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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Tabernacles Feast of
Feast of Tabernacles, one of the three great festivals of the Jews, being that of the closing year, as the Passover was of the spring. In , directions for observing the feast are given in very clear terms (comp. ). It was held in commemoration of the divine goodness as exercised towards the Jews when they were wandering in the desert, as well as expressive of gratitude for the supply of the rich fruits of the earth; and so was fitted to awaken the most lively feelings of piety in the minds of the Hebrews in each successive generation. From the writings of the Rabbins we learn,
That those who took part in the festival bore in their left hand a branch of citron, and in their right a palm branch, entwined with willows and myrtle.
A libation of water took place on each of the seven days (; ); at the time of the morning oblation a priest drew from the fount of Siloam water in a jar holding three logs, and poured it out, together with wine, into two channels or conduits, made on the west side of the altar, the water into the one, the wine into the other.
In the outer court of the women there began, on the evening of the first day, an illumination on great golden candlesticks, which threw its light over the whole of Jerusalem; and a dance by torch-light, attended by song and music, was performed before the candelabra.
From these details, it appears that the Feast of Tabernacles was a season of universal joy. Jerusalem bore the appearance of a camp. The entire population again dwelt in tents, but not with the accompaniments of travel, fatigue, and solicitude; all was hilarity, all wore a holiday appearance; the varied green of the ten thousand branches of different trees; the picturesque ceremony of the water-libation, the general illumination, the sacred solemnities in and before the temple; the feast, the dance, the sacred song; the full harmony of the choral music; the bright joy that lighted up every face, and the gratitude at 'harvest home,' which swelled every bosom—all conspired to make these days a season of pure, deep, and lively joy, which, in all its elements, finds no parallel among the observances of men.
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Tabernacles Feast of'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/t/tabernacles-feast-of.html.