Tradition Today: Rebuilding the Temple

One hears a great deal these days – especially in this season of Tisha Be’av – about the restoration of the Temple. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to contemplate some facts concerning the building of the Temple in the past.

The construction of a permanent building to replace the Mishkan, the tent that had been erected in the wilderness and was moved from place to place as the Israelites wandered, was a radical act that aroused God’s displeasure at the beginning. When David told Nathan the prophet that he wanted to build a house for God, the reply was, “Are you the one to build a house for Me to dwell in?… As I moved about wherever the Israelites went, did I ever reproach any of the tribal leaders: Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?” (II Samuel 7:5-7).

David wanted to erect a permanent temple in Jerusalem to further consolidate Jerusalem’s status as the center of the tribes of Israel and the seat of his kingship. A building rather than a tent would make it clear that it would move no more, that Jerusalem was the dwelling place of the Lord.

He was, of course, terribly disappointed when this request was denied.


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