Nehemiah 8:18 – And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.
In previous years, not all Jews had made booths (not unlike camping) and lived in them for the week of the feast. They had given only “token” acknowledgment of the feast. This revival was a pivotal week of joyful celebration that brought glory to the Lord.
This revival was to look back on their exiles for disobedience and 40 years of wilderness wandering (Leviticus 23:43), look around at God’s gracious blessing in their lives and ways to help others in need, and look forward to their future and eventual entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom ruled by King Jesus! Many years later, Jesus Himself also celebrated this feast in John 7:10–26.
Ezra continued the “Bible conference” during the entire week of the feast, reading and explaining the Word of God day-by-day. The combination of joyful fellowship, feasting, and hearing the Word strengthened the people. Nehemiah 8 stresses the celebration of the Feast of Booths was to include solemn repentance of sin and corresponding joy in the grace of God (Num. 29:35).
This good news of Jesus Christ was foreshadowed just days prior to the celebration of the Feast of Booths on the annual Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, which was the holiest day of the year (Leviticus 16). In God’s providence, Jerusalem was open, and the revival meeting occurred just in time for the celebration of the Day of Atonement.
This was the most important day of the year, and sacrifice was made for sinners to prepare them for the coming of Jesus Christ who shed His blood for the sins of the world.
Read Leviticus 23:39-43 to learn more about the Feast of Booths and then read John 7:10-26 to see Jesus celebrating the Feast of Booths described in Nehemiah 8.