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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Dedication, a religious ceremony, whereby anything is dedicated or consecrated to the service of God; and it appears to have originated in the desire to commence, with peculiar solemnity, the practical use and application of whatever had been set apart to the divine service. Thus Moses dedicated the Tabernacle in the Wilderness (Exodus 40; Numbers 7); Solomon his temple (1 Kings 8); the returned exiles theirs (); Herod his. The Maccabees, having cleansed the temple from its pollutions under Antiochus Epiphanes, again dedicated the altar (), and an annual festival was established in commemoration of the event. This feast was celebrated not only at Jerusalem, but everywhere throughout the country; in which respect it differed from the feasts of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, which could only be observed at Jerusalem.
In , we are told that Jesus was at Jerusalem, walking in Solomon's porch at the time of 'the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.' This is usually supposed to have been the feast commemorating the dedication by Judas Maccabæus, which was celebrated in the month Chisleu, about the winter solstice (answering to the 15th of December). There seems no reason to disturb this conclusion; for the dedication of Solomon's temple was in the seventh month, or autumn; that of Zerubbabel's temple in the month Adar, in the spring; and, although that of Herod's temple was in the winter, we know not that it was celebrated by an annual feast, while the Maccabæan dedication was a festival much observed in the time of Christ.
Not only were sacred places thus dedicated; but some kind of dedicatory solemnity was observed with respect to cities, walls, gates, and even private houses (; Psalms 30 title; ). We may trace the continuance of these usages in the custom of consecrating or dedicating churches and chapels; and in the ceremonies connected with the 'opening' of roads, markets, bridges, etc., and with the launching of ships.
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Dedication'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/d/dedication.html.