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Jewish Festivals

[2.2.03.6.10]

(Exodus 12:2-27)

(Exodus 23:14-17)
(Exodus 34:18,22,23)
(Leviticus 23)
(Numbers 28:26-31)
(Numbers 29)
Deuteronomy 16)
(Esther 9:20-23,29-32)



The Jews had 3 required festivals (celebrations):


# Festival When Celebration
1 Passover &
Festival of Unleavened Bread
14th day of 1st month of the Jewish new year (March/April)
(early spring)
* God's Deliverance *
Deliverance from slavery in Egypt, Firstborn lived & redeemed
2 Festival of Harvest
(aka Festival of Weeks)
(aka Pentecost)
7 weeks (50 days) after the beginning of the barley grain harvest (start of wheat harvest)
(early summer)
* God's Provision *
Joy and Thanksgiving for bountiful harvest
3 Festival of Shelters
(aka Festival of the Final Harvest)
(aka Festival of Ingathering)
15th day of the month after harvesting complete
(early autumn)
* God's Protection & Guidance *
Renewed Israel's commitment to God & trust in his guidance & protection



The Jews had 8 total festivals (celebrations) plus the Sabbath every week:


# Festival Timing Length Celebration
1 Passover Early Spring 1 day * God's Deliverance *
When God spared the lives of Israel's firstborn children in Egypt & freed the Hebrews from slavery
2 Festival of Unleavened Bread Early Spring 7 days * Starting a New Life *
The exodus from Egypt (left the old life behind and entered into a new way of living). Firstborn redeemed.
3 Festival of First Fruits Beginning of grain harvest 1 day * God's Provision *
The first crop (barley harvest)
4 Festival of Harvest
(aka Festival of Weeks)
(aka Pentecost)
7 weeks (50 days) after the beginning of the grain harvest 1 day * God's Provision *
Joy & Thanksgiving to God for bountiful harvest
End of barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest
5 Festival of Trumpets Early Autumn
(1st day of 7th month)
1 day * Joy & Thanksgiving to God *
6 Day of Atonement Early Autumn
10th day of 7th month
1 day * Restored Fellowship with God *
The removal of sin from the people and the nation
7 Festival of Shelters
(aka Festival of the Final Harvest)
(aka Ingathering)
Early Autumn
15th day of 7th month
14 days after Festival of Trumpets
7 days * God's Protection & Guidance *
Renewed Israel's commitment to God & trust in his guidance & protection
End of the harvest season
8 Festival of Purim March 2 days * God's Protection from Enemies *
Jews gained relief from their enemies
- Sabbath Every 7 days 1 day * Holy Day to Worship *


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Exodus 12:2-27


The First Passover

2 “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. 3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. 4 If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. 5 The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects.

6 “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. 8 That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. 10 Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning.

11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed,[a] wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time. 15 For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel. 16 On the first day of the festival and again on the seventh day, all the people must observe an official day for holy assembly. No work of any kind may be done on these days except in the preparation of food.

17 “Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread, for it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day. This festival will be a permanent law for you; celebrate this day from generation to generation. 18 The bread you eat must be made without yeast from the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day of that month. 19 During those seven days, there must be no trace of yeast in your homes. Anyone who eats anything made with yeast during this week will be cut off from the community of Israel. These regulations apply both to the foreigners living among you and to the native-born Israelites. 20 During those days you must not eat anything made with yeast. Wherever you live, eat only bread made without yeast.”

21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. 22 Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down.

24 “Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. 25 When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. 26 Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ 27 And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped.



Exodus 23:14-17


Three Annual Festivals

14 “Each year you must celebrate three festivals in my honor. 15 First, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. No one may appear before me without an offering.

16 “Second, celebrate the Festival of Harvest, when you bring me the first crops of your harvest.

“Finally, celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the harvest season, when you have harvested all the crops from your fields. 17 At these three times each year, every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord.




Exodus 34:18, 22-23

18 “You must celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.

22 “You must celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first crop of the wheat harvest, and celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the harvest season. 23 Three times each year every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord, the God of Israel.



