Leviticus 23:15
And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Ye shall count . . . from the morrow after the sabbath.—That is, from the day following the first day of holy convocation, which was a rest day. As this was the fifteenth of Nisan, the counting began from the sixteenth (see Leviticus 23:11), the day on which the omer of the first-fruits was presented to the Lord.

Seven sabbaths shall be complete.—Better, seven weeks shall be complete. That is, seven entire weeks, making forty-nine days. The expression sabbath denotes here a week, hence the parallel passage substitutes the word week, viz., “seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee” (Deuteronomy 16:9), The same usage is to be found in the New Testament. Thus the passage rendered in the Authorised version, “the first day of the week,” is “the first day of the sabbath” (Matthew 28:1); and “I fast twice in the week” (Luke 18:12), is, “I fast twice in the sabbath.” In accordance with the injunction here given, the Jews to the present day begin to count the forty-nine days at the conclusion of the evening service on the second day of Passover, and pronounce the following blessing every evening of the forty-nine days: “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and hast enjoined us to count the omer. This is the first day of the omer. May it please thee, O Lord our God, and the God of our fathers, to rebuild the sanctuary speedily in our days, and give us our portion in thy Law.

Leviticus 23:15-16. From the morrow — From the sixteenth day of the month, and the second day of the feast of unleavened bread, inclusively; seven sabbaths shall be complete — Namely, forty-nine days; unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath — Which made just fifty days; whence this feast, from a Greek word, πεντηκοστη, pentecoste, which signifies the fifteenth day, was called pentecost. Ye shall offer a new meat (or flower) offering — Another first-fruit-offering, made of wheat, which was then ripe.23:15-22 The feast of Weeks was held in remembrance of the giving of the law, fifty days after the departure from Egypt; and looked forward to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, fifty days after Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. On that day the apostles presented the first-fruits of the Christian church to God. To the institution of the feast of Pentecost, is added a repetition of that law, by which they were required to leave the gleanings of their fields. Those who are truly sensible of the mercy they received from God, will show mercy to the poor without grudging.The morrow after the sabbath - See Leviticus 23:11 note.

Seven sabbaths - More properly, seven weeks (compare Deuteronomy 16:9). The word Sabbath, in the language of the New Testament as well as the Old, is used for "week" (Leviticus 25:8; Matthew 28:1; Luke 18:12, etc.).

Le 23:15-22. Feast of Pentecost.

15. ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath—that is, after the first day of the passover week, which was observed as a Sabbath.

From the morrow after the sabbath, i.e. from the sixteenth day of the month, and the second day of the feast of unleavened bread inclusively. See on Leviticus 23:11.

Seven sabbaths, i.e. weeks, which are so called, by a synecdoche, from the chief day of it, both here and Luke 18:12 Acts 20:7 1 Corinthians 16:2. And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath,.... Not the seventh day sabbath in the passover week, nor the whole feast of unleavened bread, but the first day of it, which was an holy convocation, a sabbath in which no servile work was to be done, Leviticus 23:7; and it was from the day after this, even the sixteenth of Nisan, that the following count was to be made; so the Targum of Jonathan, after the first feast day of the passover: and Josephus (s) is very clear in it, that Pentecost, or the feast of weeks, was the fiftieth day from the sixteenth of Nisan, when the above offerings were made:

from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; which plainly points out the express day from whence the count was to begin, even on the day when the sheaf of the firstfruits of the barley harvest was offered:

seven sabbaths shall be complete; or seven weeks, that is, forty nine days; and hence, Jarchi says, we learn that the count began from the evening, or otherwise the weeks would not be complete; and Gersom thinks the day in which the sheaf was offered is included in the days counted; for the count began from the day after the first of the passover, and lo, seven days are seven weeks of days, which make forty nine days.

(s) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 10. sect. 6.

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the {g} sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

(g) That is, the seventh day after the first sabbath of the Passover.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. the morrow after the sabbath] See on Leviticus 23:11.

15–22. The Feast of Weeks (mainly H). Cp. Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10.

