Leviticus 23

Sacred times

1 The LORD said to Moses:
2 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: These are my appointed times, the LORD's appointed times, which you will declare to be holy occasions:
3 Work can be done for six days, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of special rest, a holy occasion. You must not do any work on it; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.
4 These are the LORD's appointed times, holy occasions, which you will celebrate at their appointed times
5 The LORD's Passover is on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight.
6 The LORD's Festival of Unleavened Bread is on the fifteenth day of the same month. You must eat unleavened bread for seven days.
7 On the first day you will hold a holy occasion and must not do any job-related work.
8 You will offer food gifts to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day will be a holy occasion; you must not do any job-related work.
9 The LORD said to Moses:
10 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and harvest its produce, you must bring the first bundle of your harvest to the priest.
11 The priest will lift up the bundle before the LORD so that it will be acceptable on your behalf. The priest will do this on the day after the Sabbath.
12 On the day the bundle is lifted up for you, you must offer a flawless one-year-old lamb as an entirely burned offering to the LORD.
13 The accompanying grain offering must be two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with oil, as a food gift for the LORD, a soothing smell. The accompanying drink offering must be a quarter of a hin of wine.
14 You must not eat any bread, roasted grain, or fresh grain until the exact day when you bring your God's offering. This is a permanent rule throughout your future generations, wherever you live
15 You must count off seven weeks starting with the day after the Sabbath, the day you bring the bundle for the uplifted offering; these must be complete.
16 You will count off fifty days until the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you must present a new grain offering to the LORD.
17 From wherever you live, you will bring two loaves of bread as an uplifted offering. These must be made of two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour, baked with leaven, as early produce to the LORD.
18 Along with the bread you must present seven flawless one-year-old lambs, one bull from the herd, and two rams. These will be an entirely burned offering to the LORD, along with their grain offerings and drink offerings, as a food gift of soothing smell to the LORD.
19 You must also offer one male goat as a purification offering and two one-year-old lambs as a communal sacrifice of well-being
20 The priest will lift up the two sheep, along with the bread of the early produce, as an uplifted offering before the LORD. These will be holy to the LORD and will belong to the priest.
21 On that very same day you must make a proclamation; it will be a holy occasion for you. You must not do any job-related work. This is a permanent rule wherever you live throughout your future generations
22 When you harvest your land's produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don't gather every remaining bit of your harvest. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the LORD your God.
23 The LORD said to Moses:
24 Say to the Israelites: On the first day of the seventh month, you will have a special rest, a holy occasion marked by a trumpet signal.
25 You must not do any job-related work, and you must offer a food gift to the LORD.
26 The LORD said to Moses:
27 Note that the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Reconciliation. It will be a holy occasion for you. You must deny yourselves and offer a food gift to the LORD.
28 You must not do any work that day because it is a Day of Reconciliation to make reconciliation for you before the LORD your God.
29 Anyone who does not deny themselves on that day will be cut off from their people.
30 Moreover, I will destroy from their people anyone who does any work on that day.
31 You must not do any work! This is a permanent rule throughout your future generations wherever you live.
32 This is a Sabbath of special rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. You will observe your Sabbath on the ninth day of the month from evening to the following evening.
33 The LORD said to Moses:
34 Say to the Israelites: The Festival of Booths to the LORD will start on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and will last for seven days.
35 The first day is a holy occasion. You must not do any job-related work.
36 For seven days you will offer food gifts to the LORD. On the eighth day you will have a holy occasion and must offer a food gift to the LORD. It is a holiday: you must not do any job-related work
37 These are the LORD's appointed times that you will proclaim as holy occasions, offering food gifts to the LORD: entirely burned offerings, grain offerings, communal sacrifices, and drink offerings—each on its proper day.
38 This is in addition to the LORD's sabbaths and in addition to your presents, all the payments for solemn promises, and all the spontaneous gifts that you give to the LORD
39 Note that on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered the land's crops, you will celebrate the LORD's festival for seven days. The first day and the eighth day are days of special rest.
40 On the first day you must take fruit from majestic trees, palm branches, branches of leafy trees, and willows of the streams, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
41 You will celebrate this festival to the LORD for seven days each year; this is a permanent rule throughout your future generations. You will celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 For seven days you must live in huts. Every citizen of Israel must live in huts
43 so that your future generations will know that I made the Israelites live in huts when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.
44 So Moses announced the LORD's appointed times to the Israelites.

