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BIBLICAL


556


BIBLICAL


accompanied by the shouts of the combatants. The Ark with its ephod was considered indispensable. It was borne before the army, who, as it was talien up, cried out, "Arise, O Yahweh, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee". The principal equipment for war was the helmet, shield, and other defensive armour, the bow, the sling, the sword, the spear, the javelin, and other instruments which must have been common to all Oriental nations, although not ex- plicitly mentioned in the Bible.

III. S.\CRED AxTiQuiTiEs. — Some of the Hebrew festivals are originally of historical character, i. e. are commemorative of some great historical event in the life of the Hebrew nation; while others are primarily religious, or of ethico-religious significance. To the first category belong the Feast of Passover, the Breast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and other minor ones mentioned below, such as the Feast of Purim, etc. To the second class belong the Sabbath, the New Moon, the Feast of Trumpets, the Sabbatical Year and the Year of Jubilee. The former were more properly called jestivals; the latter, sacred seasons. The latter are lunar; the former are solar — based on the lunar and solar systems re- spectively. The principal features of the three great historical festivals consisted in making a pilgrimage, ora visit, to the Temple, as prescribed in Exodus, xxiii, 14, 17: "Three times in the year shalt thou hold pilgrimage unto me, three times in the year sliall till thy men appear before Yahweh, the God of Israel."

The Passover (whence our Pascha), with which the Feast of the Unleavened Bread is closely connected and almost identified, although originally distinct from it, constituted the opening festival of the Jewish ecclesiastical year, and was celebrated on the 14th of Nisan (Abib), which month approxi- mately corresponds to our April. It was insti- tuted in commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Angel of Death went forth to de- stroy the first-born of the Egyptians, passing over (whence Passover), however, the houses of the He- brews, on the lintels of whose doors the blood of a lamb had been sprinkled. The Passover Festival was celebrated as follows: An unblemished male lamb a year old (called the paschal lamb) was to be se- lected by each family in Israel. It was to be killed on the evening of the fourteenth day and consumed the same night. The fiesh was to be roasted, not eaten raw, or boiled, and not a bone of the animal was to be broken. Along with it, unleavened bread and bitter herbs might be used, but nothing more; and whatever portions were not needed for food were to be destroyed the same night by burning. Hence, on the evening of the thirteenth day of Nisan, all leaven was scrupulously removed from the Je^\ish liomes. The fourteenth day was thus regarded as a holiday, on which all servile work was suspended. In later Hebrew times, however, the Passover Festival was somewhat modified.

The Feast of the Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, Feast of Harvest, Day of Firstfruits, etc., was celebrated on the fiftieth day after the Passover, i. e. on or about the 8th of Siwan, the third month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year. It lasted a single day, and it marked the completion of the corn har- vest. According to later Jewish traditions, the Feast of Pentecost was also instituted in commemo- ration of the giving of the Law to Moses. It is men- tioned in the Bible for the first time in the second Book of Maccabees. With the Feast of Pentecost the New Year holiday season closed. The char- acteristic ritual of this feast consisted in ofTerine and waving to Yahweh in his Temple two leavened loaves of wheaten flour, together with a sin offering, burnt offering, and peace offering, and its object


was to ofTer to Yahweh the firstfruits of the harvest, and to thank Him for it.

The Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, was observed for seven days, i. e. from the 15th to the 22nd of Tisri (the seventh month of the Jewish year, ap- proximately corresponding to our October), follow- ing closely upon the Day of Atonement. It marked the completion of the fruit-harvest (which included the oil- and wine-harvest), and, historically, it com- memorated the forty-years wandering in the wilder- ness, when all the Hebrew tribes and families, for lack of houses and buildings, lived in tents and booths. "The sacrifices at this feast were far more numerous than at any other. On each of the seven days one kid of the goats was offered as a sin offering, and two rams and fourteen lambs as a burnt-offering. Also seventy bullocks were offered on the seven days, beginning with thirteen on the first day and dimin- ishing by one each day, until on the seventh day seven were offered. After the seven days a solemn day of 'holy convocation' was obser\-ed which marked the conclusion, not only of the feast of Tabernacles, but of the whole cycle of the festal year. On this day one bullock, one ram, and seven lambs were offered as a burnt offering, and one goat for a sin offering." The earliest Biblical allusion to this feast is found in I (D. V. Ill) Kings, viii, 2, and xii, 32.

Besides these three great festivals, certain minor ones were observed by the Hebrews: The word Pxirim is probably of Persian origin {Fiirdigan. Pordigdn. or Pardiydn), and the feast so named was instituted to commemorate the overthrow of Haman, the triumph of Mordecai, and the escape of the Jews from utter destruction in the time of Esther. It was celebrated in the 14th and 15th day of Adar (the twelfth and last month of the Jewish Year). — The Feast of the Dedication of the Temple was in- stituted in 164 B. c. by Judas Maccabajus, when the Temple, which had been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, was once more purified and rededicated to the service of Yahweh. It commenced on the 25th of Chislew, the ninth month of the Jewish year (corresponding to our December), and lasted for eight days. It was a feast of universal and un- bounded joy, delight, and happiness, as was that of Purim. Other minor feasts were the Feast of the Wood Offering: The Reading] of the Law; Feast of Nicanor; of the Captured Fortress; of Baskets, etc.

The sacred seasons, or religious festivals, are primarily a development of the institution of the Sabbath and based on the lunar system of the Calendar. It has been often remarked, and with good reason, that in all the Hebrew Religious Fes- tivals the sacred number seven is the dominating factor. "Every 7th day was a Sabbath. E\ery seventh month was a sacred month. Everj' seventh year was a Sabbatical year. Seven times seven was the year of Jubilee. The Feast of the Passover, with the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, began fourteen days (2x7) after the beginning of the month, and lasted seven days. The Feast of Pentecost was seven times seven days after the Feast of the Pass- over. The Feast of Tabernacles began fourteen days (2x7) after the bcgiiming of the month and lasted seven days. The seventh month was marked by (1) the Feast of Trumpets on the first day, (2) the Fast of Atonement on the tenth day, (3) Feast of Tabernacles from the fifteenth day to the twenty- first. The days of the "Holy Convocation" were seven in number — two at the Passover, one at Pente- cost, one at the Feast of Trumpets, one at the Day of Atonement, and one at the Feast of Tabernacles, and one on the day following, the eighth day. "

The institution "of the Hebrew Sabbath may bi- traced in its origin to the early Babylonians who, according to the majority of AssjTlologists, .«eeni