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years of their kings. 5. The beginning of the Babylonish captivity (d). 6. The rebuilding of the temple after their return from captivity. In process of time they had other epochas, as the times of Alexander the Great, and of the monarchies that sprung up out of the ruins of his empire. Ever since the compiling of the thalmud, the Jews have reckoned their years from the creation of the world. . The year was by them divided into a holy or ecclesiastical, and a civil year. The first began in the month of Nisan (e) or Abib, which anIwers to part of our March or April, because this was the time of the year when the children of Israel came out of Egypt. From this also they reckoned their feasts. The second began in'the month Tisri, about the middle of our September, because there was an ancient tradition among them that the world was created about that time. All contracts were dated and the Jubilees counted according to this year. It would be little to our purpose to give an account of the (*) folar and lunar years of the Jews, or of their way of intercalating (+). This is a very obscure and intricate point, about which neither the Jews themselves, nor the most learned Christian writers are agreed. Of their months. ..
the The Jewish year consisted of twelve months, unless
Se it happened to be intercalary, for then it had thirteen. The ancient Hebrews were wont to regulate their months by the course of the sun, and each of them had 30 days. But after their deliverance out of Egypt, they made use of lunar months, which were sometimes of thirty, and at other times of twenty-nine days. The time of the newmoon was formerly discovered by its phasis or first appearance, as it it still at this day by the Caraïtes; but the Rabbinifts or traditionary Jews have recourse to an astronomical calculation to find it out. The names and order of the Jewish months, according to the ecclesiastical computation, are as follows.
Answers to part of
The ist. called (Nisan or Abib.) | | March and April.
April and May.
May and June. The 4th. (Tamus.) ..
June and July The 5th. (Ab or Av.)
July and Auguft. The 6th. (Alul.)
August and September. The 7th. (Tifri.)
| September and O&tober. The 8th. (Marchesvan or Bul.) October and November. The gth. (Cilleu.)
| November and December. The Toth. (Tebbeth.)
December and January. The isth. (Schebbat.)
January and February. The 12th. (Adar.)
| February and March.
The (d) Ezek. xxxiii. 21. xl. 1.
(e) Exod. xii. 1, 2. *) The solar year consisted of 365 days, s hours, and some minutes. The Junar year was of 354 days, 8 hours, and some odd minutes, according to the Jewishi computation.
(*) To intercalate was the adding of a month to the year, between February and March ; which was done, when the coin could not be ripe at the past over, nor the fruits at the pentecost.
· The origin of weeks is of the same standing as the world of weeks. itself (). The Jews had two sorts of them, some consisting * of seven days, and others of seven years. These are called in fcripture weeks of years. At first the Hebrews had no particular name for the days of the week. They were wont to say, the first, the second day of the week, &c. as is evident from several places of the New Testament ($). We learn from the Revelations of St. John (b), that the first day of the week was as early as that time called the Lord's-day, because it was on that day, our blessed Lord rose again from the dead.
There are two sorts of days; the natural, which is the space o of four and twenty hours, from one sun-set to another; the
Of days. other called artificial or civil, consists of twelve hours (i), from the rising to the setting of the sun. The civil day, that is the sun's stay above the Horizon, was by the Jews divided into four parts (k), each of which consisted of three hours, that were longer or ihorter according to the different seasons of the year. The first was from six o'clock in the morning till nine. And therefore they called the third hour (1), what we call nine o'clock, because three hours were past from sun-rising to that time. The second part of the day lasted from nine of the clock till noon. The third from noon till thre!. This they called the ninth hour of the day (in), because it actually was the ninth from the morning. The fourth was from three o'clock till fix in the evening. They gave the name of hour to each of these four parts, as well as to the hours properly so called. Some authors are of opinion, that the four parts of the day were otherwise divided by the Jews. Whether they were, or not, it is of little moment. But it will be very proper here to reconcile St. Mark, who affirms (12), that it was the third hour, when they crucified JESUS CHRIST, with St. John (0), who says that it was about the sixth hour. This may be done several ways. Besides the method which we have followed in our notes on those two evangelists, it may be said that by crucifying, St. Mark did not mean the nailing of CHRIST to the cross, for according to St. Luke (), it was not till the sixth hour, that is, noon, but only all the preparations towards it, after fentence had passed upon him. We must here observe, that in several Greek manuscripts of the gospel according to St. John, the third is read instead of the sixth hour, as we have observed in our note on that place.
