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Posts Tagged ‘king david’

In Second Samuel we find that King David bought from the Jebusite king Araunah a threshing floor that later became the site of King Solomon’s temple. Most people who have any interest in Bible history will tell you that. And after that they will tell you that site is located on the Temple Mount. They don’t have Bible proof of that, but they do have tradition.

We are going to look at the Temple Mount and some other historical prominences, piece by piece, beginning with the threshing floor. We have Bible evidence there was a threshing floor in the Jebusite city King David captured, and that David bought bought the threshing floor  from the Jebusite king.

Old Image of the Destroying Angel Hovering Over Jerusalem, Author Unknown

The story begins in 2 Samuel 24. The Bible says God inspired David to take a census and that it was the wrong thing to do, and that his closest people advised against it, to none avail. I do not understand why God would provoke David to do something wrong. But I am not going to explain it away somehow. Someone suggested David did wrong by not taking an offering from the people as they were numbered. There is a place in Exodus where God instructed Moses to take an offering from each individual when he took a census. See Exodus Chapter 30. Verse 12 says that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.  For some reason Moses had to take this offering to forestall a plague among the people. However, in David’s instance, even from the outset we see his  advisors counseling him against numbering the people. We do not know why, and for us to make guesses and invent explanations for what the word of God says is foolishness, or worse. Let us just know that David took a census and he should not have done so.

When the census was finished God sent the prophet Gad to David and gave him a choice of punishments: seven years of famine in the land, three months flight from his enemies while they pursued him, or three days pestilence in the land. David chose the deadly pestilence as opposed to the three months fleeing from his enemies because he figured the hand of God would be easier to bear than the hand of man.

The historian Josephus, who did not live at the time of this event, but worked from sources available to him said of the pestilence: “Now, the miserable disease was one indeed, but it carried them off by ten thousand causes and occasions, which those that were afflicted could not understand; for one died upon the neck of another, and the terrible malady seized them before they were aware, and bought them to their end suddenly, some giving up the ghost immediately with very great pains and bitter grief; and some were worn away by their distempers, and had nothing remaining to be buried, but as soon as ever they fell, were entirely macerated; some were choked, and greatly lamented their case, as being also stricken with a sudden darkness, some there were who, as they were burying a relation, fell down dead….” Seventy thousand people died of this pestilence. (Chapter 13, The Antiquities of the Jews)

The Bible records the ending of the plague in this way: And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan (same as Araunah) the Jebusite.

And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Jerusalem, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.

And David said unto God, is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? Even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father’s house, but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.  (1 Chronicles 21:15-17)

Then the prophet Gad instructed David to build an altar to the Lord at the threshing floor of King Araunah.  This David did, purchasing from the Jebusite king the threshing place and the oxen that were there. Then David offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings the plague was stayed from the land.

The first verse of the next Chapter records a statement made by David: This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. (1 Chronicles 22:1) After this we read how David began to gather materials for the construction of the temple that his son Solomon would build later on.

What a tumultuous beginning! Nor is it over yet, nor will it be until the King of Kings returns. But let us continue. Just what is a threshing floor? What is its function and how does it work? Where modern machinery is lacking threshing floors are still in use today.  The purpose of the threshing floor is to facilitate the work of separating grain from the stems whereon it grows. This is accomplished by thrashing or beating the stalks of grain, causing the grain to dislodge from the stalk. Then the grain is further cleaned by winnowing to rid it of chaff, the inedible plant matter that still clings to the grain. Winnowing can be accomplished by hand, by tossing the grain in the air and allowing the wind to blow away the chaff. Threshing floors were level sites, where the threshing could be done more easily. They were typically located on a hill or rise to take advantage of an unhindered breeze or wind.

by Stan Zurek, Wikimedia Commons

Here is a photo of a threshing floor in Greece. You will see that it is level and in an open area. If you care you can find a number of photos of threshing floors, ancient and current, on the internet. They are typically round, and slope a little to one direction to let the rain run off. They often have a border of stones and are paved in some fashion. Some are paved with flat stones. This one appears to be paved with concrete. Animals were often used to facilitate the task of threshing. King Araunah was using oxen, which he sold to David along with the threshing floor. King David then sacrificed the oxen as an offering to the Lord.

