(Heb. kahal), the Hebrew people collectively as a holy community
(Num. 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 (Ex.
12:19; Num. 9:14; Deut. 23:1-3), admitted to the privileges of
citizenship, and spoken of as members of the congregation (Ex.
12:19; Num. 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 (Num. 10:3). These assemblies were
convened for the purpose of engaging in solemn religious
services (Ex. 12:27; Num. 25:6; Joel 2:15), or of receiving new
commandments (Ex. 19:7, 8). The elders, who were summonded by
the sound of one trumpet (Num. 10:4), represented on various
occasions the whole congregation (Ex. 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 (Judg. 20; 2
Chr. 30:5; 34:29; 1 Sam. 10:17; 2 Sam. 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 T0000828.)
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.