[Devarim 16 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]
See also Leviticus 23 (Annual Feasts)
The Feast of Passover
The commemoration of the 10th plague ,when Yahweh punished Egypt by killing all the firstborn. The passover blood on the door lintels (applied in faith) meant the destroying angel passed over the firstborn of the Hebrews -resulting in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Ex 12:12-17).
1 Observe [Be shomer] the month of Abib [Aviv - springtime, i.e., Nisan], and keep the passover [ perform the Pesach offering] unto Yahweh thy Elohim: for in the month of Abib [Aviv] Yahweh thy Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt [Mitzrayim] by night [lailah].
'... it was not enough that God should be privately regarded, or that the people should be exercised as individuals in matters of wisdom and holiness. Israel was intended to be a holy nation. National life is a part of the true life of men. The insulated mum-miffed life of individuals is one of the abortions of the present evil state. It was therefore needful that there should be institutions to give them a collective life of the right development.
It was good that privately they should be prosperous and godly, but this did not complete the circle of what was needful for their well-being. There were therefore public institutions which supplied the means of developing the beautiful symmetry of human life that should exist in a perfect nation, a nation of divinely regulated life, private and public. These institutions come into view in the feasts of the law, one of the most picturesque and charming features of the national life constituted by the Law of Moses. Three times in the year every male had to appear at an appointed time, to keep a certain feast, according to the law (Lev. 23).
There was first the feast of the passover; second, the feast of weeks or firstfruits; and third, the feast of tabernacles, which divided off the year into convenient sections that redeemed it from monotony, besides rousing the nation periodically into purifying and noble and healthful activity (v16).
These feasts were something of which the world has no experience in Gentile life, and of which it is very difficult for us to form an adequate idea. The mere fact of coming together at a common centre was a circumstance involving much that was good; it took the people away from their own houses and neighbourhoods for about a fortnight at least each time, and we all know the good effects a holiday such as this would involve.
Then the people of one neighbourhood would journey together, which would be a pleasant stimulus of the social element, and appears to be partly what is referred to in the Psalm, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go up to the house of the Lord". "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." There is also a panegyric of Jerusalem, in which one of the features of excellence is thus extolled:
"Whither the tribes of the Lord go up to give thanks unto the name of the Lord".
And then it was not a coming together to hold a meeting in the formal sense of modern notions, but a coming together to enjoy a good time.
"Thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to place his name there" (v11).
"Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God from year to year in the place which the Lord shall choose, thou and thy household."
The picture presented to the mind by such directions is that of a whole nation breaking up at a given date, and leaving the homesteads of common life, and swarming joyously together at a common place of assembly to spend a fortnight's thorough enjoyment together. It would be a different form and class of enjoyment from that we are acquainted with in Gentile holidays. There would not be the rude and objectless hilarity of inebriated crowds jostling together in mere friskiness without any central idea or purpose. Israel came together not only to rejoice but to worship God and to hear the law expounded.
'...We are considering at present the character of all these institutions as modes of national life, when they were in force in the land, and the effect of their contemplation is to generate those rapturous sentiments of admiration with which the Psalms of David abound.
What a joyous, subdued, ennobling occasion it would be for all Israel to come together, released from their daily toils for a season, and in full enjoyment of each other's society, opening their minds in gratitude in the historic contemplations involved in the feast.
We must also remember that all these public occasions would be tinctured with the spirit of those private commandments which enjoined kindness to the unfortunate and justice to all. A feast sweetened with mercy and truth, and enjoyed with the opulent plenty of every barn-floor and vineyard, and adorned with all the picturesque accessories of a beautiful land and a beautiful situation, intermingled with song and feasting and prayer, exhibits even at this distant date a definite idea of what human life ought to be, and cheers the heart with some prospect of a day to come when that idea will be realized over the wide world, when the kingdom is restored to Israel and all nations made subject to the sway of their king.
Oh, happy day, when many people shall go and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob' for he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths."
Law of Moses Ch 9
2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto Yahweh thy Elohim, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Yahweh shall choose to place his name there.
The Feast of unleavened Bread
3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; 7 days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee:
6 But at the place which Yahweh thy Elohim shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh thy Elohim shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the 7th day shall be a solemn assembly to Yahweh thy Elohim: thou shalt do no work therein.
The Feast of Weeks
9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the 7 weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.
10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto Yahweh thy Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto Yahweh thy Elohim, according as Yahweh thy Elohim hath blessed thee:
11 And thou shalt rejoice before Yahweh thy Elohim, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which Yahweh thy Elohim hath chosen to place his name there.
12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.
The Feast of Tabernacles (ingathering)
13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles 7 days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:
Israel were commanded to keep their annual feasts: first, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; second, the Feast of Harvest: and third, the Feast of Ingathering, at the end of the year.
The first began the day after the Passover; the second, fifty days from the morrow after the first sabbath following the passover; and the third, the fifteenth day of the seventh month.
This last was the Feast of Tabernacles. It continued seven days, and was so called, because Yahweh
"made the children of Israel to dwell in tents when he brought them out of the land of Egypt."
It celebrated the ingathering of the fruit of Israel's land; and when the seven days of celebration had expired, the next day, the Eighth, was a sabbath, or Day of Rest. In the celebration, they took the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and rejoiced before Yahweh their Elohim.
Now, we learn from the prophets that the Feast of Tabernacles had a more recondite signification than a mere memorial of the past. In other words, that it was emblematic of things to come in relation to Israel and the nations of the earth. The Spirit said by Hosea to Ephraim,
"I, Yahweh thine Elohim from the land of Egypt, will yet make thee to dwell in Tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast."
