Leviticus 23

Holy Days

1 The Lord spoke to Moses:
2 "Speak to the Israelites and tell them: These are My appointed times, the times of the Lord that you will proclaim as sacred assemblies.[a]
3 "For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; it is a Sabbath[b] to the Lord wherever you live.
4 "These are the Lord's appointed times, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times
5 The Passover[c] to the Lord comes in the first month, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the month.
6 The Festival of Unleavened Bread to the Lord is on the fifteenth day of the same month. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
7 On the first day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any daily work.
8 You are to present a fire offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day there will be a sacred assembly; you must not do any daily work."
9 The Lord spoke to Moses:
10 "Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest,[d] you are to bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest.
11 He will wave the sheaf before the Lord so that you may be accepted; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a year-old male lamb[e] without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord.
13 Its grain offering is to be four quarts[f] of fine flour mixed with oil as a fire offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma, and its drink offering will be one quart[g] of wine.
14 You must not eat bread, roasted grain, or [any] new grain[h] until this very day, and you have brought the offering of your God. This is to be a permanent statute throughout your generations wherever you live.
15 "You are to count seven[i] complete weeks[j] [k] starting from the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the presentation offering.[l]
16 You are to count 50 days until the day after the seventh Sabbath and then present an offering of new grain[m] to the Lord.
17 Bring two loaves of bread from your settlements as a presentation offering, each of them made from four quarts[n] of fine flour, baked with yeast, as firstfruits to the Lord.
18 You are to present with the bread seven unblemished male lambs a year old, one young bull, and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offerings and drink offerings, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
19 You are also to prepare one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a fellowship sacrifice
20 The priest will wave the lambs with the bread of firstfruits as a presentation offering before the Lord; the bread and the two lambs will be holy to the Lord for the priest.
21 On that same day you are to make a proclamation and hold a sacred assembly. You are not to do any daily work. This is to be a permanent statute wherever you live throughout your generations
22 When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap all the way to the edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident;[o] I am the Lord your God."
23 The Lord spoke to Moses:
24 "Tell the Israelites: In the seventh month, on the first [day] of the month, you are to have a day of complete rest, commemoration and jubilation[p]-a sacred assembly.[q]
25 You must not do any daily work, but you must present a fire offering to the Lord."
26 The Lord again spoke to Moses:
27 "The tenth [day] of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement.[r] You are to hold a sacred assembly and practice self-denial;[s] you are to present a fire offering to the Lord.
28 On this particular day you are not to do any work, for it is a Day of Atonement to make atonement for yourselves before the Lord your God.
29 If any person does not practice self-denial on this particular day, he must be cut off from his people.
30 I will destroy among his people anyone who does any work on this same day.
31 You are not to do any work. This is a permanent statute throughout your generations wherever you live.
32 It will be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must practice self-denial. You are to observe your Sabbath from the evening of the ninth [day] of the month until the [following] evening."
33 The Lord spoke to Moses:
34 "Tell the Israelites: The Festival of Booths[t] [u] to the Lord begins on the fifteenth day of this seventh month and continues for seven days.
35 There is to be a sacred assembly on the first day; you are not to do any daily work.
36 You are to present a fire offering to the Lord for seven days. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and present a fire offering to the Lord. It is a solemn gathering; you are not to do any daily work.
37 "These are the Lord's appointed times that you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for presenting fire offerings to the Lord, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its [designated] day.
38 These are in addition to the offerings for the Lord's Sabbaths, your gifts, all your vow offerings, and all your freewill offerings that you give to the Lord.
39 "You are to celebrate the Lord's festival on the fifteenth day of the seventh month for seven days after you have gathered the produce of the land. There will be complete rest on the first day and complete rest on the eighth day.
40 On the first day you are to take the product of majestic trees-palm fronds, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook-and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.
41 You are to celebrate it as a festival to the Lord seven days each year. This is a permanent statute for you throughout your generations; you must celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 You are to live in booths for seven days. All the native-born of Israel must live in booths,
43 so that your generations may know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God."
44 So Moses declared 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 21

  • [a]. Ex 23:12-19; Nm 28-29; Dt 16:1-17
  • [b]. Ex 34:21; Nm 15:32-36; Neh 13:15-21
  • [c]. Nm 28:4; Lk 22:15; 1 Co 5:7
  • [d]. The barley harvest
  • [e]. Or a male lamb in its first year
  • [f]. Lit two-tenths [of an ephah]
  • [g]. Lit one-fourth of a hin
  • [h]. Grain or bread from the new harvest
  • [i]. Lit count; they will be seven
  • [j]. Or Sabbaths
  • [k]. Ex 34:22; Nm 28:26; Dt 16:10; Ac 2:1
  • [l]. Lv 23:11
  • [m]. From the wheat harvest; Ex 34:22
  • [n]. Lit two-tenths [of an ephah]
  • [o]. Lv 19:9-10; Ac 6:1; 11:29
  • [p]. Lit shout, or blast; traditionally trumpet blasts
  • [q]. Nm 29:1; Ps 81:3
  • [r]. Lv 16
  • [s]. Traditionally, fasting, abstinence from sex, and refraining from personal grooming
  • [t]. Or Feast of Tabernacles
  • [u]. Ex 23:16; 34:22; Nm 29:12-32; Dt 16:13-16

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 23

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