Deuteronomy 16:13
You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that you have gathered in your corn and your wine:
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Deuteronomy 16:13-15. THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

(13) Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days.—For details of the observance see the passages already referred to in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, but more especially Leviticus 23:33-43.

(14) Thou, and thy son . . .—The rejoicing of the Feast of Tabernacles was proverbial among the Jews. On the persons who are to share the joy, Rashi has an interesting note. “The Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow,—My four (Jehovah’s), over against thy four—thy son, thy daughter, thy manservant, thy maidservant. If thou wilt make My four to rejoice, I will rejoice thy four.”

(15) Seven days.—An eighth day is mentioned both in Leviticus 23:36 and Numbers 29:35. But the seven days of this feast are also spoken of in both those passages (Leviticus 23:36 and Numbers 29:12). There is, therefore, no contradiction between the two passages. The eighth day is treated apart from the first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, somewhat in the same way as the Passover is always distinguished in the Pentateuch from the six days which followed it, and which are called the Feast of Unleavened bread. The reason for the distinction in that case becomes clear in the fulfilment of the feast by our Lord. The Passover is His sacrifice and death. We keep the feast of unleavened bread by serving Him in “sincerity and truth.” The Feast of Tabernacles has not yet been fulfilled by our Lord like the two other great feasts of the Jewish calendar. Unfulfilled prophecies regarding it may be pointed out, as in Zechariah 14. Our Lord refused to signalise that feast by any public manifestation (John 7:2-10). There may, therefore, be some reason for separating the eighth and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles from the former seven, which will appear in its fulfilment in the kingdom of God. It is remarkable that the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the commencement of the second temple and the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, all occurred about the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Thou shalt surely rejoice.—In the Hebrew this is a somewhat unusual form of expression. Literally, thou wilt be only rejoicing. Rashi says it is not a command, but a promise.

16:1-17 The laws for the three yearly feasts are here repeated; that of the Passover, that of the Pentecost, that of Tabernacles; and the general law concerning the people's attendance. Never should a believer forget his low estate of guilt and misery, his deliverance, and the price it cost the Redeemer; that gratitude and joy in the Lord may be mingled with sorrow for sin, and patience under the tribulations in his way to the kingdom of heaven. They must rejoice in their receivings from God, and in their returns of service and sacrifice to him; our duty must be our delight, as well as our enjoyment. If those who were under the law must rejoice before God, much more we that are under the grace of the gospel; which makes it our duty to rejoice evermore, to rejoice in the Lord always. When we rejoice in God ourselves, we should do what we can to assist others also to rejoice in him, by comforting the mourners, and supplying those who are in want. All who make God their joy, may rejoice in hope, for He is faithful that has promised.Feast of Weeks; and Deuteronomy 16:13-17, Feast of Tabernacles. Nothing is here added to the rules given in Leviticus and Numbers except the clauses so often recurring in Deuteronomy and so characteristic of it, which restrict the public celebration of the festivals to the sanctuary, and enjoin that the enjoyments of them should be extended to the Levites, widows, orphans, etc. 13-17. Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days—(See on [147]Ex 23:14; [148]Le 23:34; [149]Nu 29:12). Various conjectures have been formed to account for the appointment of this feast at the conclusion of the whole harvest. Some imagine that it was designed to remind the Israelites of the time when they had no cornfields to reap but were daily supplied with manna; others think that it suited the convenience of the people better than any other period of the year for dwelling in booths; others that it was the time of Moses' second descent from the mount; while a fourth class are of opinion that this feast was fixed to the time of the year when the Word was made flesh and dwelt—literally, "tabernacled"—among us (Joh 1:14), Christ being actually born at that season. Of the feast of tabernacles, see on Exodus 23:16 Leviticus 23:34 Numbers 29:12. Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days,.... Which began on the fifteenth day of Tisri, or September; see Leviticus 23:34, &c.

after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine; and therefore sometimes called the feast of ingathering, Exodus 23:16, barley harvest began at the passover, and wheat harvest at Pentecost; and before the feast of tabernacles began, the vintage and the gathering of the olives were over, as well as all other summer fruits were got in.

