XIX. Jesus Attends the Feast of Tabernacles
71. Proclaiming the Gospel in Jerusalem
1Jesus would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.
2Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand.a
3Some said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing.
4For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”
5For even his brothers did not believe in him.
a “Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand.”–This was the celebration of the final harvest and came in the cool autumn months (September–October). Thus it was much better attended than either the Passover at the end of winter or Pentecost (the “feast of Weeks”) at the beginning of summer. The fact that this feast was attended by Jews from all over the known world made it an ideal occasion for Jesus' first public proclamation of the gospel in Jerusalem. This particular feast probably occurred in September—October, AD 29, and Jesus would have been around 35 years old.
The feast of Tabernacles was held in commemoration of the time the Hebrews lived in the wilderness before they entered Canaan. As part of this celebration, families built small huts or booths using palm and willow branches and other greenery. For many Jews the feast of Tabernacles included a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The feast was appointed by Moses in Leviticus: “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month [according to the ecclesiastical calendar], when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord seven days. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook. You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all that are native in Israel shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the Lord.” (Lev. 23:39, 40, 42–44)
Jn. 7:1 Jesus would / he would (RSV)
Jn. 7:3 Some said / So his brothers said (RSV) (162:1/1788–90)