The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles

Leviticus 23:34–44

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; ye shall do no servile work.

These are the set feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meal offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, each on its own day: beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord.

Howbeit on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year: it is a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall keep it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are homeborn in Israel shall dwell in booths: that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the set feasts of the Lord.

The Feast of Tabernacles

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book I Poem VI)

As bride adorned for her spouse, Jerusalem
Sits queenly upon Zion. Blossoms red,
Fruits golden, verdant boughs, she decks her with,
Deft wrought by practised fingers—booths of joy,
Planted on roofs or whatso vantage coign
Quick eyes discern to hold an edifice,
Built as the birds build, for glad family.
At noon and eve the silver trumpets ring—
Blown by two servitors from the marble steps—
And Israel’s faithful heart takes up the cry,
“Towards Jehovah, Lord, our face is turned!”
City of Palaces exceeding fair,
Jerusalem shines for her ten thousand guests
Up gathered from all lands to serve the Lord.

Fairest where all is fair, the Temple stands
Resplendent on Moriah: they behold
An edifice of gold and snowy white,
Of magnitude unequalled, vast, immense,
Wonder of beauty, glowing in the light
On that high place towards which they turn eyes—
The moving throng—each bearing citron bough
With fragrant fruit, and palm branch held aloft
To screen eyes from the hot October sun;—
The lusty sun which had ripened all that wealth
Of mellow fruit and golden grain brought up,
An offering to Him who had filled that cup—
Held in the hollow of His hand—their land!
The people sing and dance before the Lord:
But what of them,—the priests and Pharisees,
Masters of these high ceremonies? Proud,
They gazed on all the jubilant scene, assured—
“This, this, the People’s life! This shall endure,
These altar-rites and these high Festivals,
So long as God is in heaven, and Israel thrives—
Scattered among the nations, yet increased!”
So solace they their hearts for many a fear,
Dark doubt, sudden dismay, had fallen on them
During those anxious months now overpass’d.
See, arrogant, they tread the marble courts
Engaged in their high functions; lofty, sweep,
With sanctimonious pride through crowded streets
Where huddling men make room nor dare to touch
The hem of their broidered robes. How well was all!
But was it well, indeed? To what intent
Those furtive glances shot from watchful eyes?
The ministering priests in trepidation scan,
Even they, the movements of the multitude:
Say, what uneasiness disturbs their pride,
What look they for, these high ones?

Leviticus xxiii. 34–44.

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