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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries
Leviticus 23

 

 

Verses 1-5

PART IV. HOLY DAYS AND SEASONS: WEEKLY, MONTHLY, ANNUAL, SEPTENNIAL, AND EVERY HALF-CENTURY.

EXPOSITION

THIS Part consists of Leviticus 23:1-44, and Leviticus 25:1-55, with Leviticus 24:1-23 parenthetically introduced.

Every religion must have its round of holy days and seasons:

1. To give occasion for manifesting joyous thankfulness to the Giver of all good things.

2. To keep alive the memory of past events around which religious associations cling.

3. To impress upon the hearts of the worshippers those sacred mysteries which are regarded as essential characteristics of the system.

1. The duty and happiness of rejoicing before the Lord find a prominent place under the Mosaic dispensation, as they must in any religion where man feels himself in a covenant relation with God, brought nigh to him by himself, and no longer estranged from him who is his only true life and happiness. Accordingly, the first thought of the annual Jewish festivals is that of joyous thankfulness, such as is becoming to reconciled children grateful to their Father for the many bounties that they receive at his hands. The first gift of God of which man becomes conscious is that of the daily sustenance provided for him, and therefore we should expect holy days to be appointed to commemorate the goodness of God in bestowing the gifts of the earth. The first aspect, therefore, in which to regard the three great annual festivals—the Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles—is that they were days of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth dispensed by God to man.

First, with regard to the Passover. We read at Leviticus 24:10, Leviticus 24:11, "When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf [or an omer] of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 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." The words, "the morrow after the sabbath," mean, as we shall see, the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread, that is, the second day of the feast, Nisan 16, which fell early in April, when the first barley was ripening in Palestine. On the 14th day of Nisan (the day of the Paschal sacrifice) a certain quantity of standing barley was marked off, by men specially appointed for the purpose, in a field ploughed the previous autumn and sown at least ten weeks before the Passover, but not prepared artificially in such a way as to hasten the crop. On the following day, Nisan 15, at sunset, three men were sent to the selected field, and, in the presence of witnesses, cut the ears of corn before marked, and brought them into the temple. On the next day, Nisan 16, this corn, whether in the form of a sheaf or of flour, was offered to the Lord by being waved before him, and then consigned to the priest. Here, by the presentation of the firstfruits of the year, an acknowledgment is made that the products of the earth are by right God's. This is one of the objects of the Feast of the Passover.

Secondly, as to Pentecost. After the sheaf, or omer, had been offered on Nisan 16, it was allowable to make the new year's barley into bread, but the dedication of the grain crops was not complete until a portion of the wheat crop had also been offered. This was done a week of weeks later, at the Feast of Pentecost, forty-nine days after the presentation of the barley, and fifty days after the first day of Unleavened Bread. On this day, two leavened loaves, of the same size as the shewbread loaves, were waved before the Lord, and then delivered to the priest. These loaves were made out of ears of corn selected and reaped as the barley had been seven weeks before, and then threshed and ground in the temple. They were regarded as the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, though they were not made of the first cut wheat; and from their presentation the festival has the name of the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16); the Feast of the Firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest (Exodus 24:1-18 :22); the Day of the Firstfruits (Numbers 28:26); while, from its date relatively to the Passover, it is called the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). The name, Feast of Pentecost, is found only in the Apocrypha (Tobit 2:1; 2 Macc. 12:32), and in the New Testament (Acts 2:1; Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8). The meat offerings might not be made of the new year's flour until these two loaves had been offered.

Thirdly, with regard to the Feast of Tabernacles. The festivals connected with the seasons of the year and the products of the soil were not ended until the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22), or Tabernacles (verse 34; Deuteronomy 16:13; Ezra 3:4; Zechariah 14:16; Jeremiah 7:2), had been celebrated. This festival occurred about the beginning of October, and commemorated the final gathering in of all the fruits of the year, specially of the olives and the grapes. It was observed by a general dwelling in booths made of the branches of palms, willows, olives, pines, myrtles, and other close-growing trees (verse 40; Nehemiah 8:15), in which all the Israelite males, with the exception of the sick, lived for seven days, and kept harvest home.

2. The second aspect in which to regard the annum festivals is the historical one. The Passover is characterized by its historical associations to a greater degree than either of the other festivals. The whole national life of the Israelites received its character from the Egyptian Exodus, and accordingly the anniversaries of their religious year began with its commemoration. It was the events which had taken place in Egypt which gave to the Paschal sacrifice and the Paschal feast their primary signification; and while to us the Passover festival serves as a proof of the truth of those events, to the Jew it served as a memorial of them, preventing them from ever being forgotten or disregarded (cf. Exodus 13:3-16). The ancient Christian Fathers suggested that the Feast of Pentecost commemorated the institution of the old dispensation at Sinai, as, to Christians, it recalled the institution of the new Law by the gift of the fiery tongues at Jerusalem. This suggestion was adopted by Maimonides and the later school of Hebrew commentators, and it is a very probable conjecture; but as no appearance of it is found in the Old or New Testaments, nor even in early Hebrew writers, it cannot be regarded as a certainty. Historically, the Feast of Tabernacles is generally considered to commemorate the dwelling in tents throughout the forty years' wandering in the wilderness; but if this were so, it would have been called the Feast of Tents, for the words "tent" and "tabernacle" differ, and the Israelites did not dwell in tabernacles in the wilderness. Rather, it commemorates the first encampment of the Israelites after setting forth from Egypt, which took place at "Succoth," the meaning of which word is "tabernacle" (Exodus 12:37). Thus, as the event historically associated with the first harvest festival, the Passover, was the setting forth from Egypt, that associated with the last, the Feast of Tabernacles, was the resting at the end of the first day's journey at Succoth, where the people now felt that they were free, and began to rejoice in their freedom.

3. The typical character of the feasts, as well as their historical character, is more apparent in the Passover than in the other two feasts. St. Paul's testimony on this point is sufficient: "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Here we have the typical character of the Paschal lamb, and of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, authoritatively declared to us. The blood of the lamb slain on the night before the Exodus, being the means whereby the Israelites were delivered from the destruction which fell on all the rest of the inhabitants of the land, typified the still more efficacious bloodshedding by which the redemption of Christ's people was wrought. The Feast of Pentecost, if it commemorated the gift of the Law at Mount Sinai, pointed thereby to the giving of the better Law on the day when the Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles in Jerusalem; and in any case, as a Feast of Firstfruits, it was emblematic of those firstfruits of the Christian Church presented to God on that day (Acts 2:41). The Feast of Tabernacles, in which God's people commemorated their rejoicing in their newly found liberty after the slavery of Egypt, awaits its full typical fulfillment in the spiritual joy of the redeemed after they have been delivered from the burden of the flesh and the sufferings of the world; but its typical meaning is partially fulfilled in the blessed peace and joy spread abroad in the hearts of the children of God by reason of their adoption in Christ, whereby we have obtained an inheritance with the saints (Ephesians 1:11, Ephesians 1:18).

In the annual fast held on the 10th of Tisri, the great Day of Atonement, the typical element outweighs any other. The present and the past sink away in comparison with the future. The day suggests no thought of the seasons or of the products of the earth, and it recalls no event of past history. It teaches a lesson—the need of reconciliation; and by the entrance of the high priest into the holy of holies with sacrificial blood, and by the ceremony of the scapegoat, it typically foreshadows how that reconciliation is to he effected.

The monthly festivals had a purpose different from the annual. They occurred on the new moon, or the first day of each month, and their intention was to dedicate each month to God. Only one of these monthly festivals is mentioned in this chapter the Feast of Trumpets. It is the feast of the new moon of the sacred seventh month, with which the civil year began. Because it was New Year's Day, it had more ceremonies attached to it than the first days of the other months. Whereas the feasts of the new moons in other months only sanctified the special month which they began, the Feast of Trumpets sanctified also the whole year, and was therefore an annual as well as a monthly feast.

The weekly festival was the sabbath (see Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:15). This feast sanctified each week, as the monthly feasts sanctified each month; and like the annual festivals, it looked both backwards and forwards: backwards, to the sanctification bestowed upon it "Because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:3); forwards, to the great sabbath in which Christ rested in the grave, and yet further onwards to another sabbath still to be enjoyed by the people of God.

The sabbatical year and the jubilee were extensions of the sabbatical principle—certain civil and religious institutions and regulations being attached to each of them.

Leviticus 23:2

Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. The translation should rather be, The appointed times which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are my appointed times. The appointed times (mo'adin) include the great fast as well as the festivals, and the weekly and monthly as well as the annual holy days. The primary purpose with which the following enumeration of holy days is introduced, is to give a list of the holy convocations. While the Israelites were still dwelling in the wilderness, a holy convocation appears to have been a religious assembly of all the males in the court of the tabernacle. After the settlement in Canaan, a religious gathering for prayer or festive rejoicing in all their dwellings, that is, wherever they lived, would have satisfied the command to hold a holy convocation, except on the three great festivals, when all who could, "kept the feast" at Jerusalem. There were in all seven holy convocations in the year, besides the sabbath, namely, the first and last days of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Trumpets, the first and last days of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Leviticus 23:3

The seventh day is the sabbath of rest. This is a very strong expression, literally, the sabbath of sabbatism, which doubles the force of the single word. Ye shall do no work therein. The sabbath and the Day of Atonement were the only days in which no work might be done, whereas on the other festivals it was only no servile work that might be done. It is not to be observed solely where the tabernacle is pitched or the temple is built, but in every town and village of Canaan—in all your dwellings. In the sanctuary itself the peculiar characteristics of the sabbath were a holy convocation, the renewal of the shewbread, and the burnt offering of two lambs with their meat and drink offerings (Numbers 28:9, Numbers 28:10); elsewhere it was observed only by the holy convocation and rest from all labour. It commenced at sunset on Friday evening, and continued till sunset on Saturday evening. In later days the hour at which it began was announced by three blasts of the priests' trumpets, immediately after which a new course of priests entered on their ministry.

Leviticus 23:4

This verse repeats the statement or heading contained in Leviticus 23:2, with reference to the annual holy day, the sabbath having been disposed of in Leviticus 23:3.

Leviticus 23:5

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. The month of Nisan was made the first month of the religious year in consequence of the original Passover having taken place in it (Exodus 12:2). On the occasion of the first, or Egyptian, Passover, all heads of a family, either singly or two or three heads of families in conjunction, provided themselves with a lamb or a kid on the 10th day of Nisan, killed it in the evening of the 14th, and, taking a bunch of hyssop, dipped it in the blood and struck the lintel and two side posts of the doors of their houses with the blood. They then roasted the animal whole for eating, added to it unleavened bread, and garnished it with bitter herbs. They made themselves ready to eat it by dressing themselves for a journey, "with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hands" (Exodus 12:11), and thus they ate it in haste, in a standing position. The meaning of the ceremony is explained by what was taking place at the same time. On the same night, after the blood had been sprinkled upon the lintel and side posts, God slew the firstborn of all who had not exhibited this symbol of their having been brought into covenant with himself, and the Israelites set off hurriedly on their departure from Egypt. It was commanded that the day should be kept hereafter in like manner as a memorial, and that the following seven days should be kept as a Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:14, Exodus 12:15). This command is here concisely repeated, as it is again repeated in Deuteronomy 16:1-8. One very considerable change was, however, necessarily made in the method of its observance. Originally, each head of a household or combination of households sacrificed the lamb himself, and sprinkled the blood upon the doorposts and lintel. But after the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood and the withdrawal of the priestly authority previously vested in each head of a house (Deuteronomy 8:1-20, Deuteronomy 9:1-29), and after the stringent prohibition of sacrificing elsewhere than in the court of the tabernacle had been issued (Deuteronomy 17:1-20), this could not continue. Accordingly, we find in the Book of Deuteronomy the direct injunction, "Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee: but at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his Name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 16:5, Deuteronomy 16:6). A result from this rule was that every male Israelite had to present himself at Jerusalem, and there slay his lamb on the day of the Passover, which in the time of Nero, brought between two and three million pilgrims to Jerusalem each year. The crowd of pilgrims took their way to the temple, and were admitted into the court in three divisions. There they slew each man his lamb, while the priests offered the blood on the altar, and the Levites sang the Hallel. Then they bore away the lambs, roasted them whole on a spit of pomegranate wood, taking care that no bone should be broken, and prepared the Paschal supper. At the supper, as well as at the sacrifice, a change of manner was introduced. "As the guests gathered round the Paschal table, they came no longer, as at the first celebration, with their loins girded, with shoes on their feet, and a staff in their hands; that is, as travelers waiting to take their departure. On the contrary, they were arrayed in their best festive garments, joyous and at rest, as became the children of a king. To express this idea, the rabbis also insisted that the Paschal supper, or at least part of it, must be eaten in that recumbent position with which we are familiar from the New Testament. 'For,' say they, 'they use this leaning posture, as free men do, in memorial of their freedom.' And again, 'Because it is the manner of slaves to eat standing, therefore now they eat sitting and leaning, in order to show that they have been delivered from bondage into freedom.' And finally, 'No, not the poorest in Israel may eat till he has sat down, leaning.' But though it was deemed desirable to sit leaning during the whole Paschal supper, it was only absolutely enjoined while partaking of the bread and the wine" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). The essentials of the Paschal feast were the Paschal lamb, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8). To these were afterwards added a dish formed from an animal sacrificed on the Passover day, a composition of dates and other dried fruits, and four cups of red wine mixed with water, the last of which came to be regarded as essential as that which had been commanded in the Law. The Rabbi Gamaliel is reported by the Mishna to have said, "Whoever fails to explain three things in the Passover fails to fulfill his duty. These are the Paschal lamb, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs. The Paschal lamb means that God passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt, which were sprinkled with blood; the unleavened bread, that our fathers were hurried out of Egypt; the bitter herbs, that the Egyptians made the lives of our fathers in Egypt bitter" (Pes. Deuteronomy 10:15). The wine was regarded so necessary an adjunct, that it is ordered that every householder must provide himself with four cups, even if he had to sell or pawn his coat, or hire himself out for a servant, or receive money from the poor's box, in order to do so (Pes. 1). The supper began with drinking the first cup of wine, before which a grace, or thanksgiving, of the following character was said:—"Blessed art thou, Jehovah our God, who hast created the fruit of the vine! Blessed art thou, Jehovah our God, King of the universe, who hast chosen us from among all people, and exalted us from among all languages, and sanctified us with thy commandments! And thou hast given us, in love, the solemn days for joy, and the festivals and appointed seasons for gladness, and this, the day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the season of our freedom, a holy convocation, the memorial of our departure from Egypt. For us hast thou chosen; and us hast thou sanctified from among all nations, and thy holy festivals with joy and with gladness hast thou caused us to inherit. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who sanctifiest Israel and the appointed seasons! Blessed art thou, Lord, King of the universe, who hast preserved us alive, and sustained us, and brought us to this season" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). After drinking the first cup, there followed a general washing of hands, after which the company ate some of the bitter herbs. Then the second cup was filled, and in order to carry out the injunction of Exodus 12:26, Exodus 12:27, the youngest member of the company inquired, "What mean ye by this service?" And the president of the feast replied, "It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses." At the same time, he explained the purport of the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs, and called upon the company to give thanks for what God had wrought for them and for their fathers, ending with Psalms 113:1-9, Psalms 114:1-8, sung by all present. The second cup was then drunk, and after second washing of hands, the unleavened bread was broken, and thanks again given, after which the pieces of bread, the bitter herbs, the other sacrificial dish (if any), and the Paschal lamb were partaken of in turn. The third cup was then filled, thanks were again given, and the cup was drunk. This cup had the name of the "cup of blessing," owing to the blessing said over it, and it was succeeded after an interval by the fourth cup, when Psalm 115-118 (which, with Psalms 113:1-9, Psalms 114:1-8, made up the Hallel) were sung, followed by a prayer of thanksgiving.

