John 7:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 7:2, NIV: "But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near,"

John 7:2, ESV: "Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand."

John 7:2, KJV: "Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand."

John 7:2, NASB: "Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near."

John 7:2, NLT: "But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters,"

John 7:2, CSB: "The Jewish Festival of Shelters was near."

What does John 7:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jewish men were commanded to attend several feasts in Jerusalem each year (Deuteronomy 16:16). In chapter 5, it was one such feast that brought Jesus to the city, where He healed a man at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1–9). Based on the timeline of the gospel of John, that celebration would have been the Feast of Booths, the same event shown here in chapters 7 and 8.

The Feast of Booths, also known as the Festival of Tabernacles, was a 7-day event (Leviticus 23:33–34) celebrating the journey of Israel through the wilderness. The rituals of this festival reminded the people of how God had provided for Israel during their journey out of Egypt. This involved enormous lamps whose wicks were made of priestly robes (John 8:12), and priests carrying water from the Pool of Siloam (John 7:37). These symbolized the pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21), and the provision of water from the rock (Exodus 17:1–6), respectively.

As a major festival, this event would have made Jerusalem a busy, densely-populated area. The conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders shown in this passage would have been made all the more tense by the enormous publicity.