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Leviticus 23

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Regulations for Israel’s Appointed Times

23:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 23:2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘These are the Lord’s appointed times which you must proclaim as holy assemblies – my appointed times: 1 

The Weekly Sabbath

23:3 “‘Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, 2  a holy assembly. You must not do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord in all the places where you live.

The Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread

23:4 “‘These are the Lord’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time. 23:5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, 3  is a Passover offering to the Lord. 23:6 Then on the fifteenth day of the same month 4  will be the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 23:7 On the first day there will be a holy assembly for you; you must not do any regular work. 5  23:8 You must present a gift to the Lord for seven days, and the seventh day is a holy assembly; you must not do any regular work.’”

The Presentation of First Fruits

23:9 The Lord spoke to Moses: 23:10 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land that I am about to give to you and you gather in its harvest, 6  then you must bring the sheaf of the first portion of your harvest 7  to the priest, 23:11 and he must wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for your benefit 8  – on the day after the Sabbath the priest is to wave it. 9  23:12 On the day you wave the sheaf you must also offer 10  a flawless yearling lamb 11  for a burnt offering to the Lord, 23:13 along with its grain offering, two tenths of an ephah of 12  choice wheat flour 13  mixed with olive oil, as a gift to the Lord, a soothing aroma, 14  and its drink offering, one fourth of a hin of wine. 15  23:14 You must not eat bread, roasted grain, or fresh grain until this very day, 16  until you bring the offering of your God. This is a perpetual statute throughout your generations 17  in all the places where you live.

The Festival of Weeks

23:15 “‘You must count for yourselves seven weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the wave offering sheaf; they must be complete weeks. 18  23:16 You must count fifty days – until the day after the seventh Sabbath – and then 19  you must present a new grain offering to the Lord. 23:17 From the places where you live you must bring two loaves of 20  bread for a wave offering; they must be made from two tenths of an ephah of fine wheat flour, baked with yeast, 21  as first fruits to the Lord. 23:18 Along with the loaves of bread, 22  you must also present seven flawless yearling lambs, 23  one young bull, 24  and two rams. 25  They are to be a burnt offering to the Lord along with their grain offering 26  and drink offerings, a gift of a soothing aroma to the Lord. 27  23:19 You must also offer 28  one male goat 29  for a sin offering and two yearling lambs for a peace offering sacrifice, 23:20 and the priest is to wave them – the two lambs 30  – along with the bread of the first fruits, as a wave offering before the Lord; they will be holy to the Lord for the priest.

23:21 “‘On this very day you must proclaim an assembly; it is to be a holy assembly for you. 31  You must not do any regular work. This is a perpetual statute in all the places where you live throughout your generations. 32  23:22 When you gather in the harvest 33  of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field, 34  and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest. You must leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.’” 35 

The Festival of Horn Blasts

23:23 The Lord spoke to Moses: 23:24 “Tell the Israelites, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you must have a complete rest, a memorial announced by loud horn blasts, 36  a holy assembly. 23:25 You must not do any regular work, but 37  you must present a gift to the Lord.’”

The Day of Atonement

23:26 The Lord spoke to Moses: 23:27 “The 38  tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. 39  It is to be a holy assembly for you, and you must humble yourselves 40  and present a gift to the Lord. 23:28 You must not do any work on this particular day, 41  because it is a day of atonement to make atonement for yourselves 42  before the Lord your God. 23:29 Indeed, 43  any person who does not behave with humility on this particular day will be cut off from his people. 44  23:30 As for any person 45  who does any work on this particular day, I will exterminate 46  that person from the midst of his people! 47  23:31 You must not do any work. This is a perpetual statute throughout your generations 48  in all the places where you live. 23:32 It is a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must humble yourselves on the ninth day of the month in the evening, from evening until evening you must observe your Sabbath.” 49 

The Festival of Booths

23:33 The Lord spoke to Moses: 23:34 “Tell the Israelites, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Temporary Shelters 50  for seven days to the Lord. 23:35 On the first day is a holy assembly; you must do no regular work. 51  23:36 For seven days you must present a gift to the Lord. On the eighth day there is to be a holy assembly for you, and you must present a gift to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly day; 52  you must not do any regular work.

23:37 “‘These are the appointed times of the Lord that you must proclaim as holy assemblies to present a gift to the Lord – burnt offering, grain offering, sacrifice, and drink offerings, 53  each day according to its regulation, 54  23:38 besides 55  the Sabbaths of the Lord and all your gifts, votive offerings, and freewill offerings which you must give to the Lord.