HOMILETICS

Leviticus 23:5

The Paschal supper was observed by our Lord

in obedience to the command in Exodus 12:14; Le Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 16:1-8, in the following manner, so far as we are able to gather from the narrative of the gospel.

I. HE SENT PETER AND JOHN BEFOREHAND TO PREPARE THE PASSOVER. The first step in the preparation of the Passover was the purchase of the Paschal lamb. We may see the two disciples, after they had been led by the man bearing a pitcher of water to the house where the feast was to be held, providing themselves with a lamb, unleavened bread, the bitter herbs, and that other dish into which the sop was afterwards dipped; then carrying the lamb to the temple, to be sacrificed in the court. This was on the afternoon of Nisan 14. Admitted into the court of the temple, in one or other of the three divisions into which the maps of the pilgrims and residents were divided, they would have slain the lamb, and, after the blood had. been thrown on the altar by the priests, they would have carried the body to the house in which the preparations for the Master's eating the Passover were being made.

II. HE SELECTED HIS PASCHAL COMPANY. The rule was that the company should not consist of less than ten persons. In the present case it amounted to thirteen. Around him were gathered his twelve disciples, with whom "he desired with desire to eat the Passover before he suffered" (Luke 22:15).

III. HE ENTERED INTO JERUSALEM IN ORDER THAT HE MIGHT EAT THE PASSOVER IN THE PLACE WHICH THE LORD HAD CHOSEN. (Deuteronomy 16:7.) "It was probably as the sun was beginning to decline in the horizon that Jesus and the other ten disciples descended once more over the Mount of Olives into the holy city. Before them lay Jerusalem in her festive attire. All around pilgrims were hastening towards it. White tents dotted the sward, gay with the bright flowers of early spring, or poured out from the gardens and the darker foliage of the olive plantations. From the gorgeous temple buildings, dazzling in their snow-white marble and gold, on which the slanting rays of the sun were reflected, rose the smoke of the altar of burnt offering. These courts were now crowded with eager worshippers, offering for the last time, in a real sense, their Paschal lambs. The streets must have been thronged with strangers, and the fiat roofs covered with eager gazers, who either feasted Their eyes with a first sight of the sacred city for which they had so often longed, or else once more rejoiced in view of the well-remembered localities. It was the last day view which the Lord had of the holy city till his resurrection. Only once more in the approaching night of his betrayal was he to look upon it in the pale light of the full moon. He was going forward to 'accomplish his death' in Jerusalem; to fulfill type and prophecy, and to offer himself up as the true Passover Lamb—'the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.' They who followed him were busy with many thoughts. They knew that terrible events awaited them, and they had only a few days before been told that these glorious temple buildings, to which, with a national pride not unnatural, they had directed the attention of their Master, were to become desolate, not one stone being left upon the other. Among them, revolving his dark plans and goaded on by the great enemy, moved the betrayer. And now they were within the city. Its temple, its royal bridge, its splendid palaces, its busy marts, its streets filled with festive pilgrims, were well known to them as they made their way to the house where the guest-chamber had been prepared for them" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service').

IV. HE ATE THE PASSOVER MEAL IN THE CUSTOMARY MANNER, YET WITH SUCH ALTERATIONS AS MADE IT A NEW INSTITUTION. For example:

1. He began with the first cup, over which he gave thanks as usual, and then gave it to the company to drink. It is of this cup that we read in St. Luke, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves" (Luke 22:17).

2. Instead of the first washing of hands, he "began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded" (John 13:5).

3. The feast then continued in its usual order. The second cup, the unleavened bread (part of which was "the sop" given to Judas), the hitter herbs, and the eating of the lamb followed in order.

4. The Lord then took some of the unleavened bread, and when he had given thanks over it, or blessed it, he brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat, this is my body" (Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24).

5. He took the third cup, called "the cup of blessing" (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16), "and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins".

6. The fourth cup, accompanied by the "hymn," or Hallel, no doubt finished the supper in the usual manner.

V. THE PASCHAL SUPPER THUS CEASED FOR EVER, AND THE LORD'S SUPPER WAS 'INSTITUTED IN ITS PLACE. The blood of the original lambs slain in Egypt received its efficacy in covering the people of Israel and delivering them from the visitation of God's angel of wrath, by its anticipatory representation of the blood of the true Lamb of God, which was shed for the deliverance of God's redeemed upon the cross. The time had now come for that blood to he shed, and therefore the memorial and typical sacrifices offered year by year necessarily ceased, the shadow being swallowed up in the substance, the type in the antitype. In like manner, the feast on the body of the lamb, which represented the body of Christ, necessarily ceased when there was no longer a lamb to be sacrificed. The Paschal feast, if continued longer, would have bees an unmeaning form, because its meaning had become exhausted.

Yet, just as Christianity grew by God's will out of Judaism, so a new memorial of Christ sprang out of the old type. He took the bread that was before him, an accessory of the old feast, and consecrated it, together with the third cup, to represent his body and blood in the future, for a memorial, just as the body of the lamb which was eaten and the blood of the lamb that was shed had typically and by anticipation represented them in the past. Thus the dead wood of the old form, at the moment of perishing blossomed into new life.

The Passover was to be kept as "a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever" (Exodus 12:14); and any one who did not keep the feast was to "be cut off from Israel" (Exodus 12:15). In like manner, the Lord's Supper is to continue, the bread is to be eaten and the cup to be drunk, as the means of showing forth the Lord's death "till he come." The one ordinance is of as permanent a nature as the other, and the neglect of it may cause people to incur a no less penalty in the second case than in the first.

HOMILIES BY R.M. EDGAR

Leviticus 23:1-3

The offering of rest: the sabbath.

cf. Genesis 2:2, Genesis 2:3; Exodus 16:22; Exodus 20:8-11; Mark 2:23-28; Revelation 1:10. In the sacrificial worship we come across what is essentially different as an offering from the sacrifice of an animal or of any palpable possession, and yet is a real sacrifice all the while—we mean that of time. The sabbath, as an offering of rest, has consequently a very high place among the Jews. As Ewald has remarked, it is the only sacrifice which finds a place among the ten commandments. No wonder he regards it as "the greatest and most prolific thought" in the Jewish religion. And here let us notice—

I. THE HIGH VALUE MAN USUALLY SETS ON HIS TIME. It is indeed said to be money. Many will make almost any other sacrifice more willingly than that of their tinge. They will give money, valuables, almost anything you like to ask, except their precious time. What a fuss made about an evening devoted to you by a busy friend, or half an evening, or sometimes half an hour!

Hence, in demanding from man a proportion of his time, God asks for what man esteems highly and is loth to give. Time is regarded as so peculiarly man's own, to do what he likes in, that it becomes no light sacrifice, but rather the crown of all sacrifices, when a considerable portion of time is made over unto God.

II. THE DEMAND GOD MAKES IS IN MAN'S INTEREST, FOR IT IS FOR REST AFTER LABOUR. Six days of work, and then, saith God, one day of rest. The body needs it. Seven days' unceasing toil would soon take the heart out of all workers, and bring on premature decay. God himself has set the example. After the untold labours of the creation, after the hard work—if we may reverently use such terms of God—of the creative periods, he has entered into the long sabbath of human history. He is in the midst of it now. This is implied by the words of Jesus, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17), in their connection. And so a restful Father in heaven calls upon his toiling children upon earth to rest, as he has done, one day out of seven, and not sink through unceasing labour. So consonant is this weekly rest with the laws of our physical nature, that some, who do not see clearly the scriptural proof and obligation of a holy day, believe that it might safely be allowed to rest upon the foundation of physical need. But the needs of others, alas! constitute no sufficient sanction with selfish men. God must speak and make his demand, else men will run counter to their general welfare in their self-indulgence.

III. GOD'S REST IS TO BE CHARACTERIZED BY SOCIAL WORSHIP. Man is not to spend his seventh day in inactivity. He is not to loiter about his tent or gossip at its door all the day. There is to be "an holy convocation" ( מִקְרָא־קֹדֶש). The day is to be celebrated by social worship. The people were expected to gather in their thousands to praise the Lord. Were it not for such a regulation as the sabbath, with its public services, even Judaism could not have survived.

The same reason still holds for a holy sabbath. In the interests of religion it must be observed. What would become of our holy religion if a set time for its weekly observance were not generally kept? Men need these "trysting times" and "trysting places" (as מוֹעְרֵי, in Revelation 1:2, might very properly be translated), that religion may keep its position among us.

We may imagine what our land 'would be if no Lord's day were kept, if no sabbath bells summoned people to public prayer, and no preachers got their weekly opportunities. It would soon be an irreligious land, carelessness and indifference reigning throughout it in a measure infinitely greater than they do even now.

IV. THE DAY OF REST IS TO BE REGARDED AS THE LORD'S. "It is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings." The Jew regarded the sabbath as "the Lord's day." It was the day of the week that God regulated, and all whose hours he claimed as his. We claim as much for "the first day of the week" under our dispensation. We ask men to lay the day as a hearty offering on God's altar. They are not doing so while they spend it as they like. It is to be a holy day, not a holiday; a holy day, and therefore to a holy soul a happy day, the day in which we can rejoice and be glad. When we can say with John, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day," we are sure to have most precious visions of the Lord's beauty and glory (cf. Revelation 1:10, etc.).

It is no contention, therefore, about something Jewish, but simply about something honestly dedicated as a day to God. Those who contend against the strict observance of the Lord's day either labour under a total misapprehension about the way some people spend it, or are really bent upon devoting the day to their own purposes instead of to God's. If we are commonly honest, we shall esteem it only right to surrender as the highest offering of our religious life the seventh of our time to him who deserves it all.

"Man, then," says Ewald, "shall release his soul and body from all their burdens, with all the professions and pursuits of ordinary life, only in order to gather himself together again in God with greater purity and fewer disturbing elements, and renew in him the might of his own better powers. If, then, the interchange of activity and rest is already founded in the nature of all creation, and is the more beneficial and health-bringing the more regular its recurrence, so should it be found here too; yet not as when, in the night and in sleep, the body is cared for, but as when, in a joyous day of unfettered meditation, the spiritual man always finds his true rest, and thereby is indeed renewed and strengthened."—R.M.E.

HOMILIES BY J.A. MACDONALD

Leviticus 23:1-3

The sabbath.

This is here classed amongst the "feasts of the Lord." The greater number of these were first observed after the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan; but the Passover was an exception, which was held at the time of the Exodus, forty years earlier. The sabbath also was an exception. We have to consider—

I. THE OBLIGATION OF THE SABBATH.

1. It is not altogether a Mosaic institution.

2. It was incorporated in the Sinai code.

3. The Levitical law of the sabbath is repealed.

4. But the Adamic law remains.

II. HOW IT SHOULD BE KEPT. It should be kept:

1. As a day of rest from business.

2. As a day of holy convocation.

3. As a day of prophetic anticipation.

HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON

Leviticus 23:3

Aspects of the sabbath.

We are reminded of—

I. ITS ORIGIN IN EARLIEST HUMAN HISTORY. "The seventh day is the sabbath of rest" (see Genesis 2:2, Genesis 2:3).

II. THE SPECIAL OBLIGATION RESTING ON ISRAEL, AS A REDEEMED PEOPLE, TO OBSERVE IT. "The Lord thy God brought thee out thence … therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:15). We, also, as those redeemed at far greater cost, may feel ourselves on this ground constrained to observe it.

III. ITS PLACE IN THE PROPHETIC TESTIMONY. It is deeply significant that the prophets, who were the rebukers of mere ritualism and the advocates of the moral and spiritual elements in religion, should have given so high a place as they did to the observance of the sabbath (see Isaiah 1:10-15, comp. with Isaiah 56:2 and Isaiah 58:13, Isaiah 58:14).

IV. ITS CHRISTIAN ASPECT.

1. It commemorates the greatest fact in human history the resurrection of our Lord. The crowning act of redemption is more to us than the crowning act of creation.

2. Its obligation rests not on any one positive precept, but on the known will of Christ.

3. It meets the two great wants of man—his bodily and his spiritual requirements.

4. It is to be observed:

Leviticus 23:6-44

EXPOSITION

Leviticus 23:8

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted at the same time with the Feast of the Passover (Exodus 12:15-17), and from the beginning the two festivals were practically but one festival, never separated, though separable in idea. The Passover, strictly so called, lasted but one day, Nisan 14; the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven days, Nisan 15-21. The whole made a festival of eight days, called indifferently the Feast of the Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The bread to be eaten throughout the festival was unleavened, in order to remind the Israelites of the historical fact that on account of the urgency of the Egyptians, "the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders" (Exodus 12:34), and quitted the land of their affliction in haste. Accordingly, in the Book of Deuteronomy it is appointed, "Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou earnest forth out of the laud of Egypt all the days of thy life" (Deuteronomy 16:3).