The photo below from Conservapedia shows the interior of the Dome of the Rock. Here is the sacred stone of Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. Muslims believe their prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from this site. Early Christians believed that this is the stone upon which Jesus stood prior to his crucifixion when he was interrogated by Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea.  The early Christians perhaps are correct, for the large enclosure surrounding the Dome of the Rock was the camp of the Tenth Roman Legion at the time of Christ. Then, both Jews and Christians hold the stone to be the place of Abraham’s testing, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son to him.

The rays of the sun coming in illuminate the large rock quite clearly. This rock hardly qualifies as a threshing floor, now does it? This is the highest point of this large outcropping. The rest of the rock lies beneath the fill dirt that makes the surface of the Temple Mount level.  The ancient report from Josephus in The Jewish Wars says that this rock was 75 feet high from the bottom up and that it was covered with “smooth stone flags”. This would be the retaining wall that encloses the Temple Mount. This wall was built mostly by Herod the Roman king of Judea just prior to the time of Christ. However, there is a section on the eastern side that is of older construction.

Of course in an area as large as the temple mount a threshing floor could have been there somewhere. True, but if the temple were in close proximity to a large rock outcropping, would there be no mention of that anywhere in the descriptions of the temple?? Read the Bible, or any other historical document you like; you will not find any mention of such a prominent feature as a 75 foot rock near the temple.

Another argument you often encounter is that the historian Josephus, upon whom we must rely for much recorded history of the time of Christ and the temple, exaggerates. On subjects other than the temple Josephus is deemed an expert, but he is accused of bias when it comes to the temple. The fact is his work is most accurate. He lived in the era he writes about. He saw the temple and its destruction with his own eyes. Further, the Romans furnished him access to all their documents. His work was not guesswork, but factual.  It is tradition that exaggerates.

Next time we will explore another facet of the truth pertaining to Jerusalem, the place where God chose to put His name.

Old Greek threshing floor, by ZDE Wikimedia Commons

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The Dome of the Rock/Wikipedia

Tradition. When you start poking at someone’s traditions you are asking for a fight now aren’t you.  Lots of folks have an open mind, until you question something they have always been told. And then they begin to raise their voices as the lava starts boiling. Tradition is way stronger than truth. If they have heard it all their life or if it is something they want to believe, then it is a fact and there’s no argument that will make a dent in their perception. This is too bad. Truth is something you can build on and add to. It is a foundation that’s not going to crumble or give way. Conversely, an untruth is flawed in its essence and can not stand. It might last, a while, sometimes a long while. But in the end, the facts are going to show themselves. The Bible says there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. See Luke 8:17.

The Rock Under the Dome

Today a conflict rages in Israel over the acreage that comprises the Temple Mount. Muslims hold that their prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from that site; Christians claim not only is it the place God tested Abraham’s obedience to him by asking him to sacrifice his son, but that it is also the location of Solomon’s temple. Actual proof of any of this is non-existent. It is all based on tradition. Now, some tradition is true; some is not. Most truth can be supported by evidence. Where is the evidence to verify either of these claims?

I had a Christian tell me the evidence was in the Bible. She said King David bought the threshing floor on Mt. Moriah and his son Solomon built the temple there. Well, I am one of those die hard Christians that believe every word of the Bible. At one time I didn’t, but by now I have seen the evidence. I am convinced it is all true, every word.

But, I am not convinced the Temple Mount is the location of the threshing floor King David bought from the Jesusite King Araunuah. I have examined some evidence that speaks contrary to this tradition. The facts do not support the popular beliefs that hold the Temple Mount sacred.

