Feast of Tabernacles

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Third of the three great Hebrew feasts, celebrated from the 15th to 22d of Tisri
It commemorated the long tent life of the Israelites, and during its celebration the people dwelt in booths. Called also “feast of ingathering” (Ex. 23:1616And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field. (Exodus 23:16)), because it came at end of harvest. It was closed with a holy convocation (Lev. 23:3636Seven 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; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:36)); and on Sabbatical years was similarly opened and closed, when the law was read anew (Deut. 31:11-1311When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. (Deuteronomy 31:11‑13)). For law as to solemnization (see Lev. 23:34-4334Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. 35On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36Seven 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; and ye shall do no servile work therein. 37These are the 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 meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38Beside 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. 39Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43That 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. (Leviticus 23:34‑43); Num. 29:12-4012And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: 13And ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord; thirteen young bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year; they shall be without blemish: 14And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto every bullock of the thirteen bullocks, two tenth deals to each ram of the two rams, 15And a several tenth deal to each lamb of the fourteen lambs: 16And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 17And on the second day ye shall offer twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot: 18And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 19And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering thereof, and their drink offerings. 20And on the third day eleven bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish; 21And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 22And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 23And on the fourth day ten bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 24Their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 25And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 26And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without spot: 27And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 28And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 29And on the sixth day eight bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 30And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 31And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 32And on the seventh day seven bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 33And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 34And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 35On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein: 36But ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord: one bullock, one ram, seven lambs of the first year without blemish: 37Their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullock, for the ram, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 38And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 39These things ye shall do unto the Lord in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meat offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings. 40And Moses told the children of Israel according to all that the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 29:12‑40)). Its observance is referred to (Neh. 8:13-1813And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 14And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 17And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. 18Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (Nehemiah 8:13‑18); Hos. 12:99And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. (Hosea 12:9); Zech. 14:16-1916And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16‑19); John 7:2,37-382Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. (John 7:2)
37In 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. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37‑38)
).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This fell on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and continued seven days, with a holy convocation on the eighth day. Israel dwelt in booths during the feast, in remembrance of their having lived in tents when brought out of Egypt (Lev. 23:3434Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:34); Num. 29:1212And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: (Numbers 29:12); Deut. 16:1313Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: (Deuteronomy 16:13); 2 Chron. 8:1313Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles. (2 Chronicles 8:13); Ezra 3:44They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; (Ezra 3:4); John 7:22Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. (John 7:2)). It was at the end of their harvest and vintage, when they enjoyed the fruits of God’s goodness. The feast prefigures the millennium, when the people will enter into full blessing, and the eighth day, the great day, the communion of the heavenly and the earthly (Zech. 14:1616And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)). See FEASTS and SEASONS.

