Reference: Festivals, Religious
(1.) The septenary festivals were,
(2.) The great feasts were,
(a) The Passover. (b) The feast of Pentecost, or of weeks. (c) The feast of Tabernacles, or of ingathering.
On each of these occasions every male Israelite was commanded "to appear before the Lord" (De 27:7; Ne 8:9-12). The attendance of women was voluntary. (Comp. Lu 2:41; 1Sa 1:7; 2:19.) The promise that God would protect their homes (Ex 34:23-24) while all the males were absent in Jerusalem at these feasts was always fulfilled. "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 The first instance on record is thirty-three years after they had withdrawn from themselves the divine protection by imbruing their hands in the Saviour's blood, when Cestius, the Roman general, slew fifty of the people of Lydda while all the rest had gone up to the feast of Tabernacles, A.D. 66."
These festivals, besides their religious purpose, had an important bearing on the maintenance among the people of the feeling of a national unity. The times fixed for their observance were arranged so as to interfere as little as possible with the industry of the people. The Passover was kept just before the harvest commenced, Pentecost at the conclusion of the corn harvest and before the vintage, the feast of Tabernacles after all the fruits of the ground had been gathered in.
Of the post-Exilian festivals reference is made to the feast of Dedication (Joh 10:22). This feast was appointed by Judas Maccabaeus in commemoration of the purification of the temple after it had been polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes. The "feast of Purim" (q.v.), Es 9:24-32, was also instituted after the Exile. (Cf. Joh 5:1.)
And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. read more. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready by the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And you shall set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready by the third day: come not near your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lower part of the mount. And mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke of it ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, who come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for you charged us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. And the LORD said unto him, Away, get down, and then you shall come up, you, and Aaron with you: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them. So Moses went down unto the people, and spoke unto them.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: read more. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
And six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in the fruits of it: But the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie still; that the poor of your people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard, and with your oliveyard.
And you shall command the children of Israel, that they bring you pure beaten olive oil for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually.
Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning; and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening: read more. And with the one lamb a tenth measure of flour mingled with the fourth part of a hin of beaten olive oil; and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb you shall offer at evening, and shall do to it according to the grain offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto you.
And Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning: when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. read more. You shall offer no unholy incense on it, nor burnt sacrifice, nor grain offering; neither shall you pour a drink offering on it.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
Three times in the year shall all your male children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you, and enlarge your borders: neither shall any man desire your land, when you shall go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning on it. read more. And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire has consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes outside the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning on it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. And this is the law of the grain offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar. And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the grain offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the grain offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet aroma, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD. And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of meeting they shall eat it. It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute forever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that touches them shall be holy. And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering perpetually, half of it in the morning, and half of it at night. In a pan it shall be made with oil; and when it is baked, you shall bring it in: and the baked pieces of the grain offering shall you offer for a sweet aroma unto the LORD. And the priest of his sons that are anointed in his stead shall offer it: it is a statute forever unto the LORD; it shall be wholly burnt. For every grain offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died;
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. read more. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work on it: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and you shall humble yourselves, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. read more. And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be humbled in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and you shall humble yourselves: in the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening unto evening, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; read more. But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard. That which grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, neither gather the grapes of your untended vine: for it is a year of rest unto the land. And the sabbath of the land shall be food for you; for you, and for your male and female servants, and for your hired man, and for your stranger that sojourns with you, And for your cattle, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all the increase thereof be food.
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet aroma unto me, shall you observe to offer unto me in their due season. read more. And you shall say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. The one lamb shall you offer in the morning, and the other lamb shall you offer at evening; And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a grain offering, mixed with the fourth part of a hin of beaten olive oil. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet aroma, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of a hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shall you cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering. And the other lamb shall you offer at evening: as the grain offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, you shall offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet aroma unto the LORD.
And in the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; And three-tenths of an ephah of flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for one bullock; and two-tenths of an ephah of flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for one ram; read more. And a tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with oil for a grain offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet aroma, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of a hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of a hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, besides the continual burnt offering, and its drink offering.
And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no regular work: it is unto you a day of blowing the trumpets. And you shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet aroma unto the LORD; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: read more. And their grain offering shall be of flour mixed with oil, three-tenths of an ephah for a bullock, and two-tenths of an ephah for a ram, And one tenth of an ephah for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: Besides the burnt offerings of the month, and their grain offerings, and the daily burnt offering, and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their ordinance, for a sweet aroma, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And you shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month a holy convocation; and you shall humble yourselves: you shall not do any work on it: But you shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD for a sweet aroma; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish: And their grain offering shall be of flour mixed with oil, three-tenths of an ephah to a bullock, and two-tenths of an ephah to one ram, A tenth of an ephah for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: One kid of the goats for a sin offering; besides the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the grain offering of it, and their drink offerings.
And you shall offer peace offerings, and shall eat there, and rejoice before the LORD your God.
And Nehemiah, who is the governor, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet wine, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be you grieved; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. read more. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be you grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked plot, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. read more. Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, The Jews ordained, and took upon themselves, and upon their descendants, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so that it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to what was written, and according to their appointed time every year; And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fall into disuse among the Jews, nor the memory of them perish from their descendants. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter about Purim. And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their descendants, concerning the matters of the fastings and their lamentations. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.