Leviticus 23


The Appointed Festivals

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly. 3 “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live. 4 “In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.


Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

5 “The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. 7 On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly. 8 For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”


Celebration of First Harvest

9 Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest. 11 On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf. 12 On that same day you must sacrifice a one-year-old male lamb with no defects as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 With it you must present a grain offering consisting of four quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil. It will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. You must also offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering. 14 Do not eat any bread or roasted grain or fresh kernels on that day until you bring this offering to your God. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.


The Festival of Harvest

15 “From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks. 16 Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as a special offering. Make these loaves from four quarts of choice flour, and bake them with yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first of your crops. 18 Along with the bread, present seven one-year-old male lambs with no defects, one young bull, and two rams as burnt offerings to the Lord. These burnt offerings, together with the grain offerings and liquid offerings, will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 19 Then you must offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a peace offering.

20 “The priest will lift up the two lambs as a special offering to the Lord, together with the loaves representing the first of your crops. These offerings, which are holy to the Lord, belong to the priests. 21 That same day will be proclaimed an official day for holy assembly, a day on which you do no ordinary work. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.

22 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”


The Festival of Trumpets

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn, you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. 25 You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord.”


The Day of Atonement

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, 27 “Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets. You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselves and present special gifts to the Lord. 28 Do no work during that entire day because it is the Day of Atonement, when offerings of purification are made for you, making you right with the Lord your God. 29 All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. 30 And I will destroy anyone among you who does any work on that day. 31 You must not do any work at all! This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live. 32 This will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and on that day you must deny yourselves. This day of rest will begin at sundown on the ninth day of the month and extend until sundown on the tenth day.”


The Festival of Shelters

33 And the Lord said to Moses, 34 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Begin celebrating the Festival of Shelters on the fifteenth day of the appointed month—five days after the Day of Atonement. This festival to the Lord will last for seven days. 35 On the first day of the festival you must proclaim an official day for holy assembly, when you do no ordinary work. 36 For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the Lord. This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day.

37 (“These are the Lord’s appointed festivals. Celebrate them each year as official days for holy assembly by presenting special gifts to the Lord—burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and liquid offerings—each on its proper day. 38 These festivals must be observed in addition to the Lord’s regular Sabbath days, and the offerings are in addition to your personal gifts, the offerings you give to fulfill your vows, and the voluntary offerings you present to the Lord.)

39 “Remember that this seven-day festival to the Lord—the Festival of Shelters—begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month, after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest. 40 On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees—palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You must observe this festival to the Lord for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed month from generation to generation. 42 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters. 43 This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

44 So Moses gave the Israelites these instructions regarding the annual festivals of the Lord.



Numbers 28:26-31


Offerings for the Festival of Harvest

26 “At the Festival of Harvest, when you present the first of your new grain to the Lord, you must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work on that day. 27 Present a special burnt offering on that day as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It will consist of two young bulls, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs. 28 These will be accompanied by grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts with each bull, four quarts with the ram, 29 and two quarts with each of the seven lambs. 30 Also, offer one male goat to purify yourselves and make yourselves right with the Lord. 31 Prepare these special burnt offerings, along with their liquid offerings, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its accompanying grain offering. Be sure that all the animals you sacrifice have no defects.



Numbers 29


Offerings for the Festival of Trumpets

1 “Celebrate the Festival of Trumpets each year on the first day of the appointed month in early autumn. You must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work. 2 On that day you must present a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 3 These must be accompanied by grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts with the bull, four quarts with the ram, 4 and two quarts with each of the seven lambs. 5 In addition, you must sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering to purify yourselves and make yourselves right with the Lord. 6 These special sacrifices are in addition to your regular monthly and daily burnt offerings, and they must be given with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings. These offerings are given as a special gift to the Lord, a pleasing aroma to him.


