“You shall take choice flour, and bake twelve loaves of it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. You shall place them in two rows, six in a row on the table of pure gold. You shall put pure frankincense with each row, to be a token offering for the bread as an offering by fire to Yahweh. Every Sabbath day Aaron shall set them in order before Yahweh regularly as a commitment of the people of Israel as a covenant forever. They shall be for Aaron and his descendents, who shall eat them in a holy place, for they are the most holy portions for him from the offerings by fire to Yahweh, a perpetual due.”
As hinted at in chapter 25 of Exodus about the bread of the presence, you shall take choice flour, and bake 12 loaves of it. 1/5 of a bushel of flour shall be in each loaf. You shall place them in two rows, six in a row on the table of pure gold. Once again we have the symbolism of the twelve tribes. Each row would have frankincense. Every Sabbath Aaron shall put them in order as a sign of the commitment of the people of Israel to their covenant with Yahweh. Aaron and his descendents would then eat this holy bread in a holy place.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses. ‘Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. Aaron shall set it up in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain of the covenant, to burn from evening to morning before Yahweh regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. He shall set up the lamps on the lamp stand of pure gold before Yahweh regularly.”
The sanctuary lamp, mentioned in Exodus, chapter 27, should be kept burning perpetually or regularly. You had to bring pure oil of beaten olives for this lamp. This was a burning light on the golden lamp stand outside the curtain of the covenant that burned from evening to morning before Yahweh
“Now, the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the festival of Yahweh lasting seven days. There is a complete rest on the first day and a complete rest on the eighth day. On the first day you shall take the fruit of the majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook. You shall rejoice before Yahweh your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a festival to Yahweh seven days in the year. You shall keep it in the seventh month as a statute forever throughout your generations. You shall live in tents or booths for seven days. All that are citizens in Israel shall live in tents or booths, so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel live in tents or booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God. Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed festivals of Yahweh.”
This is really the 7 day festival of tents or booths with more details. This is a 7 day joyful remembrance of the tent living in the desert. There is complete rest on the 1st and the 8th days. You take the fruit of the trees, the branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and the willows of the brook, probably to build your tent. You rejoice before Yahweh for 7 days. You live in these tents or booths for 7 days. Every citizen in Israel had to live in these tents or booths, so that future generations might know what it was like when the people of Israel lived in these tents or booths when they left Egypt. Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the various festivals of Yahweh.
“These are the appointed festivals of Yahweh, which you shall celebrate as times of holy convocation, for presenting to Yahweh offerings by fire, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day. All this is apart from the Sabbath of Yahweh, and apart from your gifts, and apart from all your votive offerings, and apart from all your freewill offerings, which you give to Yahweh.”
These are the appointed festivals of Yahweh that became the Jewish high holy days, somewhat like the later Catholic holy days of obligation. These holy convocations included burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings, each on their proper day. These are in addition to the regular Sabbaths and the votive or free offerings.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses. Speak to the people of Israel. ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month, and lasting seven days, there shall be the festival of tents or booths to Yahweh. The first day shall be a holy convocation. You shall not work at your occupations. Seven days you shall present Yahweh’s offerings by fire. On the eighth day you shall observe a holy convocation and present Yahweh’s offering by fire. It is a solemn assembly. You shall not work at your occupation.”
One week later, on the 15th day of this 7th month, and lasting 7 days there shall be a festival of tents or booths to Yahweh. The 1st and 8th days have holy convocations with a day of rest. During the 7 days in between you present offerings to Yahweh.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses. ‘Now the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you. You shall deny yourselves and present Yahweh’s offering by fire. You shall do no work during that entire day. It is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before Yahweh your God. For anyone who does not practice self-denial during that entire day shall be cut off from the people. Anyone who does any work during the entire day such a one I will destroy from the midst of the people. You shall do no work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements. It shall be to you a Sabbath of complete rest, and you shall deny yourselves. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall keep your Sabbath.”
10 days after the festival of trumpets, the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur takes place. You have to deny yourselves and present Yahweh’s offering by fire. You do not do any work on this day, but practice self-denial. This punishment is very severe. Yahweh would destroy you. See chapter 16 for more details about the ritual with the scapegoat for this feast of atonement. This atonement Sabbath goes from evening to evening.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses. Speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. You shall not work at your occupations. You shall present Yahweh’s offering by fire.’”
The Festival of Trumpets takes place on the 1st day of the 7th month. This is a rest day with a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. The 7th month maybe considered important or lucky. This was the beginning of the civil New Year, but it clearly is in the 7th month. Contemporary Jewish people celebrate this feast at Rosh Hashanah, usually in September as a New Year festival. This feast can also be found in Exodus, chapter 12. Perhaps the Christian calendar of starting Advent in November/December is based on th
“From the day after the Sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks. They shall be complete. You shall count until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days. Then you shall present an offering of new grain to Yahweh. You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering, each made of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of choice flour, baked with leaven, as first fruits to Yahweh. You shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to Yahweh, along with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire as a pleasing odor to Yahweh. You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of well-being. The priest shall raise them with the bread of the first fruits as an elevation offering before Yahweh, together with the two lambs. They shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest. On that same day you shall make a proclamation. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not work at your occupations. It is a statute forever in all your settlements throughout your generations. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the aliens. I am Yahweh your God.”
Once again, we are in the area of a settled farming community in the Promised Land, not in the wilderness. 7 weeks after the first harvest you will make an offering, probably because of the wheat harvest. This 7 week period is 50 days since you presented the first fruits of the harvest. Thus, it came to be called Pentecost based on the Greek translation of 50 days. However, this harvest leaves the very edges of the field and the gleanings for the poor. There was an elaborate offering with 2 loaves of leavened bread made with 20% of a bushel of choice flour as the first fruits to Yahweh. This feast has leavened bread and not the unleavened bread. Then you need 7 one year old unblemished lambs, 1 young bull, and 2 rams, quite a large herd of 10 animals. All this makes up the grain offering and the burnt offering so that there is a pleasing odor to Yahweh. However, there is more. You have a sin offering of a male goat and 2 male lambs as a well-being offering. This makes 13 animals. Obviously this is not one individual but a group of people. On the same day that you shall make a proclamation, you hold a holy convocation and you do not work at your occupations.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses. Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, when you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall raise the sheaf before Yahweh, that you may find acceptance. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall raise it. On the day when you raise the sheaf, you shall offer a lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to Yahweh. The grain offering with it shall be two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire as a pleasing odor to Yahweh. The drink offering with it shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. You shall eat no bread, parched grain, or fresh ears until that very day, until you have brought the offering to your God. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements.”
The next festival is the first harvest. This is clearly for the time when you enter the land that Yahweh was giving them, not now. You have to bring the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. This would be after the feast of the unleavened bread, probably the barley harvest. At that time you present a burnt offering of a year old lamb without blemish and the grain offering of 20% of a bushel of choice flour. A bushel is about the same as an ephah. You also bring a drink offering of wine, a quarter of a hin. This is the first mention of wine as a gift offering. A hin is about 8 quarts so that this would be about 2 quarts of wine. You do not eat anything until you have brought the offering to God. This is once again a statute forever in all your settlements.
“In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a Passover offering to Yahweh. On the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of Unleavened Bread to Yahweh. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not work at your occupations. For seven days you shall present Yahweh’s offering by fire. On the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not work at your occupations.”
The most important festival is Passover followed by the weeklong festival of the Unleavened Bread. In the 1st month on the 14th day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a Passover offering to Yahweh. On the next day and on the 7th day there shall be a holy convocation where there is no work. For those 7 days you eat unleavened bread.