Daniel 5: The writing on the wall

Years after Nebuchadnezzar had died, and Babylon had gone through several kings in quick succession, the last king of Babylon, King Belshazzar, was having a party. He thought that the party was lacking something, though, something special. But then he hit on the idea of having cool dishes, so he ordered that the Temple vessels be cleaned up and used to serve his guests.

The party was hoppin’. The music was rockin’. The concubines were laughing and tugging on the beards of officials. The queen was looking tipsy.  But everything screeched to a halt when a giant disembodied hand manifested and wrote MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARIAN. No one knew what it meant. The mood was killed. Unimportant guests quietly slinked out. The concubines buzzed back to the harem.  Continue reading “Daniel 5: The writing on the wall”

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Daniel 1: About those Jewish boys

In 597 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jehoiakim, took the Jewish nobility hostage, and looted the Temple.

But Nebuchadnezzar was a generous man and believed that the barbarian Jews might be civilized, so he ordered his chief of staff to select all the likely Jewish lads for a three-year education program in which they would be taught the language and literature of Babylon. He even condescended that these Jewish scholars should be fed with the leftovers from his own royal table.

Among those chose were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were renamed Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, respectively. These boys were particularly devout and were revolted at the thought of not keeping kosher meals. So they begged the chief of staff to allow them eat vegetarian. Continue reading “Daniel 1: About those Jewish boys”

Ezekiel 46: Gates

Make sure offerings are always sacrificed and cooked right.

So gates. People shouldn’t ever, and I mean EVER, leave by the same gate they entered.  They should, however, worship before my East Gate, and to keep the hinges from getting rusty, open up my gate on Sabbaths and new moons. Just don’t let anyone ever cross the threshold!

Ezekiel 45: Taxes

The entire Temple complex will be nearly an acre with the Temple buildings in the center. The land surrounding the Temple complex will, of course, belong to the king. And I promise, the rulers from  now on will be good, ok? No more despots. Probably.

So everyone will owe taxes to keep the Temple going and provide sacrifices. For every 6 bushels of wheat or barley is owed 3 quarts of wheat or barley. For every 220 liters of oil is owed 2 liters of oil. For every 200 sheep or other livestock is owed 1 animal.

The king will be required to provide the sacrificial bulls during Passover.

Ezekiel 44: Odds and ends

God continued, The East gate will never be opened! Never! Because it will be my private entrance and I’m insubstantial. Only the king will be allowed to approach the East gate, but he will have to use the vestibule door.

The Temple priests. Well, most of the Levites pissed me off, but they are still of the priestly class, so they will be assigned to all the menial Temple duties. Only the descendants of Zadock will be allowed to do duty in the Inner Temple. All priests will have to wear all linen. No wool! Even if it’s a bad winter. Wool makes you humans sweat, and I can’t abide human excretions. I don’t know why I made you so leaky. It’s just gross. The priests will need to keep their hair trimmed nicely–not too long or too short, but they should grow glorious hipster beards. They must marry Jewish virgins or widows of priests.  They are not allowed to drink in the Temple complex! They should also always abide by all my laws! For this they will receive the firstfruits.

One of the things that pissed me off the most and that caused me to destroy Jerusalem was that you guys let all kinds of people and things in the Temple. No more of that! No foreigners or uncircumcised people are allowed in the Temple!

Ezekiel 43: I want it that way

God continued, The altar needs to be a large, solid wood table with a rim–to contain the blood of the animals the priests will sacrifice on it. And of course the Temple will need to be dedicated. On the first day, sacrifice two bulls. Then every day for six more days, sacrifice a bull, a ram, and a billygoat.

Then I saw the glory of God enter the Temple, and God’s voice boomed out, Tell the Jews! This is the throne and Temple I want, and they need to make it look exactly like this, when I end their exile!

Ezekiel 41: Keep pimping

The entrance to the inner Temple should be huge! Like 9 feet high and 7 feet wide. Those double doors will open onto the nave that will lead to the center–the holiest of holies–my own special room!

I want the inner court and Temple wood paneled from floor to ceiling! And the paneling should be carved. The pattern will be a palm tree flanked by two cherubim–because those things are freaky as hell!

The vestibule connecting the inner Temple court to the inner Temple should be covered by a wood awning, and I want palm trees growing everywhere. When you think there are too many palm trees, plant some more!

This building should be three stories high and make sure to leave room for outbuildings.

 

Ezekiel 40: Pimp my Temple

In the 29th year of exile, God came to me really excited and was all, When the exile ends, I’ll get to have my Temple rebuilt! My new digs will be so awesome. I’m totally gonna pimp my Temple! Let’s go to Jerusalem, so I can show you what I want! As you can see, the new Temple will be huge! And full of windows. At least in the outer court. Helps open the space up. And I want palm trees growing near every gate. Now for the inner court. I needs to be spacious too, and raised above the ground so humans will have to ascend to get to me. Near the main entrance should be the kitchens and altars for the sacrifices. I like my meat clean and very well done. The priests will have two rooms to share. The Temple priests will get the north room and the altar priests will get the south. Make them roomy–about 9 feet by 9 feet. But leave plenty of room for my vestibule!