Leviticus 23:7, Leviticus 23:8

The first and the last day were to be days of holy convocation, on which no servile work might be done. It was on the first day, Nisan 15, that our Lord was crucified. The Pharisees found nothing in the holiness of the day to prevent their taking virtual part in his seizure and condemnation and death; but we are told by St. John that "they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28). What is meant in this passage by "the Passover" is not the Paschal lamb which had already been consumed, but probably the peace offering, or chagigah, which had to be offered and eaten on the first day of Unleavened Bread. The public sacrifices on each of the seven days of the week were two young bullocks, one ram, and seven Iambs for a burnt offering, with the accompanying meat offerings, and one goat for a sin offering (Numbers 28:19-24). And these were followed by peace offerings made at the discretion of individuals, "according to the blessing of the Lord which he had given them" (Deuteronomy 16:17).

Leviticus 23:9-14

A second command is given on the subject of the Feast of Unleavened Bread respecting those ceremonies which were only to be made use of when the Israelites had reached Canaan. It has reference to the second day of Unleavened Bread, which is called the morrow after the sabbath, the first day of the feast being meant by the sabbath, on whatever day of week it may have occurred. It was on this second day that the presentation of the first or wave sheaf of barley took place, according to the command, Ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 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. Which command was fulfilled in the following manner. "Already, on the 14th of Nisan, the spot whence the first sheaf was to be reaped bad been marked out by delegates from the Sanhedrim, by tying together in bundles, while still standing, the barley that was to be cut down. Though for obvious reasons it was customary to choose for the purpose the sheltered Ashes valley across Kedron, there was no restriction on that point, provided the barley had grown in an ordinary field—of course in Palestine itself—and not in garden or orchard land, and that the soil had not been manured nor yet artificially watered. When the time for cutting the sheaf had arrived, that is, on the evening of the 15th of Nisan (even though it was a sabbath)just as the sun went down, three men, each with a sickle and basket, formally set to work. But in order clearly to bring out all that was distinctive in the ceremony, they first asked of the bystanders three times each of these questions: 'Has the sun gone down?' 'With this sickle?' 'Into this basket?' ' On this sabbath?' (or first Passover day); and lastly, 'Shall I reap?' Having been each time answered in the affirmative, they cut down barley to the amount of one ephah, or ten omers, or three seahs, which is equal to about three pecks and three pints of our English measure. The ears were brought into the court of the temple" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). The sheaf composed of these ears (for the Authorized Version is right in considering that it is the sheaf, and not the omer of flour made out of the ears of barley, that is meant by עֹמֶר, though Josephus and the Mishna take it the other way) was on the following day waved by the priests before the Lord, in token of its consecration, and through it, of the consecration of the whole barley crop to the Lord. With it was offered the burnt offering of a lamb, a meat offering double the usual quantity, and a drink offering. This passage and Leviticus 23:18 and Leviticus 23:37, are the only places in the Book of Leviticus where the drink offering is mentioned. Until the waving of the sheaf, neither bread nor parched corn, nor green ears, that is, no grain in any form, might be eaten. We may imagine how delicacies made of the new flour would at once appear in the streets as soon as the sheaf had been waved.

Leviticus 23:15-21

The Feast of Pentecost lasted but one day. From the morrow after the sabbath—that is, from the second day of Unleavened Bread—the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths, i.e; weeks, were to be counted, making forty-nine days, and on the day following the completion of the seventh sabbath (meaning here the seventh week), the festival was to be held, whence its later name of Pentecost, or Fiftieth-day Feast. It would have fallen about the beginning of June—a season of the year which would have made the journey to Jerusalem easy. The characteristic offering of the day was that of two wave loaves of two tenth deals … of fine flour … baken with leaven. These loaves were regarded as the firstfruits unto the Lord of the wheat harvest, although the greater part of the crop had now been reaped and housed. They were to be leavened and brought out of your habitations; that is, they were to consist of such bread as was ordinarily used in daily life. They were made out of ears of wheat selected and cut like the barley in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then threshed and ground in the temple court. Each loaf contained an omer of flour, amounting to about five pints, and would therefore have weighed about five pounds. With these were offered two lambs, which were waved before the Lord by being led backwards and forwards before the tabernacle or the temple, and then the loaves were waved also, but they were not placed upon the altar, as they were leavened. The twentieth verse, which is somewhat obscure in the Authorized Version, should be punctuated as follows. And the priest shall wave them (the two lambs) with the bread of the firstfruits (the two loaves) for a wave offering before the Lord; with the two lambs they (the loaves) shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. The other sacrifices to be offered on this day are described in the text as seven lambs,… one young bullock, and two rams … for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings,… and one kid of the goats for a sin offering. In the Book of Numbers (Numbers 28:27) they are stated to be "seven lambs," "two young bullocks," "one ram," with meat and drink offerings, and "one kid of the goats." Seeing that in Leviticus one young bullock and two rams are commanded, and in Numbers "two young bullocks and one ram," it is reasonable to suppose that a copyist's error has found its way into one or the other text. The feast was to be kept as a day of holy convocation, and no servile work was to be done upon it. The number of sacrifices offered by individuals who had come to Jerusalem caused the festivity to be in practice continued for several days subsequent to the festival itself.

Leviticus 23:22

When ye reap the harvest of your land. The legislator pauses in his enunciation of the festivals to add the rule of charity, already laid down in the nineteenth chapter, as to leaving the gleanings unto the poor, and to the stranger.

Leviticus 23:23-25

In the seventh month, in the first day of the month. Only one of the monthly festivals is named in this chapter, because it is the only one on which a holy convocation was to be held. The first day of the seventh month we should expect to be holier than the first day of any other month, on account of the peculiar holiness of the seventh month, and because it was the beginning of the civil year. It is to be a sabbath; that is, a festival observed by rest, and a memorial of blowing of trumpets. The latter words should be rather rendered a memorial of a joyful noise. That these joyful sounds were made by blowing the cornet, we may well believe from the testimony of tradition, but the text of Holy Scripture does not state the fact, and the use of the word trumpets in place of "cornets" leads to a confusion. Every new moon, dud among them that of the seventh month, was observed by the blowing of trumpets (Numbers 10:10), but the trumpets then blown differed in their use and shape from the cornet. The trumpet was a long-shaped, metal instrument, at first used to give the signal for marching, afterwards to serve as the sign of the arrival of the monthly festival; the cornet was an animal's horn, or, if not a real horn, an instrument formed in the shape of a horn, and it was used to express joyful emotions, answering somewhat to our modern bell-ringing in the West, or firing unloaded guns in the East. Besides the blowing of trumpets, special sacrifices were appointed for the first of each month, "two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs," with their meat and drink offerings, for a burnt offering, and "one kid of the goats" for a sin offering (Numbers 28:11-15). On New Year's Day, which, from its difference from the other new moons, was an annual as well as a monthly feast, the special offerings were "one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs," with their meat and drink offerings for a burnt offering, and "one kid of the goats" for a sin offering; and these were to be in addition to the offerings made on the first day of each month (Numbers 29:2-6). It became a custom for the Levites to chant at the morning sacrifice Psalms 81:1-16, and at the evening sacrifice Psalms 29:1-11. The great joyfulness of the day is shown by the account given of its observance in the Book of Nehemiah. It was on the first day of the seventh month that Ezra read the Book of the Law publicly to the people, and when "the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law," Nehemiah and Ezra and the Levites said, "This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep … . Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them" (Nehemiah 8:9-12).

Leviticus 23:26-32

The ceremonies to be observed on the day of atonement have been already described in Leviticus 16:1-34, where it found its place as the great purification of the people and of the sanctuary. Here it is reintroduced as one of the holy days. It is the one Jewish fast; to be observed as a day of holy convocation, a day in which to afflict your souls and to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, and in which no manner of work was to be done; inasmuch as, like the weekly sabbath, it was a sabbath of rest from the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even. The time of year at which it was appointed shows that one purpose of its institution was to make solemn preparation for the joyous festival of Tabernacles, which was to follow in five days' time, when the people ought to be in a state of reconciliation with God.

Leviticus 23:33-36

The third of the great festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles—beginning on the 15th of Tisri, as the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th of Nisan—lasted seven days, and was followed by an octave; on two days, the first day and its octave, there is to be an holy convocation, and on these no servile work is to be done. The eighth day is also a solemn assembly. The meaning of the word atzereth, translated a solemn assembly, is doubtful. It occurs ten times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and appears to signify

The Jews gave the name to the Feast of Pentecost, as being the close of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On each of the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles was to be offered an offering made by fire unto the Lord. The sacrifices to be offered are enumerated in Numbers 29:12-38. There were to be sacrificed two rams, and fourteen iambs, and bullocks diminishing by one a day from thirteen on the first day to seven on the last. These formed the burnt sacrifices. The sin offering on each day was one kid of the goats. On the eighth day the burnt offering consisted of one bullock, one ram, seven lambs, and the sin offering, as before, of one kid of the goats. Thus there were offered in all, in the eight days, seventy-one bullocks, fifteen rams, one hundred and five lambs, and eight kids, beside meat and drink offerings.

Leviticus 23:37, Leviticus 23:38

These verses form the conclusion of the immediate subject. The feasts have been enumerated in which holy convocations are to be held and public sacrifices offered; these sacrifices, it is explained, not including those of the sabbath or of individual offerers.

Leviticus 23:39-44

A further instruction respecting the Feast of Tabernacles is appended. When ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, not necessarily at the completion of the ingathering, but at the time at which the festival is held, ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees. The word in the Hebrew, in its literal acceptation, means fruits of goodly trees, and hence in later times a misunderstanding arose (see 2 Macc. 10:6, 7), which led to the graceful practice of carrying in the left hand citrons (the fruit of goodly trees), and in the right hand myrtles, palms, and willows. It appears, however, that the word signifies in this place rather products than fruits, namely, leaves and branches. The command, therefore, would be, ye shall take you … products of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brooks. Originally, the purpose of these boughs was to make booths, as is shown by Nehemiah 8:15, Nehemiah 8:16, "Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths." And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. Accordingly we find when the feast was observed by Ezra, after the long interval from the days of Joshua, "there was very great gladness" (Nehemiah 8:17). The reason of the injunction to dwell in booths is 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; that is, on the first night after they had been delivered from Egypt, and encamped at Succoth (Exodus 12:37).

HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON

Leviticus 23:3

Aspects of the sabbath.

We are reminded of—

I. ITS ORIGIN IN EARLIEST HUMAN HISTORY. "The seventh day is the sabbath of rest" (see Genesis 2:2, Genesis 2:3).

II. THE SPECIAL OBLIGATION RESTING ON ISRAEL, AS A REDEEMED PEOPLE, TO OBSERVE IT. "The Lord thy God brought thee out thence … therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:15). We, also, as those redeemed at far greater cost, may feel ourselves on this ground constrained to observe it.

III. ITS PLACE IN THE PROPHETIC TESTIMONY. It is deeply significant that the prophets, who were the rebukers of mere ritualism and the advocates of the moral and spiritual elements in religion, should have given so high a place as they did to the observance of the sabbath (see Isaiah 1:10-15, comp. with Isaiah 56:2 and Isaiah 58:13, Isaiah 58:14).

IV. ITS CHRISTIAN ASPECT.

1. It commemorates the greatest fact in human history the resurrection of our Lord. The crowning act of redemption is more to us than the crowning act of creation.

2. Its obligation rests not on any one positive precept, but on the known will of Christ.

3. It meets the two great wants of man—his bodily and his spiritual requirements.

4. It is to be observed:


Verses 6-44

EXPOSITION

Leviticus 23:8

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted at the same time with the Feast of the Passover (Exodus 12:15-17), and from the beginning the two festivals were practically but one festival, never separated, though separable in idea. The Passover, strictly so called, lasted but one day, Nisan 14; the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven days, Nisan 15-21. The whole made a festival of eight days, called indifferently the Feast of the Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The bread to be eaten throughout the festival was unleavened, in order to remind the Israelites of the historical fact that on account of the urgency of the Egyptians, "the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders" (Exodus 12:34), and quitted the land of their affliction in haste. Accordingly, in the Book of Deuteronomy it is appointed, "Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou earnest forth out of the laud of Egypt all the days of thy life" (Deuteronomy 16:3).

Leviticus 23:7, Leviticus 23:8

The first and the last day were to be days of holy convocation, on which no servile work might be done. It was on the first day, Nisan 15, that our Lord was crucified. The Pharisees found nothing in the holiness of the day to prevent their taking virtual part in his seizure and condemnation and death; but we are told by St. John that "they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28). What is meant in this passage by "the Passover" is not the Paschal lamb which had already been consumed, but probably the peace offering, or chagigah, which had to be offered and eaten on the first day of Unleavened Bread. The public sacrifices on each of the seven days of the week were two young bullocks, one ram, and seven Iambs for a burnt offering, with the accompanying meat offerings, and one goat for a sin offering (Numbers 28:19-24). And these were followed by peace offerings made at the discretion of individuals, "according to the blessing of the Lord which he had given them" (Deuteronomy 16:17).

