XVI A repetition of the laws concerning the passover, ver. 1-8. The feast of pentecost, ver. 9-12 That of tabernacles, ver. 13-15. All the males are to attend them, ver. 16, 17. An appointment of Judges and officers, ver. 18-20. A caution against groves and images, ver. 21, 22.
Verse 1. Observe the month of Abib - Or of new fruits, which answers to part of March and part of April, and was by a special order from God made the beginning of their year, in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt. By night - In the night Pharaoh was forced to give them leave to depart, and accordingly they made preparation for their departure, and in the morning they perfected the work.
Verse 2. The passover - That is, the feast of the passover, and so the place may be rendered, thou shalt therefore observe the feast of the passover unto the Lord thy God, with sheep, and with oxen, as is prescribed, Num. xxviii, 18, &c.
Verse 3. With it - Or, in it, that is, during the time of the feast of the passover. Bread of affliction - Bread which is not usual nor pleasant, to put thee in mind both of thy miseries endured in Egypt; and of thy hasty coming out of it, which allowed thee no time to leaven or prepare thy bread.
Verse 4. Any of the flesh - That is, of the passover properly so called.
Verse 5. Of thy gates - That is, of thy cities.
Verse 6. There - Namely, in the court of the tabernacle or temple. This he prescribed, partly that this great work might be done with more solemnity in such manner as God required; partly, because it was not only a sacrament, but also a sacrifice, and because here was the sprinkling of blood, which is the essential part of a sacrifice; and partly to design the place where Christ, the true passover or lamb of God, was to be slain. At the season - About the time you were preparing yourselves for it.
Verse 7. In the morning - The morning after the seventh day. Thy tents - That is, thy dwellings, which he calls tents, as respecting their present state, and to put them in mind afterwards when they were settled in better habitations, that there was a time when they dwelt in tents.
Verse 8. Six days - Namely, besides the first day, on which the passover was killed.
Verse 9. To put the sickle - That is, to reap thy corn, thy barley, when the first-fruits were offered.
Verse 10. Of weeks - Of pentecost. Thou shalt give - Over and besides what was appointed.
Verse 17. Thou shalt rejoice - In God and the effects of his favour, praising him with a glad heart.
Verse 18. Judges - Chief magistrates to examine and determine causes and differences. Officers - Who were subordinate to the other to bring causes and persons before him, to acquaint people with the sentence of the Judges, and to execute their sentence. Thy gates - Thy cities, which he here calls gates, because there were seats of judgment set. Pursuant to this law, in every town which contained above an hundred and twenty families, there was a court of twenty three Judges; in the smaller towns, a court of three Judges.
Verse 19. Wrest judgment - Not give an unjust sentence. A gift doth blind the eyes - Biasseth his mind, that he cannot discern between right and wrong. The words - That is the sentence, of those Judges who are used to do righteous things, it makes them give wrong judgment.
Verse 20. That which is altogether just - Hebrew. righteousness, righteousness, that is, nothing but righteousness in all causes and times, and to all persons equally.
Verse 21. Thou shalt not plant - Because this was the practice of idolaters, and might be an occasion of reviving idolatry.