Exodus 23:18
You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
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(18) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.—Some regard this prohibition as extending to all sacrifices; but the majority of commentators limit it to the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb, which was the only sacrifice as yet expressly instituted by Jehovah. According to modern Jewish notions, leavened bread is permissible at the other feasts; at Pentecost it was commanded (Leviticus 23:17).

The fat of my sacrifice.—Rather (as in the Margin), the fat of my feast. The fat of the Paschal lambs was burnt on the altar with incense the same evening. Thus the whole lamb was consumed before the morning. As the Paschal lamb is καὶ ἐξοχήν, “my sacrifice,” so the Passover is “my feast.”

23:10-19 Every seventh year the land was to rest. They must not plough or sow it; what the earth produced of itself, should be eaten, and not laid up. This law seems to have been intended to teach dependence on Providence, and God's faithfulness in sending the larger increase while they kept his appointments. It was also typical of the heavenly rest, when all earthly labours, cares, and interests shall cease for ever. All respect to the gods of the heathen is strictly forbidden. Since idolatry was a sin to which the Israelites leaned, they must blot out the remembrance of the gods of the heathen. Solemn religious attendance on God, in the place which he should choose, is strictly required. They must come together before the Lord. What a good Master do we serve, who has made it our duty to rejoice before him! Let us devote with pleasure to the service of God that portion of our time which he requires, and count his sabbaths and ordinances to be a feast unto our souls. They were not to come empty-handed; so now, we must not come to worship God empty-hearted; our souls must be filled with holy desires toward him, and dedications of ourselves to him; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.The blood of my sacrifice - It is generally considered that this must refer to the Paschal Lamb. See Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:11, Exodus 12:13, Exodus 12:22-23, Exodus 12:27.

The fat of my sacrifice - Strictly, the fat of my feast; the "best part" of the feast, that is, the Paschal lamb itself. Compare Exodus 34:25.

14-18. Three times … keep a feast … in the year—This was the institution of the great religious festivals—"The feast of unleavened bread," or the passover—"the feast of harvest," or pentecost—"the feast of ingathering," or the feast of tabernacles, which was a memorial of the dwelling in booths in the wilderness, and which was observed in the seventh month (Ex 12:2). All the males were enjoined to repair to the tabernacle and afterwards the temple, and the women frequently went. The institution of this national custom was of the greatest importance in many ways: by keeping up a national sense of religion and a public uniformity in worship, by creating a bond of unity, and also by promoting internal commerce among the people. Though the absence of all the males at these three festivals left the country defenseless, a special promise was given of divine protection, and no incursion of enemies was ever permitted to happen on those occasions. These clauses most understand of the passover, by comparing this place with its parallel, Exodus 34:25, where the passover is mentioned. But the words being here universal, by the laws of interpretation they ought to be universally understood, if they can bear that sense; which here they may, for both these clauses agree to other sacrifices. For as every sacrifice had a minchah, or a meat-offering of flour, attending upon it, and offered with it; so it was expressly cautioned, that no leaven should be in that minchah, Leviticus 2:11. And the fat of every sacrifice was consecrated to God, Leviticus 3:16 2 Chronicles 35:14, &c., and was presently to be burnt upon the altar, Leviticus 7:2,3. And for Exodus 34:25, what hinders but what is here more generally prescribed, may be there particularly applied to the passover? and that seems more reasonable, than to make him an idle repetition of the same tiring. And

my sacrifice may be here put for my sacrifices, by the common enallage. Moreover, the two principal things which were offered to God in every sacrifice were blood and fat, Leviticus 17:6,11, &c.

Neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning: this, if understood of the passover, may seem superfluous, because nothing of it, neither fat nor lean, was to remain until the morning, Exodus 12:10, but all of it was to be eaten, even the purtenance thereof, Exodus 23:9, and that, for aught I see, without any exception of the fat, as there was in other sacrifices, Le 16. And therefore in that parallel place, Exodus 34:25, where the passover is mentioned, there is not a word of the fat, but only it is said in the general, neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning. And in that 2 Chronicles 35:14, where there is mention of the fat, it is manifestly restrained to the burnt-offerings, which are there distinguished from the passover, Exodus 23:11,12. Thou shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread,.... This belongs to the feast of the passover; for, as all the Jewish writers agree, this sacrifice is the sacrifice of the passover, as it is sometimes called, see Exodus 12:27 now when the paschal lamb was killed, and its blood shed, and its flesh eaten, there was to be no leaven along with it; it was to be eaten with unleavened bread, and there was to be no leaven in their houses at this time; nay, it was not to be slain until all was removed: this was the first thing the Jews did, as soon as the fourteenth day was come, to search for leaven, remove and burn it; and this sense of the law is confirmed by the Targum of Jonathan, which is,"not a man shall slay, while there is leaven in your houses, the sacrifice of my passover;''and to the same purpose is the note of Jarchi:

neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning; and indeed no part of the passover lamb was to remain until the morning, what did was to be burnt with fire, Exodus 12:10 the Targum of Jonathan is,"neither shall there remain without the altar the fat of the sacrifice of my passover until the morning, nor of the flesh which ye ate in the evening;''and so Jarchi interprets it of its not remaining without the altar.

Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with {k} leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.

(k) No leavened bread will be in your house.

18. Two regulations respecting sacrifice, designed to guard a sacrifice against contamination by anything corrupt or tainted.

18a. Jehovah’s sacrifices not to be offered with leavened bread. Cf. the "" Exodus 34:25; Leviticus 2:11; Leviticus 6:17; and the note on ch. Exodus 12:8. ‘In the earliest times bread was entirely unleavened. Flour or barley was mixed with water and kneaded in a “kneading-bowl” (Exo Exodus 8:3), and then baked into “unleavened cakes” (see on Exodus 12:8), such as are still the usual food of the Bedawin. In a more advanced stage of society the bread was made in this way only in cases of emergency (Genesis 19:3), or for purposes of ritual. The ordinary bread of the Hebrews was made lighter by fermentation’ (Kennedy, in EB. i. 604). The reason why leavened bread was prohibited for ritual purposes was, probably, partly because unleavened bread had the sanction of antiquity (Kennedy, ib. iii. 2753), partly because leaven, being produced by fermentation, was regarded as tainted with a species of corruption (ib. p. 2754; OTJC.2[194] p. 345; Rel. Sem. p. 203 f., ed. 2, p. 220 f.). Leavened bread was permitted only when the offering was not to be placed upon the altar, but eaten by the priests, Leviticus 7:13; Leviticus 23:17; Leviticus 23:20 end.

[194] W. R. Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

offer] lit. kill or slay (Deuteronomy 12:15), but the word (zâbaḥ) is nearly always used of slaying for sacrifice (cf. on Exodus 20:24). It occurs only here with ‘blood’ as its object. In the "", Exodus 34:25 a, slaughter (shâḥaṭ) is used: this is often said of the slaughter of an animal for sacrifice Exodus 29:11, Leviticus 1:5, &c.), but, like zâbaḥ, is not found elsewhere with blood’ as its object. The use of both words in this law is peculiar.

18b. The fat of a festal sacrifice,—which, like the fat of other sacrifices, as the most esteemed part of the animal, was regularly consumed in sweet smoke (see on Exodus 29:13) upon the altar (Leviticus 1:8; Leviticus 3:3 f. &c.), as an offering to the Deity,—is not to remain unburnt till the next morning (when it would in any case be stale, and in a hot climate might even be tainted). The fat meant is not all fat found in an animal, but specifically that about the kidneys and other intestines (Leviticus 3:3 f.: Rel. Sem.2[195] 379 f.; EB. ii. 1545; Driver and White, Leviticus in Haupt’s Sacred Books of the OT., illustr. opp. to p. 4).

