Roger D. Isaacs
Roger D. Isaacs
New Interpretations of the Hebrew Bible

Protective Sacrifice

Illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop's "Treasures of the Bible," 1894, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop's "Treasures of the Bible," 1894, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A recent reader, Steven wrote:

… I am intrigued what your conclusions were for the sacrifices, especially the Day of Atonement and its ritual. If the sacrifices were to protect themselves from the “radiation” then why wouldn’t they use the Urim and Thummim instead of approaching the Ark?

On the Day of Atonement, I discuss it in the body of the book, but be sure to read about it in the appendix under Yom Kippur, pp. 353 ff., for my complete explanation.

Your question about the use of the Urim and Thummim is a good one. Again, I discuss them in various places in the book. These objects were held in the “breastplate of judgement,” worn with the ephod by the High Priest. They are very sparsely mentioned, but I do give my opinion about their use.

The ephod was a portable communications device, and references to it, even later on, always connect it to a priest. Even when David asks that it be brought to him, it is Abiathar, a priest, who brings it (1 Samuel, 23:5–12). So, since it is always in the hands of a priest, I assume he was protected, (oil, clothing, headpiece, etc.) from possible danger of radioactivity, as he was when dealing with the Ark of the Testimony. In essence, there was as much danger using the ephod (with its Urim and Thummim) as there was the ark. According to my research many protections were used by the priests. Sacrifices were only one of them.

About the Author
Roger D. Isaacs is an independent researcher specializing in Hebrew Bible studies and the author of two books, "Talking With God" and "The Golden Ark". Isaacs' primary research site was the archives of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, where he is a member of the Advisory Council. He also conducted research at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies, as well as digs, museums, and libraries in many countries, including Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and England.
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