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I Kings 3

Chapter 3

v. 3: This confuses me a little. Solomon is rebuked here for worshiping at the high places, and yet God accepts the prayer that he offers up at the chief high place, Gibeon.  I can think of two reasons why worshiping at high places would have been considered wrong.

1) Perhaps God was supposed to be worshiped at only one place, i.e. wherever God chose for the Ark to rest.

2) Worship at high places, even of God, may have potentially hybridized the true religion because high places had been so closely association with paganism.

Deuteronomy 12 seems to say that it was all right to worship at different places during the wandering in the desert, but that, when the Israelites settled in the promised land, the Ark and its tabernacle should come to rest in one spot; that spot would then be the accepted place of worship.  Nevertheless, Deuteronomy also appears to suggest that even during the wandering, God was supposed to be worshiped in only one place at a time, and that place was wherever the Ark and its tabernacle happened to be resting at the moment.  (See also notes on 10:26 and 11:32.)

So the worship site seems to have been determined by the Ark and its tabernacle.  This is a degree of centralization that would lead me to believe that multiple sites for simultaneous worship were not acceptable.  But I find it hard to reconcile this conclusion with passages like Exodus 20:24.  The best I can do is to suggest that the author believes it is ideal (but not necessary at this time in history) to offer the sacrifices only at the tabernacle, at one spot not associated with the high places.  However, Solomon’s prayer (and the worship of God by the people at various high places) was acceptable because there was no permanently established spot for worship as yet.  See also notes on Isaiah 19.

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2 Responses to “I Kings 3”

  1. […] more than one place at a time) seems to have been a very gray area for the Jews.  (See notes for 1st Kings 3:3.)  For instance, from the time of Samuel until the building of Solomon’s temple, there were two […]

  2. […] more than one place at a time) seems to have been a very gray area for the Jews.  (See notes for 1st Kings 3:3.)  For instance, from the time of Samuel until the building of Solomon’s temple, there were two […]

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