As far as the name “Moriah” is concerned, let me say that in my own lifetime and experience I have more than once seen a prominent place name moved from one site to another. People do it every day.  See my article entitled Whatever Happened To Whetstone Gap? The Whetstone Ridge and its attendant gap was so called for the numerous small, smooth, rectangular stones scattered upon its surface and dug up from its soils. But never mind that. A land developer liked the picturesque sound of the name and so he lifted it from its rightful location and moved it some miles up the road where he was building houses. And there it is to this day. You see it emblazoned on a long green sign: Whetstone Gap Road. It’s on the map, the GPS. Now the little whetstones on the Whetstone Ridge have no recognition, having been relegated to obscurity. Their identity lost, they lie scattered and unappreciated on a mountain called Quebec, in a community also called Quebec, which mountain and community by the way, have nothing to do with the original Quebec, which is more than a thousand miles away, in Canada. Do you get my drift?

Rembrandt Painting: Abraham and Isaac

This is precisely what has happened at Moriah. God said to Abraham: Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2) The mountain was in the land of Moriah. In the same way Quebec Mountain is one of several mountains in the community of Quebec. The Bible does not give a name of a particular mountain. It is simply a mountain in the land of Moriah. Today the Temple Mount is named Moriah. But it has not always been so. Nor is there a shred of evidence that Abraham ever set foot upon it.  We don’t even know for sure the land of Moriah is the land at Jerusalem. The Samaritans believed Mt. Gerizim at Shechem was the the mountain of Abraham’s testing.

And where are the ruins of the temple? They have never been found. And rightly so. Think about it. Did not Jesus say of the temple and its attendant buildings that there would not be one stone left upon another? Most of the massive wall that surrounds the Temple Mount was built by Herod, who also rebuilt the Jewish temple. Only small sections of this wall were damaged during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The wall is intact, including that portion known today as the Wailing Wall, which is held to be the only extant remains of the temple. I can understand how Jews can believe the Wailing Wall to be a true remnant of their temple, for most Jews doubt the divinity of Jesus and would give no credence to his prophecies. But how many Christian preachers, not to mention lay people, have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the privilege of praying at the Wailing Wall, never mind the explicit words of our Lord as recorded in the first three books of the New Testament? Here it is from Matthew: As Jesus left the temple and was walking away, His disciples came up to him to point out its buildings. “Do you see all these things,” He replied.  “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be toppled.”…(Matthew 24:1-2) Did Jesus miss it? Or what?

When we get to heaven and we still want to know, we can find out for sure. Meanwhile, we need to let the evidence speak, and silence the voice of tradition, or at least take it with a grain of salt until we can be sure.

This time we have been discussing what is not. Next time we will look at some exciting and fascinating facts: things that are, that almost shout for recognition.

 

 

 

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A Psalm For Mr. Trump

trumpMany years ago when I was having difficulty with someone a lady referred me to Psalm 35. I had never read it before, and was amazed that someone in the Bible would be so passionate in his  denunciation of his enemies, to the point of asking God to destroy them. I found out the Bible is not all sweetness and light. But it is all truth.

The person in the Bible pleading with God for the annihilation of his enemies was King David. We don’t know exactly what experience prompted David to write this Psalm, but we do know that a number of years passed between the time Samuel the priest anointed David to be king until he actually took the throne. During those years Saul was king over Israel. Initially Saul accepted David. Saul even gave David his daughter to be his wife.

Eventually Saul developed a deep hatred of David, and tried to kill him many times. David was on the run for his life for a season. He had the opportunity more than once to kill Saul, but he wouldn’t do it. You can read about it in the Old Testament. Start in the book of First Samuel.

I suspect that it was during this time in his life that David wrote Psalm 35. I was reading it yesterday and couldn’t help thinking of Mr. Trump and his enemies. Here it is:

Psalm 35

1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

5 Let them be as chaff  before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.

6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee,  which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor  and the needy from him that spoileth him?

11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

22 This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

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