Nehemiah 10:34

Nehemiah 10:34

And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the
people
The priests and Levites were in one lot, and the people in another, as Aben Ezra:

for the wood offering;
for providing wood to burn upon the altar continually, concerning which Maimonides F3 thus writes:

``what is the wood offering? there was a time fixed for families to go out unto the forests, and bring in wood of disposition (to be laid in order on the altar); and the day when it came to the turn of a family to bring the wood, they offered up freewill burnt offerings, which were called a wood offering; and it was to them as a good day (or festival), and they were forbid to mourn, fast, or do any work on it;''

and he observes, that if a single person brought wood of his own free will, he was obliged to the same; and Josephus F4 speaks of a feast called (culoforia) , when it was customary for all to bring wood to the altar, to keep alive the sacred fire, that it might not go out, which, according to him, was on the fourteenth of the month Lois, or August; but this was not the business of all the people, lots were cast, as here said, who should do it, and when:

to bring it into the house of our God;
the temple, where there was a place called the "wood room", into which the wood was brought after it had been wormed by the priests F5

after the houses of our fathers;
or families on whom the lot fell to do it: some render it,

into the house of our fathers,
meaning the same as before; the temple so called, because they built it, and worshipped God in it; so Jarchi and Aben Ezra:

at times appointed, year by year;
as the lot directed; these, according to the Jewish doctors F6, were nine times in the year; on the first of Nisan (or March), the sons of Arach, of the tribe of Judah, brought the wood; on the twentieth of Tammuz (or June), the posterity of David, of the tribe of Judah; on the fifth of Ab (or July), the children of Parosh, of the tribe of Judah; on the seventh of the same month, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab; on the tenth of the same month, the posterity of Senaah, of the tribe of Benjamin; on the fifteenth of the same month, the children of Zattu, and with them the priests and Levites, and all who were of an uncertain tribe on the twentieth of the same month, the posterity of Pahathmoab, of the tribe of Judah; on the twentieth of Elul (or August), the children of Adin, of the tribe of Judah; on the first of Tebeth (or December), the posterity of Parosh again brought the wood:

to burn upon the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the
law;
the wood should be burnt upon it, and fire kept on it continually, ( Leviticus 6:12 Leviticus 6:13 ) , for this refers only to that, the wood offering is nowhere spoken of in the law.


FOOTNOTES:

F3 Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, c. 6. sect. 9, 10. Vid. Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 5.
F4 De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 17. sect. 6.
F5 See Lightfoot's Prospect of the Temple, ch. 25.
F6 Misn. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 5.
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