The Jews divided also their nights into four parts, which they called watches (*). The ist was named the evening ; the 2d the middle-watch, or midnight; the 3d the cock•crowing, from midnight till three in the morning; the 4th the morning, or, break of day. As the evangelists, in the account which they have given of St. Peter denying our Sa
sixth bourse followed in work did not mean it was not wards
cock-crombin evening; thes, which they called
(f) Gen. ii. 2, 3. viji. 10. xxix. 27, 28. Levit. xxiii. 8.
in this be within a plana
the cor, deny himave told
viour (), often mentioned the cock crowing, and with some feeming contradiction, it will be proper to give a full explanation of this poioi, which could not conveniently be done within the compass of a few short notes. The difficulty lies in this, that Jesus Christ is said in St. Mark (r), to have told Peter that before the cock crowed twice, be would deny him thrice. And indeed, the fame evangelif relares, that the cock crowed after Peter's first denial; and again after he had denied his master the third time. Whereas, according to the rest of the evangeliffs (s), the cock did not crow till Peter had denied CHRIST three times. To solve this difficulty, we have observed in our note ca that place, that as the cock crows at several times, the meaning of St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John is, that before the cock had done crow. ing St. Peter denied his divine master three times. But to be a little more particular upon this point; it is to be observed further, 1. That the cock commonly crows tuice every night, viz. at midnight, and between that and break of day. This second crowing is properly called the cock-crowing. It may therefore be supposed that St. Peter having deoied Jesus CHRIST the first time, about midnight, the cock crowed; and that after he had denied him the third time, the cock crowed again. This explains St. Mark's meaning. As for what is said by the other evangelists, that the cock crowed after Peter had denied him three times, It must be understood of the second crowing, which is properly the cockcrowing. Or else, 2. that word of St. Mark which hath been translated twice, may be rendered the fecond time (t), by which means the whole difficulty will vanish; and after all, it is of no great consequence. We have but one observation more to make concerning the years, and months, &c. of the Hebrews. And that is, that in their language any part of a year, a month, a week, a day, or an hour, is often taken for a whole year, month, week, day, and hour. Which serves to explain what was said by Jesus CHRIST, that he would rise again the third day, as we have observed on Matth. xii. 40. Of festivals.
Festivals are solemn days set apart for the honour and ate service of God, either in remembrance of some special mer. cies which have been received from his bountiful hand, or in memory of some punilhments which he hath inflicted on mankind, or else to turn away those which hang over their heads. Those of the first kind were attended with rejoicings, feastings, hymns, concerts of musick, euchariftical sacrifices, and a joyful and innocent exemption from la. bour (*). Upon which account they were termed fabbaths. Those of the second and third fort, were days of fasting and atonement. We learn from profane history, that the institution of festivals is of a very
:() Matth. xxvi. 69- 75. Mark xiv. 63. 71, 72. Luke xxii. 56-to. on xviii. 27.
(s) Mark xiv. 30. 68, 69. 70, 71.
1+) This diftinguishes the feasts that were instituted by God, from those of the beatlons, which were accompanied with very criininal occupa. cions.
ancient date (u). But the facred writers make no mention of the festivals of the Hebrews, before their coming out of Egypt. It was undoubtedly there the Israelites learned to have a liking and inclination for felivals, as' is evident from their rejoicings when they worshipped the golden calf (w). And it was with a design to turn them from the idolatrous practices that reigned in the heathen festivals, that God, out of a condescension suitable to his wisdom and goodness, appointed some in his own honour, with such ceremonies and circumstances, as distinguished them from the festivals of idolatrous nations (x).
