seven-branched candlestick

[seven-branched candlestick]
Profile

This conspicuous article of furniture of the Holy Place (Exodus 25:37), from its purpose and make-up would be better styled a lampstand. It was made of one talent (c.108 pounds) of pure gold (hence the expression, “the most pure candlestick,” of Exodus 31, etc.) and was of beaten, or repolse, work. It consisted of a central shaft, from which three pairs of arms branched off, curving outwards and upwards so that all their extremities and that of the shaft were on a level. Both the shaft and the branches bore ornaments (cups, bowls, and lilies) in the shape of almond-tree blossoms; on the top of each branch rested a lamp of gold, probably of the ordinary pattern used in ancient times. The golden candlestick was placed along the south wall of the Holy Place, facing the table of the loaves of proposition, the nozzles of the lamps being turned towards the north. Only the best kind of olive-oil (the so-called virgin oil, “beaten with a pestle,” Exodus 27) was to be used in these lamps, which, trimmed every morning and refilled every evening, were to burn continually (Exodus 27; Leviticus 24). The Bible does not say what became of the original seven-branched candlestick. In its place in Solomon’s Temple there were ten lampstands (3 King 3:7), which were taken away by the Babylonian army, 586 BC. A new lampstand, perhaps of the old pattern, existed in the second temple and was carried off by Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Machabees 1). Judas Machabeus provided a new one (1 Machabees 4), somewhat different in shape from the one described in Exodus. There is no reason to doubt that this was the one taken away by the Romans after the destruction of the Temple, A.D. 70, and represented on the Arch of Titus, in Rome.

MLA Citation

  • “seven-branched candlestick”. New Catholic Dictionary. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 June 2010. Web. 30 October 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/seven-branched-candlestick/>