The Feast of Tabernacle
Deuteronomy 16:13-16
You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that you have gathered in your corn and your wine:…

I. A FEAST OF THE INGATHERING. (Ver. 13.) Held in the seventh month, when all the fruits of the earth had been gathered in. Thus:

1. Every stage of labor was sanctified by the recognition of God. At the Passover, when the sickle was thrust into the virgin grain; at Pentecost, when the cereal crops were harvested; and now, at the close of the agricultural year, when the season's labors had yielded to the husbandman their full results.

2. The fruits of labor were sanctified by dedication to God. The usual feasts were held, and shared with the needy (ver. 14), and free-will offerings (vers. 16, 17) were presented to God. Bountiful giving is the appropriate return for bountiful receiving.

II. A MEMORIAL OF PAST WANDERINGS. (Leviticus 23:43.) During the seven days of the festival, the Israelites were to live in booths. This symbolized, and served to remind them of, the wandering, unsettled life of the desert. Booths were erections of simpler construction, and more in keeping with an agricultural festival, especially after the settlement in Canaan, than tents would have been. But there may have been an allusion also to actual circumstances of the journeyings, e.g. the first halt at Succoth, i.e. booths (Exodus 12:3; see Stanley). This memorial was instituted:

1. That in the midst of their prosperity they might not forget the days of their adversity (Deuteronomy 8:12-18).

2. That they might be reminded of God's gracious care of them. Booths or huts may, as Keil thinks, have been used instead of tents with reference to this idea. The booth was a shelter, a protection. So God promises to be to his Church, as he had been in the past, "a booth for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from the storm and rain" (Isaiah 4:6).

3. That their enjoyment of the goodness of the land might be enhanced by feelings of warm gratitude, awakened by the sense of contrast.

III. AN IMAGE OF PRESENT PILGRIMAGE. Though settled in Canaan, the Israelites were not to regard themselves as in possession of the final rest (Hebrews 4:7, 8). The pilgrim state continued (Psalm 39:12). It does so still. We still inhabit tabernacles (2 Corinthians 5:1). Spiritual rest, the inward side of the Canaan type, is attained in Christ; but the full realization of the rest of God lies in eternity. Till heaven is reached, our state is that of pilgrims - wilderness wanderers. "The admission of this festival into Zechariah's prophecy of Messianic times (Zechariah 14:18) is undoubtedly founded on the thought that the keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles is an expression on the part of the nations of their thankfulness for the termination of their wanderings by their reception into the peaceful kingdom of Messiah" (Oehler). - J.O.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:

WEB: You shall keep the feast of tents seven days, after that you have gathered in from your threshing floor and from your winepress:

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