23:39 “‘On 56  the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you gather in the produce of the land, you must celebrate a pilgrim festival of the Lord for seven days. On the first day is a complete rest and on the eighth day is complete rest. 23:40 On the first day you must take for yourselves branches from majestic trees 57  – palm branches, branches of leafy trees, and willows of the brook – and you must rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 23:41 You must celebrate it as a pilgrim festival to the Lord for seven days in the year. This is a perpetual statute throughout your generations; 58  you must celebrate it in the seventh month. 23:42 You must live in temporary shelters 59  for seven days; every native citizen in Israel must live in temporary shelters, 23:43 so that your future generations may know that I made the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”

23:44 So Moses spoke to the Israelites about the appointed times of the Lord. 60 

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1 tn Heb “these are them, my appointed times.”

sn The term מוֹעֵד (moed, rendered “appointed time” here) can refer to either a time or place of meeting. See the note on “tent of meeting” (אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, ’ohel moed) in Lev 1:1.

2 tn This is a superlative expression, emphasizing the full and all inclusive rest of the Sabbath and certain festival times throughout the chapter (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 155). Cf. ASV “a sabbath of solemn rest.”

3 tn Heb “between the two evenings,” perhaps designating the time between the setting of the sun and the true darkness of night. Cf. KJV, ASV “at even”; NAB “at the evening twilight.”

sn See B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 156, for a full discussion of the issues raised in this verse. The rabbinic tradition places the slaughter of Passover offerings between approximately 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., not precisely at twilight. Moreover, the term פֶּסַח (pesakh) may mean “protective offering” rather than “Passover offering,” although they amount to about the same thing in the historical context of the exodus from Egypt (see Exod 11-12).

4 tn Heb “to this month.”

5 tn Heb “work of service”; KJV “servile work”; NASB “laborious work”; TEV “daily work.”

6 tn Heb “and you harvest its harvest.”

7 tn Heb “the sheaf of the first of your harvest.”

8 tn Heb “for your acceptance.”

9 sn See Lev 7:30 for a note on the “waving” of a “wave offering.”

10 tn Heb “And you shall make in the day of your waving the sheaf.”

11 tn Heb “a flawless lamb, a son of its year”; KJV “of the first year”; NLT “a year-old male lamb.”

12 sn See the note on Lev 5:11.

13 sn See the note on Lev 2:1.

14 sn See the note on Lev 1:9.

15 tn Heb “wine, one fourth of the hin.” A pre-exilic hin is about 3.6 liters (= ca. 1 quart), so one fourth of a hin would be about one cup.

16 tn Heb “until the bone of this day.”

17 tn Heb “for your generations.”

18 tn Heb “seven Sabbaths, they shall be complete.” The disjunctive accent under “Sabbaths” precludes the translation “seven complete Sabbaths” (as NASB, NIV; cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT). The text is somewhat awkward, which may explain why the LXX tradition is confused here, either adding “you shall count” again at the end of the verse, or leaving out “they shall be,” or keeping “they shall be” and adding “to you.”

19 tn Heb “and.” In the translation “then” is supplied to clarify the sequence.

20 tc Smr, LXX, Syriac, Tg. Onq., and Tg. Ps.-J. insert the word חַלּוֹת (khallot, “loaves”; cf. Lev 2:4 and the note there). Even though “loaves” is not explicit in the MT, the number “two” suggests that these are discrete units, not just a measure of flour, so “loaves” should be assumed even in the MT.

21 tn Heb “with leaven.” The noun “leaven” is traditional in English versions (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV), but “yeast” is more commonly used today.

22 tn Heb “And you shall present on the bread.”

23 tn Heb “seven flawless lambs, sons of a year.”

24 tn Heb “and one bull, a son of a herd.”

25 tc Smr and LXX add “flawless.”

26 tn Heb “and their grain offering.”

27 sn See the note on Lev 1:9.

28 tn Heb “And you shall make.”

29 tn Heb “a he-goat of goats.”

30 tn Smr and LXX have the Hebrew article on “lambs.” The syntax of this verse is difficult. The object of the verb (two lambs) is far removed from the verb itself (shall wave) in the MT, and the preposition עַל (’al, “upon”), rendered “along with” in this verse, is also added to the far removed subject (literally, “upon [the] two lambs”; see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 159). It is clear, however, that the two lambs and the loaves (along with their associated grain and drink offerings) constituted the “wave offering,” which served as the prebend “for the priest.” Burnt and sin offerings (vv. 18-19a) were not included in this (see Lev 7:11-14, 28-36).

