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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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νεομηνια , new moon, Colossians 2:16 , a Greek word, signifying the first day of the moon or month. The Hebrews had a particular veneration for the first day of every month; and Moses appointed peculiar sacrifices for the day, Numbers 28:11-12; but he gave no orders that it should be kept as a holy day, nor can it be proved that the ancients observed it so: it was a festival of merely voluntary devotion. It appears that even from the time of Saul they made, on this day, a sort of family entertainment, since David ought then to have been at the king's table; and Saul took his absence amiss, 1 Samuel 20:5; 1 Samuel 20:18 . Moses insinuates that, beside the national sacrifices then regularly offered, every private person had his particular sacrifices of devotion, Numbers 10:10 . The beginning of the month was proclaimed by sound of trumpet, at the offering of the solemn sacrifices. But the most celebrated nemine was that at the beginning of the civil year, or first day of the month Tizri, Leviticus 23:24 . This was a sacred day, on which no servile labour was performed; on this they offered public or national burnt-sacrifices, and sounded the trumpets in the temple. In the kingdom of the ten tribes, the serious among the people used to assemble at the houses of the prophets, to hear their instructions. The Shunamite, who entertained Elisha, proposing to visit that prophet, her husband said to her, "Why do you go to-day, since it is neither Sabbath nor new moon?" 2 Kings 4:23 . Isaiah declares that the Lord abhors the new moons, the Sabbaths, and other days of festival and assembly of those Jews who in other things neglected his laws, Isaiah 1:13-14 . Ezekiel says that the burnt-offerings offered on the day of the new moon were provided at the king's expense, and that on this day was to be opened the eastern gate of the court of the priests, Ezekiel 45:17; Ezekiel 46:1-2; 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 8:13 . Judith kept no fast on festival days, or on the new moon, Jdt_8:6 . The modern Jews keep the nemine only as a feast of devotion, to be observed or not at pleasure. They think it rather belongs to the women than to the men. The women forbear work, and indulge a little more on this day than on others. In the prayers of the synagogue, they read from Psalm 113, to 118. They bring forth the roll of the law and read therein to four persons. They call to remembrance the sacrifice that on this day used to be offered in the temple. On the evening of the Sabbath which follows the new moon, or some other evening following, when the new moon first appears, they assemble and pray to God, as the Creator of the planets, and the restorer of the new moon; raising themselves toward heaven, they entreat of God to be preserved from misfortune; then, after mentioning David, they salute each other, and separate. See MOON .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Neomenia'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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