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The Shofar is a form of trumpet and is mentioned about 70 times in the Bible. At the time of the Bible, the shofar was made from the horn of a kosher animal, usually a ram but also from sheep or goat. In later times, shofar would also be made from other animal horns, including the kudu antelope which provide the large Yemenite shofars. Numbers 10 also describes silver trumpets made for use in worship.
The shofar was used in Biblical times for a variety of reasons, particularly for public announcements related to worship or warfare. It could be used to announce a feast day:
‘Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast’. Psalm 81:3
The shofar was used on Mount Sinai to announce to the people that they could approach God’s presence:
‘Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they go up to the mountain’. Exodus 19:13
The shofar was also used in worship:
‘Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn – shout for joy before the Lord, the King.’ Psalm 98:4-6
One of the most famous uses of the shofar was during Joshua’s attack on Jericho. Seven priests were commanded to blow the shofar and as they blew and the people shouted, God would bring down the walls of Jericho:
‘March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of Ram’s horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.’ Joshua 6:4
This shofar is made from a ram's horn. The shofar purchased today can either be fully polished or half polished. This one one half polished.
This ram's horn shofar is fully polished.
After the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, some Jews moved south into Africa. They began to make shofar from the Kudu antelope. These are known as Yemenite shofars. This one is half polished.
This Yemenite shofar is fully polished and is made from the horn of a Kudu antelope.