Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

Posted by Chris on July 26, 2008

This is part of a series. See the description and introduction and glossary.

The Feast of Trumpets is not very well-known by that name but that many people could identify the modern name, Rosh Hashanah, as a contemporary Jewish holy day—in fact, as the Jewish New Year’s Day.
It occurs on the first day of the 7th Hebrew month, Ethanim, which is also known as Tishrei. Why have the New Year in the 7th month? Here’s the brief Wikipedia explanation: “[It] is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar.” So again, it is important to understand that the Hebrew understanding of time differed from our own.

Ethanim is the holiest month on the Hebrew calendar, with three of the six major holidays occurring. See timeline.

Very little is said in the Old Testament about this Feast, with references in only two short passages. It stands out because of the Lord’s commands to commemorate it with trumpet blasts.

Characteristics of the Feast

  • On first day of 7th month (Lev 23:24, Num 29:1)
  • Have a sacred assembly with trumpet blasts (Lev 23:24, Num 29:1)
  • Do no work (Lev 23:24-25, Num 29:1)

What to offer

  • Regular monthly and daily ofg’s
  • Burnt: (with regular grain ofg) 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 male lambs
  • Sin: 1 male goat

The significance or place of this holy feast within the greater focus of the Israelite religion is not explicitly stated in the Bible. My first impression is that the Feast served as a preparation for the other two festivals celebrated that month. Several commentaries said similar things. I will also quote from John Gill who shares some of the theories offered by Jewish historians.

What this blowing of trumpets was a memorial of is not easy to say; some think it was in memory of the wars the people of Israel had with their enemies the Amalekites and Canaanites, and the victories they obtained over them, and particularly in remembrance of the walls of Jericho falling down at the sound of rams’ horns; but then it must be by anticipation: it is more commonly received with the Jews that it was on the account of the binding of Isaac on this day, being delivered through a ram being sacrificed in his stead; and on this account it is said, that the trumpets blown on this day were made of rams horns, and no other might be used.


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