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third a Sabbath, and the thirtieth a Sabbath : In the eleventh Month, the seventh Day will be a Sabbath, the fourteenth a Sabbath, the twenty first a Sabbath, and the twenty eighth a Sabbath In the twelfth Month, the fifth Day will be a Sabbath, the twelfth a Sabbath, the nineteenth a Sabbath, and the twenty fixth a Sabbath, and the thirtieth Day of this Month would be the fourth Day of a Week : But here it must be remembred, that the first Day of the ensuing Year, the first of the Month Abib, must fall upon a a Sabbath (m); so that here, as at the End of the sixth Month two Days must be added to make the Week and the Year end together ; that the first Day of Abib may be regularly, a Sabbath after a due Interval of six Days between the last foregoing Sabbath and the Day of it. In this manner Moses's Appointments appear to carry the Ifraelites thro' the Year in fifty two com plete Weeks, amounting to 364 Days, and this would be a great Approximation to the true and real Solar Year, in comparison of what all other Nations at this time fell short of it: But still it must be remarked, that even a Year thus settled would not fully answer ; for the true length of the Year being, as I have faid, 365 Days and almost fix Hours; Moses's Year, if thus conftituted, would still fall short one Day and almost fix Hours in every Solar Revolution, and this would have amounted to almost fifty Days in the forty Years, which he was with the Ifraelites, and therefore, had the Israelites began and continued computing their Year in this manner, they would have found at their entring into Car
(m) Vid. quæ fup.
raan on the tenth Day of their Month Abib, that they were come thither, not just at the time of Harvest, as they might have expected, nor when Jordan overflowed his Banks, as he did annually, but rather they would have been there almost fifty Days before the Season, so that we must endeavour to look for some further Direction in Moses's Appointments, or we shall be yeç at a loss to say how the Israelites could keep their Year from varying away from the Sealons : But
I would observe, that there are several Hints, in the Injunctions of Moses, that may lead us thro’ this Difficulty: The Feasts of the Lord were to be proclaimed in their Seasons (n), and it is remarkable, that the Season for the WaveTheaf-offering is directed in some measure by the time of Harvest: When ye be come into the Land, which I give unto you, and Mall reap the Harvest thereof, then mall ye bring a Sheaf(b) thus again : Seven Weeks halt thou number unto thee, begin to number the seven Weeks from fuch time as thou beginnest to put the Sickle to the
Corn (D): The numbring these Weeks was to be· gin from the Day of bringing the Sheaf of the
Wave-offering ), and therefore the Wave-fheafoffering and the Pentecost at the End of the Weeks appear evidently to have been regulated by the Corn-Season, which was sure to return annually after the Revolution of a true Year, however the computed Year might vary from, or not come up to it: And the only Question that can now remain is, whether the Israelites
(n) Levit. xxiii. 4. (9) Levit. xxiii. 15.
(e) ver. 10.
(0) Deut. xvi. 9.
were to keep all their other Feasts on their fet Days, exactly at the Return of their corti puted Year, or whether their other Feafts were regàlated along with these of the Wave-Sheaf and Pentecoft ; so as to have their computed Year corrected and amended, as often as the Return of Harvest shewed them there was reason for it : And this last Intimation appears plainly to me to have been the Fact; for I observe, that the fifteenth Day of the seventh Month is supposed never to fall before they had gathered in the Fruits of their Land; for on that Day they were always to keep a Feast for the ending all their Harvest (r): But if the computed Year had gone on without Correctiơn, the fifteenth Day of the seventh Month, every Year falling short a Day and almost a quarter of a true Solar Year, would in a Number of Years have come about, before the Time for beginning their Har. veft: And Mofes lived long enough to have seen it very fenfibly moving towards this Absurdity, and consequently cannot be supposed to have lefi it fixed in such a manner: Rather the whole computed Year was to be regulated by the Season of Harvest: When the Year was ended the ffraea lites were to proclaim for the ensuing Year the Feasts of the Lord (s), and they were, I think, to be kept at their Times according to this publick Indiction of them, and in order to fix their Times right, they were in the first place to observe the Month Abib (u); the Harvest
(r) Levit. xxiii. 39. (s) ver. 4. (11.) Deut. xvi. 1. I need not, I think, -sbjereve that the Weather in Judær was not so variable as in our Climate, and consequently, that Seed time and Harvest were Seafons more fixed with the Inhabitants of this Country than with us.
Month (w), to appoint the Beginning of that to its true Season; and this they might do as [ofien as they found it varying from it, by the Corn not growing ripe for the Sickle at or about the sixteenth Day of this Month, the second Day of unleavened Bread (x), on which they were wont to offer their Wave-lheaf (y)] in the following manner: When, I say, they found at the End of the Year, from the Experience of two or three past Years, as well as the Year then before them, that Harvest was not so forward as to be fit to be begun in about sixteen Days, they might then add so many Days to the End of their Year as might be requisite, that they might not begin the Month Abib until, upon the sixteenth of it, they might expect to put the sickle to the Corn, and bring the · Wave-lheaf in their accustomed Manner: This, I think, might be the Method in which the ancient Ifraelites adjusted their Year to the Seasons; and I conceive, that when they added to their Year in this manner, the Addition they made was of whole Weeks, one, two, or more, as the appearing Backwardness of the Season required, that the first of Abib might fall upon a Sabbath, and the other Sabbaths of the Year follow in their Order, as I have above fixed
: (w) It may be queried whether Abib be the Name of a Month: The Israelites in these Times seem to have named their Months no otherwise than firt, fecond, third, &c. No. mina menfium ab initio nulla fuere, Jays Scaliger. The Hebrew Word Abib fignifios ripening, and perhaps Moses did not mean by Chodeth ha Abib, the Month Abib, intending Abib as a proper Name, but the Month of ripening, or of the Corn being fit for the Sickle.
(x) Exod. xii. Levit. xxiii. ubi lup.
them. We may observe of this Method of adjusting the Year, that it is easy and obvious; no Depths of human Science, or Skill in Aftro. nomy are requisite for the proceeding according to it: The Ifraelites could only want once in about twenty Years to lift up their Eyes, and to look into their Fields (2), and to consider before they proclaimed the Beginning of their Month Abib, whether, or how much they wanted of being white to Harvest, and this with the observing their Sabbaths as above related, would furnish them with a Year fully answering all the Purposes of their Religion or civil Life: And this Method being thus capable of answering all Purposes without leading them to a necessity of fixing Equinoxes, estimating the Mo tions of the heavenly Bodies, or acquainting themselves with any of those Schemes of human Learning, by which the Heathen Nations were led into their Idolatries, I am the more apt to think, that this was the Method which God was pleased by the Hand of Moses to fuggest to them.
I am aware of but one Point that can furnish any very material Objection to what I have offered : The Ifraelites were ordered by Moses to keep the Beginnings of their Months as solemn Feafts, on which they were to offer fpecial Sacrifices (a), and they were to celebrate them like their other high Festivals with blowing of Trumpets (6): And they seem to have carefully observed this Appointment in their worst, as well as in their best, from their ear
(1) Joseph. ubi sup. (z) John iv. 35. xxviii. 11. (b) x. 10.