English Standard Version
Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the LORD.
King James Bible
And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
American Standard Version
And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the set feasts of Jehovah.
And Moses spoke concerning the feasts of the Lord to the children of Israel.
English Revised Version
And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the set feasts of the LORD.
Webster's Bible Translation
And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
Leviticus 23:44 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
"Beside the Sabbaths:" i.e., the Sabbath sacrifices (see Numbers 28:9-10), and the gifts and offerings, which formed no integral part of the keeping of the feasts and Sabbaths, but might be offered on those days. מתּנות, gifts, include all the dedicatory offerings, which were presented to the Lord without being intended to be burned upon the altar; such, for example, as the dedicatory gifts of the tribe-princes (Numbers 7), the firstlings and tithes, and other so-called heave-offerings (Numbers 18:11, Numbers 18:29). By the "vows" and נדבות, "freewill-offerings," we are to understand not only the votive and freewill slain or peace-offerings, but burnt-offerings also, and meat-offerings, which were offered in consequence of a vow, or from spontaneous impulse (see Judges 11:31, where Jephthah vows a burnt-offering). - In Leviticus 23:39. there follows a fuller description of the observance of the last feast of the year, for which the title, "feast of Tabernacles" (Leviticus 23:34), had prepared the way, as the feast had already been mentioned briefly in Exodus 23:16 and Exodus 34:22 as "feast of Ingathering," though hitherto no rule had been laid down concerning the peculiar manner in which it was to be observed. In connection with this epithet in Exodus, it is described again in Leviticus 23:39, as in Leviticus 23:35, Leviticus 23:36, as a seven days' feast, with sabbatical rest on the first and eighth day; and in Leviticus 23:40. the following rule is given for its observance: "Take to you fruit of ornamental trees, palm-branches, and boughs of trees with thick foliage, and willows of the brook, and rejoice before the Lord your God seven days, every native in Israel." If we observe that there are only three kinds of boughs that are connected together by the copula (vav) in Leviticus 23:40, and that it is wanting before תם כּפּת, there can hardly be any doubt that הדר עץ פּרי is the generic term, and that the three names which follow specify the particular kinds of boughs. By "the fruits," therefore, we understand the shoots and branches of the trees, as well as the blossom and fruit that grew out of them. הדר עץ, "trees of ornament:" we are not to understand by these only such trees as the orange and citron, which were placed in gardens for ornament rather than use, as the Chald. and Syr. indicate, although these trees grow in the gardens of Palestine (Rob., Pal. i. 327, iii. 420). The expression is a more general one, and includes myrtles, which were great favourites with the ancients, on account of their beauty and the fragrant odour which they diffused, olive-trees, palms, and other trees, which were used as booths in Ezra's time (Nehemiah 8:15). In the words, "Take fruit of ornamental trees," it is not expressly stated, it is true, that this fruit was to be used, like the palm-branches, for constructing booths; but this is certainly implied in the context: "Take...and rejoice...and keep a feast...in the booths shall he dwell." בּסּכּת with the article is equivalent to "in the booths which ye have constructed from the branches mentioned" (cf. Ges. 109, 3). It was in this sense that the law was understood and carried out in the time of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:15.).
(Note: Even in the time of the Maccabees, on the other hand (cf. 2 Macc. 10:6, 7), the feast of the Purification of the Temple was celebrated by the Jews after the manner of the Tabernacles (κατὰ σκηνωμάτων τρόπον); so that they offered songs of praise, holding (ἔχοντες, carrying?) leafy poles (θύρσους, not branches of ivy, cf. Grimm. ad l.c.) and beautiful branches, also palms; in the time of Christ it was the custom to have sticks or poles (staves) of palm-trees and citron-trees (θύρσους ἐκ φοινίκων καὶ κιτρέων: Josephus, Ant. xiii. 13, 5), or to carry in the hand a branch of myrtle and willow bound round with wool, with palms at the top and an apple of the περσέα (peach or pomegranate?) upon it (εἰρεσιώνην μυρσίνης καὶ ἰτέας σὺν κράδῃ φοίνικος πεποιημένην τοῦ μήλου τοῦ τῆς Περσέας προσόντος). This custom, which was still further developed in the Talmud, where a bunch made of palm, myrtle, and willow boughs is ordered to be carried in the right hand, and a citron or orange in the left, has no foundation in the law: it sprang rather out of an imitation of the Greek harvest-feast of the Pyanepsia and Bacchus festivals, from which the words θύρσοι and εἰρεσιώνη were borrowed by Josephus, and had been tacked on by the scribes to the text of the Bible (v. 40) in the best way they could. See Bδhr, Symbol. ii. p. 625, and the innumerable trivial laws in Mishna Succa and Succa Codex talm. babyl. sive de tabernaculorum festo ed. Dachs. Utr. 1726, 4.)
