The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the LORD.’” (Leviticus 23:23-35)
It was typical in Israel to blow the trumpets whenever there was a new moon or beginning of a new month (Numbers 10:10), but the new moon or first day of the seventh month was also viewed as the beginning of the new year according to a calendar that reckoned a new year as beginning in the fall. So the feast of Trumpets is also called Rosh Hashanah (“head of the year” or New Year).
There were additional sacrifices required on this particular new moon or first day of the month and the calling of a holy convocation or coming together of the people. In Ezra’s day they met to hear the reading of the Law (Nehemiah 8:1-12). The kind of trumpet allowed was any straight animal horn, not a crooked horn nor a metal trumpet.
Whereas Passover was a commemoration of Israel’s redemption by God and Weeks or Pentacost was a commemoration of Israel’s constitution as a nation under God’s Law, Trumpets was often viewed as a preparation for the Day of Atonement feast that came nine days later on the tenth day of the month.
In a sense, every day for us should be a day of Trumpets as we consider our lives and how they should be brought into conformity with God’s loving will. But it is healthy also to have a yearly event in which we consider where we’ve been and where we want to go. Our own New Year’s Day serves in this capacity and the preparatory Feast of Trumpets for us could be New Year’s Eve.
- Why the shofar? (jta.org)