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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on Leviticus

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23, 11 :

The sabbath: according to the Jewish tradition this was the feast day itself, the fifteenth of Nisan, which was a special day of rest. Cf v 7 . However, some understand here the Saturday of the Passover week, or even the Saturday following it; cf Jn 19, 31 .

23, 14 :

Any bread: made from the new grain. The harvest had first to be sanctified for man's use by this offering to God.

23, 16 :

The fiftieth: from the Greek word for this we have the name “Pentecost.” Cf 2 Mc 12, 31; Acts 2, 1 . It was also called “the feast of the Seven Weeks,” or simply “the feast of Weeks” (Nm 28, 26; Dt 16, 10; Tb 2, 1 ). The new cereal offering: of flour made from the new grain. Pentecost was the thanksgiving feast at the end of the grain harvest, which began after Passover. Later tradition made it a commemoration of the giving of the law at Sinai.

23, 34 :

Feast of Booths: the joyful observance of the vintage and fruit harvest. Cf Dt 16, 13 . During the seven days of the feast the Israelites camped in booths of branches erected on the roofs of their houses or in the streets in commemoration of their wanderings in the desert, where they dwelt in booths.

23, 40 :

Foliage: literally, “fruit,” but here probably used in the general sense of “produce, growth.” These branches were used for constructing the “booths” or huts in which the people lived during the feast. Cf Neh 8, 15 . However, from about the time of Christ on, the Jews have understood this of “fruit” in the strict sense; hence, branches of lemons and oranges were carried with the other branches in joyous procession.

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