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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
The cardinal point on which the whole of the prescriptions in this chapter turn, is evidently the same as has been so often insisted on in the previous chapters, namely, the concentration of the religious services of the people round one common sanctuary. The prohibition against observing the great Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and tabernacle, the three annual epochs in the sacred year of the Jew, at home and in private, is reiterated in a variety of words no less than six times in the first sixteen verses of this chapter Deuteronomy 16:2, Deuteronomy 16:6-7, Deuteronomy 16:11, Deuteronomy 16:15-16. Hence, it is easy to see why nothing is here said of the other holy days.
The Feast of Passover Exodus 12:1-27; Numbers 9:1-14; Leviticus 23:1-8. A re-enforcement of this ordinance was the more necessary because its observance had clearly been intermitted for thirty-nine years (see Joshua 6:10). One Passover only had been kept in the wilderness, that recorded in Numbers 9, where see the notes.
2Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.
Sacrifice the passover - "i. e." offer the sacrifices proper to the feast of the Passover, which lasted seven days. Compare a similar use of the word in a general sense in John 18:28. In the latter part of Deuteronomy 16:4 and in the following verses Moses passes, as the context again shows, into the narrower sense of the word Passover.
3Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
4And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
5Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:
6But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
7And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
After the Paschal Supper in the courts or neighborhood of the sanctuary was over, they might disperse to their several "tents" or "dwellings" 1 Kings 8:66. These would of course be within a short distance of the sanctuary, because the other Paschal offerings were yet to be offered day by day for seven days and the people would remain to share them; and especially to take part in the holy convocation on the first and seventh of the days.
8Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.
9Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.
Feast of Weeks; and Deuteronomy 16:13-17, Feast of Tabernacles. Nothing is here added to the rules given in Leviticus and Numbers except the clauses so often recurring in Deuteronomy and so characteristic of it, which restrict the public celebration of the festivals to the sanctuary, and enjoin that the enjoyments of them should be extended to the Levites, widows, orphans, etc.
10And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
11And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
12And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.
13Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:
14And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
15Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
16Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
17Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
18Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
These verses are closely connected in subject with the following chapter, and introduce certain directions for the administration of justice and the carrying on of the civil government of the people in Canaan. During the lifetime of Moses, he himself, especially inspired and guided by God, was sufficient, with the aid of the subordinate judges (compare Exodus 18:13 ff), for the duties in question. But now that Moses was to be withdrawn, and the people would soon be scattered up and down the land of Canaan, regular and permanent provision must be made for civil and social order and good government.
19Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
20That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
21Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
A grove ... - Render, Thou shalt not plant for thee any tree as an idol: literally as an Asherah," "i. e." an image of Astarte or Ashtaroth, the Phoenician goddess (compare Deuteronomy 7:5 note, Deuteronomy 7:13 note). The word is rendered "grove" by the King James Version also in Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3; Exodus 34:13; Judges 6:25, but cannot be maintained, for the word is connected with various verbs which are quite inapplicable to a grove. The wooden idol in question was the stem of a tree, stripped of its boughs, set upright in the ground, and rudely carved with emblems.
22Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.