“Yom Teruah” is commonly translated as “Feast of Trumpets” but is that a proper translation of this day we are told to celebrate in Leviticus 23? In this study we will be looking deeper into this day and what we can learn from the Scriptures about this day. “Yom” means “Day” in Hebrew but what does “Teruah” mean?
Speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you have a rest, a remembrance of blowing of trumpets, a set-apart gathering. Lev 23:24
When you use the KJV with Strong’s then you will notice that the “blowing of trumpets” is a statement used in translating the following Strong’s reference.
From H7321; clamor, that is, acclamation of joy or a battle cry; especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarum: – alarm, blow (-ing) (of, the) (trumpets), joy, jubile, loud noise, rejoicing, shout (-ing), (high, joyful) sound (-ing).
When looking at Strong’s definition of “Teruah” we see that it is focused on the blowing of the trumpet rather than the trumpet itself. With other words its the sound which is made when blowing the trumpet. The sound which must be made when you blow Teruah is that of a war cry. Let us look at some Scriptures where H8643 is used in order to see what we can learn. For this study I will only note the verses which use this word as a war alarm.
The following information is quoted from the shofarot website seems to confirm the battle cry or alarm of H8643 above.
There are four types of Shofar sounds in contemporary Jewish religious rites – in the following order:
Tekiah – a long sound
Shevarim – three short and sharp blows
Teruah – composed of more and shorter units than the Shavarim
Tekiah Gedolah – a very long sound, depending on the blowers blowing capability
The Tekiah is a long sound, but due to the mouth’s position and breath length, most Toke’im (Shofar blowers) end the long sound with an additional sound, sliding to a higher tone. This is a Tekiah ending with a Glissando, either as a deliberate ornamentation or due to technical difficulties. There is also a Tekiah with a Glissando at its beginning.
Already in the Talmud (Bavli 34, 2) the Shevarim are described as groaning and moaning sounds. The Shevarim sounds like a howl: it is composed of three short and sharp blows sounding like a moan.
The Teruah is (according to Rabbi Yitzhak Arama) the sign of anxiety and sorrow. It is composed of more and shorter units than the Shavarim. The Ashkenazi Jews produce Staccato-like, rhythmical units, while the Oriental Jews produce a kind of wavy tremolo, composed on a long sound (like a chain). Normally, in order to produce the long tone’s vibrations, the Shofar blower uses his tongue.
At the end of the series: Tekiah, Shevarim and Teruah (or TST in short), it is customary to blow the Tekiah Gedola (grand blowing): a very long sound, depending on the blowers blowing capability. As a rule, the Tekiah Gedolah is three times longer than the Tekiah.
* glissando • noun (pl. glissandi /glisandi/ or glissandos) Music, a continuous slide upwards or downwards between two notes.
— ORIGIN Italian, from French glisser ‘to slip, slide’. (Compact Oxford English Dictionary )
Shofar maker, Zvika Bar Sheshet examines the sound of a Shofar made of a Bushbuck horn. (from the Bar Sheshet collection)
The Teruah is (according to Rabbi Yitzhak Arama) the sign of anxiety and sorrow. It is composed of more and shorter units than the Shavarim.
When looking at this the feast Yom Teruah suddenly has a new meaning as it is shown as a sign of anxiety and sorrow. Could this be when the Tribulation starts?
You shall then sound a shophar-sound on the tenth day of the seventh new moon, on Yom haKippurim cause a shophar to sound through all your land. Lev 25:9
In Hebrew there is written שופר תרועה (shophar teruah).
And when you blow a shout, the camps that lie on the east side shall depart. And when you blow a shout the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall depart – that blow a shout for them to depart. And when the assembly is to be assembled, you blow, but do not shout. Num 10:5-7
Each time it is written “shout” in this Scripture it is Teruah. Now we see that when the people is supposed to assemble then there should not be a “teruah” however when a “teruah” was blown then they would depart. We start to see that the trumpet / shofar was used to create structure and order when reacting to information.
He has not looked upon wickedness in Ya’aqob, nor has He seen trouble in Yisra’el. Yahuah his Elohim is with him, and the shout of a Sovereign is in him. Num 23:21
Here we see that Yahuah has a “teruah”. May Yeshua have mercy on us and show us what the true meaning is for this word.
And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work, it is a day of blowing the trumpets for you. Num 29:1
This time they have translated the word “teruah” as “blowing of the trumpets”. It seems as if what we know as the “Feast of Trumpets” is when we are supposed to blow “teruah”.
