Lecture 65: The History of the Resting of the Shekhina ֠Jerusalem in the Days of David (I) The Selection of Jerusalem and the Mikdash (I)
Lecture 65: The History of the resting of the Shekhina
The Selection of Jerusalem and the Mikdash (I)
Rav Yitzchak Levi
We move on now to our second unit of study. In the first unit, we dealt with several
aspects of the resting of the Shekhina following
Our next study unit deals with the period of David and his connection to
There is a great difference between the earlier period that we discussed in the first unit and the period of David in the second unit.
During the first period, at the beginning of the term of Yehoshua, there is indeed a single leadership, but over the centuries of the period of the shoftim, there is no single leadership; the leadership passes from one shofet to the next. In contrast, during the period of David, we are dealing with kingship. David was the first to show interest in and seek out the site of the Mikdash and to take practical steps to realize and advance its construction.
The topic of this series is the history of the resting of the Shekhina. David's actions begin with the conquest of Jerusalem. In this framework, we will not expand upon the details of the city's conquest, but we will present David's relationship to his royal capital, which for him was connected to the future site of the Mikdash.
In this introductory lecture, we will first present the selection of
Jerusalem. We will then relate to
the transfer of the ark to
I. HUMAN SELECTION AS OPPOSED TO DIVINE SELECTION
will first present the essence of our argument in this lecture, after which we
will fill in the details. Our
argument is that there are three stages in the selection of
Human-royal selection of the city of
· The second stage: Divine selection of the site of the Mikdash in the wake of the appearance of the angel at the threshing floor of Aravna the Yevusi following the census.
Divine selection of the city of
The first stage is a human stage, initiated from below, its main conditions being unity and the monarchy.
the first and second stages, David does everything in his power to achieve the
building of a Mikdash. He
brings the ark of the Lord to the City of
for the third stage, the condition for its realization is human readiness to
fully connect the worldly kingdom in its fixed manifestations to God's
Kingdom. The practical expression
of this connection is the building of the royal palace and the House of God as a
single unit, which expresses the total subjugation of the fixed worldly kingdom
These are the three stages in the selection of the city of Jerusalem. Let us now explain each one in greater detail.
II. THE SELECTION OF THE CITY OF JERUSALEM AS THE CAPITAL CITY - A SELECTION INITIATED FROM BELOW
I wish to demonstrate here that David's selection of the city was done on his own initiative, without any Divine interference. This is a selection "from below."
ruled in Chevron for seven and a half years (Shmuel II 5:5). With the death of Ish-Boshet the son of
Shaul, all of the tribes of
In the book of Divrei Ha-yamim, Scripture emphasizes in great detail the remarkable unity among the tribes at the time of David's appointment as king. It notes the tribes who participated in the appointment and concludes:
these men of war, ranged in battle order, came with a perfect heart to Chevron
to make David king over all Israel.
And also all the rest of
Immediately following the account of the crowning of David in Chevron by
all of Israel, the prophet summarizes the kingdom of David in two verses
(Shmuel II 5:4-5), and immediately afterwards it says: "And the king and
his men went to Jerusalem to the Yevusi, the inhabitants of the land" (ibid. v.
6). In the corresponding passage in
Divrei Ha-yamim, it also says immediately after the account of David's
crowning: "And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Yevus, where the
Yevusi were, the inhabitants of the land" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 11:4). Both books emphasize that immediately
following David's crowning in
Note that there is no mention in Scripture of a prophet or of his
there is no Divine revelation; there is not even an inquiry of the Urim
and Tumim. In order to
understand the significance of the fact that no inquiry is made of the Urim
and Tumim, compare David's going to Chevron following the death of
Shaul to his going to
Scripture gives no explanation as to why David goes specifically to
Various proofs can be brought to support this argument. In Tehillim 132, David says as follows:
A song of ascents. Lord, remember to David's favor all his afflictions, how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the mighty God of Yaakov: Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty One of Yaakov. (Tehillim 132:1-5)
The Radak (ad loc.) comments:
David recited this psalm when he built the altar on the threshing floor of Aravna the Yevusi based on the word of Gad the prophet, and offered on it burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, and called out to God, and God answered him with fire from heaven on the burnt-offering altar. And he said: "This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt-offering for Israel" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 22:1). And before that day, the site of the Mikdash had not been known.
