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The First Torah and the First Temple

At the time of fall of the Northern kingdom in 722 BC, many of the refugees from Israel (who could be considered members of the other ten tribes if one wishes to look at it that way), fled south into the rural hill country of Judah. Apparently, among them, were the priest-prophets of Shiloh – the enemies of Jezebel who felt that their king had been corrupted by a woman – bringing their E document with them. It was at this point that E was joined to J probably by a member of the Aaronic priesthood in Jerusalem, as part of King Hezekiah s program to consolidate his power.

Taking advantage of the situation presented to him the destruction of Israel, the acquiring of some of the population and its priests – Hezekiah decided he wanted to unify the population and centralize everything. He was going to be the new David. He was going to unite all the people into one, and part of his unification plan obviously included the psychological unity of religion. The lesson of Omri s tolerance for different groups and their beliefs was obviously lost on Hezekiah. Either that, or he was well and truly under the control of the priesthood.

This was the important moment in which the P document was created and the division of priestly status was established, with the Aaronite priests taking the higher position and the Shiloh priests – the alleged descendants of Moses – reduced to a servile status, which they did not like one bit. The P document was the Aaronic priesthood s editorial gloss of the combined JE document. Even though they were unable to dispose of the stories in J and E (the common property of the people), which reflected a hostile view of Yahweh, history, and particularly of Aaron, they utilized them in clever ways that laid the foundation for the later full and final imposition of the controls of Yahweh. The P document sought to glorify Yahweh over the other gods that were an integral part of the original stories, and it would naturally have edited out any praiseworthy mention of them, though, as noted, the stories themselves could not be dispensed with.

The writer of P was someone who knew the texts of J and E. The P text was not just similar to J and E, nor was it just a lot of doublets from J and E, it was written following J and E to stand, as it s own version of those stories. It was clearly written to be presented in place of J and E, and that it is likely that J and E were suppressed at the time of the presentation of P.

Not only did P open with a creation story and a flood story like J and E, it went on to the major matters of the Abrahamic covenant, the exodus from Egypt, and the covenant at Sinai. It refers to all kinds of specific things that appear in the J/E text. There are more than twenty-five cases of parallel accounts that were obviously not intended to have been combined with J and E, as was done by a later redactor. What s more, though the similarities are blatant, the differences are even more telling. The question we need to ask is this: why did the author of P think that it was necessary to write a new version when he obviously had J and E to hand?

First of all, we need to consider what is said in J and E that is significantly different from P. The peoples of the northern kingdom had a long tradition of descent from Moses himself. Their documents cast Aaron in a very bad light as the priest of the Golden Calf and whose sister, Miriam, was stricken with disease because she criticized the wife of Moses. The northern kingdom, apparently, did not worship a god who demanded sacrifices. The northern kingdom beliefs emphasized prophets chosen by the gods, rather than a bloodline priesthood.

In the purest sense, the creation of this part of the text was primarily political just as the creation of the Christian theology was primarily political. Both were designed to emphasize those things that would make the subjects of the kingdom amenable to control and domination.

Hezekiah undertook the elimination of all forms of religious practice other than sanctioned worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. Rigid religious control was instituted which meant that all the places of worship of other gods, and even Yahweh, outside of the Temple had to be destroyed. These worship sites were called high places. They were eliminated and centralized religion under the control of the Levites in Jerusalem became the law in secular terms. In fact, the law of Yahweh became the law of the land. As noted, the Levites in charge at that time were the Aaronid Levites.

In order to understand the implications of this, one needs to understand what was being done at these high places and why. The function of sacrifice in the Middle Eastern world was not just the senseless killing of an animal; it was, for the most part, a ritual killing of the animal for food, and part of it was offered to any of a number of gods. The point was, if man wanted to eat meat, he had to understand it as a taking of life, and such an act was sacred, to be performed in a prescribed manner by an appointed person, a priest, who also received a portion.

Thus, the effect of this ruling was that, if people wanted to have lamb for dinner, you could no longer perform the sacrifice at home or in a local high place. You had to haul your sheep to Jerusalem where there was a conclave of Levites. This, of course, meant putting a lot of economic control and power into the hands of a very few people. At the same time, the Aaronid Levites who were writing the text of this new Torah made sure to add in specific sacrifices to Yahweh over and above the simple ritualized killing of their dinner. This ensured the enrichment of the priesthood at the expense of the people.

