And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord
Gabriel, as seem's manifest from ( Luke 1:19 Luke 1:26 Luke 1:36 ) the same angel that had appeared to Daniel, about the time of the evening oblation, near five hundred years before, and gave him an account of the time of the Messiah's coming, ( Daniel 9:21 ) . The Jews sometimes speak of divine and wonderful appearances to their priests, at such times, and in such places:
``it is a tradition that R. Ishmael ben Elishah should say, one time I went in, (trjq ryjqhl) , "to burn incense": and I saw Actariel (one of the names of God with them) the Lord, the Lord of hosts, who was sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. F13''And so they say of Simeon the just, that there was always an appearance when he went into the holy of holies; it is related thus F14:
``Simeon the just, ministered unto Israel in the high priesthood, forty years; and in the last year, he said to them, I shall die this year: they said to him, from whence dost thou know it? He replied to them, every year that I have entered into the holy of holies, there was, (dxa Nqz) , "one old man" clothed in white, and veiled in white, that went in with me, and came out with me; and this year he went in with me, but did not come out with me.''And according to Josephus F15, the high priest Hyrcanus received an oracle, or answer from God, as he was offering incense; so that the Jews ought not to discredit such an appearance to Zacharias:
``the table (of showbread) was in the north, two cubits and a half distant from the wall; and the candlestick was in the south, two cubits and a half distant from the wall; and the altar (of incense) was in the middle, and stood between them.''And to
``this agrees the account of Maimonides F17, who says, the candlestick was on the south, on the left hand, as you go in; and the table of shewbread on the right hand, and both of them on the side of the holy of holies without; and the altar of incense was between them both without.''So that it was on the north side that the angel stood.
F13 T. Bab. Berncot, fol. 7. 1.
F14 T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 42. 3.
F15 De Bello Jud. l. 13. c. 18.
F16 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 33. 2.
F17 Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 1. sect. 7.