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Exodus 23:14-19

Context

23:14 “Three times 1  in the year you must make a pilgrim feast 2  to me. 23:15 You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days 3  you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time 4  you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before 5  me empty-handed.

23:16 “You are also to observe 6  the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors that you have sown in the field, and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year 7  when you have gathered in 8  your harvest 9  out of the field. 23:17 At 10  three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord God. 11 

23:18 “You must not offer 12  the blood of my sacrifice with bread containing yeast; the fat of my festal sacrifice must not remain until morning. 13  23:19 The first of the firstfruits of your soil you must bring to the house of the Lord your God.

“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. 14 

1 tn The expression rendered “three times” is really “three feet,” or “three foot-beats.” The expression occurs only a few times in the Law. The expressing is an adverbial accusative.

2 tn This is the word תָּחֹג (takhog) from the root חָגַג (khagag); it describes a feast that was accompanied by a pilgrimage. It was first used by Moses in his appeal that Israel go three days into the desert to hold such a feast.

3 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.

4 tn Heb “in it.”

5 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; the nuance of permission works well here – no one is permitted to appear before God empty (Heb “and they will not appear before me empty”).

6 tn The words “you are also to observe” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

7 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pronominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the going in of the year.” The word “year” is the subjective genitive, the subject of the clause.

8 tn An infinitive construct with a preposition and a pronominal suffix is used to make a temporal clause: “in the ingathering of you.”

9 tn Heb “gathered in your labors.” This is a metonymy of cause put for the effect. “Labors” are not gathered in, but what the labors produced – the harvest.

10 tn Adverbial accusative of time: “three times” becomes “at three times.”

11 tn Here the divine Name reads in Hebrew הָאָדֹן יְהוָה (haadon yÿhvah), which if rendered according to the traditional scheme of “Lord” for “Yahweh” would result in “Lord Lord.” A number of English versions therefore render this phrase “Lord God,” and that convention has been followed here.

12 tn The verb is תִּזְבַּח (tizbbakh), an imperfect tense from the same root as the genitive that qualifies the accusative “blood”: “you will not sacrifice the blood of my sacrifice.” The verb means “to slaughter”; since one cannot slaughter blood, a more general translation is required here. But if the genitive is explained as “my blood-sacrifice” (a genitive of specification; like “the evil of your doings” in Isa 1:16), then a translation of sacrifice would work (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 304).

13 sn See N. Snaith, “Exodus 23:18 and 34:25,” JTS 20 (1969): 533-34; see also M. Haran, “The Passover Sacrifice,” Studies in the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup), 86-116.

14 sn On this verse, see C. M. Carmichael, “On Separating Life and Death: An Explanation of Some Biblical Laws,” HTR 69 (1976): 1-7; J. Milgrom, “You Shall Not Boil a Kid in Its Mother’s Milk,” BRev 1 (1985): 48-55; R. J. Ratner and B. Zuckerman, “In Rereading the ‘Kid in Milk’ Inscriptions,” BRev 1 (1985): 56-58; and M. Haran, “Seething a Kid in Its Mother’s Milk,” JJS 30 (1979): 23-35. Here and at 34:26, where this command is repeated, it ends a series of instructions about procedures for worship.



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