Convocation (מַקרָא, mira', from קָרָא, kara', to call; comp. Nu 10:2; Isa 1:13), applied invariably to meetings of a religious character, in contradistinction to congregation, in which political and legal matters were occasionally settled. SEE GOVERNMENT. Hence it is connected with קֹדֶשׁ, holy, and is applied only to the Sabbath and the great annual festivals of the Jews (Ex 12:16; Le 23:2 sq.; Nu 28:18 sq.; 29:1 sq.). In this sense, with one exception (Isa 1:13, "assembly"), the word is peculiar to the Pentateuch; but in Isa 4:5, it denotes the place of gathering ("assemblies"), and in Ne 8:3, it signifies the public "reading" of the law in the synagogue service. The Sept. treats it as an adjective (κλητός, ἐπίκλητος; called); but there can be no doubt that the A. V. is correct in its rendering (Smith, s.v.). SEE CONGREGATION. Like the Greek πανηγυρις or mass-meeting (Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. Panegyris), it signifies "a meeting or solemn assembly of a whole people for the purpose of worshipping at a common sanctuary." The phrase "holy convocation" is applied,
I. To the FEASTS:
1. To the Sabbaths, all of which were "holy convocations" (Le 23:2-3).
2. To the Passover.
(a.) its first day (Ex 12:16; Le 23:7; Nu 28:18); (b.) its last day (Ex 12:16; Le 23:8; Nu 28:25).
3. To the Pentecost (Le 23:21).
4. To the Feast of Trumpets on the 1st of Tisri, the New Year's day of the civil year (Leviticus 28:24; Nu 29:1).
5. To the Feast of Weeks or First-fruits (Nu 28:26).
6. To the Feast of Tabernacles:
(a.) its first day (Le 23:35; Nu 29:12); (b.) its last day (Le 23:36).
7. As introductory to the enumeration of these feasts (Le 23:4), and as closing it (ver. 7).
II. To the one great FAST, the annual Day of Atonement (Le 23:27; Nu 29:7). To the deep solemnities of "the Holy Convocation," whether of joy or of sorrow ("afflicting the soul," as in the last passage), one great feature was common, marked by the command, "Ye shall do no servile work therein" (see all the passages); or more fully in Ex 12:16, "No manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you." (Such as are curious about the Rabbinical opinions of what might be done, and what might not, on these occasions, may find them in Buxtorf's Synagoga Judaica, especially ch. 19; the joyous celebrations are described in ch. 21, and the expiatory in ch. 25, 26; see also Ugolini Thesaur. 4:988-1052). With this may be compared Strabo's statement (bk. 10), "This is a common practice both of Greeks and barbarians, to perform their sacred services with a festive cessation of labor." SEE SABBATH.