Leviticus 23

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the sons of Israel and say unto them, The feasts of the LORD, unto which ye shall make a general convocation of all the people, these shall be my feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day shall be a sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein; it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed times.
5 On the fourteenth of the first month between the two evenings is the LORD’s passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
7 The first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein.
8 And ye shall offer an offering on fire unto the LORD seven days; the seventh day shall be a holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein.
9 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
10 Speak unto the sons of Israel and say unto them, When ye have entered into the land which I give unto you and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest;
11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD that ye shall be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf a he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
13 And the present thereof shall be two-tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil in an offering on fire unto the LORD for an acceptable aroma; and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin.
14 And ye shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor green ears until this same day until ye have offered the offering of your God; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your ages in all your dwellings.
15 And ye shall count unto you from the day after the sabbath, from the day that ye offered the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete;
16 unto the day after the seventh sabbath, ye shall number fifty days; then ye shall offer a new present unto the LORD.
17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two-tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year and one young bullock and two rams; they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their presents and their drink offerings in an offering on fire, of a very acceptable aroma unto the LORD.
19 Then ye shall also sacrifice one he goat as the sin and two lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of peace.
20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs; they shall be holiness of the LORD for the priest.
21 And ye shall be summoned on that same day; it shall be a holy convocation unto you; ye shall do no servile work: a perpetual statute in all your dwellings throughout your ages.
22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest; thou shalt leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I AM your God.
23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
24 Speak unto the sons of Israel, saying, In the seventh month in the first day of the month, ye shall have a rest, an alarm for a reminder, and a holy convocation.
25 Ye shall do no servile work therein; but ye shall offer an offering on fire unto the LORD.
26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
27 But the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the day of reconciliations; it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made on fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in this same day; for it is a day of reconciliations, to reconcile you before the LORD your God.
29 For every person that shall not afflict themselves in that same day, shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And any person that does any work in that same day, the same person will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your ages in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of sabbaths, and ye shall afflict your souls, beginning in the ninth day of the month in the evening, from evening unto evening, shall ye rest on your sabbath.
33 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
34 Speak unto the sons of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles unto the LORD for seven days.
35 The first day shall be a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering on fire unto the LORD; the eighth day ye shall have a holy convocation and offer an offering on fire unto the LORD; it is a feast; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
37 These are the feasts of the LORD, unto which ye shall be summoned: holy convocations to offer an offering on fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering and a present, a sacrifice and drink offerings, every thing in its proper time;
38 in addition the sabbaths of the LORD and in addition to your gifts and in addition to all your vows, and in addition to all your freewill offerings, which ye shall give unto the LORD.
39 But in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days; the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall also be a sabbath.
40 And on the first day ye shall take branches with fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches and the boughs of thick trees and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
41 And ye shall keep this feast unto the LORD for seven days each year. It shall be a perpetual statute for your ages; ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 Ye shall dwell in tabernacles seven days; all that are natural of Israel shall dwell in booths,
43 that your descendants may know that I made the sons of Israel to dwell in tabernacles when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I AM your God.
44 Thus Moses declared unto the sons of Israel the 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.

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010