Deuteronomy 16 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Deuteronomy 16)

Verse 1

[1] Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

Observe the month of Abib — Or of new fruits, which answers to part of March and part of April, and was by a special order from God made the beginning of their year, in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt.

By night — In the night Pharaoh was forced to give them leave to depart, and accordingly they made preparation for their departure, and in the morning they perfected the work.

Verse 2

[2] Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.

The passover — That is, the feast of the passover, and so the place may be rendered, thou shalt therefore observe the feast of the passover unto the Lord thy God, with sheep, and with oxen, as is prescribed, Numbers 28:18, etc.

Verse 3

[3] Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

With it — Or, in it, that is, during the time of the feast of the passover.

Bread of affliction — Bread which is not usual nor pleasant, to put thee in mind both of thy miseries endured in Egypt; and of thy hasty coming out of it, which allowed thee no time to leaven or prepare thy bread.

Verse 4

[4] And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.

Any of the flesh — That is, of the passover properly so called.

Verse 5

[5] Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:

Of thy gates — That is, of thy cities.

Verse 6

[6] But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

There — Namely, in the court of the tabernacle or temple. This he prescribed, partly that this great work might be done with more solemnity in such manner as God required; partly, because it was not only a sacrament, but also a sacrifice, and because here was the sprinkling of blood, which is the essential part of a sacrifice; and partly to design the place where Christ, the true passover or lamb of God, was to be slain.

At the season — About the time you were preparing yourselves for it.

Verse 7

[7] And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.

In the morning — The morning after the seventh day.

Thy tents — That is, thy dwellings, which he calls tents, as respecting their present state, and to put them in mind afterwards when they were settled in better habitations, that there was a time when they dwelt in tents.

Verse 8

[8] Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.

Six days — Namely, besides the first day, on which the passover was killed.

Verse 9

[9] Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.

To put the sickle — That is, to reap thy corn, thy barley, when the first-fruits were offered.

Verse 10

[10] And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:

Of weeks — Of pentecost.

Thou shalt give — Over and besides what was appointed.

Verse 17

[17] Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

Thou shalt rejoice — In God and the effects of his favour, praising him with a glad heart.

Verse 18

[18] Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.

Judges — Chief magistrates to examine and determine causes and differences.

Officers — Who were subordinate to the other to bring causes and persons before him, to acquaint people with the sentence of the judges, and to execute their sentence.

Thy gates — Thy cities, which he here calls gates, because there were seats of judgment set. Pursuant to this law, in every town which contained above an hundred and twenty families, there was a court of twenty three judges; in the smaller towns, a court of three judges.

Verse 19

[19] Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

Wrest judgment — Not give an unjust sentence.

A gift doth blind the eyes — Biasseth his mind, that he cannot discern between right and wrong.

The words — That is the sentence, of those judges who are used to do righteous things, it makes them give wrong judgment.

Verse 20

[20] That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

That which is altogether just — Heb. righteousness, righteousness, that is, nothing but righteousness in all causes and times, and to all persons equally.

Verse 21

[21] Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

Thou shalt not plant — Because this was the practice of idolaters, and might be an occasion of reviving idolatry.