XIV. (76) But the temple has for its revenues not only portions of land, but also other possessions of much greater extent and importance, which will never be destroyed or diminished; for as long as the race of mankind shall last, the revenues likewise of the temple will always be preserved, being coeval in their duration with the universal world. (77) For it is commanded that all men shall every year bring their first fruits to the temple, from twenty years old and upwards; and this contribution is called their ransom. On which account they bring in the first fruits with exceeding cheerfulness, being joyful and delighted, inasmuch as simultaneously with their making the offering they are sure to find either a relaxation from slavery, or a relief from disease, and to receive in all respects a most sure freedom and safety for the future. (78) And since the nation is the most numerous of all peoples, it follows naturally that the first fruits contributed by them must also be most abundant. Accordingly there is in almost every city a storehouse for the sacred things to which it is customary for the people to come and there to deposit their first fruits, and at certain seasons there are sacred ambassadors selected on account of their virtue, who convey the offerings to the temple. And the most eminent men of each tribe are elected to this office, that they may conduct the hopes of each individual safe to their destination; for in the lawful offering of the first fruits are the hopes of the pious.
XV. (79) Now there are twelve tribes of the nation, and one of them having been selected from the others for its excellence has received the priesthood, receiving this honour as a reward for its virtue, and fidelity, and its devout soul, which it displayed when the multitude appeared to be running into sin, following the foolish choices of some persons who persuaded their countrymen to imitate the vanity of the Egyptians, and the pride of the nations of the land, who had invented fables about irrational animals, and especially about bulls, making gods of them. For this tribe did of its own accord go forth and slay all the leaders of this apostacy from the youth upwards, in which they appeared to have done a holy action, encountering thus a contest and a labour for the sake of piety.