And Mosheh sent them on the campaign, one thousand from each tribe, them and Pinehas son of Elazar the priest on the campaign, with the set-apart utensils and the trumpets for sounding in his hand. And they fought against the Midyanites, as Yahuah commanded Mosheh, and slew all the males. Num 31:6-7
Here we see that they used the sound of “teruah” in the time of war.
“And it shall be, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the horn, that all the people shout with a great shout. And the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Jos 6:5
Now we see that what initially seemed like people shouting may not necessarily be as we thought because these words for “shout” is the Hebrew “teruah”.
And the people shouted when the priests blew the horns. And it came to be when the people heard the sound of the horn, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. And the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Jos 6:20
Here we see it again a few verses on. The last two verses occurred at Jericho.
And when the ark of the covenant of Yahuah came into the camp, all Yisra’el shouted so loudly that the earth shook. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What is the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” And when they knew that the ark of Yahuah had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “Elohim has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For it has never been like this before. 1Sa 4:5-7
Thus Dawid and all the house of Yisra’el brought up the ark of Yahuah with shouting and with the sound of the ram’s horn. 2Sa 6:15
So all Yisra’el brought up the ark of the covenant of Yahuah with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, sounding with harps and lyres. 1Ch 15:28
“And see, with us as Head is Elohim Himself, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Yisra’el, do not fight against Yahuah Elohim of your fathers, for you are not going to prosper!” 2Ch 13:12
This verse we see how Yahuah can sound (teruah) against you. If the “teruah” is a war cry then this verse will show that Yahuah has come against you. Can this refer to the wrath of God?
And they swore to Yahuah with a loud voice, with shouting and with trumpets and with rams’ horns. 2Ch 15:14
This time we see a covenant being made with the “teruah”.
And they responded by praising and giving thanks to Yahuah, “For He is good, for His kindness towards Yisra’el is forever.” And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Yahuah, because the foundation of the House of Yahuah was laid. And many of the priests and Lewites and heads of the fathers’ houses, the old men who had seen the first House, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this House was laid before their eyes, and many shouted aloud for joy, and the people could not distinguish the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away. Ezr 3:11-13
Here we see how “teruah” was used in praise.
While He fills your mouth with laughter, and your lips with rejoicing, Job 8:21
He prays to Eloah, and He accepts him. And he sees His face with joy, and He restores to man his righteousness. Job 33:26
At the blast of the ram’s horn he says, ‘Aha!’ And from afar he smells the battle, the thunder of commanders and shouting. Job 39:25
And now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me; And I offer in His Tent with shouts of joy; I sing, yea, I sing praises to Yahuah. Psa 27:6
Sing to Him a new song; Play sweetly with a shout of joy. Psa 33:3
Elohim shall go up with a shout, Yahuah with the sound of a ram’s horn. Psa 47:5
Blessed are the people Who know the festal trumpet-call! They walk, O Yahuah, in the light of Your face. Psa 89:15
This is one of the more interesting verses. Let us look at this verse again but in context to see what we can learn.
Righteousness and right-ruling Are the foundation of Your throne; Kindness and truth go before Your face. Blessed are the people Who know the festal trumpet-call! They walk, O Yahuah, in the light of Your face. In Your Name they rejoice all day long, And they are exalted in Your righteousness . Psa 89:14-16
Praise Him with sounding cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals! Psa 150:5
O my inward parts, my inward parts! I am in pain! O the walls of my heart! My heart pounds in me, I am not silent. For you have heard, O my being, the sound of the ram’s horn, a shout of battle! Jer 4:19
And let that man be like the cities which Yahuah overthrew, and repented not. Let him hear the cry in the morning and the shouting at noon, Jer 20:16
“Therefore see, the days are coming,” declares Yahuah, “when I shall sound a battle cry in Rabbah of the Ammonites. And it shall be a heap, a wasteland, and her villages shall be burned with fire. Then Yisra’el shall dispossess those who dispossessed him,” declares Yahuah. Jer 49:2
In his right hand shall be the divination for Yerushalayim: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, to build a wall. Eze 21:22
“So I shall kindle a fire upon the wall of Rabbah, and it shall consume its palaces, with a shout in the day of battle, with a storm in the day of the whirlwind. Amo 1:14
“But I shall send fire upon Mo’ab, and it shall consume the palaces of Qeriyoth. And Mo’ab shall die amid uproar, with a cry and with the sound of a ram’s horn. Amo 2:2
That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and trouble, a day of waste and ruin, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of ram’s horn and alarm – against the walled cities and against the corner towers. Zep 1:15-16
The above Scriptures are what I could find in search for the Strong’s Reference H8643. I think it is reasonably safe to say that the Teruah seems to be an alarm call or a battle cry.
May this help in the understanding of the Shofar and Yom Teruah.