INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 23
In this chapter an account is given of the several holy days, times, and seasons, appointed by God, under the general names of feasts and holy convocations; and first of the sabbath, Leviticus 23:1; then of the passover and feast of unleavened bread, Leviticus 23:5; to which is annexed the sheaf of the firstfruits, Leviticus 23:9; after that of the feast of weeks or pentecost, Leviticus 23:15; and of the feast of trumpets, Leviticus 23:23; and of the day of atonement, Leviticus 23:26; and of the feast of tabernacles, Leviticus 23:33.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... Much about the same time as before; and having delivered to him various laws concerning the holiness of the people of Israel, who were to serve him, and of the holiness of the priests, that were to minister in holy things to him, and of the purity and perfections of their sacrifices, he here appoints various times and seasons, for the more special worship and service of him:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,.... Speak to them to gather together, and then say unto them what follows, they all being obliged to keep the feasts, and observe the solemnities hereafter directed to; though it may be the heads of the tribes and the elders of the people were summoned together, and the following things were delivered to them, and by them to the people:
concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts; appointed and ordered by God, and to be kept to the honour of his name; these are the general names for the particular holy times and seasons after appointed; they are in general called "feasts", though one of them, the day of atonement, was, strictly speaking, a fast; yet being a cessation from all work, and opposed to working days, days of labour and business, it is comprehended in this general title: nor is it unusual with other nations to call a fast a feast; so Aelianus
Six days shall work be done,.... Or may be done by men, any sort of lawful work and honest labour, for the sustenance of themselves and families:
but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest; from all bodily labour and work of any kind; typical of rest by Christ and in him:
an holy convocation; when the people were called to holy exercises, to pray and praise, and hear the word, and offer sacrifice:
ye shall do no work therein; not any at all, see Exodus 31:15,
it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings: other feasts were kept in the sanctuary, in the tabernacle or temple, or where they were; but this was not only observed there and in their synagogues, but in their private houses, or wherever they were, whether, travelling by sea or land; and so the Targum of Jonathan and Aben Ezra interpret it.
These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations,.... What follow besides the sabbath mentioned:
which ye shall proclaim in their seasons; the proper times of the year, the day or days, and month in which they are to be observed; these were to be proclaimed by the priests with the sound of trumpet, namely, what follow, for they are put together, which had been before for the most part singly delivered.
In the fourteenth day of the first month,.... The month Nisan, the same with Abib, the month in which the children of Israel came out of Egypt, for which reason it was made the first month in the year, answering to part of our March and part of April; and for the same reason was the passover kept at this time, as follows:
at even is the Lord's passover; that is, that was the time for the keeping the passover, even "between the two evenings", as it may be rendered; from the sixth hour and onward, as Jarchi, trial is, after noon or twelve o'clock the middle of the day, as Gersom, when the sun began to decline; See Gill on Exodus 12:6.
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord,.... Which was the day the children of Israel went out of Egypt with their dough and leaven, having not time to leaven it; in remembrance of which this feast was appointed:
seven days ye must eat unleavened bread; see Exodus 12:15.
In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation,.... That is, on the first of the seven days of the feast of unleavened bread, even the fifteenth day of the month Nisan; this was separated from the other days of the festival, and more particularly devoted to religions exercises, see Exodus 12:16,
ye shall do no servile work therein; such as agriculture, or any manufacture or mechanical business, which they and their servants were at other times employed in; but they might bake bread, and boil or roast their meat, and walk abroad, which they might not do on their sabbaths; and therefore it is so expressed as to distinguish it from the work forbidden on that day.
