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of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up,.... upon them shall be no rain.” (See Zechariah xiv. 16, 17.) It is probable that the Jews derived this rite from the Persians, and other nations, among whom they had dwelt in their captivity. The ancient Persians kept a feast, the name of which (Abrizan) means the pouring out of water, which was preparatory to the descent of the autumnal rains. It is, therefore, very likely that the returning Jews might think of adding some memorial of Jehovah's being the Giver of Rain to their ancient feast, which was to be celebrated about the same time with the Persian festival.
It is thought that our blessed Lord alluded to this ceremony, when on the last day, that great day of the feast, he stood in the temple and cried, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”
The modern Jews not having the opportunity of going to the temple, nor of performing the ceremonies prescribed by Moses, each makes for himself, in some open place, a bower, or arbour, of branches of trees, hung around, and adorned as handsomely as he can. Here they eat and drink, and some even pass the night, at least, they pass as much time here as they used to pass in their houses, and this during the whole eight days of the festival. Sickness or old age is dispensed with from this ceremony; and when heavy rains fall they retire to their houses ; for these bowers are not substantial enough to keep out the weather.- See CALMET, and HARMER's Observations, vol. i., pp. 83, 90.
Exodus xxxiii. 7, 9. “ And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one that sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.... And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses."
xxxv. 4, &c. “And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord : whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it... blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen,
and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins.. And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair."
Exodus xxxvi. 8, &c. “ And every wise-hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet .... And he made curtains of goats' hair for the tent over the tabernacle.... And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that... ...And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needle-work.'
NUMBERS ix. 15–18. “ And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: And at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed : and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched : as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.”
2 Sam. vii. 5, 6. “Go, and tell my servant David, thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle."
PSALM xv. 1. “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy hill ? ”
xxvii. 5, 6. “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion : in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; ... And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me : therefore I will offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy :..."
lxxxiv. 1. “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts !"
Rev. xxi. 3. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
The Tabernacle, or the tent which was constructed and arranged by Moses in the wilderness, under the express direction of God himself, “was, as it were, the palace of the Most High, the dwelling of the God of Israel ; wherein the Israelites, during their journeyings in the wilderness, performed the chief of their religious exercises, offered their sacrifices, and worshipped God. It was thirty cubits in length, and ten in breadth and in height. It was divided into two partitions: the first was called, The Holy Place,-here were placed the table of shew-bread, the golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense. The second was called, The Most Holy Place, wherein, before the building of the temple, the Ark of the Covenant was kept, which was a symbol of God's gracious presence with the Jewish church. The Most Holy was divided from the Holy Place by a curtain, or veil, of very rich cloth, which hung upon four pillars of shittim wood, that were covered with plates of gold.”—CRUDEN's Concordance.
The Tabernacle had no window. It was covered by several curtains; the first, on the inside, was the colour of hyacinth, striped with purple, scarlet, and crimson. Over this were others of goats' hair, which hindered the rain from penetrating, and preserved the rich curtains. Over these veils of goats' hair were two others; one of sheep-skins dyed red, the other of sheep-skins dyed azure-blue.-CALMET.
With regard to the materials for the construction of these coverings, the following extracts are valuable :-
« The Turkman women are very laboriouş; besides the care of housekeeping, they work the tent coverings of goats' hair, and the woollen carpets, which are inferior only to those of Persian manufacture. They seem to have made great progress in the art of dyeing ; their colours are beautiful. Indigo and cochineal, which they purchase at Aleppo, give them their blue and red dyes, but the ingredients of all the others, especially of a brilliant green, are herbs which they gather in the mountains of Armenia ; the dyeing process is kept by them as a national secret.”—BURCKHARDT'S Syria, &c., pp. 639, 640.
“ The covering of a tent consists of pieces of stuff made of black goats' hair, about three quarters of a yard in breadth, its length being equal to that of the tent; according to the depth of the tent, ten or more of these pieces are stitched together : this goats' hair covering keeps off the heaviest rain, as I know from experience.”—BURCKHARDT'S Notes on the Bedouins, &c., p. 37.
“In the king of Persia's tents, magnificent hangings of needle-work are suspended, as well as on the doors of the great mosques in Turkey.”—MORIER’s Second Journey through Persia, &c. p. 251.