Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TT:

i.e. let not this blood shed in our midst be laid to our charge, etc. The object of this transaction was not an atonement. There was here no question of a transgression committed (wa); and the expression denoting the slaughter of the victim is not ona, but any. The blood shed was to be removed from the midst of the people, and this was effected by the symbolical infliction of capital punishment upon the heifer. This was to proceed from the elders, because, according to ch. xix. 12, it was upon them that the duty of inquiring into mortal injuries in general devolved. Here, then, the idea of a pena vicaria applies: satisfaction is to be made to Divine justice by a symbolical infliction of punishment, which thus serves, ver. 8, for a covering of blood-guiltiness to the community in question. The elders, by the act of washing hands, deny, in the name of the community, all participation in the mortal injury which has been done ; perhaps the brook was to carry away also the blood of the heifer. The priests do not in this instance officiate as mediators of atonement, but, ver. 5, merely as witnesses and judicial functionaries.

(1) Compare my article, The Jealousy-Offering, in Herzog's Realencyclop. xis. p. 472 sq. An explanation of this offering, as well as the subsequent practice, is given in the Talmudic treatise Sota, edited, with an ample commentary, by Wagenseil, 1674; compare also Selden, uxor hebraica, iii. chs. 13–15; Lund, jüdische Heiligthümer, p. 701 sq. .

(2) It was, according to ver. 25, taken out of the hand of the woman. The husband necessarily furnished the materials, both because the wife, as such, had no property of her own, and especially because the whole transaction originated with him, and was performed without regard to the consent of the wife.

(3) An offering in a general sense was, however, needed, because, as Bähr, idem, p. 445, quite correctly states it, according to the Mosaic ordinances no one who approached the Lord in His sanctuary for any purpose was to appear empty (Ex. xxiii. 15, xxxiv. 20), i.e. not without an offering. Hence the pre

.

[ocr errors]

sentation of an offering was to precede the drinking of the water of cursing, as an introduction to the whole transaction.

(4) It could not, as Kurtz, id., states, correspond on the one hand with the questionableness of the woman's fame and conduct, and yet be, on the other (p. 395), a symbol of her innocence.

(5) As the nature of an offering was in many cases decided by the external position of the offerer,— by his rank in the theocracy, or the extent of his property,—so in this case also it corresponded with the external condition of a woman to whom the stain of the most grievous accusation was affixed.

(6) Comp. Hos. iii. 2, where barley appears as the food becoming an adulteress. The Jewish explanation goes so far as to say (Sota, ii. 1) that, because the act of the adulteress placed her on a level with the cattle, her offering also must consist of the food of the cattle. In this case, however, the woman would be assumed to be guilty, which is out of the question.

(7) Comp. $ 125, conclusion. According to Keil and Kurtz, it was meant to express that the works of the woman were not animated by the Spirit of God, nor performed in a praying frame of mind. See the Rabbinic explanations in Wagenseil, id. p. 315 sq.

(8) So Onkelos, and Sota, ii. 2 ; while the LXX., on the contrary, translate ödwp katapòv fôv, and thus understand it simply as pure spring water.

(9) During the transaction, time was still given to the woman to confess; a pause is probably to be assumed after ver. 20.

(10) The meaning of the offering (discussed above, note 3) and ver. 26 require that the drinking of the water should take place after the presentation of the offering, and not rice versa (as Sota, iii. 2, while quoting also the opposite view, states); hence ver. 24 must be regarded as an anticipative remark. “And when he hath made her to drink the water,” continues the law, ver. 27, “ if she be defiled, and have committed unfaithfulness against her husband, the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her for pain, so that her belly shall swell and her thigh shall rot, and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean, then she shall be pronounced guiltless, and shall conceive seed.”

[ocr errors]

The man, however, who subjected his wife to these proceedings was in any case, even if she was found innocent, to be guiltless.

(11) The expression Dir is to be referred, as is shown especially by ver. 27, not to the bitter taste, but to the pernicious effects of the water. The Rabbinists, on the contrary, understood the word literally, and disputed whether anything bitter was mingled in the water, or whether it first acquired a bitter taste in the mouth of the adulteress who drank of it.

(12) Keil justly remarks (idem, p. 301) that this water is said to acquire, through the word and power of God, a supernatural power, which, though not to be conceived of as magical, is indeed of so spiritually miraculous a kind as to produce pernicious effects upon the body of the guilty, and to be harmless to the innocent.

(13) For later traditions, see the article quoted, p. 475 sq.

III.-THE SACRED SEASONS.

