Mutilations (q. v.) occurred (Hos. ii. 15, 17, ix. 4; cf. Dent. lxii. 5 8, 11).

The number of high places used by the Hebrews is perhaps not more than hinted at in the Old Tes­tament. With those already named, high places were possibly, probably, or certainly located at Bochim (Judges ii. 5), Ophrah (vi. 24 26, viii. 27),

Dan (xviii. 30), Shiloh (xviii. 31), 4. Their Bethel (xx. 18; II Kings xxiii. 15),

Number Mizpeh (Judges xi. 11 12, xx. 1; cf.

and I Sam. vii. 9), Kirjath jearim (" in

Location. the hill," I Sam. vii. 1), Ramah (I Sam.

vii. 5, 16 17, ix. 12), Gibeah (x. 5, 13), Gilgal (x. 8, xi. 5, xv. 21), Bethlehem (xvi. 2 sqq., xx. 6), Nob (xxi. 1 2), Hebron (II Sam. xv. 7); Olivet (xv. 30 32), Gibeon (xxi. 6; according to the correct reading cf. H. P. Smith's commentary on the passage, New York, 1899 the Gibeonitea crucified the descendants of Saul on Mt. Gibeon " before the face of Yahweh," showing that a sanc­tuary was located there; cf. also I Kings iii. 3 sqq., " the great high place "), an unnamed hill near Jerusalem (I Kings xi. 7), Carmel (I Kings xviii. 19, 30; Vespasian is said to have offered sacrifice there), Tabor (Hos. v. 1), and Gerizim (Josephus, Ant., XI. viii. 2, 4). How continuously these places were used is indicated not only by the de­tail preceding (showing that they were employed by the patriarchs, by Moses and Joshua, by the leaders and people in the time of the Judges, of Samuel, and of Saul), but also by the cases still to be cited. High places were erected by Solomon (I Kings iii. 3 sqq.; II Kings xxiii. 12 13), were used in the especially significant reigns of Reho­boam (I Kings xiv. 23), Jeroboam (xii. 31 32, xiii. 2, 32 33), and Asa (xv. 14); Elijah bewails the destruction of the Yahweh altars (xix. 10, 14);


High Priest

these sacred places were still employed under Je­

hoshaphat (xxii. 43), by Jehoash, who was under

the tutelage of Jehoiada (II Kings xii. 3), Amaziah

(xiv. 4), Azariah (xv. 4), Jotham (xv. 35), Ahaz

(xvi. 4), Manasseh (xxi. 3), and presumably Amon

(xxi. 20 21). The first thoroughgoing attempt at

abolishment of these ancient seats of worship was

under Josiah, yet Ezek. vi. 3 7 shows that they

continued after the promulgation of the Deutero­

nomic law.

The matter of the high places is important not

only for itself but for its bearing upon the date

and authorship of the Pentateuch (see HEXATEUCH).

Into this connection come not merely the sanc­

tuaries which were technically high places, but the

entire circle of places of sacrifice outside the temple

after Solomonic times. Within the

g. High Pentateuchal codes themselves three

Places situations appear. (1) Ex. xx. 24

in Codes clearly recognizes the legitimacy of a

and plurality of places of worship, and this

History. is what appears in history until Josi­

ah's destruction and defilement of the

sanctuaries outside the temple and is echoed in Eli­

jah's lament and his practise at Carmel (I Kings

xviii. 30, " repaired the altar of the Lord which

was broken down "). (2) Deuteronomy (xii. 4­

7, xiv. 22 23, xv. 19 20, xvi. 1 2, xviii. 8, xxvi. 2,

etc.) regards one sanctuary and one alone as sacred

and legitimate for purposes of worship (contrast

the use of the phrase " the place which the Lord

your God shall choose " in these passages with the

phrase " in all places where I record my name "

of Ex. xx. 24). (3) The Priest Code assumes that

there is but one sanctuary and legislates for it.

With this diverse usage history seems to accord.