This shows that it is connected with the ingathering of Ephraim, or the Ten Tribes, into their land, where alone the feast can be lawfully celebrated. The Christ-Spirit also in Zechariah, declares that the nations generally shall come up yearly to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and to do homage to the Royal Name enthroned there (xiv. 16).
This indicates the ingathering of a joyous multitude before the King; for the feast is a rejoicing before the Lord. The sanguinary execution of judgment will have been perfected; and the nations under a new organization and administration, will be "blessed in Abraham and his Seed" -- "the Glorious and Fearful Name, Yahweh Elohim."
This great national celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, then, argues the previous cessation of judgment; and consequently, the resting of the Saints from their labours in the execution of it. There will be no festive rejoicings while the events symbolized in [Apoc] ch. xiv, are in manifestation; neither will there be any national rejoicing which is not celebrative of their glory.
When Jesus and his Brethren, the incorporation of the Eternal Father's Spirit, the Yahweh-Elohim Name, "rest from their labours," they do so because they have
"gotten the victory over the Beast, and over the Image, and over his Mark, and over the number of his name" (xv. 2).
Israel, whom they will have gathered into their own land, and the nations, will all rejoice with them in this great victory of the day -- a victory, pregnant with political, social, and moral results, which only Omnipotence could gain. Never before will such a Feast of Tabernacles have been observed. World's Fairs, and Fourths of Julys, and the Birthdays of Queens and Washingtons, will fall into eternal insignificance and oblivion before it.
"The First in War, the First in Peace, and the First in the hearts" of the peoples, will not be these idols of the heathen, but the Lamb in the midst of this great palm-bearing multitude, which will make the welkin ring with their "Hallelu-YAHs," ascribing, "the salvation to him who sits upon the throne of our Deity, and to the Lamb!"
The ELOHIM of this celebration will be the stars of divers magnitudes, represented by "the Elders and the Four Living Ones," who themselves fall prostrate before the throne and worship the Deity, saying,
"Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might unto our Deity for the aions of the aions," or during the Millennium and beyond, "Amen!"
14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast [chag], thou, and thy son [ ben], and thy daughter [ bat], and thy manservant [eved], and thy maidservant [amah], and the Levite [Levi], the stranger [ger], and the fatherless [yatom (orphan)], and the widow [almanah], that are within thy gates [she'arim].
It is not possible to over-estimate the beneficence of these institutions. It was not only that the whole nation was thus kept in continual sympathy with divine views of their existence as a nation, but these feasts provided these occasions of purposeful and enlightened activity that were calculated to redeem life from the stagnation and monotony of a life unregulated by law.
Consider also the recuperation with which it would bless the whole community; they would all go back from these feasts refreshed and renewed in health, and ready to address themselves with renewed pleasure to the daily avocations of their farm lives. The feasts were sufficiently frequent to prevent the intervals having that depressing and vulgarizing effect which comes from long continuance in one rut of labour.
Such variety of activity as the law provided kept every human exercise efficient; even the hearing of the law at the feasts would be attended with a delight that is unknown to the jaded faculties of poor modem times, when every man is a mere unit, and has to shift for himself in the diversification of his private life as best he may.
The whole tendency of the Mosaic institution is well expressed in the 144th Psalm, "That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as comer stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: that our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets .... He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation." "Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord."
Law of Moses Ch 9.
15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto Yahweh thy Elohim in the place which Yahweh shall choose: because Yahweh thy Elohim shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice
The Three annual feasts
16 Three times in a year [Shalosh p'amim bashanah] shall all thy males appear before Yahweh thy Elohim in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread [Chag Matzot], and in the feast of weeks [Chag HaShavu'os], and in the feast of tabernacles [Chag HaSukkot]: and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty [empty-handed]:
Man has the first place all the way through, especially in the one great institution that brings man back to Elohim in reconciliation. It was to be in a man and not in a woman that the righteousness of Elohim was to be declared for the putting away of sin by forgiveness. It was to be by the obedience of one man that justification was to be provided for believing and obedient sinners, and not by the obedience of one man and woman, although it was by the disobedience of one man and woman that death entered the world --not that the law was laid down to Eve: it was to Adam the command was addressed:
"Thou shalt not eat": but Eve considered herself included (Gen. 3:2), and was, in fact, included as one flesh with Adam (2:23). So in the case of the last Adam--the remover of sin: his bride, the Lamb's wife, shares the victory achieved by him when it has been decided at the judgment-seat who constitute such.
In both cases, it is the male that is the subject of direct operation. Though there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus, it is by a man and not by a woman that life has come, though she is instrumentally contributory: for as she was the beguiler of Adam, to the death and ruin of both of them, so she is made his rescuer, in being made use of in a virgin descendant of the House of David to bring the Saviour into the world. Male and female are thus coordinate in the scheme without interfering with the headship appointed in the beginning.
As Paul beautifully expresses it in his letter to the Corinthians: "Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God" (11:11).
There is congruity in all the ways of Elohim when the relations established by His law are observed. Man is the head, but only for nurture and protection and honour of the woman. Woman is man's equal fellow-heir of the salvation that is offered in Christ, but not to usurp the position that belongs to man both by natural constitution and divine appointment. Man is for strength, judgment, and achievement. Woman is for grace, sympathy, and ministration. Between them, they form a beautiful unit--"heirs together of the grace of life"
Law of Moses Ch 23
17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of Yahweh thy Elohim which he hath given thee.
18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
Yahweh in the prophet Amos (5:12) condemned the House of Israel for forgetting the just and holy Law...
For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins:
They afflict the just, they take a bribe,
And they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.
20 That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee.
21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of Yahweh thy Elohim, which thou shalt make thee.
22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which Yahweh thy Elohim hateth.