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The Season of Thanksgiving – Part 1

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 7:31 AM

 

Chag Semeach, Yom Yada!

Nechemiah (Nehemiah) 8:1-2

AND all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the Cepher of the Torah of Mosheh, which YAHUAH had commanded to Yisra’el. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the Torah before the assembly both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

The seventh month is a month worthy of a bit of consideration.  Under the Gregorian calendar as practiced in the west, we all know the seventh month as the month of July, but it begs the question why month number 9 has the prefix “sept” which means seventh, why month number 10 has the prefix “oct” which means eighth, why month number 11 has the prefix “nov” which means ninth, and why month number 12 has the prefix “dec” which means tenth.

In the Hebrew, we have two names for the seventh month: first we have its original name Ethaniym, and its Babylonian derivative and now the modern Jewish month of Tishrei.  Either way, it is on the first day of this month.

Nechemiah (Nehemiah) 8:3-8

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the Cepher of the Torah. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithyahu, and Shema, and Anayah,  and Uriyahu, and Chilqiyahu, and Ma`aseyahu, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedayahu, and Miysha’el, and Malkiyahu, and Chashum, and Chashbaddanah,  Zakaryahu, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the cepher in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6 And Ezra blessed את (eth)-YAHUAH, the great ELOHIYM. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped YAHUAH with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Yeshua, and Baniy, and Sherevyah, Yamiyn, Aqquv, Shabbethay, Hodiyah, Ma`aseyahu, Qeliyta, Azaryahu, Yozavad, Chanan, Pelayah,  and the Leviyiym, caused the people to understand the Torah: and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read in the cepher in the Torah of ELOHIYM distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. 

And so it was that the Torah was read to the people of Yerushaliym on this first day of the seventh month. Now consider the instruction given to the people on this day:

Nechemiah (Nehemiah) 8:9-12

And Nechemyah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Leviyiym that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto YAHUAH your ELOHIYM; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Torah. 10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our ADONAI: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of YAHUAH is your strength. 11 So the Leviyiym stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. 12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

As we enter into our feast of Thanksgiving this 27th day of November, I call you to this same joy and to this same feast.  We do not have the benefit of a feast called by YAH, as His fall feasts have been completed.  Yet we have an opportunity to give thanks nonetheless, and to contemplate the things about which we should be thankful and should give thanks between that feast – Sukka’oth - which celebrates that time when YAH tabernacled among us, and the feast of dedication (or rededication) called after the name Chanok which means dedication, namely Chanukah. This then can become a season of thanksgiving – day after day – for the joy of YAHUAH is our strength.  Amen.

Nechemiah (Nehemiah) 11:16-19

And Shabbethay and Yozavad, of the chief of the Leviyiym, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of ELOHIYM. 17 And Mattanyahu the son of Miyka, the son of Zavdiy, the son of Acaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Baqbuqyah  the second among his brethren, and Avda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Yeduthun. 18 All the Leviyiym in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four. 19 Moreover the porters, Aqquv, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.

Verse 17 here gives to us in this text a couple of key words.  The word "principal" is in the Hebrew of course rosh.  The word "begin" is techillah; the word "thanksgiving" is yada, and the word "prayer" is tephillah.

The word yada is an important word in the study of scripture. הדי yâdâ means in its common application to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively to bemoan (by wringing the hands): - cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving). 

So, we begin this season with the blessing:

Chag semeach, yom yada!

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