Thou shalt {g} observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:

(g) That is, the 15th day of the seventh month, Le 23:34.

13. Thou shalt keep] Heb. perform for thyself, see on Deuteronomy 16:1.

the feast of booths] feast, ḥag, as in Deuteronomy 16:10. Booths, suḳḳôth, lit. plaitings or interlacings, whether natural thickets (Job 38:40, etc.) or artificial shelters of branches or planks, especially for the guardians of vineyards (Isaiah 1:8); applied first by D, and explained by H, Leviticus 23:39-43, which prescribes that the people shall dwell throughout the feast in booths of palm-fronds, boughs of thick trees and poplars (Nehemiah 8:15, olive, myrtle, palm and thick tree branches). H’s reason for this custom is that Israel dwelt in booths at the Exodus; but the general resort of the cultivators to booths in their vineyards at the time of the ripening of the grapes and the vintage, which still continues in Palestine (Robinson, Bib. Res. ii. 81), was no doubt very ancient and the real origin of the name of the Feast. After the centralisation of the cultus, the booths were erected in the courts and on the flat roofs of the city, Nehemiah 8:14-17, which implies that before the restoration of Israel’s worship under Nehemiah the custom had been in abeyance. The term tabernacles is used in the EVV. in the sense given by Johnson of ‘casual dwellings’ (Lat. taberna a hut, tabernaculum a tent).

seven days] So H, Leviticus 23:39, to which P, Numbers 29:35, adds an eighth, with a convocation. Passover and Weeks are one day each.

threshing-floor and winepress] Deuteronomy 15:14.

