Leviticus 23:10-11 New International Version (NIV)

10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath

The above text says this was done "on the day after the Sabbath"

Does this refer to the first day of the seven day feast of the unleavened bread, which is a "High Sabbath", or the regular Sabbath that fell during the festival?


3 Answers 3


The phrase on the day after the Sabbath (הַשַּׁבָּ֜ת) in Leviticus 23:11 can be interpreted to mean either the day after the weekly Sabbath or the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread:

The interpretation of this phrase also constituted one of the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees during the second Temple. According to the Pharisees, the term sabbath here, as elsewhere (see Leviticus 23:24; Leviticus 23:32; Leviticus 23:39), is not the weekly sabbath, but the next day, or the first day of the holy convocation, the first day of Passover, on which the Israelites had to abstain from all unnecessary work. It is the 16th of Nisan. The Sadducees, however, maintained that it is to be understood in its literal sense as denoting the weekly sab-bath in the Passover week, which might happen to fall within the seven days, and possibly the fifth or sixth day of the festival. [Ellicott's Commentary]

Since the Sadducees were the party of the high priests, one would suppose the feast would be observed on the day after the weekly Sabbath, yet Josephus states the latter was the practice:

But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley... [Antiquites of the Jews 3.10.5]

The claim is the term "Sabbath" is the same as used in Leviticus 23:24, 32, and 39, is not accurate. The word used is הַשַּׁבָּ֔ת which is only used in Leviticus 23:11,15,16 and 24:8. The uses in 23:15 and 23:16 do not help clarify which meaning is intended since these refer back to the day marked in 23:11. The use in 24:8 is repeated and clearly means the weekly Sabbath:

Aaron will always set it out before the Lord, Sabbath (הַשַּׁבָּ֜ת) after Sabbath (הַשַּׁבָּ֜ת), on behalf of the Israelites, as a permanent covenant (Leviticus 24:8 CEB)


Leviticus 23:10-14King James Version (KJV) 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:4-6King James Version (KJV) 4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

The fourteenth of the first month which is Aviv used to be Nisan is in the spring and the first harvest called first fruits was usually cereals mainly barley and some wheat but the large wheat harvest was in the second harvest. The Sabbath here is the seven day Sabbath following the Passover, and the waving of the sheaf is the day after that, which would be the first day of the week and it also started the counting of the weeks of seven Sabbaths the day after would be the fiftieth day and the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost which also means fifty. The main thing of the Sheaf offering they could not eat any of the grains before the priest waved it unto the Lord.

The chapter 23 of Leviticus covers the appointed feasts. The Jewish encyclopedia is a place you can check out and has information may help. Oh by the way, Jesus resurrected the first day after the Sabbath after the Passover same day of the waving of the sheaf which is called the first fruits which falls inside the seven day feast of unleavened bread.

Passover the 14th form year to year changes to what day of week it falls on. The Feast of Weeks is the first day after the 49th day or seven Sabbaths Sunday to us, so the First fruits is on the first day of the week. So it would be the first day after the weekly 7th day Sabbath after the Passover inside the 7 day Feast of Unleavened bread.


The first key to the answer is in Leviticus 23v16: "The next day after the seventh Sabbath". This refers to Shavuot/Pentecost and is clearly the day after the weekly Sabbath, i.e. Sunday.

The second key is found in the same verse "you will count fifty days". That is an exact number - not 'about 50' not, 49 or 52 or any other number, but 50.

Fifty days from Shavuot back to when the count starts is the Sunday during the week of Unleavened Bread. It cannot be the day after the High Sabbath of Passover/Unleavened Bread, because that would make more than fifty days to the day after the weekly Sabbath for Shavuot. Therefore, the count starts on the day after the weekly Sabbath, not the day after the High Sabbath of Passover.

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