The Judges erect altars, Samuel officiates at many

sites, Solomon's high places were not all the loci of

foreign cults, Elijah's position has been shown, while

the pious kings Asa, Jehoshaphat, Johoash, Ama­

ziah, Azariah, and Jotham, as well as the evil kings,

used them. The idea underlying the use of the

many altars seems to be that " the whole land,

being Israel's possession, is Jehovah's house, peo­

ple are convinced that they may worship him at

any place within it at which he may make himself

'known " (H. Schultz, Old Testament Theology, p.

209, Edinburgh, 1895; cf. Hos. viii. 3 sqq.; 11

Kings v. 17). The author and editors of the Books

of Samuel record the continued employment of the

many altars and high places without condemning

it. The Books of Kings, beginning their narrative

practically with the reign of Solomon, assume the

Deuteronomic position and denounce worship at

these places in spite of the fact that they contain

the story of Elijah and record that pious kings wor­

shiped there, while the author excuses prior use

of the bamoth because the temple was not yet built

(I Kings iii. 2). Hezekiah was apparently the first

king who attempted to do away with a cult con­

demned by the author of Kings (II Kings xviii.

4)*, and Manasseh's reign saw a very vigorous re­

* The reform of Hezekiah is doubted by some scholars on

the ground that II Kings xviii. 4, 32, xou. 3 are late, and

that the account of the reformation of Josiah seems to imply

no earlier efforts.

nascence of the cult. These historical facts are explained in two ways. (1) Those who hold to the substantially Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch re­gard the cult as the result of a defiance of the Deuteronomic and priestly codes, the persistent wrongdoing of a perverse nation. But this still leaves unexplained Ex. xx. 24. (2) Those who deny Mosaic authorship to the Pentateuch and place the Deuteronomic Code in the seventh cen­tury affirm the legitimacy of the high places until that code was written, some time before 822.   They regard that code as caused by the repulsion pro­duced in the prophetic mind by the debased syn­cretism of the worship of Yahweh with Canaanitic practises, and explain the renewal of the cult under Manasseh as expressing not only the personal will of that king, but as a response to the demands of the populace who repelled what seemed an attack upon their religion in favor of the royal temple at Jerusalem. The unity of worship commanded in the Deuteronomic Code and assumed in the Priest Code is not that of Isaiah, who predicted an altar to Yahweh in Egypt (Isa. xix. 19); nor, from the standpoint of history, that of Jeremiah, who speaks of Shiloh as the place where Yahweh set his name " at the first " (Jer. vii. 12, 14) and employs the a fortiori argument that if Shiloh could not escape, surely Jerusalem cannot; nor of Amos, who speaks of the desolation of the high places as a part of the punishment of the people (vii. 9); nor of Hosea, whose complaint, according to modern commenta­tors, is not that the people worshiped at the high places, but that they practised there abominable things (chap. iv.), just as the feast days, new moons, and sabbaths are not in themselves vicious but only occasions of wickedness (ii. 11 13); and so things which the Deuteronomic Code comes to pro­hibit, but which throughout prior periods had been used without consciousness of wrong, are to be re­moved or destroyed not as prohibited but as a punishment (iii. 4). The pre Deuteronomic pro­phetic denunciation is therefore grounded not upon the inherent illegality of the high places as loci of worship, but upon the idolatry, confusion of wor­ship, abominations, and human sacrifices which were practised there (cf. Jer. vii. 31, xi. 13, xix. 5).

That, from the time of the establishment of the temple cult at Jerusalem, a tendency would be es­tablished toward centralization of worship there was from the nature of the case to be expected from the fact that the cult was, under direct royal patronage. That such centralization did not mature earlier shows how strong must 6. Opposing have been the sentiment of regard in

Interests the minds of kings, priests, and people

and Ideas. for the shrines hallowed by the devo­

tion and example of the patriarchs and

heroes of history whose names were associated with

those places. It was to be expected that the pres­

ence of the ark first at Shiloh, then at Jerusalem,

would exalt those sanctuaries above the rest. Yet

prophets and godly kings knew of no obligation to

worship only at Jersualem. What was a priori

likely to lead to the discrediting of the bamoth and

concentration of worship in the capital was the in 


High Priest

troduction of foreign cults as when Solomon built

high places for Chemosh and Molech (I Kings xi.