13–15. The Feast of Booths

To be observed for seven days after the harvest of corn and wine by each family and their dependents, at the One Altar; and that altogether joyfully because of God’s blessing.—For the parallels and the other name of the Feast see introd. to Deuteronomy 16:1-17. This feast is also called the feast par excellence (1 Kings 8:2; 1 Kings 8:65, etc., cp. Jdg 21:19 ff.) not so much for its length, as because it crowned the year. See further Deuteronomy 31:10.Verses 13-15. - The Feast of Tabernacles, properly, Booths (cf. Leviticus 23:33-44; Numbers 29:12-38). This feast was to be observed at the end of harvest, after the corn had been gathered into granaries, and the produce of the vineyard had been put through the press. Nothing is added here to the instructions already given respecting this festival; only the observance of it at the appointed sanctuary is enforced, and stress is laid on their making not only their sons and daughters and domestics, but also the Levite, the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger participators in their rejoicings. Thou shalt surely rejoice; rather, thou shalt be wholly joyous; literally, rejoicing only; Rosenm., "adnodum laetus." Israel was to make ready the Passover to the Lord in the earing month (see at Exodus 12:2). The precise day is supposed to be known from Exodus 12, as in Exodus 23:15. פּסח עשׂה (to prepare the Passover), which is used primarily to denote the preparation of the paschal lamb for a festal meal, is employed here in a wider signification viz., "to keep the Passover." At this feast they were to slay sheep and oxen to the Lord for a Passover, at the place, etc. In Deuteronomy 16:2, as in Deuteronomy 16:1, the word "Passover" is employed in a broader sense, and includes not only the paschal lamb, but the paschal sacrifices generally, which the Rabbins embrace under the common name of chagiga; not the burnt-offerings and sin-offerings, however, prescribed in Numbers 28:19-26, but all the sacrifices that were slain at the feast of the Passover (i.e., during the seven days of the Mazzoth, which are included under the name of pascha) for the purpose of holding sacrificial meals. This is evident from the expression "of the flock and the herd;" as it was expressly laid down, that only a שׂה, i.e., a yearling animal of the sheep or goats, was to be slain for the paschal meal on the fourteenth of the month in the evening, and an ox was never slaughtered in the place of the lamb. But if any doubt could exist upon this point, it would be completely set aside by Deuteronomy 16:3 : "Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it: seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith." As the word "therewith" cannot possibly refer to anything else than the "Passover" in Deuteronomy 16:2, it is distinctly stated that the slaughtering and eating of the Passover was to last seven days, whereas the Passover lamb was to be slain and consumed in the evening of the fourteenth Abib (Exodus 12:10). Moses called the unleavened bread "the bread of affliction," because the Israelites had to leave Egypt in anxious flight (Exodus 12:11) and were therefore unable to leaven the dough (Exodus 12:39), for the purpose of reminding the congregation of the oppression endured in Egypt, and to stir them up to gratitude towards the Lord their deliverer, that they might remember that day as long as they lived. (On the meaning of the Mazzothy, see at Exodus 12:8 and Exodus 12:15.) - On account of the importance of the unleavened bread as a symbolical shadowing forth of the significance of the Passover, as the feast of the renewal and sanctification of the life of Israel, Moses repeats in Deuteronomy 16:4 two of the points in the law of the feast: first of all the one laid down in Exodus 13:7, that no leaven was to be seen in the land during the seven days; and secondly, the one in Exodus 23:18 and Exodus 34:25, that none of the flesh of the paschal lamb was to be left till the next morning, in order that all corruption might be kept at a distance from the paschal food. Leaven, for example, sets the dough in fermentation, from which putrefaction ensues; and in the East, if flesh is kept, it very quickly decomposes. He then once more fixes the time and place for keeping the Passover (the former according to Exodus 12:6 and Leviticus 23:5, etc.), and adds in Deuteronomy 16:7 the express regulation, that not only the slaughtering and sacrificing, but the roasting (see at Exodus 12:9) and eating of the paschal lamb were to take place at the sanctuary, and that the next morning they could turn and go back home. This rule contains a new feature, which Moses prescribes with reference to the keeping of the Passover in the land of Canaan, and by which he modifies the instructions for the first Passover in Egypt, to suit the altered circumstances. In Egypt, when Israel was not yet raised into the nation of Jehovah, and had as yet no sanctuary and no common altar, the different houses necessarily served as altars. But when this necessity was at an end, the slaying and eating of the Passover in the different houses were to cease, and they were both to take place at the sanctuary before the Lord, as was the case with the feast of Passover at Sinai (Numbers 9:1-5). Thus the smearing of the door-posts with the blood was tacitly abolished, since the blood was to be sprinkled upon the altar as sacrificial blood, as it had already been at Sinai. - The expression "to thy tents," for going "home," points to the time when Israel was till dwelling in tents, and had not as yet secured any fixed abodes and houses in Canaan, although this expression was retained at a still later time (e.g., 1 Samuel 13:2; 2 Samuel 19:9, etc.). The going home in the morning after the paschal meal, is not to be understood as signifying a return to their homes in the different towns of the land, but simply, as even Riehm admits, to their homes or lodgings at the place of the sanctuary. How very far Moses was from intending to release the Israelites from the duty of keeping the feast for seven days, is evident from the fact that in Deuteronomy 16:8 he once more enforces the observance of the seven days' feast. The two clauses, "six days thou shalt eat mazzoth," and "on the seventh day shall be azereth (Eng. Ver. 'a solemn assembly') to the Lord thy God," are not placed in antithesis to each other, so as to imply (in contradiction to Deuteronomy 16:3 and Deuteronomy 16:4; Exodus 12:18-19; Exodus 13:6-7; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17) that the feast of Mazzoth was to last only six days instead of seven; but the seventh day is brought into especial prominence as the azereth of the feast (see at Leviticus 23:36), simply because, in addition to the eating of mazzoth, there was to be an entire abstinence from work, and this particular feature might easily have fallen into neglect at the close of the feast. But just as the eating of mazzoth for seven days is not abolished by the first clause, so the suspension of work on the first day is not abolished by the second clause, any more than in Exodus 13:6 the first day is represented as a working day by the fact that the seventh day is called "a feast to Jehovah."
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