Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 8
The Feast of Tabernacles is one of Israel’s most important sacred holidays. It is a joyful holiday that happens after the end of the fruit harvest each year (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). The people build tabernacles (in other words, temporary shelters) that they use as their homes for the week (Leviticus 23:40-43). In ancient Israel, all the people came to Jerusalem for this holiday.
Solomon chose this holiday as the time when the priests would start to use the new temple (the house of God in Jerusalem). This was such an important occasion that he wanted all the people to join him at the opening ceremonies. He wanted both to pray with them and to pray for them on this great occasion. He also wanted to share with them the meat from the many sacrifices (the animals that they offered to God). That would show a right relationship between God, the people, and Solomon as their king.
So in that year only, this joyful holiday lasted for an extra week – a total of 14 days. In other words, the people gathered in Jerusalem a week earlier than they usually did. During the first week, there were the ceremonies to hand over the temple to God. The second week was the first time that the special ceremonies for the Feast of Tabernacles happened at the temple (Numbers 29:12-38). The people went back home on the day after the special day at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles (2 Chronicles 7:10; compare Leviticus 23:34-39).
Next part: God appears to Solomon for the second time (1 Kings 9:1-2)
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