Leviticus 23:9-14

A second command is given on the subject of the Feast of Unleavened Bread respecting those ceremonies which were only to be made use of when the Israelites had reached Canaan. It has reference to the second day of Unleavened Bread, which is called the morrow after the sabbath, the first day of the feast being meant by the sabbath, on whatever day of week it may have occurred. It was on this second day that the presentation of the first or wave sheaf of barley took place, according to the command, Ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 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. Which command was fulfilled in the following manner. "Already, on the 14th of Nisan, the spot whence the first sheaf was to be reaped bad been marked out by delegates from the Sanhedrim, by tying together in bundles, while still standing, the barley that was to be cut down. Though for obvious reasons it was customary to choose for the purpose the sheltered Ashes valley across Kedron, there was no restriction on that point, provided the barley had grown in an ordinary field—of course in Palestine itself—and not in garden or orchard land, and that the soil had not been manured nor yet artificially watered. When the time for cutting the sheaf had arrived, that is, on the evening of the 15th of Nisan (even though it was a sabbath)just as the sun went down, three men, each with a sickle and basket, formally set to work. But in order clearly to bring out all that was distinctive in the ceremony, they first asked of the bystanders three times each of these questions: 'Has the sun gone down?' 'With this sickle?' 'Into this basket?' ' On this sabbath?' (or first Passover day); and lastly, 'Shall I reap?' Having been each time answered in the affirmative, they cut down barley to the amount of one ephah, or ten omers, or three seahs, which is equal to about three pecks and three pints of our English measure. The ears were brought into the court of the temple" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). The sheaf composed of these ears (for the Authorized Version is right in considering that it is the sheaf, and not the omer of flour made out of the ears of barley, that is meant by עֹמֶר, though Josephus and the Mishna take it the other way) was on the following day waved by the priests before the Lord, in token of its consecration, and through it, of the consecration of the whole barley crop to the Lord. With it was offered the burnt offering of a lamb, a meat offering double the usual quantity, and a drink offering. This passage and Leviticus 23:18 and Leviticus 23:37, are the only places in the Book of Leviticus where the drink offering is mentioned. Until the waving of the sheaf, neither bread nor parched corn, nor green ears, that is, no grain in any form, might be eaten. We may imagine how delicacies made of the new flour would at once appear in the streets as soon as the sheaf had been waved.

Leviticus 23:15-21

The Feast of Pentecost lasted but one day. From the morrow after the sabbath—that is, from the second day of Unleavened Bread—the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths, i.e; weeks, were to be counted, making forty-nine days, and on the day following the completion of the seventh sabbath (meaning here the seventh week), the festival was to be held, whence its later name of Pentecost, or Fiftieth-day Feast. It would have fallen about the beginning of June—a season of the year which would have made the journey to Jerusalem easy. The characteristic offering of the day was that of two wave loaves of two tenth deals … of fine flour … baken with leaven. These loaves were regarded as the firstfruits unto the Lord of the wheat harvest, although the greater part of the crop had now been reaped and housed. They were to be leavened and brought out of your habitations; that is, they were to consist of such bread as was ordinarily used in daily life. They were made out of ears of wheat selected and cut like the barley in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then threshed and ground in the temple court. Each loaf contained an omer of flour, amounting to about five pints, and would therefore have weighed about five pounds. With these were offered two lambs, which were waved before the Lord by being led backwards and forwards before the tabernacle or the temple, and then the loaves were waved also, but they were not placed upon the altar, as they were leavened. The twentieth verse, which is somewhat obscure in the Authorized Version, should be punctuated as follows. And the priest shall wave them (the two lambs) with the bread of the firstfruits (the two loaves) for a wave offering before the Lord; with the two lambs they (the loaves) shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. The other sacrifices to be offered on this day are described in the text as seven lambs,… one young bullock, and two rams … for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings,… and one kid of the goats for a sin offering. In the Book of Numbers (Numbers 28:27) they are stated to be "seven lambs," "two young bullocks," "one ram," with meat and drink offerings, and "one kid of the goats." Seeing that in Leviticus one young bullock and two rams are commanded, and in Numbers "two young bullocks and one ram," it is reasonable to suppose that a copyist's error has found its way into one or the other text. The feast was to be kept as a day of holy convocation, and no servile work was to be done upon it. The number of sacrifices offered by individuals who had come to Jerusalem caused the festivity to be in practice continued for several days subsequent to the festival itself.

Leviticus 23:22

When ye reap the harvest of your land. The legislator pauses in his enunciation of the festivals to add the rule of charity, already laid down in the nineteenth chapter, as to leaving the gleanings unto the poor, and to the stranger.

Leviticus 23:23-25

In the seventh month, in the first day of the month. Only one of the monthly festivals is named in this chapter, because it is the only one on which a holy convocation was to be held. The first day of the seventh month we should expect to be holier than the first day of any other month, on account of the peculiar holiness of the seventh month, and because it was the beginning of the civil year. It is to be a sabbath; that is, a festival observed by rest, and a memorial of blowing of trumpets. The latter words should be rather rendered a memorial of a joyful noise. That these joyful sounds were made by blowing the cornet, we may well believe from the testimony of tradition, but the text of Holy Scripture does not state the fact, and the use of the word trumpets in place of "cornets" leads to a confusion. Every new moon, dud among them that of the seventh month, was observed by the blowing of trumpets (Numbers 10:10), but the trumpets then blown differed in their use and shape from the cornet. The trumpet was a long-shaped, metal instrument, at first used to give the signal for marching, afterwards to serve as the sign of the arrival of the monthly festival; the cornet was an animal's horn, or, if not a real horn, an instrument formed in the shape of a horn, and it was used to express joyful emotions, answering somewhat to our modern bell-ringing in the West, or firing unloaded guns in the East. Besides the blowing of trumpets, special sacrifices were appointed for the first of each month, "two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs," with their meat and drink offerings, for a burnt offering, and "one kid of the goats" for a sin offering (Numbers 28:11-15). On New Year's Day, which, from its difference from the other new moons, was an annual as well as a monthly feast, the special offerings were "one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs," with their meat and drink offerings for a burnt offering, and "one kid of the goats" for a sin offering; and these were to be in addition to the offerings made on the first day of each month (Numbers 29:2-6). It became a custom for the Levites to chant at the morning sacrifice Psalms 81:1-16, and at the evening sacrifice Psalms 29:1-11. The great joyfulness of the day is shown by the account given of its observance in the Book of Nehemiah. It was on the first day of the seventh month that Ezra read the Book of the Law publicly to the people, and when "the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law," Nehemiah and Ezra and the Levites said, "This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep … . Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them" (Nehemiah 8:9-12).

Leviticus 23:26-32

The ceremonies to be observed on the day of atonement have been already described in Leviticus 16:1-34, where it found its place as the great purification of the people and of the sanctuary. Here it is reintroduced as one of the holy days. It is the one Jewish fast; to be observed as a day of holy convocation, a day in which to afflict your souls and to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, and in which no manner of work was to be done; inasmuch as, like the weekly sabbath, it was a sabbath of rest from the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even. The time of year at which it was appointed shows that one purpose of its institution was to make solemn preparation for the joyous festival of Tabernacles, which was to follow in five days' time, when the people ought to be in a state of reconciliation with God.

Leviticus 23:33-36

The third of the great festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles—beginning on the 15th of Tisri, as the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th of Nisan—lasted seven days, and was followed by an octave; on two days, the first day and its octave, there is to be an holy convocation, and on these no servile work is to be done. The eighth day is also a solemn assembly. The meaning of the word atzereth, translated a solemn assembly, is doubtful. It occurs ten times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and appears to signify

The Jews gave the name to the Feast of Pentecost, as being the close of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On each of the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles was to be offered an offering made by fire unto the Lord. The sacrifices to be offered are enumerated in Numbers 29:12-38. There were to be sacrificed two rams, and fourteen iambs, and bullocks diminishing by one a day from thirteen on the first day to seven on the last. These formed the burnt sacrifices. The sin offering on each day was one kid of the goats. On the eighth day the burnt offering consisted of one bullock, one ram, seven lambs, and the sin offering, as before, of one kid of the goats. Thus there were offered in all, in the eight days, seventy-one bullocks, fifteen rams, one hundred and five lambs, and eight kids, beside meat and drink offerings.

Leviticus 23:37, Leviticus 23:38

These verses form the conclusion of the immediate subject. The feasts have been enumerated in which holy convocations are to be held and public sacrifices offered; these sacrifices, it is explained, not including those of the sabbath or of individual offerers.

Leviticus 23:39-44

A further instruction respecting the Feast of Tabernacles is appended. When ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, not necessarily at the completion of the ingathering, but at the time at which the festival is held, ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees. The word in the Hebrew, in its literal acceptation, means fruits of goodly trees, and hence in later times a misunderstanding arose (see 2 Macc. 10:6, 7), which led to the graceful practice of carrying in the left hand citrons (the fruit of goodly trees), and in the right hand myrtles, palms, and willows. It appears, however, that the word signifies in this place rather products than fruits, namely, leaves and branches. The command, therefore, would be, ye shall take you … products of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brooks. Originally, the purpose of these boughs was to make booths, as is shown by Nehemiah 8:15, Nehemiah 8:16, "Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths." And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. Accordingly we find when the feast was observed by Ezra, after the long interval from the days of Joshua, "there was very great gladness" (Nehemiah 8:17). The reason of the injunction to dwell in booths is 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; that is, on the first night after they had been delivered from Egypt, and encamped at Succoth (Exodus 12:37).

HOMILETICS

Leviticus 23:9-21; 39-43

The harvest festivals

among ourselves receive a sanction from the divinely appointed harvest festivals of the Jews, which were three in number.

I. THE PASSOVER HARVEST FESTIVAL.

1. On Nisan 14, the selection of the field and the ears of barley which were to be cut.

2. On Nisan 15, the progress of three appointed delegates to the spot, as the sun went down, with sickles and baskets; the reaping of the barley that had been marked to be cut, and its conveyance to the court of the temple.

3. On Nisan 16, the waving of one sheaf of the barley before the Lord, in token that the whole crop, of which it was the firstfruits, was offered to the Lord in gratitude for his having given it to man for his food. Not until the firstfruits had been presented to God might the new year's barley be used. The firstfruits having been made holy, the whole lump was holy.

II. THE PENTECOST HARVEST FESTIVAL.

1. At the beginning of the wheat harvest, the reservation of the field from which the ears of wheat were to be cut.

2. On the forty-ninth day from Nisan 15, the progress, as before, of three appointed delegates to the spot, with sickles and baskets; the reaping of the wheat that had been marked; its conveyance to the court of the temple; its threshing, winnowing, and grinding, and the formation out of it of two loaves made with leaven.

3. On the fiftieth day from Nisan 15, the waving of the two loaves before the Lord, in token that the whole wheat crop, like the barley crop before, was sanctified for the use of man by a sample portion of it having been given to God. Not till after this might the meat offering be made of the new flour.

4. On the same day and subsequent days, the private offering of firstfruits, which might not be brought until the national offering of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest had been made, but kept up the harvest joyousness from that time to the end of the year. From each of the twenty-four districts into which Palestine was divided came a company. Each morning, while they were on the road to Jerusalem, their leader summoned them with the words, "Come ye, and let us go up to Zion, and unto Jehovah our God ' (Jeremiah 31:6), and they answered, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord" (Psalms 122:1). "First went one who played the pipe; then followed a sacrificial bullock, destined for a peace offering, his horns gilt and garlanded with olive branches; next came the multitude, some carrying the baskets with firstfruits, others singing the psalms which many writers suppose to have been specially destined for that service, and hence to have been called 'The Songs of Ascent,' in our Authorized Version 'The Psalms of Degrees.' The poorer brought their gifts in wicker baskets, which afterwards belonged to the officiating priests; the richer theirs in baskets of silver or of gold, which were given to the temple treasury … And so they passed through the length and breadth of the land, everywhere waking the echoes of praise. As they entered the city, they sang Psalms 122:2, 'Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O Jerusalem.'… As they reached the temple mount, each one, whatever his rank or condition, took one of the baskets on his shoulder, and they ascended singing that appropriate hymn, 'Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in the firmament of his power' (Psalms 110:1-7). As they entered the temple itself, the Levites intoned Psalms 30:1-12, 'I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.… (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). The ceremonies of the actual presentation are detailed in Deuteronomy 26:1-19, "Thou shalt go unto the priest that shall he in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord swam unto our fathers for to give us. And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: and the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: and when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: and the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: and he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land which floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: and thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you" (Deuteronomy 26:3-11).

III. THE INGATHERING HARVEST FESTIVAL.

1. The dwelling in booths for a week in memorial of the encampment at Succoth, when the Israelites for the first time felt themselves to be free men.

2. The rejoicing for the final ingathering of the olives and grapes and the other fruits of the earth. "Thou shalt keep the Feast of Ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field" (Exodus 23:16). "Thou shalt observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates" (Deuteronomy 16:13, Deuteronomy 16:14).

3. The carrying of the oethrog, or citron, and of the lulav, or palm, together with a myrtle and willow branch.

4. On the last day of the feast, the drawing water from the pool of Siloam (a ceremony of a post-Mosaic date). "While the morning sacrifice was being prepared, a priest, accompanied by a joyous procession, with music, went down to the pool of Siloam, whence he drew water into a golden pitcher capable of holding three logs (rather more than two pints) The priest then went up the rise of the altar and turned to the left, where there were two silver basins with narrow holes—the eastern a little wider for the wine, and the western somewhat narrower for the water. Into these the wine of the drink offering was poured, and at the same time the water from Siloam" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). Our Lord shows the true symbolism of this ceremony to be the gift of the Spirit.

5. The further post-Mosaic ceremony of lighting four golden candelabra in the court of the women on the night of the first day of the feast, the wicks in the candelabra having been made of the robes of the priests worn out during the past year. This ceremony probably symbolized illumination by the Spirit.

IV. MORAL LESSON. The duty of thankfulness. It is a rabbinical saying that the Holy Spirit dwells in man only through joy. This is an exaggeration, but it teaches a truth which is forgotten wherever asceticism comes to be a subject of admiration. The service of God is a joyous service. "Thou shalt rejoice before the Lord" (Deuteronomy 16:11) is the injunction of the Old Testament; "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4), is that of the New Testament. It is right that there should be special occasions on which this joy may be exhibited and encouraged. Hence the reasonableness of festivals and holy days.

HOMILIES BY R.M. EDGAR

Leviticus 23:4-8

The Passover.

cf. Exodus 12:1-51; also 1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Corinthians 5:8. In addition to the weekly "offering of rest," there were emphasized offerings of a similar character at select seasons throughout the Jewish year. These were to bring to remembrance great national deliverances, or to celebrate the blessings with which Jehovah crowned the year. The first of these feasts was the Passover. It was to celebrate the deliverance preceding the Exodus. It began with a holy convocation; there was then a week of complete freedom from leaven; and then a holy convocation completed the special observances. Burnt offerings were also presented of a special character every day of the holy week. The following line of thought is suggested by this feast.

