David’s Tent As Temple In Amos 9:11-15: Understanding The Epilogue Of Amos And Considering Implications For The Unity Of The Book -- By: John Anthony Dunne

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 73:2 (Fall 2011)
Article: David’s Tent As Temple In Amos 9:11-15: Understanding The Epilogue Of Amos And Considering Implications For The Unity Of The Book
Author: John Anthony Dunne


David’s Tent As Temple In Amos 9:11-15: Understanding The Epilogue Of Amos And Considering Implications For The Unity Of The Book

John Anthony Dunne

John Anthony Dunne is a Ph.D. student in New Testament at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

I. Introduction

In the history of research on Amos 9:11-12 the dominant interpretation has viewed “David’s tent” as a reference to the kingdom, which will one day be restored. However, there have been a few dissenting voices from this large choir. Some noteworthy scholars have suggested that the phrase should be understood as a reference to the Jerusalem temple. Interestingly, however, a survey of the proponents of this view will show that the vast majority within this group are NT scholars working with the use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:16-18. Unfortunately, the bulk of these scholars either do not try sufficiently to demonstrate that this is what the text in Amos meant,1 or actually deny that this was the original meaning.2 The purpose of the present study is to attempt to demonstrate that the original intention of Amos 9:11-12 was to point to the future messianic era in which the worship of Yhwh’s people would be restored through the rebuilding of the eschatological temple. Also, we will consider how our arguments contribute to the discussion regarding the originality of the epilogue.

II. The Nature Of David’s Tent

In Sabine Nägele’s fascinating study on Amos 9:11-15, to which the strength of my arguments is greatly indebted, she makes several arguments in favor of understanding סכה as a reference to the Jerusalem temple. Initially, she points out that the etymological roots of סכה lead to sukku, a Sumerian loan-word (Lehnwort) from the Akkadian language, which means “sanctuary” (Heiligtum).3 Of course, we do not want to be found guilty of an etymological fallacy at this point, transporting the original meaning of the word into the present context without consideration for how it is actually being used in this particular setting.4 Yet the etymological roots of סכה are worth considering due to the instances in the OT, par...

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