As I read John 7:14, I see in a strange view that The Lord Jesus went up into the temple on the fourth day of the feast, and left the Temple on the eighth day.

In Lev 23:42 God said that all the Hebrews had to dwell in booths.

How could Jesus stay four days in the temple? Without going outside all four days?

John 7:14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

John 8:1-2 Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

Lev 23:42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

  • Wait, Jose, you are suggesting that because it mentions Jesus going up to the temple in the beginning of John 7 but there is no explicit statement "and then he left", so you assume he was camping out there the whole time all the way through John 8? Is this along the lines of when the Bible doesn't say someone had dinner, you assume they must have been fasting up until the next time it mentions them eating?
    – Robert
    Jan 26 at 9:33

The OP asks about the apparent problem between two requirements for the feast of tabernacles (or shelters or booths, Sukkot):

  • Ex 23:14-17 - spells out the three feasts of "pilgrimage" where most men were required to travel to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the three great feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. This was the stated reason in John 7 that Jesus' brothers, and later Jesus Himself, went to Jerusalem.
  • Lev 23:33-43 - the Torah regulations required everyone, during the feast of tabernacles, to live in "booths" (shelters made of cut tree branches only) for seven days to remind them that they were once pilgrims and lived for 40 years in such booths. Such booths were usually erected in people's yards or on the roofs of their homes.

Ellicott summarizes this situation in his comments on John 7:2 -

(2) The Jews’ feast of tabernacles.—This began on “the fifteenth day of the seventh month” (Leviticus 23:34), i.e., the 15th of Tishri, which answers to our September. The interval, then, from Passover to Tabernacles is one of about five months. The feast continued for seven days, during which all true Israelites dwelt in booths, in remembrance of their dwelling in tabernacles when they came out of the land of Egypt. Like the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) and the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost), this Feast of In-gathering was one of the “three times in the year” when every male Jew was required to appear before the Lord God (Exodus 23:14). Josephus speaks of it as the holiest and greatest of the feasts. It was at once a thankful memorial of the national deliverance, and a yearly rejoicing at the close of each succeeding harvest (Deuteronomy 16:13-16).

If Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of tabernacles, then how could he have lived in one of these tree-branch booths?

Obviously, for those living in Jerusalem, this was no great problem to erect a shelter on the roof or back-yard (if one existed) and celebrate the feast. For out-of-towners this was still not much of a problem because friends and relatives would accommodate extras and some lived just outside the city wall during the feast or in the close-by surrounding towns or farms.

Barnes also observes:

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.

Thus people met in the city of Jerusalem during the day and then retired to their booths to eat and rest for the night. According to the record in John 7, Jesus only went to the festival for half of the feast and not the full time.

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