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1. The time of the year, in which they were observed, was during the dry season of Judea. For the latter rains, which served to mature the crops, in our spring, but before their harvest, fell before the Passover; and the former rains in autumn, which was their seed time, had not commenced, when they were commanded to observe the Feast of Tabernacles; although it sometimes happened, that they were scarcely all got home before these began to fall. Thus was the ground in the best state for travelling, when the three principal feasts were observed; and the God of Israel, in his religious institutions, consulted the health and convenience of his people. 2. With respect to the manner in which the Jews
procured food and lodging at these feasts, it may be observed, that the rich often shewed their charity by distributing presents of food, as in 2 Chron. xxxv. 7-9, and that when these were inadequate, other means were resorted to. These may be explained by the following extracts from some modern travellers in the East. Pitts, in his account of the religion and manners of the Mahometans," says, “ Mecca has not one thousand families constantly residing in it, yet seventy thousand pilgrims visit it every year. As for house-room, the inhabitants do straiten themselves very much, in order at this time to make their market. And as for such as come last, after the town is filled, they pitch their tents without the town, and their abide until they return home. As for provisions, they always bring sufficient with them, except it be of flesh, which they may have at Mecca; but all other provisions, as butter, honey, oil, olives, rice, biscuit, &c. they bring with them as much as will last through the wilderness, forward and backward, as well
a P. 87, 88.
as the time they stay at Mecca; and as for their camels, they bring store of provender with them.” Hasselquist gives us nearly the same account;a for when he was at Cairo, Jan. 1, 1751, the Mecca caravan, which had set out the 10th Sept. before, returned to that city. “ It should seem,” says he, “ that a hundred thousand souls coming into a city on one day, would occasion a great change in the price of provisions; and I doubt whether there is a city in Europe capable of receiving at once so large a number of guests without feeling it. But in Cairo no want of victuals was known on account of the remarkable increase of inhabitants. This is not only a proof of a rich country, but likewise of a sparing people, who have not yet forgot that nature is content with a little.”-Such are the words of Pitts and Hasselquist, and they shew us the probable manner in which the Jews would lodge and support themselves during the festivals. Josephus indeed speaks of tents without the Temple in his Antiquities."
3. With regard to the seeming impolicy of leaving the land defenceless during these times, it is indeed surprising (speaking after the manner of men) that the neighbouring nations did not take advantage of it. For the matter was no secret; it was publicly known that at three set times every year they were commanded to be at Jerusalem, and that at three set times every year they actually attended. Why then were not inroads made at these seasons, to slay the old men, women, and children, to burn their cities, and carry off the spoil? How shall we account for the enmity of their foes being asleep at these particular times, when the land was defenceless ; and perfectly awake at every other season, when they were at home and ready to oppose them? Unless the Scriptures had given a solution, the matter would have been deemed inexplicable; but these tell us that the same Being who appointed those feasts, guaranteed the security of the land while they were attending them. For thus runs the promise in Exodus xxxiv. 23, 24 : “ Thrice in the year shall all your men-children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders : neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God, thrice in the year.” Can any thing afford us a more striking instance of a particular providence? He is a wall of fire about his people as well as the glory in the midst of them. The hearts of all men are in his hands. He maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of that wrath, which will not praise him, he restraineth. During the whole period between Moses and Christ, we never read of an enemy invading the land at the time of the three festivals; the first that occurs, was thirty-three years after they had withdrawn from themselves the divine protection, by embruing their hands in the Saviour's blood, when Cestius the Roman general slew fifty of the people of Lydda, while all the rest were gone up to the Feast of Tabernacles. A. D. 66. I shall only add farther, that the three great festivals were honoured with three remarkable events in the Scripture history. The Feast of Tabernacles being the time when our Saviour was born, and when in the beginning of his thirtieth year he was baptized; the Passover, the time when he was crucified ; and Pentecost, the time when the Holy Ghost descended in a visible manner on the apostles.”
· P. 103.
6 Chap. svii. 9.
a Joseph. War, ii. 19.
Lightf. Harm. of the Four Evangelists, part i. Luke iii, 21. Jennings's Jewish Antiquities, book iij. chap, 5.
· PART VI.
ON THE OTHER FEASTS AND FASTS OF THE JEWS.
Besides the three great festivals which have been described in the preceding pages, there are several others that were celebrated with great solemnity, though they did not require all the males to present themselves, at Jerusalem, before the Lord. These festivals are, the New Moons—the Feast of Trumpets—the Feast of Annual Expiation—the Sabbath—the Sabbatical Yearthe Year of Jubilee—the Feast of Purim, or of Lots the Feast of Dedication, and certain lesser feasts and fasts.
New-Moons.-Feast of Trumpets.
The appointed offerings at the Feast of New-Moons ; reason of its institution ;
way in which the modern Jews observe it. Feast of trumpets ; time of its observance; peculiar sacrifices; additions made under the second Temple; way the modern Jews observe the new year. The three Books of Fate that are then supposed to be opened.
The New Moons, or first days of every month, were accounted as sabbaths, and the divine ordinance concerning them was as follows. In the first place, a burntoffering was offered up at the Tabernacle, or Temple, of two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs. Secondly, the meat-offerings to each of these consisted of three tenth deals of fine flour, mingled with oil, for each bul
· Amos yiii. 5.
b Numb, xxviii, 11.
lock; two tenth deals of flour, mingled with oil, for the ram; and one tenth deal of fine flour, mingled with oil, for each lamb. Thirdly, the drink-offerings that were attached to each. Thus half a hin (or thirty-six egg-shells full) of wine was appointed to each bullock; the third of a hin (or twenty-four egg-shells full) for the ram; and
a the fourth of a hin (or eighteen egg-shells full) for each lamb. But besides this burnt-offering, with its meat and drink-offerings, there was, Fourthly, a kid of the goats to be offered for a sin-offering. And these were the peculiar offerings for the day, as appointed by the people, exclusive of the bullock, six lambs, and a ram, which were offered by the prince; with their several meat-of ferings. As these various offerings were performed in the manner already described, when treating of the burnt, sin, meat, and drink-offerings, it will be sufficient here to remark, that they were enjoined to be offered every new moon, besides the continual burnt-offering and its drink-offering, or the morning and evening sacrifice, which were never allowed to be dispensed with. And while they were offering up to Jehovah, we are informed in Num. X. 10. that they were attended with the blowing of trumpets; and in 2 Kings iv. 23. Is. Ixvi. 23.
; Ezek. xlvi. 1, and Amos viii. 5, that it was customary for the pious Israelites, at the new moons, to repair to the prophets, and public teachers, to hear the word of God. Nay, it would appear that some kind of entertainment was held by the king at least on that day; for Da
; vid, when conversing with Jonathan about Saul's hatred of him, says, that the next day was the new moon, when he ought to sit with the king at meat,” and Jonathan speaks of David's being missed at that time. Thus
· Numb. xxviii, 12, 13.
b Ib. xxviii, 14.
с Ib, xxviii, 15.