Leviticus 23
Matthew Poole's Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
The feasts or, the Lord, Leviticus 23:1,2. The sabbath, Leviticus 23:3. The passover, Leviticus 23:4-8. The sheaf of first-fruits, Leviticus 23:9-14. The feast of pentecost, Leviticus 23:15-21. Gleanings to be left for the poor, Leviticus 23:22. The feast of trumpets, Leviticus 23:23-25. The day of atonement, Leviticus 23:26-32. The feast of tabernacles, Leviticus 23:33-43.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
Ye shall proclaim, i.e. cause to be proclaimed by the priests. See Numbers 10:8-10.

Holy convocations; days for your assembling together to my worship and service in a special manner.

These are my feasts, which I have appointed, and the right observation whereof I will accept.

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
No work; so it runs in the general for the sabbath day, and for the day of expiation, Leviticus 23:28, excluding all works about earthly occasions or employments, whether of profit or pleasure; but on other feast days he forbids only servile works, as Leviticus 23:7,21,36, for surely this manifest difference in the expressions used by the wise God must needs imply a difference in the things. In all your dwellings: this is added to distinguish the sabbath from other feasts, which were to be kept before the Lord in Jerusalem only, whither all the males were to come for that end; but the sabbath was to be kept in all places, where they were, both in synagogues, which were erected for that end, and in their private houses.

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
In their appointed and proper times, as the word is used Genesis 1:14 Psalm 104:19.

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
No text from Poole on this verse.

In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
No text from Poole on this verse.

But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
Seven days, the matter and manner whereof, see Numbers 28:18, &c.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
No text from Poole on this verse.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
When ye be come into the land; therefore this obliged them not in the desert, where they reaped no harvest, &c.

Shall reap, i.e. begin to reap, as it is expounded Deu 16:9. So, he begat, i.e. began to beget, Genesis 5:32 11:26; and, he built, 1 Kings 6:1, i.e. he began to build, as it is explained 2 Chronicles 3:2. The harvest thereof, to wit, barley harvest, which was before wheat harvest. See Exodus 9:31,32 34:22 Ruth 2:23.

A sheaf Heb. an omer, which is the tenth part of an ephah. It seems here to note the measure of corn which was to be offered. For it is to be considered that they did not offer this corn in the ear, or by a sheaf or handful, but as Josephus, iii. 10, affirms, and may be gathered from Leviticus 2:14-16, purged from the chaff, and dried, and beaten out, and, some add, ground into meal, and sifted into fine flour; though this may be doubted of, because the meat-offering attending upon this was of fine flour, Leviticus 23:13, and because this offering is said to be of green ears of corn dried, &c., Leviticus 2:14.

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.
To be accepted for you; that God may accept of you, and bless you in the rest of your harvest.

On the morrow after the sabbath, i.e. after the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, which was a sabbath, or day of rest, as appears from Leviticus 23:7, or upon the sixteenth day of the month. And this was the first of those fifty days, in the close whereof was the feast of pentecost, or Whitsuntide.

And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
An he lamb, besides the daily morning and evening sacrifice, which it was needless to mention here, and besides one of those sacrifices to be offered every day of the seven, Leviticus 23:8.

And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.
Two tenth deals, or, parts, to wit, of an ephah, i. e. two omers, whereas in other sacrifices of lambs there was but one tenth deal prescribed, Numbers 15:4. The reason of which disproportion may be this, that one of the tenth deals was a necessary attendant upon the lamb, and the other was peculiar to this feast and occasion, and was an attendant upon that of the sheaf or corn, and was offered with it in thanksgiving to God for the fruits of the earth. Drink-offerings were added to all burnt-offerings, as we may see Numbers 15:5.

An hin; the measure appointed for every lamb, Numbers 15:5. This also probably would have been doubled, for the reason now mentioned, had this been a thank-offering for the vintage, as it was for the harvest.

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.
Bread, made of new wheat, as the nature and reason of the law showeth.

Nor green ears, which were usual, not only for offerings to God, as Leviticus 2:14, but also for man’s food. See Joshua 5:11 Ruth 2:14 1 Samuel 17:17 Matthew 12:1.

Until the selfsame day: good reason God should be first served and owned as the supreme Landlord.

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
From the morrow after the sabbath, i.e. from the sixteenth day of the month, and the second day of the feast of unleavened bread inclusively. See on Leviticus 23:11.

Seven sabbaths, i.e. weeks, which are so called, by a synecdoche, from the chief day of it, both here and Luke 18:12 Acts 20:7 1 Corinthians 16:2.

Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
i.e. After seven weeks, or forty-nine days, the morrow after which was the fiftieth day, called also pentecost.

A new meat offering, to wit, of new corn made into loaves, as it follows.

Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
Out of your habitations, i.e. out of the corn of your own land, for which and for the fruits of it you are now to offer praises unto God. And this also, as well as the former sacrifice, was brought out of the common charge, and in the name of the whole nation, whence it is said to be brought out of their habitations in the plural number. Some conceive two several loaves were brought from every family, or, as others, from every city or town. But this is easily confuted from Leviticus 23:18, where we read that with the bread, to wit, the two loaves, were to be offered seven lambs, one bullock, &c., which doubtless was a common oblation, and in the name of all.

Two wave loaves; in double proportion, as before, Leviticus 23:13.

Baken with leaven; because these were not offered to God, but wholly given to the priest for food. See on Leviticus 2:11 7:13.

And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.
Two rams; in Numbers 28:11,19 it is two young bullocks and one ram. Either therefore it was left to their liberty to choose which they would offer, or one of the bullocks there, and one of the rams here, were the peculiar sacrifices of the feast-day, and the other were attendants upon the two loaves, which were the principal and most proper offering at this time. And the one may be mentioned there, and the other here, to teach us that the addition of a new sacrifice did not destroy the former, but both were to be offered, as the extraordinary sacrifices of every feast did not hinder the oblation of the daily sacrifice.

Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
One kid: in Leviticus 4:14 the sin-offering for the sin of the people is a bullock, but here a kid, &c.; the reason of the difference may be this, because that was for some particular sin of the people, but this only in general for all their sins. If it be said, then this should have been the better sacrifice, as being for far more, and possibly greater, offences; it may be replied, that this is not the only instance wherein the greater sins are expiated by smaller sacrifices, and the smaller sins by greater sacrifices, which was to instruct us, that sins were not expiated by the sacrifices for any worth in them, but only in respect of Christ, and that, though all sins are not equal, yet they are all expiated by one and the same price, even by the blood of Christ.

And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
The priest shall wave them, i.e. some part of them in the name of the whole, and so for the two lambs, otherwise they had been too big and too heavy to be waved. So it is a synecdochical expression. For the priests; who had to themselves not only the breast and shoulder, as in others, which belonged to the priest, but also the rest which belonged to the offerer, because the whole congregation being the offerer here, it could neither be distributed to them all, nor given to some without offence or injury to the rest.

And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
An holy convocation, a sabbath or day of rest, called pentecost, which was instituted, partly in remembrance of the consummation of their deliverance out of Egypt, by bringing them thence to the mount of God, or Sinai, as God had promised, and of that admirable blessing of giving the law to them at that time, and forming them into a commonwealth under his own immediate government; and partly in gratitude for the further progress of their harvest, as in the passover they offered a thank-offering to God for the beginning of their harvest.

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
From the plural ye he comes to the singular thou, because he would press this duty upon every person who hath a harvest to reap, that none might plead exemption from it. And it is observable, that though the present business is only concerning the worship of God, yet he makes a kind of excursion to repeat a former law of providing for the poor, to show that our piety and devotion to God is little esteemed by him, if it be not accompanied with acts of charity to men.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
No text from Poole on this verse.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
A memorial of blowing of trumpets, i.e. solemnized with the blowing of trumpets by the priests; not in a common way, as they did every first day of every month, Numbers 10:10, but in an extraordinary manner, not only in Jerusalem, but in all the cities of Israel. This seems to have been instituted,

1. To solemnize the beginning of the new year, whereof as to civil matters, and particularly as to the jubilee, this was the first day; concerning which it was fit the people should be admonished, both to excite their thankfulness for God’s blessing in the last year, and to direct them in the management of their civil affairs.

2. To put a special honour upon this month. For as the seventh day was the sabbath, and the seventh year was a sabbatical year; so God would have the seventh month to be a kind of sabbatical month, for the many sabbaths and solemn feasts which were observed in this more than in any other month. And by this sounding of the trumpets in its beginning, God would quicken and prepare them for the following sabbaths, as well that of atonement and humiliation for their sins, as those of thanksgiving for God’s mercies.

Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
No text from Poole on this verse.

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Ye shall afflict your souls, with fasting, and bitter repentance for all, especially their national sins, among which no doubt God would have them remember their sin of the golden calf. For as God had threatened to remember it in after-times to punish them for it, Exodus 32:34, so there was great reason why they should remember it to humble themselves for it.

And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
No text from Poole on this verse.

For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
Whatsoever soul, either of the Jewish nation or religion. Hereby God would signify the absolute necessity which every man had of repentance and forgiveness of sin, and the desperate condition of all impenitent persons.

And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
No text from Poole on this verse.

Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
No text from Poole on this verse.

