Leviticus 23:5 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

(5) In the fourteenth day of the first month.—This month is called Abib in the Pentateuch (Exo. 13:4; Exo. 23:15; Deu. 16:1), and Nisan in the later books of Scripture (Neh. 2:1; Est. 3:7). The fourteenth day of this month is about the beginning of April. On this day, which was called both “the preparation for the Passover” (Joh. 19:14), and “the first day of Passover,” all handicraftsmen, with the exception of tailors, barbers, and laundresses, were obliged to relinquish work either from morning or from noon, according to the custom of the different places in Palestine. Leaven was only eaten till midday, and it had to be burned in the afternoon. The time for desisting from and burning the leaven was thus indicated: “Two desecrated cakes of thanksgiving offerings were placed on a bench in the Temple; as long as they were thus exposed all the people ate leaven. When one of them was removed they abstained from eating, but did not burn it; but when the other was taken away all the people began burning the leaven.” It was on this day that every Israelite who was not infirm, ceremonially defiled, uncircumcised, or beyond fifteen miles from the walls of Jerusalem, had to appear before the Lord in the holy city, with an offering in proportion to his means (Exo. 23:5; Deu. 16:16-17). Those who came from the country were gratuitously accommodated by the inhabitants with the necessary apartments (Luk. 22:10-12; Mat. 26:18), and the guests in acknowledgment of the hospitality they received left to their hosts the skins of the paschal lambs, and the vessels which they used in their religious ceremonies. Josephus, who was an eye-witness to the fact, tells us that at the Passover, in the reign of Nero, there were 2,700,000 people, when 256,500 lambs were sacrificed. Most of the Jews must therefore have encamped in tents without the walls of the city, as the Mohammedan pilgrims now do at Mecca. It was for this reason that the Romans took great precaution, using both force and conciliatory measures, during the festivals (Mat. 26:5; Luk. 13:1).

At even.—Or, in the evening, as the Authorised version renders this phrase in the parallel passage (Exo. 12:6), literally, denotes between the two evenings. The interpretation of this expression constituted one of the differences between the Sadducees and the Pharisees during the second Temple, and seriously affected the time for offering up the paschal lamb and the evening sacrifices. According to the Sadducees it denotes the time between the setting of the sun and the moment when the stars become visible, or when darkness sets in, i.e., between six and seven o’clock, a space of about one hour and twenty minutes. According to the Pharisees, however, “between the two evenings” means from the afternoon to the disappearing of the sun. The first evening is from the time when the sun begins to decline towards the west, whilst the second is when it goes down and vanishes out of sight. This is the reason why the paschal lamb in the evening sacrifice began to be killed and the blood sprinkled at 12.30 p.m. This is more in harmony with the fact that the large number of sacrifices on this day could only be offered up in the longer period of time.

The Lord’s passover.—Also called “the feast of unleavened bread.” (See Lev. 23:6.)

Consult other comments:

Leviticus 23:5 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 23:5 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 23:5 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Leviticus 23:5 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 23:5 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Leviticus 23:5 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Leviticus 23:5 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 23:5 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Leviticus 23:5 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Leviticus 23:5 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 23:5 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Leviticus 23:5 - Scofield Reference Bible Notes

Leviticus 23:5 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 23:5 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 23:5 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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