© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Jerusalem and the Temple

Where exactly does God hang out?

Sometimes it seems like God is wherever his worshipers are, but he does live in a specific place. Worship for God started off in the Tabernacle, which was essentially a big tent. Then, about three thousand years ago, Solomon, David's son, built a temple in Jerusalem—or Zion—that was literally God's home.

In Psalm 18, God listens to his people "from his temple" (18:6). And when the writer seeks guidance, he asks God, "O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and your dwelling" (43:3). The temple lent Jerusalem a kind of aura: this was the place to be if you worshiped God. The whole "perfection of beauty" (50:2) thing didn't hurt either.

If you go to Jerusalem today, this language is everywhere, from government documents to city plaques. The Zionists took a ton of inspiration from these passages when they were first writing, and made sure it was part of the government's mandate when Israel took Jerusalem in 1967.

back to top