Leviticus 16:29
And this shall be a statute for ever to you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojournes among you:
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(29) And this shall be a statute for ever.—Literally, a statute of eternity, that is, an everlasting ordinance. That which is contained in Leviticus 16:29-30 is binding upon the Israelites as long as they exist, and is to be observed by them annually.

In the seventh month, on the tenth day.—This month, which is called Tishri, corresponds to September, and is the month of great festivals. On the first is the Feast of Trumpets (see Leviticus 23:24), on the tenth the Day of Atonement, and on the fourteenth begins the Feast of Tabernacles which lasts eight days.

Ye shall afflict your souls.—From Isaiah 58:3; Isaiah 58:5; Isaiah 58:10 it is evident that by the phrase “to afflict the soul” is meant fasting. This is expressed by the fuller form, “to afflict the soul with fasting.” in Psalm 35:13, where the Authorised Version inconsistently translates it, “humbled my soul.” This is the only public fast ordained in the Mosaic Law; and the authorities during the second Temple defined more minutely in what this fasting consists. According to the canon law it consists not only in abstaining from eating and drinking, but from washing, anointing, wearing of shoes or sandals, and the marriage-bed, as they were the outward signs of joy. (Comp. Ecclesiastes 9:10.) If any one presumptuously ate as much as a date with a kernel, or drank as much as fills one cheek, he violated the Law, and incurred the penalty of excision. If he did it unintentionally he had to bring a sin offering. The fast lasted from evening to evening, and is rigorously kept by Jews to this day. Exception was and still is made in the case of pregnant women, invalids, and children. This is the fast which the Apostle refers to in Acts 27:9. The marginal note on this passage, viz., “the fast was on the tenth day of the seventh month” (Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:29), is not to be found in the first edition of the Authorised Version. It was introduced by Bishop Lloyd in the Bible published in London, 1701, fol., who took it from the Geneva Version (Geneva, 1560), and it was adopted in the Oxford 4to edition, 1703. When Christ admonishes his followers, “When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face” (Matthew 6:17), He refers to the canonical law about fasting here given.

And do no work at all.—Better, ye shall do no manner of work, as the same phrase is rendered in the Authorised Version in Leviticus 23:31. It is to be regretted that this legal phrase, which occurs five times in the Pentateuch, four of which are to be found in this very book (Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 23:3; Leviticus 23:28; Leviticus 23:31; Numbers 29:7), should have been translated differently in the Authorised Version. This variation is all the more glaring in Numbers 29:7, which is the parallel passage to this. The day was to be a rest from all manual and other secular work exactly as on the Sabbath, with this exception, that whilst work on the Sabbath was punished with stoning, labour on the Day of Atonement was punished with excision.

A stranger that sojourneth among you.—That is, one of non-Jewish descent who had renounced idolatry, and-voluntarily joined the Jewish community. (See Exodus 12:19; Exodus 20:10.)

Leviticus 16:29. The seventh month — Answering part to our September and part to our October; when they had gathered in all their fruits, and were most at leisure for God’s service. This time God chose for this and other feasts, herein graciously condescending to men’s necessities and conveniences. This fast began in the evening of the ninth day, and continued till the evening of the tenth. Your souls — Yourselves, both your bodies, by abstinence from food and other delights; and your minds, by grief for former sins, which, though bitter, yet is voluntary in all true penitents, who are therefore here said to afflict themselves, or to be active in the work.16:15-34 Here are typified the two great gospel privileges, of the remission of sin, and access to God, both of which we owe to our Lord Jesus. See the expiation of guilt. Christ is both the Maker and the Matter of the atonement; for he is the Priest, the High Priest, that makes reconciliation for the sins of the people. And as Christ is the High Priest, so he is the Sacrifice with which atonement is made; for he is all in all in our reconciliation to God. Thus he was figured by the two goats. The slain goat was a type of Christ dying for our sins; the scape-goat a type of Christ rising again for our justification. The atonement is said to be completed by putting the sins of Israel upon the head of the goat, which was sent away into a wilderness, a land not inhabited; and the sending away of the goat represented the free and full remission of their sins. He shall bear upon him all their iniquities. Thus Christ, the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world, by taking it upon himself, Joh 1:29. The entrance into heaven, which Christ made for us, was typified by the high priest's entrance into the most holy place. See Heb 9:7. The high priest was to come out again; but our Lord Jesus ever lives, making intercession, and always appears in the presence of God for us. Here are typified the two great gospel duties of faith and repentance. By faith we put our hands upon the head of the offering; relying on Christ as the Lord our Righteousness, pleading his satisfaction, as that which alone is able to atone for our sins, and procure us a pardon. By repentance we afflict our souls; not only fasting for a time from the delights of the body, but inwardly sorrowing for sin, and living a life of self-denial, assuring ourselves, that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. By the atonement we obtain rest for our souls, and all the glorious liberties of the children of God. Sinner, get the blood of Christ effectually applied to thy soul, or else thou canst never look God in the face with any comfort or acceptance. Take this blood of Christ, apply it by faith, and see how it atones with God.Seventh month, on the tenth day - The month Ethanim or Tisri, as being the seventh in the Sacred year, has been called the sabbatical month. On the first day was celebrated the Feast of Trumpets Leviticus 23:24, the tenth day was the Day of Atonement, and on the fourteenth day the Feast of tabernacles commenced (Leviticus 23:24 note; Exodus 23:16).