[195] W. R. Smith, The Religion of the Semites, ed. 2, 1894.

the fat of my feast] Lit. of my pilgrimage (Heb. ḥag), i.e. of the animals sacrificed at my pilgrimages (cf. Malachi 2:3, Psalm 118:27 Heb.).

The "", Exodus 34:25 b, has ‘the sacrifice of the pilgrimage of the passover’; hence it is commonly thought that the reference (in both clauses) is to the passover (so already Onk., expressly in cl.a, and by implication cl.b). No doubt these two regulations might have been formulated at a time when the Passover was the principal Heb. sacrifice: on the other hand, this is nowhere else (except in Exodus 34:25) called a ḥag; and (Di.) the terms being perfectly general, the limitation seems hardly legitimate: the fat pieces of a sacrifice offered at any pilgrimage are to be burnt upon the altar the same day. Why the regulation is limited to these sacrifices does not appear: was it because greater strictness and formality were expected on these occasions than when the sacrifice was an ordinary private one? There are similar regulations in P for the flesh, not only of the Passover (ch. Exodus 12:10), but also of the ram of installation (Exodus 29:34), and of the thanksgiving-offering (Leviticus 7:15; Leviticus 22:30). The fat of the Passover is not elsewhere specified.Verse 18. - Law of the Paschal sacrifice. That the Paschal lamb is here intended by "my sacrifice," seems to be certain, since the two injunctions to put away leavened bread, and to allow none of the victim's flesh to remain till the morning (see Exodus 12:10), are combined in the Paschal sacrifice only. Of all the offerings commanded in the law the Paschal lamb was the most important, since it typified Christ. It may therefore well be termed, in an especial way, "God's sacrifice." By the fat of my feast some understand the fat of the lamb, others the best part of the feast (Keil) - i.e., the lamb itself. In Exodus 34:25, which is closely parallel to the present place, we read, for "the fat of my feast," "the sacrifice of the feast of the passover." Here follow directions respecting the year of rest and day of rest, the first of which lays the foundation for the keeping of the sabbatical and jubilee years, which are afterwards instituted in Leviticus 25, whilst the latter gives prominence to the element of rest and refreshment involved in the Sabbath, which had been already instituted (Exodus 20:9-11), and presses it in favour of beasts of burden, slaves, and foreigners. Neither of these instructions is to be regarded as laying down laws for the feasts; so that they are not to be included among the rights of Israel, which commence at Exodus 23:14. On the contrary, as they are separated from these by Exodus 23:13, they are to be reckoned as forming part of the laws relating to their mutual obligations one towards another. This is evident from the fact, that in both of them the care of the poor stands in the foreground. From this characteristic and design, which are common to both, we may explain the fact, that there is no allusion to the keeping of a Sabbath unto the Lord, as in Exodus 20:10 and Leviticus 25:2, in connection with either the seventh year or seventh day: all that is mentioned being their sowing and reaping for six years, and working for six days, and then letting the land lie fallow in the seventh year, and their ceasing or resting from labour on the seventh day. "The seventh year thou shalt let (thy land) loose (שׁמט to leave unemployed), and let it lie; and the poor of thy people shall eat (the produce which grows of itself), and their remainder (what they leave) shall the beast of the field eat." הנּפשׁ: lit., to breathe one's self, to draw breath, i.e., to refresh one's self (cf. Exodus 31:17; 2 Samuel 16:14). - With Exodus 23:13 the laws relating to the rights of the people, in their relations to one another, are concluded with the formula enforcing their observance, "And in all that I say to you, take heed," viz., that ye carefully maintain all the rights which I have given you. There is then attached to this, in Exodus 23:14, a warning, which forms the transition to the relation of Israel to Jehovah: "Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." This forms a very fitting boundary line between the two series of mishpatim, inasmuch as the observance and maintenance of both of them depended upon the attitude in which Israel stood towards Jehovah.
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