And the people waited for Zacharias
That were without, in the court of the Israelites, praying there, while he was offering incense: these were waiting for his coming out, in order to be blessed by him, according to ( Numbers 6:23-26 ) and be dismissed: and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple; beyond the usual time of burning incense; which might be occasioned either by a longer discourse of the angel with him than what is here related; or being struck with amazement at the sight and hearing of the angel, he might continue long musing on this unexpected appearance and relation; or he might spend some time not only in meditation upon it, but in mental prayer, confession, and thanksgiving. The high priest, when he went in to burn incense on the day of atonement,
``made a short prayer in the outward house, (in the temple,) and he did not continue long in his prayer, (tyebhl alv) , "that he might not affright" the Israelites'' F13,thinking that he was dead; for many high priests that were unfit for, or made alteration in the service, died in the holy of holies F14.
``It is reported F15 of one high priest, that he continued long in his prayer, and his brethren, the priests, thought to have gone in after him; and they began to go in, and he came out; they say unto him, why didst thou continue long in thy prayer? he replied to them, is it hard in your eyes that I should pray for you, and for the house of the sanctuary, that it might not be destroyed? they answered him, be not used to do so; for we have learned, that a man should not continue long in prayer, that he may not affright Israel.''This high priest, they elsewhere say F16, was Simeon the just.
F13 Misna Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1.
F14 Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
F15 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 53. 2.
F16 T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 42. 3.