Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
(with Nehemiah 9:9-11)
The sacred Scriptures record two chief outbursts of miraculous power: one at the foundation of the Hebrew commonwealth at the exodus from Egypt and one at the time of Christ's appearing and the foundation of Christianity. It is a matter of infinite importance to every man to ascertain whether these great miracles of the Exodus and of Christ's first advent were really wrought.
I. The facts of the case are these: (1) The Hebrew people and the ancient Hebrew books now exist, and they throw light on one another. (2) Wherever the Jewish people exist they celebrate in the spring the festival of the Passover, which they universally regard as a historical memorial of the deliverance of their forefathers from Egypt, about fourteen hundred years before Christ, by the supernatural intervention of God the Almighty.
II. In the same manner, the feast of Pentecost, or the festival of the wheat-harvest, fifty days after the Passover, came to be regarded as a memorial of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai on the fiftieth day after the Exodus. In like manner, the autumnal festival of Succoth, or Booths, called "the feast of tabernacles," is now celebrated just as universally as the Passover in the spring, as a memorial of the children of Israel dwelling in huts or booths. These festivals and commemorations have been celebrated now for more than three thousand years.
III. The rule is that national celebrations and public monuments maintain the remembrance of real events in past ages. It may be objected that if Athens, with all its wisdom, could celebrate the fictitious history of Minerva, why may we not believe that the Jews were capable of commemorating things that happened only in the imagination of later writers and poets? To this we answer: (1) that even in the festivals of mythology there has been a strange interweaving of historical truth and a constant tendency to give this element prominence in the lapse of time; (2) that the Jews were utterly destitute of the dramatic imagination of the Greeks: to them the origination of a myth like that of the Exodus, if it were a myth, would be an uncongenial exercise, its adoption as history an impossibility.
E. White, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 120.
References: Deuteronomy 16:10.—A. Pott, Sermons for the Festivals and Fasts, p. 375. Deuteronomy 16:13.—C. J. Vaughan, Good Words, 1864, p. 700. Deuteronomy 16:13-17.—J. Bruce, Sermons, p. 155; E. H. Plumptre, Church Sermons by Eminent Clergymen, vol. ii., p. 244 (see also Old Testament Outlines, p. 51).
Deuteronomy 16:16I. A leading feature, the leading feature, of the Old Testament revelation, is that life and all that crowns it—its crown of blessings—is the gift of a living, intelligent Being, and comes to us bearing the seal of His love. The Jews were separated to this end, that God's methods and purposes with all men might be laid bare, that for once the Hand might be clearly manifest which is busy about every life. All things happened unto them for our ensamples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.
II. The motive which is pleaded for all the noblest human effort is God's example. God has done thus and thus for you; "Go ye and do likewise" for your fellow-men.
III. The exhortations of Scripture are amply sustained by our own experience of life. There is no joy that fills man's heart which is comparable with that which he shares with God. Man's gladdest experiences, his most self-approved acts and ministries, are those which have absolutely no explanation but in his Godlikeness.
IV. Part of this Godlike duty finds expression in the text. "They shall not appear before the Lord empty." Help God, for His great mercy's sake, to help the world.
V. Another great thought of the Old Testament is the help which it is in man's power to render to God. These old records show us how much there is that God's heart most deeply cares for in which our help is essential. His ends can never be reached without us in the way in which His wisdom has ordered the world.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 71.
References: Deuteronomy 16:17.—Parker, vol. v., p. 10. Deuteronomy 16:18.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 208. Deut 16—Parker, vol. iv., p. 255.
Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.
Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
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.
And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.
And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.
Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:
And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.