Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.The Feast of Tabernacles (a Harvest Sermon)
The three great feasts of Israel—the Passover, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles—were not only commemorative of national blessings or prophetic of yet greater spiritual blessings to be bestowed, but they were conspicuously connected with the three great seasons of the tillage of Palestine—the barley and the wheat harvests and the vintage. This Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous of them all. Above and beyond all other marks of joy and utterances of thanksgiving, the law laid stress on the thankofferings of love. Men were not to appear before the Lord empty. The law, 'Freely have ye received, freely give,' applies to the natural as well as to the spiritual life, and there can be no true fulfilment in the latter if it is neglected in the former. Harvest festivals are valuable in this age.
I. They tell us of the truth which we are constantly tempted to forget—that the God of grace is also the God of nature; that the Son of God is also the Divine Word, the Eternal Wisdom, by whom all laws of nature are ordained; that the Holy Ghost is also the Lord and giver of life, and that not only are all holy thoughts and desires His gifts, but that even the skill of the artist and the builder speak of a wisdom for all manner of workmanship which is His gift. Harvest thanksgivings help us to look out on the world of nature and of men with more large-hearted sympathies.
II. They bear their witness that we believe that the laws of nature are the expression of an Almighty Father's will, and that we accept its workings, not with simple submission, but with thankfulness and trust.
III. They bring us into fellowship with the old religious life of Israel. It adds to the interest with which we think of this feast, to remember that one large and important part of our Lord's teaching was connected with it. The history of one feast of Tabernacles occupies four chapters of St. John's Gospel. Its ritual was present to the eyes of men, and to His own thoughts, when He stood and cried, 'I am the Light of the world. If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.'
—E. H. Plumptre, The Clerical Library, vol. 11. p. 51.
References.—XVII. 16.—J. Laidlaw, Studies in the Parables, p. 217. W. M. Taylor, Contrary Winds, p. 93.
Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.
Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; 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 camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
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.
And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.
And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.
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.
Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.