Then, this king died and Israel again had a series of good and bad kings. The good kings tried to correct the influence of the bad kings. But it seems like it is easier to move toward the bad.
Certain, important events happened in the history of Israel. These events, their results and God's part in them told the people much about God's nature, his relationship with people, and his plans. So, he instituted yearly celebrations to remind people consistently of the event, what God did and why their relationship with God and their lifestyle was important.
But, as the bad kings began to introduce things that were counter to knowing and following God, the people began to observe the celebrations less and less. They were not reminded of God's among them nor the relationship they should have with him. Which increased the downward spiral away from God.
When a new king, who tried to follow God, began to rule, he cleaned up a lot of areas that had gone bad. He tried to re-establish a lot of things that had been forgotten, like the celebrations.
He sent messengers throughout Israel inviting people to come to one of the celebrations. Since, God's instruction was to gather together in Jerusalem and it was a pretty serious thing to travel in those days, many people chose not to go. But many did.
Because of logistical issues, they had to postpone the celebration one month. (Imagine celebrating Christmas at the end of January.) The celebration was supposed to last one week, but it made such an impression on people that they continued for another week.
And the people went home overjoyed!
Did the joy come from a two-week long party? Or from reconnecting with the god of the universe?
I would like to say that I have been to parties where everyone seemed to have a good time, but joy was not the overall mindset. Joy seems to come from somewhere else besides good times.