Matthew Poole's Commentary
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.Their feast of the passover to be kept, Deu 16:1-7, and to eat unleavened bread, Deu 16:8. The seven weeks and their feasts, Deu 16:9-12. The feast of tabernacles to be observed by them, and their family, seven days, Deu 16:13-15. All the males to appear before the Lord three times a year, and at these three feasts, Deu 16:16,17. Judges and officers are appointed, Deu 16:18-20, and are prohibited to set up idolatry, Deu 6:21,22.
Object. They came out of Egypt by day, and in the morning, as appears from Exodus 12:22 13:3 Numbers 33:3.
Answ. They are said to be brought out by night, because in the night Pharaoh was forced to give them leave to depart, and accordingly they made preparation for their departure, and in the morning they perfected the work.
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.The passover, i.e. either,
1. Properly and strictly so called, which was the paschal lamb, and so the sheep and oxen, which here follow, are mentioned only as additional sacrifices, which were to be offered in the seven days of the paschal solemnity, Numbers 28:18,19, &c. Or,
2. Largely, to wit, for the passover-offerings, to wit, which were offered after the lamb in the seven days, and so this very word is used 2 Chronicles 35:8,9. And this signification seems necessary here, partly because it is here said to consist
of the flock and of the herd, or of sheep and oxen, and partly because it follows, Deu 16:3, Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it, seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, i.e. with the passover, which could not be done with the passover strictly so called, which was to be wholly spent in one day. Or,
3. The feast of the passover, and so the place may be rendered, Thou shalt therefore observe or keep the feast of the passover (as those same Hebrew words are taken, Numbers 9:5 Joshua 5:10 2 Chronicles 35:1,17,18,19) unto the Lord thy God, with sheep and with oxen, as is prescribed, Numbers 28:18, &c.
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.With it, to wit, with the passover, in the sense delivered; or, in it, i.e. during the time of the feast of the passover.
The bread of affliction, i.e. bread which is not usual nor pleasant, but unsavoury and unwholesome, to put thee in mind both of thy miseries endured in Egypt, and of thy hasty coming out of it, which allowed thee no time to leaven or to prepare thy bread.
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.At even, i.e. of the passover properly so called, and by these words plainly described; which circumlocution may seem to insinuate that the word passover, Deu 16:1, was improperly used, and therefore he chose rather to describe it than to name it, lest the ambiguity of the word should occasion some mistake.
Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:Within any of thy gates, i. e of thy cities, as that word is oft used, as Genesis 22:17 24:60 Deu 17:2 Ruth 4:10.
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.There thou shalt sacrifice the passover, to wit, in the court of the tabernacle or temple. This he prescribed, partly, that this great work might be done with more solemnity and care, in such manner as God required; partly, because it was not only a sacrament, but also a sacrifice, as appears because it is so called, Exodus 12:27 23:18 34:25 Numbers 9:7, and because here was the sprinkling of blood, which is the essential part and character of a sacrifice; and partly, to design the place where Christ, the true Passover or Lamb of God, was to be slain.
At the season; understand this with some latitude, as such phrases are commonly taken, about that season, when you had received command from me to go out of Egypt, and were preparing yourselves for the journey.
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.Thou shalt roast; so that word is used also 2 Chronicles 35:13.
In the morning; either,
1. The morning after the seventh day, as appears, partly, by the following verse, which is added to explain and limit this ambiguous word; partly, by the express command of God that the people should come to Jerusalem to keep this feast, which by God’s appointment lasted for seven days; partly, from the examples of the people staying there the whole time of the feast, 2 Chronicles 30:21 35:17; and partly, from the nature and business of this feast, wherein there being so many extraordinary sacrifices to be offered, and feasts made by the people upon the sacrifices, and two days of solemn assemblies, it is not probable that they would absent themselves from these solemn services, for the performance whereof they came purposely to Jerusalem. Or,
2. The morning after the first day, and so they were permitted to go then, and possibly some that lived near Jerusalem might go and return again to the last day of the solemn assembly. But the former seems more probable.
Thy tents, i.e. thy dwellings, which he calls tents, as respecting their present state, and withal to put them in mind afterwards when they were settled in better habitations, that there was a time when they dwelt in 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.Six days, to wit, besides the first day, on which the passover was killed; or rather besides the seventh and the last day, which is here mentioned apart, not as if leavened bread might be eaten then, for the contrary was evident from many places, but because there was something more to be done, to wit, a solemn assembly to be kept. So in all there were seven days, as it is said, Exodus 12:15 Leviticus 23:6 Numbers 28:17.
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.Seven weeks; of which see on Exodus 34:22 Leviticus 23:10,15.
To put the sickle to the corn, i.e. to reap thy corn, thy barley, when the first-fruits were offered, Leviticus 23:10,11.
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:The feast of weeks, i.e. of pentecost, Acts 2:1.
Which thou shalt give, over and besides what was appointed, Leviticus 23:17-20 Numbers 28:27-31.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.No text from Poole on this verse.
Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:Of the feast of tabernacles, see on Exodus 23:16 Leviticus 23:34 Numbers 29:12.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.To wit, in God and the effects of his favour, praising him with glad heart.
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:All thy males; not the women, partly, because of their infirmity and unfitness for many journeys; partly, because the care of their children and families lay upon them; and partly, because they were sufficiently represented in the men.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Judges; chief magistrates to examine and determine causes and differences.
Officers, who were inferior and subordinate to the other, to bring causes and persons before them, to acquaint people with the mind and sentence of the judges, and to execute their sentence, Deu 20:5,9 Jos 1:10,11 3:2,3. In all thy gates, i.e. thy cities, which he here calls
gates, because there were seats of judgment set. Compare 1 Chronicles 23:4.
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.Not wrest judgment, i.e. not give a perverse, forced, and unjust sentence. See Poole "Exodus 23:8".
Not respect persons, i.e. not give sentence according to the quality of the person, his riches or poverty, friendship or enmity, but according to the justice of the cause.
A gift doth blind the eyes of the wise; corrupts and biasseth his mind, that as he will not, so ofttimes he cannot, discern between right and wrong.
The words of the righteous; either,
1. The words, i.e. the sentence, of those judges who are inclined and used to do righteous things, and have the repute of righteous men, it makes them give wrong judgment. Or,
2. The words, i.e. the matters, or causes, (as word oft signifies,) of righteous persons, or of them whose cause is just.
That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.That which is altogether just, Heb. righteousness, righteousness, i.e. nothing but righteousness in all causes and times, and to all persons equally. Compare Isaiah 26:7.
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.Because this was the practice of idolaters, 1 Kings 15:13, and might be an occasion of reviving idolatry. See Judges 3:7 1 Kings 14:23 1 Kings 16:33 18:19.
Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.Heb. statue, whether with a picture or representation, or without it, as the idolaters used to worship smoothed and polished stones or pillars without any image upon them.