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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Feasts. Special thanksgivings and periods of rejoicing. The religious feasts mentioned in Scripture fall under three heads:(A) Those properly connected with the institution of the Sabbath; (B) the historical or great festivals; (C) the day of atonement. (A) Immediately connected with the Sabbath are: 1. The weekly Sabbath itself. 2. The seventh new moon, or feast of trumpets. 3. The sabbatical year. 4. The year of jubilee. (B) The great feasts are—1. The passover. 2. The feast of pentecost, of weeks, of wheat harvest, or of the first-fruits. 3. The feast of tabernacles or of Ingathering. On each of these occasions every male Israelite was commanded to "appear before the Lord," that is, to attend in the court of the tabernacle or the temple, and to make his offering with a joyful heart. Deuteronomy 27:7; Nehemiah 8:9-12. On all the days of holy convocation there was to be an entire suspension of ordinary labor of all kinds, Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 23:21; Leviticus 23:24-25; Leviticus 23:35; but on the intervening days of the longer festivals work might be carried on. The significance of the three great festivals is stated in the account of the Jewish sacred year. Leviticus 23:1-44. The times of the festivals were evidently appointed so as to interfere as little as possible with the industry of the people. The religious festivals preserved the religious faith of the nation and religious unity among the people. They promoted friendly intercourse, distributed information through the country at a time when the transmission of news was slow and imperfect; and imported into remote provincial districts a practical knowledge of all improvements in arts and sciences. After the captivity the feast of purim, Esther 9:20 ff. seq., and that of the dedication, 1 Maccabees 4:56, were instituted. Jesus went up to Jerusalem at the latter feast. John 10:22.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Feasts'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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