- Latin: panes propositionis
The expression might perhaps be better rendered “loaves set forth”; it is also found under the forms “holy” or “hallowed bread,” or “bread of the presence” (1 Kings 21), “continual bread” (Numbers 4: Hebrew version). It refers to twelve loaves of unleavened bread, made each of two-tenths of an epha (four-fifths of a peck) of the finest flour, set in two piles (Leviticus 24) upon an altar-like table placed along the north wall of the holy place (3 Kings 7). Early in post-exilic times their preparation was the office of the sons of Caath, one of the Levitical guilds (1 Par., 9). Every sabbath fresh loaves were brought in (Leviticus 24), half of the stale loaves being given to the outgoing, and the other half to the incoming order of priests, who ate them within the sacred precincts (according to the Talmud). This institution, admirably suited to an agricultural community, was obviously intended as a perpetual expression of the gratitude of the people to God for the produce of the earth.