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The Temple

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Chapter Summary

The Second Temple differed in its structure and functioning from the First Temple. Worship was conducted by twenty-four priestly courses in turn each week; in addition, there were twenty-four deputations composed of priests, Levites and Israelites. The distribution of duties among the twenty-four divisions relieved the high priest and his family of much of the daily Temple ritual. The prefect took the place of the high priest when the latter was deemed invalid to officiate, accompanied the high priest during his ministrations, and also presided over the daily whole offering. The Israelites came to the Temple for various reasons: to fulfill their obligations, to worship and pray during the liturgy, to participate in Temple worship alongside the priests, especially in the form of deputations. The Temple treasury had several sources of income. The one fixed source was the 'contribution to the chamber' which derived from the half-shekel.

Keywords: half-shekel; Israelites; Levites; temple treasury; twenty-four priestly courses



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