« AnteriorContinuar »
§ 356. of the reast or TABERNAcles. 451
was most particularly distinguished, as a festival, Lev. 23: 34–42. Num. 29: 12, 35. Deut. 16: 12–15. Neh. 8: 18. 2 Macc. 10: 6. John 7: 2, 37. It was instituted in memory of the journey through the Arabian wilderness. The Jews, therefore, during its continuance, dwelt in booths, as they did in their journey from Egypt, Lev. 23:42, 43. It was also a festival of thanks in honour of the vintage and the gathering in of the fruits, and was, therefore, called the feast of the gathering res: ar, Exod. 23: 16. 34; 22. The Hebrews during this feast carried about the fruits of the choicest trees, or, as the later Jews interpret the words -or Yx "no, citrons, also the branches of palms, willows, and other trees, that bore a thick foliage. The Caraites suppose, it was of such branches that they were in the habit of constructing their booths, Lev. 23: 40, with which, however, it appears, that they mingled the branches of olives, myrtles, wild-olives, etc. Neh. 8: 15. 2 Macc. 10:7. Josephus, Antiquities, XIV. 13, 5. The Feast of tabernacles was a season, which witnessed the most marked and decided indications of joy. Hence it is denominated by Josephus (Antiq. VIII. 4, 1. XI. 5, 5.) and by Philo de septenario p. 1195, the greatest uéyworm, and by the Talmudists, by way of distinction arri, the feast. It was not unknown to Plutarch, Sympos. L. IV. c. 5. More public sacrifices were directed to be offered on this festival, than on the others, as will be seen by consulting Num. 29. 12—39. comp. Deut. 16:14, 15. Lev. 23: 38–40. Num. 29: 39. To these ceremonies, the more recent Jews have added a number of others. I. They undertake to assert, (founding their opinion in this case on Isaiah 12: 3.) the existence of the following practice. The priests went every morning during the eight days of the feast, and drew three logs of water in a golden vessel from the fountain of Siloe. They then carried the water with great and joyful solemnity through the water-gate to the temple, and poured it out to the South West of the altar, the Levites, in the mean-while, playing on instruments of music, and singing the Psalms 113–118. Some of the Talmudists assert, that this ceremony was a symbol of rain, others of joy, others of the effusion of the Holy Spirit.
452 § 357. of the day of propitiation.
Compare John 7: 37, also Wetstein's New Testament, Vol. I. 888, 889. II. Another ceremony, if we may believe the Jews, to whom we have referred, was this. In the court of the women, lights were burnt during every evening of the feast, in four candlesticks of gold, said to be fifty cubits high; while the priests and Levites, standing on the fifteen steps of the inner court, sung the songs of degrees, viz. Psalms 120–134. They accompanied these songs with instruments, and the chief men of the nation were, at the same time, dancing in the woMEN's court, with burning torches in their hands, while the women looked on from a retired apartment, that was surrounded by a sort of latticed enclosure. Furthermore, the Jews, during every day of the feast, holding in the left hand a citron, in the right, a bundle, :*, of branches, viz. one branch of the palm-tree, and two branches of willow and myrtle, passed around the altar and shouted aloud with a solemn voice, H:-zogin, Hosanna, Hosan NA. On the seventh day, this ceremony was repeated seven times in memory of the conquest of Jericho. Hence it happens, that this feast is called the great Hosan NA. Compare 2 Macc. 10:17.
§ 357. Of the Day of Propitiation.
The fifth day before the Feast of tabernacles, viz. the 10th day of the 7th month or Tishri (October) was the day of atonement or propitiation, no-hern boo, Lev. 16:1–34. Exod. 23:26–30. Num. 29: 1–11. It was a day of fasting, and the only one during the whole year, on which food was interdicted from evening to evening, Lev. 23:27–29, 25: 9.
The high priest himself conducted the sacred services of this day, and the ceremonies now to be mentioned, which differed from those on other occasions, were performed by him alone. When he had washed himself in water, put on his white linen hose and coat, and adjusted his girdle, he conducted to the altar, with the sacerdotal mitre on his head, a bullock, destined to be slain for the sins of himself and his family; also two goats for the sins of the people, the one of which was selected by lot to be sacrificed to God, Hyo the other was permitted to make an un§ 357. of the day on propitiation. 453
molested escape, bisoft, Lev. 16, 6–10. Compare the Arabic
word Joe. Presently he slew the bullock for his own sins, and the goat, which had been selected by lot for that purpose, for the sins of the people. He then filled a censer with burning coals from the altar, and putting two handfuls of incense into a vase, he bore them into the sanctissimuM or Holy of holies. Having here poured the incense upon the coals, he returned, took the blood of the bullock and the goat, and went again into the Most holy place. With his finger he first sprinkled the blood of the bullock, and afterwards, of the goat upon the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, and seven times also he sprinkled it upon the floor before the Ark. He then returned from the Most holy into the Holy place or Sanctuary, and besmeared the horns of the golden altar, which was there placed, with the blood of the bullock and the goat, and scattered the blood seven times over the surface of the ALTAR. This was done, as we are informed, as an erpiation for the uncleanness and the sins of the children of Israel, Lev. 16: 11–19. The high priest then, going out into the court of the Tabernacle, placed both hands with great solemnity on the head of the scape-goat FINy: ; a symbolic representation, that the animal was loaded with the sins of the people. It was then delivered to a man, who led it away into the wilderness, and let it go free, to signify the liberation of the Israelites from the punishment, due to their sins. But the goat, which was slain for the sins of the people, and the bullock, slain for those of the high priest, were designed to signify, that they were guilty, and that they merited punishment; and were to be burnt whole, beyond the limits of the camp or the city, Lev. 16: 20–22, 26–28. At length the high priest, putting off his white vestments, and assuming the splendid robes of his office, sacrificed a holocaust for himself and the people, and then offered another sin-offering, Lev. 16:23–25. Num. 29: 7–11. The Jews assert, that the high priest went into the Holy of holies a third time for the purpose of bringing away the censer, but this was not necessary, for he might have taken it away when he returned the second time with the blood. That he went into 454 § 358. conceRNING other FAsts.
