Josephus and the Jews: The Religion and History of the Jews as Explained by Flavius Josephus

By F. J. Foakes-Jackson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE TEMPLE

The Temple not at first the only sanctuary in Israel. --

The Temple of Jerusalem was of such immense importance in the eyes of the Jewish people in the days of Christ, that it is hard to realise that before the exile there were other sanctuaries in Israel, and that the first Temple till its destruction was used for the worship of other gods beside Jehovah. Indeed, the restored Temple and its worship were planned during the Exile, their inspired designer being the prophet Ezekiel. Of the ancient Temple of Solomon we know but little, and still less of what went on in it, most of our information in the Bible being coloured by the impression made on the writers by what they saw in the second Temple.

Purification of the Temple by Josiah . -- In the reign of Josiah, the last of the pious kings of Judah, in the seventh century B.C., we have a description of the purification of the Temple by him and his priests. The state of affairs described in the second book of Kings is hard to realise, especially if we have been taught to believe that the Temple in the days of the kings of Judah was the one monotheistic sanctuary of a righteous God on earth. First we read that they brought out all the instruments made for the worship of Baal, of the sacred column (asherah), and of the stars. The priests of the cults, who were called 'Chemarim,' were then expelled, and the ministers of the foulest forms of Semitic worship were driven out and their houses destroyed. Moloch worship and the sacrifice of children were made impossible by the defiling of Tophet, the valley where they were practised; and the horses and chariots, which

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