Afflict your souls - The old term for fasting; but its meaning evidently embraces, not only abstinence from food, but that penitence and humiliation which give scope and purpose to the outward act of fasting. The Day of Atonement was the only public fast commanded by the Law of Moses. See further directions in Leviticus 23:27-32. On fasts observed in later times, see Zechariah 8:19, and margin reference.

A stranger that sojourneth among you - Rather, the foreigner who dwelleth among you. See Exodus 20:10 note. The meaning is, one of foreign blood, who dwelt with the Israelites, had abjured false gods, and had become familiarly known to his neighbors, e. g. the Kenites (Judges 4:11, etc.); the Gibeonites Joshua 9; and a considerable portion of the "mixed multitude" (compare Exodus 12:38, Exodus 12:48). As the foreigner had the blessing and protection of the Law he was bound to obey its statutes.

29-34. this shall be a statute for ever unto you, that in the seventh month ye shall afflict your souls—This day of annual expiation for all the sins, irreverences, and impurities of all classes in Israel during the previous year, was to be observed as a solemn fast, in which "they were to afflict their souls"; it was reckoned a sabbath, kept as a season of "holy convocation," or, assembling for religious purposes. All persons who performed any labor were subject to the penalty of death [Ex 31:14, 15; 35:2]. It took place on the tenth day of the seventh month, corresponding to our third of October; and this chapter, together with Le 23:27-32, as containing special allusion to the observances of the day, was publicly read. The rehearsal of these passages appointing the solemn ceremonial was very appropriate, and the details of the successive parts of it (above all the spectacle of the public departure of the scapegoat under the care of its leader) must have produced salutary impressions both of sin and of duty that would not be soon effaced. For ever. See on Exodus 12:14.

In the seventh month, answering part to our September, and part to our October; when they had gathered in all their fruits, and were most at leisure for God’s service: this time God chose for this and other feasts, herein graciously condescending to men’s necessities and conveniencies, being contented with that time which men could best spare.

On the tenth day.

Object. It was on the ninth day, Leviticus 23:32.

Answ. It began in the evening of the ninth day, and continued till the evening of the tenth day, as is there sufficiently implied.

Ye shall afflict your souls, i.e. yourselves, as the word soul is frequently used, both your bodies by abstinence from food and other delights, and your minds by anguish and grief for former sins, which though bitter, yet is voluntarily in all true penitents, who are therefore here said not to be afflicted, but to afflict themselves, or to be active in the work. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you,.... As long as the Aaronic priesthood was in being, and the Levitical dispensation lasted, until: the true Messiah came and put an end to all these rites and ceremonies; until that time this service was to be performed by the high priest in succession every year:

that in the seventh month; the month Tisri, as the Targum of Jonathan explains it, which answers to part of our September, and was the seventh month from the month Abib or Nisan, answering to part of our March; which was appointed the first month, upon the Israelites coming out of Egypt in that month, and for that reason; otherwise this seventh month, or Tisri, was the first month of the year before, and, indeed, continued to be so notwithstanding, with respect to things civil:

on the tenth day of the month; on which day, the Jews say (w), Moses descended from the mount the second time, with the tables of the law, and the tidings of forgiveness of the sin of the calf; wherefore this day is thought to be appointed a day of affliction and humiliation for that and all other sins, and for the atonement of them, and on this day the jubilee trumpet was blown, Leviticus 25:9,