I. THE SACRED SEASONS IN GENERAL (1).

§ 144.

Survey of the Sacred Seasons and their Designations.

The consecration of the course of time in general was effected by the morning and evening sacrifice, Tom nie (of which we spoke, § 131). Besides this, however, special times were also selected, which, establishing by a regular interchange of labour and rest a rule of natural life corresponding with a need of human nature, offered at the same time a substratum for the communion taking place in worship between God and His people. Such sacred seasons, as appointed in the Pentateuch, were, 1st, The seventh day of the week, or Sabbath ; 2d, The new moons,—the first-born, as it were, among the days of the month. These were of subordinate importance, with the exception of the seventh new moon, which was invested with a festal character, and bore the name of myin di', the Day of Trumpets. 3d, The three festival pilgrimages, when the whole congregation assembled at the sanctuary, viz.: a. the Passover, with which the annual cycle of festivals commenced in spring, celebrated in the first month of the Mosaic year (Ex. xii. 2), on the evening of the 14th Abib or Nisan, with the seven days of unleavened bread, kept from the 15th day of the same month onwards; b. the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), seven weeks later ; c. the Feast of Tabernacles, from the 15th day of the seventh month onwards. 4th, The seventh month Tisri, besides being distinguished, as above remarked, by the festal character of its new moon, included also the Day of

.Lev. xxiii) עֲצֶרֶת In this month the .(יוֹם הַבִּפָּרִים) Atonement

36) (2), which took place on the eighth day, i.e. after the seven days celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (the 22d day of the month), terminated the festal half of the year. 5th, Every seventh year was also sacred as the sabbatical year, and every seventh sabbatical year as the year of jubilee. The laws concerning sacred seasons in general are contained in Ex. xxiii. 10-17, Lev. xxiii. and xxv., Num. xxviii., xxix., and Deut. xvi. In Deuteronomy as well as in Exodus, only the three festival pilgrimages are mentioned; while the sabbatical solemnities (except in the Decalogue, v. 12 sq.) and the new moons are passed over in silence. This circumstance is explained by the consideration that it is in these festival pilgrimages alone that stress is laid upon that oneness of the sanctuary which it is the special object of Deuteronomy in its enactments concerning worship to inculcate (see Deut. xvi. 5-7, 11, 15, 16) (3).

The most general designation of the sacred seasons succeed

signifying an מוֹעֵד-מְוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה ing in their appointed order is

appointed time in general; comp. Num. xxviii. 2. The expression is also used in the superscription, Lev. xxiii. 2, of all holy days, including the Sabbath, on which a holy convocation (van 87??) took place; and therefore, in Ezek. xlvi. 11 (see Hitzig in loco), of the new moons also, for these were, according to prophetic legislation, to be days of holy convocation (Ezek. xlvi. 3, comp. with Isa. lxvi. 23), which they were not as yet in the Pentateuch. More frequently, however, the expression D'ryip is used in a narrower sense, and restricted, to the exclusion of the new moons and Sabbaths, to the days of assembling at the annual festivals (Lev. xxiii. 4; Ezek. xlvi. 9; 2 Chron. viii. 13, xxxi. 3). Still narrower is the meaning of the word an, which is the usual name for the three festival pilgrimages, as the rejoicing festivals of the year. seems to have arisen from the cheerful dances performed at these seasons (see Judg. xxi. 19-21; compare also, in illustration, Ex. xxxii. 5 with ver. 19), the verbal root 337 properly meaning to turn in a circle (4). Hence this word could not be used of the solemn Day of Atonement, which subsequently bore only the name of the Day, K. éĚ. spi, or the Great Day, api

The name

a

.(5) רַבָּא

(1) Compare my article Festivals of the Ancient Hebrews in Herzog's Realencyclop. iv. p. 383 sq.

(2) See farther particulars in § 156, the Feast of Tabernacles.

(3) On other differences in the laws concerning the feasts, see the separate discussions concerning them.

(4) In Arabic, the word becomes the name by which the pilgrimages to Mecca are denoted.

(5) That the expression an is already used, as is frequently asserted, in the Old Testament, k. F. of the Feast of Tabernacles as the greatest of the rejoicing festivals of the year, cannot be inferred with any certainty from 1 Kings viii. 2, Ezek. xlv., 2 Chron. vii. 8, since the references made in these passages to the Feast of Tabernacles naturally arises from the context. Judg. xxi. 19 may, moreover, be understood also of the Passover. Comp. Hengstenberg, Beitr. zur Einl. ins A. T. jj. p. 80.

« AnteriorContinuar »