The Book of Enlightenment -- By: William E. Barton

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 070:280 (Oct 1913)
Article: The Book of Enlightenment
Author: William E. Barton


The Book of Enlightenment

William E. Barton

Jacob, The Son Of Aaron, Samaritan High Priest, Nablus, Palestine1

XIII. The Jordan

If any one should ask, What is the Jordan? answer, It is the river of the Torah.

They celebrated the Passover after they crossed the Jordan, and on the second day of the feast of the Passover manna disappeared, and they ate from the products of the land and made therefrom unleavened bread. Then they began their seven years’ war against the enemy, and on the seventh month of the seventh year they conquered their enemies entirely, and were rested, and erected the tabernacle on Mount Gerizim, which is the chosen place of the dwelling of the Most High God. They built the stone altar in accordance with the command of God, and offered due sacrifice, and fasted during the great day of sin covering, and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. On that day the high priest Eleazar Ben Aaron began to read the law to the people from the copy handed to them by Moses, the apostle of God, written by his noble hand, as we see in Deut. 15:1, “At the end of seven years,” in the first year of rest, when the children of Israel shall celebrate the feast and appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he chose, shalt thou read before them this Torah in the hearing of the children of Israel. He

began its reading on the feast day, and on the seventh day it was finished. It is said that he used to read to them some book each day.

He would stand on a high place, and would raise his voice so the whole people could hear his words and understand the meaning, and the import of the Torah, — what was to them pure and what was impure, the verses that were intended for men and those that were intended for women, all that God commanded that they should do and perform. Compare Num. 31:12: “Gather ye the people, men and women, and the children and the neighbors and the strangers,” that they may hear and be instructed. Some learned men say that, on account of the large number of people and the large space occupied by their tents, the high priest could not make himself understood to the farthest as well as the nearest to him, and therefore he used to adopt two plans: either to gather them in separate numbers and read to each; or to read to the chiefs of the people, the men of understanding, and have them instruct the rest. And God knows best.

It is said that whenever seven years would pass, when the year of rest would take place, the high priest used to enter t...

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