#312. Was the tamid to be performed once daily OR twice? (2 Kgs 16:15; Ez 46:13 vs Ex 29:38-42; Num 28:3-8; 1 Chr 16:40)


Despite Number 28’s decree that the tamid was to be offered twice daily, in the morning and in the evening, this sacrificial legislation seems to reflect public cultic practices of a late time period in Israelite history, to be exact of the post-exilic period.

First, as we saw in the previous entry (#311), the tamid is only mentioned two times in all of Torah legislation, and not surprisingly in some of the latest texts of the Torah—in Exodus 29:38-42 and Numbers 28:3-8, both from the exilic writings of the Aaronid priestly guild.

Second, on the rare occasions where the tamid or daily burnt-offering is mentioned in pre-exilic or exilic literature it is spoken of as if it were performed only once daily (the following reproduced from Levine, Numbers 21-36, 396-398).

  1. In Kings 16:15, for example, Ahaz is quoted as commanding “the morning burnt-offering” on his newly built Damascene type altar (contra #137-138), while nothing is said of the evening burnt-offering (there is however an evening meal-offering).
  2. More explicitly, Ezekiel 46:13 has Yahweh commanding only 1 morning burnt-offering. “You shall offer (Heb ‘asah; cf. Num 28:3) a yearling lamb without blemish, each day as a daily burnt-offering to Yahweh. Each morning you shall perform it.” Scholars generally date Ezekiel 40-48 to the exilic period.

Thus it is apparent that both these earlier texts and their mention of a daily burnt-offering in the morning display no knowledge of the two-phased tamid of Numbers 28:3-8—burnt-offerings of a 1-year old lamb in the morning and in the evening.

So it seems that the two-phased tamid was a cultic innovation of the post-exilic period. 1 Chronicles 16, an Aaronid-text of the 4th century, bears witness to this development as well. Renarrating the events of 2 Samuel 16, the chronicler adds to his version of the story, not present in the original, that David commanded the Aaronid priest Zadok “to offer up burnt-offerings to Yahweh on the altar of burnt-offerings, continually (tamid) each morning and evening” (1 Chr 16:40)—thus presenting and indeed repackaging David as a loyal follower of Aaronid-priestly cultic legislation only written in the late 6th century BCE! This was authenticated of course by placing this cultic legislation in a text whose narrative setting was in the archaic past (Ex 29:38-42 & Num 28:3-8). But as we have just seen, no text written in the pre-monarchal nor pre-exilic period displays any knowledge of this legislation.

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