But ye shall offer an offering made by, fire unto the Lord seven days,.... A burnt offering was to be offered unto the Lord on everyone of the seven days, which were two young bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs; besides a meat offering, and a goat for a sin offering, Numbers 28:19,
in the seventh day is an holy convocation, ye shall do no servile work therein; as on the first day, that was on account of the Israelites going out of Egypt; and this is said, on account of Pharaoh and his host being drowned on it; See Gill on Exodus 12:16.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time, for what follow are the other feasts and holy convocations before spoken of:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,.... What is next observed, it being incumbent on them to do what is enjoined:
when ye be come into the land which I give unto you: the land of Canaan, which God had given by promise to their fathers and to them, and which they were now going to inherit: as yet they were in a wilderness, where there were no sowing nor reaping, nor any harvest; so that the following law, though now given, could not take place till they came into the land of Canaan:
and shall reap the harvest thereof; the barley harvest, which was about this time, the month Nisan, and which had the name Abib, from the barley being then in the ear, see Exodus 9:31; for the wheat harvest was not till seven weeks after:
then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest; to with it as after directed: this is called an omer in the text, which was the tenth part of an ephah, Exodus 16:36; and so Jarchi interprets it here; according to the Jewish writers, when the sheaf was reaped, the corn was beat out and winnowed, and dried by the fire, and then ground in a mill, and an omer, or a tenth part of an ephah of the flour of it was taken, and oil and frankincense put upon it, an handful of which being put upon the altar, the rest was the priest's; and with this pretty much agrees the account Josephus gives, who says, on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth (day of Nisan), of the fruits they have reaped they take a part; for they do not touch them before, accounting it just to honour God first, from whom they receive the plenty of these things; and bring the firstfruits of the barley after this manner, having dried the handful of ears, and bruised them, and cleansed them from the bran, they bring to the altar a tenth part to God, and casting one handful of it on the altar, they leave the rest for the use of the priests; and from thence forward it is lawful to reap publicly and privately
And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord,.... Or the omer of barley; this was done by the priest in the tabernacle and temple, where was the presence of God, and that before the handful of it was put upon the altar; which agitation or waving was, as Gersom says, towards the cast; it was moved to and fro, backwards and forwards, upwards and downwards, to make an acknowledgment to the Lord of heaven and earth, that the fruits of the earth and the plentiful harvest were of him, and to give him the praise and glory of it:
to be accepted for you; of the Lord, as a thanksgiving to him, for the harvest now ripe, and the appointed time of it, and the plenty thereof; and that the remainder might be sanctified and blessed to them, and they have leave to gather it in, which they had not till this was done:
on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it; not after the seventh day, but after the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, which was a sabbath, in which no servile work was to be done, Leviticus 23:7; and so the Targum of Jonathan calls it the day after the first good day of the passover, which was the sixteenth of Nisan, as Josephus expressly says, in the place above referred to; and so it is generally understood by Jewish writers
And ye shall offer that day, when ye wave the sheaf,.... Besides the daily sacrifice of the morning and evening, and the additional offerings made on everyone of the seven days of the feast of unleavened bread:
an he lamb without blemish of the first year, for a burnt offering unto the Lord; typical of the perfect and immaculate Lamb of God, whose sufferings are fitly signified by a burnt offering; and which were endured at the time he became the firstfruits of his people, and sanctified them.
And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil,.... The usual measure of flour to a meat offering was one tenth deal, Exodus 29:40; but here it is doubled: some Jewish writers say
an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour; an handful of it was burnt upon the altar, and was received with acceptance by the Lord, and the rest was eaten by the priests, Leviticus 2:2,
and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin; which was the common quantity for a drink offering, Exodus 29:40; for, as Jarchi observes, though the meat offering was doubled, the drink offering was not; the reason of which seems to be, because these offerings were on account of the harvest and not the vintage: the Targum of Jonathan calls it wine of grapes, to distinguish it from wine that might be made of other things, but not to be used in drink offerings, only the pure juice of the grape.
And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears,.... That is, they were not allowed to make bread of the new corn, as Aben Ezra and Gersom explain it; for they were obliged to eat unleavened bread at this time: but it might not be made of the new corn, until the above offering was made; nay, they were not allowed to parch any of the grains of corn, and eat them; yea, even they might not pluck and eat the green ears, though of ever so small a quantity. The Jews say
until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God; which includes all the offerings on this account, the offering of the firstfruits, the offering of the he lamb, and the meat offering and the drink offering; until these were offered up, the new corn might not be eaten in any form:
it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations; until the Messiah came, who is the substance of these shadows:
in all your dwellings; not at Jerusalem only, but in the several parts of the land of Canaan; yea, as Ben Gersom says, whether in the land, or without the land; a later writer says, it is forbidden to eat of the new corn at this time, whether bread, parched corn, or green ears, until the beginning of the night of the eighteenth of Nisan, and in the land of Israel, until the beginning of the night of the seventeenth of Nisan
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath,.... Not the seventh day sabbath in the passover week, nor the whole feast of unleavened bread, but the first day of it, which was an holy convocation, a sabbath in which no servile work was to be done, Leviticus 23:7; and it was from the day after this, even the sixteenth of Nisan, that the following count was to be made; so the Targum of Jonathan, after the first feast day of the passover: and Josephus
from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; which plainly points out the express day from whence the count was to begin, even on the day when the sheaf of the firstfruits of the barley harvest was offered:
seven sabbaths shall be complete; or seven weeks, that is, forty nine days; and hence, Jarchi says, we learn that the count began from the evening, or otherwise the weeks would not be complete; and Gersom thinks the day in which the sheaf was offered is included in the days counted; for the count began from the day after the first of the passover, and lo, seven days are seven weeks of days, which make forty nine days.
Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath,.... Or weeks, forty nine days being counted, the following was the fiftieth day, or Pentecost:
shall ye number fifty days; from whence this feast had the name of Pentecost, Acts 2:1; all in Israel were obliged to number those days, except women and servants
And ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals,.... Out of their habitations in the land of Canaan; and not out of those without the land, as Jarchi observes; and not out of all of them, as Ben Gersom remarks; though the Vulgate Latin version has it, out of "all" of our habitations, but wrongly; and indeed out of no one particular habitation, because it was at the public expense; but they were brought from some part of the country or another, even the quantity of two tenth parts of an ephah, or two omers of wheat flour made into two loaves, which were to be, and were waved before the Lord, and hence so called; and are the same with the new meat offering, or rather bread offering, made of the new corn, in the preceding verse, so Jarchi:
they shall be of fine flour; of wheat flour, the finest of it, of which all meat or bread offerings were made; and this was particularly on account of the wheat harvest, and therefore it was proper that the finest of the wheat should be used on this occasion; See Gill on Leviticus 2:1; each loaf or cake, according to Maimonides
they shall be baked with leaven; the common meat offering was unleavened, part of which was burnt on the altar, where no leaven might be burnt, Leviticus 2:4; and from hence it may be concluded that no part of these loaves was to be burnt, but the whole of them fell to the share of the priests:
they are the firstfruits unto the Lord; which he claimed as his, and gave unto his priests; and it was but right and just he should have them, as an acknowledgment of all coming from his hands, and as expressive of gratitude for them, and for the sanctification of the rest; hence this is called the feast of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, Exodus 34:22.
And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish,
of the first year,.... That is, with the two wave loaves, the meat or bread offering: and besides these:
and one young bullock, and two rams; in Numbers 28:27 it is two young bullocks, and one ram; and Aben Ezra suggests, that this was at the will and option of the priest, whether one bullock and two rams, or two bullocks and one ram; but according to Maimonides
they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offering; each of the said beasts were offered, unto the Lord on the altar of burnt offering, and burnt thereon; and to every beast they offered, there was a meat offering and a drink offering: the meat offering consisted of three tenth deals, or omers, of fine flour, to a bullock, two to a ram, and one to a lamb; and the drink offering was half an hin of wine to a bullock, the third part of one to a ram, and a fourth part to a lamb, as Jarchi observes, which appears from Numbers 28:12,
even an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord; an acceptable burnt offering to God.
Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering,.... Which was for the sin of the whole congregation, typical of Christ, whose soul was made an offering for sin; in virtue of which all other sacrifices become acceptable to God, and believers enjoy the fruits and blessings of divine grace:
and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings; which Gersom says were the most holy things, and were only slain in the north, and only eaten by males, as the rest of the holy things, and are the only peace offerings of the congregation that were offered throughout the whole year.
And the priests shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits,.... The two loaves called the two wave loaves, Leviticus 23:17; with which were waved the two lambs of the peace offerings; and these alive, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom intimate. The Jewish doctors
for a wave offering before the Lord; being waved this way and that way, upwards and downwards, and towards the several quarters of the world, showing that the fruits of the earth were owing to the providential goodness of God everywhere:
with the two lambs; not that all the above sacrifices were waved, or any part of them, along with the lambs, but the wave loaves, and they were waved together, as one wave offering to the Lord:
they shall be holy to the Lord for the priests; both the loaves and the lambs, these were separated and devoted wholly to the Lord, and to be eaten by his priests; the peace offerings of a single person were light holy things, as Jarchi says; but the peace offerings of the congregation, as these were, are the most holy things, and so to be eaten only by the priests, and by the males only, in the court of the tabernacle.
