The Feasts and Festivals in their Beginnings
Ex 23:14-17; 34:18-26 earliest festal prescriptions, call for three annual festivals:
- Pilgrimage of Unleavened bread
- Pilgrimage of Harvest, firstfruits of farmers labor (pilgrimage of weeks 34:22, firstfruits of wheat harvest)
- Pilgrimage of Ingathering
How they were observed:
Pilgrimage of Harvest and Ingathering
– Festivals of Harvest and Ingathering tied to agricultural life of the land.
- Festival of Harvest– celebrated firstfruit of barley in the spring
- Festival of Ingathering– related to autumnal gathering of fruits at end of the year
– These practices were probably adapted from already existing Canaanite agricultural practices.
– How they offered it:
- Offering were brought to sacred site near homes
- Offerings were presented to YHWH in celebration of fertility of the land
Such practice emphasized
- Israel’s intimate relationship with land and
- Yahweh’s blessing of the people with successful crop.
Pilgrimage of Unleavened Bread
– Generally associated with spring harvest– but early status of agricultural observation on their connection is not clear.
– Seven day observance-no leaven is eaten- related to Israel’s exodus from Egypt.
– At this period the pilgrimage of unleavened bread was not associated with Passover yet. Thus this festival may reflect earlier Israelite observance that celebrated Yahweh’s act of redemption.
– At a later time observance of this festival was related to the presentation of sheaf of firstfruits (Lev 23:9-14)
– This festival came to have both agricultural and historical connotations.