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  • THE TEMPLE - CH. 15 - C

    * In opposition to this, Luther annotates as follows: 'They were to blow with the horn in order to call God and His wondrous works to remembrance; how He had redeemed them--as it were to preach about it, and to thank Him for it, just as among us Christ and His redemption is remembered and preached by the Gospel'; to which the Weimar Glossary adds: 'Instead of the horn and trumpets we have bells.' See Lundius, Jud. Heiligth. p. 1024, col. ii. Buxtorf applies Amos 3:16 to the blowing of the horn.

    New Year's Day in Jerusalem

    During the whole of New Year's Day, trumpets and horns were blown in Jerusalem from morning to evening. In the Temple it was done, even on a Sabbath, but not outside its walls. Since the destruction of Jerusalem this restriction has been removed, and the horn is blown in every synagogue, even though the feast fall upon a Sabbath. It has already been hinted that the instruments used were not the ordinary priests' trumpets, but horns. The Mishnah holds that any kind of horns may be blown except those of oxen or calves, in order not to remind God of the sin of the golden calf! The Mishnah, however, specially mentions the straight horn of the antelope and the bent horn of the ram; the latter with special allusion to the sacrifice in substitution of Isaac, it being a tradition that New Year's Day was that in which Abraham, despite Satan's wiles to prevent or retard him, had offered up his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. The mouthpiece of the horns for New Year's Day were fitted with gold--those used on fast days with silver. Another distinction was this--on New Year's Day those who blew the horn were placed between others who blew the trumpets, and the sound of the horn was prolonged beyond that of the trumpets; but on fast days those who sounded the trumpets stood in the middle, and their blast was prolonged beyond that of the horn. For the proper observance of these solemn seasons, it was deemed necessary not only to hear but to listen to the sound of the horns, since, as the Mishnah adds, everything depends on the intent of the heart, not on the mere outward deed, just as it was not Moses lifting up his hands that gave Israel the victory, nor yet the lifting up of the brazen serpent which healed, but the upturning of the heart of Israel to 'their Father who is in heaven'--or faith (Rosh ha Sh. iii. 8). We quote the remark, not only as one of the comparatively few passages in the Mishnah which turn on the essence of religion, but as giving an insight into the most ancient views of the Rabbis on these types, and as reminding us of the memorable teaching of our Lord to one of those very Rabbis (John 3:14,15).

    The New Year's Blessings

    The Mishnah (Rosh ha Sh. iv. 5, etc.) mentions various 'Berachoth' or 'benedictions' as having been repeated on New Year's Day. These, with many others of later date, still form part of the liturgy in the synagogue for that day. But there is internal evidence that the prayers, at any rate in their present form, could not have been used, at least, in the Temple. *

    * From the text of Rosh ha Sh. iv. 7, it distinctly appears that they were intended to be used in the synagogues. Of course, this leaves the question open, whether or not something like them was also said in the Temple. The Mishnah mentions altogether nine of these 'benedictions.'

    Besides, the Rabbis themselves differ as to their exact amount and contents, and finally satisfy themselves by indicating that the titles of these benedictions are rather intended as headings, to show their contents, and what special direction their prayers had taken. One set of them bore on 'the kingdom' of God, and is accordingly called Malchiyoth; another, the Sichronoth, referred to the various kinds of 'remembrance' on the part of God; while a third, called Shopharoth, consisted of benedictions, connected with the 'blowing of the horn.' It is said that any one who simply repeated ten passages from Scripture--according to another authority, three--bearing on 'the kingdom of God,' 'the remembrance of God,' and 'the blowing of horns,' had fulfilled his duty in regard to these 'benedictions.'

    The First Day of the Seventh Month

    From Scripture we know with what solemnity the first day of the seventh month as observed at the time of Ezra, and how deeply moved the people were by the public reading and explanation of the law, which to so many of them came like a strange sound, all the more solemn, that after so long a period they heard it again on that soil which, as it were, bore witness to its truth (Neh 8:1-12). In the New Testament there is no reference to our Lord having ever attended this feast in Jerusalem. Nor was this necessary, as it was equally celebrated in all the synagogues of Israel. *

    * But in the synagogues out of Jerusalem, the horn, not trumpets, was blown on New Year's Day.

    Yet there seems some allusion to the blowing of the horn in the writings of St. Paul. We have already stated that, according to Maimonides (Moreh Nev. iii. c. 43), one of its main purposes was to rouse men to repentance. In fact, the commentator of Maimonides makes use of the following words to denote the meaning of the blowing of trumpets: 'Rouse ye, rouse ye from your slumber; awake, awake from your sleep, you who mind vanity, for slumber most heavy has fallen upon you. Take it to heart, before Whom you are to give an account in the judgment.' May not some such formula also have been anciently used in the synagogue; and may not the remembrance of it have been present to the mind of the apostle, when he wrote (Eph 5:14): 'Wherefore it is said, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light'! If so, we may possibly find an allusion to the appearance of the new moon, specially to that of the seventh month, in these words of one of the preceding verses (Eph 5:8): 'For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light'!


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