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Moses lived almost forty years after his giving the Israelites these institutions. Now if all this while three hundred and sixty days had been computed to be a year, it is evident, that the feasts of the law would by this time have gone backwards almost two hundred and ten days, from what was the real season of the year, at which they were at first appointed; for forty times five days and almost a quarter of a day amount to near that number. But we find that, when the Israelites came into Canaan, and were to keep the passover there on the fourteenth day of the month Abib,1 the corn was ripe in the fields."1 Jordan then overflowed all its banks, for which it was annually remarkable all the time of harvest $" so that the passover, and consequently the other feasts fell this year about' the times, when Moses at first stated them. Therefore the Israelites must have had some method to adjust their computed year to the true measure of a real one; otherwise the observation
1 Josh. v. 10. "Ibid. See book xii.
"Josh. iii. 15. 4
of their set festivals would have remark* ably varied from their true seasons in a fevr years.
By what particular method the ancient Israelites regulated their year in this manner, may perhaps be difficult to be ascertained. However, I shall endeavour to offer, what I think may be gathered from somehints in Moses9 institutions relating to this matter.
Moses, in order to calculate and regulate the sacred festivals, directed the Israelites to observe the month Abib;* which was to be unto them the beginning of months, that is, the first month of the year.' On the fourteenth day of this month.at even, they were to kill and eat the passovcr.q The day after, or the fifteenth was the first day of unleavened bread,' and, which ought to be particularly remarked, the first day of unleavened bread was always to fall upon a sabbath; which I think is hinted inLevit. xxiii. 11. The wavesheaf was to be waved on the morrow after a
• Dcut. xvi. 1. * Exodus xii. 2.
* Ibid. C—8. Lcvit xxiii. 5. r Ver. 6.
Sabbath; • but the wave-sheaf was thus offered on the second day of unleavened bread;< and consequently, if that day was the morrow after a Sabbath, then the day preceding or first day of unleavened bread was a Sabbath. If this point be rightly stated, it should be remembered, that the Sabbaths in this first month will fall thus; the first day a Sabbath, the eighth day a Sabbath, the fifteenth a Sabbath, the twentysecond a Sabbath, and the twenty-ninth a Sabbath. A month was ordinarily computed to be thirty days, neither more nor less." . Accordingly, if we go through the second month, the Sabbaths in it must be thus: the sixth day a Sabbath, the thirteenth a Sabbath, the twentieth a Sabbath,
• Ver 11. The Hebrew-words are, ratmmnooi. e. crastino sabbati, on the day after the Sabbath.
'Joseph. Antiq. lib. 3. ubi. sup.
• Moses thus computes the months in his account of the Flood. From the seventeenth day of the second month, to the seventeenth day of the seventh month; for five whole months he reckons one hundred and fifty days, Gen. vii. 11. 24. viii. 3, 4. which is exactly thirty days to each month; for five times thirty days are one hundred and fifty.
and the twenty-seventh a Sabbath." In the third month the Sabbaths will fall thus: the
• Scalier intimates that the twenty-second day of this second month was a Sabbath. Lib. dc Emcndat. Temp. p. 153, which if true, would overthrow the order of the Sabbaths I am offering. But, 1. If the twenty-second of this month had been a Sabbath, then the fifteenth must have been a Sabbath also; and the people would have rested in their tents upon it, Exod. xvi. SO. But the fifteenth was a day of travel; the f»raelite« took their journey from Elim unto the wilderness of Sin, on the fifteenth flay of the second month, Exod. xvi. 1. so that this day was not a Sabbath, and consequently neither was the twenty-second. 2. Scaler's opinion is founded upon an imagination that tho quails were given in the very evening, and the manna on the morning after the Israelites came into this wilderness. If this were the fact, the Israelites gathering manna for six successive days, before Mosca observed to them that to-morrow is the Sabbath, (See ver. 22, 23.) would indeed suggest that the Sabbath fell on the twenty-second. But how improbable is it that the Israelites should have fixed their camp, explored the country, found that they could not be supported in h, mutinied, obtained a miracidous supply from God; and all this in the remaining part of a day almost spent in travel? A supply given thus instantaneously would hardly hare been known to be a miracle. Thry could
fourth day a Sabbath: and the day after this Sabbath was the day of Pentecost, or the fiftieth day from the day of the bringing the sheaf of the wave-offering;T for from the day of waving it, on the day after a Sabbath, they were to count seven Sabbaths complete; unto the day after the seventh
not so soon have judged enough of the country they were in, to determine whether it might not be the natural produce of it. In the wilderness of Shut they travelled three days before they oame to high complaints for want of water, Exod. xv. 92. In like manner they came into the wilderness of Sin, on the fifteenth day of the month, on a second day of the week. In about four days they had eaten up all that could be provided for them; and found absolutely that the land they were in could not support them. In this extremity they were ready to mutiny; on the fifth day, the twentieth day of the month, and the seventh day of the week at even, Moses obtained the quails for them, and on the next morning the manna. They gathered manna for six days, and then the Sabbath was on the twenty-seventh. In this way of computing, we allow the affairs transacted a necessary space of time; which will fix the Sabbaths to the days I have supposed to belong to them.
y Levitic. xxiii. 15.