(Exodus 13:16. Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:18. Matthew 23:5.)
or "phylacteries" were strips of parchment,
on which were written four passages of Scripture.
On the first strip of parchment were
these verses written:- Exodus 13:2-10.
2. Sanctify unto me all the firstborn,
whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel,
both of man and of beast: it is mine.
3. And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
4. This day came ye out in the month Abib.
5. And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.
6. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
7. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
8. And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
9. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
10. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. On the second strip of parchment were these verses written:- Exodus 13:11-17 11. And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,
12. That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD'S.
13. And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
14. And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
15. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
16. And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.
17. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: On the third strip of parchment were these verses written:- Deuteronomy 6:4-9 4. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. On the Forth strip of parchment were these verses written:- Deuteronomy 6:13-23 13. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
14. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
15. (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
16. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
17. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
18. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,
19. To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.
20. And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?
21. Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
22. And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
23. And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. All this was done in an ink prepared just for this purpose. They were then rolled up in a case of black calfskin, which was attached to a stiffer piece of leather, having a thong one finger broad and one and a half cubits long. They were placed at the bend of the left arm. Those worn on the forehead were written on four strips of parchment, and put into four little cells within a square case on which the letter was written. The square had two thongs, on which Hebrew letters were inscribed. That phylacteries were used as amulets is certain, and was very natural. The expression "they make broad their phylacteries", Matthew 23:5, refers not so much to the phylactery itself, which seems to have been of a prescribed breadth, as to the case in which the parchment was kept, which the Pharisees, among their other pretentious customs, Mark 7:3, 4; Luke 5:33 etc., made as conspicuous as they could. It is said that the Pharisees wore them always, whereas the common people only used them at prayers.
Excerpt from: Smith's Bible Dictionary by DR. WILLIAM SMITH
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