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23. Appointed Feasts

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak 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. 3Six 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.

4These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. 5In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’S passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8But 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.

9And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 10Speak 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: 11And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12And 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. 13And 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. 14And 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.

15And 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: 16Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. 17Ye 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. 18And 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. 19Then 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. 20And 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. 21And 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.

22And 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.

23And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 24Speak 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. 25Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

26And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 27Also 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. 28And 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. 29For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32It 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.

33And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 34Speak 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. 35On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36Seven 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. 37These 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: 38Beside 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. 39Also 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. 40And 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. 41And 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. 42Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43That 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. 44And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.

10. When ye be come to the land. Moses now lays down rules as to the second day of festival, which was dedicated to the offering of the first-fruits. The ceremony is described that they should deliver a handful into the hand of the priest; though some think that the measure is signified which was the tenth part of an Ephah. The word Omer 345345     “The word עמר, gomer, was both a measure, which was the tenth part of an ephah, as also a sheaf, or handful, (δράγματα, LXX.,) as it is taken where Ruth is said to have gathered among the sheaves; and the reason is, because usually that which was beaten out of a sheaf might fill a ghomer.” — Willet, in loco. means both. But in this passage the expression “handful” is most appropriate, since it represented in a lively manner the beginning of the harvest; inasmuch as it was not lawful to taste even of parched grain before the offering of the firstfruits. The priest lifted it up before the altar, but with a waving motion; for thus the Hebrews distinguish between the two modes, 346346     Vide ante, p. 132. תרומה, therumah, which was lifted up, and תנופה, thenuphah, which is mentioned here, and which was waved towards the four points of the compass, and then a sacrifice and libation were made. We know that heathen nations 347347     Compare Virgil, Georgic 1:—
   Vos, O clarissima mundi
Lumina, labentem coelo quae ducitis annum,
Liber et alma Ceres; vestro si munere tellus
Chaoniam pingui glandem mutavit arista,
Poculaque inventis Acheloia miscuit uvis, etc
5:5-9.
thus invented gods and goddesses presiding over the fruits, so that the earth was the great and common mother of gods and men. Into this error the Jews would have straightway fallen, or would have gorged themselves without thinking about God, unless they had been reminded by this ceremony that the Father of their subsistence was in heaven, whose minister the earth was for providing their food. For since the whole harvest was consecrated in the single handful, it was as if they had shewn that whatever the earth produced altogether belonged to God. But thus the admirable goodness of God was conspicuous, when, in claiming what was His own, He did not at all diminish the food of the people; afterwards they received, as if from His hand, whatever each individual had stored at home, just as though it had come out of His sanctuary. Paul’s statement is well known, “For if the first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy,” (Romans 11:16,) wherein he alludes to this ancient ceremony of the Law. The word which they translate “unto your acceptance,” 348348     See note #284 is the same which interpreters elsewhere render “good pleasure,” and refer to the people, as if it were said, “at your own will,” or “ad libitum,” as it is barbarously said. But I have before shewn that it must be understood of the favor and good-will of God, although it is transferred in a passive sense to the people, as in Psalm 106:4, רצון, ratson, or the favor of the chosen people, means the gratuitous love wherewith God regards His Church. But Moses signifies that the fruits of the earth cannot otherwise be eaten with a clear conscience, because they would not feel that God accepted them, and looked upon them with paternal affection. The ceremony, now abolished, still remains in full force amongst us as regards its substance, for nothing but the acknowledgment of God’s bounty, which springs from faith and thanksgiving, sanctifies whatever we receive of His hand.

Next to the first-fruits comes the feast of seven weeks, which the Greeks have rendered Pentecost, having reference to the same object; for after they had offered the first-fruits from the standing harvest, they added another token of gratitude in the shape of the loaves and the greater sacrifice. It must however be observed, that the two loaves are required of every family, and that they consist of two-tenths; but that the sacrifices of seven lambs, one bullock, and two rams, and also of a goat and two lambs, is enjoined upon the whole people. This is in fact the legitimate acknowledgment of God’s liberality, because the waving of the sheaf, as being performed in haste, was but a trifling one; since we have seen that before they touched the grain, God required that the first-fruits should be offered to Him, until at leisure and in a more convenient season they might more fully discharge their duty. Thus what we have above observed respecting the first-fruits, was only a preparation for the day of Pentecost, on which the holy oblation was not ears of wheat, but loaves made of the new wheat.


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