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Leviticus 23:40

Leviticus 23:40

And ye shall take you the boughs of goodly trees
Which the three Targums interpret, of citrons; and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra; and the Jews are so tenacious of observing this, that in those countries where this fruit grows not, they will send for it from Spain, where there is plenty of it: the Targum of Jonathan, paraphrases it, "ye shall take of yours"; suggesting these boughs must be their own, or the bundle of them, with others they call the "lulab", must be their own property, and not another's; though it is said F21, if it is a gift it will do, even though it is given on condition to be returned again: branches of palm trees:
which were very common in the land of Judea, and especially about Jericho; see ( John 12:13 ) ; the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call them "lulabs", which is the name the Jews give to the whole bundle they carried in their hands on this day: and the boughs of thick trees;
which the Targums and Jewish writers in general understand of myrtles, being full of branches and leaves: and willows of the brook;
a sort of trees which delight to grow by brooks and rills of water: these, according to the Jewish writers, were not taken to make their booths of, though that seems to be the use of them, from ( Nehemiah 8:15 Nehemiah 8:16 ) ; but to tie up in bundles, and carry in hands; the citron in their left hand, and a bundle made of the other three sorts of boughs of trees in the right hand, which they called the "lulab": and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days;
because of the blessings of his goodness bestowed upon them in the plentiful harvest and vintage they had been favoured with, and in remembrance of past mercies, showed to their fathers in the wilderness, giving them food and drink, and guiding and protecting them with the pillar of cloud and fire; and at the same time, also, thankful for the different circumstances they were in, having cities, towns, and houses to dwell its, and fields and vineyards to possess, when their fathers lived in a wilderness for forty years together; and especially such of them expressed their joy before the Lord, who had any knowledge of this being a type of the Messiah tabernacling in human nature, they had the promise of, to be their spiritual Redeemer and Saviour: these seven days are kept by the Jews now, chiefly in carnal mirth, and so for ages past, as by carrying the above boughs in their hands, and going round about the altar with them, and, shaking them, and crying Hosanna, and by making use of all sorts of music, vocal and instrumental, piping, dancing, leaping, skipping, and various gestures, even by persons of the highest rank, and of the greatest character for sobriety F23; and particularly by fetching water from Siloah, when in their own land, and pouring it with wine upon the altar, which was attended with such expressions of joy, that it is said, that he who never saw the rejoicing of drawing of water, never saw any rejoicing in his life F24: the Jews give this reason of the ceremony, because at this feast was the time of the rains, see Targum of Jonathan on ( Leviticus 23:36 ) ; and therefore the holy blessed God said, pour water before me, that the rains of the year may be blessed unto you F25; but others have thought there was something more mysterious in it, and that it had respect to the pouring out of the Holy Ghost; for, they say F26, the place of drawing water was so called, because they drew the Holy Ghost, as it is said, "ye shall draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation", ( Isaiah 12:3 ) ; to this our Lord is thought to allude, (See Gill on John 7:37), (See Gill on John 7:38): some of the ceremonies used at this feast have been imitated by the Heathens: Strabo F1 says, the carrying branches of trees, dances, and sacrifices, were common to the gods, and particularly to Bacchus; and there was such a likeness between these and the rites of Bacchus, that Plutarch F2 thought the Jews at this time kept two feasts to the honour of him; whereas, as Bishop Patrick observes, the profane Bacchanalia of the Gentiles were only a corruption of this festival.


FOOTNOTES:

F21 Misn. Succah, c. 3. sect. 13. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. R. Alphes, par. 1. Succah, c. 2. fol. 376. 1.
F23 Maimon. Hilchot Lulab. c. 7. sect. 10. c. 13, & c. 8. sect. 12, 13, 14, 15.
F24 Misn. Succah, c. 5. sect. 1. 4.
F25 R. Alphes, par. 1. Roshhashanah, c. 1. fol. 346. 2.
F26 T. Hieros. Succah, fol. 55. 1.
F1 Geograph. l. 10. p. 322.
F2 Sympos. l. 1. prob. 3.
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