The Temple in Chronicles

Below is a section of the paper I presented at the 2012 Scholar’s Conference at Lipscomb University in Nashville.  The paper deals with prayer in Chronicles and it will be published as one chapter in a book dealing with the theology of prayer in the Hebrew Bible.

The Temple in Chronicles

The temple played an important role in the theology of the Chronicler for it served as a constant reminder that Israel was the people of God. The Chronicler used many different designations to describe the temple in Jerusalem. The Chronicler said that the temple was a בֵּית־זְבֻל, an exalted house, a place where Yahweh would live forever (2 Chr 6:2). The temple was God’s dwelling place (2 Chr 6:21).

According to the Chronicler, the place where the temple was to be built was not selected by David. The site was selected by the angel of the Lord (1 Chr 21:18-19). The site where the temple was built was the place where David prayed and asked for God’s grace on behalf of the people (1 Chr 21:17).  Thus, at the site where the temple was to be built, God forgave David’s sin and consecrated the place with fire from heaven (1 Chr 21:26).  By emphasizing these incidents, the Chronicler was declaring that the temple was a place where sins were forgiven and prayers answered. The Chronicler also emphasized that David received the plan for the construction of the temple directly from the Lord (1 Chr 28:19).

Below are some of the names the Chronicler used for the temple:

  1. 2 Chr. 26:16    The Temple of the LORD
  2. 2 Chr. 29:3       The House of the LORD
  3. 1 Chr. 9:13       The House of God
  4. 1 Chr. 22:1     The House of the LORD God
  5. 1 Chr. 28:20    A House of Rest for the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD and for the Footstool of Our God
  6. 1 Chr. 28:3     A House for My Name
  7. 1 Chr. 29:2     The House of My God (David’s)
  8. 1 Chr. 29:3     The Holy House
  9. 1 Chr. 29:16    A House for Your Holy Name
  10. 2 Chr. 2:4     A House to the Name of the LORD
  11. 2 Chr. 6:7     A House for the Name of the LORD God of Israel
  12. 1 Chr. 22:19    The Sanctuary of the LORD God
  13. 2 Chr. 6:2     An Exalted House
  14. 2 Chr. 6:2     A Place for God to Reside Forever
  15. 2 Chr. 6:2     A Place for God’s Dwelling
  16. 2 Chr. 6:21     A Dwelling Place
  17. 2 Chr. 30:27    A Holy Dwelling Place

Myers said that the temple “was the life center of the people of God, the hub of the Lord’s kingdom on earth.” The Chronicler portrayed the temple in Jerusalem “as the center of holiness and blessing” and showed that “as people are brought into respectful and obedient proximity to it, they are blessed.” The temple was a house of prayer for all people (Isa 56:7), a place where God would be accessible to everyone who called on him in time of need. Of the temple, God said: “My eyes and my heart will be there for all time” (2 Chr 7:16). Since God’s heart was in the temple, anyone who prayed to him was assured that God was attentive to their prayers, even when they prayed from “the land of their captivity” (2 Chr 6:38).

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

 

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