And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the first day there shall be an holy convocation.—The Passover was to be kept on the fourteenth day of Abib, at even. The seven following days were to be “days of unleavened bread.” On the first of these, the fifteenth of Abib (Leviticus 23:6), there was to be a “holy convocation,” i.e., a general gathering of the people to the door of the sanctuary for sacrifice, worship, and perhaps instruction. (Comp. Nehemiah 8:1.) The term “convocation” implies that the people were summoned to attend; and the actual summons appears to have been made by the blowing of the silver trumpets (Numbers 10:2). On the seventh day, the twenty-first of Abib, was to be another similar meeting. “No manner of work” was to be done on either of these two days; or rather, as explained in Leviticus 23:7-8, “no servile work.”Leviticus 23:2; Numbers 10:2-3. In the East the proclamation is made by the Muezzins from the minarets of the mosques.
Save that ... - In this the observance of the festival differed from the Sabbath, when the preparation of food was prohibited. The same word for "work" is used here and in the fourth commandment: it is very general, and includes all laborious occupation.An holy convocation; a solemn day for the people to assemble together, and to attend upon the public worship and service of God in hearing his word, prayers, praises, and sacrifices.
And in the seventh day, because then Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the sea. As on the first day the first-born were killed; so their deliverance was begun on the first, and completed on the seventh day, and therefore those days deserved a special character of honour. And indeed that there were seven days between those two miracles, the Jews unanimously affirm, and it seems probable from the account of their journeys.
No manner of work, i.e. of servile work, Leviticus 23:7.
Save that which every man must eat: herein, as many think, these days were inferior to the sabbath, in which that was forbidden. But of this See Poole on "Exodus 16:23". See Poole on Exodus 35:3.
and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation unto you; observed in a festival way, and in the like religious manner the first day was, the day of their going out of Egypt; and the seventh was the day in which Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the Red sea, as Aben Ezra observes; for which reason those days are distinguished from the rest, and appointed to be holy convocations, and which appear from the journeying of the children of Israel, as computed by Junius: they came to Succoth on the fifteenth, to Etham the seventeenth, to Pihahiroth the eighteenth, where they were ordered to stay, and wait the coming of their enemies, on the twentieth the army of Pharaoh came up to them, and the night following the Israelites passed through the sea and the Egyptians were drowned:
no manner of work shall be done in them; as used to be done on other days, and as were on the other five days of this festival: the Jewish canons are,"it is forbidden to do any work on the evening of the passover, from the middle of the day and onward, and whoever does work from the middle of the day and onward, they excommunicate him; even though, he does it for nothing, it is forbidden (n): R. Meir says, whatever work anyone begins before the fourteenth (of Nisan) he may finish it on the fourteenth, but he may not begin it on the beginning of the fourteenth, though he could finish it: the wise men say, three workmen may work on the evening of the passover unto the middle of the day, and they are these, tailors, barbers, and fullers: R. Jose bar Judah says, also shoemakers (o),''but in the text no exception is made but the following:
save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you; so that kindling fire and preparing food might be done on those days, which might not be done on sabbath days; and the prohibition of work was not so strict on those days as on that.And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. On the first and seventh day there was also to be a ‘holy convocation,’ i.e. an assembly at the sanctuary for religious purposes. The expression occurs besides only in the two calendars of P, Leviticus 23:2-4; Leviticus 23:7-8; Leviticus 23:21; Leviticus 23:24; Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:35-37, Numbers 28:18; Numbers 28:25-26; Numbers 29:1; Numbers 29:7; Numbers 29:12; and, without ‘holy,’ Isaiah 1:13; Isaiah 4:5 (EVV., each time, ‘assemblies’). The assembly was ‘called’ together by silver trumpets (see Numbers 10:2 [where ‘calling’ is in the Heb. the same as ‘convocation’ here], Numbers 10:3; Num 10:7, cf. Numbers 10:10): Kalisch reminds us how in Mohammedan countries festivals are announced by heralds from conspicuous places, especially the towers of mosques.
