And you shall take on the first day the fruit of choice trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
Read Chapter 23
George Leo Haydock
Fairest tree, branches of the orange or citron tree, laden with blossoms and fruit. (Tirinus)
Josephus ( iii. 10,) says, they took branches of myrtle, willows, and palm trees, on which they fixed oranges. This is the fruit which the Hebrews generally understand to be hereby designated. In the same sense the Arabic and Syriac translate "golden apples. "
Thick trees, of any species; though Josephus, restrain it to the myrtle, which was certainly used on this occasion, 2 Esdras viii. 12.
Willows. Septuagint adds also, "branches of agnus from the torrent. "Perhaps Moses only meant, that these branches should be used in forming the tents; but the Jews hold them in their hands, while they go in solemn procession round the pulpit in their synagogues, during every day of the octave, before breakfast, crying out Ana hosiah na, "Save us we beseech thee, O Lord; we beseech thee, grant us good success. "They gave the title of hosannah to those branches; in allusion to which, the children sung in honour of Jesus Christ, Hosanna to the Son of David.
Rejoice; dancing and singing before the altar of holocausts, 2 Kings vi. 14. The wisdom of God shines forth, in thus attaching to his worship a carnal people, by intermingling with the most solemn ceremonies some relaxation and pleasure. By calling them together so often in the year, they became also better acquainted with one another, and more in love with their religion and country. The ancient lawgivers entertained the like sentiments. (Seneca, Strabo x.) But the pagans generally carried these diversions to excess. (Calmet)
In this chapter we find six festivals specified: 1. sabbath; 2. Passover; 3. Pentecost; 4. trumpets; 5. expiation; 6. tabernacles, lasting till the octave day of assembly and collection. These three last were celebrated in the 7th month, the 1st of the civil year. There was also a feast on all the new moons, Numbers xxviii. 11. (Haydock)