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 The first instance on record is thirty-three years after they had withdrawn from themselves the divine protection by imbruing their hands in the Saviour's blood, when Cestius, the Roman general, slew fifty of the people of Lydda while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.)
Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. read more. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him. All the people answered together, and said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever." Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Moses, "Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready against the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai. You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, 'Be careful that you don't go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain." Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. He said to the people, "Be ready by the third day. Don't have sexual relations with a woman." It happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain. Mount Sinai, all it, smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Yahweh said to Moses, "Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Yahweh to gaze, and many of them perish. Let the priests also, who come near to Yahweh, sanctify themselves, lest Yahweh break forth on them." Moses said to Yahweh, "The people can't come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, 'Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.'" Yahweh said to him, "Go down and you shall bring Aaron up with you, but don't let the priests and the people break through to come up to Yahweh, lest he break forth on them." So Moses went down to the people, and told them.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, read more. but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.
"For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In the same way, you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.
"You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually.
"Now this is that which you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day continually. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning; and the other lamb you shall offer at evening: read more. and with the one lamb a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of beaten oil, and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink offering. The other lamb you shall offer at evening, and shall do to it according to the meal offering of the morning, and according to its drink offering, for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh. It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the Tent of Meeting before Yahweh, where I will meet with you, to speak there to you.
Aaron shall burn incense of sweet spices on it every morning. When he tends the lamps, he shall burn it. When Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations. read more. You shall offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt offering, nor meal offering; and you shall pour no drink offering on it.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh, the God of Israel. For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land when you go up to appear before Yahweh, your God, three times in the year.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Command Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the law of the burnt offering: the burnt offering shall be on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. read more. The priest shall put on his linen garment, and he shall put on his linen breeches upon his body; and he shall remove the ashes from where the fire has consumed the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. He shall take off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not go out; and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning: and he shall lay the burnt offering in order upon it, and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out. "'This is the law of the meal offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before Yahweh, before the altar. He shall take from there his handful of the fine flour of the meal offering, and of its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the meal offering, and shall burn it on the altar for a pleasant aroma, as its memorial, to Yahweh. That which is left of it Aaron and his sons shall eat. It shall be eaten without yeast in a holy place. They shall eat it in the court of the Tent of Meeting It shall not be baked with yeast. I have given it as their portion of my offerings made by fire. It is most holy, as the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. Every male among the children of Aaron shall eat of it, as their portion forever throughout your generations, from the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. Whoever touches them shall be holy.'" Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer to Yahweh in the day when he is anointed: the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering perpetually, half of it in the morning, and half of it in the evening. It shall be made with oil in a griddle. When it is soaked, you shall bring it in. You shall offer the meal offering in baked pieces for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh. The anointed priest that will be in his place from among his sons shall offer it. By a statute forever, it shall be wholly burnt to Yahweh. Every meal offering of a priest shall be wholly burned. It shall not be eaten."
Yahweh spoke to Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before Yahweh, and died;
"This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel once in the year because of all their sins." It was done as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'The set feasts of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my set feasts. read more. "'Six days shall work be done: but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no kind of work. It is a Sabbath to Yahweh in all your dwellings.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "However on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. read more. You shall do no kind of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before Yahweh your God. For whoever it is who shall not deny himself in that same day; shall be cut off from his people. Whoever it is who does any kind of work in that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no kind of work: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall deny yourselves. In the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall keep your Sabbath."
"Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to Yahweh. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruits; read more. but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Command the children of Israel, and tell them, 'My offering, my food for my offerings made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to me, you shall observe to offer to me in their due season.' read more. You shall tell them, 'This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to Yahweh: male lambs a year old without blemish, two day by day, for a continual burnt offering. You shall offer the one lamb in the morning, and you shall offer the other lamb at evening; with the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with the fourth part of a hin of beaten oil. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in Mount Sinai for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh. Its drink offering shall be the fourth part of a hin for the one lamb. You shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to Yahweh in the holy place. The other lamb you shall offer at evening: as the meal offering of the morning, and as the drink offering of it, you shall offer it, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
"'In the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering to Yahweh: two young bulls, and one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; and three tenth parts [of an ephah] of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with oil, for each bull; and two tenth parts of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram; read more. and a tenth part of fine flour mixed with oil for a meal offering to every lamb; for a burnt offering of a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh. Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, and the third part of a hin for the ram, and the fourth part of a hin for a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. One male goat for a sin offering to Yahweh; it shall be offered besides the continual burnt offering, and the drink offering of it.
"'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets to you. You shall offer a burnt offering for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; read more. and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for the bull, two tenth parts for the ram, and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs; and one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you; besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and the meal offering of it, and the continual burnt offering and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh. "'On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; and you shall afflict your souls: you shall do no kind of work; but you shall offer a burnt offering to Yahweh for a pleasant aroma: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; they shall be to you without blemish; and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for the bull, two tenth parts for the one ram, a tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs: one male goat for a sin offering; besides the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings.
and you shall sacrifice peace offerings, and shall eat there; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God.
Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, "This day is holy to Yahweh your God. Don't mourn, nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Don't be grieved; for the joy of Yahweh is your strength." read more. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, "Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be grieved." All the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared to 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 this became known to the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. read more. Therefore they called these days "Purim," from the word "Pur." Therefore because of all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and that which had come to them, the Jews established, and imposed on themselves, and on their descendants, and on all those who joined themselves to them, so that it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to what was written, and according to its 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 fail from among the Jews, nor the memory of them perish from their seed. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim. He sent letters to all the Jews, to the hundred twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had decreed, and as they had imposed upon themselves and their descendants, in the matter of the fastings and their cry. The commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover.
After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.