save that which, &c.] The prohibition of work was thus not as strict as for the sabbath (Exodus 16:23, Exodus 35:3), or the day of atonement (Leviticus 23:28). Cf. Leviticus 23:7-8.Verse 16. - On the first day there shall be an holy convocation. After the Paschal meal on the evening of the 14th of Abib, there was to be a solemn assembly of the people on the next day for religions worship. The name "convocation;" applied to these gatherings, seems to show that originally the people were summoned to such meetings, as they still are by the muezzin from the minarets of mosques in Mahommedan countries, and by bells from the steeples of churches in Christian ones. And on the seventh day. On the 22nd of Abib - the seventh day after the first holy convocation on the 15th (see Leviticus 23:4-8). Only two of the Jewish festivals were of this duration - the feast of unleavened bread, and the feast of tabernacles (ib. 39-42). The Christian Church has adopted the usage for Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and Whitsuntide, where the last day of the week is known technically as "the octave." No manner of work shall be done in them. Festival-days were in all countries days of abstention from the ordinary business of life, which could not conveniently be carried on conjointly with attendance at the services, meetings, processions, etc., wherein the festival consisted. But absolute cessation from all work was nowhere strictly commanded except among the Hebrews, where it appears to have been connected with the belief in God's absolute rest after the six days of creation. The command here given was solemnly repeated in the law (Leviticus 23:6 8). Leviticus 7:15). They were to eat it בּחפּזון, "in anxious flight" (from חפז trepidare, Psalm 31:23; to flee in terror, Deuteronomy 20:3; 2 Kings 7:15); in travelling costume therefore, - with "the loins girded," that they might not be impeded in their walking by the long flowing dress (2 Kings 4:29), - with "shoes (Sandals) on their feet," that they might be ready to walk on hard, rough roads, instead of barefooted, as they generally went (cf. Joshua 9:5, Joshua 9:13; Bynaeus de calceis ii. 1, 7; and Bochart, Hieroz. i. pp. 686ff.), and "staff in hand" (Genesis 32:11). The directions in Exodus 12:11 had reference to the paschal meal in Egypt only, and had no other signification than to prepare the Israelites for their approaching departure. But though "this preparation was intended to give the paschal meal the appearance of a support for the journey, which the Israelites were about to tale," this by no means exhausts its signification. The divine instructions close with the words, "it is פּסח to Jehovah;" i.e., what is prescribed is a pesach appointed by Jehovah, and to be kept for Him (cf. Exodus 20:10, "Sabbath to Jehovah;" Exodus 32:5, "feast to Jehovah"). The word פּסח, Aram. פסחא, Gr. πάσχα, is derived from פּסח, lit., to leap or hop, from which these two meanings arise: (1) to limp (1 Kings 18:21; 2 Samuel 4:4, etc.); and (2) to pass over, transire (hence Tiphsah, a passage over, 1 Kings 4:24). It is for the most part used figuratively for ὑπερβαίνειν, to pass by or spare; as in this case, where the destroying angel passed by the doors and houses of the Israelites that were smeared with blood. From this, pesach (ὑπέρβασις, Aquil. in Exodus 12:11; ὑπερβασία, Joseph. Ant. ii. 14, 6) came afterwards to be used for the lamb, through which, according to divine appointment, the passing by or sparing had been effected (Exodus 12:21, Exodus 12:27; 2 Chronicles 35:1, 2 Chronicles 35:13, etc.); then for the preparation of the lamb for a meal, in accordance with the divine instructions, or for the celebration of this meal (thus here, Exodus 12:11; Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 9:7, etc.); and then, lastly, it was transferred to the whole seven days' observance of the feast of unleavened bread, which began with this meal (Deuteronomy 16:1), and also to the sacrifices which were to be offered at that feast (Deuteronomy 16:2; 2 Chronicles 35:1, 2 Chronicles 35:7, etc.). The killing of the lamb appointed for the pesach was a זבח, i.e., a slain-offering, as Moses calls it when making known the command of God to the elders (Exodus 12:27); consequently the eating of it was a sacrificial feast ("the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover," Exodus 34:25). For זבח is never applied to slaying alone, as שׁחט is. Even in Proverbs 17:1 and 1 Samuel 28:24, which Hoffmann adduces in support of this meaning, it signifies "to sacrifice" only in a figurative or transferred sense. At the first Passover in Egypt, it is true, there was no presentation (הקריב), because Israel had not altar there. But the presentation took place at the very first repetition of the festival at Sinai (Numbers 9:7). The omission of this in Egypt, on account of the circumstances in which they were placed, constituted no essential difference between the first "sacrifice of the Passover" and the repetitions of it; for the choice of the lamb four days before it was slain, was a substitute for the presentation, and the sprinkling of the blood, which was essential to every sacrifice, was effected in the smearing of the door-posts and lintel. The other difference upon which Hofmann lays stress, viz., that at all subsequent Passovers the fat of the animal was burned upon the altar, is very questionable. For this custom cannot be proved from the Old Testament, though it is prescribed in the Mishnah.
(Note: In the elaborate account of the Passover under Josiah, in 2 Chronicles 35, we have, it is true, an allusion to the presentation of the burnt-offering and fat (2 Chronicles 35:14); but the boiling of the offerings in pots, caldrons, and pans is also mentioned, along with the roasting of the Passover (2 Chronicles 35:13); from which it is very obvious, that in this account the offering of burnt and slain-offerings is associated with the preparation of the paschal lamb, and the paschal meal is not specially separated from the sacrificial meals of the seven days' feast; just as we find that the king and the princes give the priests and Levites not only lambs and kids, but oxen also, for the sacrifices and sacrificial meals of this festival (see my Archologie, 81, 8).)
But even if the burning of the fat of the paschal lamb had taken place shortly after the giving of the law, on the ground of the general command in Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:23. (for this is not taken for granted in Exodus 23:18, as we shall afterwards show), this difference could also be accounted for from the want of an altar in Egypt, and would not warrant us in refusing to admit the sacrificial character of the first Passover. For the appointment of the paschal meal by God does not preclude the idea that it was a religious service, nor the want of an altar the idea of sacrifice, as Hoffmann supposes. All the sacrifices of the Jewish nation were minutely prescribed by God, so that the presentation of them was the consequence of divine instructions. And even though the Israelites, when holding the first Passover according to the command of God, merely gave expression to their desire to participate in the deliverance from destruction and the redemption of Egypt, and also to their faith in the word and promise of God, we must neither measure the signification of this divine institution by that fact, nor restrict it to this alone, inasmuch as it is expressly described as a sacrificial meal.
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