ye shall afflict your souls; not only by humiliation of the heart for sin, and by repentance of it, and by turning from their evil ways, but by corporeal fasting, which is chiefly meant by the affliction of their souls; so the Targum of Jonathan explains it, by abstaining from eating and from drinking, and from the use of baths, and from anointing, and from the use of shoes, and of the marriage bed; and so it is said in the Misnah (x), on the day of atonement, eating and drinking, and washing, and anointing, and putting on of the shoes, and the use of the bed, are forbidden; whoever eats the quantity of a gross date with its kernels, or drinks a mouthful (as much as he can hold in his jaws), is guilty: they do not afflict children on the day of atonement, but they train them up a year or two before, that they may be inured to the command; hence this day, in Acts 27:9 is called "the fast":

and do no work at all; no bodily work, for it was in that respect a sabbath, as it is afterwards called; the Jewish canon is, he that ate and did any work was guilty of two sins, or was obliged to two sin offerings (y):

whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you; whether a native of the land of Israel, that was born there, and of parents who were Israelites, or one that was a proselyte to the Jewish religion, a proselyte of righteousness, as Ben Gersom interprets it; this law concerning fasting and abstinence from all servile work on the day of atonement was binding on the one as on the other,

(w) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 6. p. 19. (x) Misn. Yoma, c. 8. sect. 1, 2, 4. (y) Ibid. sect. 3.

And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the {i} seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall {k} afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:

(i) Which was Tisri, part September and part October.

(k) Meaning, by abstinence and fasting, Nu 29:7.

29. in the seventh month, etc.] A certain sanctity attached to the day which closed the first decade of the month. See Driver on Exodus 12:3. In view of the fact that the Feast of Ingathering was placed five days later, Dillm. suggests that from very early times there may have existed a ceremonial of purification in preparation for that festival.

The choice of the 24th day of the same month for the solemn service of confession of sin in the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9:1) seems to shew that this statute, whatever be its age, was not on that occasion considered to be binding.

afflict your souls] Here and Leviticus 16:31, Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:29; Leviticus 23:32, Numbers 29:7 of the Day of Atonement; the expression occurs Numbers 30:13; Psalm 35:13 (with the addition of ‘with fasting’); Isaiah 58:3; Isaiah 58:5 (also with ref. to fasting) †: cp. Ezra 8:21; Isaiah 58:10.

the homeborn, or the stranger] See notes on Leviticus 17:13; Leviticus 17:15.

Statute of yearly atonement (29–34)

On the annual Day of Atonement the people are to practise self-denial and to abstain from work. According to Benzinger this section forms an original and independent law (with the exception of 34 b), involving a simple rite for expiation of guilt, and afterwards combined with directions as to the conditions under which the high priest should enter the Holy of Holies. See App. p. 163.Verses 29-31. - The ceremonies of the Day of Atonement are not appointed for once only, but they are to be of annual observance. This shall be a statute for ever unto you, as long as the nation should exist, that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all. The seventh is the sacred month, in which the first, the tenth, the fifteenth, and following days are appointed as holy seasons. The Day of Atonement is the single fast of the Jewish Church occurring once a year only. On it all the members of that Church were to afflict their souls, on pain of death (Leviticus 23:29). The fast began on the evening of the ninth day, and ended on the evening of the tenth, when it was succeeded by general feasting. During the whole of the twenty-four hours no work at all was to be done. In this respect the Day of Atonement was put on a level with the sabbath, whereas on the annual festivals only "servile work" was forbidden (see Leviticus 23:7, 21, 25, 35). On this day, therefore, as on the weekly sabbath, it was not permitted to collect manna (Exodus 16:26), or to plough or reap (Exodus 34:21), or to light a fire (Exodus 35:3), or to gather wood (Numbers 15:32-36), or to carry corn or fruit (Nehemiah 13:15), or to sell food or other goods (Nehemiah 13:16), or to bear burdens (Jeremiah 17:22, 23), or to set out grain for sale (Amos 8:5). And these regulations applied to strangers that sojourned among them as well as to themselves. It was a sabbath of rest; literally, a sabbath of sabbatism. The purpose of the abstinence from food and labour was to bring the soul of each individual into harmony with the solemn rites of purification publicly performed not by themselves, but by the high priest. After the living goat had been sent away, Aaron was to go into the tabernacle, i.e., the holy place of the dwelling, and there take off his white clothes and lay them down, i.e., put them away, because they were only to be worn in the performance of the expiatory ritual of this day, and then bathe his body in the holy place, i.e., in the court, in the laver between the altar and the door of the dwelling, probably because the act of laying the sins upon the goat rendered him unclean. He was then to put on his clothes, i.e., the coloured state-dress of the high priest, and to offer in this the burnt-offerings, for an atonement for himself and the nation (see Leviticus 1:4), and to burn the fat portions of the sin-offerings upon the altar.
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