Was the sanctuary originally at Shechem or at Shiloh? Joshua 24:1, 25-26 and 1 Samuel 3:21; 4:3


Joshua 24:1, 25-26 Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God... On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.

1 Samuel 3:21; 4:3 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word... When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, "Why did the Lord bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord's covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies."

The ark was at Shiloh (Josh. 18:1; 19:51). However, the physical presence of the Lord was not restricted to the ark. The term sanctuary (miqdash) means "holy place." It may refer to a sacred location other than the Ark (Josh. 24:25-26; cf. Abraham in Gen. 12:6-7; Jacob in Gen. 33:19-20; 35:2-3).

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).