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Shechem, Shiloh, and Solomon's Temple

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bismarck, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. Bismarck

    Bismarck New Member

    Mar 4, 2006
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    (1) Shechem was Israel's cultic center during the period of the Judges (Deut 11:29, Josh 8:33).

    (2) Shechem's massive "Temple 1" was destroyed c. 1100 BCE [1].
    (A) This is associated with the story of Abimelech who slew his 70 brothers and burned down the Shechem Temple, massacring a thousand refugees in the process (Judges 9:46ff).
    (B) This is further associated with the schism in the High Priesthood between Uzzi, of the line of Eleazar, and Eli, of the line of Ithamar [2].

    (3) Shiloh was another important cultic sanctuary of Israel during the time of the Judges. Shiloh was destroyed c. 1050 bce, about fifty (50) years after Shechem's destruction.
    (A) This is associated with the death of Eli and the Philistine capture of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 4). Eli led Israel for fourty (40) years (1 Sam 4:18), which agrees well with the aforesaid archeology of Shechem and Shiloh.

    (4) After the destruction of Shiloh in c. 1050 bce, Israel was subjugated by the Philistines for fourty (40) years (Judges 13:1).
    (A) This period (second half of 11th century bce) is associated with Samson (Judges 13ff), whose exploits spanned twenty (20) years (Judges 15:20).
    (B) This period is further associated with the Prophet Samuel
    (C) This period ends around the time of the rise of King Saul (c. 1020 bce).

    (5) Early Israel adhered to cultic centralization (Deut 12:5), at Shechem (see above). However, from the days of the Prophet Samuel until those of King Solomon, the Bible records no cultic centralization [3]. Rather, Israel's leaders sacrificed at numerous sites during this period.

    (6) This is easily explained in light of the above facts. Israel's cultic centers (Shechem, Shiloh) were destroyed in the early 11th century bce. Thus, from the destruction of Shiloh (c. 1050 bce) until the building of Solomon's Temple (c. 960 bce), Israel's leaders had no cultic centers at which to perform their sacrifices.

    TIME LINE: The Biblical and archeological evidence cited above suggests the following time line:

    1100 BCE — Abimelech destroys the Shechem Temple. The High Priest Uzzi b. Eleazar falls from power. Eli b. Ithamar replaces him at Shiloh.

    1060 BCE — Shiloh is destroyed when the Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant. The High Priest Eli dies, after 40 years of corrupt rule.

    1060-1020 BCE — The Philistines subjugate Israel for 40 years. Samson, then the Prophet Samuel lead Israel.

    1020 BCE — Saul annointed King.

    1008-970 BCE — Reign of King David

    970 BCE — Solomon succeeds David. Solomon builds the Temple of Jerusalem from his 4th - 11th years (1 Ki 6:1,37-38).

    960 BCE — Solomon completes the Temple of Jerusalem on the 100th Anniversary of the destruction of Shiloh.


    Solomon, whose name means "Peace", rebuilt Israel's Central Cultic Sanctuary after 100 years of civil war and foreign invasion.

    I would draw a comparison between Caesar and Augustus and David and Solomon. In both cases, the former (David, Caesar) ended a prolongued period of civil war and internal strife by military means. In both cases, the latter (Solomon, Augustus) ushered in an era of peace and prosperity (Pax Romana, "Pax Solomona"). (Saul would be compared to Pompey.)

    This explains the extreme measures David, Solomon and the Israelites were willing to go to in order to build the Temple of Jerusalem (cf. 1 Chr 22:14 — David bequeathed Solomon 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver for the Temple's construction). For, they viewed it as not a new construction, but as a re-construction of Israel's central sanctuary after a century of conflict.

    That conflict had begun because of Israel's sin and apostasy — to wit, the breaking of their Covenant with YHWH-Elohim. Conversely, David and Solomon viewed the construction of Solomon's Temple as a renewel of Israel's Covenant with YHWH-Elohim (now tied to Jerusalem and the Davidic Kings, instead of Shechem).


    [1] http://www.basarchive.org/sample/bswbBrowse.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=29&Issue=4&ArticleID=1
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Priests_of_Israel
    [3] R.E. Friedman. "Who Wrote the Bible?" Pg. 102.
  2. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2007
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    What's the point of this? Just info?
  3. Bismarck

    Bismarck New Member

    Mar 4, 2006
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    You can see David's concern for peace (after a century of constant strife) — he named his sons Absalom ("Father of Peace") and Solomon ("Peace"). The former was born in Hebron early in David's reign. The latter in Jerusalem, after David took it from the Jebusites (2 Sam 5). Here again, you can see David's concern for peace — "Jerusalem" means "City [Ur] of Peace [Shalom]".