Speak to the children of Israel, saying…
The use was —
1. To remember them of their estate when they had no houses, but lived in tents, or tabernacles, or booths, made with boughs; no fields, no lands, but lived in the wilderness; and so to stir up a thankfulness for their happy change.
2. To remember them of the Lord's great works in driving out the Canaanites and giving that fruitful land unto them. Then they were a prey to all men, but now a terror to all men, wheresoever the fame of them came.
3. It served to preach unto them the doctrine afterward delivered by the apostle, to wit, that here we have no biding city, but should reckon of our houses as but of tabernacles for the time, our true hope being for houses and dwellings, and everlasting tabernacles not made with hands in heaven, &c. And may not we consider on our feast days all these things, although we have not now the same ceremonies? May not we remember our state past under superstition, cruelty, and bondage? May not we remember burnings and killings, and most hateful handlings of persecutors? May not we remember great wars and dissensions in this our native country, the fall of our friends, and the change of many houses? May not we remember great impositions and payments, and, in one word, very many miseries and calamities? Laying them to the present times, wherein we enjoy truth and liberty of conscience without either death or danger, or so much as any fear, what a change is this to a man or woman that knoweth and feeleth the blessing! Oh, that we may send up to God most thankful thoughts for it while we live! Now, again, we enjoy peace, such as no nation hath bad the like. We are not eaten up with heavy and continual payments, but we live as in heaven by comparison to former times. The Lord hath driven away the Canaanites that would have invaded and conquered had not He resisted for us and overthrown them. He hath made us a terror to our foes and a refuge or sanctuary for our friends, when erst foreign nations were lords over us. And, for the last point, we bare no more certainty of abode here than they had, but look for the same end of faith, an enduring house in heaven.
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak 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.