Exodus 34:22
And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
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(22) The feast of weeks.—Called in Exodus 23:16, “the feast of harvest,” and in the New Testament “the day of Pentecost”—seven weeks after the first day of unleavened bread. (See Note 1 on Exodus 23:16.) The special offering to be made at the feast consisted of “two wave loaves of fine flour, baken with leaven” (Leviticus 23:17), which were “the first-fruits of the wheat harvest.”

And the feast of ingathering.—Called also “the feast of tabernacles” (Leviticus 23:34; Deuteronomy 16:13; Deuteronomy 16:16; Deuteronomy 31:10, &c.), on account of the command to “dwell in booths seven days” during its continuance (Leviticus 23:42). On the character of the festival see Note 2 on Exodus 23:16.

34:18-27 Once a week they must rest, even in ploughing time, and in harvest. All worldly business must give way to that holy rest; even harvest work will prosper the better, for the religious observance of the sabbath day in harvest time. We must show that we prefer our communion with God, and our duty to him, before the business or the joy of harvest. Thrice a year they must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. Canaan was a desirable land, and the neighbouring nations were greedy; yet God says, They shall not desire it. Let us check all sinful desires against God and his glory, in our hearts, and then trust him to check all sinful desires in the hearts of others against us. The way of duty is the way of safety. Those who venture for him never lose by him. Three feasts are here mentioned: 1. The Passover, in remembrance of the deliverance out of Egypt. 2. The feast of weeks, or the feast of Pentecost; added to it is the law of the first-fruits. 3. The feast of in-gathering, or the feast of Tabernacles. Moses is to write these words, that the people might know them better. We can never be enough thankful to God for the written word. God would make a covenant with Israel, in Moses as a mediator. Thus the covenant of grace is made with believers through Christ.See Exodus 20:9; Exodus 23:12. There is here added to the commandment a particular caution respecting those times of year when the land calls for most labor. The old verb "to ear" (i. e. to plow) is genuine English.9, 10. he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us—On this proclamation, he, in the overflowing benevolence of s heart, founded an earnest petition for the Divine Presence being continued with the people; and God was pleased to give His favorable answer to Moses' intercession by a renewal of His promise under the form of a covenant, repeating the leading points that formed the conditions of the former national compact. The feast of weeks, i.e. which is numbered by weeks being just seven weeks after the passover, whence it is called pentecost, i.e. the fiftieth day, to wit, after the passover. See Leviticus 23:15 25:8.

The first-fruits of wheat harvest; so this is a designation of the time and business of the feast of weeks.

The feast of ingathering, to wit, of the fruits of the earth.

The year’s end; so it was in regard of the jubilee and civil contracts. And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks,.... The feast of Pentecost, called the feast of weeks, because seven sabbaths or weeks, or fifty days, were to be reckoned from the day in the passover feast, on which the sheaf of the wave offering was brought, Leviticus 23:15 and which was also called the feast

of the first fruits of wheat harvest, to distinguish it from the barley harvest, at the time of the passover, when a sheaf of barley was the wave offering to the Lord; but at this two loaves or cakes of fine wheaten flour were brought as the first fruits of the wheat harvest, see Leviticus 23:17.

and the feast of ingathering at the year's end; which was the feast of tabernacles, called the feast of ingathering, because at this time all the fruits of the earth, the corn, wine, and oil, and all others were gathered in; and this was at the close of the old year, and at the beginning of the new, according to the ancient account, which made Tisri or September the first month in the year; See Gill on Exodus 23:16.

And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering {g} at the year's end.

(g) Which was in September, when the days got shorter, that is, the end of their calendar year.

22. See on Exodus 23:16. Feast of weeks is a name derived (see Deuteronomy 16:9) from the ‘seven weeks’—the average duration of harvest-time—by which this feast followed the commencement of harvest. The same expression is used in Deuteronomy 16:10; Deuteronomy 16:16, 2 Chronicles 8:13†.

hold thee] See on Exodus 12:47. So Deuteronomy 16:13.

close] lit. circuit, i.e. completed circuit; Ges. (Thes.) ‘ad (post) decursum anni.’ So Exo 1 Samuel 1:20 (lit. at the (completed) circuit of days),—also, in all probability, of the feast of weeks at the close of the year (notice in v. 21 ‘the yearly sacrifice,’ lit. the sacrifice of days, of the same feast1[222]): the word occurs also in Psalm 19:6 [Hebrews 7], 2 Chronicles 24:23 †; cf. the cognate verb in Isaiah 29:1 ‘let the feasts go round,’ i.e. complete their circuit.

[222] The words ‘that [Heb. and] Hannah conceived’ in v. 20 are almost certainly misplaced, and should stand at the beginning of the verse: ‘And Hannah conceived; and it came to pass, at the close of the days (i.e. of the year), that she bare a son.’Verse 22. - Of the first-fruits. There is here an unfortunate ambiguity. The English reader naturally supposes that three festivals are mentioned -

1. That of weeks;

2. That of the first-fruits of wheat harvest; and

3. That of in-gathering.

But in reality the feast of weeks is that of the first-fruits of wheat harvest. See Leviticus 23:17; Numbers 28:26. The observance of this feast, as well as that of the feast of in-gathering, was commanded in the "Book of the Covenant" (Exodus 23:16). To recall the duties of the covenant once more to the minds of the people, the Lord repeats from among the rights of Israel, upon the basis of which the covenant had been established (ch. 21-23), two of the leading points which determined the attitude of the nation towards Him, and which constituted, as it were, the main pillars that were to support the covenant about to be renewed. These were, first, the warning against every kind of league with the Canaanites, who were to be driven out before the Israelites (Exodus 34:11-16); and, secondly, the instructions concerning the true worship of Jehovah (Exodus 34:17-26). The warning against friendship with the idolatrous Canaanites (Exodus 34:11-16) is more fully developed and more strongly enforced than in Exodus 23:23. The Israelites, when received into the covenant with Jehovah, were not only to beware of forming any covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan (cf. Exodus 23:32-33), but were to destroy all the signs of their idolatrous worship, such as altars, monuments (see Exodus 23:24), and asherim, the idols of Astarte, the Canaanitish goddess of nature, which consisted for the most part of wooden pillars (see my Comm. on 1 Kings 14:23), and to worship no other god, because Jehovah was called jealous, i.e., had revealed Himself as jealous (see at Exodus 20:5), and was a jealous God. This was commanded, that the Israelites might not suffer themselves to be led astray by such an alliance; to go a whoring after their gods, and sacrifice to them, to take part in their sacrificial festivals, or to marry their sons to the daughters of the Canaanites, by whom they would be persuaded to join in the worship of idols. The use of the expression "go a whoring" in a spiritual sense, in relation to idolatry, is to be accounted for on the ground, that the religious fellowship of Israel with Jehovah was a covenant resembling the marriage tie; and we meet with it for the first time, here, immediately after the formation of this covenant between Israel and Jehovah. The phrase is all the more expressive on account of the literal prostitution that was frequently associated with the worship of Baal and Astarte (cf. Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 20:5-6; Numbers 14:33, etc.). We may see from Numbers 25:1. how Israel was led astray by this temptation in the wilderness.
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