These verses contain a distinct command regarding the religious services immediately connected with the grain harvest, given by anticipation against the time when the people were to possess the promised land.
Sheaf - The original word, "omer" , means either a sheaf Deuteronomy 24:19; Ruth 2:7, or a measure Exodus 16:16. Our version is probably right in this place. The offering which was waved Leviticus 7:30 was most likely a small sheaf of barley, the grain which is first ripe. The first fruits of the wheat harvest were offered seven weeks later in the loaves of Pentecost. See Leviticus 23:15-17. The two offerings thus figure the very commencement and the completion of the grain harvest; compare Ruth 1:22; Ruth 2:23.
On the morrow after the sabbath - It is most probable that these words denote the 16th of Abib, the day after the first day of holy convocation (see Leviticus 23:5-8 note), and that this was called "the Sabbath of the Passover" , or, "the Sabbath of unleavened bread" .
Two tenth deals - Two omers, or tenth parts of an ephah, about a gallon and three quarters. See Leviticus 19:36 note. The double quantity (contrast Exodus 29:40; Numbers 15:4; Numbers 28:19-21), implying greater liberality, was appropriate in a harvest feast.
Drink offering - This and Leviticus 23:18, Leviticus 23:37 are the only places in the book of Leviticus in which drink-offerings are mentioned. See the Exodus 29:40 note.
Bread ... parched corn ... green ears - These are the three forms in which grain was commonly eaten. The old name, Abib, signified "the month of green ears." See Joshua 5:11.
The morrow after the sabbath - See Leviticus 23:11 note.
Seven sabbaths - More properly, seven weeks (compare Deuteronomy 16:9). The word Sabbath, in the language of the New Testament as well as the Old, is used for "week" (Leviticus 25:8; Matthew 28:1; Luke 18:12, etc.).
The morrow after the seventh week was the 50th day after the conclusion of a week of weeks. The day is called in the Old Testament, "the feast of harvest" Exodus 23:16, "the feast of weeks," "the feast of the first fruits of wheat harvest" Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10, and "the day of the first fruits" Numbers 28:26. The word "Pentecost" used in the heading of this chapter in English Bibles is found only in the Apocrypha and the New Testament, Tobit 2:1; 2 Macc. 12:32; Acts 2:1; Acts 20:16; I Corinthians 16:8.
Habitations - Not strictly houses, but places of abode in a general sense. It seems here to denote the land in which the Israelites were to dwell so as to express that the flour was to be of home growth. The two loaves were to be merely waved before Yahweh and then to become the property of the priests. No bread containing leaven could be offered on the altar (see the Leviticus 2:11 note). The object of this offering seems to have been to present to the Lord the best produce of the earth in the actual condition in which it is most useful for the support of human life. It thus represented in the fittest manner the thanksgiving which was proper for the season. The loaves appear to be distinctively called "the first fruits for Yahweh," and references to them are found in Romans 11:16; I Corinthians 15:20, I Corinthians 15:23; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4, etc. As these loaves offered before Yahweh sanctified the harvest of the year, so has "Christ the firstfruits" sanctified the Church, which, in its union with Him as the firstfruits, becomes also the Sanctifier of the world. See the services for Whitsuntide.
More properly, seven sheep of a year old (to be distinguished from the lamb in Leviticus 23:12), and a young bull which might be from one to three years old. Compare Numbers 28:26-27.
Properly, a shaggy he-goat Leviticus 4:23 and two sheep of a year old.
When living creatures were "waved" Leviticus 7:30 before Yahweh, it is said that they were led to and fro before the tabernacle according to an established form.
The self-same day - The Feast of Weeks was distinguished from the two other great annual feasts by its consisting, according to the Law, of only a single day. But in later times it is said that during the following six days the Israelites used to bring their offerings to the temple, and to give the week something of a festal character in the suspension of mourning for the dead.
The repetition of the Law (see the margin reference) is appropriately connected with the thanksgiving for the completed grain harvest.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Leviticus 23:20:
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