Leviticus 23

Listen to Leviticus 23

Feasts of the Lord

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, 1These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall 2proclaim as 3holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.

The Sabbath

3 4"Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.

The Passover

4 5"These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the 6holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them
5 7In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight,[a] is the LORD's Passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
7 8On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.
8 But you shall present a food offering to the LORD for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work."

The Feast of Firstfruits

9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, 9When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of 10the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest,
11 and he shall 11wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 And on the day when you 12wave the sheaf, you shall offer a 13male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD.
13 14And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah[b] of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the LORD with a pleasing aroma, 15and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin.[c]
14 And you shall eat neither bread nor grain 16parched or 17fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings

The Feast of Weeks

15 18"You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the 19wave offering.
16 You shall count 20fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of 21new grain to the LORD.
17 You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as 22firstfruits to the LORD.
18 And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.
19 And you shall offer one 23male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of 24peace offerings
20 And the priest shall 25wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. 26They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
21 And you shall make proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations
22 "And 27when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God."

The Feast of Trumpets

23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
24 "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In 28the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, 29a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.
25 You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD."

The Day of Atonement

26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
27 "Now 30on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD.
28 And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whoever is not afflicted on that very day 31shall be cut off from his people.
30 And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people.
31 You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath."

The Feast of Booths

33 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
34 "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, 32On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths[d] to the LORD.
35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.
36 For seven days you shall present food offerings to the LORD. 33On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the LORD. It is a 34solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work
37 35"These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day,
38 36besides the LORD's Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD
39 "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have 37gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest.
40 And 38you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and 39you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
41 40You shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 41You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths,
43 that 42your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."
44 Thus Moses 43declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the LORD.

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.

Cross References 43

  • 1. ver. 4, 37; Numbers 29:39; See Exodus 23:14-17
  • 2. Numbers 10:10; Psalms 81:3; Joel 2:15
  • 3. Exodus 12:16
  • 4. Leviticus 19:3; Exodus 23:12; Exodus 31:15; Exodus 34:21; Luke 13:14; See Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15
  • 5. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 6. Exodus 12:16
  • 7. Exodus 13:3, 10; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Numbers 9:2, 3; Numbers 28:16, 17; Joshua 5:10; 2 Kings 23:21; Ezra 6:19; [Numbers 9:10, 11; 2 Chr. 30:2, 13, 15]; See Exodus 12:2-14; Deuteronomy 16:1-8
  • 8. Exodus 12:16; Numbers 28:18, 25
  • 9. Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Numbers 15:18, 19; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 26:1, 2
  • 10. ver. 17
  • 11. ver. 15, 20; Exodus 29:24
  • 12. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 13. Leviticus 1:10
  • 14. Leviticus 2:14-16
  • 15. Exodus 29:40
  • 16. [Leviticus 2:14]
  • 17. [Leviticus 2:14]
  • 18. Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:9
  • 19. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 20. Acts 2:1(Gk.)
  • 21. Numbers 28:26
  • 22. See ver. 10
  • 23. Leviticus 4:23, 28; Numbers 28:30
  • 24. See Leviticus 3:1
  • 25. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 26. Numbers 18:12; Deuteronomy 18:4
  • 27. Leviticus 19:9, 10; Deuteronomy 24:19; [Ruth 2:2, 3]
  • 28. Numbers 29:1
  • 29. Leviticus 25:9
  • 30. Leviticus 16:29, 30; Numbers 29:7
  • 31. See Exodus 30:33
  • 32. Numbers 29:12; Deuteronomy 16:13; Ezra 3:4; Nehemiah 8:14; Ezekiel 45:25; Hosea 12:9; Zechariah 14:16; John 7:2
  • 33. Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18; John 7:37
  • 34. Numbers 29:35; Deuteronomy 16:8; 2 Kings 10:20; 2 Chronicles 7:9; Nehemiah 8:18; Isaiah 1:13; Joel 1:14; Joel 2:15; Amos 5:21
  • 35. ver. 2, 4
  • 36. Numbers 29:39
  • 37. Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:13
  • 38. See Nehemiah 8:14-18
  • 39. Deuteronomy 16:14, 15
  • 40. See Numbers 29:12-38
  • 41. See Nehemiah 8:14-18
  • 42. See Deuteronomy 31:10-13
  • 43. ver. 2

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Hebrew between the two evenings
  • [b]. An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters
  • [c]. A hin was about 4 quarts or 3.5 liters
  • [d]. Or tabernacles

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.