Why Wave Palm Leaves?

Palm Sunday the people greeted Jesus back from the desert waving Palm Leaves WHY? from Janie

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‘Jesus enters Jerusalem, and the crowds welcomes him, by Pietro Lorenzetti, 1320.’

Why Wave Palm Leaves There are a couple of explanations. One is that it was common practice in the ancient world to welcome home a king or war hero by laying out a path of branches for him to ride/walk on – similar to rolling out the red carpet today in English-speaking countries. Others suggest that Romans honored champions of the games and the military with palm branches Another explanation is that it is a reminder of the Festival of the Booths commanded in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

For this festival the Israelites were commanded: “And you must take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, the fronds of palm trees and the boughs of branchy trees and poplars of the torrent valley, and you must rejoice before Jehovah your God seven days.” The palm branches were used as a mark of rejoicing. The temporary booths were a reminder that Jehovah had saved his people out of Egypt, to live in tents in the wilderness. “The alien resident and the fatherless boy and the widow” shared in this festival. All Israel was to “become nothing but joyful.”­Leviticus 23:40; Deuteronomy 16:13-15 However others believe there is no connection between this festival that occurred months after Passover and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Christ just before his death and resurrection. Another interesting fact: Why did Christ ride in on a donkey or ass? 

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2 comments… add one

  • Janet Allen

    Why did Jesus ride on a donkey? It also was to show him as king, which ties in with welcoming a king with palm leaves in the ancient world as already mentioned. 1 Kings 1:33 King David set the pattern as he had Solomon to “ride on my own mule” and be proclaimed king. Exodus 13:2, 12-13 the firstborn of a donkey is redeemed and belongs to the Lord, Mark 11:2-7 ” the Lord has need of it”, so that Jesus is “riding on God’s own mule”

  • Richard Trudelle

    It is my understanding that Palm branches were not growing in this region at the time of Palm Sunday and that they had to be imported for the festival?

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