Is there any mention in the Tanakh of people who were not priests entering the Tabernacle?

Leviticus 17:5 says that the people were to bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Is this the entrance to the courtyard? Did the people ever actually enter the courtyard of the Tabernacle? Was there any specific law about this?

I am especially interested in references to the Tanakh, but would also be interested in answers based on other Jewish texts.

I am secondarily interested in the related question of what parts of the Temple, if any, people who were not priests were allowed to enter, or did enter.

  • 2
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Lee, and thanks for your question. Hope you continue to contribute. :)
    – Scimonster
    Mar 28, 2015 at 17:18
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    Regadring people who entered inner places - Uzziah Chronicles 26,16+ Ezrat Nashim--Ezrat Israel--Ezrat Cohanim--U'lam--Heicahl--Kodesh Hakodashim. Israelites were allowed to enter up to Ezrat Israel (Women up to Ezrat Nashim) A little hard for me with translation, does 'Tabernacle' refer to the object or area?
    – Zeev
    Mar 28, 2015 at 19:05
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    They had to come inside to do Semikha (leaning) on the offering (in cases where doing so is prescribed).
    – Double AA
    Mar 29, 2015 at 1:53
  • @Zeev: Thanks for your comment. The story in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 is a fascinating one! However, Uzzia's infraction seems to have been his intent to offer incense on the altar of incense rather than simply entering the temple. Mar 30, 2015 at 14:44
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    @IsaacMoses Thank you. I have now posted a new question here. I hope this one works better! May 11, 2015 at 19:46

3 Answers 3


How about Yoav (Melachim I, 2:29)?

He goes into "Ohel Hashem" (literally translated as Tabernacle in some places), and holds onto the "horns of the altar". Yoav was not a cohen (relative of King David), and if I'm not mistaken, neither is the guy who is sent in after him (Binayahu Ben Yehoyada).

Also, in similar vein you've got Adoniah (Melachim I 1:50), though it doesn't specify "ohel hashem" in that case.


Dafdigest for Eruvin 105. I have extracted parts of the article which speaks about workers working in the Temple on

the plating which was fastened on the walls of the Kodesh Kodoshim. The inside walls of this special chamber were plated with gold panels, which were attached to the walls by artisans and workmen (see Mishnah Middos, 4:1,5). If we do not have a qualified kohen to do the job, we can use a Levi, or even a Yisroel. Instead of walking in via the route taken by the Kohen Gadol who entered on Yom Kippur, these workers were lowered into the Kodesh Kodoshim from the roof, enclosed in a special box which had a small window in the side. When the box was lowered to the appropriate position, the worker would open it and reach out to do his work.

The mitzvah is that they enter in this suspended box, but, if necessary, the worker may even enter through the doorway (see Tosefta, Keilim 1:11). It is noteworthy that Rashi mentions that the gold plates described in the Gemara were to be used for lining the walls of the Kodesh Kodoshim. Yet, the words of the Baraisa brought by Rav Kahana speak about these workers coming to the area —between the antechamber and the altar. These workers were allowed in the holy areas to bang and work the gold. In other words, not only did they enter when it was necessary to fasten these plates, but they even came in to work on them in the first place. We see, surprisingly, that although this work could have been done outside, yet, the workers were allowed to enter the Mikdash and work inside, even in the area between the altar and the Ulam.


Ⅱ Chronicles 35:11 describes non-priest levites' slaughtering[1] and skinning sacrificial animals.

[1] according to the commentary of M'tzudas David inter alia


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