Leviticus 23

CHAPTER XXIII

The feast of the Lord, 1, 2.

The Sabbath, 3.

The passover and unleavened bread, 4-8.

The feast of first-fruits, 9-14.

The feast of pentecost, 15-21.

Gleanings to be left for the poor, 22.

The feast of trumpets, 28-25.

The great day of atonement, 26-32.

The feast of tabernacles, 33-44.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXIII

Verse 2. These are my feasts.] The original word moad

is properly applied to any solemn anniversary, by which great

and important ecclesiastical, political, or providential facts

were recorded; See Clarke on Ge 1:14.

Anniversaries of this kind were observed in all nations; and some

of them, in consequence of scrupulously regular observation,

became chronological epochs of the greatest importance in history:

the Olympiads, for example.

Verse 3. The seventh day is the Sabbath] This, because the

first and greatest solemnity, is first mentioned. He who kept

not this, in the most religious manner, was not capable of

keeping any of the others. The religious observance of the

Sabbath stands at the very threshold of all religion.

See Clarke on Ge 2:3.

Verse 5. The Lord's passover.] See this largely explained in

the notes on Ex 12:21-27.

Verse 11. He shalt wave the sheaf] He shall move it to and

fro before the people, and thereby call their attention to the

work of Divine Providence, and excite their gratitude to God for

preserving to them the kindly fruits of the earth.

See Clarke on Ex 29:27, and "Le 7:38" at end.

Verse 14. Ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor

green ears] It is right that God, the dispenser of every

blessing, should be acknowledged as such, and the first-fruits

of the field, &c., dedicated to him. Concerning the dedication

of the first-fruits, See Clarke on Ex 22:29.

Parched ears of corn and green ears, fried, still constitute a

part, and not a disagreeable one, of the food of the Arabs now

resident in the Holy Land. See Hasselquist.

Verse 15. Ye shall count unto you-seven Sabbaths] That is,

from the sixteenth of the first month to the sixth of the

third month. These seven weeks, called here Sabbaths, were

to be complete, i. e., the forty-nine days must be finished, and the

next day, the fiftieth, is what, from the Septuagint, we call

pentecost. See Clarke on Lu 6:1.

Verse 22. Neither shalt thou gather any gleaning]

See Clarke on Le 19:9.

Verse 24. A memorial of blowing of trumpets] This is

generally called the feast of trumpets; and as it took place on

the first day of the seventh month, Tisri, which answers to

September, which month was the commencement of what was called

the civil year, the feast probably had no other design than to

celebrate the commencement of that year, if indeed such a

distinction obtained among the ancient Jews.

See Clarke on Ex 12:2.

Some think creation began at this time.

Verse 28. A day of atonement]

See Clarke on Le 16:2, &c.,

where this subject is largely explained.

Verse 34. The feast of tabernacles] In this solemnity the

people left their houses, and dwelt in booths or tents made of

the branches of goodly trees and thick trees, (of what kind the

text does not specify,) together with palm-trees and willows of

the brook, Le 23:40.

And in these they dwelt seven days, in commemoration of their

forty years' sojourning and dwelling in tents in the wilderness

while destitute of any fixed habitations. In imitation of this

feast among the people of God, the Gentiles had their feasts of

tents. Plutarch speaks particularly of feasts of this kind in

honour of Bacchus, and thinks from the custom of the Jews in

celebrating the feast of tabernacles, that they worshipped the god

Bacchus, "because he had a feast exactly of the same kind called

the feast of tabernacles, σκηνη, which they celebrated in the time

of vintage, bringing tables out into the open air furnished with

all kinds of fruit, and sitting under tents made of vine

branches and ivy."-PLUT. Symp., lib. iv., Q. 6. According to

Ovid the feast of Anna Perenna was celebrated much in the same

way. Some remained in the open air, others formed to themselves

tents and booths made of branches of trees, over which they

spread garments, and kept the festival with great rejoicings.

"Sub Jove pars durat; pauci tentoria ponunt;

Sunt, quibus e ramis frondea facta easa est.

Pars sibi pro rigidis calamos statuere columnis;

Desuper extentas imposuere togas."

Ovid, Fast., lib. iii.

Concerning this feast of tabernacles,

See Clarke on Joh 7:37; and "Joh 7:38";

and for the various feasts among the Jews,

See Clarke on Ex 23:14.

Verse 40. Boughs of goodly trees] The Jews and many critics

imagine the citron-tree to be intended, and by boughs of thick

tree the myrtle.

Verse 43. That your generations may know, &c.] By the

institution of this feast God had two great objects in view: 1.

To perpetuate the wonderful display of his providence and grace

in bringing them out of Egypt, and in preserving them in the

wilderness. 2. To excite and maintain in them a spirit of

gratitude and obedience, by leading them to consider deeply the

greatness of the favours which they had received from his most

merciful hands.

SIGNAL displays of the mercy, kindness, and providential care

of God should be particularly remembered. When we recollect

that we deserve nothing at his hands, and that the debt of

gratitude is all the debt we can pay, in it we should be

cheerful, fervent, and frequent. An ungrateful heart is an

unfeeling, unloving, unbelieving, and disobedient heart. Reader,

pray to God that he may deliver thee from its influence and its

curse.

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