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Leviticus 23:40 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

(40) And ye shall take you on the first day.—The four species of vegetable production here ordered are a distinctive feature of this festival. They have been most minutely defined during the second Temple.

Boughs of goodly trees.—Better, the fruit of goodly trees, as the margin rightly renders it. As this phrase is too indefinite, and may simply denote the fruit of any choice fruit-tree, there can hardly be any doubt that in this instance, as in many other cases, the lawgiver left it to the administrators of the Law to define its precise kind. Basing it therefore upon one of the significations of the term here translated “goodly,” which is to dwell, to rest, the authorities during the second Temple decreed that it means the fruit winch permanently rests upon the tree—i.e., the citron, the paradise-apple. If it came from an uncircumcised tree (see Lev. 19:23), from an unclean heave-offering (comp. Num. 18:11-12), or exhibited the slightest defect, it was ritually illegal.

Branches of palm trees.—During the second Temple this was defined as the shoot of the palm-tree when budding, before the leaves are spread abroad, and whilst it is yet like a rod. It is technically called lulab, which is the expression whereby it is rendered in the ancient Chaldee version. The lulab must at least be three hands tall, and must be tied together with its own kind.

The boughs of thick trees.—This, according to the same authorities, denotes the myrtle branch, whose leaves thickly cover the wood. To make it ritually legal it must have three or more shoots round the stem, and on the same level with it. If it is in any way damaged it is illegal. This accounts for the ancient Chaldee version rendering it by “myrtle branch.”

Willows of the brook.—That species, the distinguishing marks of which are dark wood and long leaves with smooth margin. The palm, the myrtle, and the willow, when tied together into one bundle, constitute the Lulab. Whilst the psalms are chanted by the Levites during the sacrifices, the pilgrims, who held the Lulabs or palms, shook them thrice, viz., at the singing of Psa. 118:1, then again at Lev. 23:25, and at Lev. 23:29. When the chant was finished, the priests in procession went round the altar once, exclaiming, “Hosanna, O Lord, give us help, O Lord! give prosperity !” (Psa. 118:25). Whereupon the solemn benediction was pronounced by the priests, and the people dispersed amidst the repeated exclamations, “How beautiful art thou, O altar !” It is this part of the ritual which explains the welcome that the multitude gave Christ when they went to meet Him with palm-branches and shouts of hosanna (Mat. 21:8-9; Mat. 21:15; Joh. 12:12-13).

Consult other comments:

Leviticus 23:40 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 23:40 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 23:40 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Leviticus 23:40 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Leviticus 23:40 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 23:40 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Leviticus 23:40 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Leviticus 23:40 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 23:40 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Leviticus 23:40 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Leviticus 23:40 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 23:40 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)