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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Laver, a basin to contain the water used by the priests in their ablutions during their sacred ministrations. There was one of brass (fabricated out of the metal mirrors which the women brought from Egypt, ). It had a 'foot' or base, which, from the manner in which 'the laver and its foot' are mentioned, must have been a conspicuous feature, and was perhaps separable from the basin itself for the purpose of removal. We are not informed of the size or shape of this laver; but it appears to have been large. It stood between the altar of burnt-offerings and the door of the tabernacle (; ). The water of this laver seems to have served the double purpose of washing the parts of the sacrifices, and the hands and feet of the priests. But in the temple of Solomon, when the number of both priests and victims had greatly increased, ten lavers were used for the sacrifices, and the molten sea for the personal ablutions of the priests (). These lavers are more minutely described than that of the tabernacle. So far as can be made out from the description, they consisted of a square base or stand mounted upon rollers or wheels, and adorned with figures of palm trees, cherubim, lions, and oxen. The stand doubtless formed a hollow basin for receiving the water which fell from the laver itself, and which appears to have been drawn from it by means of cocks (). Each of the lavers contained forty baths, or, according to the usual computation, about 300 English gallons.

In the second temple there appears to have been only one laver. Of its size or shape we have no information, but it was probably like those of Solomon's temple.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Laver'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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