I. THE WHOLE POPULATION IN EGYPT WAS EXPOSED TO A COMMON DANGER. It is evident from the narrative that the destroying angel might justly have carried death into every house, and that it was only the special arrangement which prevented his doing so. For though a difference was made between the Egyptians and the Israelites, it had its reason and its root in God's sovereign grace. The Israelites may not have carried their enmity to God with so high a hand as the Egyptians, yet their pilgrimage demonstrated that the hostility was there. The judgment on the firstborn was consequently only a sample of what all deserved.

Unless we begin with the truth that "there is no difference," for "all have sinned and come short of God's glory," we are likely to underestimate the grace which maketh us afterwards to differ. We are not, properly speaking, in a state of probation, but in a state either of condemnation or of salvation. "He that believeth not is condemned already" (John 3:18); "he that believeth is not condemned." When we start with the idea that we are really culprits and condemned already, we are stirred up to lay hold by faith of the deliverance. How we reach the blessed condition, "There is therefore now no condemnation," is beautifully symbolized by the Passover. For—

II. GOD'S PLAN OF DELIVERANCE WAS THROUGH THE SPRINKLING OF BLOOD. Each Israelite was directed to take a lamb and slay it, and sprinkle on the doorpost and lintel, with a hyssop branch, its blood. The destroying angel respected the sprinkled blood, and passed over the houses on which it appeared. Here was God's plan, by the sacrifice of the life of an innocent substitute to secure the remission of the sins of his people.

And need I say that the Paschal lamb was one of the most beautiful types of Jesus? He, as our Passover, was "sacrificed for us' (1 Corinthians 5:7). It is through his blood we have remission. His life, laid down in payment of the penalty, secures our just release. The destroying angel passes over all who are under the shelter of Christ's blood.

III. THE PASCHAL LAMB WAS TO AFFORD LIFE AS WELL AS SECURE DELIVERANCE. Roasted with fire, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, it was to be eaten by all the delivered ones. Within the blood-protected houses they stood and partook of a wholesome meal. It entered into their physical constitution, and strengthened them to begin their journey.

In the same way does Jesus Christ sustain all who trust in him. He becomes oar Life. He strengthens us for our wilderness journey. The Exodus from Egypt becomes easy through his imputed strength. And so our Lord spoke not only of eating his flesh, but even of drinking his blood (John 6:54), and so receiving his eternal life. Not more surely does vital power come to the body through the digestion of food than does spiritual power come to the soul through partaking by faith of Jesus Christ. We are not only saved from wrath through him, but sustained by his life.

IV. THE PASSOVER WAS THE DATE OF A NEW LIFE. An Exodus began with the first Passover, succeeded by a wilderness journey; and every succeeding Passover preceded a week of feasting on unleavened bread. Thus was a new and heroic life regarded as dating from the Passover. Hence the Lord changed the year at its institution, and made it the beginning of months with his people.

The same is experienced by believers. Unless our salvation by Christ's blood is succeeded by pure living and the putting away of "the leaven of malice and wickedness" (1 Corinthians 5:8), we are only deceiving ourselves by supposing we are saved. Our salvation is with a view to our pilgrimage and purity. Therefore we must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread as well as celebrate the Passover. It will not do to accept of salvation as an "indulgence." God makes no arrangement for impunity in sin. The death of the Lamb shows plainly that under God's government no sin will go unpunished. To purity we are consequently called as part and parcel of a Divine salvation.—R.M.E.

Leviticus 23:9-14

The Feast of the Firstfruits.

cf. Proverbs 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:20. The Feast of the Firstfruits began on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as the fifteenth and sixteenth verses about Pentecost imply. And curiously enough, the sheaf of the firstfruits was to be waved "on the morrow after the sabbaths" that is, on what corresponds to our present "Lord's day." Such a coincidence should not be overlooked, and was manifestly designed. If the Passover speaks of the death of Jesus, the firstfruits are surely intended to speak of his resurrection. The death of the Paschal lamb and the presentation of the firstfruits occupy the same temporal relation as the death of Jesus and his resurrection. Hence we find in this arrangement the following lessons:—

I. THE FIRSTFRUITS HALLOWED THE SUBSEQUENT HARVEST. They were a grateful acknowledgment of God's hand in the harvest, and at the same time the condition of its being properly gathered. As one writer has very properly said, "It removed the impediment which stood opposed to its being gathered, the ceremonial impurity, if I may so say, which was attached to it previous to the waving of the sheaf before the Lord, until which time it was unlawful to make use of it. The prohibition on this head was express. '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' (1 Corinthians 15:14). There was, then, you perceive, an imputed uncleanness attached to the harvest before the offering of the firstfruits, but which, when the sheaf was presented, was done away; and thus it is written, 'he (the priest) shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you." £ Now, it is very plain from this that Christ, the Firstfruits, hallows the subsequent human harvest. The great ingathering of souls depends on the preceding Firstfruits for consecration and acceptance. Thus do we see in symbol that he was "raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25).

II. THE FIRSTFRUITS WERE THE EARNEST OF THE COMING HARVEST, Here was a sample of what was coming and was at hand. It was first ripe, but the rest was on its way. In the very same way, the resurrection of the Saviour is the earnest and pledge of that of his people. Hence Paul says, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the Firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Hence we take the risen Saviour as at once the pledge of the resurrection of his people, and the sample of what our resurrection is to be. On the pledge implied by his resurrection we need not dwell. It is clear from 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 and from other Scriptures that his resurrection is the sure guarantee of ours.

The other thought involved is quite as precious. "Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our body of humiliation, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:20, Philippians 3:21). Just as Jesus in his post-resurrection life of forty days on earth showed marvelous superiority to the laws of nature by which these bodies of humiliation are bound, just as he was able on ministries of mercy to pass with the speed of thought from place to place, to enter through barred doors, and vanish like a vapour when he had dispensed his peace,—so do we hope to be possessed of an organ more consonant to the aspirations of our spirits, and better adapted than our present bodies can be to fulfill the purposes of God. The forty days before the ascension of our Saviour afford the insight now needed into the conditions of our future life, when we too are gathered as sheafs that are ripe into the garner above. "We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him."—R.M.E.

Leviticus 23:15-21

The Pentecost.

cf. Acts 2:1-47; also Jeremiah 2:3; Romans 11:16; and James 1:18. Having found in the firstfruits a typical reference to the resurrection of Christ, we have no difficulty on the same line in finding in the harvest festival seven weeks thereafter typical reference to the harvest of the Church Of God. Primarily it was eucharistic in character, but this does not exhaust its meaning. It was exactly fifty days after the Exodus that the Law was given on Sinai, and so Pentecost was associated from the outset with the "revival of the Church of God." What happened in the Pentecost after our Lord's last Passover was the baptism of the Holy Ghost and a revived interest in God's holy Law.

Now, on turning to the directions about Pentecost, we find that "firstfruits "were again to be presented to the Lord, but, unlike the earlier firstfruits during the week of unleavened bread, these were to be prepared with leaven, and they were to be accompanied by a sin offering as well as burnt offerings and peace offerings. It is evident, therefore, that there is an element in the Pentecostal ritual which is not to be found in the previous ritual at all.

If Christ is typified by the first of the firstfruits presented without leaven, his people gathered out of the nations may well be typified by the second firstfruits, the accompanying leaven indicating their sinful character, notwithstanding that they are his, and the sin offering most appropriately accompanying their typical dedication.

I. LET US OBSERVE THAT THE IDEA OF THE FIRSTFRUITS IS APPLIED TO THE LORD'S PEOPLE SEVERAL TIMES IN SCRIPTURE. Thus Jeremiah calls Israel "holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase" (Jeremiah 2:3). The same thought reappears in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, "If the firstfruits be holy, the lump is also holy" (Romans 11:16). James also speaks of the Lord's children in such terms as these: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:18). The harvest-field of God is the world, and those who are already gathered are the firstfruits. They are so far the consecrated element in the mighty population, and in spirit are laid upon God's altar.

II. THERE SEEMS A SIGNIFICANCE IN THE TWO LOAVES. "Why," it has been said, "should the lump be divided into two parts, and not be presented whole? In order, I would venture to suggest, to set forth the two component parts of the Christian Church—the Jews and Gentiles, both made one in Christ." £ Out of the harvest-field of the world the Lord requires two loaves to be presented, the Jews and the Gentiles, laid in their unity on his altar. Paul brings out this with great beauty in Ephesians 2:14-18, where the unity of Jews and Gentiles in Jesus Christ is pointed out.

III. AFTER ALL, THE CONSECRATION OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE IS AN IMPERFECT THING. Christ's consecration was perfect because sinless. Ours is imperfect and "mired with the trails of sin." Well may the firstfruits be baked with leaven; well may a sin offering be presented along with them. Our holiest acts could not stand alone, but need to be repented of. Atonement has to cover the holiest efforts of the Lord's people.

Thus is all spiritual pride kept under, since at our very best we are "unprofitable servants."

IV. THE PENTECOSTAL OUTPOURING AFTER OUR LORD'S ASCENSION PRESENTS THE REALITY OF WHICH THE RITUAL WAS THE TYPE. In this glorious ingathering there was:

1. A penitential spirit. It was for this Peter called (Acts 2:38).

2. A worldwide imitation (Acts 2:39). The promise was to those" that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

3. A separation of many from the world, that they might consecrate themselves to God (Acts 2:41).

4. A great unity of spirit (Acts 2:44-47).

It is this vivifying inspiration we all need; and may God send it soon!—R.M.E.

Leviticus 23:23-25

The Feast of Trumpets.

cf. Numbers 10:1-10; Exodus 19:19; Psalms 89:15. The first mention of the trumpet is in Exodus 19:13, Exodus 19:19, in connection with the giving of the Law. "When the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount" (Exodus 19:13). It was God's method of summoning the people to covenant privileges. It was further used for the calling of assemblies, for the beginning of journeys, for alarms, and at the new moons and festal seasons, when it was blown over the sacrifices. Those who knew the significance of the sacrifices could rejoice in the trumpet-sound which proclaimed them complete. No wonder it is said, "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound" ( תְּרוּעָה; literally, "sound of a trumpet"): "they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance" (Psalms 89:15).

The analogy of faith, therefore, warrants us in taking the Feast of Trumpets as symbolical of God's message of mercy to man. The gospel preached is God's trumpet, summoning men to the privileges and duties of the Christian life. This suggests—

I. THE GOOD TIDINGS ARE OF A FINISHED SACRIFICE. It is only when the sacrifice of Jesus is the foundation of the appeal that man is arrested, trumpet-like, by the gospel. The Lamb has been slain, the atonement complete, and, consequently, poor sinners are summoned to joy.

It would be no such joyful message if we were summoned to establish our own righteousness instead of submitting, as now, to the righteousness of God. It is a present salvation, on the ground of the finished sacrifice of Jesus, which constitutes the fountain of the purest joy. No such joyful trumpet-tones were ever heard by human ears in other religions as God gives when he says, "I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

II. THE GOSPEL TRUMPET SUMMONS US TO REST. On the Feast of Trumpets "ye shall do no servile work therein." It was a summons to sabbatic rest. And truly the gospel is a call to put off the servile spirit, the obedience which comes through fear, and to enter into God's rest. "We who believe do enter into rest." Christian experience is sabbath rest after the worry of worldly experience. We lay down our burden, and pass into Divine peace. The Saturday evening of experience is when, through grace, we put away our worldliness, our feverish anxieties, our low and selfish ideals, and the sabbath morning experience is rest in God's love and bounty.

III. THE GOSPEL TRUMPET SUMMONS US TO PERSONAL SACRIFICE. If the servile work is to be surrendered for sabbath rest, we must go forward to the duty indicated. "But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord." For this is the gospel plan—acceptance and rest on the ground of a completed sacrifice, and the personal dedication as a living sacrifice in gratitude for such unmerited favour. From the one Great Sacrifice for us we proceed gratefully to such personal sacrifice as God's honour and glory require. The love manifested in the sacrifice of Christ "constrains us to live not unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14, 2 Corinthians 5:15). Self-righteousness is not self-sacrifice; rather is it proud bargaining for that which God offers as a gift. But, when the gift is accepted, self is in the acceptance crucified, and a life of devotion becomes self-sacrificing indeed.

IV. THE GOSPEL TRUMPET IS TO BE SUCCEEDED BY THE TRUMP OF THE RESURRECTION. All who in their graves of sin hear the voice of the Son of God, and who, through hearing, live (John 5:25), are destined to hear another joyful note from the same trumpet: "For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life" (John 5:28, John 5:29). This is "the voice of the archangel and the trump of God" through which the dead in Christ shall rise (1 Thessalonians 4:16). "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: (for the trumpet shall sound,) and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51, 1 Corinthians 15:52).

Such are the summonses which God gives to men to privilege, to peace, and at the last to everlasting felicity. The preachers who give no uncertain sound, but proclaim with trumpet-tongue the gospel, are the heralds who are preparing for the day of the Lord, with its everlasting rest and light and love!—R.M.E.

Leviticus 23:26-32

The annual repentance-the Day of Atonement.

cf. Leviticus 16:1-34; Hebrews 9:12. Into the ritual of the Day of Atonement we need not here enter, after what has been said on the subject under chapter 16. But the reference here is to the spirit of repentance which was to characterize the people on that day. It was, in fact, a call to the whole congregation to repent and be reconciled to God. As the Day of Atonement is in all respects the climax of the sacrificial worship, it may be useful here to notice the spirit which belonged to that worship and the corresponding spirit in man which it demanded.

