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Bible Commentaries

Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 16

Verses 1-22

INSTRUCTIONS AS TO THE PASSOVER

(vs.1-8)

The Passover, held in the first month of the year, was to celebrate Israel's deliverance from Egypt (v.1), but more importantly, to look forward to the death of the Lord Jesus -- "Christ our Passover.... sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Of course, Israel did not understand that spiritual significance, but God did. The first Passover was held in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-51), the second in the wilderness (Numbers 9:5), the third in the plains of Jericho (Joshua 5:10) as Israel entered the land. But the Lord commanded that when they were established in the land the Passover was to be observed only "in the place where the Lord chooses to put His name" (v.1). That center is Jerusalem.

The gathering center today for the Church of God is the person of the Lord Jesus, who tells us, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). God allows no other center such as all the divisions of Christendom have conceived.

The Passover feast was to continue for seven days, during which no leavened bread was to be eaten, for leaven speaks of sin which has been totally judged in the cross. This seven day observance was intended to keep Israel reminded all their life of the day of their deliverance from Egypt (v.3), just as the Lord's supper is a reminder of the Lord's death by which He has delivered believers from their former bondage to sin.

Leaven was not to be found in Israel all those seven days, and none of the meat of the Passover lamb was to remain overnight (v.4). Exodus 12:10 had commanded that anything left was to be burned, that is, it went up in fire to the Lord; for God can appreciate everything about Christ, if we cannot.

Again verses 5 and 6 insist that the Passover was to be sacrificed only in the place of God's choice, the time for it being in the evening, and the method of cooking, roasting (v.7). On the seventh day of the feast a solemn assembly was to take place, with no work done.

THE FEAST OF WEEKS

(vs.9-12)

The feast of firstfruits is not mentioned here, as it is in Leviticus 23:9-14. This feast closely followed the Passover, when the sheaf of firstfruits was waved before the Lord. From that time seven weeks were to be counted, so that the fiftieth day would be the feast of weeks, or Pentecost. On this day a freewill offering was to be presented to the Lord in the place that He would choose, Jerusalem, so that this would require another journey for the purpose of rejoicing before the Lord, in which they were to include all their family and household servants, as well as any Levite living there, and "the stranger, the fatherless and the widows" among them (v.11). We shall see in verse 16, however, that it was only all the males who were required to be at Jerusalem on these three occasions, not their families.

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

(vs.13-17)

The feast of Trumpets and the Great Day of Atonement, spoken of inLeviticus 23:23-32; Leviticus 23:23-32, are passed over here, and the Feast of Tabernacles is emphasized. This was on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, including seven days following (Leviticus 23:34), after the harvest had been gathered in. Again this was to be a time of rejoicing for each family, their servants, the Levites and the needy who were connected with them in any way (v.14). The Feast of Tabernacles is typical of the great blessing of the millennial day when Israel will have cause to remember the great goodness of God toward them in restoring them after centuries of self-will and rebellion.

The reason that only the above three feasts are included here is seen in verse 16. At the time of these three feasts all the males in Israel were required to appear in Jerusalem before God. Nor were they to appear before the Lord empty-handed, but to bring what they were able to offer before Him (v.17). This was before ordered inExodus 23:14-19; Exodus 23:14-19, and tells that believers today should have real concern about appearing at Bible conferences whenever it is possible, with a desire to give to the Lord what is becoming and right.

RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT

(vs.18-17:13)

In the land Israel was to appoint judges and officers who would judge the people righteously (v.18). They are warned solemnly against any perversion of justice, including partiality for one against another, and against taking any bribe (v.19). Such things are so common in the world that Israel must be sternly warned against this. In the New Testament Timothy is given a serious charge by Paul, "I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality" (1 Timothy 5:21). Among believers such an admonition should hardly be necessary, but it is.

Israel was to follow what is altogether just, for this would have a direct bearing on their practical inheritance of the land (v.20). Also the nations planted groves as places of idol worship. Israel is told not to plant a tree as an image in proximity to an altar built for the worship of the Lord. They were allowed to build either a stone or earthen altar (Exodus 20:24-25), but no suggestion of idolatry was to be allowed. "A sacred pillar" might be considered as a reminder of spiritual things, but the Lord hates this. If His Word is not a sufficient reminder, then we are in a bad spiritual state which will not be helped by material objects. Let us greatly value the Word of God and refuse to add to it.

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Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 16". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/deuteronomy-16.html. 1897-1910.