Offerings for the Day of Atonement

7 “Ten days later, on the tenth day of the same month, you must call another holy assembly. On that day, the Day of Atonement, the people must go without food and must do no ordinary work. 8 You must present a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 9 These offerings must be accompanied by the prescribed grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts of choice flour with the bull, four quarts of choice flour with the ram, 10 and two quarts of choice flour with each of the seven lambs. 11 You must also sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering. This is in addition to the sin offering of atonement and the regular daily burnt offering with its grain offering, and their accompanying liquid offerings.


Offerings for the Festival of Shelters

12 “Five days later, on the fifteenth day of the same month, you must call another holy assembly of all the people, and you may do no ordinary work on that day. It is the beginning of the Festival of Shelters, a seven-day festival to the Lord. 13 On the first day of the festival, you must present a burnt offering as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It will consist of thirteen young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 14 Each of these offerings must be accompanied by a grain offering of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts for each of the thirteen bulls, four quarts for each of the two rams, 15 and two quarts for each of the fourteen lambs. 16 You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

17 “On the second day of this seven-day festival, sacrifice twelve young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 18 Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 19 You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

20 “On the third day of the festival, sacrifice eleven young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 21 Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 22 You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

23 “On the fourth day of the festival, sacrifice ten young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 24 Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 25 You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

26 “On the fifth day of the festival, sacrifice nine young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 27 Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 28 You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

29 “On the sixth day of the festival, sacrifice eight young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 30 Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 31 You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

32 “On the seventh day of the festival, sacrifice seven young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 33 Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 34 You must also sacrifice one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

35 “On the eighth day of the festival, proclaim another holy day. You must do no ordinary work on that day. 36 You must present a burnt offering as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 37 Each of these offerings must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. 38 You must also sacrifice one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering.

39 “You must present these offerings to the Lord at your annual festivals. These are in addition to the sacrifices and offerings you present in connection with vows, or as voluntary offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, liquid offerings, or peace offerings.”

40 So Moses gave all of these instructions to the people of Israel as the Lord had commanded him.



Deuteronomy 16


Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

1 “In honor of the Lord your God, celebrate the Passover each year in the early spring, in the month of Abib, for that was the month in which the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Your Passover sacrifice may be from either the flock or the herd, and it must be sacrificed to the Lord your God at the designated place of worship—the place he chooses for his name to be honored. 3 Eat it with bread made without yeast. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread—the bread of suffering—so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt. 4 Let no yeast be found in any house throughout your land for those seven days. And when you sacrifice the Passover lamb on the evening of the first day, do not let any of the meat remain until the next morning.

5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you. 6 You must offer it only at the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Sacrifice it there in the evening as the sun goes down on the anniversary of your exodus from Egypt. 7 Roast the lamb and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses. Then you may go back to your tents the next morning. 8 For the next six days you may not eat any bread made with yeast. On the seventh day proclaim another holy day in honor of the Lord your God, and no work may be done on that day.


The Festival of Harvest

9 “Count off seven weeks from when you first begin to cut the grain at the time of harvest. 10 Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest to honor the Lord your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him. 11 This is a time to celebrate before the Lord your God at the designated place of worship he will choose for his name to be honored. Celebrate with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites from your towns, and the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live among you. 12 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, so be careful to obey all these decrees.


The Festival of Shelters

13 “You must observe the Festival of Shelters for seven days at the end of the harvest season, after the grain has been threshed and the grapes have been pressed. 14 This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns. 15 For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the Lord your God at the place he chooses, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.

16 “Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he chooses, but they must not appear before the Lord without a gift for him. 17 All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God.



Esther 9:20-23


The Festival of Purim

20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, 21 calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days. 22 He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.

23 So the Jews accepted Mordecai’s proposal and adopted this annual custom.



Esther 9:29-32

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote another letter putting the queen’s full authority behind Mordecai’s letter to establish the Festival of Purim. 30 Letters wishing peace and security were sent to the Jews throughout the 127 provinces of the empire of Xerxes. 31 These letters established the Festival of Purim—an annual celebration of these days at the appointed time, decreed by both Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther. (The people decided to observe this festival, just as they had decided for themselves and their descendants to establish the times of fasting and mourning.) 32 So the command of Esther confirmed the practices of Purim, and it was all written down in the records.



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