And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you,.... This proclamation was made by the priests with the sound of a trumpet, that the people might observe that this fiftieth day, or day of Pentecost, was devoted to sacred service, and that they were called to holy exercises in it:
ye shall do no servile work therein; what was not necessary for food, as Ben Gersom observes, but what was necessary on that account, as kindling a fire, &c. might be done, see Leviticus 23:7; for this was to be kept in like manner as the first and seventh days of the feast of unleavened bread; the general design of which was to express thankfulness for the appointed weeks of the harvest, and to honour the Lord with the firstfruits of the increase of the earth: and the Jews say, as Ben Gersom observes, that this fiftieth day, being reckoned from the sixteenth of Nisan, fell upon the sixth of Sivan, on which day, they say, the law was given, which is another reason for the observance of it: and it is remarkable, that on this same day the Word of the Lord went out of Zion, and the law or doctrine of the Lord, even the everlasting Gospel, went out of Jerusalem, published by the apostles of Christ to the people of all nations, Acts 2:14; when they were favoured with the firstfruits of the Spirit, after our Lord's ascension to heaven, and receiving gifts for men, which he now in an extraordinary manner bestowed on his disciples, Acts 2:1; and which were the firstfruits of all others, after to be given forth in the course of time, and of the effusion of the Spirit in the latter day; and when there was a number of souls converted, as the firstfruits of after conversions among Jews and Gentiles, Acts 2:41; and particularly of the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, and of the harvest of souls in the end of the world, Matthew 13:30,
it shall be a statute for ever all your dwellings throughout your generations; so long as they dwelt in the land of Canaan, and had their harvest in it, even until the Messiah came, in whom all those types and figures had their accomplishment.
And when ye reap the harvest of your land,.... This law is repeated from Leviticus 19:9; and as Aben Ezra observes, the feast of weeks being the feast of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, it is repeated, that they might not forget what God had commanded them to do at that time, namely, to leave somewhat for the poor; and the Jewish writers
thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: See Gill on Leviticus 19:9,
thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God; See Gill on Leviticus 19:10.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time, in a continued discourse, concerning some other days, which were to be observed in a sacred manner:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto the children of Israel,.... For all the people of Israel were concerned in the following precept, and obliged to observe it, even priests, Levites, Israelites, proselytes, and freed servants; though other servants, and women, and children, were not obliged to hear the sound of the trumpets
in the seventh month; the month Tisri, as the Targum of Jonathan, which was the seventh from the month Nisan or Abib; which was appointed the first month of the year, on account of the Israelites coming out of Egypt in it; otherwise, before, this month Tisri was the first, and so it still continued, for the fixing the years, and settling the sabbatical and jubilee years, and for the planting of trees and herbs
in the first day of the month shall ye have a sabbath; not entirely as the weekly sabbath, in which no manner of work at all was to be done, but in which no servile work was to be done; and was observed in like manner as the first and seventh days of unleavened bread, and the day of pentecost, Leviticus 23:7,
a memorial of blowing of trumpets; which, according to the Jewish writers, was continued from sun rising to sun setting
an holy convocation; on which the people were called together to holy exercises; and so the Jews observe it to this day; for after they return home from attendance to the blowing of the trumpets in their synagogues, they sit down to meat, and spend the rest of the day in hearing sermons, and in other religious exercises
Ye shall do no servile work therein,.... Only such as was necessary for dressing food, but not any manual work, such as servants were employed in on other days, as agriculture or any mechanic business:
but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; a burnt offering, and what that was may be seen in Numbers 29:1.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... This phrase, which is a kind of preface to each precept, seems to be used to distinguish one from another, as the preceding one from the feast of Pentecost; and here, the day of atonement from that of the blowing of the trumpets; and afterwards, the feast of tabernacles from the day of atonement; the reason why it is not used before the feast of Pentecost seems to be, because, as Aben Ezra observes, that depended upon the wave sheaf, and was reckoned from it:
saying; as follows.
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month,.... Tisri, the same as before, answering to part of our September, and part of October:
there shall be a day of atonement; for all the sins of the year past; see Leviticus 16:29,
it shall be an holy convocation unto you: when they should be called together for the exercise of holy duties:
and ye shall afflict your souls; their souls, by repentance, contrition, and humiliation for sin, and their bodies by fasting; and, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"by abstaining from eating and drinking, and the advantage of bathing and wiping, and the use of the bed and sandals;'hence called the fast, Acts 27:9; See Gill on Leviticus 16:29,
and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; a burnt offering, of which see Numbers 29:8.
Ye shall do no work in that same day,.... No more than on the weekly sabbath:
for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God: See Gill on Leviticus 16:30; Aben Ezra's note is,"for you only,'that is, for the Israelites, and not the Gentiles; but the atonement of Christ, the antitype of this, was not for the sins of the Jews only, but for the sins of the whole world, of all his people in it, 1 John 2:2.