Nevertheless, this very point of seeking to centralize religion at that moment in time, and the writing of the P document, leads to one of the important clues regarding the alleged existence of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

You see, one of the central controversies about the Bible in terms of researching the internal evidence of the documents in order to determine who wrote what and when, has been the period from which the P document originated. It has been long accepted that J and E came from the earlier period – from the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel (8th and 9th centuries BC). It is almost universally accepted that D was written in the time of Josiah (mid to late 5th century BC), as we will see further on. But, figuring out who wrote the P document has been a very difficult job. And, the fact is, P is the largest of the sources, being the size of the other three put together.

The P document includes the creation story in the first chapter of Genesis. It includes the cosmic version of the flood story, the version in which the windows of the heavens and the fountains of the deep are opened to flood the world. It has the stories of Abraham, Jacob, the exodus, and the journey through the wilderness, most of which are doublets of stories in J and E. It also contains a tremendous body of law, covering about thirty chapters of Exodus and Numbers and ALL of the book of Leviticus. So, this is a significant question here that we cannot gloss over lightly!

In 1833, Eduard Reuss gave a lecture to his students in Strassburg. In this lecture, he stated that the biblical prophets do not refer to the Priestly law; they do not quote the P part of the Bible, nor do they give any impression that they are even familiar with it. From this observation, Reuss concluded that the law was later than the prophets.[1] Of course, Reuss was afraid to say this in public and waited forty-six years before publishing a monograph on the subject in 1879. At this point, one of his braver students had already taken the idea even further, publishing his own paper on the matter.

This student was Karl Graf. Being convinced by Reuss that the law was later than the prophets, he began to search the text for clues. It was already accepted that D was written after J and E, and that this was in the time of Josiah, so Graf assumed a priori that P must have been written after that time, during the period of the Second Temple. This was part of the view that was synthesized later by Wellhausen, claiming that the elaborate legal and ritual system, the centralization of the priesthood, were later developments in the lives of the Israelites at the end of the biblical period.

There was one serious problem with this view that P was written by a member of the post exile priesthood: a Temple is never mentioned once in the P document. In P, Yahweh never commands Moses to tell the people to build a Temple. There is not one law in P that requires the presence of a Temple. What is more, even though P talks about the Ark of the Covenant, an altar, cherubs, the Urim and Thummim, and other sacred accoutrements of worship, there is not a single solitary reference to a Temple.[2]

Graf s solution to the problem of the missing Temple was that the Temple was mentioned repeatedly as the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was the tent of meeting that Moses erected in the desert to house the Ark of the Covenant. It is mentioned in the E document only three times and in J and D it is not mentioned at all. P, on the other hand, mentions it over two hundred times! What is more, P gives elaborate details on its materials and construction and the laws relating to it. It is a regular feature of the stories in P; all assemblies of the people take place at the Tabernacle. In short, the Tabernacle is essential to P.

So, Graf s solution was that the Tabernacle never existed, that it was a fiction made up during the Second Temple period because the writer wanted to establish a law code that was in the interests of the Temple priests and needed the antiquity and authority of Moses to validate the Temple as a replacement of the Tabernacle.

Thus, Graf decided that the Tabernacle must have been deliberately – falsely – created so as to pass its authority to the Temple being rebuilt in the Second Temple period after that Babylonian captivity, and the transfer of the ark from the Tabernacle to the Temple and the laws that required the presence of the Tabernacle would now require the presence of the Temple. Thus he proposed that the Priestly Tabernacle was a literary and legal fiction created by the post-exile author of P to support the rebuilt temple of the Second Temple period.

So, again we notice that along came Wellhausen. Once he had accepted Reuss theory that the law was later than the prophets, and Graf s theory that the Tabernacle was nothing more than the symbol for the Temple, he was able to suggest that in the P document that centralization of religion was not being demanded, as it was during the time of D, but was understood to already exist. He stated that the laws and stories of P take centralization for granted.

In the P list of different kinds of sacrifices there is one called a sin offering and one called a guilt offering. Such sacrifices are not mentioned in J, E, or D. Wellhausen reasoned that it was only logical that sin and guilt offerings should be established after the exile when the people felt guilty, believing that their exile was punishment for their sins.

