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What Does the Bible Say About..A Rope on the High Priest?

I am trying to find any information on the High Priest having a rope tied to him, in case he needed to be pulled out of the Holy of Holies. Can you please give me any references you have concerning this?


I have read this in some books by Messianic Jewish writers. I can't seem to find the particular books where I read it. However, another source I looked at today says that no Jewish sources contain this story. That, also, is probably not true. I have used to story, but I preface it with the condition, "it is said." That may not be enough of a disclaimer if the story can not be properly traced, however.

As far as I can tell, the story can be traced back to a Jewish writer, the Zohar. The Zohar was one of the founders of that Jewish mystical sect called the Kabbalah. The story about the rope being tied to the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) can be found in two of his writings, but apparently nowhere else. Nobody seems to know where he got the story, but that is true of many Jewish stories.

It is probably not true that the Kohen Gadol had a rope tied to him when he went into the Holy of Holies. That would be an extra "garment" beyond what was prescribed. Also, he had already made atonement for his own sins, so it wouldn't be likely that he would die in that place. If he did die, then the next High Priest could be named immediately and go in and bring him out. Some sources even say that other priests regularly went into the Holy of Holies to offer incense, so there would be no reason they couldn't go in and retrieve the body. Therefore, it is not likely to be true.