The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleLeviticus 23:40
And ye shall take you the boughs of goodly trees…
the three Targums interpret, of citrons; and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra;
and the Jews are so tenacious of observing this, that in those
countries where this fruit grows not, they will send for it from Spain,
where there is plenty of it: the Targum of Jonathan, paraphrases it,
"ye shall take of yours"; suggesting these boughs must be their own, or
the bundle of them, with others they call the "lulab", must be their
own property, and not another's; though it is said F21, if it is a gift
it will do, even though it is given on condition to be returned again:
branches of palm trees:
which were very common in the land of Judea,
and especially about Jericho; see (John 12:13) ; the Targums of Jonathan
and Jerusalem call them "lulabs", which is the name the Jews give to
the whole bundle they carried in their hands on this day:
and the boughs of thick trees;
which the Targums and Jewish writers in
general understand of myrtles, being full of branches and leaves:
and willows of the brook;
a sort of trees which delight to grow by
brooks and rills of water: these, according to the Jewish writers, were
not taken to make their booths of, though that seems to be the use of
them, from (Nehemiah 8:15,16) ; but to tie up in bundles, and carry in hands;
the citron in their left hand, and a bundle made of the other three
sorts of boughs of trees in the right hand, which they called the
and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days;
the blessings of his goodness bestowed upon them in the plentiful
harvest and vintage they had been favoured with, and in remembrance of
past mercies, showed to their fathers in the wilderness, giving them
food and drink, and guiding and protecting them with the pillar of
cloud and fire; and at the same time, also, thankful for the different
circumstances they were in, having cities, towns, and houses to dwell
its, and fields and vineyards to possess, when their fathers lived in a
wilderness for forty years together; and especially such of them
expressed their joy before the Lord, who had any knowledge of this
being a type of the Messiah tabernacling in human nature, they had the
promise of, to be their spiritual Redeemer and Saviour: these seven
days are kept by the Jews now, chiefly in carnal mirth, and so for ages
past, as by carrying the above boughs in their hands, and going round
about the altar with them, and, shaking them, and crying Hosanna, and
by making use of all sorts of music, vocal and instrumental, piping,
dancing, leaping, skipping, and various gestures, even by persons of
the highest rank, and of the greatest character for sobriety F23; and
particularly by fetching water from Siloah, when in their own land, and
pouring it with wine upon the altar, which was attended with such
expressions of joy, that it is said, that he who never saw the
rejoicing of drawing of water, never saw any rejoicing in his life F24:
the Jews give this reason of the ceremony, because at this feast was
the time of the rains, see Targum of Jonathan on (Leviticus 23:36) ; and
therefore the holy blessed God said, pour water before me, that the
rains of the year may be blessed unto you F25; but others have thought
there was something more mysterious in it, and that it had respect to
the pouring out of the Holy Ghost; for, they say F26, the place of
drawing water was so called, because they drew the Holy Ghost, as it is
said, "ye shall draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation",
(Isaiah 12:3) ; to this our Lord is thought to allude,
(See Gill on 7:37),
(See Gill on 7:38): some of the ceremonies used at this feast
have been imitated by the Heathens: Strabo F1 says, the carrying
branches of trees, dances, and sacrifices, were common to the gods, and
particularly to Bacchus; and there was such a likeness between these
and the rites of Bacchus, that Plutarch F2 thought the Jews at this
time kept two feasts to the honour of him; whereas, as Bishop Patrick
observes, the profane Bacchanalia of the Gentiles were only a
corruption of this festival.
F21 Misn. Succah, c. 3. sect. 13. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. R.
Alphes, par. 1. Succah, c. 2. fol. 376. 1.
F23 Maimon. Hilchot Lulab. c. 7. sect. 10. c. 13, & c. 8. sect. 12, 13,
F24 Misn. Succah, c. 5. sect. 1. 4.
F25 R. Alphes, par. 1. Roshhashanah, c. 1. fol. 346. 2.
F26 T. Hieros. Succah, fol. 55. 1.
F1 Geograph. l. 10. p. 322.
F2 Sympos. l. 1. prob. 3.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 23:40". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=le&chapter=023&verse=040>. 1999.