on John 7 :2
Feast of tabernacles - This feast was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the month Tisri, answering to the last half of our September, and the first half of October. This month was the seventh of the ecclesiastical, and first of the civil, year. The feast took its name from the tents which were erected about the temple, in public places, in courts, and on the flat roofs of their houses, and in gardens; in which the Jews dwelt for eight days, in commemoration of the forty years during which their fathers dwelt in the wilderness. It was one of the three solemn annual feasts in which all the males were obliged, by the law, to appear at Jerusalem.
This feast was celebrated in the following manner. All the people cut down branches of palm trees, willows, and myrtles, (and tied them together with gold and silver cords, or with ribbons), which they carried with them all day, took them into their synagogues, and kept them by them while at prayers. On the other days of the feast they carried them with them into the temple and walked round the altar with them in their hands, singing, Hosanna! i.e. Save, we beseech thee! - the trumpets sounding on all sides. To this feast St. John seems to refer, Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:10, where he represents the saints standing before the throne, with palm branches in their hands, singing, Salvation to God, etc. On the seventh day of the feast, they went seven times round the altar, and this was called Hosanna rabba, the great Hosanna. See the notes on Matthew 21:9. But the ceremony at which the Jews testified most joy was that of pouring out the water, which was done on the eighth day of the feast. A priest drew some water out of the pool Siloam, in a golden vessel, and brought it into the temple; and at the time of the morning sacrifice, while the members of the sacrifice were on the altar, he went up and poured this water mingled with wine upon it, the people all the while singing, with transports of joy, Isaiah 12:1-6, especially Isaiah 12:6 : With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. To this part of the ceremony, our Lord appears to allude in John 7:37, of this chapter.
During this feast many sacrifices were offered. On the first day, besides the ordinary sacrifices, they offered, as a burnt-offering, thirteen calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs with the offerings of flour and the libations of wine that were to accompany them. They offered also a goat for a sin-offering. On all the succeeding days they offered the same sacrifices, only abating one of the calves each day, so that when the seventh day came, they had but seven calves to offer. On the eighth day, which was kept with greater solemnity than the rest, they offered but one calf, one ram, and seven lambs, for a burnt-offering, and one goat for a sin-offering, with the usual offerings and libations. On this day, they also offered in the temple the first fruits of their latter crops, or of those things which come latest to maturity. During the feast, the 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th, 117th, 118th, and 119th Psalms were sung. Leo of Modena says that, though Moses appointed but eight days, yet custom and the devotion of the people have added a ninth to it, which is called the joy of the law, because that on it they complete the reading of the Pentateuch. See Calmet's Com. and Dict., and father Lamy. For the law relative to this institution, see Leviticus 23:39, Leviticus 23:40 (note), etc., and the notes there; and Numbers 29:16, etc.
on John 7 :2
The Jews' feast of tabernacles - Or the feast of tents. This feast was celebrated on the 15th day of the month Tisri, answering to the last half of our month September and the first half of October, Numbers 29:12; Deuteronomy 16:13-15. It was so called from the tents or tabernacles which on that occasion were erected in and about Jerusalem, and was designed to commemorate their dwelling in tents in the wilderness, Nehemiah 8:16-18. During the continuance of this feast they dwelt in booths or tents, as their fathers did in the wilderness, Leviticus 23:42-43. The feast was continued eight days, and the eighth or last day was the most distinguished, and was called the great day of the feast, John 7:37; Numbers 29:35. The Jews on this occasion not only dwelt in booths, but they carried about the branches of palms; willows, and other trees which bore a thick foliage, and also branches of the olive-tree, myrtle, etc., Nehemiah 8:15. Many sacrifices were offered on this occasion Numbers 29:12-39; Deuteronomy 16:14-16, and it was a time of general joy. It is called by Josephus and Philo the greatest feast, and was one of the three feasts which every male among the Jews was obliged to attend.
on John 7 :2
7:2 The feast of tabernacles - The time, manner, and reason of this feast may be seen, Lev 23:34, and c.