In the P list of holidays, there is a holiday that is known now as the Fall New Year, or Feast of Tabernacles, followed ten days later by a Day of Atonement. These holidays are not mentioned in J, E, or D. And, since these two holidays involve atonement for sin, Wellhausen said that this proved that they were part of the Second Temple period when Israel was loaded with guilt that their faithlessness to Yahweh had led to the destruction of the kingdom and their exile to Babylon.

Another proof that was accepted by Wellhausen as demonstration that P was written after the exile was the Ezekiel matter.” Ezekiel was an Aaronid priest who was exiled to Babylon (which we will shortly discuss), and it was there that he wrote his book that bears his name. The book of Ezekiel is written in a style and language that is remarkably similar to that of the P document. There are whole passages in Ezekiel that are nearly word-for word extracts from P. In Ezekiel, the writer declares that in the future only certain Levites may be priests. All others are disqualified from the priesthood because of their past sins. The only Levites who may function as priests are those who are descendants of Zadok. Zadok was David s Aaronid priest. And so, according to Ezekiel, only Zadokian Aaronid priests are legitimate; all others are excluded.

It is also quite clear in the P document that only Aaronids are priests in any context. P simply does not recognize the descendants of Moses (the Shiloh priests) as legitimate. So, Wellhausen decided that P had to have been written during the days of the Second Temple, when the Aaronid priests came to power, taking Ezekiel s prophecy as their inspiration. At that point in time, the competition between the priestly families was over. The Aaronids had won and one of them wrote a Torah of Moses that reflected their victory.

It was a good argument. But as Friedman says: it was logical, coherent, persuasive – and wrong. [3]

Reuss was wrong from the beginning of the argument because it is clear that the prophets do quote P, most notable among them being Jeremiah. The fact is, Jeremiah seemed to fiendishly enjoy playing with the P document and reversing its language in clever ways. Jeremiah also can be found to reject the Ark of the Covenant in a twist of the language of the P document. Ezekiel also seems to know the P document quite well. The reader may wish to refer to Friedman for the list of comparisons.

In 1982, Avi Hurvitz of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem demonstrated that P is written in an earlier form of Hebrew than Ezekiel s work, so Wellhausen s idea that it had been written after Ezekiel was dealt another blow. Five other scholars in recent years have uncovered additional linguistic evidence that most of P is written in the biblical Hebrew of the days before the exile to Babylon.

The bottom line is: Reuss was wrong, Graf was wrong, and Wellhausen was wrong. But, by being wrong, they ended up highlighting a crucial bit of evidence for something else altogether: the issue of the Tabernacle. This Tabernacle brings us face to face with the question: when was the first temple – the famed Temple of Solomon – in Jerusalem really built, if one was built at all?

Jerusalem has been excavated time and again – and with a particularly intense period of investigation of Bronze and Iron Age remains in the 1970s and 1980s under the direction of Yigal Shiloh, of the Hebrew University, at the city of David, the original urban core of Jerusalem. Surprisingly, as Tel Aviv University archaeologist David Ussishkin pointed out, fieldwork there and in other parts of biblical Jerusalem failed to provide significant evidence for a tenth century occupation. Not only was any sign of monumental architecture missing, but also so were even simple pottery sherds. Some scholars have argued that later, massive building activities in Jerusalem wiped out all signs of the earlier city. Yet excavations in the city of David revealed impressive finds from the Middle Bronze Age and from later centuries of the Iron Age – just not from the tenth century BC. The most optimistic assessment of this negative evidence is that tenth century Jerusalem was rather limited in extent, perhaps not more than a typical hill country village. This meshes well with the pattern of the rest of Judah in the same period, which was composed of only about twenty small villages and a few thousand inhabitants, many of them wandering pastoralists..[4]

By the 7th century BC, Jerusalem had finally become a relatively large city, dominated by a Temple to the God of Israel that served as the single national shrine. But this was the Second Temple, which was built as a result of the vision of the captives who had returned from exile in Babylon.

The priesthood that returned from Babylon developed the Bible AS history in order to bring scattered, war weary people together, to prove to them that they had experienced a stirring history under the direct intervention of God. The glorious epic of the united monarchy was – like the stories of the patriarchs and the sagas of the Exodus and conquest – a brilliant composition that wove together ancient heroic tales and legends into a coherent and persuasive prophecy for the people of Israel in the seventh century BC.

