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Chapter 4

by David Holland

If we were to ask, what is the focal point of the Bible, and what piece of land in the world seems to be the most sought after and revered by many peoples today, the answer would have to be Jerusalem?

So, how did this place become so important and revered? Where did it originate?

In Joshua’s time the area was occupied by Jebusites a tribe of Canaanites, hence one of the alternate names for Jerusalem was Jebus.

When the nation of Israel started to colonise the land promised to Shem by Noah because of Ham’s indiscretion, and the curse on Ham’s youngest son Canaan (Genesis 9:20), they only partially conquered the land and in particular the land around Jerusalem.

One of the tribes of Israel called Judah struck Jerusalem and set fire to it and then moved on to the hill country to the south, leaving Benjamin, another tribe of Israel to occupy the city.

However, the tribe of Benjamin was unable to remove the Jebusite people from Jerusalem. (Judges 1:21) So from these events we have the Jebusites living with Israelites near Jerusalem.

By the time of King David the Jebusite people were still living around Jerusalem.

King David knew from the commandments of God that he should not number the ,people which is to calculate their military strength. But instead of trusting in the strength (blessing) of the Lord God for the nation’s protection, King David did assess the nation’s strength, and the Lord was not pleased. (II Samuel 24)

From this displeasure, the scripture indicates that an Angel was poised to destroy the small City of David, Jerusalem. The Angel is described as being on the mountain of the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This Jebusite owned the land just to the north of the walled city.

King David’s seer, Gad, said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of the Jebusite.” (II Sam. 24:18) So David, the King went out to meet with Araunah. The Bible says that Araunah looked down and saw the King coming to meet with him, so the mountain seems to be not far away from David’s city. (II Sam 24:20)

King David subsequently purchased the threshing floor and built an altar on the site as instructed by Gad the seer. The site today is the temple mount where the son of King David, Solomon, later built the first temple.

This mountain is the mountain that Moses was looking at when he looked towards the Promised Land from the mountains on the east of the Jordan Valley. God showed him all the land from Zoar at the south end of the Dead Sea, to Gilead in the north, however almost in front of him would have been this mountain standing above the landscape on the western side of the Jordan Valley. (Deut 34: 1:4)

Abraham was told by God to go up to the Land of Moriah and go to a mountain that God would show him, with his son, and offer him as a burnt offering.

Genesis 22: 2

“Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of.”

Abraham was told to go up to the land of Moriah. Since he was in the region of Beer-sheba south of Hebron and half way between the Dead Sea and Gaza on the Coast, he would have to travel north into the mountains towards the Jerusalem of today. On the third day they arrived in the evening, remembering that the third day starts in the evening at sunset for Jews. Two days journey, travelling eight hours a day, with three fit men travelling about 5 kilometres an hour, is about 75 to 80 kilometres, which is about the distance from Beer-sheba to the City of David. (Genesis 21:32)

Genesis 22:3

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.”

Once there, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place a far off and told the young men with him to stay. It is likely that the young men were staying somewhere near the site to be later called the City of David, but then known as the Land of Moriah. The mountain would have been the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite many years later.

Captured within the Hebrew language, we are fortunate to have many names of places and people that reflect from antiquity, the nature of a place or character of a person. The word Moriah is no exception.

The word Moriah in the Hebrew language is derived from two meanings. One is from a word that relates to the -iah part of Moriah, ‘Jah’. ‘Jah’, is described in the Hebrew dictionary as a sacred name and the name given to the Lord or a very vehemently respected Lord.

The word Jehovah is one word derived from this word ‘Jah’. Jehovah seems to go even one step higher than Jah, (yaw), describes a self-existent Lord or an Eternal Lord.

With this insight into Moriah, the land of Moriah seems to be a place where a very highly respected Lord or even King of kings resides or once resided. This again shows a trail to Melchizedek, living on the plateau below the mountain.

What else can we find about the word Moriah? (Strong’s Hebrew dictionary ref. 4179: ‘Môrîyâh’, (mo-ree-yaw)

The Hebrew word ‘râ’âh’ (rawaw) is a prime root word of the word Moriah that means ‘to see’. The meaning goes further on and also means ‘to direct’ and ‘to advise’. So the Lord, residing in the mountain region, was advising and directing. The meaning of the word ‘râ’âh’ continues with a number of descriptive words including, ‘provide’, ‘regard’ and ‘respect’. It also means ‘meet’, as if you would meet with someone. Another is ‘joyfully’, ‘enjoy’, ‘spy’, ‘stare’ and ‘show self’, which could describe some of the experiences you may have meeting this person of high status and who commands great respect.

Other words used are: ‘have experience’, ‘look’, ‘see’, ‘seer’, ‘vision’ and ‘take heed’. (Strong’s Hebrew dictionary ref. 7200: ‘râ’âh’)

This describes a wise man, a seer or, in today’s language, a prophet. This is someone who should be taken notice of, and someone who has visions. Could this personage be Melchizedek, King of Salem?

If this sounds too much for this one word to mean then look it up in the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and follow the references yourself. All the early history of the Hebrews is encapsulated in the words of the Hebrews.

Again, we find clues of Melchizedek’s character who seems to have been the original occupier of the Land of Moriah.

But now we also start to understand something of his role and office in the times of Abram and the King of Salem through the word ‘Moriah’ and its various related words and their meanings.

It is often important to find the origins of things, so in the next chapter we will go all the way back to the beginning when God started to have a relationship with Adam, and investigate the significance of the action of God in blessing Adam and subsequently all of Adams descendants.

 

 

 

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