Leviticus 23:5
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(5) In the fourteenth day of the first month.—This month is called Abib in the Pentateuch (Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:1), and Nisan in the later books of Scripture (Nehemiah 2:1; Esther 3:7). The fourteenth day of this month is about the beginning of April. On this day, which was called both “the preparation for the Passover” (John 19:14), and “the first day of Passover,” all handicraftsmen, with the exception of tailors, barbers, and laundresses, were obliged to relinquish work either from morning or from noon, according to the custom of the different places in Palestine. Leaven was only eaten till midday, and it had to be burned in the afternoon. The time for desisting from and burning the leaven was thus indicated: “Two desecrated cakes of thanksgiving offerings were placed on a bench in the Temple; as long as they were thus exposed all the people ate leaven. When one of them was removed they abstained from eating, but did not burn it; but when the other was taken away all the people began burning the leaven.” It was on this day that every Israelite who was not infirm, ceremonially defiled, uncircumcised, or beyond fifteen miles from the walls of Jerusalem, had to appear before the Lord in the holy city, with an offering in proportion to his means (Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Those who came from the country were gratuitously accommodated by the inhabitants with the necessary apartments (Luke 22:10-12; Matthew 26:18), and the guests in acknowledgment of the hospitality they received left to their hosts the skins of the paschal lambs, and the vessels which they used in their religious ceremonies. Josephus, who was an eye-witness to the fact, tells us that at the Passover, in the reign of Nero, there were 2,700,000 people, when 256,500 lambs were sacrificed. Most of the Jews must therefore have encamped in tents without the walls of the city, as the Mohammedan pilgrims now do at Mecca. It was for this reason that the Romans took great precaution, using both force and conciliatory measures, during the festivals (Matthew 26:5; Luke 13:1).

At even.—Or, in the evening, as the Authorised version renders this phrase in the parallel passage (Exodus 12:6), literally, denotes between the two evenings. The interpretation of this expression constituted one of the differences between the Sadducees and the Pharisees during the second Temple, and seriously affected the time for offering up the paschal lamb and the evening sacrifices. According to the Sadducees it denotes the time between the setting of the sun and the moment when the stars become visible, or when darkness sets in, i.e., between six and seven o’clock, a space of about one hour and twenty minutes. According to the Pharisees, however, “between the two evenings” means from the afternoon to the disappearing of the sun. The first evening is from the time when the sun begins to decline towards the west, whilst the second is when it goes down and vanishes out of sight. This is the reason why the paschal lamb in the evening sacrifice began to be killed and the blood sprinkled at 12.30 p.m. This is more in harmony with the fact that the large number of sacrifices on this day could only be offered up in the longer period of time.

The Lord’s passover.—Also called “the feast of unleavened bread.” (See Leviticus 23:6.)

Leviticus 23:5. In the fourteenth day — See Exodus 12:18. At even — For all the Jewish festivals were kept from evening to evening, their day beginning in the evening. Is the Lord’s passover — Exodus 12:11. Though Moses had often before mentioned this, and several other of their solemnities, he here sets them down all together, according to the order of time in which they were kept, that this chapter might serve the Jews for a general table of all their religious festivals.

23:4-14 The feast of the Passover was to continue seven days; not idle days, spent in sport, as many that are called Christians spend their holy-days. Offerings were made to the Lord at his altar; and the people were taught to employ their time in prayer, and praise, and godly meditation. The sheaf of first-fruits was typical of the Lord Jesus, who is risen from the dead as the First-fruits of them that slept. Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the very day that the first-fruits were offered. We are taught by this law to honour the Lord with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase, Pr 3:9. They were not to eat of their new corn, till God's part was offered to him out of it; and we must always begin with God: begin every day with him, begin every meal with him, begin every affair and business with him; seek first the kingdom of God.In these verses, the Passover, or Paschal Supper, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, are plainly spoken of as distinct feasts. See Exodus 12:6, Exodus 12:15, Exodus 12:17; Numbers 28:16-17.

Leviticus 23:5

See Exodus 12:6. According to the Hebrew mode of reckoning, the 15th day of the month began on the evening of the 14th. The day of holy convocation with which the Feast of Unleavened Bread commenced Leviticus 23:7 was the 15th, and that with which it terminated was the 21st. Compare Numbers 28:16-17.

Le 23:5-8. The Passover.