The name is taken from the seven weeks, which, as the average duration of harvest time, separated this feast from that of unleavened bread.Verses 15-21. - The Feast of Pentecost lasted but one day. From the morrow after the sabbath - that is, from the second day of Unleavened Bread - the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths, i.e., weeks, were to be counted, making forty-nine days, and on the day following the completion of the seventh sabbath (meaning here the seventh week), the festival was to be held, whence its later name of Pentecost, or Fiftieth-day Feast. It would have fallen about the beginning of June - a season of the year which would have made the journey to Jerusalem easy. The characteristic offering of the day was that of two wave loaves of two tenth deals... of fine flour... baken with leaven. These loaves were regarded as the firstfruits unto the Lord of the wheat harvest, although the greater part of the crop had now been reaped and housed. They were to be leavened and brought out of your habitations; that is, they were to consist of such bread as was ordinarily used in daily life. They were made out of ears of wheat selected and cut like the barley in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then threshed and ground in the temple court. Each loaf contained an omer of flour, amounting to about five pints, and would therefore have weighed about five pounds. With these were offered two lambs, which were waved before the Lord by being led backwards and forwards before the tabernacle or the temple, and then the loaves were waved also, but they were not placed upon the altar, as they were leavened. The twentieth verse, which is somewhat obscure in the Authorized Version, should be punctuated as follows. And the priest shall wave them (the two lambs) with the bread of the firstfruits (the two loaves) for a wave offering before the Lord; with the two lambs they (the loaves) shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. The other sacrifices to be offered on this day are described in the text as seven lambs,... one young bullock, and two rams... for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings,... and one kid of the goats for a sin offering. In the Book of Numbers (Numbers 28:27) they are stated to be "seven lambs," "two young bullocks," "one ram," with meat and drink offerings, and "one kid of the goats." Seeing that in Leviticus one young bullock and two rams are commanded, and in Numbers "two young bullocks and one ram," it is reasonable to suppose that a copyist's error has found its way into one or the other text. The feast was to be kept as a day of holy convocation, and no servile work was to be done upon it. The number of sacrifices offered by individuals who had come to Jerusalem caused the festivity to be in practice continued for several days subsequent to the festival itself. The leading directions for the Passover and feast of Mazzoth are repeated from Exodus 12:6, Exodus 12:11, Exodus 12:15-20. עבדה מלאכת, occupation of a work, signifies labour at some definite occupation, e.g., the building of the tabernacle, Exodus 35:24; Exodus 36:1, Exodus 36:3; hence occupation in connection with trade or one's social calling, such as agriculture, handicraft, and so forth; whilst מלאכה is the performance of any kind of work, e.g., kindling fire for cooking food (Exodus 35:2-3). On the Sabbath and the day of atonement every kind of civil work was prohibited, even to the kindling of fire for the purpose of cooking (Leviticus 23:3, Leviticus 23:30, Leviticus 23:31, cf. Exodus 20:10; Exodus 31:14; Exodus 35:2-3; Deuteronomy 5:14 and Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7); on the other feast-days with a holy convocation, only servile work (Leviticus 23:7, Leviticus 23:8, Leviticus 23:21, Leviticus 23:25, Leviticus 23:35, Leviticus 23:36, cf. Exodus 12:16, and the explanation on Leviticus 12:1-8 :15ff., and Numbers 28:18, Numbers 28:25-26; Numbers 29:1, Numbers 29:12, Numbers 29:35). To this there is appended a fresh regulation in Leviticus 23:9-14, with the repetition of the introductory clause, "And the Lord spake," etc. When the Israelites had come into the land to be given them by the Lord, and had reaped the harvest, they were to bring a sheaf as first-fruits of their harvest to the priest, that he might wave it before Jehovah on the day after the Sabbath, i.e., after the first day of Mazzoth. According to Josephus and Philo, it was a sheaf of barley; but this is not expressly commanded, because it would be taken for granted in Canaan, where the harvest began with the barley. In the warmer parts of Palestine the barley ripens about the middle of April, and is reaped in April or the beginning of May, whereas the wheat ripens two or three weeks later (Seetzen; Robinson's Pal. ii. 263, 278). The priest was to wave the sheaf before Jehovah, i.e., to present it symbolically to Jehovah by the ceremony of waving, without burning any of it upon the altar. The rabbinical rule, viz., to dry a portion of the ears by the fire, and then, after rubbing them out, to burn them on the altar, was an ordinance of the later scribes, who knew not the law, and was based upon Leviticus 2:14. For the law in Leviticus 2:14 refers to the offerings of first-fruits made by private persons, which are treated of in Numbers 18:12-13, and Deuteronomy 26:2. The sheaf of first-fruits, on the other hand, which was to be offered before Jehovah as a wave-offering in the name of the congregation, corresponded to the two wave-loaves which were leavened and then baked, and were to be presented to the Lord as first-fruits (Leviticus 23:17). As no portion of these wave-loaves was burned upon the altar, because nothing leavened was to be placed upon it (Leviticus 2:11), but they were assigned entirely to the priests, we have only to assume that the same application was intended by the law in the case of the sheaf of first-fruits, since the text only prescribes the waving, and does not contain a word about roasting, rubbing, or burning the grains upon the altar. השּׁבּת מחרת (the morrow after the Sabbath) signifies the next day after the first day of the feast of Mazzoth, i.e., the 16th Abib (Nisan), not the day of the Sabbath which fell in the seven days' feast of Mazzoth, as the Baethoseans supposed, still less the 22nd of Nisan, or the day after the conclusion of the seven days' feast, which always closed with a Sabbath, as Hitzig imagines.