7) and for Ashtoreth (II Kings xxi. 3), or as when

Ahab built altars for Baal (I Kings xvi. 31 32) ­

with practises and suggestions alien to the pure

worship of Yahweh and tending to confuse him in

person and in conception with other gods or to sub­

stitute these for him. The antagonism to these

grew up after the period when the two Hebrew

kingdoms were on terms of amity, and the syncre­

tism in which the northern kingdom led had been

diffused toward the south; and this antagonism

was embodied in the Deuteronomic Code which

bore not a priestly, but a prophetic stamp. On the

other hand, tending to protect the cult of these

places was the strong religious conservatism, ever

a powerful factor in religious evolution, both of the

masses of the people and of the priests who served

at these shrines, and these would deem them­

selves deprived of their privileges by prohibition

to use their long hallowed sacred places. The zeal

of the clear minded prophets who realized the in­

creasing alienation from Yahweh and obscuration

of the people's conception of him, the prestige car­

ried by the name of Moses under the protection of

whose name the Deuteronomic Code was promul­

gated, the evident awe and fear produced in the

mind of Josiah at the complete disharmony between

the Deuteronomic requirements and daily practise

 all these explain the fact that the high places so

completely disappeared that the postexilic code

had not to deal with them at all, but could legis­

late for the central sanctuary alone. Ezekiel, in­

deed, shows that there were still sporadic cases of

worship at the old shrines, but it is clear that this

was only the dernier resort of the skeptical who

saw all hopes wrecked and faith in Yahweh made

baseless by the fall of the holy city, who turned

therefore in sheer despair to the gods of the con­

quering peoples, to the sun and moon and stars,

even to the animal deities of a bald, recrudescent

totemism (cf. Jer. xliv.). But how completely for

Israel the high places had been discredited is most

conclusively proved by the attitude of the Chron­

icler who revises the history of the Books of Samuel

so as to make it accord with the course events

should have taken had the postexilic ideas gov­

erned in the times of which he speaks.


BIBLIOORAPBY: On i§ 1 3: H. Ewald, Die Alterthiimer des

Volkes Israel, pp. 156 174, 420 sqq., Gottingen, 1886,

Eng. transl., pp. 117 sqq., 366 sqq., Boston, 1876; K. F.

Keil, Handbuch den biblischen Archddopie, pp. 451 454,

Frankfort, 1875; W. von Baudissin, Studien cur semiti­

echen Religionspeschichte, ii. 143 sqq., 231 aqq., Leipsie,

1878; B. Stade, Geschichts des Volkes Israel, i. 448  467,

Berlin, 1887; F. F. von Andrian, H4hencultus ariatiacher

and europ6ischer Volker, Vienna, 1891; R. Beer, Heilipe

HBhen den Grieehen and Romer, ib. 1891; M. Ohnefalseh­

Riehter, Kupros, die Bibel and Homer, pp. 234 238, Her  

En, 1893; H. Schultz, Alttestamentlirhe Theolopie, G5t­

tingen, 1896, Eng. tranel., London, 1892; H. B. Greene,

in The Biblical World, ix (1897), 329 340; R. Smend,

Ld irbuch den allkgtamenaicAen Relipionspeschichte, Frei­

burg, 1899; E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, London, 1903;

S. 1. Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion Today, pp. 133­

143, Chicago, 1902; G. Dalman, Petra and seine Felaheilip­

thtimer, Leipsic, 1908; Bensinger, Archdolopie, pp. 364 

383, ed. of 1894; Nowack, Arddolopie, ii. 1 25.

