The Temple as the House of the Lord

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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rgprice
Posts: 1281
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

The Temple as the House of the Lord

Post by rgprice »

We know that the temple in Jerusalem was considered by those priests to be the literal house of the Lord. Apparently the Samaritans considered the house of the Lord to be on the top of Mt Gerizim. I am not clear about how the Onias temple in Egypt was understood in relation to the presence of the Lord.

Virtually all other temples in the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian housed statues of the gods that they were dedicated to. The statues were seen as literal representations of the gods. Food was brought to them, etc. and the temples were considered their literal homes. Temples were not places for people to congregate, they were homes for the gods and the priests were the house servants of the gods.

But for the temple in Jerusalem, was there anything at all that was used to represent the Lord within the dwelling? How was the presence of the Lord established within the building itself?

I do know that clothes were used by the priests, in which they were said to "put on the presence of the Lord". Was the Lord a robe? When one was wearing the robe was one then the Lord? How exactly did that work?
Russell Gmirkin
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:53 am

Re: The Temple as the House of the Lord

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

rgprice wrote: Sat Dec 31, 2022 7:14 am We know that the temple in Jerusalem was considered by those priests to be the literal house of the Lord. Apparently the Samaritans considered the house of the Lord to be on the top of Mt Gerizim. I am not clear about how the Onias temple in Egypt was understood in relation to the presence of the Lord.

Virtually all other temples in the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian housed statues of the gods that they were dedicated to. The statues were seen as literal representations of the gods. Food was brought to them, etc. and the temples were considered their literal homes. Temples were not places for people to congregate, they were homes for the gods and the priests were the house servants of the gods.

But for the temple in Jerusalem, was there anything at all that was used to represent the Lord within the dwelling? How was the presence of the Lord established within the building itself?

I do know that clothes were used by the priests, in which they were said to "put on the presence of the Lord". Was the Lord a robe? When one was wearing the robe was one then the Lord? How exactly did that work?
In the Iron II period there are at least a couple references to "Yahweh of Samaria". Significantly, when Samaria was conquered by the Assyrians, one inscription refers to the Assyrians carrying away their gods. This has been understood to mean that the temple of Yahweh of Samaria housed a statue of Yahweh and perhaps other gods. One can presume something similar in Jerusalem, especially since the Judeans appear to have inherited worship of Yahweh from those in Samaria, who may have even constructed Jerusalem's temple when they ruled the geographical region of Judah in the 800s BCE (as I argue in an article in the Thomas L. Thompson festschrift).

Note that the "glory" or kabod that the Hebrew Bible said filled the tabernacle and temple was virtually identical to the presence of the gods that inhabited their statues as a result of magical rituals in well-known Assyrian and Babylonian texts.
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