(Note: The view advocated by the Baethoseans, which has been lately supported by W. Schultz, is refuted not only by Joshua 5:11, but by the definite article used, השּׁבּת, which points back to one of the feast-days already mentioned, and still more decisively by the circumstance, that according to Leviticus 23:15 the seven weeks, at the close of which the feast of Pentecost was to be kept, were to be reckoned from this Sabbath; and if the Sabbath was not fixed, but might fall upon any day of the seven days' feast of Mazzoth, and therefore as much as give or six days after the Passover, the feast of Passover itself would be forced out of the fundamental position which it occupied in the series of annual festivals (cf. Ranke, Pentateuch ii. 108). Hitzig's hypothesis has been revived by Hupfeld and Knobel, without any notice of the conclusive refutation given to it by Bהhr and Wieseler; only Knobel makes "the Sabbath" not the concluding but the opening Sabbath of the feast of Passover, on the ground that "otherwise the festal sheaf would not have been offered till the 22nd of the month, and therefore would have come post festum." But this hypothesis, which renders it necessary that the commencement of the ecclesiastical year should always be assigned to a Saturday (Sabbath), in order to gain weekly Sabbaths for the 14th and 21st of the month, as the opening and close of the feast of Passover, gives such a form to the Jewish year as would involve its invariably closing with a broken week; a hypothesis which is not only incapable of demonstration, but, from the holiness attached to the Jewish division of weeks, is a priori improbable, and in fact inconceivable. The Mosaic law, which gave such sanctity to the division of time into weeks, as founded upon the history of creation, by the institution of the observance of the Sabbath, that it raised the Sabbath into the groundwork of a magnificent festal cycle, could not possibly have made such an arrangement with regard to the time for the observance of the Passover, as would involve almost invariably the mutilation of the last week of the year, and an interruption of the old and sacred weekly cycle with the Sabbath festival at its close. The arguments by which so forced a hypothesis is defended, must be very conclusive indeed, to meet with any acceptance. But neither Hitzig nor his followers have been able to adduce any such arguments as these. Besides the word "Sabbath" and Joshua 5:11, which prove nothing at all, the only other argument adduced by Knobel is, that "it is impossible to see why precisely the second day of the azyma, when the people went about their ordinary duties, and there was no meeting at the sanctuary, should have been distinguished by the sacrificial gift which was the peculiar characteristic of the feast," - an argument based upon the fallacious principle, that anything for which I can see no reason, cannot possibly have occurred.)

The "Sabbath" does not mean the seventh day of the week, but the day of rest, although the weekly Sabbath was always the seventh or last day of the week; hence not only the seventh day of the week (Exodus 31:15, etc.), but the day of atonement (the tenth of the seventh month), is called "Sabbath," and "Shabbath shabbathon" (Leviticus 23:32; Leviticus 16:31). As a day of rest, on which no laborious work was to be performed (Leviticus 23:8), the first day of the feast of Mazzoth is called "Sabbath," irrespectively of the day of the week upon which it fell; and "the morrow after the Sabbath" is equivalent to "the morrow after the Passover" mentioned in Joshua 5:11, where "Passover" signifies the day at the beginning of which the paschal meal was held, i.e., the first day of unleavened bread, which commenced on the evening of the 14th, in other words, the 15th Abib. By offering the sheaf of first-fruits of the harvest, the Israelites were to consecrate their daily bread to the Lord their God, and practically to acknowledge that they owed the blessing of the harvest to the grace of God. They were not to eat any bread or roasted grains of the new corn till they had presented the offering of their God (Leviticus 23:14). This offering was fixed for the second day of the feast of the Passover, that the connection between the harvest and the Passover might be kept in subordination to the leading idea of the Passover itself (see at Exodus 12:15.). But as the sheaf was not burned upon the altar, but only presented symbolically to the Lord by waving, and then handed over to the priests, an altar-gift had to be connected with it, - namely, a yearling sheep as a burnt-offering, a meat-offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and a drink-offering of a quarter of a hin of wine, - to give expression to the obligation and willingness of the congregation not only to enjoy their earthly food, but to strengthen all the members of their body for growth in holiness and diligence in good works. The burnt-offering, for which a yearling lamb was prescribed, as in fact for all the regular festal sacrifices, was of course in addition to the burnt-offerings prescribed in Numbers 28:19-20, for every feast-day. The meat-offering, however, was not to consist of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour, as on other occasions (Exodus 29:40; Numbers 28:9, Numbers 28:13, etc.), but of two-tenths, that the offering of corn at the harvest-feast might be a more plentiful one than usual.

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