Feasts

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(joyful). Observed for joyous events (Gen. 21:8; 29:22; 40:208And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. (Genesis 21:8)
22And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. (Genesis 29:22)
20And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. (Genesis 40:20)
; Mark 6:21-2221And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; 22And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. (Mark 6:21‑22)). Numerous religious feasts (Ex. 12:1616And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. (Exodus 12:16); Lev. 23:21-2421And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God. 23And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 24Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:21‑24); Jude 1212These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; (Jude 12)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

The feasts of Jehovah, as instituted under the law as given by Moses, partake more of the character of commemorations, or assemblies. of the congregation to celebrate special dealings of the Lord, and consequently special seasons—in the history of His people, being called “holy convocations.” A list of the yearly feasts is given in Leviticus 23. The first mentioned is the Sabbath, and if this is counted as one, by considering the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread as one there are seven in all—the perfect number. If the Sabbath is not included, as that was a weekly festival, being the rest of God, and on which the others were founded, then the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread may be counted as two, and still there are seven. There can be no doubt that these seven feasts were typical of the ways of blessing from the cross to the millennium. They stand thus:
Dates Lev. 23 Antitypes
Abib 15th Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Zif. [Seven Sabbaths intervene]
Sivan. Pentecost: Feast of Weeks: First Fruits (wheat). (Lev. 23:15-2215And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. 17Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. 18And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savor unto the Lord. 19Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:15‑22)) Descent of the Holy Spirit and the Church formed.
Tammuz. Ab. Elul. [The present interval.]
Tisri 15th Feast of Tabernacles: ingathering of the vintage. (Lev. 23:33-4433And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 34Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. 35On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. 37These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord. 39Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. 44And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord. (Leviticus 23:33‑44))
These seven are called “the set feasts” (Num. 29:39; 139These things ye shall do unto the Lord in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meat offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings. (Numbers 29:39) Chron. 23. 31; 2 Chron. 31:33He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 31:3); Neh. 10:3333For the showbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. (Nehemiah 10:33)). Also “holy convocations,” when the people assembled together to offer the various offerings, and thus be reminded of their association with the living God, to whom they owed all their blessings. To ensure this at least thrice in the year, it was enjoined that all the males should appear before the Lord three times in the year, and they must not appear empty. These times were at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (no doubt including the Passover); the Feast of Weeks, or of Harvest; and the Feast of Tabernacles, or “of Ingathering” (Ex. 23:14-1714Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field. 17Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God. (Exodus 23:14‑17); Deut. 16:1616Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)). See PASSOVER, &c.

“390. Feasts for the Women” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The women in the East do not have their feasts in the same room with the men. This separation of the sexes is an ancient custom which was observed at this time at the court of Persia, though Jahn, speaking of the custom, says that “Babylon and Persia must, however, be looked upon as exceptions, where the ladies were not excluded from the festivals of the men (Dan. 5:22Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. (Daniel 5:2)), and if we may believe the testimony of ancient authors, at Babylon they were not remarkable for their modesty on such occasions” (Archaeology, § 146).
As far as Babylon is concerned the remark is correct, and it serves to illustrate the relaxation of manners which showed itself among the dissolute Babylonians. It is not true, however, in reference to Persia, as is plainly seen by the indignation of Vashti when her drunken husband sent for her to come and display her beauty before the revelers. Her womanly spirit was aroused and she refused. See verse 12. This error as to the Persian custom probably rests on an oft-quoted story told by Herodotus, who says that seven Persian embassadors, being sent to Amyntas, a Grecian prince, were entertained by him at a feast, and told him when they began to drink that it was customary among their countrymen to introduce their concubines and young wives at their entertainments. Dr. Pusey says of this statement, “If historical, it was a shameless lie, to attain their end” (Lectures on Daniel, p. 461, note). Rawlinson represents the Oriental seclusion of women as carried to an excess among the ancient Persians. See Five Ancient Monarchies, vol. 3, p. 222.

“396. Feasting With the King” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

It was a rare privilege for a subject, however high his station, to be permitted to banquet with the king. Occasionally, however, this was allowed, and Haman had reason to feel highly honored at the invitation he received from the queen by permission of the king. It must be understood, however, that when subjects were thus admitted to feast with royalty they were reminded of their inferior position. “The monarch reclined on a couch with golden feet, and sipped the rich wine of Helbon; the guests drank an inferior beverage, seated upon the floor” (Five Monarchies, vol. 3, p. 214). On some very special occasions the rigidity of this rule was relaxed. The king presided openly at a banquet where large numbers of dignitaries were assembled, and royal couches and royal wine were provided for them all. Such a feast is referred to in Esther 1:33In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: (Esther 1:3).

“777. Place of Honor at Feasts” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

“Room” is old English for “place,” and indeed is still sometimes used in that sense, as when we say, “Make room.”
The Orientals have always been punctilious in reference to positions of honor at formal feasts. The chief rooms or places at feasts differed among different nations. Among the Greeks and Romans the middle place in each clinium of the triclinium, or dinner-bed, was the coveted position of honor. See note on Matthew 26:77There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (Matthew 26:7) (#712). This was the place which the Pharisees eagerly desired: “They chose out the chief rooms.” For this they received a merited rebuke from Jesus.

“778. Arrangement of Guests” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The host did not hesitate to regulate the position of his guests after they had settled it for themselves. He gave the highest in rank the chief place, sending the men up or down as circumstances required. Even in modern times there are instances of this. Schulz was at a wedding-feast at St. Jean d’Acre where two persons who had seated themselves at the top were compelled by the master of ceremonies to go down. Morier was at an entertainment in Persia where the governor of Kashan entered and took the lowest place. The host, on discovering him, pointed with his hand to an upper seat, which the governor took, the other guests making way for him. See Burder, Oriental Illustrations, No. 1304.