Leviticus 23:1

Leviticus 23:1-3
cf. Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 16:22; Exodus 20:8-11; Mark 2:23-28; Revelation 1:10. In the sacrificial worship we come across what is essentially different as an offering from the sacrifice of an animal or of any palpable possession, and yet is a real sacrifice all the while - we mean that of time. The sabbath, as an offering of rest, has consequently a very high place among the Jews. As Ewald has remarked, it is the only sacrifice which finds a place among the ten commandments. No wonder he regards it as "the greatest and most prolific thought" in the Jewish religion. And here let us notice -

I. THE HIGH VALUE MAN USUALLY SETS ON HIS TIME. It is indeed said to be money. Many will make almost any other sacrifice more willingly than that of their tinge. They will give money, valuables, almost anything you like to ask, except their precious time. What a fuss made about an evening devoted to you by a busy friend, or half an evening, or sometimes half an hour! Hence, in demanding from man a proportion of his time, God asks for what man esteems highly and is loth to give. Time is regarded as so peculiarly man's own, to do what he likes in, that it becomes no light sacrifice, but rather the crown of all sacrifices, when a considerable portion of time is made over unto God.

II. THE DEMAND GOD MAKES IS IN MAN'S INTEREST, FOR IT IS FOR REST AFTER LABOUR. Six days of work, and then, saith God, one day of rest. The body needs it. Seven days' unceasing toil would soon take the heart out of all workers, and bring on premature decay. God himself has set the example. After the untold labours of the creation, after the hard work - if we may reverently use such terms of God - of the creative periods, he has entered into the long sabbath of human history. He is in the midst of it now. This is implied by the words of Jesus, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17), in their connection. And so a restful Father in heaven calls upon his toiling children upon earth to rest, as he has done, one day out of seven, and not sink through unceasing labour. So consonant is this weekly rest with the laws of our physical nature, that some, who do not see clearly the scriptural proof and obligation of a holy day, believe that it might safely be allowed to rest upon the foundation of physical need. But the needs of others, alas! constitute no sufficient sanction with selfish men. God must speak and make his demand, else men will run counter to their general welfare in their self-indulgence.

III. GOD'S REST IS TO BE CHARACTERIZED BY SOCIAL WORSHIP. Man is not to spend his seventh day in inactivity. He is not to loiter about his tent or gossip at its door all the day. There is to be "an holy convocation" (מִקְרָאאּקֹדֶשׁ). The day is to be celebrated by social worship. The people were expected to gather in their thousands to praise the Lord. Were it not for such a regulation as the sabbath, with its public services, even Judaism could not have survived. The same reason still holds for a holy sabbath. In the interests of religion it must be observed. What would become of our holy religion if a set time for its weekly observance were not generally kept? Men need these "trysting times" and "trysting places" (as מועְרֵי, in verse 2, might very properly be translated), that religion may keep its position among us. We may imagine what our land 'would be if no Lord's day were kept, if no sabbath bells summoned people to public prayer, and no preachers got their weekly opportunities. It would soon be an irreligious land, carelessness and indifference reigning throughout it in a measure infinitely greater than they do even now.

IV. THE DAY OF REST IS TO BE REGARDED AS THE LORD'S. "It is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings." The Jew regarded the sabbath as "the Lord's day." It was the day of the week that God regulated, and all whose hours he claimed as his. We claim as much for "the first day of the week" under our dispensation. We ask men to lay the day as a hearty offering on God's altar. They are not doing so while they spend it as they like. It is to be a holy day, not a holiday; a holy day, and therefore to a holy soul a happy day, the day in which we can rejoice and be glad. When we can say with John, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day," we are sure to have most precious visions of the Lord's beauty and glory (cf. Revelation 1:10, etc.). It is no contention, therefore, about something Jewish, but simply about something honestly dedicated as a day to God. Those who contend against the strict observance of the Lord's day either labour under a total misapprehension about the way some people spend it, or are really bent upon devoting the day to their own purposes instead of to God's. If we are commonly honest, we shall esteem it only right to surrender as the highest offering of our religious life the seventh of our time to him who deserves it all. Man, then, says Ewald, "shall release his soul and body from all their burdens, with all the professions and pursuits of ordinary life, only in order to gather himself together again in God with greater purity and fewer disturbing elements, and renew in him the might of his own better powers. If, then, the interchange of activity and rest is already founded in the nature of all creation, and is the more beneficial and health-bringing the more regular its recurrence, so should it be found here too; yet not as when, in the night and in sleep, the body is cared for, but as when, in a joyous day of unfettered meditation, the spiritual man always finds his true rest, and thereby is indeed renewed and strengthened." - R.M.E.

I am the Lord.
Five motives are strewn on their path to constrain them to close obedience.

1. "I am the Lord." This is authority employed.

2. "I will be hallowed among the children of Israel." This is His holiness, and His desire to diffuse awe of His holy name.

3. "I am the Lord which hallow you." Here is an appeal to their privileges as Israelites. Do you not feel that you actually are set apart for Me?

4. "I am the Lord which brought you out of Egypt." Here is His claim as Redeemer, who paid the price and set free the captives. Is there gratitude in your souls? Is there sense of thankfulness for favour done?

5. "Your God" — as well as your Lord: His claim as Father, Shepherd, King, and whatever else there is that is tender in relationship, or beneficial in office, or sweet in character — all is summed up in "your God"! Who is like "our God"? "Who would not fear Thee?" (Jeremiah 10:7).

(A. A. Bonar.)



