Leviticus 23

The Appointed Festivals

1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.

The Sabbath

3 “ ‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.

The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

4 “ ‘These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:
5 The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.
6 On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.
7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.
8 For seven days present a food offering to the LORD. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’ ”

Offering the Firstfruits

9 The LORD said to Moses,
10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.
11 He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect,
13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah[a] of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the LORD, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin[b] of wine.
14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

The Festival of Weeks

15 “ ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.
16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD.
18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
19 Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering[c] and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering.
20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the LORD for the priest.
21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
22 “ ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.’ ”

The Festival of Trumpets

23 The LORD said to Moses,
24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.
25 Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the LORD.’ ”

The Day of Atonement

26 The LORD said to Moses,
27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,[d] and present a food offering to the LORD.
28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God.
29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people.
30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day.
31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
32 It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”

The Festival of Tabernacles

33 The LORD said to Moses,
34 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.
35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work.
36 For seven days present food offerings to the LORD, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the LORD. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work.
37 (“ ‘These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing food offerings to the LORD—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day.
38 These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD’s Sabbaths and[e] in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.)
39 “ ‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest.
40 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters
43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’ ”
44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals 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 68

  • 1. ver 4,37,44; Numbers 29:39; Ezekiel 44:24; Colossians 2:16
  • 2. ver 21,27
  • 3. Exodus 20:9
  • 4. S Exodus 20:10; Exodus 31:13-17; Leviticus 19:3; Deuteronomy 5:13; Hebrews 4:9,10
  • 5. ver 7,21,35; Numbers 28:26
  • 6. Nahum 1:15
  • 7. S Exodus 12:11
  • 8. S Exodus 12:6; Exodus 12:18-19; Numbers 28:16-17; Deuteronomy 16:1-8
  • 9. Exodus 12:17
  • 10. S Exodus 12:19
  • 11. ver 3,8
  • 12. S Leviticus 1:9
  • 13. Numbers 15:2,18
  • 14. S Leviticus 19:9
  • 15. S Leviticus 19:9; Exodus 23:16,19; Exodus 34:26
  • 16. S Exodus 22:29; S Exodus 34:22; Romans 11:16
  • 17. S Exodus 29:24
  • 18. S Exodus 28:38
  • 19. S Leviticus 12:6
  • 20. S Exodus 12:5
  • 21. Leviticus 2:14-16; S Leviticus 6:20
  • 22. ver 17; Leviticus 24:5; Numbers 15:6; Numbers 28:9
  • 23. S Genesis 35:14
  • 24. S Leviticus 10:9
  • 25. Joshua 5:11; Ruth 2:14; 1 Samuel 17:17; 1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 17:28
  • 26. Exodus 34:26
  • 27. Leviticus 3:17; Numbers 10:8; Numbers 15:21
  • 28. Jeremiah 2:3
  • 29. Numbers 28:26; Acts 2:1; Acts 20:16
  • 30. S ver 13
  • 31. S Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 2:12
  • 32. ver 13; Exodus 29:41; Exodus 30:9; Exodus 37:16; Jeremiah 19:13; Jeremiah 44:18
  • 33. S Exodus 29:24
  • 34. S ver 2; Exodus 32:5
  • 35. S ver 3
  • 36. S Leviticus 19:9
  • 37. S Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:19-21; Ruth 2:15
  • 38. Ruth 2:2
  • 39. ver 27,36; Ezra 3:1
  • 40. Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 10:9,10; Numbers 29:1; Numbers 31:6; 2 Kings 11:14; 2 Chronicles 13:12; Psalms 98:6
  • 41. ver 21
  • 42. S Leviticus 1:9
  • 43. S Leviticus 16:29
  • 44. S Exodus 30:10
  • 45. S ver 2,S 24; Numbers 29:7
  • 46. ver 31
  • 47. Genesis 17:14; Leviticus 7:20; Numbers 5:2
  • 48. S Leviticus 20:3
  • 49. Leviticus 3:17
  • 50. S Leviticus 16:31
  • 51. Nehemiah 13:19
  • 52. 1 Kings 8:2; Haggai 2:1
  • 53. S Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:13; Ezra 3:4; Nehemiah 8:14; Zechariah 14:16; John 7:2
  • 54. ver 2
  • 55. ver 3
  • 56. S ver 24; 1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chronicles 7:9; Nehemiah 8:18; John 7:37
  • 57. S Leviticus 1:9
  • 58. ver 13; ver 2,4
  • 59. S Leviticus 1:2
  • 60. S Exodus 20:10; 2 Chronicles 2:4; Ezekiel 45:17
  • 61. S Leviticus 7:16
  • 62. Isaiah 62:9
  • 63. S Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:13
  • 64. Psalms 118:27
  • 65. Nehemiah 8:14-17; Psalms 137:2; Isaiah 44:4
  • 66. Deuteronomy 12:7; Deuteronomy 14:26; Deuteronomy 28:47; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalms 9:2; Psalms 66:6; Psalms 105:43; Joel 2:26
  • 67. S Exodus 23:16; Nehemiah 8:14-16
  • 68. Deuteronomy 31:13; Psalms 78:5

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. That is, probably about 7 pounds or about 3.2 kilograms; also in verse 17
  • [b]. That is, about 1 quart or about 1 liter
  • [c]. Or "purification offering"
  • [d]. Or "and fast" ; similarly in verses 29 and 32
  • [e]. Or "These festivals are in addition to the " Lord"’s Sabbaths, and these offerings are"

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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