Saturday, October 31, 2015

Temple Worship in Ancient Israel

With sacrifice playing such a large role in temple worship throughout the scriptures, one may wonder what other purposes the temple may have served. Certainly it served as a locus for prayer. Donald W. Parry wrote an article regarding a possible reference to a prayer circle in Psalm 24. In Psalm 27:4 reference is made to inquiring of the Lord within the temple. Robert Fyall, in speaking of the Jerusalem temple in 2 Kings 6-8, adds additional insight to certain aspects of temple worship:
After an introduction in 1 Kings 5 outlining Solomon's preparations for his building project, chapters 6-7 deal with Temple and palace and chapter 8 with the prayer of dedication. The details of building probably come from Temple archives now lost beyond trace and the account is marked by great clarity as the writer moves from structural design to interior furnishings. In chapters 6-7 four matters call for attention.
The first is that the project begins well: the Temple is 'for the LORD' (6:2) and the detail in verse 7 about dressed stone shows scrupulous obedience to the Torah (Exod. 20:25 and Deut. 27:5-6). This is reinforced by 6:11-13, where Yahweh himself underlines the words spoken by David in 2:2-4. Thus obedience, humility and gratitude rather than bricks and gold are to be the true fabric of the Temple.1
1 Robert Fyall, "A Curious Silence: The Temple in 1 and 2 Kings," Heaven on Earth: The Temple in Biblical Theology, ed. T. Desmond Alexander and Simon Gathercole (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 2004), 50 (emphasis added)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting and informative. Although I am a Roman Catholic I have attended services at the church of the latter-day Saints in Kirtland Ohio. I also studied the Scriptures with a friend Who is of the Jewish religion. So many of these factions mentioned intertwine with so many different historical beliefs. Thank you for this informative article.