5. the Lord's passover—(See Ex 12:2, 14, 18). The institution of the passover was intended to be a perpetual memorial of the circumstances attending the redemption of the Israelites, while it had a typical reference to a greater redemption to be effected for God's spiritual people. On the first and last days of this feast, the people were forbidden to work [Le 23:7, 8]; but while on the Sabbath they were not to do any work, on feast days they were permitted to dress meat—and hence the prohibition is restricted to "no servile work." At the same time, those two days were devoted to "holy convocation"—special seasons of social devotion. In addition to the ordinary sacrifices of every day, there were to be "offerings by fire" on the altar (see Nu 28:19), while unleavened bread was to be eaten in families all the seven days (see 1Co 5:8).

No text from Poole on this verse.

In the fourteenth day of the first month,.... The month Nisan, the same with Abib, the month in which the children of Israel came out of Egypt, for which reason it was made the first month in the year, answering to part of our March and part of April; and for the same reason was the passover kept at this time, as follows:

at even is the Lord's passover; that is, that was the time for the keeping the passover, even "between the two evenings", as it may be rendered; from the sixth hour and onward, as Jarchi, trial is, after noon or twelve o'clock the middle of the day, as Gersom, when the sun began to decline; See Gill on Exodus 12:6.

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Feasts of the Passover and Unleavened Bread (5–8)

The law in detail is set forth Exodus 12, and is accordingly here assumed as known, and only the chief regulations are mentioned.

5. the first month] corresponding to the latter part of March with the former part of April. Here, as elsewhere, P denotes the months by numbers only, whereas JE and Deut. give them the names by which they were known in Canaan or Phoenicia, in this case Abib (Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1), while in Nehemiah 2:1; Esther 3:7 it is called by its Babylonian name Nisan. See further in Driver (C.B.), Exodus 12:2.

on the fourteenth day of the month at even] The Jewish day commencing at sunset, the Passover lamb was to be killed before sunset on the day which both by their reckoning and ours was the 14th, and eaten on what we should call the night between the fourteenth and fifteenth days.

passover] The etymological meaning of the Heb. word peṣaḥ is obscure. See Driver, Exod. p. 408 for the various conjectures. The LXX. (πάσχα, Pascha, whence the adjective paschal) and so the N.T. (e.g. Matthew 26:17) transliterate it. Our word is taken from the explanation in Exodus 12:13 which refers it to the sparing of the Israelitish houses on the occasion of the slaying of the Egyptians’ firstborn.

