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Is there a contradiction between 1 Kings 8:65 and 1 Kings 8:66?

In 1 Kings 8:65-66 we read: “At that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven more days—fourteen days.  On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the good that the Lord had done for His servant David, and for Israel His people.”

On the face of it, it speaks of “seven days and seven more days—fourteen days” and on “the eighth day he sent the people away.” How do we reconcile this—first it seemingly speaks of 14 days, and then it reverts back to the eighth day at the end of 14 days?

Some might see it as a contradiction, but if it was, the Bible would not be reliable and as we know, the Word of God is perfect, fitting together like a completed jigsaw puzzle and there is no contradiction here.

We read the following in the Benson Commentary:

“Before the temple, as in God’s presence. Seven days and seven days — Seven for the dedication of the temple, or altar; and the other seven for the feast of tabernacles. And it seems to be expressed in this manner, to intimate, that these fourteen days of rejoicing were not all together, but that there was some interval between them, which indeed was necessary, because the day of atonement was on the tenth day of this month…”

In the book of Leviticus chapter 23 we read the list of all of God’s Feast days.   God says in verse 2 “these are My feasts” from the weekly Sabbath right through all of the annual holy days that Israel was instructed to keep then and, by extension, the people of God still keep these same feast days today as opposed to the man-made and pagan holidays that are kept around the world.

In 2 Chronicles 7:8-10 we read: “At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt.  And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.  On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the LORD had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel.”

Continuing with the Benson Commentary: “And because these fourteen days ended on the twenty-second day, (2 Chronicles 7:10,) it may seem most probable, that the feast of the dedication was kept before the tenth day; and the feast of tabernacles some days after it. On the eighth day he sent the people away — Having joined with them in the solemn assembly, which was kept on the eighth day; in the close of that day he took his solemn farewell, and dismissed them with his blessing; and the next morning, when the heads and elders, with divers of the people, came to take their leave of the king, he sent them away.”

Remembering what we read in 2 Chronicles 7:8-10 and considering other Scriptures, we can summarize and conclude that there were 7 days for the dedication of the altar; the Day of Atonement is on the 10th day of the seventh month; there were 7 days for the Feast of Tabernacles, starting on the 15th of the month (Leviticus 23:34); and there was one day – the eighth day that follows the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:36).

It follows therefore that the 7 days of dedication would have been at the beginning of the month before the 10th day which was the Day of Atonement. This would be followed by the Feast of Tabernacles from the 15th to the 21st of the month, followed by the 8th day (the 22nd day of the month). Then, on the 23rd day (compare again 2 Chronicles 7:10), the day following the 22nd day, Solomon sent the people away.

It all fits together to show how the two sets of 7 days were kept separately without any contradiction whatsoever, together with the day of Atonement and the 8th day, after the Feast of Tabernacles had finished.

The same explanation is given in Matthew Poole’s Commentary, Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers and other commentaries.

This example shows again that if we read the Scriptures with the right understanding, and without an intent to find fault, then there are no contradictions in God’s Holy Word, the Bible.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)