Leviticus 23:17
You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Ye shall bring out of your habitations.—During the second Temple this clause was taken to be elliptical, and to denote ye shall bring out of, or from, the land of your habitations, that is, from Palestine (Numbers 15:2).

Two wave loaves of two tenth deals.—These two loaves were prepared in the following manner. Three seahs of new wheat were brought into the court of the Temple, were beaten and trodden and ground into flour. Two omers of the flour were respectively obtained from a seah and a half, and after having been sieved in the twelve different sieves, were kneaded separately with leaven into two loaves outside the Temple, but were baked inside the sanctuary on the day preceding the festival. Each loaf was seven hand-breadths long, four hand-breadths broad, and five fingers high. These were offered to the Lord as firstlings (Exodus 34:17), whence this festival is also called “the day of first-fruits” (Numbers 28:26).

Leviticus 23:17. Two wave loaves of two tenth-deals — There was one tenth-deal in each loaf. They were called wave-loaves, because they were presented to God by waving them toward heaven. Baken with leaven — Contrary to the established law in other bread or flower offerings, Leviticus 2:11-12. The reason may be, that these first-fruits were a symbol of the leavened bread which the Israelites commonly used.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.Habitations - Not strictly houses, but places of abode in a general sense. It seems here to denote the land in which the Israelites were to dwell so as to express that the flour was to be of home growth. The two loaves were to be merely waved before Yahweh and then to become the property of the priests. No bread containing leaven could be offered on the altar (see the Leviticus 2:11 note). The object of this offering seems to have been to present to the Lord the best produce of the earth in the actual condition in which it is most useful for the support of human life. It thus represented in the fittest manner the thanksgiving which was proper for the season. The loaves appear to be distinctively called "the first fruits for Yahweh," and references to them are found in Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4, etc. As these loaves offered before Yahweh sanctified the harvest of the year, so has "Christ the firstfruits" sanctified the Church, which, in its union with Him as the firstfruits, becomes also the Sanctifier of the world. See the services for Whitsuntide.17. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals, &c.—These loaves were made of "fine" or wheaten flour, the quantity contained in them being somewhat more than ten pounds in weight. As the wave-sheaf gave the signal for the commencement, the two loaves solemnized the termination of the harvest season. They were the first-fruits of that season, being offered unto the Lord by the priest in name of the whole nation. (See Ex 34:22). The loaves used at the Passover were unleavened; those presented at Pentecost were leavened—a difference which is thus accounted for, that the one was a memorial of the bread hastily prepared at their departure, while the other was a tribute of gratitude to God for their daily food, which was leavened. Out of your habitations, i.e. out of the corn of your own land, for which and for the fruits of it you are now to offer praises unto God. And this also, as well as the former sacrifice, was brought out of the common charge, and in the name of the whole nation, whence it is said to be brought out of their habitations in the plural number. Some conceive two several loaves were brought from every family, or, as others, from every city or town. But this is easily confuted from Leviticus 23:18, where we read that with the bread, to wit, the two loaves, were to be offered seven lambs, one bullock, &c., which doubtless was a common oblation, and in the name of all.

Two wave loaves; in double proportion, as before, Leviticus 23:13.

Baken with leaven; because these were not offered to God, but wholly given to the priest for food. See on Leviticus 2:11 7:13. And ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals,.... Out of their habitations in the land of Canaan; and not out of those without the land, as Jarchi observes; and not out of all of them, as Ben Gersom remarks; though the Vulgate Latin version has it, out of "all" of our habitations, but wrongly; and indeed out of no one particular habitation, because it was at the public expense; but they were brought from some part of the country or another, even the quantity of two tenth parts of an ephah, or two omers of wheat flour made into two loaves, which were to be, and were waved before the Lord, and hence so called; and are the same with the new meat offering, or rather bread offering, made of the new corn, in the preceding verse, so Jarchi:

they shall be of fine flour; of wheat flour, the finest of it, of which all meat or bread offerings were made; and this was particularly on account of the wheat harvest, and therefore it was proper that the finest of the wheat should be used on this occasion; See Gill on Leviticus 2:1; each loaf or cake, according to Maimonides (w), was seven hands' breadths long, four hands' breadths broad, and four fingers high:

they shall be baked with leaven; the common meat offering was unleavened, part of which was burnt on the altar, where no leaven might be burnt, Leviticus 2:4; and from hence it may be concluded that no part of these loaves was to be burnt, but the whole of them fell to the share of the priests:

they are the firstfruits unto the Lord; which he claimed as his, and gave unto his priests; and it was but right and just he should have them, as an acknowledgment of all coming from his hands, and as expressive of gratitude for them, and for the sanctification of the rest; hence this is called the feast of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, Exodus 34:22.

(w) Hilchot Tamidin, &c. c. 8. sect. 10.

Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with {h} leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.

(h) Because the priest should eat them, as in Le 7:13, and they should not be offered to the Lord on the altar.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. wave loaves] See Appendix IV, pp. 183 ff.

tenth parts] A.V. ‘tenth deals,’ and so in Leviticus 23:13. With the exception of these vv. the expression is peculiar to P, denoting the measure of fine flour used in a Meal-Offering. For the word ‘deals’ see on Leviticus 14:10.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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