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lay in the grave the whole of this day. Duties of the third day of the passover week: on this day Christ rose. The duties of the remaining days. The way in which the modern Jews observe the passover. Having reached that part of our plan which requires a description of the festivals observed at the Temple, it is natural to premise them with the manner in which the Sanhedrin informed the nation of the times of their attendance. This is given by Maimonides* at great length, of whose account the following is an abridgment:
The first appearance of the new moon was the sign for calculating their religious feasts: but the Sanhedrin did not determine it themselves. They rather, as being judges, and wishing to appear impartial, encouraged others to come to Jerusalem to testify of the matter by giving good entertainment to all that came into that part of the city which was called Bith-iozek (pry'-n'];) and after having taken the deposition of two witnesses as to the time they had seen the new moon, the next thing was to spread the intelligence through the country. This they did in the following manner:-A person with a bundle of brushwood, or straw, went to the top of Mount Olivet, where he kindled his torch, and waved it backwards and forwards till he was answered by fires of a similar nature from the surrounding hills; while these, in their turn, spread the intelligence to others, and those others to persons at a farther distance, till the whole of Judea was informed. Hence the words of the Talmud: “ It (viz. the signal) went from Mount Olivet to Sartaba; from Sartaba to Gryphena; from Gryphena to Hevaron, part of Antilibanus on the north of the Holy land; from Hevaron to Bith Baltin, near the Euphrates on the west (taking Judea in the largest sense;) and he
• In his Treatise De Consecratione Calendrarum, cap. ii. $ 4, 5.
that stood there never left off waving his torch till he saw all the place of the captivity full of the like.” Such then was the original mode of communicating intelligence among
the Jews : but as the Samaritans sometimes counterfeited the sign, and thus caused great confusion, another signal of a more specific nature was adopted, namely, that of messengers, who were dispersed over the country. How much trouble would the simple contrivance of an almanack have prevented! But these messengers did not go abroad every month; they were only dispersed seven times in the year;-viz. 1. In Nisan, or the first month, that the people might know the right day for keeping the passover. 2. In Jair, or the second month, on account of the second passover that was appointed for those who could not keep the first. 3. In Ab, or the fifth month, on account of the fast on the ninth day. 4. In Elul, or the sixth month, on account of the beginning of the civil year the next month after: for Elul was most commonly a mensis vacuus, or month of twenty-nine days only; consequently, the Jews, knowing the first day of Elul, might observe the thirtieth day after for the first of Tizri, or beginning of the civil year; and if on the thirtieth they did not find, either by the sight of the moon, or the intelligence of the Sanhedrin, that it was the first of the month, they also, to make sure, kept the next day after. This shews us the very rude notion they had of astronomy. The 5th time that the messengers were sent was in Tizri, or the seventh month, on account of the day of expiation and the feast of tabernacles. The 6th was Chisleu, or the ninth month, for the feast of dedication. And the 7th in Adar, or the twelfth month, for the feast of Purim.
The times being thus fixed for the three festivals of the passover, pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles; let us attend particularly to their observance of the pass
All the males of Israel were enjoined to attend, and the only persons exempted, were the men servants who had not obtained their freedom; the deaf; the dumb; the lame; persons who laboured under a defect of reason; the old ; the uncircumcised; the sick; the delicate, to whom travelling so far would be dangerous; and infants, till they were able to walk up to the Mountain of the Lord's House from the city by the help of their father's hand.a
Having premised thus much concerning the manner in which the nation was informed of the feasts, and the particular persons who were legally exempted; we may observe, farther, that we have frequent mention of the peres (970) of the passover, pentecost, and feast of the tabernacles, which included the fifteen days immediately preceding any of these festivals; and which may be regarded as their preparation for these solemnities. This preparation was either personal or public. The personal preparation included every method that was used for impressing the mind with its solemnity, or the performing of those purifications which prepared them for the feast. And the public preparation consisted in repairing the roads, bridges, streets, and pools, or tanks as they are called in the east, for holding rain or river water for the convenience of travellers; in painting their sepulchres, so as to make them easily noticed, and thereby prevent defilement; and in dispatching all business of a public nature, to give perfect freedom to public characters.
Let us now, however, attend to the passover in particular, the original institution of which, on the night before they left Egypt, was as follows:- First, they
a Maimonid. De Sacris Solemnibus, cap. 2. sect. 1. 3.
John xi. 55. Joseph, Bell. i. 11.
Lightf. Heb. and Talm. Exercit, on John vi. 1. VOL. I,
were to search for leaven, and abstain from it seven days ;a then a he-lamb, or kid without blemish, was chosen by every family, or, if the family were too small, two families might join themselves together. The lamb or kid was to be taken up on the tenth and kept till the evening of the fourteenth day of that moon which appeared in the first ecclesiastical month, or Abib.° It was then enjoined to be killed; its blood was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop on the lintels and door-posts of their houses; it was to be roasted with fire, eaten with bitter herbs, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, their staves in their hands, and in haste; not a bone of it was to be broken; and none of it was to remain until the morning; or if it did it was to be burnt with fire. The intention of all which was-1. To remind the Israelites of the deliverance of their first-born from the power of the destroying angel. 2. To be a standing memorial in succeeding ages of the Lord's goodness to that nation. Hence it is that Moses says, in verses 25—27,
, “ It shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that
ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.” And, 3. To be an antidote to the Egyptian idolatry. For the Egyptians reckoned the ram among the sacred animals, and worshipped it as a symbol of fecundity and of the constellation of Aries, in which their year began. Nay, even Jupiter himself was called Ammon, and his statue
a Exod. xii, 18. &c.; xiii. 7. Lev. xxüi, 6. Num. xxviii, 17. • Exodxii. 3, 4. c Ib. xii. 3. 6. d lb, xii. 6-11. 46.
e Ib. xi. 23
made in the form of a ram. By ordering, therefore, a he-lamb to be killed, and its blood to be sprinkled on their doors, it was treating their divinity very lightly indeed. The Jewish passover was not to be eaten raw, thereby to distinguish it from what they had been accustomed to see in Egypt, where, in the worship of demons, and making of treaties, it was customary to eat flesh newly torn off, and drink blood recently poured out. Accordingly, Julius Firmicus, when describing the honours done to Bacchus, tells us, “Illic inter ebrias puellas, et vinolentos senes, cum scelerum pompa præcederet, alter nigro amictu teter, alter ostenso angue terribilis, alter cruentus ore, dum viva pecoris membra discerpit.” Plutarch says much the same thing, as does Catullus in the following lines :
Pars e divulso jactabant membra juvenco:
Pars sese tortis serpentibus incingebant. Hence Bacchus was called ωμηστης Διονυσος, Bacchus, the devourer of raw flesh. And Maimonides tells us, that “they cut off some part of a living animal, and after sprinkling it with blood, eat it.” The Jewish passover was “not to be sodden in water, but roasted with fire.” For the Egyptians and Syrians in sacrificing, sometimes boiled the flesh of the victims in water, and sometimes in milk. Hence the practice of the Athenians, mentioned by Philochorus, who, 6 when sacrificing to the Hours, boiled flesh, but did not roast it, praying to these goddesses to drive away filth and noxious heats.” Before the fire is particularly mentioned, both because it occasioned uniformity, for it might have been roasted in an oven, or in a brazen vessel, or in a frying-pan, or suspended in a furnace; and because it was contrary to an Egyptian and
Exod. xii.9. b De Error. profan. relig. p. 10. d In Nupt. Pelii. et Thetid, • Mor. Neb. s Apud Athenæum, lib. xiv.
€ Lib. de Orac. Defect. f Exod. xii. 9.