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abstinence may be observed among idolaters, especially the Egyptians : and their priests wore nothing but linen, and shoes made of the plant papyrus, that gives name to paper, that they might not have any thing about them that came from dead beasts, and tended to corruption. The Israelitish priests officiated barefoot, but with linen garments on. They were forbidden to wear any woollen, and put off those sacred vestments when they came out of their court to go into that of the people.' The priests and all the Levites led a pastoral life, (so dear to the patriarchs,) when they were not upon duty, and had no other substance than their flocks : for they were excluded from any share of land, to wean them the more from temporal cares, and give them greater leisure to employ themselves in the affairs of religion. Yet they were wealthy, when the people paid them justly what was ordered by the law; for, though there were fewer of that tribe” than of any else, they had tithe of all fruits gathered by the other twelve, and consequently their share was the largest. They had besides the firstlings of all animals, without reckoning their own cattle; and the daily offerings, on which the priests lived when they served at the altar.
I do not perceive that they were excluded from any civil office: they bore arms like other men, and the priests sounded the trumpet in the army, and upon all other occasions ;" for they made use of silver trumpets to proclaim the feasts, and call the people to public prayers ; and the name of Jubilee is derived from a ram's horn, which was sounded to give notice of the opening of this festival.The antient monks of Egypt observed the custom of blowing a trumpet at the hours of prayer; for the use of bells is more modern.
y Ezek. xliv. 17.
About a thirtieth of the whole. Nearly a twenty-seventh part, Numb. i. 32. iii. 43.; and one thirty-second in 1 Sam. xxiv. 9. 1 Chron. xxiii. 3.-E. F.
The feasts of the Israelites were the Sabbath ; the first day of each month, called in our translations calends, or new-moon ; the three great feasts of the passover, pentecost and tabernacles, instituted in memory of the three greatest blessings they received froin God, the coming out of Egypt, the promulgation of the law, and their settlement in the Promised Land, after their journeying in the wilderness, where they had so long lodged under tents. These great solemnities lasted seven
2 Chron. xiii. 12. • Numb. X. Joseph. Ant. iii. 12. Lev. xxv. 9. Jubilee, in Hebrew bor yobel, comes, according to some, from s' yabal, to bring, or carry along. There is no evidence that it ever sig. nifies a ram's horn, though translated so in a few places of our English version : but none of the antient versions acknowledge this sense of the word, except the Chaldee. Josephus says it signifies liberty, aneu beplar de qualvel TOUVOLA, Ant. lib. iii. c. 10. p. 96. Edit. Colon. 1691. What authority he had for this in. terpretation of the word I know not : but it is full as likely as the Rabbinical definition ram's horn, which is now commonly imposed upon it. Calmet derives it from brain hobeel, to cause to bring back, or recal, because estates, &c. which had been alienated, were then brought back to their primitive owners. This appears to be the true derivation of the word.
• Lev. xxiii.
days, probably in memory of the week of the creation.
Their year consisted of twelve months, each of thirty days," very little different from our's. Thus we find it regulated from Noah's time, as appears by the date of the deluge : but it is thought it began then at the auiumnal equinox. Moses was ordered to begin it in spring, in the month Abib, which was that of the passover ;' and it is with respect to the first month that the others are reckoned, which are only named from their number. They agree very nearly with our Roman months, the names of which come from the old year that began in the month of March. Thus the eighth month was October, at least part of it; the ninth happened in November; and so on. They computed their month by the moon, at least in later times ; not astronomically, but according to its appearance, from the day that they, whose business it was, had declared the new moon, which was the day after it appeared.
The feasts of the Israelites were true feasts, that is to say, times of real joy. All the men were obliged to be at Jerusalem at the great feasts of the the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles; and the women were permitted to come too. The concourse was then very great; the people dressed and adorned themselves in their best clothes. They
• In Gen. vii. 11. compare with viii. 3, 4, we see one hundred and fifty days are equal to five months.
Exod. xiii. 4.
had the pleasure of seeing all their friends and relations : they assisted at the prayers and sacrifices, which were always accompanied with music : after that followed the feasts, in which they ate the peace-offeriugs in this magnificent temple. The law itself commanded them to rejoice, and join sensible mirth to spiritual.
We must not wonder, therefore, if it was agreeable news to hear that a feast was nigh, and that they were soon to go to the house of the LORD; that they esteemed those happy that spent their life there;' that they went thither in great troops, singing and playing on instruments; and that, on the contrary, they thought themselves unhappy when they could not be there, which David so often laments in his exile. 8
Their Fasts and Vows.
FASTING days were quite the reverse of festivals. Upon those they did all that I have related in speaking of mourning: for fasting and mourning with them were the same thing. It did not
Psalm cxxii. 1. Ixxxiv. 1, &c. : Psalm xlii. 4. xliii. 3, 4.
consist therefore only in eating later, but being afflicted in all respects. They spent the whole day without eating or drinking till night." Thus the Jews still fast, and the Mohammedans, who herein imitate both them and the primitive Christians." They observed a strict silence, put on sackcloth and ashes, and expressed every other sign of affliction. The public fasts were proclaimed by sound of trumpet, as well as the feasts :o all the people at Jerusalem met together in the temple, and at other places in the public square ; they read lessons out of the law; and the most venerable old men exhorted the people to confess their sins, and repent of them. They never married upon those days; such as were already married separated themselves from their wives.
The law had appointed but one fast day, the tenth of the seventh month, which was the feast of atonement :d but from the time of the prophet Zechariah they reckoned three more; one in the fourth month, one in the fifth, and another in the tenth. They had extraordinary fasts ; some in public calamities, as the dearth which Joel speaks of; others upon particular misfortunes, as David's fast for the sickness of his child that was the offspring of his great crime,' for the death of Abner,
* Isaiah lviii. 5.
" See an enumeration of the fasts of the Hindoos and Mohammedans, Appendix, No. IV. o i Kiogs xxi. 12. Joel ü. 15, 16, &c. Lev. xvi. 29, &c.
Zech. vii. 19. 2 Sam. xii. 16.
5 2 Sam. iii. 31. !