I. THE SPIRIT OF JUDAISM IS THAT OF EXCLUSION FROM THE DIVINE PRESENCE. Ever since man's fall until the vail was rent at the death of Jesus, man was deservedly kept at a distance from God. Sin is a separating power; as long as it is harboured it prevents near access to him. And even when, in the Exodus, God delivered a chosen people to bring them to himself (Exodus 19:4), they were only permitted to come up to certain barriers round about the holy mount. When, moreover, the Lord transferred his dwelling-place from the top of Sinai to the tent or tabernacle provided by his pilgrim people, he insisted on having a private apartment, railed off from vulgar gaze, and only allowed one representative man, the high priest, to draw nigh unto him once a year. He certainly sent this honoured individual forth with his blessing, to encourage the people waiting without. But the whole arrangement of the Day of Atonement was on the principle of excluding the people until such times as they might profitably have closer access. "God sent his people," says an able writer, "his blessing, to show them that he had not forgotten them. But he would not see them. Even the high priest saw but a very little of him at this annual solemn time. The cloud of fragrant incense filled the most holy place, and barred the view." £

II. THERE IS NOTHING SO HUMILIATING AS THIS DENIAL OF ACCESS. On the Day of Atonement the people came to the tabernacle, and saw their select representative enjoy the privilege of drawing nigh to God all alone. Not a man of them dare venture beyond the vail. Nadab and Abihu, who seem to have done so, intoxicated by their elevation to the priesthood and perhaps also by wine, perished before the Lord. The Israelites felt at the tabernacle that they were an excluded people. This would lead to self-examination, and to repentance for the sin which excluded them. Doubtless the ritual of the great Day of Atonement would have a soothing effect upon their spirits. The blessing would fall upon their souls like balm. At the same time, they could not but feel that access to God was for them through a mediator, and that they were kept at a very humiliating distance.

III. OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST HAS GIVEN US THE REALITY OF ACCESS IN THAT HE HAS BECOME OUR FORERUNNER. This is the beautiful idea suggested by the apostle in the Hebrews (Hebrews 6:20). Christ has not entered the holiest to enjoy a privilege in solitude. He has entered it as our Forerunner, to announce our approach. This applies, not only to the everlasting felicity of heaven, but also to present devotional access to God. Through him we are permitted to draw nigh. The vail is rent; therefore we draw near with holy boldness. We are no longer an excluded people, but in the enjoyment of close communion. When the vail was rent at the death of Jesus, the ordinary priests were thereby raised to the privilege of the high priest. All had alike access to God. Hence we are to live up to our privilege as believers; for we are priests unto God, and access is our right through the rending of the vail of our Redeemer's flesh.

Thus do we see the secret of penitence on the Day of Atonement, and how it is the preliminary arranged by the All-wise to communion with himself close and eternal.—R.M.E.

Leviticus 23:33-43

The pilgrim spirit as illustrated in the Feast of Tabernacles.

cf. Psalms 39:12; Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11. The seventh month was a very celebrated one in the Jewish year. It was the sabbatic month, so to speak, when religious services of the most important character took place. The Feast of Trumpets introduced the month, and joyful were the anticipations of blessing. Then on the tenth day, came the great ritual of atonement, with its penitential sadness. Then came, on the fifteenth day, the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the rainless harvest-time the people were expected, even after their settlement in Canaan, to spend a week in booths or tents, and with boughs of goodly trees, with palm branches, and with willows of the brook to rejoice before God. Now this least was—

I. A CELEBRATION OF THE PILGRIMAGE OF THE WILDERNESS. It was "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" (verse 43). It is most important to keep a great deliverance in mind. Hence the people were enjoined once a year to become pilgrims again, as their fathers had been. We should never forget how the Lord has led his people in every age out of bondage into pilgrimage and freedom as the avenue to rest.

II. IT WAS A CELEBRATION OF THE DIVINE PROVISION IN THE WILDERNESS. For it was a harvest festival, and the fruits of the earth had been gathered in before the feast began. Before them lay, so to speak, the bounties of God's providence, just as the manna lay morning by morning before their fathers. God was praised, therefore, for crowning the year with his goodness, as their fathers praised him for crowning with his goodness each day. It was consequently a eucharistic service in the highest degree.

III. IT WAS A CELEBRATION OF THE STRANGER AND PILGRIM SPIRIT WHICH GOD FOSTERS IN ALL HIS PEOPLE. The voluntary leaving of their homes for a season to live in a "tented state" was a beautiful embodiment of the stranger and pilgrim spirit to which we are called. God in the wilderness dwelt as the Great Pilgrim in a tent with his pilgrim people; and year by year he enjoined his people in their generations to become literally "strangers with him" (Psalms 39:12), as their fathers had been. And the same danger threatens us, to feel at home in this world and to give up the pilgrimage. Hence the apostle's warning is ever needful: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11). If the world does not seem strange to us, it is because we are not living as near as we ought to God. The more access we have to him, the greater will be our moral distance from the world.

IV. THE JOY OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES WAS ENHANCED BY THE HOME-GOING WHICH LAY BEYOND IT. The "tented state" is not intended to be permanent. Its value lies in its temporary nature. Canaan lay in sunlight beyond the wilderness, and the thought of" home" there encouraged them in their pilgrimage. The week's camping out after Canaan had been reached made them enjoy their home life all the more. In the same way, while we confess like the patriarchs to be "strangers and pilgrims upon the earth," we are seeking, and rejoicing in the prospect of yet reaching, a better country, with a city of God and permanent abodes (Hebrews 11:13-16). The pilgrimage is joyful because it is destined to end in the everlasting home. Perpetual pilgrimage no man could desire, for this would be perpetual exile from legitimate home joys. A long pilgrimage can he welcomed if it lead towards everlasting joy in the Father's house.

And is there not an element of triumph associated with such a celebration as this Feast of Tabernacles? It indicates victory over worldly feeling through faith in God. No wonder, then, that palm branches and goodly boughs were waved by joyous ones before the Lord. It is into victorious joy he summons all his people as the earnest of the everlasting joy with which he is yet to crown them.—R.M.E.

HOMILIES BY J.A. MACDONALD

Leviticus 23:4-14

The Passover.

Under this general title we include the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the offering of the firstfruits which was connected with it. The history of the institution is given in Exodus 12:1-51. That the Passover was a type of Christ is evident (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

I. THE LAMB TYPIFIED HIS PERSON. (John 1:36.)

1. It was taken from the flock (Exodus 12:9).

2. It was a male of the first year.

3. It was without blemish.

II. ITS SACRIFICE FORESHADOWED HIS PASSION,

1. The lamb suffered vicariously.

2. Remarkable circumstances claim attention.

III. THE FEAST CORRESPONDED TO THE CHRISTIAN EUCHARIST.

1. The latter was accommodated to the former.

2. Both are retrospective and anticipative.

3. Both are tokens of Church communion.

Leviticus 23:15-22

The Feast of Harvest.

This was the second of the three great festivals upon which all the males of Israel were required to assemble at Jerusalem (see Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 16:16). Let us consider—

I. THE DUTIES THEN ENJOINED UPON THE WORSHIPPERS.

1. They were to meet in holy convocation.

2. They were to present two wave loaves.

3. They were to offer sacrifices.

II. THE NOTES OF TIME, WITH THEIR REASONS.

1. They counted from the putting in of the sickle.

2. They commemorated the giving of the Law.

3. They anticipated the publication of the gospel.

Where gratitude is there will be goodness. Hence the injunction to care for the poor and the stranger (Leviticus 23:22). This spirit of the Law is also the genius of the gospel.—J.A.M.

Leviticus 23:23-44

The hebdomad.

Seven in Scripture is a very remarkable number. In the text it is repeated in so many forms that it forces itself upon our attention.

I. HEBDOMADS ARE CONSPICUOUS IN THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE LAW.

1. They appear in the week of days.

2. They appear again in the week of months.

3. They appear again in the week of years.

II. HEBDOMADS ARE CONSPICUOUS IN THE CHRONOLOGY OF PROPHECY.

1. The days of the week are taken as prophetic.

2. Dispensations are measured by weeks of times.

III. HEBDOMADS ARE NOT WITHOUT FOUNDATION IN NATURE.

1. They are not very obviously marked in the heavens.

2. Yet they have a foundation in nature.

(1) It is now well known that changes in animals are regulated by weeks. Dr. Laycock, summing up what he had advanced on this subject in a series of remarkable papers, says, "The facts I have briefly glanced at are general facts, and cannot happen day after day in so many millions of animals of every kind from larva or ovum of a minute insect up to man at definite periods, from a mere chance or coincidence; and although temperature, food, domestication, and other modifying circumstances may and do interrupt the regularity with which the various processes I have alluded to are conducted, yet upon the whole it is, I think, impossible to come to any less general conclusion than this. That in animals changes occur every three and a half, seven, fourteen, twenty-one, or twenty-eight days, or at some definite number of weeks".

From this interesting subject we learn:

1. That prophecy is from God.

2. That the God of nature is the God of providence.

3. That religion should be interwoven with secular concerns.—J.A.M.

Leviticus 23:23-25

The Feast of Trumpets.

"The Old Testament," says Augustine, "when rightly understood, is one grand prophecy of the New." The New Testament is the key to the Old.

I. THE MOON WAS A SYMBOL OF THE CHURCH.

1. Its luster sets forth her beauty.

2. Its changes set forth her vicissitudes.

II. THE SEVENTH WAS DISTINGUISHED AMONG THE MOONS.

1. It was a high sabbath.

2. It was a holy convocation.

3. It was a memorial of blowing of trumpets.

Leviticus 23:26-32

The Feast of Expiation.

This great occasion, the ceremonies of which are more particularly described in Leviticus 16:1-34, was to be—

I. A HOLY CONVOCATION, IN WHICH THE PEOPLE WERE TO AFFLICT THEIR SOULS. Learn hence:

1. That sin must be mourned.

2. The mourning must be thorough.

3. The soul is to be afflicted because of the atonement.

II. THIS HOLY CONVOCATION WAS ON THE TENTH DAY OF THE SEVENTH MONTH.

1. This was to suggest the riches of redemption.

2. The association of the tenth day with the seventh month also is suggestive.

Leviticus 23:33-44

The Feast of Tabernacles.

This was the last of the great annual festivals of the Hebrews. It was a season of great joyfulness. Let us notice—

I. THE REASONS OF ITS APPOINTMENT.

1. It was to assure them of God's return to dwell with them.

2. It was to remind their children that their fathers camped in the desert.

3. It was to be a yearly national harvest thanksgiving.

II. THE MODE OF ITS CELEBRATION.

1. It began and ended with a holy convocation.

2. On the fifteenth day they gathered the boughs for their booths (verse 40). (l) This employment had its obvious economic use. They needed the shelter which their tabernacles afforded.

3. Sacrifices were offered which were reduced in number each succeeding day.

Jacob seems to have anticipated this feast on his entering into Canaan (see Genesis 33:17). Anticipations of the Law, as well as of the gospel, are often seen in the history of the patriarchs.

After the plague upon the enemies of Jerusalem in the last days of the Gentiles, the remnant will turn to the Lord, and keep the Feast of Tabernacles (see Zechariah 14:16). The gospel teaches us now to go out to Christ without the camp.—J.A.M.

HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON

Leviticus 23:4-8

The influence of sacred recollections.

The great festival of the Passover derived all its meaning from one memorable historic scene. It annually recalled one event of surpassing interest, and, by so doing, it impressed all susceptible souls with those leading truths to which God called Israel to bear its living testimony. We look at—

I. THE SPECIAL SCENE WHICH THIS FEAST COMMEMORATED, AND THE INFLUENCE IT WAS FITTED TO EXERT. What a night in Hebrew history that night of the Lord's Passover! What false confidence in every Egyptian, what agitated hearts and trembling hopes in every Hebrew, home! With what solemn awe, and yet with what thrilling expectation, did their forefathers in the land of bondage partake of that strange meal! With what eager carefulness did they see that the saving blood-stream marked the lintels of the door which would shut in their dear ones! And what a morning on the morrow! What joyous congratulations in each Hebrew home when they all met, in life and health, on that memorable march! And what terrible consternation, what wild cries of anguish and remorse in those Egyptian houses where the angel of death had not passed by, but had struck his fearful stroke! It was the hour of Jehovah's most signal interposition; it was the hour of national redemption. They might well remember it "in all their dwellings through all their generations." This festival recalled the scene and also the deliverance to which it immediately led. And the influence on the minds of all who observed it, both parents and children, was, or surely should have been:

1. To strengthen their attachment to one another. There was danger, with the distribution into tribes, and with the Jordan cutting off two tribes and a half from the rest, that their national unity might be lost, and thus the distinctiveness for which they were called into being disappear. These common, sacred memories would help to bind them together and to keep them one.

2. To preserve their allegiance to their Divine Deliverer. These sacred recollections must excite

II. NATIONAL MERCIES WHICH WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM GOD AND THE INFLUENCE THESE SHOULD EXERT ON US. We are apt to celebrate the greatness of our country with too little reference in our minds to the special favours we have received from God. The separation, through geological processes, of our land from the continent; the store of treasure laid up for our use beneath the surface; the mingling of races resulting in our strong English character; the upraising of mighty and godly men (Alfred, Wickliffe, Tindale, Wesley, etc.), who have wrought great things for us; the effectual and lasting deliverance of our land from the bonds and corruptions of Rome; the security of religious freedom; the rise and growth of the missionary and, subsequently, the evangelistic spirit, etc. These things and such things as these are national mercies; which we should frequently recall, and, remembering them, we should

III. SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL MERCIES WE HAVE RECEIVED AND THE INFLUENCE WE SHOULD GAIN FROM THEIR REMEMBRANCE. Every human life, when it has reached maturity, contains instances of special as well as ordinary loving-kindness from the hand of God. These may be

Leviticus 23:9-14

Provision and piety.

We have here—

I. THE DIVINE FORETHOUGHT. Jehovah

II. HUMAN PIETY IN RESPONSE. The goodness of God, shown to us through all generations, demands intelligent and devout response. We are reminded by the beautiful act of symbolism here enjoined—the presentation of the first sheaf of the harvest unto the Lord (Leviticus 23:10, Leviticus 23:11)—that our responsive piety should show itself in:

1. Conscious dependence on God, the Source of all life and strength; the waving of the firstfruits was a clear acknowledgment that the whole came from him and belonged to him.

2. Gratitude to God, the bountiful Benefactor. Undoubtedly this was to be a principal element in the institution; their hearts were to be filled with thankfulness for the harvest then about to be gathered in. There is not less gratitude due to our gracious God for giving us food as the result, in part, of our own labour, skill, intelligence, and patience; there is, in truth, immeasurably more, for it is the kindest way of doing the kindest thing; it is a way in which he has regard not only to our physical requirements, but also to our moral and spiritual well-being.

