The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
1. The musical pipes were (played) for five and (sometimes) six days. That is to say, the pipes of the water-drawing, which supersedes neither the Sabbath day nor the feast. The (Sages) said, "he who has not seen the joy 3 of the water-drawing, has never seen joy in his life."
2. With the departure of the first day of the feast, they went down into the women's court, and made great
preparations. 1 Four golden candlesticks were there, and four golden basins on their tops, and four ladders to each candlestick, and four lads from the young priests, and in their hands were jars of oil containing one hundred and twenty logs, with which they replenished each basin.
3. The cast-off breeches and belts of the priests were torn to wicks, which they lighted. And there was not a court in Jerusalem that was not lit up by the lights of the water-drawing.
4. Pious and experienced men danced with lighted torches in their hands, singing hymns and lauds before them. And the Levites accompanied them with harps, psalteries, cymbals, trumpets, and numberless musical instruments. On the fifteen steps which went down from the court of Israel into the women's court, corresponding with the fifteen songs of degrees, 2 stood the Levites with their musical instruments, and sang. And at the upper gate, which went down from the court of Israel to the court of the women, stood two priests with trumpets in their hands. When the cock crew, they blew a blast, an alarm, and a blast. 3 When they reached the tenth step, they blew a blast, an alarm, and a blast. And when they got into the court, they blew a blast, an alarm, and a blast. They went on blowing as they went, until they reached the gate, that leads out to the east. When they reached the gate, that leads out to the east, they turned their faces westward, 4 and said,
[paragraph continues] R. Judah says, they repeated again and again,
5. In the sanctuary they did not blow the trumpet less than twenty-one times, nor oftener than forty-eight times. Every day they blew the trumpet twenty-one times, thrice at opening the gates, nine times at the daily offering of the morning, and nine times at the daily offering of the evening. When there were additional offerings they blew nine times more. On the eve of the Sabbath they again blew six times; thrice to interdict the people from work, and thrice to separate the holy from the ordinary day. But on the eve of the Sabbath during the feast they blew forty-eight times: thrice at the opening of the gates, thrice at the upper gate, thrice at the lower gate, thrice at the water-drawing, thrice over the altar, nine times at the daily offering of the morning, nine times at the daily offering of the evening, nine times at the additional offerings, thrice to interdict the people from work, and thrice to separate the holy from the ordinary day.
6. On the first day of the feast there were thirteen bullocks, two rams, and one goat. There then remained fourteen lambs for eight courses of priests. 1 On the first day six courses offered two lambs each, and the other (two) courses one lamb each. On the second day five courses offered two lambs each, and the remaining (four) courses one lamb each. On the third day four courses offered two lambs each, and the remaining six one lamb each. On the fourth day three courses offered two lambs each, and the remaining eight one lamb each. On the fifth day two courses offered two lambs each, and the remaining ten one lamb each. On the sixth day one course offered two lambs, and the remaining twelve one lamb each. On the seventh day they were all equal. On the eighth day they cast lots, as on other feasts. They said, "that the order which offered bullocks to-day, was not permitted to offer bullocks to-morrow." But they changed in rotation.
7. Three times in the year all the courses shared alike in the offerings of the great feasts, and in the distribution of the
shewbread. In the Solemn Assembly 1 they say to each priest, "Here is unleavened bread for thee, and here is leavened for thee." The course in regular succession offered the daily sacrifices, vows, and free-will offerings, and all the other sacrifices and services of the congregation. If a feast be next to the Sabbath, either before or after it, all the courses shared alike in the distribution of the shewbread.
8. "But if a day intervene between the two?" "The course in regular succession took ten loaves, and the loiterers 2 took two." At other times of the year, the course entering on duty took six loaves, and the course going off duty took six. R. Judah says, "the course entering took seven, and that going off took five." Those entering shared them on the north side (of the temple court), and those going out on the south side. The course Bilgah always shared theirs on the south side. But their slaughter-ring was fastened down, and the window of their closet was shut up. 3
145:3 Isaiah xii. 3; John vii. 37, 38.
146:1 Galleries were erected for the women, and the men stood below them.
146:2 Psalms cxx. to cxxxiv. inclusive.
146:3 The signal for drawing water.
146:4 The orthodox worshippers in the Temple looked towards the west, or Holy of Holies. The Baal or Sun worshippers turned towards the east, and used the eastward position. Under the Christian dispensation believers are directed to look to Jesus, who promises to be in their midst (Matt. xviii. 20).
146:5 Ezekiel viii. 16.
146:6 This is one of the very few specimens of Hebrew poetry, apart from Scripture (dating prior to the destruction of the Temple) which have come down to us.
147:1 The priesthood was divided into twenty-four courses (1 Chron. xxiv. 719). During the feast all the courses ministered, and, as each day the number of bullocks was decreased by one, the lambs were redistributed so as to supply an offering for every course.
148:1 In the feast of weeks there were two leavened wave loaves (Lev. xxiii. 17).
148:2 Those priests who were slow in attendance, as they were obliged to share their perquisites with the whole priesthood.
148:3 The course Bilgah was fifteenth (1 Chron. xxiv. 14). Each course had a ring to which the heads of the victims were tied, and also a closet for stores. These were taken from the course Bilgah as a mark of disgrace. During the persecution of Antiochus, Miriam, a daughter of Bilgah, married a Syro-Grecian husband. When the Greeks took the Temple, she struck the altar with her shoe, exclaiming, "O wolf, wolf, how long art thou to consume the wealth of Israel, and canst not preserve them in their hour of need!" It was supposed that she must have learned something evil in her father's house, and the whole course was therefore degraded. The Rabbis say that the courses of the priests were first ordained by Moses, and that he established eight of them. Four courses he assigned to the line of Eleazar, and four he assigned to the line of Ithamar. Samuel is said to have added eight courses more, and the remaining eight were added by David. The Scriptures, however, assert that David arranged the whole twenty-four courses. This arrangement continued till the captivity. After the captivity only four courses returnednamely Jedaiah, Harim, Pashur, and Immer. The Babylon Talmud mentions Jojarib instead of Harim. To restore again the number of courses, twenty-four lots were cast into a box, and each head of the four courses, which returned, drew six lotsone for himself, and five for the courses which they wished to revive. The restored order of courses continued as of old, except in the case of Jojarib, who yielded the first rank to Jedaiah, as Jedaiah was of the family of the High Priest Joshua, the son of Jozedek. They soon increased in numbers, and we read that each course kept a station of two thousand four hundred priests at Jerusalem, and half a station at Jericho. The lesser number was stationed at Jericho to give honour to Jerusalem.