Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations…
Here we have a general account of the holy times which God appointed (ver. 2); and it is only His appointment that can make time holy. For He is the Lord of time; and as soon as ever He had set its wheels agoing, it was He that first sanctified and blessed one day above the rest (Genesis 2:3). Man may by His appointment make a good day (Esther 9:19), but it is God's prerogative to make a holy day; nor is anything sanctified but by the stamp of His institution. As all inherent holiness comes from His special grace, so all adherent holiness from His special appointment. Now concerning the holy times here ordained, observe —
1. They are called feasts. The Day of Atonement, which was one of them, was a fast; yet, because most of them were appointed for joy and rejoicing, they are in general called feasts. Some read it, "These are My assemblies,' but that is coincident with convocations. I would rather read it, "These are My solemnities"; so the Word here used is translated (Isaiah 33:20), where Zion is called "the city of our solemnities." And reading it so here the Day of Atonement was as great a solemnity as any of them.
2. They are the feasts of the Lord: "My feasts." Observed to the honour of His name, and in obedience to His command.
3. They were proclaimed; for they were not to be observed by the priests only that attended the sanctuary, but by all the people. And this proclamation was the joyful sound which they were blessed that were within hearing of (Psalm 89:15).
4. They were to be sanctified and solemnised with holy convocations that the services of these feasts might appear the more honourable and august, and the people more unanimous in the performance of them. It was for the honour of God and His institutions, which sought not corners, and the purity of which would be best preserved by the public administration of them; it was also for the edification of the people in love that the feasts were to be observed as holy convocations.
( Matthew Henry, D. D..)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.