the sanctissimum only twice is expressly asserted by Philo DE LEGAT, AD CAIUM. The assertion in Lev. 16:34, and Exod. 30: 10, viz. that the high priest entered once has reference merely to the one day in the year, for it is evident, that he could not perform all the duties, which devolved upon him, by entering once only on that day.
§ 358. ConcerNING other FAsts.
The Hebrews, in the earlier periods of their history, were in the habit of fasting, whenever they had met with any adverse occurrences, Judg. 20: 26. 1 Sam. 7: 6. 31: 13. 2 Sam. 3:35. Is. 58: 3—12. But it was not till about the time of the Captivity, that they introduced anniversary fast days. The days, to which we allude, were, as follows, I. The 17th day of the fourth month, viz. TAMMUz or July. This fast was instituted, in memory of the capture of Jerusalem, Jer. 52: 6, 7. Zech. 8: 19. II. The ninth day of the fifth month, Ab or August, in memory of the burning of the Temple, Zech. 7: 3. 8: 19. III. The third day of the seventh month, Tishri or October, in memory of the death of Gedaliah, Jer. 40: 4. Zech. 7: 5. 8: 19. IV. The tenth day of the tenth month, Tebeth, or January, in memory of the commencement of the attack on Jerusalem, Zech. 8: 19. The prophet Zechariah, in reference to inquiries which were made of him, asserted, that these mournful occasions were, at some future time, to be converted into festivals of joy, but the Jews, not
withstanding, have ever continued to observe them, as fasts, Zech. 8: 19.
Note. It is yet a matter of uncertainty, what the meaning was of that effusion of waters on the fast-day, which is mentioned in 1 Sam. 7: 6,7. Perhaps it was done, as a symbol, (a trace of which may still be considered, as current in the East, in the shape of certain tropical expressions) to denote that fullness or over-flowing of heart, with which the Jews were now desirous of giving themselves up to God. Of the expressions, to which we refer, it will be sufficient to say in this connexion, “that the offer($ 360. FESTIVAL or the PURIrication of the TEMPLE. 455
ing of water,” etc. is used tropically to denote generosity, or a free, liberal-minded act or character.
§ 359. Of the Feast of Purim.
This festival was introduced by Mordecai in the reign of Xerxes, to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from the cruel designs of Haman. It was celebrated on the 14th or 15th day of the last month, viz. ADAR or March, and was called PURIM, a Persian word, which signifies lot; because Haman ascertained in this way, (by lot,) the day, on which the Jews were to be destroyed, "Est. 3: 7. 9; 26. It was also called for reasons, which will be obvious to every one, Mordecai's day, j Magóozaix” musga, 2 Macc. 15: 36. It is stated by the Talmudists, that some of the Jews were opposed to the celebration of this festival, which will be easily credited, when it is remembered, that it resembled the festivals of Bacchus. The Book of Esther was read in the synagogues on the occasion, and whenever the name of Haman occurred, all clapped their hands, and struck with their fists and with mallets on the benches, and cried out, “Let his memory perish.” Anciently, the Jews, on the return of this festival, were in the habit of erecting crosses on their houses, in memory of Haman's crucifixion; but these having been interdicted, (Cod. Theodos. Tit. 12. c. 2.) they substituted some other sign in their stead. They send messes of meat to each other, etc. and spend the day in the utmost conviviality.
§ 360. On the Festival EncAENIA, otherwise called the FesTival of the PURIFICATIon of THE TEMPLE.
The temple was profined by Antiochus Epiphanes in the year 167, and was purified in the year 164 before Christ. Its dedication, at the time of its being purified, was celebrated eight days with many sacrifices, beginning at the 25th of the month Kislew or December. This dedication was converted into an anniversary, which was called by various names, viz. ENCAeni , śyxalvia the days of the dedication of the altar, ai musgat yxawtowow too