'eedah. CONVOCATION, qaahaal (restricted to the Pentateuch, except Isaiah 1:13). The Hebrew, regarded in their collective capacity as a "holy" community, gathered in sacred assembly composed of the homeborn Israelites. Settlers, only if circumcised, were admitted to the privileges (Exodus 12:19). Each Israelite was member of a house; the family was a collection of houses; the tribe, a collection of families; the congregation, a collection of tribes. The CONGREGATION was a national parliament, with legislative and judicial powers. The CONVOCATION was restricted to religious meetings (Leviticus 23). Each house, family, and tribe had its head; these representative heads were "the elders" or "princes."
Moses selected 70 elders by God's appointment to share the burden of government with him (Numbers 11:16). The sounding of the two silver trumpets was the signal for the whole body of the people assembling at the door of the tabernacle, which was there called "the tabernacle of the congregation," the moed, literally, a place of meeting (Numbers 10:2-4). The princes were convened with only one trumpet. The people were bound to abide by the acts of their representatives (Joshua 9:18). In later times the Sanhedrin council (corresponding to Moses' seventy elders) represented the congregation. Synagogue, which originally applied to the assembly, came to mean the place of worship.