On i § 4 10: B. Ugolino, Thesaurus antiquitatum saerarum, x. 559 sqq., 34 vols., Venice, 1744 1769 (collects the rab­binical remarks on the subject); M. L. de Wette, Einlei­tunp in das Alto Testament, i. 223 261, 285 299, Halle, 1806; G. L. Bauer Baschreibunp der pottesdienstlichen Verfassunp der alten Mebraer, ii. 1 143, Leipsie, 1806; C. P. W. Gramberg, Kritiache Gexhichte der Religions­ideew des Alten Testaments, i. 5 94, Berlin, 1829; F. C. Movers, Kritieche Untarsuchunge» Uba die biblisehe Chro­nik, Bonn, 1834 J. F. L. George, Die allffen jitdisrhen Pests, pp. 38 45, Berlin, 1835; J. L. SealschOts, Dos mosaische Reckk pp. 297 306, Berlin, 1853; idem, Archd­oiogie der Hebrtter, i. 233 236, ib. 1855; E. Riehm, Die Gesetzgebund Mosis in Lands Moab, pp. 24 31, 89 93, Gotha, 1854; F. Block, Einleitung in das alfe Testament, pp. 188 190, 295 299, Berlin, 1860; M. L. de Wette, Lehrbuch der hebrdisrh j11diwhan A rch4olopi4, ed. RBbiger, pp. 274 275, 327 329, Leipsie, 1864; K. H. Graf, Die pe­schichtlichen BGcher des Alton Testaments pp 51 66, 126­138, ib. 1866; H. Pierson, Ds Tempel fe Silo, in ThT, i (1867), 425 457; T. Ndldeke, Kritik des Alton Testaments, pp. 127 128, Kiel, 1869; D. B. von Haneberg, Die re­lipitBuch der Urpe­sehichte Israels, pp. 153 154, Strasburg, 1874; A. Kue­nen, The Religion o/ Israel, i. 80 82, ii. 25 26, 166 168, London, 1874; B. Duhm, Die Theolapie der Propheten, pp. 47 54, Bonn, 1875; J. Emend Moses aped prophetas pp. 49 63, Halle, 1875; L. 8einecke, Gesckichte des Volkes Israel, pp. 159 167, Gottingen, 1876; A. Kohler, Lehr­buch der biUischen Geachichte des Alton Testaments, ii. 10­14, Erlangen, 1877; J. Wellhausen, Geschirhts leraele, i. 17 53, Berlin, 1878; idem, Prolegomena, pp. 17 51 of Eng. tranel.; C. R. Conder, Tent Work in Palestine, pp. 304 310, London, 1880; C. Clermont Ganneau, in Sur­vey of Western Palestine, t,. 325, London, 1881; G. F. Oehler, Theolopie des Alten Testaments, vol. i., Stuttgart, 1891, Eng. transl., New York, 1883; A. Schlatter, Zur Topographie and GesehW to Paldstinae, pp. 62 85, Stutt­gart, 1893; A. van Hoonacker, Le Lieu du cults dons la l6pislation rituelle des Hebreux, Ghent, 1894; H. A. Poels, Le Sanclusire de Kirjat"earim, Louvain, 1894; Smith, OTJC, pp. 236 sqq., 275, 360; idem, Rat. of Sem., pp. 470 sqq.; A. von Gall, Altisraelitische KultatBUen, Gies­sen, 1898: DR, ii. 381 383; EB, ii. 2064 70; JR, vi. 387 389. Besides the foregoing, the reader should con­sult the commentaries on the Biblical books involved in the discussion, particularly: those on the Pentateuch by Dillmann, Leipsie, 1875 sqq.; on Deuteronomy by P. Kleinert, Bielefeld, 1872, and by Driver, New York, 1895; on Judges, by Berthesu, Leipsic, 1883, by Moore, New York, 1895, and by Budde, Gottingen, 1897; , on Samuel by Klostermann, Munich, 1887, by Thenius, ed. LShr, Leipsic, 1898, and by H. P. Smith, New York, 1899; on the text of Samuel, by Welihausen, Gottingen, 1871• by Driver, London, 1890, and by Budde, in SBOT, 1894; on Kings, by Klostermann, Munich, 1887, by Bensinger, Gottingen, 1899, and by Kittel, ib. 1899; and on Chron­icles, by Bertheau, Leipsie, 1873. Inasmuch as the sub­ject of the high places furnishes a part of the material which is a point of attack and defense in the Pentateuchal discussion, the literature under HEzATEucu will furnish additional matter concerning the subject.


