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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Deuteronomy 16

Verses 1-8

DEUTERONOMY - CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Verses 1-8:

This is a repetition of the Passover Law and the regulations for the week of Unleavened Bread, see Exodus 12:2-20; Exodus 13:3-10; Exodus 34:18; Leviticus 23:4-8.

"Abib," or Nisan, the first month of Israel’s sacred calendar, corresponding to March-April of today’s calendar.

"Bread of affliction," literally, bread such as would be prepared in times of trouble and stress, when there was not ample time to prepare a normal meal.

On the occasion of the first Passover, the people ate the meal in their homes. But when they would enter Canaan, and when the Lord would appoint the central place of worship, this would be no longer be permitted. The Passover could then be observed only at the sanctuary.

During the week following the Passover, no leaven was allowed in the houses of Israel. At the end of the week, the seventh day, there was to be a solemn, holy assembly of all who came to the festival. No work was to be done on that day.

Verses 9-12

Verses 9-12:

This text is a repetition of the regulations regarding the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, see Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:9-16. It began seven weeks after the commencement of the corn (grain) harvest, in the month Sivan (June).

Verses 13-15

Verses 13-15:

This was the Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, or Ingathering, the last of the sacred festivals. It began five days after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and lasted eight days, see Leviticus 23:33-34; Numbers 29:12-38. It marked the completion of the harvest, after the gathering of the grain into storage, and the processing of the fruit of the vineyard.

This was to be a time of national rejoicing and thanksgiving, that God had provided ample harvest to supply the needs of the people, and to provide for the relief of the poor, the stranger, the widow, the orphan, and the Levites.

Verses 16-17

Verses 16, 17:

This text is a further explanation of the requirement stated in Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23, q. v.

"Not empty," that is, not without gifts to offer as the Lord had blessed. One purpose of these gifts may have been to distribute to the poor and needy, the widows, orphans, and the Levites and strangers, see verses 10, 11, 14. Paul may have referred to this provision of the Law in his encouragement to give to the relief of the poor saints, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Verses 18-20

Verses 18-20:

For the appointment of judges, and their requirements, see Deuteronomy 1:9-18; Exodus 18:13-26.

"Officers," shatar, "writers," appointed to work with the judges as clerks of the court and secretaries, and also advisers.

Scripture does not give the means used to appoint the judges, nor the number to be appointed.

Impeccable honesty was to be the hallmark of the judges. There must be no favoritism shown. Justice must be administered in all decisions, regardless of who was involved.

"Gift," shochad, "bribe." See Proverbs 6:35; Proverbs 17:8; Proverbs 17:23, Isaiah 1:23; Ezekiel 22:12 for other occurrences of this term. Accepting of a bribe to influence a judicial decision was expressly forbidden, because a bribe perverts the administration of justice.

Verses 21-22

Verses 21, 22:

"Thou shalt not plant," or "thou shalt not erect or set up."

"Grove," asherah, a wooden idol in the form of a pillar, usually associated with Baal-worship.

"Image," matstsebah, "any thing set up, pillar or idol." In this text, the term denotes a pillar or statute erected as an object of worship, see Exodus 23:24; Exodus 34:13; 2 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 10:26.

This is God’s prohibition against a practice which was common among the heathen of that day.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 16". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-16.html. 1985.