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The Passover Reviewed


Observe the month of Abib by keeping the passover to the L ord your God, for in the month of Abib the L ord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2You shall offer the passover sacrifice to the L ord your God, from the flock and the herd, at the place that the L ord will choose as a dwelling for his name. 3You must not eat with it anything leavened. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it—the bread of affliction—because you came out of the land of Egypt in great haste, so that all the days of your life you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt. 4No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days; and none of the meat of what you slaughter on the evening of the first day shall remain until morning. 5You are not permitted to offer the passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the L ord your God is giving you. 6But at the place that the L ord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name, only there shall you offer the passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, the time of day when you departed from Egypt. 7You shall cook it and eat it at the place that the L ord your God will choose; the next morning you may go back to your tents. 8For six days you shall continue to eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly for the L ord your God, when you shall do no work.

The Festival of Weeks Reviewed

9 You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10Then you shall keep the festival of weeks to the L ord your God, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the L ord your God. 11Rejoice before the L ord your God—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you—at the place that the L ord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. 12Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes.

The Festival of Booths Reviewed

13 You shall keep the festival of booths for seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your wine press. 14Rejoice during your festival, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, as well as the Levites, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows resident in your towns. 15Seven days you shall keep the festival to the L ord your God at the place that the L ord will choose; for the L ord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all your undertakings, and you shall surely celebrate.

16 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the L ord your God at the place that he will choose: at the festival of unleavened bread, at the festival of weeks, and at the festival of booths. They shall not appear before the L ord empty-handed; 17all shall give as they are able, according to the blessing of the L ord your God that he has given you.

Municipal Judges and Officers

18 You shall appoint judges and officials throughout your tribes, in all your towns that the L ord your God is giving you, and they shall render just decisions for the people. 19You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. 20Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the L ord your God is giving you.

Forbidden Forms of Worship

21 You shall not plant any tree as a sacred pole beside the altar that you make for the L ord your God; 22nor shall you set up a stone pillar—things that the L ord your God hates.

16. Three times in a year. We have previously said that although the other feast-days were not to be neglected, still, because God would make some allowance for the infirmity of His people, the necessity of going up to Jerusalem five times a year was not imposed upon them. Again, because only half of the seventh month contained three feast-days, i.e., from the first to the fifteenth, for the same reason it is only required of the males that they should leave their houses and celebrate the sacred convocations; for thus the females are spared, to whom traveling is not so convenient. Besides, through the fecundity promised them by God, they were almost always either pregnant or nursing. It is also certain that the boys and young men were excepted under the age of twenty, since God includes under the term males only those who were comprised in the census. If any object that in God’s spiritual worship there is no difference between males and females; the reply is easy, that the fathers of families presented themselves there in the names of their wives and children: so that the profession was extended to the other sex, and to those of tender age. To this David seems to allude, when he says: 364364     “Populus tuus liberalitatum est,” etc. Lat. “Ton peuple est de franche volonte,” etc. — Fr. See Calvin on Psalm 110, Calvin Translation Society’s Edition, vol. 4, p. 296, and note, p. 301.

"Thy people shall come with voluntary offerings in the day of thy assembly, in the beauties of holiness,” (Psalm 110:3;)

for, speaking of the free-will-offerings of the people, he seeks an example of it, after the manner of the prophets, from the legal worship. Lest the Jews should object that there was danger of hostile invasion, if the land should be stripped of its defenses by the gathering together of all the men into one place, God anticipates this doubt in Exodus 34, promising that He will provide that no one shall desire to assail their forsaken homes; for to this the sentence refers: “I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders, so that no man shall desire thy land,” ver. 24. Whence also we gather, that God’s worship was not entirely established until all the neighboring nations were subdued, and He had placed His sanctuary in Mount Zion. Not that it was allowable for the people to omit the feast-days before that time; but that experience itself might teach them that God was wroth with them, whilst He deprived them of this special blessing; for fear and alarm arose only from their own fault. But let believers collect from hence the useful doctrine that, whenever they are following God, they will be safe under His protection, since it is in His power to repel the assaults of enemies, and everything that can harm them.

And they shall not appear before the Lord empty, 365365     “Others thus explain it, viz., that you should not be troubled at having to go so often to Jerusalem, because you should never go there in vain: some blessing shall always be brought away; I will not send you away empty.” Fagii Coll. Vers. in Poli. Syn. Exodus 23:15. I know not how it could have entered the minds of some to suppose that God here promised that all should be rich who should present themselves three times (a year) before His sanctuary: whereas it is plain from the words of Moses that He requires from every one some gift in token of their gratitude. And perhaps 366366     “Nobody, of what rank soever, appeared before the king without a present, which custom prevails among the Orientals to this day. When he went on his progress, or marched out with his army, all the inhabitants of the countries or provinces through which he passed were obliged to declare their vassalage by some present or other; even the inhabitants of the villages and fields flocked to him with some donation, some offering sheep, oxen, corn, wine, etc.; others milk, cheese, dates, etc., every one according to his ability.” Ancient Universal Hist., Vol. 5:139, from Aeliani Var. Hist. 1:32, 33.
   Dr. Kitto, in his little work, “The Court of Persia,” gives some remarkable particulars from Morier respecting this custom as still existing.
what historians relate respecting the Persians, that none should dare to address the king without a gift, was a more ancient custom, and common to other nations. God would indeed have a gift presented Him by each individual, as a symbol or earnest of their subjection; and, although this legal rite has ceased, yet its substance is to be retained, viz., that those only are true servants of God who do not boastfully make a mere empty profession, but effectually testify that they acknowledge Him as their King.

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