For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day,.... That is, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem explain it, which can fast and does not fast; for a sick person, and a child under nine years of age, were not obliged to fast on this day
he shall be cut off from among his people; by an untimely death, by the hand of God; the Targum of Jonathan says, by the pestilence.
And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day,.... Any sort of work whatever; for, as before observed, it was to be kept as strictly as the weekly sabbath:
the same soul will I destroy from among his people; with the pestilence, as the above Targum; it seems to be but another phrase for cutting them off, and to signify the same thing.
Ye shall do no manner of work,.... Which is repeated, that it might be observed, and to show how strictly God required this day should be kept, and how careful men should be of breaking the command in this respect, and how much he should resent it if they did:
it shall be a statute for ever, throughout your generations, in all your dwellings; unto the coming of the Messiah, who, by the atoning sacrifice of himself, would answer to this law, and put an end to it.
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest,.... See Gill on Leviticus 16:31; and this is thought by some
and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even; the fast was to begin at the close of the ninth day, and to continue to the end of the tenth; so Maimonides
from even unto even shall ye celebrate your sabbath; which some understand of the sabbath in general; but it seems to have a particular respect to the sabbath of the day of atonement, which was to last from the evening of the ninth to the evening of the tenth day.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... Concerning the feast of tabernacles here repeated and enlarged upon:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying,.... Giving them directions about keeping a feast, in which the whole body of them had a very special and particular concern:
the fifteenth day of this seventh month; the month Tisri or September:
shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord; the design of which was, partly to give thanks for the fruits of the earth, now all gathered in, Leviticus 23:39; but chiefly to commemorate the dwelling of the children of Israel in tents and booths, during their forty years' abode in the wilderness, Leviticus 23:43; whereby their posterity in later times would be led to observe the difference between them and their forefathers, who lived in tents or booths, pitched sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another, in the open fields, in wastes, and deserts; whereas they dwelt in spacious cities, fortified towns, and magnificent houses; and were possessed of various kingdoms and nations, as was the land of Canaan: the reason, the Jews say
On the first day shall be an holy convocation,.... When they should be called together to holy exercises, to prayer, praising, and reading the law; and at this present time they observe this day, by rising early in the morning and going to the synagogue, where they sing and pray much; and everyone takes a bundle of branches of palm tree, olive, &c. in the right hand, and a pome citron in the left, and says, blessed be thou, O Lord our God, the Lord of the world, who has sanctified us by thy precepts, and hath commanded us to carry the palm tree bundle; then they shake it, and give a great shout, according to Psalm 96:12; all which they frequently repeat on this day, as well as bring out the book of the law, attended with various ceremonies, and read some passages in it
ye shall do no servile work therein; as on the first and seventh days of unleavened bread, the day of Pentecost, and of the blowing of trumpets; but what was necessary for preparing and dressing food might be done.
Seven days ye shall offer an offering made, by fire unto the Lord,.... A burnt offering; what this was, and how many were offered on each day, see at large in Numbers 29:13,
on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; as on the first day; See Gill on Leviticus 23:35,
and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; which was different from that on all the other days, being one bullock only, &c. Numbers 29:35,
it is a solemn assembly; of all the people, when they were gathered together before the Lord. Some render the word used a "restraint" or "detention", and interpret it of restraining or detaining them from servile work, as in the next clause; so Aben Ezra and Gersom; but this sense seems to make that clause unnecessary and is never used elsewhere where that is:
ye shall do no servile work therein; as on the first day; See Gill on Leviticus 23:35.
These are the feasts of the Lord,.... Besides the sabbath, as Gersom observes; even the passover, the seven days of unleavened bread the day of Pentecost, the day of blowing the trumpets, the day of atonement, and the seven days of the feast of tabernacles:
which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations: as they had been directed, Leviticus 23:2,
to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; which is explained by
a burnt offering, and a meat offering, which went along with it:
a sacrifice, which the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan call the sacrifice of holy things; according to Gersom it was the sacrifice of the peace offerings; but rather it seems to be the sacrifice of the sin offering, which was ordered along with the rest in all those feasts:
and drink offerings; which also accompanied the meat offerings:
everything upon his day; there being different sacrifices on one day than on another, everyone was to be offered peculiar to the day as was ordered; of which see Numbers 28:29.