An elaborate theology had been developed in order to validate the connection between the heirs of the Davidic line and the destiny of the entire people of Israel. According to this manufactured history, David was the first to stamp out the abominable influence of “other gods.” David, being devoted and faithful to Yahweh, was assigned the task of completing the unfinished job of Joshua, which was to conquer the rest of the Promised Land and establish a glorious empire over all the vast territories that had been promised to Abraham! These were, in fact, the political ambitions of the priests in charge, not accurate history. And so, the glorious tale of David and Solomon and their marvelous Ark were created to inspire the masses. We do, of course, think that these stories were based on more ancient models, but what is clear is that the Great King Solomon – whoever he might have been originally – was not a king of Israel or a worshipper of Yahweh.

In searching for a single, clear mention of the existence of a major temple in Jerusalem during the period in question that can be verified archaeologically, I have come up empty handed. Even Finkelstein, quoted above, sort of skips over the issue. He says that in the 7th century BC, Jerusalem was a relatively large city dominated by a Temple to Yahweh.” If that were the case, then there would not have been so much focus in the P document on the Tabernacle. It seems to have been fairly easy to put words in Moses mouth retroactively; that problem hadn t stumped the priests so far; so why the big deal about the Tabernacle? They could have slid right over the Tabernacle problem altogether by having Moses say: when you get there, fold up the tent and build a Temple. For some reason, that was not an option. This Tent of Meeting was clearly something that the P Document sought to establish as an item of great significance to the people. For some reason, it had to be emphasized, and its historical status as the only Tabernacle that was legitimate obviously needed to be established over and above all other such tents. We find several new things in the P document that were obviously a new spin being put on something that was so commonly known and accepted by the people that it required specific shaping to the purposes of the priests.

First of all, we have a new Fall Holiday that was formerly known as the Feast of Tabernacles. Next, we have a very specific Tabernacle itself. Finally, we have the ostensible reason for this tabernacle being the one and only legitimate tabernacle: an object that goes INSIDE the tabernacle: the Ark of the Covenant!

All the references to the Tabernacle in the P document suggest that this was an object with tremendous historical value because it was assembled under the direction of Moses himself. The P document describes it as the sacred shrine that housed the Ark of the Covenant, the tablets, the Urim and Thummim, and the cherubs. The P document tells us that the Tabernacle itself was constructed of precious wood, gold, brass, wool and linen woven with gold, scarlet, and purple, and a covering of red leather.

Even though the Tabernacle was supposed to have resided at Shiloh with the Ark inside it, (according to the P text), the E document of the northern kingdom, the domain of the Shiloh priests, never mentions the ark! According to the E texts, the Tent of Meeting was the most important sign of god s presence. God was in the tent, not the ark. And clearly there were many Tents of Meeting.

The J document, on the other hand, mentions that the Ark was very important to the children of Israel as they journeyed to the Promised Land. In the book of Numbers, the Ark was said to have been carried in front of the people as they traveled. Another J text emphasizes the Ark as a military weapon; the idea being that it was impossible to be successful in military matters without it. And then, of course, in the J text remarks about the Temple of Solomon, we find that the Ark was the most important object in it. It should come as no surprise that the Tent of Meeting is never mentioned in the J document!

Of course, this leads us to a bit of a problem. If the kingdom of Omri was the mythicized/historicized Jewish Kingdom of Solomon, and yet they knew of no ark, and there is clear evidence that no Temple of Solomon ever existed in the kingdom of Judah wherein an ark could have been lodged prior to the time of Hezekiah, then were did the idea of the ark come from? What was the real Temple of Solomon? Well, we will come back to this. For now, we only need to understand that, via mythicization of history and historicization of myth, some serious prestidigitation is going on here. Tents that were formerly used for a particular purpose are now being eliminated, and the centralization process is beginning by the focus on one tent, and one tent only. The legitimization of that tent is based on its use as the home of the ark, and a historical background for this use of the tent is being created in the P text.

Whatever the Tent of Meeting was used for in ancient times, and whatever the ark of the covenant might have been, it is interesting to note that the overall tenor of the J document – the ark people – is more balanced in its attitude toward women. The E document, from the Northern kingdom priests – the tent people – was quite male in perspective and concentrated on male characters with, essentially no heroines such as Tamar in Genesis 38. No wonder Jezebel kicked them out!

Speaking of Jezebel, the second to the last mention of the ark in the Bible is in 2 Chronicles, 8:11[5] where it is mentioned in relation to Solomon and his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh.

Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David into the house he had built for her, for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy to which the ark of the Lord has come.

