Friday, August 29, 2014

Reverence and Solemnity: Essential Aspects of Biblical Worship, part 3 of 8

III. Where Does Scripture Speak of Solemnity?

            The relevant texts[1] in the King James Bible on solemn worship are found in several groups.  The first[2] refers to the public gathering for worship as a “solemn assembly”:
Lev. 23:36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
Num. 29:35 On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein:
Deut. 16:8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.
2Kings 10:20 And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it.
2Chr. 7:9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
Neh. 8:18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
Is. 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Joel 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Amos 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
The second[3] refers to “solemn feasts,” “solemn assemblies,” or specific gatherings for worship as “solemnities”:
Num. 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Num. 15:3 And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:
Deut. 31:10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
2Chr. 2:4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
2Chr. 8:13 Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
Is. 33:20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
Lam. 1:4 The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.
Lam. 2:6 And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
Lam. 2:7 The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast.
Lam. 2:22 Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD’S anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed.
Ezek. 36:38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezek. 45:17 And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.
Ezek. 46:9 But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.
Ezek. 46:11 And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meat offering shall be an ephah to a bullock, and an ephah to a ram, and to the lambs as he is able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah.
Hos. 2:11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
Hos. 9:5 What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD?
Hos. 12:9 And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.
Zeph. 3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.
The third[4] similarly refers to “solemn feasts” or “solemnit[ies]”:
Deut. 16:15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
Psa. 81:3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
Is. 30:29 Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel.
Nah. 1:15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
Mal. 2:3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
Finally, Psalm 92:1-3 indicates that it is a good thing to praise the Lord, not in public worship only, but also in private, with a “solemn sound”[5]: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.”  A “solemn sound” befits both the public worship of “the Sabbath day” for Israel (Ps 92 title) and the Lord’s Day for the church, and also the individual believer’s worship every morning and night (Ps 92:2).

This entire study can be accessed here.

[1]           In Genesis 43:3 the verb “to protest,” intensified with the infinitive absolute, is rendered “solemnly protest” (·dIoEh d∞EoDh);  the KJV margin reads “protesting protested.”  A similar use appears in 1 Samuel 8:9’s “protest solemnly” (‹dyIoD;t d§EoDh).  These two texts are the only ones other than those referenced below that employ a form of solemn in the KJV.
[2]           The Hebrew noun h∂rDxSo is employed in these verses.  The word occurs in the Hebrew OT in Lev 23:36; Num 29:35; Deut 16:8; 2 Kings 10:20; Is 1:13; Jer 9:1; Joel 1:14; 2:15; Amos 5:21; Neh 8:18; 2 Chr 7:9.  TWOT, pg. 691, supports and provides a possible explanation for the development of the meaning of “solemn, sacred assembly” for h∂rDxSo.
Note also that in 2 Kings 10:20 the assembly Jehu proclaimed for the purpose of exterminating the worshippers of Baal employed the “solemn assembly” language in allusion to the Scripture language employed of the feasts of Jehovah.  On the days of solemn assemblies to the true God work was not to be done, so proclaiming a day of solemn assembly to Baal would give the worshippers of the idol the leisure to attend to Jehu’s command and consequently be exterminated.  To assume that the worship of Baal was genuinely solemn, as the worship of Jehovah truly was, would be an invalid assumption.  However, it is nonetheless true that false worship can have a kind of solemnity to it while rejecting other essential features of true worship—such as, for worshippers of Baal, recognizing the true God as the One who must receive worship.
[3]           The Hebrew noun dEowøm is employed in these verses.  The word occurs in the Hebrew OT in Gen 1:14; 17:21; 18:14; 21:2; Ex 9:5; 13:10; 23:15; 27:21; 28:43; 29:4, 10–11, 30, 32, 42, 44; 30:16, 18, 20, 26, 36; 31:7; 33:7; 34:18; 35:21; 38:8, 30; 39:32, 40; 40:2, 6–7, 12, 22, 24, 26, 29–30, 32, 34–35; Lev 1:1, 3, 5; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4–5, 7, 14, 16, 18; 6:16, 26, 30; 8:3–4, 31, 33, 35; 9:5, 23; 10:7, 9; 12:6; 14:11, 23; 15:14, 29; 16:7, 16–17, 20, 23, 33; 17:4–6, 9; 19:21; 23:2, 4, 37, 44; 24:3; Num 1:1; 2:2, 17; 3:7–8, 25, 38; 4:3–4, 15, 23, 25, 28, 30–31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 47; 6:10, 13, 18; 7:5, 89; 8:9, 15, 19, 22, 24, 26; 9:2–3, 7, 13; 10:3, 10; 11:16; 12:4; 14:10; 15:3; 16:2, 18–19, 42–43, 50; 17:4; 18:4, 6, 21–23, 31; 19:4; 20:6; 25:6; 27:2; 28:2; 29:39; 31:54; Deut 16:6; 31:10, 14; Josh 8:14; 18:1; 19:51; Jud 20:38; 1 Sam 2:22; 9:24; 13:8, 11; 20:35; 2 Sam 20:5; 24:15; 1 Kings 8:4; 2 Kings 4:16–17; Is 1:14; 14:13; 33:20; Jer 8:7; 46:17; Eze 36:38; 44:24; 45:17; 46:9, 11; Hos 2:9, 11; 9:5; 12:9; Hab 2:3; Zech 3:18; Zech 8:19; Ps 74:4, 8; 75:2; 102:13; 104:19; Job 30:23; Lam 1:4, 15; 2:6–7, 22; Dan 8:19; 11:27, 29, 35; 12:7; Ezra 3:5; Neh 10:33; 1 Chr 6:32; 9:21; 23:31–32; 2 Chr 1:3, 6, 13; 2:4; 5:5; 8:13; 30:22; 31:3.
Note the rendering of dEowøm in various texts in the Vulgate;  e. g., in 2 Chr 2:4 the “solemn feasts of the LORD our God” is rendered as solemnitatibus Domini Dei nostri, in Is 33:20 “the city of our solemnities” is civitatem solemnitatis nostræ, in Lam 1:4, “solemn feasts” is solemnitatem; in Lam 2:7 “solemn feast” is solemni; in Eze 36:38 “solemn feasts” is solemnitatibus; in Eze 45:17, “solemnities of the house of Israel” is solemnitatibus domus Israël;  see also Eze 46:9, 11, Hos 9:5, etc.
Note also that dEowøm, because of its fundamental meaning of “appointed time, place, or meeting” (BDB) and its derivation from dAoDy, “to appoint,” supports the Regulative Principle of worship, namely, that whatever is not commanded in Scriptural worship is forbidden.  See for further information on the Regulative Principle as a crucial Biblical teaching.
[4]           Deut 16:15 employs the verb gÅgDj, while Ps 81:3; Is 30:29; Nah 1:15; Mal 2:3 employ the noun gAj.  The verb occurs in the Hebrew OT in Ex 5:1; 12:14; 23:14; Lev 23:39, 41; Num 29:12; Deut 16:15; 1 Sam 30:16; Nah 1:15; Zech 14:16, 18–19; Ps 42:4; 107:27.  The noun occurs in the Hebrew OT in Ex 10:9; 12:14; 13:6; 23:15–16, 18; 32:5; 34:18, 22, 25; Lev 23:6, 34, 39, 41; Num 28:17; 29:12; Deut 16:10, 13–14, 16; 31:10; Jud 21:19; 1 Kings 8:2, 65; 12:32–33; Is 29:1; 30:29; Eze 45:17, 21, 23, 25; 46:11; Hos 2:11; 9:5; Amos 5:21; 8:10; Nah 1:15; Zech 14:16, 18–19; Mal 2:3; Ps 81:3; 118:27; Ezra 3:4; 6:22; Neh 8:14, 18; 2 Chr 5:3; 7:8–9; 8:13; 30:13, 21; 35:17. The Latin Vulgate renders gAj as “solemnity,” solemnitas, in texts such as 2 Chr 7:9; Neh 8:18; Ps 81:3 (Lat. 80:4); Is 30:29; Eze 45:17; Hos 2:11; Mal 2:3, etc.
[5]           NwøyÎ…gIh.  The noun occurs in the OT in Ps 9:16; 19:14; 92:3; Lam 3:62.  The idea of “meditation,” not in the Eastern mystical sense but in the Biblical sense of active thinking about God, is also found in the word (cf. Ps 9:16; 19:14; Lam 3:62).  Biblical music is both solemn in sound and of a sort that encourages active use of the mind in thinking on the character of the Lord.  Concerning the solemnity idea in NwøyÎ…gIh here, note:  NwøyÎ…gIh . . . a musical notation (prob. similar to the modern affettuoso to indicate solemnity of movement) . . . solemn sound” (pg. 32, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible, James Strong.  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009).  “Kimchi . . . explains higgâyôn to be ‘the melody of the hymn when played on the harp’” (pg. 44, The Psalms, with Introductions and Critical Notes, vol. 1, 2nd ed., A. C. Jennings and W. H. Lowe.  (London: Macmillan and Co., 1884)).  Higgaion . . . means ‘meditation,’ and, combined with Selah, seems to denote a pause of unusual solemnity and emphasis” (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown.  (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), on Ps 9:16).  Higgaion . . . befits the solemn theme” (pg. 116, Psalms 1-50, Peter C. Craigie & Marvin E. Tate.  (Nashville, TN:  Thomas Nelson, 1983)).  Higgaion, a call to deep reflection or solemn musing . . . [in Psalm 92:3] הִגָּיוֹן [is] ‘solemn heart-musing’ to accompany the harp. For this seems the only plain sense of NwâøyÎ…gIh y™ElSo. It is upon the heart-strings, so to speak, as well as harp-strings” (pgs. 33, 278-279, Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms, Andrew A. Bonar.  (New York, NY:  Robert Carter & Brothers, 1860)). 

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