“131. Feast of Harvest - Feast of Tabernacles;” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Exodus 23:1616And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field. (Exodus 23:16). The feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
Its design was primarily to give an expression of gratitude to God for the harvest which had been gathered; but the Jews assert, that in addition to this, it was intended to celebrate the giving of the law on Siniai, which took place fifty days after the Passover. Maimonides says that the reason why the feast occupied but one day was because that was all the time occupied in giving the law.
On this day the people rested from all labor. Two loaves, made of the new wheat, were offered before the Lord. These were leavened, in distinction to the Passover bread, which was unleavened (Lev. 23:1717Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:17)). The Jews say that this was because the Passover was a memorial of the haste in which they departed from Egypt, when they had not time to get their bread leavened; while the Feast of Harvest was a token of thankfulness to God for their ordinary food. In addition to this offering of the loaves, every person was required to bring in a basket a portion of the firstfruits of the earth, and offer it unto the Lord (Deut. 16: 1-10). At the same time there was a burnt offering of seven young lambs, one young bullock, and two rams. A kid was given as a sin offering, and two young lambs for a peace offering (Lev. 23:18-1918And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savor unto the Lord. 19Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. (Leviticus 23:18‑19)).
2. The Feast of Ingathering, more generally known as the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:3434Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:34)) was instituted to remind the people that their fathers dwelt in tents in the wilderness (Lev. 23:4343That 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. (Leviticus 23:43)) and also to be an annual thanksgiving after all the products of the earth—corn, fruit, wine, and oil—were gathered for the year (Lev. 23:3939Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)). It was held in the seventh month, Tizri, or Ethanim, corresponding to our October, and lasted for eight days; during which time the people dwelt in booths made of the branches of palm, willow, and other trees (Lev. 23:39-4339Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43That 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. (Leviticus 23:39‑43)). On each day there were offered in sacrifice two rams, fourteen lambs, and a kid for a burnt offering. During the continuance of the feast seventy bullocks were offered, thirteen on the first day, twelve on the second, eleven on the third, and so on, the number being diminished by one on each day until the seventh day, when only seven were offered. The eighth day was a day of peculiar solemnity, and had for its special offerings a bullock, a ram, and seven lambs for a burnt offering, and a goat for a sin offering (Num. 29:12-3812And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: 13And ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord; thirteen young bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year; they shall be without blemish: 14And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto every bullock of the thirteen bullocks, two tenth deals to each ram of the two rams, 15And a several tenth deal to each lamb of the fourteen lambs: 16And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 17And on the second day ye shall offer twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot: 18And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 19And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering thereof, and their drink offerings. 20And on the third day eleven bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish; 21And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 22And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 23And on the fourth day ten bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 24Their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 25And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 26And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without spot: 27And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 28And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. 29And on the sixth day eight bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 30And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 31And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 32And on the seventh day seven bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without blemish: 33And their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullocks, for the rams, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 34And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering. 35On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein: 36But ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord: one bullock, one ram, seven lambs of the first year without blemish: 37Their meat offering and their drink offerings for the bullock, for the ram, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the manner: 38And one goat for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, and his drink offering. (Numbers 29:12‑38)). On the Sabbatical year, the Feast of Tabernacles was still further celebrated by a public reading of the law (Deut. 31:10-1310And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. (Deuteronomy 31:10‑13)). Whether this was intended to include the whole law, or only certain portions, and if so, what portions, is matter of dispute.
These festivals at the gathering of harvests were not peculiar to the Hebrews, but were in use among many Gentile nations. “The ancient sacrifices, assemblies, and conventions for sacrifices, were made at the gathering in of the fruits and productions of the earth, as the season of greatest leisure and rest” (Aristotle, cited by Maimonides, Reasons ... , p. 257).

“798. Ceremonies at the Feast of Tabernacles” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

John 7:3737In 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 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.
In addition to the ceremonies originally prescribed at the institution of the Feast of Tabernacles (see note on Exodus 28:1616Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. (Exodus 28:16), #136) were several others of a later date. Among these was the daily drawing of water from the pool of Siloam. Every morning of the seven days of the feast proper, at daybreak, a priest went to the pool of Siloam and filled with water a golden pitcher, containing about two pints and a half. He was accompanied by a procession of the people and a band of music. On returning to the temple he was welcomed with three blasts from a trumpet, and going to the west side of the great altar he poured the water from the golden pitcher into a silver basin, which had holes in the bottom through which the water was carried off. This ceremony was accompanied with songs and shouts from the people and with the sound of trumpets. It is supposed to have been designed to represent three distinct things: 1. A memorial of the water provided for their fathers in the desert. 2. A symbol of the forthcoming “latter rain.” 3. A representation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the coming of the Messiah. To the last reference is made in verses 38-39, and to the pouring out of the water Jesus no doubt refers in the text.
Nearly all the authorities agree in saying that on the eighth day this ceremony was dispensed with. There is great diversity of opinion, however, as to the meaning of “the last day, that great day of the feast”; some supposing it to be the seventh, and others the eighth. It is urged that the eighth day was not properly a part of the feast, but a special day of “holy convocation,” the peculiar ceremonies of the feast having ceased at the close of the day previous, although the ritual provided special offerings for the eighth day. On the other hand, it is affirmed that the Jews held the eighth day in higher esteem than any of the seven others because they thought the solemnities of the day were designed especially for them, whereas on the other days all the nations of the world were included in the supplications that were offered. It is sufficient for our present purpose to say that, if the seventh day be intended by “the last,” the Saviour probably uttered the words of the text at the time when the water was poured out by the officiating priest. If the eighth day be meant, then it is probable, as Alford suggests, that the words were used after the singing of the Hallel, just at the time when, on previous days, the water had been poured out.
It is thought by some that this custom of drawing water from Siloam and pouring it out by the side of the great altar was introduced before the Babylonish captivity, and that Isaiah refers to it when he says, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:33Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)).