|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 9-14. - A second command is given on the subject of the Feast of Unleavened Bread respecting those ceremonies which were only to be made use of when the Israelites had reached Canaan. It has reference to the second day of Unleavened Bread, which is called the morrow after the sabbath, the first day of the feast being meant by the sabbath, on whatever day of week it may have occurred. It was on this second day that the presentation of the first or wave sheaf of barley took place, according to the command, Ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Which command was fulfilled in the following manner. "Already, on the 14th of Nisan, the spot whence the first sheaf was to be reaped bad been marked out by delegates from the Sanhedrim, by tying together in bundles, while still standing, the barley that was to be cut down. Though for obvious reasons it was customary to choose for the purpose the sheltered Ashes valley across Kedron, there was no restriction on that point, provided the barley had grown in an ordinary field - of course in Palestine itself - and not in garden or orchard land, and that the soil had not been manured nor yet artificially watered. When the time for cutting the sheaf had arrived, that is, on the evening of the 15th of Nisan (even though it was a sabbath)just as the sun went down, three men, each with a sickle and basket, formally set to work. But in order clearly to bring out all that was distinctive in the ceremony, they first asked of the bystanders three times each of these questions: 'Has the sun gone down?' 'With this sickle?' 'Into this basket?' ' On this sabbath?' (or first Passover day); and lastly, 'Shall I reap?' Having been each time answered in the affirmative, they cut down barley to the amount of one ephah, or ten omers, or three seahs, which is equal to about three pecks and three pints of our English measure. The ears were brought into the court of the temple" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). The sheaf composed of these ears (for the Authorized Version is right in considering that it is the sheaf, and not the omer of flour made out of the ears of barley, that is meant by עֹמֶר, though Josephus and the Mishna take it the other way) was on the following day waved by the priests before the Lord, in token of its consecration, and through it, of the consecration of the whole barley crop to the Lord. With it was offered the burnt offering of a lamb, a meat offering double the usual quantity, and a drink offering. This passage and verses 18 and 37, are the only places in the Book of Leviticus where the drink offering is mentioned. Until the waving of the sheaf, neither bread nor parched corn, nor green ears, that is, no grain in any form, might be eaten. We may imagine how delicacies made of the new flour would at once appear in the streets as soon as the sheaf had been waved.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time, for what follow are the other feasts and holy convocations before spoken of:
saying; as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Le 23:9-14. The Sheaf of First Fruits.
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