|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:4-14 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 7, 8. - The first and the last day were to be days of holy convocation, on which no servile work might be done. It was on the first day, Nisan 15, that our Lord was crucified. The Pharisees found nothing in the holiness of the day to prevent their taking virtual part in his seizure and condemnation and death; but we are told by St. John that "they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28). What is meant in this passage by "the Passover" is not the Paschal lamb which had already been consumed, but probably the peace offering, or chagigah, which had to be offered and eaten on the first day of Unleavened Bread. The public sacrifices on each of the seven days of the week were two young bullocks, one ram, and seven Iambs for a burnt offering, with the accompanying meat offerings, and one goat for a sin offering (Numbers 28:19-24). And these were followed by peace offerings made at the discretion of individuals, "according to the blessing of the Lord which he had given them" (Deuteronomy 16:17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation,.... That is, on the first of the seven days of the feast of unleavened bread, even the fifteenth day of the month Nisan; this was separated from the other days of the festival, and more particularly devoted to religions exercises, see Exodus 12:16,
ye shall do no servile work therein; such as agriculture, or any manufacture or mechanical business, which they and their servants were at other times employed in; but they might bake bread, and boil or roast their meat, and walk abroad, which they might not do on their sabbaths; and therefore it is so expressed as to distinguish it from the work forbidden on that day.
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