31 tn Heb “And you shall proclaim [an assembly] in the bone of this day; a holy assembly it shall be to you” (see the remarks in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 160, and the remarks on the LXX rendering in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 367).

32 tn Heb “for your generations.”

33 tn Heb “And when you harvest the harvest.”

34 tn Heb “you shall not complete the corner of your field in your harvest.”

35 sn Compare Lev 19:9-10.

36 tn Heb “a memorial of loud blasts.” Although the term for “horn” does not occur here, allowing for the possibility that vocal “shouts” of acclamation are envisioned (see P. J. Budd, Leviticus [NCBC], 325), the “blast” of the shofar (a trumpet made from a ram’s “horn”) is most likely what is intended. On this occasion, the loud blasts on the horn announced the coming of the new year on the first day of the seventh month (see the explanations in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 387, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 160).

37 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have adversative force here (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV).

38 tn Heb “Surely the tenth day” or perhaps “Precisely the tenth day.” The Hebrew adverbial particle אַךְ (’akh) is left untranslated by most recent English versions; cf. however NASB “On exactly the tenth day.”

39 sn See the description of this day and its regulations in Lev 16 and the notes there.

40 tn Heb “you shall humble your souls.” See the note on Lev 16:29 above.

41 tn Heb “in the bone of this day.”

42 tn Heb “on you [plural]”; cf. NASB, NRSV “on your behalf.”

43 tn The particular כִּי (ki) is taken in an asseverative sense here (“Indeed,” see the NJPS translation).

44 tn Heb “it [i.e., that person; literally “soul,” feminine] shall be cut off from its peoples [plural]”; NLT “from the community.”

45 tn Heb “And any person.”

46 tn See HALOT 3 s.v. I אבד hif. Cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “destroy”; CEV “wipe out.”

47 tn Heb “its people” (“its” is feminine to agree with “person,” literally “soul,” which is feminine in Hebrew; cf. v. 29).

48 tn Heb “for your generations.”

49 tn Heb “you shall rest your Sabbath.”

50 tn The rendering “booths” (cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV) is probably better than the traditional “tabernacles” in light of the meaning of the term סֻכָּה (sukkah, “hut, booth”), but “booths” are frequently associated with trade shows and craft fairs in contemporary American English. The nature of the celebration during this feast (see the following verses) as a commemoration of the wanderings of the Israelites after they left Egypt suggests that a translation like “temporary shelters” is more appropriate.

51 tn Heb “work of service”; KJV “servile work”; NASB “laborious work”; TEV “daily work.”

52 tn The Hebrew term עֲצֶרֶת (’atseret) “solemn assembly [day]” derives from a root associated with restraint or closure. It could refer either to the last day as “closing assembly” day of the festival (e.g., NIV) or a special day of restraint expressed in a “solemn assembly” (e.g., NRSV); cf. NLT “a solemn closing assembly.”

53 tn The LXX has “[their] burnt offerings, and their sacrifices, and their drink offerings.”

54 tn Heb “a matter of a day in its day”; NAB “as prescribed for each day”; NRSV, NLT “each on its proper day.”

55 tn Heb “from to separation.” See BDB 94 s.v. בַּד 1.e for an explanation of this phrase. This phrase is repeated in front of each of the four items in this verse in the Hebrew text, but these have not been translated into English for stylistic reasons. Cf. KJV, NASB “besides”; NRSV “apart from.”

56 tn Heb “Surely on the fifteenth day.” The Hebrew adverbial particle אַךְ (’akh) is left untranslated by most recent English versions; however, cf. NASB “On exactly the fifteenth day.”

57 tn Heb “fruit of majestic trees,” but the following terms and verses define what is meant by this expression. For extensive remarks on the celebration of this festival in history and tradition see B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 163; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 389-90; and P. J. Budd, Leviticus (NCBC), 328-29.

58 tn Heb “for your generations.”

59 tn Heb “in the huts” (again at the end of this verse and in v. 43), perhaps referring to temporary shelters (i.e., huts) made of the foliage referred to in v. 40 (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 389).

60 sn E. S. Gerstenberger (Leviticus [OTL], 352) takes v. 44 to be an introduction to another set of festival regulations, perhaps something like those found in Exod 23:14-17. For others this verse reemphasizes the Mosaic authority of the preceding festival regulations (e.g., J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 390).



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