Monday, September 17, 2007

Deuteronomy 16:9–12

Deuteronomy 16:9–12: Feast of Weeks

Synopsis

In this passage, Moses reiterates some of the rules for the Feast of Weeks, which is—I believe—a celebration of the harvest.

Seven weeks after the Israelites begin the harvest each year, they are to celebrate this feast. They are to give God a freewill offering—“in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you” (verse 10)—and rejoice before the LORD. This is to take place at the Tabernacle/Temple. All of the Israelites are to take part, including their servants.

Verse 12 is an interesting sidenote to these rules:

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.

Thoughts

Moses originally handed down these rules in Leviticus 23. I don’t normally give these back-references, but in this case, this passage is a very high-level summary of the rules. (Even more so than usual.)

Here are my thoughts on verse 12, which I quoted above: I think this feast is meant—at least in part—to remind the Israelites how good they have it, with the LORD as their provider. When they have a feast, celebrating all of the goodness He has bestowed on them, and then look back and compare it with what their lives used to be like in Egypt, they are directly able to compare the good with the bad. (I don’t think I phrased that very well.) I do find it interesting, though, that even in the context of a celebration, Moses has to command the Israelites to be very careful to follow the rules as God has handed them down.
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