3. Fellowship with God. The meat and drink offerings (Leviticus 23:13) spoke of the fellowship of the worshipper with Jehovah himself. We are, as reconciled children, to have communion with the God whom we love, to rejoice in his presence, to sit down at his table.

4. Consecration to God.

Leviticus 23:15-22

Piety in prosperity.

We often speak of our duty in the day of adversity, of the spirit which true piety will then manifest. It is of equal consequence that we should consider what is its rightful attitude in the hour of prosperity. When the harvest is gathered, the nation is rich; when the fruits of the field are in the garner, the husbandman is safe for another year. The time of harvest may, therefore, stand for the position of prosperity. And these verses may suggest to us that when it is well with us in our outward circumstances there should be—

I. GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE HAND OF GOD. At the Feast of Pentecost two loaves, leavened, of the finest flour, the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, were waved by the priest "for a wave offering unto the Lord." The successful agriculturist is apt to say to himself, if not to others, "This is the harvest I have grown;" is disposed to congratulate himself on the excellency of his own farming. By this act of waving the presentation loaves, the Hebrew husbandman said, "I have ploughed, and sown, and weeded, and reaped, and ground, and baked, but thou, Lord, hast given the increase; thine was the sun that shone, thine the rains that full, thine the airs that blew, thine tile wondrous power that made the elements of nature work out the germination and growth and ripening of the corn: unto thy Name be the honour and the praise." Whatever may be the sphere of our activity, the character of our success, this is to be "the spirit of our mind;" we are to be ready to make grateful acknowledgment of the hand of God in all satisfying results.

II. HUMILITY. "Ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering" (Leviticus 23:19). The people of God were, on all occasions, even the most joyful, to own their unworthiness, and to seek the forgiving favour of God. The sin offering must find a place even at the Pentecostal feast. When we are most "glad in the Lord," we do well to make mention of our frailty, our folly, our imperfection, and to ask that, for our Saviour's sake, it may be forgiven, and we ourselves be accepted of God.

III. SACRED JOY. With the burnt offering there was to be the accompanying "meat offering, and their drink offerings" (Leviticus 23:18). And with the sin offering there were to be offered, "two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings" (Leviticus 23:19). Here was a very distinct note of sacred joy. When there is harmony without, there must be songs in the soul, but these should not be without strains of sacred music which will be acceptable in the ear of God. Let the voice of joy be heard in our halls, but let us be glad "before the Lord," remembering the goodness and realizing the presence of him whose we are and whom we serve.

IV. CONSECRATION. "They shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord" (Leviticus 23:18). There is no time more appropriate than the hour of increase and prosperity to renew our vows unto our God, and rededicate our whole lives to his service.

V. CHARITY. (Leviticus 23:22.) We must remember "the poor and the stranger." That is an evil and miserable prosperity, unsightly in the esteem of man and hateful in the sight of God, which seeks to wrap itself up in silken folds of selfish enjoyment; that is an honourable and admirable prosperity, blessed of God and man, which has a kindly heart and an open hand for those who are beaten in the battle, for those who are left behind in the race of life.—C.

Leviticus 23:23, Leviticus 23:24

The summons of God.

The trumpet utters a sound that summons attention from every ear. It is distinct from every other note; it is clear, startling, strong. When God bade his prophets declare his mind to the people he desired them to "blow a trumpet in Zion." The feast which was distinguished by the blowing of trumpets may have been intended to remind Israel, or may remind us of—

I. THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE LAW. When the sacred music was heard at this festival, the Jews could hardly fail to think of that august occasion, when "there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud," etc. (Exodus 19:16). They would thus realize that they were children of the Law, that they existed as a nation for the very purpose of receiving, preserving, and revealing the Law of the Lord, that they had entered into sacred covenant with Jehovah, that they had a great mission to fulfill. The trumpet was the voice of the Lord, saying to them, "Realize what you are."

II. THE PRIVILEGES WHICH WERE IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THEM. This was "New Year's Day" to them: the year was before them; it would be a year during which God would be speaking to them and they to him. Daily sacrifices would be laid on his altar. Special rites would demand peculiar devotion; one of these—the most sacred of all—was close at hand; privilege and opportunity were awaiting them, would meet them with the advancing seasons of the new year on Mileh they had entered; the trumpet of the Lord said, "Listen and obey, for God is with you." The Feast of Trumpets reminds us of—

III. THE MORE GRACIOUS ERA TO WHICH WE BELONG. There was no such overwhelming scene at the inauguration of the gospel as that at the giving of the Law. No "voice of the trumpet sounding long, and waxing louder and louder," no "thunders and lightnings." The kingdom of God "came not with observation;" "he did not strive nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets." Yet he "spake as never man spake" before, and as man will never speak again, and at the beginning of every year we may, without any trumpets sounding, hear a voice from heaven saying to us, "This is my beloved Son; hear ye him." God summons us to learn of him, and know from him

IV. THE LAST DAY OF THIS DISPENSATION. The day draws on when the "trump of God" shall sound, summoning the dead to life, calling the living and the dead to judgment and award (see 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). At any hour of our life, but especially on any anniversary, when we are reminded of the passage of our probationary life and the oncoming of the day of his appearing, we may well hear the summons of God to prepare for that great day.

"Great God, what do I see and hear?

The trumpet sounds, the graves restore

The dead which they contained before.

Prepare, my soul, to meet him."

―C.

Leviticus 23:33-43

Joy before the Lord.

The idea that, under the ancient Law, Israel was a peculiarly severe and gloomy nation, is essentially false. Gravity rather than light-heartedness may indeed have characterized them: they may have had much "seriousness of soul;" but they were familiar with joy, and sometimes gave themselves up to great and continued gladness of heart. It was radiant sunshine in Israel during the Feast of Tabernacles. The whole engagements of the sacred festival suggest to us—

I. THAT SORROW IS OFTEN FOLLOWED BY JOY, AND THAT SACRED SORROW IS THE SOURCE OF PUREST JOY. It is significant that this Feast of Tabernacles came only five days after the Day of Atonement, the day on which they were commanded to "afflict their souls" (see Leviticus 23:27, Leviticus 23:34). How often does a very small interval divide joy and. sorrow! so checkered are the scenes of our mortal life, that no man in brightest circumstances can ensure to himself five days' prosperity, and that no man under the darkest cloud need despair of seeing the sun break speedily and. shine serenely on his path. And when sorrow is hallowed by reflection, submission, prayer, there is laid the foundation of purest joy. The happiness which is born of submission to the will of God is something which "satisfies and sanctifies the mind." It is a joy that lasts.

II. THAT PROSPERITY DOES WELL SOMETIMES TO TURN A BACKWARD LOOK ON THE ADVERSITY IT HAS LEFT BEHIND. (Leviticus 23:40, Leviticus 23:42, Leviticus 23:43.) It was well for Israel, dwelling in strong and comfortable houses, to spend one week in the year in the "booths," which took them back in thought to the tents of the wilderness. When God gives either to a man or to a nation to rise out of obscurity and hardship into prominence and comfort, to pass from spiritual destitution to a state of abounding privilege and opportunity, nothing is more desirable than that he (or it) should occasionally revert to the old days of toil or want, and have his (its) heart filled with thankfulness to him who plants our feet upon the rock, who lifts us up to the high place of prosperity and power.

III. THAT HAPPINESS IS SAFE ONLY WHEN IT IS SANCTIFIED. The Hebrew nation was to "rejoice before the Lord seven days" (Leviticus 23:40). The heart of the people was to be filled with overflowing gladness, but it was to be poured out "before the Lord '" so it was safe and salutary. Happiness, success, attaining the height of our hopes,—this is very apt to run into

So it becomes a curse to him who should be blessed. Let us take care to "rejoice before the Lord," to turn joy into gratitude, to go with our gladness into the sanctuary of the Lord, to consecrate our substance to his service, to consult his will in the way in which we shall use our power or our opportunity; then will our increase and. elevation, of whatever kind it he, prove a blessing, and not a bane to ourselves anti to our neighbours.

IV. THAT EARTHLY JOY IS THE JOY OF HAPPY PILGRIMAGE. Our earthly house is but a tabernacle (2 Corinthians 5:1); it is to be soon taken down and to give place to a "house in the heavens." We are, as the Hebrew nation, dwelling in booths. This is but a transitory condition; we must not think and act as if it were our "continuing city." Such joy as pilgrims have, who are ever looking forward to a blessedness to come, we may permit ourselves. But alas! for him who "has his reward" here, and looks for none hereafter, whose only heritage is in the "world that passeth away." Well is it for him whose holy happiness is a preparation for, and an anticipation of, the blessedness which is beyond, which abides and abounds for ever.—C.

HOMILIES BY R.A. REDFORD

Leviticus 23:1-44

The festivals.

Leviticus 23:1-3, the sabbath. The three features of it are: the convocation; the rest from all work; the sabbath of the Lord in their dwellings.

I. THE PUBLIC WORSHIP of God is the main reason for the sabbath. "Holy convocation.'' Necessity that one day should be appointed. Importance of preserving that day of worship from distraction and disturbance. Influence of public worship on the general interests of religion, and therefore on the individual, community, and the world at large.

II. REST. "Ye shall do no work." The physical necessity of an interval of rest. The moral importance of giving opportunity to the higher powers of the nation for free development. The reaction of the sabbath on the working capacity, both by physical recuperation and moral strength. The difference between God s Law and t e gospel of work" preached by many. The secularist empties life of its dignity and glory, and at last sacrifices it to the Molech of this world's necessities and pleasures.

III. The sabbath of God is a SABBATH IN OUR DWELLINGS. Religion sanctifies home life and family affection. Rest in the house of God is rest in the house of man. The law of religion shields all life from injury, and cherishes the glad and happy in the midst of the laborious and troublesome. We should take care that the sabbath at home is both rest and worship, that it is not spent in idleness or even self-gratification, but, being given to God, becomes the more really our own—not by slavish regulation of the horn's, but by the spirit of worship pervading all our surroundings and employments. The sanctuary and the home open into one another.—R.

Leviticus 23:4-8

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

This may be regarded as the opening festival of the year, and the closing one was the Feast of Tabernacles; typically representing the life of God's people passing from redemption to restitution. The Jewish sacred year may be taken to represent the progress of Divine grace. The foundation of all is the Passover—redemption, the death of Christ the Paschal Lamb. The main ideas are—

I. All true life resting on the true beginning of peace and rest in the offering up of the Lamb of God for the sins of the world.

II. All true holiness, bread without leaven, pure fruits of man's labour, offered to God, springs out of faith. Morality is an outcome of religion. Reconciliation with God is the beginning of the consecrated life.

III. The Passover, a national celebration, set forth the true strength of the national life, as the life of God in the nation. The world can be renovated only as it is regarded as a world redeemed. Christianity is the only religion adapted to be a universal message to mankind. Hence its catholicity.—R.

Leviticus 23:9-14

The first sheaf a wave offering of the harvest.

Festival of firstfruits. May be viewed

I. The consecration of human life and its results to God.

1. As an expression of thankfulness and praise.

2. 2. As an act of faith and hope.

II. TYPICAL view of the firstfruits.

1. Christ the Firstfruits. In the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20). Of humanity as renewed and restored to perfection.

2. The true doctrine of election, the firstfruits the pledge of the harvest. Israel separated from the world for the hope of the world.

3. Individually. Our present life consecrated is a pledge of future glory. We shall reap hereafter the full harvest of redemption. Profession and dedication. The wave offering, "before the Lord" and before his people, in the sanctuary; as a sacrifice; in the covenant.—R.

Leviticus 23:15-22

Day of Pentecost

(cf. Acts 2:1-47).

I. THE BLENDING TOGETHER OF THE NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL LIVES. The harvest of the earthly labour, the harvest of grace.

II. INTIMATE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO FESTIVALS OF PASSOVER AND PENTECOST. The seven weeks', that is, week of weeks', interval, pointing to sacred bond between them. The fruits of righteousness are by Jesus Christ. Pentecostal grace flows from redemption as a fountain, as summer from spring, as harvest from seed-time.

III. HISTORICAL FULFILMENT of the idea of Pentecost in the outpouring of the Spirit, the ingathering of the firstfruits of the Christian Church, the beginning of the new life and new joy of the world. Christ arising and bringing forth fruit. Mingling together of the wave loaves and the bloody sacrifices, typical of the union of the work of Christ and the work of the Spirit. The sabbath in the harvest, the rest in the work, the true reward of life in the enjoyment of God. The mission of Christianity to the poor and the stranger. Universal joy. All the field brings forth blessed results for all the world.—R.

Leviticus 23:23-25

The Feast of Trumpets.

"A sabbath, a memorial, a holy convocation." Probably recalling the giving of the Law from Mount Sinai. Therefore typical of the proclamation of the gospel, which is the new law of love.

I. The people of God unite together to spread the sound of the gospel in the world.

II. They rejoice in it. It is a festival—a work which is sabbatical.

III. It is immediately connected with the great Day of Atonement, and the proclamation will be no uncertain sound, but a distinct announcement of the saving truth set forth in the sacrificial death of Christ.—R.

Leviticus 23:26-32

The great Day of Atonement

(see on Le Leviticus 16:29-34).—R.

Leviticus 23:33-44

The Feast of Tabernacles

(cf. Nehemiah 8:17; Zechariah 14:16).

I. PRAISE FOR ACCOMPLISHED REDEMPTION AND THE BOUNTEOUS GIFTS OF PROVIDENCE. Reminiscences of the wilderness life. Fact that Israel neglected the feast from Joshua to Nehemiah, even in the time of great national prosperity in Solomon's reign, very instructive, pointing to ingratitude and unbelief. The religious life and the natural life blended. The joy of praise binding families together, and so nations and the world.

II. The symbolical meaning of the feast—THE GLORY OF ISRAEL AND THE ULTIMATE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS. The prophecy of Zechariah (Zechariah 14:16) not to be taken literally, otherwise its significance is narrowed; but as a spiritual anticipation of the enlargement of the true Church until it shall embrace the world. The gospel invites men to rejoice in the Lord.