The next to the last mention of the ark is also in 2 Chronicles, 35:3:

To the Levites who taught all Israel and were holy to the Lord, he said, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon son of David, king of Israel built; it shall no longer be a burden carried on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel.

We will shortly discuss the authorship of the books of Kings, but let us just say here that the authorship of Chronicles reflects the language and interests of the Aaronid priests. Most especially, they extol Hezekiah, which indicates that this was the point in time when the P text was produced.

The last mention of the ark in the Bible is a sneering I told you so kind of comment by Jeremiah who writes:

And it shall be that when you have multiplied and increased in the land in those days, says the Lord, they shall no more say, The ark of the covenant of the Lord. It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss or visit it, nor shall it be repaired or made again.

That is certainly a bizarre dismissal of simply the most important item in Jewish history! (At least, according to the Bible.) We will soon see why Jeremiah had this attitude toward the ark. But, the point is, he is clearly talking about it in terms that indicate it had been broken or needed to be made again. Almost certainly, this suggests that the Babylonians destroyed the ark that existed at the time of the kingdom of Judah along with everything else. What is strange is the implication that it was not of sufficient value for them to even cart it off or it would have been mentioned in the objects that were specifically named as having been taken from the temple. And for those who might wish to think that the lack of mention indicates some major secret or conspiracy, allow me to point out all the many confabulations that exist in the Bible have one single objective: to inflate the importance of Yahweh. They do this by using anything and everything as lessons to whip Yahweh s people into line. If there was any way whatsoever that the loss of the ark could have been used to induce guilt, I think it would have been. What seems clear is that a substitute ark was all that existed in Judah from some point in history. Thus, at the time of the exile, the loss of this substitute ark was no big deal.

It seems that when the ark was no longer needed as a major item to legitimize only one Tabernacle, to change the perceptions of the people, it was dropped as an issue. The idea that it was taken with the fleeing Jews to Egypt and then to Ethiopia is another red herring. There are several Arks that claim to be the legitimate original. One of them is at Axxum, in Ethiopia. This item has been venerated for centuries, housed in a special chapel, and cared for by a priest whose life is devoted to maintaining the chapel and its grounds. It seems fairly self-evident that if the Axxum Ark were the real thing, the Israeli Authorities would stop at nothing to claim it and retrieve it. Despite many rumors, nothing like this has ever occurred.

But again, let us remember that even if the ark that was present at the time of the Babylonian destruction was merely a representative object, it was still based on some real object that existed at some other point in time and space, and the history had been mythicized, and then re-historicized. Nevertheless, this deals another blow to the seekers of the Ark of the Covenant under the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem!

Getting back to a First Temple, we note that Finkelstein mentions that the evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem, as a whole, is clearly present in the archaeological layers, and it definitely reveals the violence and thoroughness with which the city was obliterated from the landscape; but no specific mention of a Temple. That does not mean that one was not built in Jerusalem somewhere along the way, Solomon just didn’t build it, and it wasn’t built in the 10th century BC. And the issue of whether or not a Temple of Yahweh existed in a precise context at the time of Hezekiah when the P text was being produced is problematical.

A temple most certainly seems to have existed at the time of the destruction of the northern kingdom. One clue to this is the references to Hezekiah “repairing” the Temple as part of his reforms. Rather than repairing the Temple of Yahweh, he might have been repairing and refurbishing a Temple of another god in Jerusalem, and claiming that it was the Temple of Solomon, when in fact it wasn t. So, legitimizing the Tabernacle as the temporary home of the ark, and then transferring that home to a cleansed Temple would have made sense.

The writer of the P document talks about the Temple of Solomon and the items that were kept there, but none of those things were present in the Second Temple, nor were they considered to be important. This is another point favoring the writing of the P document before the Second Temple period. Why would the writer talk about things that no longer existed as though they did, even if we have some idea that their claimed existence was a deliberate displacing of one idea for another? What is more, we have already noted the astonishing silence of the Bible as to the fate of the Ark except for that brief and telling remark by Jeremiah.

