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Adam Clarke Commentary

Leviticus 23

Introduction

The feast of the Lord, Leviticus 23:1 , Leviticus 23:2 . The Sabbath, Leviticus 23:3 . The passover and unleavened bread, Leviticus 23:4 -8. The feast of first-fruits, Leviticus 23:9 -14. The feast of pentecost, Leviticus 23:15 -21. Gleanings to be left for the poor, Leviticus 23:22 . The feast of trumpets, Leviticus 23:23 -25. The great day of atonement, Leviticus 23:26 -32. The feast of tabernacles, Leviticus 23:33 -44.

Verse 2

These are my feasts - The original word מועד moad is properly applied to any solemn anniversary, by which great and important ecclesiastical, political, or providential facts were recorded; see Clarke on Genesis 1:14 (note). Anniversaries of this kind were observed in all nations; and some of them, in consequence of scrupulously regular observation, became chronological epochs of the greatest importance in history: the Olympiads, for example.

Verse 3

The seventh day is the Sabbath - This, because the first and greatest solemnity, is first mentioned. He who kept not this, in the most religious manner, was not capable of keeping any of the others. The religious observance of the Sabbath stands at the very threshold of all religion. See Clarke's note on Genesis 2:3 .

Verse 5

The Lord's passover - See this largely explained in the notes on Exodus 12:21 -27 (note).

Verse 11

He shalt wave the sheaf - He shall move it to and fro before the people, and thereby call their attention to the work of Divine Providence, and excite their gratitude to God for preserving to them the kindly fruits of the earth. See Clarke's note on Exodus 29:27 , and Exodus 7 at end.

Verse 14

Ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears - It is right that God, the dispenser of every blessing, should be acknowledged as such, and the first-fruits of the field, etc., dedicated to him. Concerning the dedication of the first-fruits, see the note on Exodus 22:29 . Parched ears of corn and green ears, fried, still constitute a part, and not a disagreeable one, of the food of the Arabs now resident in the Holy Land. See Hasselquist.

Verse 15

Ye shall count unto you - seven Sabbaths - That is, from the sixteenth of the first month to the sixth of the third month. These seven weeks, called here Sabbaths, were to be complete, i. e., the forty-nine days must be finished, and the next day, the fiftieth, is what, from the Septuagint, we call pentecost. See the note on Luke 6:1 .

Verse 22

Neither shalt thou gather any gleaning - See the note on Leviticus 19:9 .

Verse 24

A memorial of blowing of trumpets - This is generally called the feast of trumpets; and as it took place on the first day of the seventh month, Tisri, which answers to September, which month was the commencement of what was called the civil year, the feast probably had no other design than to celebrate the commencement of that year, if indeed such a distinction obtained among the ancient Jews. See the note on Exodus 12:2 . Some think creation began at this time.

Verse 28

A day of atonement - See the note on Leviticus 16:2 , etc., where this subject is largely explained.

Verse 34

The feast of tabernacles - In this solemnity the people left their houses, and dwelt in booths or tents made of the branches of goodly trees and thick trees, (of what kind the text does not specify), together with palm-trees and willows of the brook, Leviticus 23:40 . And in these they dwelt seven days, in commemoration of their forty years' sojourning and dwelling in tents in the wilderness while destitute of any fixed habitations. In imitation of this feast among the people of God, the Gentiles had their feasts of tents. Plutarch speaks particularly of feasts of this kind in honor of Bacchus, and thinks from the custom of the Jews in celebrating the feast of tabernacles, that they worshipped the god Bacchus, "because he had a feast exactly of the same kind called the feast of tabernacles, Σκηνη, which they celebrated in the time of vintage, bringing tables out into the open air furnished with all kinds of fruit, and sitting under tents made of vine branches and ivy." - Plut. Symp., lib. iv., Q. 6. According to Ovid the feast of Anna Perenna was celebrated much in the same way. Some remained in the open air, others formed to themselves tents and booths made of branches of trees, over which they spread garments, and kept the festival with great rejoicings.Sunt, quibus e ramis frondea facta easa est.Pars sibi pro rigidis calamos statuere columnis;Desuper extentas imposuere togas."Ovid, Fast., lib. ill.Concerning this feast of tabernacles, see the note on John 7:37 , John 7:38 ; and for the various feasts among the Jews, See the note on Exodus 23:14 .

Verse 40

Boughs of goodly trees - The Jews and many critics imagine the citron-tree to be intended, and by boughs of thick tree the myrtle.

Verse 43

That your generations may know, etc. - By the institution of this feast God had two great objects in view:1. To perpetuate the wonderful display of his providence and grace in bringing them out of Egypt, and in preserving them in the wilderness.2. To excite and maintain in them a spirit of gratitude and obedience, by leading them to consider deeply the greatness of the favors which they had received from his most merciful hands.Signal displays of the mercy, kindness, and providential care of God should be particularly remembered. When we recollect that we deserve nothing at his hands, and that the debt of gratitude is all the debt we can pay, in it we should be cheerful, fervent, and frequent. An ungrateful heart is an unfeeling, unloving, unbelieving, and disobedient heart. Reader, pray to God that he may deliver thee from its influence and its curse.

Leviticus 23


  1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
  3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
  4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
  5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover.
  6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
  7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
  8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
  9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
  11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
  12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
  13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.
  14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
  15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
  16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
  17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
  18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.
  19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
  20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
  21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
  22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
  23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
  25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
  26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
  28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
  29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
  30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
  31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
  32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
  33 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.
  35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
  36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
  37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:
  38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.
  39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
  40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
  41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
  42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
  43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
  44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

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