Leviticus 23

1 The Lord gave Moses
2 the following regulations for the religious festivals, when the people of Israel are to gather for worship.
3 You have six days in which to do your work, but remember that the seventh day, the Sabbath, is a day of rest. On that day do not work, but gather for worship. The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, no matter where you live. 1
4 Proclaim the following festivals at the appointed times
5 The Passover, celebrated to honor the Lord, begins at sunset on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2
6 On the fifteenth day the Festival of Unleavened Bread begins, and for seven days you must not eat any bread made with yeast. 3
7 On the first of these days you shall gather for worship and do none of your daily work.
8 Offer your food offerings to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day you shall again gather for worship, but you shall do none of your daily work.
9 When you come into the land that the Lord is giving you and you harvest your grain, take the first sheaf to the priest.
11 He shall present it as a special offering to the Lord, so that you may be accepted. The priest shall present it the day after the Sabbath.
12 On the day you present the offering of grain, also sacrifice as a burnt offering a one-year-old male lamb that has no defects.
13 With it you shall present four pounds of flour mixed with olive oil as a food offering. The odor of this offering is pleasing to the Lord. You shall also present with it an offering of one quart of wine.
14 Do not eat any of the new grain, whether raw, roasted, or baked into bread, until you have brought this offering to God. This regulation is to be observed by all your descendants for all time to come
15 Count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath on which you bring your sheaf of grain to present to the Lord. 4
16 On the fiftieth day, the day after the seventh Sabbath, present to the Lord another new offering of grain.
17 Each family is to bring two loaves of bread and present them to the Lord as a special gift. Each loaf shall be made of four pounds of flour baked with yeast and shall be presented to the Lord as an offering of the first grain to be harvested.
18 And with the bread the community is to present seven one-year-old lambs, one bull, and two rams, none of which may have any defects. They shall be offered as a burnt offering to the Lord, along with a grain offering and a wine offering. The odor of this offering is pleasing to the Lord.
19 Also offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a fellowship offering
20 The priest shall present the bread with the two lambs as a special gift to the Lord for the priests. These offerings are holy.
21 On that day do none of your daily work, but gather for worship. Your descendants are to observe this regulation for all time to come, no matter where they live
22 When you harvest your fields, do not cut the grain at the edges of the fields, and do not go back to cut the heads of grain that were left; leave them for poor people and foreigners. The Lord is your God. 5
23 On the first day of the seventh month observe a special day of rest, and come together for worship when the trumpets sound.
25 Present a food offering to the Lord and do none of your daily work.
26 The tenth day of the seventh month is the day when the annual ritual is to be performed to take away the sins of the people. On that day do not eat anything at all; come together for worship, and present a food offering to the Lord. 6
28 Do no work on that day, because it is the day for performing the ritual to take away sin.
29 Any who eat anything on that day will no longer be considered God's people.
30 And if any do any work on that day, the Lord himself will put them to death.
31 This regulation applies to all your descendants, no matter where they live.
32 From sunset on the ninth day of the month to sunset on the tenth observe this day as a special day of rest, during which nothing may be eaten.
33 The Festival of Shelters begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and continues for seven days. 7
35 On the first of these days come together for worship and do none of your daily work.
36 Each day for seven days you shall present a food offering. On the eighth day come together again for worship and present a food offering. It is a day for worship, and you shall do no work
37 (These are the religious festivals on which you honor the Lord by gathering together for worship and presenting food offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and wine offerings, as required day by day.
38 These festivals are in addition to the regular Sabbaths, and these offerings are in addition to your regular gifts, your offerings as fulfillment of vows, and your freewill offerings that you give to the Lord.
39 When you have harvested your fields, celebrate this festival for seven days, beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The first day shall be a special day of rest.
40 On that day take some of the best fruit from your trees, take palm branches and limbs from leafy trees, and begin a religious festival to honor the Lord your God.
41 Celebrate it for seven days. This regulation is to be kept by your descendants for all time to come.
42 All the people of Israel shall live in shelters for seven days,
43 so that your descendants may know that the Lord made the people of Israel live in simple shelters when he led them out of Egypt. He is the Lord your God.
44 So in this way Moses gave the people of Israel the regulations for observing the religious festivals to honor 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 7

  • 1. 23.3Exodus 20.8-10; 23.12; 31.15; 34.21; 35.2;Deuteronomy 5.12-14.
  • 2. 23.5Exodus 12.1-13;Deuteronomy 16.1, 2.
  • 3. 23.6-8Exodus 12.14-20; 23.15; 34.18;Deuteronomy 16.3-8.
  • 4. 23.15-21Exodus 23.16; 34.22;Deuteronomy 16.9-12.
  • 5. 23.22Leviticus 19.9, 10;Deuteronomy 24.19-22.
  • 6. 23.26-32Leviticus 16.29-34.
  • 7. 23.33-36Deuteronomy 16.13-15.

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

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.