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One of the three chief furnishings of the Holy of the Tabernacle and the Temple ( Exodus 25:31-40 ; 37:17-24 ). In reality it was an elaborate lampstand, set on the south side of the Holy Place so as to face the loaves of proposition. It was beaten out of finest gold. A central shaft, together with three pairs of branches curving upward from out of the shaft, all exquisitely ornamented and surmounted with stands, held in a line the seven golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. The priests dressed the lamps in the morning and set them on the lampstand in the evening ( Exodus 30:7, 8 ). All night long the seven lamps were kept burning ( Exodus 27:20-21 ; Leviticus 24:3 ; 1 Samuel 3:3 ). As for the day, Josephus (Antiq. Jud., III, viii, 3) tells us that three lamps were lighted. Levites of the family of Caath cared for the golden lampstand on the march ( Numbers 3:31 ). It was among the spoils brought by Vespasian and Titus to grace their triumph at Rome, and may be seen sculptured upon the Arch of Titus.


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Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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