III. WHAT JEHOVAH HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL. "That brought you out of the land of Egypt."

IV. WHAT JEHOVAH WOULD DO WITH ISRAEL. "I am the Lord which hallow you." Ceremonially and symbolically priests and people were made holy by —

1. The rights they observed.

2. The sacrifices they offered.

3. The manifested presence of the Lord.

(F. W. Brown.).

Ephah, Israelites, Moses
Saying, Spake, Speaketh, Spoke
1. The feasts of the Lord
3. the Sabbath
4. The Passover
9. The sheaf of firstfruits
15. The feast of Pentecost
22. Gleanings to be left for the poor
23. The feast of trumpets
26. The day of atonement
33. The feast of tabernacles

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Leviticus 23:1-2

     5213   assembly

Leviticus 23:1-8

     8270   holiness, set apart

The Consecration of Joy
'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 34. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. 35. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord; on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Of a Private Fast.
That we may rightly perform a private fast, four things are to be observed:--First, The author; Secondly, The time and occasion; Thirdly, The manner; Fourthly, The ends of private fasting. 1. Of the Author. The first that ordained fasting was God himself in paradise; and it was the first law that God made, in commanding Adam to abstain from eating the forbidden fruit. God would not pronounce nor write his law without fasting (Lev. xxiii), and in his law commands all his people to fast. So does our
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

In the Last, the Great Day of the Feast'
IT was the last, the great day of the Feast,' and Jesus was once more in the Temple. We can scarcely doubt that it was the concluding day of the Feast, and not, as most modern writers suppose, its Octave, which, in Rabbinic language, was regarded as a festival by itself.' [3987] [3988] But such solemn interest attaches to the Feast, and this occurrence on its last day, that we must try to realise the scene. We have here the only Old Testament type yet unfilfilled; the only Jewish festival which has
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Deputation from Jerusalem - the Three Sects of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes - Examination of their Distinctive Doctrines.
APART from the repulsively carnal form which it had taken, there is something absolutely sublime in the continuance and intensity of the Jewish expectation of the Messiah. It outlived not only the delay of long centuries, but the persecutions and scattering of the people; it continued under the disappointment of the Maccabees, the rule of a Herod, the administration of a corrupt and contemptible Priesthood, and, finally, the government of Rome as represented by a Pilate; nay, it grew in intensity
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Chronology
45. The length of the public ministry of Jesus was one of the earliest questions which arose in the study of the four gospels. In the second and third centuries it was not uncommon to find the answer in the passage from Isaiah (lxi. 1, 2), which Jesus declared was fulfilled in himself. "The acceptable year of the Lord" was taken to indicate that the ministry covered little more than a year. The fact that the first three gospels mention but one Passover (that at the end), and but one journey to Jerusalem,
Rush Rhees—The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

"But if the Spirit of Him that Raised up Jesus from the Dead Dwell in You, He that Raised up Christ from the Dead Shall Also
Rom. viii. 11.--"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." It is true the soul is incomparably better than the body, and he is only worthy the name of a man and of a Christian who prefers this more excellent part, and employs his study and time about it, and regards his body only for the noble guest that lodges within it, and therefore it is one of the
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Jesus Living at Nazareth and visiting Jerusalem in his Twelfth Year.
(Nazareth and Jerusalem, a.d. 7 or 8.) ^C Luke II. 40-52. ^c 40 And the child grew [This verse contains the history of thirty years. It describes the growth of our Lord as a natural, human growth (compare Luke i. 80); for, though Jesus was truly divine, he was also perfectly man. To try to distinguish between the divine and human in Jesus, is to waste time upon an impracticable mystery which is too subtle for our dull and finite minds], and waxed strong [His life expanded like other human lives.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Healing Peter's Mother-In-Law and Many Others.
(at Capernaum.) ^A Matt. VIII. 14-17; ^B Mark I. 29-34; ^C Luke IV. 38-41. ^c 38 And he arose out of the synagogue [where he had just healed the demoniac], ^b 29 And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue, they came { ^c entered} ^b into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [Peter and Andrew had dwelt at Bethsaida (John i. 44). They may have removed to Capernaum, or Bethsaida, being near by, may be here counted as a part, or suburb, of Capernaum. Its name does not contradict
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Attends the First Passover of his Ministry.
(Jerusalem, April 9, a.d. 27.) Subdivision A. Jesus Cleanses the Temple. ^D John II. 13-25. ^d 13 And the passover of the Jews was at hand [We get our information as to the length of our Lord's ministry from John's Gospel. He groups his narrative around six Jewish festivals: 1, He here mentions the first passover; 2, another feast, which we take to have been also a passover (v. 1); 3, another passover (vi. 4); 4, the feast of tabernacles (vii. 2); 5, dedication (x. 22); 6, passover (xi. 55). This
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
(from Bethany to Jerusalem and Back, Sunday, April 2, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 1-12, 14-17; ^B Mark XI. 1-11; ^C Luke XIX. 29-44; ^D John XII. 12-19. ^c 29 And ^d 12 On the morrow [after the feast in the house of Simon the leper] ^c it came to pass, when he he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, ^a 1 And when they came nigh unto Jerusalem, and came unto Bethphage unto { ^b at} ^a the mount of Olives [The name, Bethphage, is said to mean house of figs, but the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The emphasis which modern criticism has very properly laid on the prophetic books and the prophetic element generally in the Old Testament, has had the effect of somewhat diverting popular attention from the priestly contributions to the literature and religion of Israel. From this neglect Leviticus has suffered most. Yet for many reasons it is worthy of close attention; it is the deliberate expression of the priestly mind of Israel at its best, and it thus forms a welcome foil to the unattractive
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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