~ Grace Gift ~
~ Grace Gifts ~
With trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
The shofar (שופר) is a Jewish instrument most often made from a ram’s horn, though it can also be made from the horn of a sheep or goat. It makes a trumpet-like sound and is traditionally blown on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. It was used in ancient Israel to announce the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) and call people together. It was also blown on Rosh Hashanah, marking the beginning of the New Year, signifying both need to wake up to the call to repentance, and in connection with the portion read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Binding of Isaac (Genesis, chapter 22) in which Abraham sacrifices a ram in place of his son, Isaac.
In terms of its Jewish history, the shofar is often mentioned in the Tanach, Talmud and in rabbinic literature. It was used to announce the start of holidays, in processions and even to mark the start of a war. Perhaps the most famous biblical reference to the shofar occurs in the Book of Joshua, where shofarot (plural of shofar) were used as part of a battle plan to capture the city of Jericho:
"Then the LORD said to Joshua… March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in. (Joshua 6:2-5)"
According to the story, Joshua followed God’s commandments to the letter and the walls of Jericho fell, allowing them to capture the city. The shofar is also mentioned earlier in the Tanach, when Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.
According to Leo Rosten, “The bend in the shofar is supposed to represent how a human heart, in true repentance, bends before the Lord. The ram's horn serves to remind the pious how Abraham, offering his son Isaac in sacrifice, was reprieved when God decided that Abraham could sacrifice a ram instead.
Thank You, Jesus!