Holy Days. 1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: These are the feasts of the Lord on which you shall proclaim holy assemblies, these are my feasts:
3 [b]“For six days work can be done, but the seventh is a Sabbath of rest, a holy assembly. You will do no work on it; it is a Sabbath of the Lord in all of your dwellings. 4 These are the feasts of the Lord, holy assemblies that you shall proclaim at their appointed time.
Passover.[c] 5 “The evening of the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover. 6 The fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord. You are to eat unleavened bread for seven days. 7 On the first day you are to have a holy assembly. No heavy labor is to be done on that day. 8 You will make an offering by fire to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day you are to have a holy assembly. No heavy labor is to be done on that day.”
9 [d]The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, and you collect the harvest, you are to bring an omer measure of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the omer before the Lord so that it might be acceptable for you. The priest shall wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day that you wave the omer, you shall offer a one-year-old male lamb without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 Its grain offering is to be two-tenths of an omer of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord, a pleasing fragrance. Bring a fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 14 You are not to eat bread or roasted grain or the green heads of grain until that day that you have brought your offering to your God. This is a statute from one generation to the next in all of your dwellings.
15 Pentecost.[e]“You shall count off for yourselves seven complete Sabbaths from the day after the Sabbath when you brought your omer as a wave offering. 16 On the day after the seventh Sabbath, having counted fifty days, you shall offer a new cereal offering to the Lord. 17 You shall bring out from your dwellings loaves of bread as wave offerings that have been made with two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour. They are to be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord. 18 Along with the bread you shall offer seven lambs without blemish and one young bull and two rams as burnt offerings to the Lord. Together with the cereal offerings and the drink offerings, you are to make an offering by fire, a pleasing fragrance to the Lord. 19 You shall sacrifice one of the kid goats as a sin offering and you shall sacrifice two of the one-year-old lambs as a peace offering. 20 The priest shall wave them together with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering to the Lord, with two holy lambs. They shall be an offering to the Lord for the priest. 21 You shall proclaim on that day that there is to be a holy assembly. You are not to do any heavy labor. This shall be a statute forever in all of your dwellings, from one generation to the next.
22 “When you collect the harvest of your land, you shall not gather it right up to the corners of the field, nor shall you gather up the gleanings of your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord, your God.”
23 New Year’s Day.[f] The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Speak to the children of Israel saying: On the first day of the seventh month you shall observe a Sabbath, a memorial with the blowing of trumpets, a holy assembly. 25 You shall do no heavy labor. You shall make an offering by fire to the Lord.”
26 Day of Atonement.[g] The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “The tenth day of the seventh month shall be a Day of Atonement. You shall have a holy assembly and you shall humble yourselves. You shall make an offering by fire to the Lord. 28 You shall not work on this day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord, your God. 29 Whoever does not humble himself that day shall be cut off from among his people. 30 I will destroy whoever does any work on that day from among his people. 31 You shall do absolutely no work. This shall be a statute forever from one generation to the next in all of your dwellings. 32 It shall be a Sabbath of rest for you. You shall humble yourselves on the evening of the ninth of the month. You shall celebrate your Sabbath from that evening until the next.”
33 Feast of Booths.[h] The Lord said to Moses, 34 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of the seventh month shall be the Lord’s Feast of Booths, for seven days. 35 On the first day you shall have a holy assembly. You shall do no heavy labor. 36 For seven days you shall make an offering by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy assembly and you shall make an offering by fire to the Lord. It is a holy assembly, and you shall do no heavy labor. 37 These are the feasts of the Lord on which you shall proclaim holy assemblies, making a burnt offering to the Lord, and offering up a cereal offering, a sacrifice, and a drink offering, each on its own day, 38 in addition to the Sabbaths of the Lord, your gifts, your vows, and all of the free-will offerings that you give to the Lord. 39 On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord for seven days. On the first day there will be a Sabbath rest, and on the eighth day there will be a Sabbath rest. 40 On the first day you shall gather for yourselves the shoots of the healthy trees, fronds from the palm trees, branches from the leafy trees, and willows from the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God, for seven days. 41 You shall observe it as a feast of the Lord for seven days each year. This is a statute forever, from one generation to the next, that you shall celebrate in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in tents for seven days. All native-born Israelites shall dwell in tents 43 so that all of your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in tents when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God.”
44 This is how Moses described the feasts of the Lord to the children of Israel.
- Leviticus 23:1 The solemnities marking the liturgical life of the Jewish people were connected with the events of the Exodus from Egypt; the solemnities were occasions for the renewal of their fidelity to the covenant. These assemblies of the people gave rise to traditions and were always joyous occasions. The Books of Numbers (chs. 28–29) and Deuteronomy (chs. 12–16) renew, explain in greater detail, and complete the regulations governing the liturgical life of Israel.
- Leviticus 23:3 The Sabbath rest is in imitation of the Creator (Gen 3:2) and signifies that Israel is a free people.
- Leviticus 23:5 Passover had its origin in ancient springtime festivals but now commemorated the preparations made for the deliverance of the people (Ex 12).
- Leviticus 23:9 At Passover the firstfruits of the barley harvest were offered to God.
- Leviticus 23:15 The Feast of Weeks, later called Pentecost, was an agricultural feast that had been instituted to thank the Lord for his blessings (Num 28:26-31); it then became the Feast of the Covenant.
- Leviticus 23:23 This feast was a survival of rural customs and was more popular than the religious New Year in spring that was part of the Levitical calendar.
- Leviticus 23:26 See Lev 16:16. The ceremony showed traces of archaic rites, but it testified to a profound sense of sin.
- Leviticus 23:33 A remembrance of the Exodus period was combined with the annual popular feast of thanksgiving for the harvest.