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446 § 352. New Moons AND FEAST of the New YEAR.
§ 352. New Moons AND FEAst of the New Year.
In order to exclude any opportunity for the exercise of the superstitions of the Gentiles, who sacrificed to the Moon, it is commanded in Num. 10:10, and 28. 11–14. that, on the New-moons, ("onpoor, in addition to the daily sacrifices, two bullocks should be offered to God, a ram, and seven sheep of a year old, together with a meal-offering, and a libation. These were to constitute the burnt offering, and a goat, the sin-offering.
The return of the New-moons was announced by the sounding of the silver trumpets nnnskri, Num, 10: 10. 28, 11–14; and in this way provision was made for keeping up a knowledge of the end and commencement of each month. The kings, it appears, after the introduction of the monarchical form of government, were in the habit of offering up sacrifices at the return of the New-moons, 1 Sam. 20: 5, 24–27. and those persons, whose piety led them to seek for religious instruction, visited, on those occasions, the prophets, 2 K. 4:23. Labour was not interdicted on the day of the New-moon. As the New-moon, however, of the seventh month or Tishri (October) was the commencement of the civil year, it was observed, as a festival, and was announced by the sound of trumpets. Hence it is called the day of “trumpet blowing,” Hyo-in bi-, and also “the memorial of blowing of trumpets,” Lev. 23:24. Num. 29: 1–6.
Beside the sacrifices, common to other New-moons, a bullock was then offered, a ram, seven lambs of a year old, a meal-offering of flower and oil, and a libation of wine for the burnt-offering, Num. 29: 2–9.
Note. The days of the New-moon were not ascertained by astronomical calculation, as the Rabbins assert, but were the days, on which the New-moon first made its appearance, as is maintained by the Caraites. This is evident from the fact, that Moses did not regulate his chronology on astronomical principles, but by the aspect of the earth, the return of the seasons, &c.
Further; the Talmudists speak of the signs of the appearance of the New-moon, and it is clear, that neither Philo nor Josephus knew any thing of the distinction between the astronomical and § 354. conceRNING THE PAssover. 447
the apparent new-moon. Still the author of the Book of Kings appears to have made use of the astronomical calculation, who speaks of the 27th day of the twelfth month in Babylon, while Jeremiah, who was in Palestine, calls the same day, the 25th, 2 K. 25: 27. Jer. 52: 31. The modern Jews, in reference to what is stated in 1 Sam. 20:27, observe the return of the New-moon for two days in succession.
§ 353. Of the great Festivals IN GENERAL.
The Passover, the Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles, were festivals, instituted for the purpose of commemorating the wonderful kindness of God. The Pentecost continued only for one day, the Passover seven, and the feast of the Tabernacles eight, but the first and the last only, in both cases, were properly considered festival days, in which no employment, further than was necessary to prepare food, was permitted, Exod. 12; 16. Lev. 23: 7.
At the return of the three great festivals, all the adult Jews made their appearance, either at the tabernacle or temple, with presents, which were taken from the second tythes, the firstlings of the second product of the flocks, and the second first-fruits. They offered sacrifices, feasted ; and with songs, music, and dances, rejoiced in God, as a being, wonderful for his mercies.
The word itself, which is usually employed to designate festivals, viz. ar, if its original signification be consulted, is an intimation, that dancing was practised on such occasions, Exod. 23: 17. Lev. 23:38. Num. 29:39. Deut. 12: 18. 14:26, 16: 11–17. 26: 11.
§ 354. ConcerNING the PAssover.
The festival of the Passover was instituted, for the purpose of preserving among the Hebrews the memory of their liberation from Egyptian servitude, and of the safety of their first-born on that night, when the first born of the Egyptians perished, Exod. 12: It was celebrated for seven days, viz. from the 15th to the 21st of the month Abib or Nisan (April.) Exod. 12:1–28, 23: 15. Lev. 23: 4–8. Num. 28:16–25. Deut. 16. 1–8.
During the whole of this period, the people ate unleavened
448 § 354. concerNING THE PAssover.
