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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Deuteronomy 16

Verses 1-22

The Feast of Tabernacles (a Harvest Sermon)

Deuteronomy 16:13-17

The three great feasts of Israel the Passover, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles were not only commemorative of national blessings or prophetic of yet greater spiritual blessings to be bestowed, but they were conspicuously connected with the three great seasons of the tillage of Palestine the barley and the wheat harvests and the vintage. This Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous of them all. Above and beyond all other marks of joy and utterances of thanksgiving, the law laid stress on the thankofferings of love. Men were not to appear before the Lord empty. The law, 'Freely have ye received, freely give,' applies to the natural as well as to the spiritual life, and there can be no true fulfilment in the latter if it is neglected in the former. Harvest festivals are valuable in this age.

I. They tell us of the truth which we are constantly tempted to forget that the God of grace is also the God of nature; that the Son of God is also the Divine Word, the Eternal Wisdom, by whom all laws of nature are ordained; that the Holy Ghost is also the Lord and giver of life, and that not only are all holy thoughts and desires His gifts, but that even the skill of the artist and the builder speak of a wisdom for all manner of workmanship which is His gift. Harvest thanksgivings help us to look out on the world of nature and of men with more large-hearted sympathies.

II. They bear their witness that we believe that the laws of nature are the expression of an Almighty Father's will, and that we accept its workings, not with simple submission, but with thankfulness and trust.

III. They bring us into fellowship with the old religious life of Israel. It adds to the interest with which we think of this feast, to remember that one large and important part of our Lord's teaching was connected with it. The history of one feast of Tabernacles occupies four chapters of St. John's Gospel. Its ritual was present to the eyes of men, and to His own thoughts, when He stood and cried, 'I am the Light of the world. If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.'

E. H. Plumptre, The Clerical Library, vol. 11. p. 51.

References. XVII. 16. J. Laidlaw, Studies in the Parables, p. 217. W. M. Taylor, Contrary Winds, p. 93.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 16". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/deuteronomy-16.html. 1910.