SEEK THE CONTEXT: Biblical Texts, Language, Cultural Background & Meaning. Context Changes Everything!

Altar of Incense in the Holy of Holies?

Altar of Incense in the Holy of Holies?

Not long ago I received a curious question from a man who was struggling reading through the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. His question had to do with the temple and with tabernacle arrangement, which was originally described in the book of Exodus. In Exodus the מִזְבַּ֥ח הַקְּטֹ֖רֶת (mizbeach haketoret) the altar of incense was stationed in the Holy Place. In Hebrews 9:4, however, it says that it was in the Holy of Holies. How can this be?

3 Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. 4 In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant (NRSV – Hebrews 9:3-4).

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I am an educator, researcher, a faculty member and an avid believer in online education. My specialties are Sacred Texts and Cultures (Second Temple period, early Judaism and nascent Christianity). I am passionate about meaning, context, and cultural transmission of ancient texts. My preoccupations with history, ancient languages and contextual interpretation often find expression in my blog posts. Every human has a pretext, every message has a context. Context changes everything! Enjoy reading.