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.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Lee, and thanks for your question. Hope you continue to contribute. :) – Scimonster Mar 28 '15 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 '15 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 '15 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. – Lee Woofenden Mar 30 '15 at 14:44
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    @IsaacMoses Thank you. I have now posted a new question here. I hope this one works better! – Lee Woofenden May 11 '15 at 19:46

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.

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    Saw this question and immediately thought of Yoav. +1 – Noach MiFrankfurt Apr 6 '15 at 19:14
  • Thanks. Those are good examples. I had been thinking of non-priests entering in connection with sacrifices and offerings rather than for other purposes. – Lee Woofenden Apr 6 '15 at 19:33
  • Binayahu Ben Yehoyada was Cohen, easy source – Zeev Apr 12 '15 at 16:59
  • According to Rashi, it's unlikely that he was in the Tabernacle....+1 in any event; that was my first thought as well. – MTL Apr 12 '15 at 17:21
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    Thanks again for your answer. Of the three answers that came in during the bounty period, this one is the most helpful for the scholarly purposes I mentioned in the bounty statement. I am therefore awarding you the bounty. – Lee Woofenden Apr 13 '15 at 15:38

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

  • Curious. Rashi on Vayikro quotes that from collecting the blood onwards the work must be done by Kohanim. – Avrohom Yitzchok Apr 12 '15 at 14:55
  • Thanks for your answer. It points out to me that there was a huge hole in my question as originally asked. I've now edited it to ask whether people who were not priests or Levites ever entered the Tabernacle. Thanks for bringing that to my attention! – Lee Woofenden Apr 12 '15 at 16:26
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    @LeeWoofenden you're welcome. If you wish to ask a new question, you can do so. (For next time, I suggest you take care to think through what it is you want to know before you post the question, so you don't get answers you're not seeking.) For this time, I've reverted your edit to the question in accordance with meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/1231 (our +14/−0 answer to that Meta question). – msh210 Apr 12 '15 at 17:37
  • @msh210 I understand. It's in the comment trail for anyone to read if they wish. I don't think a new question would be different enough to merit standing on its own, or to elicit significantly more information in response. – Lee Woofenden Apr 12 '15 at 20:44
  • @AvrohomYitzchok I think msh210 misunderstood the Metzudot David. If I'm reading it correctly, the Leviyim held the blood between catching and sprinkling. They didn't catch it themselves. Certainly what you claim is traditional Judaism, and if in this case the Leviyim in fact did otherwise I would expect open criticism of it in Chazal or even in the verses. – Double AA Apr 14 '15 at 5:26

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