It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
This clause seems to be added to answer an objection, how this day of atonement could be both on the tenth day Leviticus 23:27, and on the ninth day here. The answer is, it began at the evening or close of the ninth day, and continued till the evening or close of the tenth day; and so both were true, especially if you consider, that the Jews did take in some part of the sixth day’s evening by way of preparation for the sabbath, and therefore would much more take in a part of the ninth day to prepare and begin the great and solemn work of their yearly atonement. And this clause may be understood either,

1. Of this-particular sabbath, called here

your sabbath, in the singular number, possibly to note the difference between this and other sabbaths; for the weekly sabbath is oft called the sabbath of the Lord, because that was in a special manner appointed for the praising, honouring, and serving of God, and celebrating his glorious works, as also the other sabbaths here mentioned were, whereas this was principally ordained for their need and for their good, even to seek and obtain the pardon of their sins. Or,

2. Of all their sabbaths, and consequently of this. The Jews are supposed to begin every day, and consequently their sabbaths, at the evening, in remembrance of the creation, Genesis 1:5, as Christians generally begin their days and sabbaths with the morning, in memory of Christ’s resurrection.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
No text from Poole on this verse.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.
Of tabernacles, i.e. of tents, or booths, or arbours. This feast was appointed principally to remind them of that time when they had no other dwellings in the wilderness, as it is expressed Leviticus 23:43, and to stir them up to bless God as well for the gracious conduct and protection then afforded them, as for their more commodious and secure habitations now given them; and secondarily, to excite them to gratitude for all the fruits of the year newly ended, which were now completely brought in, as may be gathered from Leviticus 23:39 Exodus 23:16 Deu 16:13,14. See an instance of this feast Nehemiah 8:16.

On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
No text from Poole on this verse.

Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
Seven days ye shall offer an offering; a several offering each day, which is particularly described Numbers 29:13, &c.

On the eighth day; which though it was not one of the days of this feast strictly taken, nor is it here affirmed to be so, but on the contrary is expressly said to consist of seven days, Leviticus 23:31,39, nor did they dwell longer in tabernacles; yet in a larger sense it belonged to this feast, and is called the great day of the feast, John 7:37. And so indeed it was, as for other reasons, so because, by their removal from their tabernacles into more fixed and comfortable habitations, it represented that happy time wherein their forty years’ tedious march in the wilderness was ended, with their introduction into, and settlement in, the land of Canaan, which it was most fit and just they should acknowledge with such a solemn day of thanksgiving as this was.

A solemn assembly, Heb. a day of conclusion, because it was the end of the feast, John 7:37; or, of restraint, because they were restrained from servile work, and obliged to attendance upon God’s worship; or, of detention, because they were yet detained before the Lord, and kept together for his service, and not suffered to return to their tents till this was over.

These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:
A sacrifice, i.e. another sacrifice, to wit, for a sin-offering, as we shall find it Numbers 29:16,19,22, &c., called by the general name, a sacrifice, because it was designed for that which was the principal end of all sacrifices, to wit, for the expiation of sin.

Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.
Beside the sabbaths, i.e. the offerings of the weekly sabbaths, by a metonymy, as the day is sometimes put for the actions done in it, as Proverbs 27:1 1 Corinthians 3:13. God will not have any sabbath sacrifice diminished, because of the addition of others proper to any, other feast. And it is here to be noted, that though other festival days are sometimes called sabbaths, as here Leviticus 23:39, yet these are here called

the sabbaths of the Lord, in way of contradistinction to other days of rest, to show that this was more eminently such than other feast-days, which also sufficiently appears from the fourth commandment.

Beside your gifts, which, being here distinguished from free-will offerings made to the Lord, may seem to note what they freely gave to the priests over and above their first-fruits and tithes, or other things which they were enjoined to give.

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
Also, or rather, surely, as this particle is oft used; for this is no addition of a new, but only a repetition of the former injunction, with a more particular explication both of the manner and reason of the feast.

The fruit, not the corn, which was gathered long before, but of their trees, as vines, olives, and other fruit-trees; which completed the harvest, whence this is called the feast of ingathering, Exodus 23:16.

And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
Boughs, Heb. the fruit, i.e. fruit-bearing boughs, or branches with the fruit on them, as the word fruit seems to be taken, 2 Kings 19:30 Ezekiel 19:12. Goodly trees, to wit, the olive, myrtle, and pine, as they are mentioned, Nehemiah 8:15,16, which were most plentiful there, and which would best preserve their greenness or freshness.

Thick trees, fit for shade and shelter.

Willows of the brook, which might do well to mix with the other, and in some sort to bind them together. And as they made their booths of these materials, as is apparent from Ne 8, so it seems they did also carry some of these boughs in their hands, as is affirmed by Jewish and other ancient writers.

Ye shall rejoice; which joy they testified by feasting, thanksgiving, &c.

And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
No text from Poole on this verse.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
Booths were erected in their cities or towns, either in their streets or gardens, or the tops of their houses, Nehemiah 8:16, which were made flat, and therefore were proper and fit for that use.

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: I am the LORD your God.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
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Matthew Poole's Commentary

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