The Jews had several sorts of Feafts, whereof some were more solemn. than others. They were either of divine or human institution. To begin with the first: the most solemn of those that had been established by God, were the pasover, the pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles. These three festivals were to be celebrated every year at Jerusalem, and all the Israelites were obliged to go thither, unless they had very good reasons for absenting themselves. Some lasted but one day, others continued a whole week. The latter had some days less solemn than the rest ; as those, for instance, that were between the first and the last, when the feast lasted seven days. And therefore it is said in St. John (y) that about the middle of the feast of tabernacles Jesus went up into the temple and taught, because he could not do it sooner for the crowd. The holiest days were called the great, or the good days. Accordingly
St. Joho calls the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the great day (2), thac i is, the most folemn as we have rendered it. during these festivals, that
part of the sacrifices which was to be eat, and the shew-bread, was divided among the four and twenty courses of priests. Criminals were also kept till these solemn occasions, that their punilhment might be a terror to others. The Jews however were not willing to put Jesus CHRIST to death during the feast, because they were afraid this would cause some disturbance among the people, who took him for the Messiah,
or at least for a great prophet. Which course soever they took, they · must needs have acted against their consciences; for if he was not an
impostor, as undoubtedly they did not look upon him as one, they ought not to have put him to death, either before, or after the feast. And if he was an impostor, they should have put him to death during the feast, according to the law. Providence ordered it so, that he Tould suffer death at the time he did, because, since as he was the truc paschal lamb, or our paffover, to use St. Paul's expression (a), it was nccessary that he Mhould die at that very juncture of time. As there came up to Jerusalem valt numbers of people at these festivals, the Roman governors were wont to give the Jews a garrison of Roman soldiers, to prevent any feditions, or disturbances among the people (b).
(w) Herodot. l. iii. c. 58. Euseb. præpar. Evang. 1. i. c. 9, 70.
ix) Chryfoftom. T. vi, de Chr. Past. p. 267. Theod. in Deut. Erot. 1. &
(3) Ibid. ver. 37. (a) 1 Cor. v. 7.
16) Matth. xxvii. 65.
Of the passover.
. It is well known that the passover was fo named from
** the angel's palling over the houses of the Israelites, and sparing their first-boro, when those of the Egyptians were put to death (*). The name of pasover was also given to the lamb, that was killed on the first day of this feast (c). Hence these expressions, 19 eat the pasover (d), to sacrifice the pasover (e) : and hence also it is that St. Paui calls Jesus CHRIST OUT PASSOVER (f), that is, our paschal lamb. The pasover was otherwise named the feast of unleavened bread (£), because it was unlawful to eat any other sort of bread, during the seven days the feast lasted (b). This name however more particularly belongs to the second day of the feast, i.e. the fifteenth of the month (?. We have an account of all the ceremonies belonging to the pallover in several places of the pe tateuch. They may be reduced to these three heads. 1. The killing and eating of the pasehal lamb : 2. The eating the unleavened bread : And, 3. Offering up to God the Omer, or band. ful of barley.
The chicf things to be observed with relation to the paschal lambat kid, are as follow. 1. It is to be noted, that on all the feasts (k), and particularly at the passover, there were great numbers of victims llain from among the cat:le, as bulls, and the like (*). The paschal feast be gun by serving up of the flesh of these facrifices, after which the lamb was eaten. The first was what the guells were to fup upon, for the lamb was symbolical, and it was sufficient for any one to eat of it about the bigness of an olive, if they were satisfied before, or in case the lamb was not enough for every one. 2. This lamb was a representation of that which the Israelites had eaten in Egypt, and was called the body of the palover, to distinguish that part of the paschal lamb which was eate? froin what was offered upon the altar : that is, the blood which was sprinkled, and the entrails that were burnt. Jesus Christ manifelly alluded to this expression, when he said of the bread, this is my body; 25 if he had said, this is not the body of the pasi hal lamh, which we have just now eaten, but the body of the true lamb, whereof the other was only a figure. 3. The lamb was killed the fourieenth day of the month Nisan (12), in the evening, or, as the scripture expreffes it, between the tw? evenings (+). Such as could not celebraie the passover on the day appointed, upon the account of some legal unclesuness, or any other indisposition, were obliged to do it the fourteenth day of the next month.
(*) Exod. xii. 12, 13. The Hebre:v verb, from whence the word parrot is derived, doth not only signify to pass from one place to another, but allo to pass over, to spare, to pass without doing any harm; and therefore the frothy have rendered it by a word that signifies to protect..
(c) Ezra vi. 20. Matth. xxvi. 17. (d) Mark xiv. 12. 14. le) , Cor. v. 7. (f) Ibid. (g) Luke xxii. 1. Mark xiv. 12. (b) Exod. xii. 18. Numb. xxviii. 17. Deut. xvi. 8. (ij Lev. xxiii. 6. Mark xiv, 1. Jos. Antiq. I. ili, cap. 10. (k) Deut. xvii. 2 Chron. xxxv. (*) These the Jews termed chagiga, i. e. rejoicing. (m) Exod. xii. 6. Numb. ix. 5. Deut. xvi. 6. Toth. v, 10. (1) That is, from 12 or 1 o'clock, till sun-etting.