Official Names, Character, and Robes according to P

0 1). The Office in Other Documents (§ 2). The Office in Historical and Prophetic Writings (§ 3). The Office in Postexilic Times (§ 4).

In the Old Testament the high priest is called either hakkohen, " the priest " (e.g., Lev. iv. 6; cf. I Chron. xvi. 39; Neh. xiii. 4), or hakkohen hagga­dhol, "the great priest" (e.g., Lev. xxi. 10; Neh. iii. 1), or hakkohen hammashiah, " the anointed priest " (e.g., Lev. iv. 3); also hakkohen harosh, " the chief priest " (e.g., II Kings xxv. 18), and once simply harosh, " the chief " (If Chron. xxiv. 6). The data concerning his office and position are contained in the priestly document in the Penta 

8igh Priest


teuch (see HExATEUCH). According to this, Aaron and his sons (really the descendants of his

two sons Eleazar and Ithamar) are i. Official alone the legitimate possessors of the

Names, priestly office; among these Aaron

Character, as high priest took the leading place,

and Robes and was the type of official whose

according function at his death was to be as­to P. sumed by one of his sons (Lev. xvi.

32), probably by the first born (cf. Num. xxv. 11), but, in case the high priest had no sons, by his oldest brother, as happened in Maccabean times. The high priest held office for life, since no higher authority is designated by which he could be deposed; his position was that of a prince, as is indicated by his crown, by the color of his raiment, and by amnesty at his death for certain crimes which had occurred (Num. xxxv. 25, 28). His authority was entirely spiritual as mediator between God and the people. As representative of the people, he bore on his breast in sacred functions the names of the tribes; as representative of deity, he carried the Urim and Thummim by which the will of deity was indicated. As head of the priesthood, he had sacrificial duties which he alone might perform (Lev. iv. 3 sqq., 13 sqq., ix. 8 aqq., vi. 12 15). The period of seven days for the consecration ceremonies, with many other particulars, belonged to the induction into the ordinary priesthood as well as into the high priest's offce; and though the other priests were also anointed, especial significance seems to have attended the anointing of the high priest. Special importance is indicated also in the clothing as­sumed'by the high priest at investiture. The gar­ments were: the me'il, a sleeveless gown of purple adorned with golden bells and pomegranate shaped knots of violet red or carmine; the ephod (q.v.), a shoulder cape of cloth of gold in blue purple, and scarlet with two onyx stones on which were en­graved the names of the tribes; the hoshen, a breast­plate containing twelve stones, each bearing the name of a tribe, in which were carried the Urim and Thummim (q.v.); and the miznepheth, a tiara, on the front of which was a gold plate carrying the inscription "holy to Yahweh" (Ex. xxxix.). It was significant of the high priesthood that it in­volved complete purity. Hence the high priest was forbidden to touch a corpse, even that of his nearest relation, and his wife was to be a virgin of pure Israelitic stock (Lev. xxi. 15).

In the other Pentateuchal sources no such prince­priest appears. J makes Eleazar the successor of Aaron as priest (Josh. xxiv. 33; cf. Deut. x. 6), but of an organization of the clergy in general this doc 

ument says nothing. Deut. xvii. 8 2. The in arranging for justice at the central

Office in sanctuary speaks of "the priest,"

Other which probably does not mean an or­

Share with your friends:
1   ...   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   ...   46

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page