The Ark had a deadly reputation. Touching it was supposed to have been lethal. After a battle, 50,000 Philistine soldiers rashly pitched their camp with the Ark gaping open, and all died in their sleep. Their King promptly ordered it to be sealed and sent back to the Israelites. A bearer of the Ark tripped and touched it, and was instantly killed. Two of Moses men peeked inside it and were struck dead. Moses made sure they were buried in the desert far away from the camp. Some have argued that this indicated that the Ark was radioactive or was some sort of technological device. It is a certainty that, if it had been so powerful an object in military terms, it would have been mentioned as being used against the Babylonians. The failure of the ark to prevail against Nebuchadnezzar, or the carrying away of the ark, mentioned in the older tales as bringing devastation upon those who dared to touch it, would have been recounted, if such events had happened. They didn’t, and weren’t. And that may have been the reason for the silence about the object afterward. In the final analysis, the only stories we have of the actual use or presence of a significant ark-in-action are in the historicized myths or mythicized history that lead us back to a time long before the exile imposed by the Assyrians or the carrying away of the people to Babylon. One is even compelled to wonder about the destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Hazael. Surely if the Ark had been present there, it would have made the Omrides invincible militarily. Also, certainly, if Hazael had taken the Ark, it would have been mentioned somewhere. So much build-up had been given to the ark, and then destruction fell in spite of the presence of the ark. What were the priests to say? It didn’t work, and better to just forget it than have all the people asking why.

At this point, the writers of the bible, so close in time to the events, simply could not get away with that sort of nonsense, and they didn t even try. What s more, it s clear that they no longer needed the ark at the time of the Second Temple, so it was simply allowed to fade into oblivion as a nice story of the grand and glorious ancestors. Again, I suggest that this was based on some seed of ancient truth, but figuring out what it was – or is – is not going to be as simple as the many Ark chasers of the present day would have us think. One thing seems to be clear: there was no Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, and no Ark of the Covenant inside whatever temple did exist there. So we can discard the tales of the Ark in Axxum or the Ark under the Temple being retrieved by the Templars or the Roman Emperor, Titus.

Nevertheless, the person who wrote P placed a specific Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting with Yahweh embodied in the ark, at the center of Israel s religious life back as far as Moses, and forever into the future and this leads to the conclusion: P had to be written before D, since the laws all through P say that sacrifices and other ceremonies must take place at the entrance to the Tabernacle and nowhere else and that this is the law forever. It also demonstrates that the Tabernacle was at the center of worship in Jerusalem until a temple of some sort was either built or cleansed, and that this probably occurred at the time of Hezekiah.

Friedman suggests that the Tabernacle was later placed in the Holy of Holies of a Temple in Jerusalem, under the spread wings of the cherubs. But, as we have seen by now, there is no archaeological evidence for the existence of a temple of the dimensions of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. So, we are left with the conclusion that either a smaller temple was used, or that the Tabernacle, a tent, was all that there ever was until the Second Temple period.

In the stories of a specifically Jewish King Solomon, who we now suspect to be Ahab assimilated to an even older archetype, it is said:

And they brought up the ark of Yahweh and the Tent of Meeting and all of the holy implements that were in the Tent.[6]

Josephus, the Jewish historian, also wrote that the Tabernacle was brought into the Temple, but he is also noted to have obtained his mystical interpretation of the Tabernacle from Philo of Alexandria. In any event, all of this leads us to ask the question: what was the activity that transpired in the Tent of Meeting before it was deliberately designated as the lodging of the ark? Why would a tent need to be brought into a Temple except for the purpose of changing its function?

As to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Psalm 74:7 is quoted to refer to this event saying:

They cast your sanctuary into the fire; they profaned your name s Tabernacle to the ground.

However, it is suggested by textual analysis[7] that Psalms 50, and 73 through 83 were composed between 730 and 720 BC for festal worship at the northern sanctuary in Bethel and accepted with marginal amendments in Jerusalem thereafter. Thus, either this verse about the Tabernacle being burned and profaned refers to a prior event, before the fall of the northern kingdom, or it was added after the Fall of Jerusalem to the celebratory hymn. In the first case, it suggests that the Tabernacle that was set up as the Tabernacle in Jerusalem was merely a creation of that time, or – again – that there never was a Temple at all prior to the Second Temple period.

[1] Friedman, op. cit., p. 162.

[2] Ibid., p. 163.

[3] Ibid., p. 167.

[4] Finkelstein, op. cit., p. 2001,

[5] Nice numbers for all the esotericists!

[6] The Bible, 1 Kings 8:4; 2 Chronicles 5:5.

[7] Goulder, Michael D., The Psalms of Asaph and the Pentateuch (Sheffield Academic Press 1997).

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