A local sanctuary, often dedicated to pagan worship. Before the building of the temple the Israelites worshipped at several divinely sanctioned shrines; afterwards, worship at a central sanctuary was required. True worship of God required that pagan shrines be destroyed. It was Israel’s failure to abandon these religious sites that led to syncretism and apostasy.
Worship at the high places1Ki 3:2-3Following Canaanite custom, Israel set up shrines on high ground possibly, against God’s instruction, at old Baal sites. Worship at these non-legitimate sites was condemned. See also2Ch 33:17
A central place of worship was later required2Ki 18:22 pp Isa 36:7Following the building of the temple, worship in various scattered shrines was condemned, probably because of associations with pagan worship. See alsoDt 12:4-7 The central sanctuary was, initially, the place where the tabernacle was located. Eventually this was superseded by the temple; 2Sa 7:13 pp 1Ch 17:12
Israel’s failure to abandon worship at the shrines led to apostasy
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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