The Radak proposes that the psalm was said at the time of the building of the altar on the threshing floor of Aravna the Yevusi (Shmuel II 24; Divrei Ha-yamim I 21), and he points in particular to David's words when he finished bringing the offering upon that altar: "And David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt-offering for Israel" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 22:1). These words seem to reflect David's astonishment when the site of the Mikdash was revealed to him; indeed, the Radak understands that until that day, the site of the Mikdash had not been known. The Radak continues (ad loc.):
seems to me that "We heard of it at Efrat" (Tehillim 132:6) means as
follows: David said: We did not know of this place until today. We only heard in our city of
The Ibn Ezra (ad loc.) also writes: "It is possible that David authored
this poem when he covered himself with sackcloth, he and the elders of
The only allusion in Chazal to the possibility that David had known the site of the Mikdash before he came there is the derasha of Rava in Zevachim 54b:
expounded: What is meant by that which is written: "And he [David] and Shmuel
went and dwelt in Nayot
in Rama" (Shmuel I 19:18)? What is Nayot doing
next to Rama? Rather, they were sitting in Rama and occupied with the beauty
(noy) of the world. They
said: It is written: "Then you shall arise, and go up to the place"
(Devarim 17:8), teaching that the Temple is higher than all of
Eretz Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael is higher than all the
countries. They didn't know where
it was, [so] they brought out the book of Yehoshua. Regarding all of them it is written, "it
went down," "the border went up," "the border descended." Regarding Binyamin, it
is written, "it went up," but it is not written, "it went down." They said:
Infer from this that here is its [the
According to this derasha, David sought out the site of the
Mikdash already in the days of Shmuel and located it in the tribal
us now return to our main argument.
David does not know the site of the Mikdash; he establishes
light of this, the question may be raised: What, then, are the reasons that
brought David to
III. WHAT BRINGS DAVID TO JERUSALEM
natural place for David to establish his capital is the city of Chevron. Chevron was located in the center of the
second fact that deserves our attention is that
the fact that David's first act following his appointment as king over all of
Israel was to go to Jerusalem (as we saw in both the book of Shmuel and
in the book of Divrei Ha-yamim) alludes to the fact that David's
objective is first and foremost to unite all of Israel around this place, and
especially the tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin. This is first owing to the great
hostility between these two tribes ("Now there was a long warfare between the
house of Shaul and the house of David;" Shmuel II 3:1) and second because
they represent the children of Rachel and the children of Leah, "which two did
build the house of
set of spiritual considerations brought David to choose
IV. ALLOWING ARAVNA THE YEVUSI TO REMAIN AT THE THRESHING FLOOR
It is clear from the story of the census that at the time of his conquest of Jerusalem, David left the threshing floor, the Mount Moriya region, in the hands of Aravna, king of the Yevusim (Shmuel II 24:23). We find that Chazal criticized David for this step:
place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours" (Devarim
David acted against the Torah.
The Torah says that after you conquer the land, you will be permitted to
conquer outside the land, [but] he did not do so. Rather, he went out and conquered Aram
Naharayim and Aram Tzova, while the Yevusim who were near
In other words, the entire city had not been conquered because David failed to conquer the region of the threshing floor that was near his own palace.
We began to examine the overall meaning of David's connection to
Jerusalem. We emphasized the
significance of his choosing the city without any Divine command not by way of
a prophet, nor by way of inquiry of the Urim and Tumim, nor by way
of a revelation. In light of this,
we tried to examine what drew David to Jerusalem. We also saw the view of Chazal
regarding the fact that David left Aravna in
In the next lecture, we will complete this discussion. We will begin with David's bringing of
the ark to the City of
(Translated by David Strauss)
 In the past, we discussed the history of Jerusalem, and there we dealt at length with the period of David and Shlomo. In the coming, lecture we will make considerable use of the lecture discussing the resting of the Shekhina in the days of David and Shlomo, making some changes and adding additions and expansions.
 We have already emphasized in the past that when studying Scripture one must note not only what is written in the verses, but also what is not written there.
 The chronological issue here the relationship between David's request to build the Mikdash (Shmuel II 7) and the revelation of the site of the Mikdash at the threshing floor of Aravna the Yevusi (ibid. 24) - is a weighty issue. It is difficult to give a clear answer to this question, and we will not deal with the issue here.
 Other commentators suggest that the psalm was written when David brought the ark up to the City of David, for then it was put into a tent (Shmuel II 6). Others say that it was written when Shlomo brought the ark into the house of God. We follow in the footsteps of the Radak.
 Lecture 21, "Jerusalem during the Period of the Conquest and Settlement (II); To which Tribe did Jerusalem Belong.