The leading character of the feast of Tabernacles, which is indicated at the outset by the emphatic אך (Leviticus 23:39, see at Leviticus 23:27), was to consist in "joy before the Lord." As a "feast," i.e., a feast of joy (חג, from חגג equals חוּג, denoting the circular motion of the dance, 1 Samuel 30:16), it was to be kept for seven days; so that Israel "should be only rejoicing," and give itself up entirely to joy (Deuteronomy 16:15). Now, although the motive assigned in Deut. is this: "for God will bless thee (Israel) in all thine increase, and in all the work of thine hands;" and although the feast, as a "feast of ingathering," was a feast of thanksgiving for the gathering in of the produce of the land, "the produce of the floor and wine-press;" and the blessing they had received in the harvested fruits, the oil and wine, which contributed even more to the enjoyment of life than the bread that was needed for daily food, furnished in a very high degree the occasion and stimulus to the utterance of grateful joy: the origin and true signification of the feast of Tabernacles are not to be sought for in this natural allusion to the blessing of the harvest, but the dwelling in booths was the principal point in the feast; and this was instituted as a law for all future time (Leviticus 23:41), that succeeding generations might know that Jehovah had caused the children of Israel to dwell in booths when He led them out of Egypt (Leviticus 23:43). סכּה, a booth or hut, is not to be confounded with אחל a tent, but comes from סכך texuit, and signifies casa, umbraculum ex frondibus ramisque consertum (Ges. thes. s. v.), serving as a defence both against the heat of the sun, and also against wind and rain (Psalm 31:21; Isaiah 4:6; Jonah 4:5). Their dwelling in booths was by no means intended, as Bhr supposes, to bring before the minds of the people the unsettled wandering life of the desert, and remind them of the trouble endured there, for the recollection of privation and want can never be an occasion of joy; but it was to place vividly before the eyes of the future generations of Israel a memorial of the grace, care, and protection which God afforded to His people in the great and terrible wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:15). Whether the Israelites, in their journey through the wilderness, not only used the tents which they had taken with them (cf. Leviticus 14:8; Exodus 16:1; Exodus 18:7; Exodus 33:8.; Numbers 16:26., Leviticus 24:5, etc.), but erected booths of branches and bushes in those places of encampment where they remained for a considerable time, as the Bedouins still do sometimes in the peninsula of Sinai (Burckhardt, Syrien, p. 858), or not; at all events, the shielding and protecting presence of the Lord in the pillar of cloud and fire was, in the words of the prophet, "a booth (tabernacle) for a shadow in the day-time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain" (Isaiah 4:6) in the barren wilderness, to those who had just been redeemed out of Egypt. Moreover, the booths used at this feast were not made of miserable shrubs of the desert, but of branches of fruit-trees, palms and thickly covered trees, the produce of the good and glorious land into which God had brought them (Deuteronomy 8:7.); and in this respect they presented a living picture of the plenteous fulness of blessing with which the Lord had enriched His people. This fulness of blessing was to be called to mind by their dwelling in booths; in order that, in the land "wherein they ate bread without scarceness and lacked nothing, where they built goodly houses and dwelt therein; where their herds and flocks, their silver and their gold, and all that they had, multiplied" (Deuteronomy 8:9, Deuteronomy 8:12-13), they might not say in their hearts, "My power, and the might of mine hand, hath gotten me this wealth," but might remember that Jehovah was their God, who gave them power to get wealth (Leviticus 23:17, Leviticus 23:18), that so their heart might not "be lifted up and forget Jehovah their God, who had led them out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage." If, therefore, the foliage of the booths pointed to the glorious possessions of the inheritance, which the Lord had prepared for His redeemed people in Canaan, yet the natural allusion of the feast, which was superadded to the historical, and subordinate to it, - viz., to the plentiful harvest of rich and beautiful fruits, which they had gathered in from this inheritance, and could now enjoy in peace after the toil of cultivating the land was over, - would necessarily raise their hearts to still higher joy through their gratitude to the Lord and Giver of all, and make this feats a striking figure of the blessedness of the people of God when resting from their labours.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
"These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day,
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
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