Leviticus 23:2
Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
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(2) Speak unto the children of Israel.—As the festivals here discussed were to be solemnly kept by them, Moses is ordered to address these regulations to the people or their representatives.

Concerning the feasts of the Lord . . . Better, the festivals of the Lord which ye shall proclaim as holy convocations, these are my festivals. That is, the following festivals God claims as His, on which solemn assemblies are to be held in the sanctuary.

23:1-3 In this chapter we have the institution of holy times; many of which have been mentioned before. Though the yearly feasts were made more remarkable by general attendance at the sanctuary, yet these must not be observed more than the sabbath. On that day they must withdraw from all business of the world. It is a sabbath of rest, typifying spiritual rest from sin, and rest in God. God's sabbaths are to be religiously observed in every private house, by every family apart, as well as by families together, in holy assemblies. The sabbath of the Lord in our dwellings will be their beauty, strength, and safety; it will sanctify, build up, and glorify them.The feasts - literally, the appointed times. So in Leviticus 23:4, Leviticus 23:37, etc. This section Leviticus 23:1-38 sets forth for practical guidance the relation in which the appointed times of the Lord, weekly as well as annual, stood to the ordinary occupations of the people.

Holy convocations - Days of sabbatical rest for the whole people; they owed their name to gatherings for religious edification, which, in later times, were probably held in every town and village in the holy land. There were in the course of the year, besides the weekly Sabbaths, seven days of holy convocation Exodus 12:16; Numbers 28:18, Numbers 28:25-26; Numbers 29:1, Numbers 29:12, Numbers 29:35, with a distinction between them as regards strictness of observance (compare Leviticus 23:3, Leviticus 23:28 with Leviticus 23:7).

2. Speak unto the children of Israel, … concerning the feasts of the Lord—literally, "the times of assembling, or solemnities" (Isa 33:20); and this is a preferable rendering, applicable to all sacred seasons mentioned in this chapter, even the day of atonement, which was observed as a fast. They were appointed by the direct authority of God and announced by a public proclamation, which is called "the joyful sound" (Ps 89:15). Those "holy convocations" were evidences of divine wisdom, and eminently subservient to the maintenance and diffusion of religious knowledge and piety. Ye shall proclaim, i.e. cause to be proclaimed by the priests. See Numbers 10:8-10.

Holy convocations; days for your assembling together to my worship and service in a special manner.

These are my feasts, which I have appointed, and the right observation whereof I will accept. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,.... Speak to them to gather together, and then say unto them what follows, they all being obliged to keep the feasts, and observe the solemnities hereafter directed to; though it may be the heads of the tribes and the elders of the people were summoned together, and the following things were delivered to them, and by them to the people:

concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts; appointed and ordered by God, and to be kept to the honour of his name; these are the general names for the particular holy times and seasons after appointed; they are in general called "feasts", though one of them, the day of atonement, was, strictly speaking, a fast; yet being a cessation from all work, and opposed to working days, days of labour and business, it is comprehended in this general title: nor is it unusual with other nations to call a fast a feast; so Aelianus (h) relates of the Tarentines, that having been besieged by the Romans, and delivered from them, in memory of their sufferings appointed a feast which was called a fast: the word used has the signification of stated, fixed, appointed times and seasons, and of convening or meeting together at such times, and that for the performance of solemn worship and service, which is true of them all; for there are certain times of the week and month fixed for them, and when the people in bodies assembled together, and in a solemn manner worshipped the Lord; and these are called "convocations", because the people were called together at those times by the priests, and that with the sound of a trumpet, Numbers 10:2; and "holy", because separated from other days, and set apart for holy services: the words may be rendered, as they are by many (i): "the solemnities of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim holy convocations, these are my solemnities"; times for holy, religious, and solemn service, of his appointment and for his glory: Aben Ezra seems to understand all this of the sabbath only, which is next mentioned, expressed in the plural number, because, as he observes, there are many sabbaths in a year; and indeed the general title of the rest of the feasts is afterwards given, Leviticus 23:4.

(h) Var. Hist. l. 5. c. 20. (i) Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
2, 3. If we pass from ‘say unto them’ (Leviticus 23:2) to ‘These are,’ etc. (Leviticus 23:4), we perceive that the intermediate words have the air of an insertion by a reviser, writing in the spirit of P, and desiring to attain completeness by including the weekly sabbath with its ‘holy convocation.’ This inference is supported by the form of the subscription, where (Leviticus 23:38) the words, ‘Beside the sabbaths of the Lord,’ etc., have somewhat the air of an addition to the summarized description of the feasts (Leviticus 23:38) which have been enumerated.

an holy convocation] i.e. an assembly called together at the sanctuary for religious purposes. They were summoned (cp. Leviticus 23:24) according to Numbers 10:2 (where ‘calling’ is in the original identical with the word here rendered ‘convocation’) by blowing of trumpets, cp. the Mohammedan custom, by which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the top of a mosque. The expression found here occurs outside this ch. only in Exodus 12:16, and in the directions for the observance of festival days in Numbers 28:18; Numbers 28:25 f., Numbers 29:1; Numbers 29:7; Numbers 29:12 (all P).Verse 2. - Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. The translation should rather be, The appointed times which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are my appointed times. The appointed times (mo'adin) include the great fast as well as the festivals, and the weekly and monthly as well as the annual holy days. The primary purpose with which the following enumeration of holy days is introduced, is to give a list of the holy convocations. While the Israelites were still dwelling in the wilderness, a holy convocation appears to have been a religious assembly of all the males in the court of the tabernacle. After the settlement in Canaan, a religious gathering for prayer or festive rejoicing in all their dwellings, that is, wherever they lived, would have satisfied the command to hold a holy convocation, except on the three great festivals, when all who could, "kept the feast" at Jerusalem. There were in all seven holy convocations in the year, besides the sabbath, namely, the first and last days of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Trumpets, the first and last days of the Feast of Tabernacles. The command not to kill an ox or sheep at the same time as its young is related to the law in Exodus 23:19 and Deuteronomy 22:6-7, and was intended to lay it down as a duty on the part of the Israelites to keep sacred the relation which God had established between parent and offspring. - In Leviticus 22:29, Leviticus 22:30, the command to eat the flesh of the animal on the day on which it was offered (Leviticus 7:15; Leviticus 19:5-6) is repeated with special reference to the praise-offering.
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