 Some ask how David could have established his capital city in territory belonging to the tribe of Binyamin. It may be argued that the king was permitted to confiscate land in this case from the tribe of Binyamin based on the law of the king (Shmuel I 8:11-14), if this was done for the purpose of a royal palace (see Malbim, Melakhim I 21:1). Perhaps, however, he was permitted to take only the fruit (and not the land itself) for his servants and soldiers (Radak, ibid. 10). (These commentators discuss the king's right to confiscate territory in the context of the story of Navot's vineyard.)
 The connection between the wholeness of Jerusalem and national unity finds expression in the verses in Tehillim: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you shall prosper. Peace be within your walls and prosperity within your palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within you" (Tehillim 132:6-8). The Malbim expands on this issue in his commentary there: "Pray after having explained that Jerusalem is what holds together and unites the collective body, he says that just as if one were to ask about the peace of an individual body, we would answer that its peace depends upon the organs and forces in the body being connected and at peace with each other, for when there is division between them, death arrives so too if they ask about the peace of Jerusalem, we would answer that its peace depends upon whether there is peace among 'those who love you,' for the essence of Jerusalem is the unity of the people. If so, if quarreling and arguments and division of hearts arise among its people, there will be no peace in Jerusalem, for the essence of its peace is when it is 'like a city that is compact together,' and not when it is divided."
 It is interesting to examine the relationship between Yehuda and Binyamin across the generations. This begins with Yehuda's surety for Binyamin when they went down to see Yosef in Egypt, a surety that established a special connection between the two tribes (see "Jerusalem in the Bible, Lecture 19: Inheritance of Binyamin Portion of the Divine Presence [part IV]" [http://vbm-torah.org/archive/yeru/19yeru.htm]). It continues with David's surety for Shaul in his battle against Golyat in Emek ha-Ela (a surety that Chazal connect to Yehuda's surety for Binyamin in Egypt; see Yalkut Shimoni, Shmuel I, sec. 126). It concludes with Binyamin's decision at the time of the division of the monarchy not to side with the tribes of Efrayim and Menashe, the children of Yosef, the son of Rachel, but rather with the tribe of Yehuda.
It may be argued that Jerusalem's special status as the capital of the kingdom of Yehuda was preserved in great measure by the virtue of Binyamin, on whose southern border, between it and Yehuda, Jerusalem is situated, and whose northern border constitutes the northern border of the kingdom of Yehuda in the region of Bet-El and Mount Bet-El. R. Yaakov Medan brings an interesting proof to this from what is stated in the prophecy of Achiya the Shiloni to Yerov'am regarding the division of the monarchy: "But he shall have one tribe for My servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel" (Melakhim I 11:32). The commentators there struggle with the question as to which tribe is being referred to, Yehuda or Binyamin. R. Medan proposes to read the verse as follows: "But he shall have one tribe for My servant David's sake" this is the tribe of Yehuda; "and [he shall have one tribe] for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel" this is the tribe of Binyamin. According to this explanation, the verse works out very well (with respect to the number of tribes as well): the tribe of Yehuda, which is Shlomo's tribe, is for My servant David's sake for the sake of preserving the kingdom in Yehuda; the tribe of Binyamin is for the sake of the selection of Jerusalem, because it protects it from the north and pushes the border of the northern kingdom northward.
All of this is without the special connection that Binyamin has to Jerusalem owing to its being the territory of the Shekhina, as was mentioned in the lectures dealing with that issue.
It is possible that this compensates Binyamin for having lost the kingdom, and also for its difficult situation following the incident involving the concubine in Giv'a.
Finally, it is possible that we are dealing here with a desire on the part of Yehuda to be more closely connected to Binyamin, in continuation of the surety that Yehuda gave for Binyamin when the brothers went down to Egypt and the surety that David gave for Shaul in his battle in Emek ha-Ela. David is now king of all of Israel and he is in a position to renew this covenant.
 This also expresses itself in the fact that Jerusalem was settled by members of all the tribes: "And in Jerusalem dwelt some of the children of Yehuda, and some of the children of Binyamin, and some of the children of Efrayim and Menashe " (Divrei Ha-yamim I 9:3; see the proofs brought by Yehuda Kil, Da'at Mikra on Divrei Ha-yamim, p. 244, that this list can be dated to the days of David). This is in addition to the families of priests and Levites, who served next to the tent that David pitched for the ark in the City of David. Another proof is the expression, "the residents of Jerusalem and the men of Yehuda," found several times in the words of the prophets (e.g., Yeshaya 5:3; Yirmiyahu 4:4 and 11:17; Divrei Ha-yamim II 34:31), which implies that the residents of Jerusalem and the men of Yehuda are not the same people - Jerusalem was also inhabited by members of other tribes.