III. The feast on earth—A FORETASTE OF THE HIGHER LIFE OF HEAVEN. Dwelling in booths—temporary, frail, withering, yet by their nature, as pleasant places of shadow, pointing to the rest that remains for the people of God. The wilderness life leads on to the life of Canaan; the earthly festival to the heavenly; the frail tabernacle to the "city of habitations," "having foundations," etc.—R.

HOMILIES BY S.R. ALDRIDGE

Leviticus 23:4

Religious festivals.

This chapter has been termed, from its contents, the Calendar of Feasts. Underneath much that has been abolished by the gospel, we can trace principles and truths of permanent application, invested with interest for the Christian as well as the Jewish Church. Surface views are of little worth; if not misleading, they are at best transitory in nature.

I. TRUE RELIGION HAS ITS FESTIVALS. The word rendered "feasts" in the text means "fixed times;" but in Leviticus 23:6 "feast" is the translation of a word that signifies rejoicing, whose expression is dancing or processions. By their devotion to Jehovah, the Israelites were not to be continually shadowed in gloom, nor deprived of the legitimate mirth that attached even to heathen celebrations. Only they were to be the "feasts of the Lord," in his honour—not to the deification of Baalim or Ashtaroth. "Rejoice in the Lord" is our privilege as Christians, and to realize every privilege is also a duty. It is time that the popular idea were corrected which dissociates a profession of religion from all that savours of high enjoyment.

II. THE CHARACTERISTIC OF A FESTIVAL IS THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF GOD'S PEOPLE. "Convocation" gives the force of the original—it is "a place of calling?" Solitary joy does not constitute a feast of Jehovah. Just as some are prone to neglect private meditation, so do others slight the public communion of saints. The chief promise of the Lord's presence is granted to those "assembling" in his name. We ought to make an effort to attend all the festivals of the Church; we are called to them, and are guilty of disobedience if, without reasonable excuse, we do not respond. Numbers exert an exhilarating influence upon the mind; a large meeting is generally inspiriting to all concerned. The gatherings, sometimes held apart from the tabernacle in accordance with the injunctions of this chapter, developed into the worship of the synagogue, the model of our services upon the Lord's day.

III. HOLINESS IS THE PURPOSE, AND SHOULD BE THE RULING FEATURE, OF THESE GATHERINGS. They are termed "holy" convocations, and are thus distinguished from the wild orgies of heathendom. Neither Roundhead austereness nor Cavalier licentiousness is here designed. Especially should we aim in our modern religious meetings at edification; not indulging to excess in humour and. levity, but preserving decorum whilst rising to intelligent, godly enthusiasm. By such a time of sacred gladness we shall prove the truth of the utterance, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." The apostle intimates (1 Corinthians 11:10) that our behaviour in Church assemblies should be governed by a knowledge of the fact that the angels are spectators. Let our august visitors be treated with respect. So shall these meetings prove preparations for above, for the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, and the innumerable hosts of angels.

IV. THE FESTIVAL INVOLVES ABSTINENCE FROM SERVILE WORK. (See verse 7.) The usual occupations are renounced, and rest, not of indolence, but of spiritual activity, is enjoyed. The good that thereby results to the physical and spiritual frame can hardly be overestimated. Energy and time are not wasted, but improved. It is well that a man should not be always trammeled by the claims of business, but discern that there are other obligations it is incumbent on him to discharge. The chain that never leaves the neck will eat itself into the flesh, and liberty become impossible. If the head be continually bent towards the earth, it will become a matter of utmost difficulty to raise it to behold the heavens. To work at our worldly calling, to minister to the wants of the body, is not the only or the noblest task we are expected to perform; the soul has its rights and needs, and Jehovah his prerogatives.

V. FESTIVAL GATHERINGS ARE OF REGULAR RECURRENCE. "Which ye shall proclaim in their seasons." What is irregularly attended to is liable to be overlooked; what is anticipated can be prepared for. The weekly observance of a day of holy convocation prevents every pretext of forgetfulness and insufficient notice, and reminds us, in addition, of the flight of time. The methodical man parcels out his days; and a regard for order is evident in all the precepts of Scripture.—S.R.A.

Leviticus 23:10, Leviticus 23:11

The beginning of harvest.

Advantage was taken of the long sojourn in the wilderness to promulgate and instruct the people in the Law, that they might be ready to execute its commandments as soon as full opportunity was afforded by a residence in a settled country. To dwell upon such future observances could not but strengthen the faith of the people in God's intention to bring them eventually into the promised land. Of all the anticipations connected with that land, the most pleasing was the prospect of seeing the golden grain standing in the fields inviting the reaper's sickle.

I. THE RECOGNITION OF GOD AS THE GIVER OF ALL GOOD GIFTS.

1. Here he is recognized as the God of providence, whose kind hand enriches man with the fruits of earth, causing the seed to germinate, and perfecting and ripening it with sun, air, and rain. Israel thus rebuked the folly of surrounding nations, who deified the earth as a personal goddess; and. the conceptions of the modern materialist who refuses to see in nature any trace of an overruling Deity, and of the pantheist who identifies God with his works, may be similarly reproved. And if the blessings received from Providence are to be acknowledged, surely the same argument wilt apply to all the many favours, temporal and spiritual, that stream upon us as the children of God. In fact, what have we of intellectual, physical, or propertied endowment that did not proceed from him?

2. Recognized by the congregation as a whole. Family, corporate, national religion is distinct in a sense from individual worship, and God may honour the one as such apart from the particular merits of the other. The entire body ought, however, to resemble the component units; otherwise there is felt to be an incongruity that mocks the Being whom we intend to magnify. The Americans have shown that, apart from what is called State religion, there may be hearty national recognition of God.

3. The general does not exclude the personal acknowledgment of God's goodness. In Leviticus 2:14 are found regulations respecting the presentation of free-will individual firstfruit offerings. The service of the sanctuary should stimulate and not serve as a substitute for private prayer and praise. Let the congregational dedication be seconded by a personal self-surrender to the glory of God.

II. THE METHOD OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT.

1. An offering brought to the Lord, viz. a sheaf of barley, which is "waved" by the priest, the symbolical act indicative of surrender of property to God. By returning a portion of what was originally bestowed, God's proprietorship and man's stewardship are signified in fitting manner. Each Church and family should pay its tithe to the Lord, separating some of its members to religious work.

2. Such an offering may provide for the support of God's appointed servants. This sheaf was not consumed upon the altar, but was for the benefit of the priests. Those who by reason of exclusive devotion to the altar cannot find leisure to sow and reap, must be remembered by the people in whose behalf they labour. To assist the servants of Christ is to render help to the Master himself. Let the wealthy in the receipt of their dividends think upon the men who are their representatives in Christian effort. The division of labour must not allow one field of industry to be entirely isolated from the rest.

3. Other offerings naturally accompany the particular presentation. The one food reminds of other blessings, and so, besides the firstfruit sheaf, there are brought a burnt offering, a meat offering, and a drink offering, constituting a festal sacrifice. One gift prepares the way for another, opens the door so that a presentation of a different kind may follow. He who sets apart a portion of time for God is not likely to stop there, but will contribute money and influence likewise.

III. THE PRIORITY OF GOD'S CLAIM TO HONOUR.

1. It precedes our own enjoyment. No bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears must be tasted till Jehovah has been duly acknowledged as the bountiful Giver. The rent must be paid ere we can settle down to comfortable possession of the house. Men think they can without impropriety reverse this order, attending first to their own needs and pleasures, and then to God's requirements. In two ways they err—they dishonour their Maker, and they fail to hallow the enjoyment of their daily food and privileges by the happy consciousness that a portion has been previously dedicated to God. To acknowledge our indebtedness is to send us back rejoicing to our dwellings.

2. It is not right to wait until the whole amount of blessing has been reaped. At the very beginning of harvest this ceremony occurs, consecrating the harvest toil, ensuring the favour of God upon the remainder. Men who delay an offering until they know the exact amount of their savings, are likely to find the total less than they hoped. It is well to give in faith, seeing quite sufficient reason already to evoke a testimony of gratitude. "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." For the first convert in a place that seems teeming with promise of fruitfulness, we would at once give thanks. Ere the multitudes of happy dead can be raised and gathered into the heavenly garner, Jesus Christ is risen and become the Firstfruits of them that deep. His appearance before God as the Perfect Offering guarantees an ample blessed harvest.—S.R.A.

Leviticus 23:40-43

The Feast of Tabernacles.

There were three great festivals for the Israelites, the dates for which were plainly marked, and at which times it behooved the males of the nation as far as possible to be present at the sanctuary. It is the last of these we are about to consider. The regulations for its observance were enunciated in fullest detail. Were not the people thus reminded that they assisted in the celebration of the ceremonies of a royal court? The Christian Church has its festivals, prominent among which are its gatherings on the Lord's day, and the observance of the Lord's Supper. Much of what can be said with reference to the Israelitish feasts is applicable also to the latter.

I. THIS WAS THE MOST JOYOUS OF THE FESTIVALS. "Ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God."

1. See God's delight in the happiness of his people. He loves to witness their rejoicing. Religion was never intended to be synonymous with gloom or moroseness.

2. This was the crowning festival of the year, and therefore ought to be its climax of joy. For the child of God better days are ever in store; he need never pine for the past to return; each festival shall surpass the preceding. Jesus keeps the best wine till the last; not so with the world's pleasures.

3. It took place five days after the solemn Day of Atonement, when the national sin was purged, and Israel's communion with its God re-established. To empress sin and obtain pardon is the fitting preparation for gladness of heart. No man who has not experienced the feeling of relief from the burden of guilt and the emotion caused by restoration to his heavenly Father's favour, knows the meaning of real joy. Compared with this the delights of sense and. intellect are flavourless.

4. Joy reaches its highest expression in the presence of God. "Rejoice before the Lord," even the holy righteous God who searches the heart and tries the reins. We may without pride know that we have done what was right, and that the Being of beings approves our conduct and graces the festival with the light of his countenance. There is none of the secret misgiving that attends sinful banquets, where the laugh is hollow and the gaiety forced, from a conviction that conscience is being silenced and moral law violated. Cf. the rejoicing of the people, and the terror of Adonijah and his guests (1 Kings 1:40, 1 Kings 1:49). David danced for glee before the Lord when the sacred ark was brought into the city of David. "Rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for thy king cometh unto thee." We would fain have the children glad when it is said, "Let us go unto the house of the Lord."

II. THIS WAS A FESTIVAL OF GRATITUDE FOR RECENT BLESSINGS.

1. Another name for it was the Feast of Ingathering. All the produce of the ground had been garnered, the Lord had blessed them in all their increase—corn, oil, and wine; daily food and luxuries abounded; the booths were constructed of fruit trees and leafy palms. God's bounteous bestowment was acknowledged. Spiritual and temporal mercies had enriched the people and evoked manifestations of thanksgiving. So visibly dependent is man upon God for the germinating and maturing of the grain and fruit, that a harvest thanksgiving seems peculiarly appropriate, and again at the storing of the harvest, when the work for the year is practically ended, a festival is of evident fitness. The compassions of the Lord, "new every morning," furnish ample matter for devout meditation and praise.

2. This feature of the festival was a reason why all should share in it, not only the wealthy, high-born Israelites, but the strangers, the fatherless, the widow, and the poor (Deuteronomy 16:14). God allows his sun to shine and rain to descend upon all, and he expects those who receive his lavish gifts to invite others to participate in the enjoyment thereof. Anticipating our Lord's directions to summon to a feast the poor and maimed and blind, the Israelites were accustomed to "send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared." Selfish exclusion was thus prevented, and universal rejoicing made possible.

3. An offering to God from each was essential. "They shall not appear before the Lord empty; every man shall give as he is able" (Deuteronomy 16:17). Speech and sentiment without deeds are rightly deemed insincere. It is true of all converts from heathendom that when they give of their substance to God we may infer that they have first given him their hearts. The priests and Levites were in part supported by these national free-will presentations. If we esteem the Master, we shall treat his servants well for his sake.

III. THIS WAS A COMMEMORATION OF FORMER BLESSINGS. During seven days the Israelites dwelt in booths made of green boughs to remind them of the days when they sojourned in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43).

1. Previous experience may well be remembered.

If it pass into oblivion, its lessons have not been graven on the mind, and our state has not proved the discipline it was designed to be. Stand, O believer, upon the mount of present station, and survey the path with all its windings by which you have ascended to this lofty summit. Much a review will be profitable in the extreme, it will produce deepened humility and thankfulness. Keil says, "the recollection of privation and want can never be an occasion of joy." Surely he forgets the Latin Nine, "haec olim meminisse juvabit." Contrast ever heightens joy, a danger successfully surmounted is one of the most pleasing of memories.

2. The exhibition of God's protecting grace and love demands particular recollection. Not the might and resources of the Israelites, but the watchful, provident care of Jehovah, had led them safely through the desert. He had been to them "a booth for a shadow in the daytime from the beat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain" (Isaiah 4:6). The honour of God was concerned in having a permanent; memorial of Israel's stay in the wilderness, and this institution was adapted to preserve the continued confidence of the people in him and consequent freedom from boastful self-assertion. In many ways, "the joy of the Lord is our strength."

3. The deliverances wrought for our forefathers in olden days should excite gratitude to God in our breasts. Can we recall unmoved the triumphs of the early Christians, or the heroism which God's Spirit enabled martyred Protestants to evince? The wonders of our age become the heirlooms of the ages that follow.

CONCLUSION. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ commemorated in the Lord's Supper was the Passover of the Church; the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost marked the era of the Church's Feast of Weeks; the Feast of Tabernacles yet waits its due counterpart, when the elect shall be gathered into the kingdom from every land, to celebrate the cessation of earthly toil, to exult in the complete removal of sinful stain, and to enter upon the undimmed, undying gladness of the eternal sabbath. Not one of God's people shall be missing through illness or distance of abode, and a retrospect of the pilgrimage of earth shall enhance the bliss of heaven.—S.R.A.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Leviticus 23:4". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/leviticus-23.html. 1897.

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Friday, December 6th, 2019
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