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Feast of Dedication

DEDICATION, FEAST OF. An annual festival of the Jews held throughout the country for eight days, celebrating the restoration of the temple following its desecration at the hands of the Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes (1Macc.4.52-1Macc.4.59; 2Macc.10.5), of which Josephus gives a graphic picture (Antiq. 12.5.4). The feast came on the twenty-fifth of Kislev (December). Josephus called it the “Feast of Lights.” Like the Feast of Tabernacles, it was a time of pageantry and joy. It was at this feast that Jesus delivered the temple discourse recorded in John.10.22ff.——JDF

In the celebration today, although work is allowed on these days, there is a prescribed, festive ritual. The family solemnly gathers around the father as he lights the candles with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the liberation of His people from the persecution of the oppressor. Presents and money gifts are distributed to the children. During the evening games are played with the posing of riddles and exchange of jokes. In Europe the special table dish for the occasion was pancakes. See Feasts.


H. Schauss, The Jewish Festivals (1938), 208-236; B. M. Edidin, Jewish Holidays and Festivals (1940), 87-103; The Jewish People, Past and Present (1948), II, 277, 278; G. Kittel ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, III (1965), 453, 454.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A feast held by the Jews throughout the country for eight days, commencing on the 25th Kiclev (December), in commemoration of the cleansing of the temple and dedication of the altar by Judas Maccabeus after their desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc 4:56,59). The feast was to be kept "with mirth and gladness." 2 Macc 10:6,7 says it was kept like the Feast of the Tabernacles, with the carrying of palm and other branches, and the singing of psalms. Josephus calls it "Lights," from the joy which accompanied it (Ant., XII, vii, 7). At this winter feast Jesus delivered in the temple the discourse recorded in Joh 10:24 ff, at Jerusalem.