Review of Brown, Matthew B. “The Handclasp, the Temple, and the King.”

Brown, Matthew B.   “The Handclasp, the Temple, and the King.”  In, Temple Insights: Proceedings of the Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, The Temple on Mount Zion, 22 September 2012, edited by William J. Hamblin and David Rolph Seely, 5-9.  Temple on Mount Zion Series 2.  Orem/Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation/Eborn Books, 2014. [Israel/Ritual/Liturgy/Worship/Symbolism]

In this brief article Matt Brown examines the imagery of the handclasp between God in the heavens and the earthly king, as this imagery is expressed in Psalms 27, 41, 63, 73, and 89.  His conclusion about Psalms 41 and 73 seems to apply to the study generally.  Brown wrote, “Taken altogether, Psalms 41 and 73 point to the possibility that when the king of Israel was initiated into his office in the temple precincts, he passed through the veil of the Holy of Holies (see Exodus 26:33) and into God’s symbolic presence.”  (p. 6)

A particularly interesting example among the royal psalms is an illustration in a manuscript of Ps. 27:10 which says “the Lord will take [the king] up.”  The illustration is from the Utrecht Psalter created in a Benedictine Abbey near Epernay, France about 820 AD.  In the image the “Lord is shown reaching down a stairway and grasping the king by the right hand, probably to induct him into the heavenly assembly.”  (p. 7)

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