the receptacle or small box placed beside the ark by the
Philistines, in which they deposited the golden mice and the
emerods as their trespass-offering (1 Sam. 6:8, 11, 15).
(Heb. 'asham, "debt"), the law concerning, given in Lev.
5:14-6:7; also in Num. 5:5-8. The idea of sin as a "debt"
pervades this legislation. The _asham_, which was always a ram,
was offered in cases where sins were more private. (See OFFERING
i.e., the tenth part of an ephah (as in the R.V.), equal to an
omer or six pints. The recovered leper, to complete his
purification, was required to bring a trespass, a sin, and a
burnt offering, and to present a meal offering, a tenth deal or
an omer of flour for each, with oil to make it into bread or
cakes (Lev. 14:10, 21; comp. Ex. 16:36; 29:40).
called also Azzah, which is its Hebrew name (Deut. 2:23; 1 Kings
4:24; Jer. 25:20), strong, a city on the Mediterranean shore,
remarkable for its early importance as the chief centre of a
great commercial traffic with Egypt. It is one of the oldest
cities of the world (Gen. 10:19; Josh. 15:47). Its earliest
inhabitants were the Avims, who were conquered and displaced by
the Caphtorims (Deut. 2:23; Josh. 13:2, 3), a Philistine tribe.
In the division of the land it fell to the lot of Judah (Josh.
15:47; Judg. 1:18). It was the southernmost of the five great
Philistine cities which gave each a golden emerod as a
trespass-offering unto the Lord (1 Sam. 6:17). Its gates were
carried away by Samson (Judg. 16:1-3). Here he was afterwards a
prisoner, and "did grind in the prison house." Here he also
pulled down the temple of Dagon, and slew "all the lords of the
Philistines," himself also perishing in the ruin (Judg.
16:21-30). The prophets denounce the judgments of God against it
(Jer. 25:20; 47:5; Amos 1:6, 7; Zeph. 2:4). It is referred to in
Acts 8:26. Philip is here told to take the road from Jerusalem
to Gaza (about 6 miles south-west of Jerusalem), "which is
desert", i.e., the "desert road," probably by Hebron, through
the desert hills of Southern Judea. (See SAMSON ¯T0003208.)
It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1600. Its small
port is now called el-Mineh.
The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a divine
institution. It did not originate with man. God himself
appointed it as the mode in which acceptable worship was to be
offered to him by guilty man. The language and the idea of
sacrifice pervade the whole Bible.
Sacrifices were offered in the ante-diluvian age. The Lord
clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, which in all
probability had been offered in sacrifice (Gen. 3:21). Abel
offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (4:4; Heb.
11:4). A distinction also was made between clean and unclean
animals, which there is every reason to believe had reference to
the offering up of sacrifices (Gen. 7:2, 8), because animals
were not given to man as food till after the Flood.
The same practice is continued down through the patriarchal
age (Gen. 8:20; 12:7; 13:4, 18; 15:9-11; 22:1-18, etc.). In the
Mosaic period of Old Testament history definite laws were
prescribed by God regarding the different kinds of sacrifices
that were to be offered and the manner in which the offering was
to be made. The offering of stated sacrifices became indeed a
prominent and distinctive feature of the whole period (Ex.
12:3-27; Lev. 23:5-8; Num. 9:2-14). (See ALTAR ¯T0000185.)
We learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews that sacrifices had
in themselves no value or efficacy. They were only the "shadow
of good things to come," and pointed the worshippers forward to
the coming of the great High Priest, who, in the fullness of the
time, "was offered once for all to bear the sin of many."
Sacrifices belonged to a temporary economy, to a system of types
and emblems which served their purposes and have now passed
away. The "one sacrifice for sins" hath "perfected for ever them
that are sanctified."
Sacrifices were of two kinds: 1. Unbloody, such as (1)
first-fruits and tithes; (2) meat and drink-offerings; and (3)
incense. 2. Bloody, such as (1) burnt-offerings; (2)
peace-offerings; and (3) sin and trespass offerings. (See
the third book of the Pentateuch; so called in the Vulgate,
after the LXX., because it treats chiefly of the Levitical
In the first section of the book (1-17), which exhibits the
worship itself, there is, (1.) A series of laws (1-7) regarding
sacrifices, burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and thank-offerings
(1-3), sin-offerings and trespass-offerings (4; 5), followed by
the law of the priestly duties in connection with the offering
of sacrifices (6; 7). (2.) An historical section (8-10), giving
an account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons (8);
Aaron's first offering for himself and the people (9); Nadab and
Abihu's presumption in offering "strange fire before Jehovah,"
and their punishment (10). (3.) Laws concerning purity, and the
sacrifices and ordinances for putting away impurity (11-16). An
interesting fact may be noted here. Canon Tristram, speaking of
the remarkable discoveries regarding the flora and fauna of the
Holy Land by the Israel Exploration officers, makes the
following statement:, "Take these two catalogues of the clean
and unclean animals in the books of Leviticus  and
Deuteronomy . There are eleven in Deuteronomy which do not
occur in Leviticus, and these are nearly all animals and birds
which are not found in Egypt or the Holy Land, but which are
numerous in the Arabian desert. They are not named in Leviticus
a few weeks after the departure from Egypt; but after the people
were thirty-nine years in the desert they are named, a strong
proof that the list in Deuteronomy was written at the end of the
journey, and the list in Leviticus at the beginning. It fixes
the writing of that catalogue to one time and period only, viz.,
that when the children of Israel were familiar with the fauna
and the flora of the desert" (Palest. Expl. Quart., Jan. 1887).
(4.) Laws marking the separation between Israel and the heathen
(17-20). (5.) Laws about the personal purity of the priests, and
their eating of the holy things (20; 21); about the offerings of
Israel, that they were to be without blemish (22:17-33); and
about the due celebration of the great festivals (23; 25). (6.)
Then follow promises and warnings to the people regarding
obedience to these commandments, closing with a section on vows.
The various ordinances contained in this book were all
delivered in the space of a month (comp. Ex. 40:17; Num. 1:1),
the first month of the second year after the Exodus. It is the
third book of Moses.
No book contains more of the very words of God. He is almost
throughout the whole of it the direct speaker. This book is a
prophecy of things to come, a shadow whereof the substance is
Christ and his kingdom. The principles on which it is to be
interpreted are laid down in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It
contains in its complicated ceremonial the gospel of the grace