Leviticus 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

The feasts of the Lord, The Sabbath. (1-3) The Passover, The offering of first-fruits. (4-14) The feast of Pentecost. (15-22) The feast of Trumpets, The day of atonement. (23-32) The feast of Tabernacles. (33-44)

Verses 1-3 In this chapter we have the institution of holy times; many of which have been mentioned before. Though the yearly feasts were made more remarkable by general attendance at the sanctuary, yet these must not be observed more than the sabbath. On that day they must withdraw from all business of the world. It is a sabbath of rest, typifying spiritual rest from sin, and rest in God. God's sabbaths are to be religiously observed in every private house, by every family apart, as well as by families together, in holy assemblies. The sabbath of the Lord in our dwellings will be their beauty, strength, and safety; it will sanctify, build up, and glorify them.

Verses 4-14 The feast of the Passover was to continue seven days; not idle days, spent in sport, as many that are called Christians spend their holy-days. Offerings were made to the Lord at his altar; and the people were taught to employ their time in prayer, and praise, and godly meditation. The sheaf of first-fruits was typical of the Lord Jesus, who is risen from the dead as the First-fruits of them that slept. Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the very day that the first-fruits were offered. We are taught by this law to honour the Lord with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase, Pr. 3:9 . They were not to eat of their new corn, till God's part was offered to him out of it; and we must always begin with God: begin every day with him, begin every meal with him, begin every affair and business with him; seek first the kingdom of God.

Verses 15-22 The feast of Weeks was held in remembrance of the giving of the law, fifty days after the departure from Egypt; and looked forward to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, fifty days after Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. On that day the apostles presented the first-fruits of the Christian church to God. To the institution of the feast of Pentecost, is added a repetition of that law, by which they were required to leave the gleanings of their fields. Those who are truly sensible of the mercy they received from God, will show mercy to the poor without grudging.

Verses 23-32 the blowing of trumpets represented the preaching of the gospel, by which men are called to repent of sin, and to accept the salvation of Christ, which was signified by the day of atonement. Also it invited to rejoice in God, and become strangers and pilgrims on earth, which was denoted by the feast of Tabernacles, observed in the same month. At the beginning of the year, they were called by this sound of trumpet to shake off spiritual drowsiness, to search and try their ways, and to amend them. The day of atonement was the ninth day after this; thus they were awakened to prepare for that day, by sincere and serious repentance, that it might indeed be to them a day of atonement. The humbling of our souls for sin, and the making our peace with God, is work that requires the whole man, and the closest application of mind. On that day God spake peace to his people, and to his saints; therefore they must lay aside all their wordly business, that they might the more clearly hear that voice of joy and gladness.

Verses 33-44 In the feast of Tabernacles there was a remembrance of their dwelling in tents, or booths, in the wilderness, as well as their fathers dwelling in tents in Canaan; to remind them of their origin and their deliverance. Christ's tabernacling on earth in human nature, might also be prefigured. And it represents the believer's life on earth: a stranger and pilgrim here below, his home and heart are above with his Saviour. They would the more value the comforts and conveniences of their own houses, when they had been seven days dwelling in the booths. It is good for those who have ease and plenty, sometimes to learn what it is to endure hardness. The joy of harvest ought to be improved for the furtherance of our joy in God. The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; therefore whatever we have the comfort of, he must have the glory of, especially when any mercy is perfected. God appointed these feasts, "Beside the sabbaths and your free-will offerings." Calls to extraordinary services will not excuse from constant and stated ones.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. March–April, Nisan
  • [b]. Four quarts dry; also in 23:17
  • [c]. Or firstfruits; also in 23:20
  • [d]. September–October, Tishrei; also in 23:27, 33, 39, 41
  • [e]. Or hadar trees
  • [f]. Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary


In this chapter an account is given of the several holy days, times, and seasons, appointed by God, under the general names of feasts and holy convocations; and first of the sabbath, Le 23:1-4; then of the passover and feast of unleavened bread, Le 23:5-8; to which is annexed the sheaf of the firstfruits, Le 23:9-14; after that of the feast of weeks or pentecost, Le 23:15-22; and of the feast of trumpets, Le 23:23-25; and of the day of atonement, Le 23:26-32; and of the feast of tabernacles, Le 23:33-44.

Leviticus 23 Commentaries

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