CONGREGATION (k6n -gre-ga'shiSn), (Het), ay-daw', or Gr, soon-ag-o-gay').
1. in the Old Testament it denotes the He brew people in its collective capacity. under its peculiar aspect as a holy community. hel I together by' religious rather than political bonds. Deut. xxxi :30 ; Josh. viii :35 ; t Chron. xxix :i. etc. "Sometimes it is used in a broad sense, as inclu sive of foreign settlers, Exod. xii :19, but more properly as exclusively appropriate to the Hebrew element of the population. Num. xv :15." The congregation was governed by the chief of the tribes and families, but from these was selected a council of 7o elders. Num. xvi :2; xi:16. This was a permanent institution, for these represent atives of the people—who at first met at the door of the tabernacle at the call of one silver trumpet, while the congregation came at sound of the two, Num. x :3, 4, 7—became in post-exilic days the
Sanhedrin. Doubtless these meetings of the elders are often meant when the term "congregation" is used. Thus they meet to elect a king. t Sam. x :t7. Their decisions bound the nation. Josh. ix :t5, 18.
2. In the New Testament it means the Chris tian Church at large or a local congregation, but in King James's Version the corresponding Greek word (ecclesia), when used of a religious assembly, is always rendered "church," even in Acts vii :38, where it means the Jewish congrega tion in the wilderness. King James expressly commanded the revisers to do this, in opposition to the Geneva Version, which uses the more literal rendering "congregation." In Acts xix :32, 39, 4o it means simply a popular assembly. (Schaff, Bib. Dirt.).