Theology of the Psalms

By Hans-Joachim Kraus; Keith Crim | Go to book overview

3. The Sanctuary and Its Worship

In the sanctuary in Jerusalem Israel gathered as a worshiping community. This chapter will discuss that sanctuary and its worship. First, certain concepts, expressions, and statements that are basic to worship will be examined (§A). Next, the Zion theology will be presented in detail (§B). Then we will look at the actual cultic practices (§C). And finally we will discuss problems involved in a theology of worship (§D).


A. The Sanctuary

The starting point must be the name of the city of God, Jerusalem. Psalm 125:2 describes its location: “The mountains are round about Jerusalem.” The mountains that surround the “city of David,” situated on the southeast elevation of the later city of Jerusalem, are higher than

(Mount Zion), the highest elevation of the city of God. “Jerusalem” is first of all the name of the city which functioned as the “property of the crown” of the Davidic dynasty and as the royal capital of Judah. In the Psalms there are references to the destruction of this city and to its rebuilding (Ps. 79:1–3; 51:18). But Jerusalem is also and especially the designation of the central sanctuary of the Israelite tribes (Ps. 122:3–4). In its “midst” is the “house of the Lord” (116:10). From his temple Yahweh shows his power over Jerusalem (Ps. 68:29). In other words, the city of Jerusalem lies within the sphere of the glory and might of the sanctuary. Thus “Jerusalem” can be used as a synonym for “Zion” (Ps. 102:21; 135:21) and also as a designation for the place where Yahweh dwells (Ps. 135:21).

The distinctive designation of the Jerusalem sanctuary, however, is the name Zion. It is found predominantly in the form

“Mount Zion” Ps. 48:2, 11; 74:2; 78:68; 125:1; plural: Ps. 133:3). It is here that Yahweh “dwells,” or is enthroned (Ps. 9:11; 76:2; 99:2). (Mount Zion) is the (“Mount of Yahweh,” Ps. 24:3; 132:13). From Zion, God “shines forth,” his theophany is manifest, help comes for the oppressed (Ps. 14:7; 20:2; 53:6), and Yahweh’s blessing goes forth (Ps. 128:5; 134:3). On Zion, Israel’s songs of praise ring out (Ps. 65:1; 147:12).

As the

(“Mount of Yahweh”), Zion is Yahweh’s holy mountain (Ps. 2:6; 3:5; 15:1; 43:3; 48:1; 87:1; 99:9), the “holy place” of the holy God

-73-

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Theology of the Psalms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Contents 7
  • Translator’s Preface 9
  • Introduction 11
  • 1- The God of Israel 17
  • 2- The People of God 51
  • 3- The Sanctuary and Its Worship 73
  • 4- The King 107
  • 5- The Enemy Powers 125
  • 6- The Individual in the Presence of God 137
  • 7- The Psalms in the New Testament 177
  • Abbreviations 205
  • References 207
  • Index of Selected Hebrew Words 219
  • Index of Biblical References 221
  • Index of Names and Subjects 233
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