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The Lord's House and David's Lord: The Psalms and Mark's Perspective on Jesus and the Temple

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image of Biblical Interpretation

Four Davidic Psalms (2, 118, 110, and 22), each cited or alluded to at least twice, in this order, and at critical junctures in Mark's narrative, play a key role in his Gospel. In contemporary understanding Psalm 2 was associated with the future messianic purging of Jerusalem and especially the temple (e.g.4QFlor, Pss Sol 17). Psalm 118, concluding the Egyptian Hallel, spoke of Israel's future deliverance under a Davidic king with the restored temple as the goal of Israel's return from exile. Psalm 110's surprisingly elevated royal designation, uniquely expressed in Melchizedekian priestking terms, contributed to several portraits of exalted heavenly deliverers, some messianic, who would preside over Israel's restoration (e.g.11QMelch, 1 Enoch) while Psalm 22's Davidic suffering and vindication described the deliverance of righteous Zion (e.g.4QPs). Drawing from the dual perspective of their original contexts and contemporary interpretations, this paper proposes that Mark's careful arrangement of his psalm citations presents Jesus as both Israel's Davidic Messiah (Pss. 2, 118) and the temple's Lord (Ps. 110) who, coming to purge Jerusalem but rejected by the temple authorities, announces the present structure's destruction and, through his death and vindication (Ps. 22), its replacement with a new people-temple centered on himself.

Affiliations: 1: Regent College


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