christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 16:1-12, feast days holy to the Lord

Read Deuteronomy 16:1-12 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 15:19-23, the firstborn and sabbath rest

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic. The paragraph divisions reveal the chiastic structures: narratives which zero in on the main point of the narrative at its center, like a bull’s eye at the center of a target. The main point is revealed, because the narrative elements before the main point (or central axis) are repeated after the central axis, in reverse order, while the central axis itself is not repeated.)

This section, Deu 16:1-12, is the third section explaining the fourth commandment, Honor the Sabbath day. (The fourth commandment is explained in Deu 15:1-16:17, and this is my summary of it.) These are the Hebrew paragraph divisions:

Deu 16:1-8 {s} Passover is holy to YHVH
Deu 16:9-12 {p} Weeks is holy to YHVH

Each weak paragraph makes its own chiastic structure:

Deu 16:1-8 s
1a) Deu 16:1, Observe Passover;
1b) Deu 16:2, Sacrifice the Passover in the place of the LORD’s name;
1c) Deu 16:3a, You shall eat no leavened bread for seven days;
central axis) Deu 16:3b, “… that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life;”
2c) Deu 16:4, There shall be no leaven among you for seven days;
2b) Deu 16:5-7, Sacrifice the Passover in the place of the LORD’s name;
2a) Deu 16:8, Observe Unleavened Bread.

Remember the day you were set free from slavery by the Passover Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Deu 16:9-12 p
1a) Deu 16:9, Seven weeks shall you number from the time you harvest your barley;
1b) Deu 16:10, Keep the feast of weeks with a freewill offering from your (wheat) harvest, as the Lord has blessed you;
1c) Deu 16:11a, Rejoice before the Lord your God (in the place of His name implied);
central axis) Deu 16:11b, You + son + daughter + servants + Levites + strangers + fatherless + widows;
2c) Deu 16:11c, In the place which the Lord your God has chosen to place His name;
2b) Deu 16:12, And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt;
2a) Deu 16:12b, And you shall observe and do these statutes.

The barley is harvested at the time of Passover (the prior paragraph). The wheat is harvested seven weeks later at the time of Weeks (this paragraph). When you were a slave, you did not have this blessing of your own freedom, your own land, your own barley, your own wheat, and your own harvest. But because you are now free, it is only right to return thanks to the Lord your God for that freedom, from an offering of your own harvest which has been blessed by the Lord. The central axis includes everyone who is depending on the blessed harvest of the freeman for their provision – they all rejoice before the Lord for the day the freeman was delivered from slavery in Egypt, because now they all are blessed as well from his freedom (not only the freeman himself).

The strong paragraph from Deu 16:1-12 also forms its own chiastic structure:

Deu 16:1-12 s+p
1a) Deu 16:1a, Observe the month of Abib;
1b) Deu 16:1b, YHVH delivered you from slavery in Egypt;
1c) Deu 16:2, In the place of the LORD’s name;
1d): Deu 16:3-8a, You shall eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction;
1e) Deu 16:8b, The assembly on the seventh day;
central axis) Deu 16:8c, “… You shall do no work on it;”
2e) Deu 16:9-10, The festival after the seventh week;
2d) Deu 16:11a, You shall eat leavened bread (Lev 23:15-17) and rejoice;
2c) Deu 16:11b, In the place of the LORD’s name;
2b) Deu 16:12a, Remember that you were a slave in Egypt;
2a) Deu 16:12b, Observe these statutes.

We see that this section indeed still continues the explanation of Honoring the Sabbath day, because of the theme of sevens, freedom from bondage, and rest from work, which is running through this section. So we see that included in the command to Honor the Sabbath day, is a parallel command to Honor the Feast Days of the Lord, of which Passover/ Unleavened Bread, and Weeks, are two – the two harvest feasts which occur in the spring of the year. The spring harvest feasts all prophecy of the first coming of Messiah Yeshua. He was crucified on the day of Passover. He was raised from the dead on the day of the barley harvest which falls during the week of Unleavened Bread. And He sent His Spirit on His ekklesia on the day of Weeks and the wheat harvest (termed Pentecost in the New Testament). When we observe these statutes, both the weekly Sabbath, and the annual Feast days, we proclaim Messiah Yeshua and His work (not our own work). We remember the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Cor 11:26), proclaiming our freedom from the kingdom of darkness that His death purchased for us. We proclaim the gospel of grace by our deeds and not just our words.

For further reading:
Israel’s Feasts and Their Fullness by Batya Wootten

Continued: deuteronomy 16:13-17, blessing in all your work


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