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Leviticus 23:1-17

Context
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.

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.



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