Verse 5. - In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. The month of Nisan was made the first month of the religious year in consequence of the original Passover having taken place in it (Exodus 12:2). On the occasion of the first, or Egyptian, Passover, all heads of a family, either singly or two or three heads of families in conjunction, provided themselves with a lamb or a kid on the 10th day of Nisan, killed it in the evening of the 14th, and, taking a bunch of hyssop, dipped it in the blood and struck the lintel and two side posts of the doors of their houses with the blood. They then roasted the animal whole for eating, added to it unleavened bread, and garnished it with bitter herbs. They made themselves ready to eat it by dressing themselves for a journey, "with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hands" (Exodus 12:11), and thus they ate it in haste, in a standing position. The meaning of the ceremony is explained by what was taking place at the same time. On the same night, after the blood had been sprinkled upon the lintel and side posts, God slew the firstborn of all who had not exhibited this symbol of their having been brought into covenant with himself, and the Israelites set off hurriedly on their departure from Egypt. It was commanded that the day should be kept hereafter in like manner as a memorial, and that the following seven days should be kept as a Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:14, 15). This command is here concisely repeated, as it is again repeated in Deuteronomy 16:1-8. One very considerable change was, however, necessarily made in the method of its observance. Originally, each head of a household or combination of households sacrificed the lamb himself, and sprinkled the blood upon the doorposts and lintel. But after the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood and the withdrawal of the priestly authority previously vested in each head of a house (chapters 8, 9), and after the stringent prohibition of sacrificing elsewhere than in the court of the tabernacle had been issued (chapter 17), this could not continue. Accordingly, we find in the Book of Deuteronomy the direct injunction, "Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee: but at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his Name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 16:5, 6). A result from this rule was that every male Israelite had to present himself at Jerusalem, and there slay his lamb on the day of the Passover, which in the time of Nero, brought between two and three million pilgrims to Jerusalem each year. The crowd of pilgrims took their way to the temple, and were admitted into the court in three divisions. There they slew each man his lamb, while the priests offered the blood on the altar, and the Levites sang the Hallel (Psalm 113-118). Then they bore away the lambs, roasted them whole on a spit of pomegranate wood, taking care that no bone should be broken, and prepared the Paschal supper. At the supper, as well as at the sacrifice, a change of manner was introduced. "As the guests gathered round the Paschal table, they came no longer, as at the first celebration, with their loins girded, with shoes on their feet, and a staff in their hands; that is, as travelers waiting to take their departure. On the contrary, they were arrayed in their best festive garments, joyous and at rest, as became the children of a king. To express this idea, the rabbis also insisted that the Paschal supper, or at least part of it, must be eaten in that recumbent position with which we are familiar from the New Testament. 'For,' say they, 'they use this leaning posture, as free men do, in memorial of their freedom.' And again, 'Because it is the manner of slaves to eat standing, therefore now they eat sitting and leaning, in order to show that they have been delivered from bondage into freedom.' And finally, 'No, not the poorest in Israel may eat till he has sat down, leaning.' But though it was deemed desirable to sit leaning during the whole Paschal supper, it was only absolutely enjoined while partaking of the bread and the wine" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). The essentials of the Paschal feast were the Paschal lamb, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8). To these were afterwards added a dish formed from an animal sacrificed on the Passover day, a composition of dates and other dried fruits, and four cups of red wine mixed with water, the last of which came to be regarded as essential as that which had been commanded in the Law. The Rabbi Gamaliel is reported by the Mishna to have said, "Whoever fails to explain three things in the Passover fails to fulfill his duty. These are the Paschal lamb, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs. The Paschal lamb means that God passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt, which were sprinkled with blood; the unleavened bread, that our fathers were hurried out of Egypt; the bitter herbs, that the Egyptians made the lives of our fathers in Egypt bitter" (Pes. 10:15). The wine was regarded so necessary an adjunct, that it is ordered that every householder must provide himself with four cups, even if he had to sell or pawn his coat, or hire himself out for a servant, or receive money from the poor's box, in order to do so (Pes. 1). The supper began with drinking the first cup of wine, before which a grace, or thanksgiving, of the following character was said: - "Blessed art thou, Jehovah our God, who hast created the fruit of the vine! Blessed art thou, Jehovah our God, King of the universe, who hast chosen us from among all people, and exalted us from among all languages, and sanctified us with thy commandments! And thou hast given us, in love, the solemn days for joy, and the festivals and appointed seasons for gladness, and this, the day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the season of our freedom, a holy convocation, the memorial of our departure from Egypt. For us hast thou chosen; and us hast thou sanctified from among all nations, and thy holy festivals with joy and with gladness hast thou caused us to inherit. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who sanctifiest Israel and the appointed seasons! Blessed art thou, Lord, King of the universe, who hast preserved us alive, and sustained us, and brought us to this season" (Edersheim, 'Temple Service'). After drinking the first cup, there followed a general washing of hands, after which the company ate some of the bitter herbs. Then the second cup was filled, and in order to carry out the injunction of Exodus 12:26, 27, the youngest member of the company inquired, "What mean ye by this service?" And the president of the feast replied, "It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses." At the same time, he explained the purport of the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs, and called upon the company to give thanks for what God had wrought for them and for their fathers, ending with Psalm 113, 114, sung by all present. The second cup was then drunk, and after second washing of hands, the unleavened bread was broken, and thanks again given, after which the pieces of bread, the bitter herbs, the other sacrificial dish (if any), and the Paschal lamb were partaken of in turn. The third cup was then filled, thanks were again given, and the cup was drunk. This cup had the name of the "cup of blessing," owing to the blessing said over it, and it was succeeded after an interval by the fourth cup, when Psalm 115-118 (which, with Psalm 113, 114, made up the Hallel) were sung, followed by a prayer of thanksgiving.

CHAPTER 23:6-44 Leviticus 23:5

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.

Leviticus 23:5 Interlinear
Leviticus 23:5 Parallel Texts

Leviticus 23:5 NIV
Leviticus 23:5 NLT
Leviticus 23:5 ESV
Leviticus 23:5 NASB
Leviticus 23:5 KJV

Leviticus 23:5 Bible Apps
Leviticus 23:5 Parallel
Leviticus 23:5 Biblia Paralela
Leviticus 23:5 Chinese Bible
Leviticus 23:5 French Bible
Leviticus 23:5 German Bible

Bible Hub

Leviticus 23:4
Top of Page
Top of Page