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224

ANCIENT FESTIVALS.

feasts may therefore be very ancient, although it is not manifest to what periodical festivals Isaiah refers, in the 29th chapter, verse 1', and still less whether the prophet Joel expressly alludes, as Credner believes, to the feast of Tabernacles. The manner, however, in which they were solemnized, the sacrifices that predominated on those occasions, and the other Levitical enactments, were exclusively connected with the locality of Palestine, and must have had their first existence in that country. The autumnal festival was of a simple kind, and was the natural expression of gratitude for the harvest, “ after they had gathered in from the threshing-floor and the wine-press ;" it is however encumbered [in the Pentateuch) with the injunction, that all the people should dwell for seven days in booths? or tabernacles, in remembrance of their wandering in the wilderness; and besides, this injunction is given on Mount Sinai, before their wandering commenced. Yet we read for the first time in Nehemiah that the congregation had made themselves such booths, and he remarks, that “since the days of Joshua unto that day had not the children of Israel done so;" to which we may add that the author

1 “You observe seasons and you celebrate festivals.” (Luther's translation.)Isaiah xxix. 1. Credner on Joel i. 14; ii. 25 :

“ Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord.”—Joel i. 14.

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the eanker-worm, and the caterpiller, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you.”Joel ii. 25.

2 See Deut. xvi. 13, quoted in note (R) in the preceding page.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths : That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”—Lev. xxiii. 42, 43.

3 succoth (booths) Nehemiah viii. 17.

FEAST OF IN-GATHERING.

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of Exodus' must have had in his view that commencement of the year which was adopted after the Exile with the month of Tisri [October], if Credner is right in referring " the feast of in-gathering at the end of the year” to the period of autumn?.

Again the Passover is stated, by a bold fiction (whose anachronisms and contradictions cannot be ascribed, as Jahn proposes, to a transposition in the copying), to have been appointed while the Israelites were yet in Egypt, in order to commemorate their approaching deliverance3. But the Passover is in fact no other than the great Spring festival of the ancient world, known under the names of Huli, Nauruz, Hilaria, Diabateria“, and Pesach (the passage i.e. of the sun). In its celebration the Egyptians were accustomed to sacrifice a ram to Jupiter Ammons; and, independently of them, the ancient Peruvians had the custom of reddening their temples and dwellings, to represent the triumph of the Sun over Winter and the renewal of its power6. The Hebrews might have early acquired a knowledge of this festival from some of the surrounding nations; but, as the celebration was to be wholly confined to the central sanctuary, the impossibility of so celebrating it must be evident?. Indeed, to judge from this rule of centralization, the festival must have been first ordained when the hierarchy had reached the highest point of its power. This supposition is confirmed by the evidence

1 “The feast of in-gathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.”—Exod. xxiii. 16.

? See Credner on Gen. chap. vi.-ix. p. 108.
3 Exod. xii. See De Wette, Kritik, i. 291.
4 Philo iii. 686.
5 Tacitus, Hist. v. 4.
6 Compare Exod. xii. 22. Altes Indien (Ancient India), i. 140.

7 See Hüllmann, Staatsverf. p. 118. VOL. I.

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of authentic history, which specially refers to the Pentateuch. Thus the second book of Kings speaks of a passover under Josiah, “ such as was not holden from the time of the Judges,” that is, according to the provisions of the lawl; whereas the Chronicles on the contrary describe a similar festival under Hezekiah?. Whatever favourable opinion may be entertained of this latter narration, for a confirmation of which it is vain to refer to the passage in Isaiah xxx. 293, it is still evident, from the whole description, that the celebration of the Passover was at that time a perfect novelty in Israel; for Hezekiah found it necessary to take counsel with his princes and the congregation; he had also to summon the whole population to the festival, and he was obliged to consecrate for the occasion new priests (who ought to have been previously in existence in multitudes); and yet, after all, it is stated, that this Passover was not solemnized by many of the people according to the injunctions of the written law 4.

1 “And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah."-2 Kings xxiii. 21, 22.

And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”— 2 Chron. xxxv. 18.

? 2 Chron. Xxx.

3 Movers, p. 295. “Ye shall have a song, as in the night of a holy festival; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the rock of Israel.”—Isaiah xxx. 29. (Luther's translation).

4“For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written.”-2 Chron. xxx. 18.

CHAPTER XIX.

GRADUAL PROGRESS OF THE WORSHIP OF JEHOVAH.

-FRIENDLY RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH AND OF ISRAEL.-INQUIRY WHETHER ANY PROOF THAT MOSES WAS THE WRITER OF THE PENTATEUCH IS AFFORDED BY THE SAMARITAN COPY OF THAT WORK.

The inquiries which have been the subjects of the preceding chapters have led to the following results :—that, from the time of Samuel downwards, the religious system of the Israelites was only perfected by very slow degrees through the continued efforts of prophets, priests, and some individual princes; that the service of Jehovah was only separated by degrees from the idolatrous forms of worship; that the Levitical system arose contemporaneously and slowly under the government of weak kings; but that the festivals were not actually celebrated according to the Levitical enactments until a very late period; and consequently, that the most important laws in the Pentateuch were never observed by the nation down to the time of the Babylonish Exile. Having established the truth of these conclusions, the assertion of our opponents, that reforms were repeatedly effected in accordance with the Mosaic constitution, must fall to the ground; and hence it is a great error in criticism to dwell on the unfavourable circumstances which the Levitical law had to experience

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THE BOOKS OF KINGS.

from its commencement; for the whole course of history is found, on the contrary, to present the strongest evidence of progressive steps in the formation of the Levitical constitution. The books of the Kings never fail to place in the most favourable light the virtues, whatever they were, of those princes who showed zeal in diffusing the worship of Jehovah, and yet in most cases they are compelled openly to admit that these princes did that which was displeasing in the sight of Jehovah. King Jehu was moved, by political hatred towards the house of Ahab, treacherously to murder the priests of Belus, and yet he opposed no obstacle to the worship of Apis'. Jehoash also acted according to Levitical principles, as long as Jehoiada the priest instructed him?. All the Hebrew princes allowed the high places of idolatry to remain, and Hezekiah is the only king of whom it is said that he did everything that was pleasing in the sight of Jehovah3.

There is indeed a well-known passage in the Chronicles, in which Jehoshaphat is represented as sending Levites, with the book of the law in their hands, into all the cities of Judah, in order to instruct the people4; but in this

1 2 Kings x. 20–29.

2 « And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”—2 Kings xii. 2.

3 “ And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.”--2 Kings xviii, 3.

4 “In the third year of his reign he [Jehoshaphat] sent to his princes, even to Ben-hail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nathaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah. and taught the people.”2 Chron. xvii. 7–10.

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