- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: Yes
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: No
- Included in BDB: Yes
(Heb. kahal), the Hebrew people collectively as a holy community (Numbers 15:15). Every circumcised Hebrew from twenty years old and upward was a member of the congregation. Strangers resident in the land, if circumcised, were, with certain exceptions (Exodus 12:19; Numbers 9:14; Deuteronomy 23:1-3), admitted to the privileges of citizenship, and spoken of as members of the congregation (Exodus 12:19; Numbers 9:14; 15:15). The congregation were summonded together by the sound of two silver trumpets, and they met at the door of the tabernacle (Numbers 10:3). These assemblies were convened for the purpose of engaging in solemn religious services (Exodus 12:27; Numbers 25:6; Joel 2:15), or of receiving new commandments (Exodus 19:7, 8). The elders, who were summonded by the sound of one trumpet (Numbers 10:4), represented on various occasions the whole congregation (Exodus 3:16; 12:21; 17:5; 24:1).
After the conquest of Canaan, the people were assembled only on occasions of the highest national importance (Judges 20:1; 2 Chronicles 30:5; 34:29; 1 Samuel 10:17; 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 1 Kings 12:20; 2 Kings 11:19; 21:24; 23:30). In subsequent times the congregation was represented by the Sanhedrim; and the name synagogue, applied in the Septuagint version exclusively to the congregation, came to be used to denote the places of worship established by the Jews. (See CHURCH.)
In Acts 13:43, where alone it occurs in the New Testament, it is the same word as that rendered "synagogue" (q.v.) in ver. 42, and is so rendered in ver. 43 in R.V.
This describes the Hebrew people in its collective capacity under its peculiar aspect as a holy community, held together by religious rather than political bonds. Sometimes it is used in a broad sense as inclusive of foreign settlers, (Exodus 12:19) but more properly as exclusively appropriate to the Hebrew element of the population. (Numbers 15:15) The congregation was governed by the father or head of each family and tribe. The number of these representatives being inconveniently large for ordinary business, a further selection was made by Moses of 70, who formed a species of standing committee. (Numbers 11:16) Occasionally indeed the whole body of people was assembled at the door of the tabernacle, hence usually called the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 10:3) The people were strictly bound by the acts of their representatives, even in cases where they disapproved of them. (Joshua 9:18)
1. The act of bringing together, or assembling.
2. A collection or assemblage of separate things; as a congregation of vapors.
3. More generally, an assembly or persons; and appropriately, an assembly of persons met for the worship of God, and for religious instruction.
4. An assembly of rulers. Numbers 35:12.
5. An assembly of ecclesiastics or cardinals appointed by the pope; as the congregation of the holy office, etc. Also, a company or society of religious cantoned out of an order.
6. An academical assembly for transacting business of the university.
(Isaiah 14:13), has been supposed to refer to the place where God promised to meet with his people (Exodus 25:22; 29:42, 43) i.e., the mount of the Divine presence, Mount Zion. But here the king of Babylon must be taken as expressing himself according to his own heathen notions, and not according to those of the Jews. The "mount of the congregation" will therefore in this case mean the northern mountain, supposed by the Babylonians to be the meeting-place of their gods. In the Babylonian inscriptions mention is made of a mountain which is described as "the mighty mountain of Bel, whose head rivals heaven, whose root is the holy deep." This mountain was regarded in their mythology as the place where the gods had their seat.
CONGREGATIONAL, adjective Pertaining to a congregation; appropriately used of such Christians as hold to church government by consent and election, maintaining that each congregation is independent of others, and has the right to choose its own pastor and govern itself; as a congregational church, or mode of worship.
CONGREGATIONALISM, noun Ecclesiastical government in the hands of each church, as an independent body.
CONGREGATIONALIST, noun One who belongs to a congregational church or society; one who holds to the independence of each congregation or church of Christians, in the right of electing a pastor, and in governing the church.