Leviticus 16:29 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(29) And this shall be a statute for ever.—Literally, a statute of eternity, that is, an everlasting ordinance. That which is contained in Lev. 16:29-30 is binding upon the Israelites as long as they exist, and is to be observed by them annually.
In the seventh month, on the tenth day.—This month, which is called Tishri, corresponds to September, and is the month of great festivals. On the first is the Feast of Trumpets (see Lev. 23:24), on the tenth the Day of Atonement, and on the fourteenth begins the Feast of Tabernacles which lasts eight days.
Ye shall afflict your souls.—From Isa. 58:3; Isa. 58:5; Isa. 58:10 it is evident that by the phrase “to afflict the soul” is meant fasting. This is expressed by the fuller form, “to afflict the soul with fasting.” in Psa. 35:13, where the Authorised Version inconsistently translates it, “humbled my soul.” This is the only public fast ordained in the Mosaic Law; and the authorities during the second Temple defined more minutely in what this fasting consists. According to the canon law it consists not only in abstaining from eating and drinking, but from washing, anointing, wearing of shoes or sandals, and the marriage-bed, as they were the outward signs of joy. (Comp. Ecc. 9:10.) If any one presumptuously ate as much as a date with a kernel, or drank as much as fills one cheek, he violated the Law, and incurred the penalty of excision. If he did it unintentionally he had to bring a sin offering. The fast lasted from evening to evening, and is rigorously kept by Jews to this day. Exception was and still is made in the case of pregnant women, invalids, and children. This is the fast which the Apostle refers to in Act. 27:9. The marginal note on this passage, viz., “the fast was on the tenth day of the seventh month” (Lev. 23:27; Lev. 23:29), is not to be found in the first edition of the Authorised Version. It was introduced by Bishop Lloyd in the Bible published in London, 1701, fol., who took it from the Geneva Version (Geneva, 1560), and it was adopted in the Oxford 4to edition, 1703. When Christ admonishes his followers, “When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face” (Mat. 6:17), He refers to the canonical law about fasting here given.
And do no work at all.—Better, ye shall do no manner of work, as the same phrase is rendered in the Authorised Version in Lev. 23:31. It is to be regretted that this legal phrase, which occurs five times in the Pentateuch, four of which are to be found in this very book (Lev. 16:29; Lev. 23:3; Lev. 23:28; Lev. 23:31; Num. 29:7), should have been translated differently in the Authorised Version. This variation is all the more glaring in Num. 29:7, which is the parallel passage to this. The day was to be a rest from all manual and other secular work exactly as on the Sabbath, with this exception, that whilst work on the Sabbath was punished with stoning, labour on the Day of Atonement was punished with excision.
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.