Leviticus 23:42

Hebrew Bible

40 On the first day you must take for yourselves branches from majestic trees—palm branches, branches of leafy trees, and willows of the brook—and you must rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You must celebrate it as a pilgrim festival to the Lord for seven days in the year. This is a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you must celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You must live in temporary shelters for seven days; every native citizen in Israel must live in shelters, 43 so that your future generations may know that I made the Israelites live in shelters when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’” 44 So Moses spoke to the Israelites about the appointed times of the Lord.

Nehemiah 8:15

Hebrew Bible

13 On the second day of the month the family leaders met with Ezra the scribe, together with all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to consider the words of the law. 14 They discovered written in the law that the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, 15 and that they should make a proclamation and disseminate this message in all their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go to the hill country and bring back olive branches and branches of wild olive trees, myrtle trees, date palms, and other leafy trees to construct temporary shelters, as it is written. 16 So the people went out and brought these things back and constructed temporary shelters for themselves, each on his roof and in his courtyard and in the courtyards of the temple of God and in the plaza of the Water Gate and the plaza of the Ephraim Gate. 17 So all the assembly which had returned from the exile constructed temporary shelters and lived in them. The Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. Everyone experienced very great joy.

 Notes and References

"... In Nehemiah 8:8, in the first episode, it is stated that the Levites read from the book of Elohim ‘with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading’ ... Reading out the text explicitly to make its traditional sense readily comprehensible and expounding the recited text, lead to the study of the words of the law on the next day (Nehemiah 8:13-18). They found it written in the law that the people of Israel should live in booths during the festival of the seventh month. In this process the Levitical instructors did not only clarify the plain sense of the laws stated in Leviticus 23:39-42, but also made a harmonistic blend of this Levitical text with Deuteronomy 16:13-15. Engaged in legal exegesis the citation in Nehemiah 8:14 (to dwell in booths) is expounded in the proclamation of Nehemiah 8:15 to build booths out of local tree species. They used etymological exegesis of the noun ‘booths’ to interpret the Torah command to dwell in booths as entailing that one must live in a branched shelter during the festival. What is striking here for Fishbane is that the cited text that states that they are to dwell (8:14) in booths and the interpreted implementation that they are to build (8:15) booths are described in these verses as ‘written’ in the Torah. The interpreters apparently felt their exegesis to be implied in the written Scriptural passage read on the second day of the seventh month. It was in this way that they ‘made (exegetical) sense’ of it. In Nehemiah 8:13-16, in the second episode, ‘formal lemmatic exegesis’ is found. In this lectionary-plus-interpretative mode the text is read and then only a portion of it held to be necessary is explained. It is not an explanation or reinterpretation of the entire passage, but only of the section that requires exegetical comment. This then becomes part of the text. Fishbane refers to this procedure as ‘an atomization of its content’ ..."

Venter, P.M. Canon, Intertextuality and History in Nehemiah: 7:72b-10:40 (pp. 1-8) HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65(1), 2009

"... The list of holidays appears in this chapter in verses 4-36 and concludes that “These are YHWH’s appointed times”. But then this passage (verses 39-43) comes as a strange addition, going back to discussing the Festival of Booths, which had already been covered in the list (verses 33-36) ... This curious addition is explained by a passage in the book of Nehemiah (8:13-18) ... it has a notation of bringing species of plants similar to those in the passage here in Leviticus. And the passage in Nehemiah states that this commandment had never been followed in Israel’s history in the land. This indicates that the commandment about booths was not established together with the other laws of the holidays and that this passage was composed separately and then added to the list ..."

Friedman, Richard Elliott The Bible with Sources Revealed: A New View Into the Five Books of Moses (pp. 228-229) Harper San Francisco, 2005

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