bread. It was for this reason, that the festival is sometimes called the feast of unleavened bread, n°xor, ar, $ogi i row ačiuov, Exod. 12: 18. 13: 6, 7. 23. 15. Lev. 23:6. Num. 28: 17. If in Deut. 16: S. only six days of unleavened bread are mentioned, the reason is, that the first day, being considered a separate festival, is not included. On the eve of the 14th day, the leaven was removed, so that nothing might be seen of it during the week, a circumstance, in respect to which the Jews are very scrupulous, even at the present time, 1 Cor. 5: 7. Hence not only the 15th, but the 14th also of the month Abib may with propriety, as it is in some instances, in the Bible, be termed the first day of unleavened bread, since the leaven was removed on the 14th before evening. Josephus has accordingly assigned eight days, Antiq. II. 15, 1. and seven, Antiq. III. 10, 5. IX. 13, 3. to the feast of the Passover, when in reality there were but seven. On the 10th day of the month Abib, the master of a family separated a ram or a goat of a year old, (Exod. 12, 1–6,) which he slew on the 14th day between the two evenings, t-z-z Tz, before the altar, Deut. 16: 2, 5, 6. The priest sprinkled the blood upon the bottom of the altar; but in Egypt when the event occurred, which was the origin of the Passover, the blood was sprinkled on the post of the door, Exod. 12; 7. The ram or the kid, which was properly called ripe, write, tdoza, or protection, was roasted whole, with two spits thrust through it, the one length-wise, the other transversely, crossing the longitudinal one near the fore legs; so that the animal was, in a manner crucified. The oven, in which it was roasted, is the one described $140, no. II. Pesachim. c. 3. John 19:36, comp. § 142. Thus roasted, it was served up with a salad of wild, and bitter herbs, conno, and with the flesh of other sacrifices, which occur in Deut. 16, 2–6, under the word rto. Not fewer than ten, nor more than twenty persons, were admitted to these sacred feasts, which were at first eaten in Egypt, with loins girt about, with shoes upon the feet, and with all the preparations for an immediate journey; but this was not the case at any subsequent period. The command, however, not to break a bone of the offering, which was given in consequence of the people going in § 354. concerNING THE PAssover. 449
such haste (as they might otherwise have been delayed,) was ever afterwards observed among the Jews, John 19:36. The ceremonies, practised at the eating of the Paschal supper, appear to have been nearly the same with those, which are practised among the Jews at the present day, and which are related in the Jewish Book, entitled not by HT3:1 ort. Compare 1 Cor. 11:26. These ceremonies were exemplified in part in the last supper of the Saviour, where mention is made of the blessing on the bread and wine, which is prescribed in the Book just referred to, Matt. 26:26. The master of the family, after the Paschal supper is prepared, breaks the bread, having first blessed it, and divides it to all, who are seated round him, so that each one may receive a part, who has liberty, if he chooses, to dip it before eating into a vessel of sauce. The third cup of wine, which is drunk on this occasion, is properly termed the cup of benediction, Henrn enz, Matt. 26:27. 1 Cor. 10: 16. After this, songs of praise are sung, viz. Psalms 115–118; after which another cup is drunk, Mark 14:26, and, if the guests have a disposition to repeat Psalms 120–137, another also. The wine is mingled with water. On the second day of the Passover, i.e. on the 16th day of the month Abib, a sheaf of barley was offered up, also a lamb of a year old for a burnt offering, also a meal-offering and a libation. This ceremony was the introduction, prescribed by Law, to the harvest, Lev. 23: 1–14. On every day of the Paschal week, there were offerings more than usual, and victims were immolated for sin, Num. 28:16–25.
Note. In the Latin Church, the general opinion is, that the Saviour, in his last supper, ate the Passover supper; though some suppose, that he anticipated the usual time by a day, i. e. they suppose, that he followed in this instance, the practice of the Sadducees, who calculated the return of the New-moon astronomically, which would bring this festival a day earlier, than it would otherwise happen; an opinion, which we have already shown to be inadmissible. We would now merely add in reference to this opinion, that all the arrangements of a religious nature, which had any reference to the Temple, were made in 450 § 356. op the FEAst of TABERNAcLEs.
accordance with the opinions, that prevailed among the Pharisees; and, furthermore, that the discourse in Matt. 26: 1–19. Mark 14: 12–18. Luke 22:7–14, is concerning the customary day of the Passover.
The Greek Church, on the contrary, contend, that the last supper of the Saviour was not the Paschal supper, and that in instituting the Eucharist, he made use of leavened bread. Some individuals in the Latin Church agree in this opinion, excepting that they suppose unleavened bread to have been used on the evening of the 13th day of the month Abib, and that consequently the Saviour, in instituting the Eucharist on that evening, made use of bread of that kind.
§ 355. ConceRNING the PENtEcost.
AN ENUMERAtion of forty nine days from the 16th of ABIB or the 2d day of the Passover, introduces us to the Pentecost, névrnx001 m, i. e. the fiftieth. It is also called the feast of Weeks, noyangri ar, from the circumstance, that it followed a succession of seven weeks, Exod. 34:22. Lev. 23:15, 16. Num. 28:26. Deut. 16: 10. Acts 2: 1.
It was a festival of thanks for the harvest, and is, accordingly called hosp ar, the feast of the harvest. And it was for the same reason, that two loaves made of new-meal, and the tenth part of an epha of grain were offered, as the first fruits, Lev. 23: 17. Num. 28:26. Hence the Pentecost is sometimes called the day of the first fruits, B***:::1, Num. 28:26. There were likewise, on the return of this festival, many holocausts, besides an offering for sin, Lev. 23: 18–20. Num. 2S: 27–31.
In the days of the Apostles, as we are expressly informed by Josephus himself, many Jews from foreign countries came to Jerusalem on this joyful occasion, Jewish War, II. 3, 1. comp. Acts 2: 5–13.