Beside the sabbaths of the Lord,.... The seventh day sabbaths, which were of his appointing, and sacred to his service and worship; on which, when any of the feasts fell, it did not hinder the observance of them, or the offering of the several sacrifices on them; nor were those of the sabbath to be omitted on the account of them:
and beside your gifts; either of the whole congregation, or of a private person, which they thought well to give of their own good will on these festivals, over and above the sacrifices enjoined:
and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord; which seem to explain what is meant before by gifts.
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month,.... The month Tisri or September, the same month, and the same day of the month before observed; only another end and use of this feast is remarked, which was to give thanks for the fruits of the earth gathered in, as follows:
when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land; the barley, wheat, oil and wine, and all others, this being now autumn, when the several fruits were ripe and gathered: ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days; not different from that before mentioned, but the same, one design of which is here suggested, to give thanks for the fruits of the earth: hence this feast is sometimes called the feast of ingathering, Exodus 23:16; as another use of it is after mentioned, to commemorate the children of Israel dwelling in booths in the wilderness:
on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath; because on both there was a cessation from servile work, Leviticus 23:35.
And ye shall take you the boughs of goodly trees,.... Which the three Targums interpret, of citrons; and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra; and the Jews are so tenacious of observing this, that in those countries where this fruit grows not, they will send for it from Spain, where there is plenty of it: the Targum of Jonathan, paraphrases it, "ye shall take of yours"; suggesting these boughs must be their own, or the bundle of them, with others they call the "lulab", must be their own property, and not another's; though it is said
branches of palm trees: which were very common in the land of Judea, and especially about Jericho; see John 12:13; the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call them "lulabs", which is the name the Jews give to the whole bundle they carried in their hands on this day:
and the boughs of thick trees; which the Targums and Jewish writers in general understand of myrtles, being full of branches and leaves:
and willows of the brook; a sort of trees which delight to grow by brooks and rills of water: these, according to the Jewish writers, were not taken to make their booths of, though that seems to be the use of them, from Nehemiah 8:15; but to tie up in bundles, and carry in hands; the citron in their left hand, and a bundle made of the other three sorts of boughs of trees in the right hand, which they called the "lulab":
and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days; because of the blessings of his goodness bestowed upon them in the plentiful harvest and vintage they had been favoured with, and in remembrance of past mercies, showed to their fathers in the wilderness, giving them food and drink, and guiding and protecting them with the pillar of cloud and fire; and at the same time, also, thankful for the different circumstances they were in, having cities, towns, and houses to dwell its, and fields and vineyards to possess, when their fathers lived in a wilderness for forty years together; and especially such of them expressed their joy before the Lord, who had any knowledge of this being a type of the Messiah tabernacling in human nature, they had the promise of, to be their spiritual Redeemer and Saviour: these seven days are kept by the Jews now, chiefly in carnal mirth, and so for ages past, as by carrying the above boughs in their hands, and going round about the altar with them, and, shaking them, and crying Hosanna, and by making use of all sorts of music, vocal and instrumental, piping, dancing, leaping, skipping, and various gestures, even by persons of the highest rank, and of the greatest character for sobriety
And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year,.... Every year it was to be kept for the space of seven days, beginning on the fifteenth and ending on the twenty second of the month Tisri or September:
it shall be a statute for ever in your generations; until the Messiah should come and tabernacle among men, the substance of this shadow, on whose coming it was to flee away:
ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and that no mistake might be made.
Ye shall dwell in booths seven days,.... So that it seems they were not obliged to dwell in them on the eighth day, which was an holy convocation, a sabbath in which no servile work was to be done as the first, Leviticus 23:36. The eighth day was a day by itself, a sort of an appendage to the feast of tabernacles, when they went into their houses again, and kept it as an holy day; and perhaps principally in giving thanks for the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, to which this seems to be appropriated from Leviticus 23:39. According to the Jewish writers, they did not go out of their booths until they had dined in them on this day; and as they went out used to say,"may it be the will of God that we may be worthy the next year to dwell in the booth of Leviathan
all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths; the Targum of Jonathan is,"all the males in Israel, and even the little ones, that do not need their mothers, sit in the shades blessing their Creator, when they enter there.'And, according to the Misnah
That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths,.... Which by the providence of God the Israelites were obliged to make for themselves to dwell in:
when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; for the very first place they came to, when they departed from thence, was called Succoth, from the booths they there built:
I am the Lord your God; who brought them out of Egypt, made them to dwell in booths in the wilderness, and enjoined them the observance of the feast of tabernacles in memory of it, in which he expected to be obeyed.
And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord. The several feasts before recited, the order of them, the manner of observing them, and the time.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany