2

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalms 84:10 NIV

What does the author mean by "a doorkeeper in God's house"? Is this a literal role we know of from scripture pertaining to the physical earthly house/temple, or an imagined role in the heavens?

3 Answers 3

1

What does the author mean by "a doorkeeper in God's house"? Is this a literal role we know of from scripture pertaining to the physical earthly house/temple?

Yes, it was a literal role, English Standard Version 1 Chronicles 9:

19 Shallum the son of Kore, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah, and his kinsmen of his fathers’ house, the Korahites, were in charge of the work of the service, keepers of the thresholds of the tent, as their fathers had been in charge of the camp of the LORD, keepers of the entrance.

Among the jobs of the Levites, being keepers of the thresholds of the tent was one of the lowliest because you were not inside but outside of the holy temple. The closer you were to the Holy of Holies, the more important your job seemed to be.

Psalms 84:

10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

The contrast was between being outside at the edge of God's house and being inside the house of the wicked. King David the psalmist rather took on the lowly job of guarding at the entrance of God's house than enjoying the comfort of inside the house of the wicked.

0

The Hebrew (hyperbolic) idiom here is simply saying that the lowliest job in the courts of heaven (the door keeper) is better than all the luxuries in the tents of wickedness. This is actually stated twice as following in Ps 84:10

  • For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
  • I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

That is, the heavenly courts are far better than anything else.

Note that this conclusion is also drawn by many observers such as Benson:

I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God — Which was generally considered as a mean and contemptible office, and belonged to the common Levites, 1 Chronicles 9:19; and 1 Chronicles 26:1, and therefore might seem very dishonourable for David; than to dwell in the tents of wickedness — Than to live in the greatest glory, and plenty, and pleasure; which is often the lot of the wicked, Psalm 17:14; Psalm 73:6-7.

The Cambridge commentary is similar:

I had rather be a doorkeeper Lit., be at the threshold. Delitzsch thinks that this is an allusion to the office of the Korahites as “keepers of the thresholds of the tent” (1 Chronicles 9:19). If so, the reference must be to some subordinate position, and not to the distinguished office of “keeper of the threshold” (2 Kings 22:4; 2 Kings 25:18); for the sense clearly is, ‘I had rather perform the humblest service at the temple of Him who tolerates no evil (Psalm 5:4) than be entertained as a guest where wickedness makes its home.’ But the meaning may simply be, I had rather stand, or, lie, at the threshold, wait humbly at the gate as a suppliant. Cp. LXX, παραριπτεῖσθαι, Vulg. abiectus esse.

0

The door-keeper may well be seen as a lowly job - but it is also a very responsible job - not just anyone can perform this task.

Jesus is known as the door or gate. The door to where?

Therefore Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. John 10:7

I am the door. If anyone enters in by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and will go out and will find pasture. John 10:9

They go in to find good food, a safe place without fear. Food = truth and no fear = love.

The Door-keeper does not let wolves in, only the sheep, only those God has chosen.

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD. Ps 118:19

The Psalmist is often writing about the coming Saviour - here he looks forward to the grand opening of the Kingdom of God to the righteous - the righteous made so by the Saviour. The only place of God's righteousness is His kingdom and Jesus is the only way into it. It has been modelled by the tabernacle, the temple with the offerings and sacrifices - and now fulfilled in Jesus and his sacrifice who has opened up the holy place for all to enter (at their appointed time).

We might also note,

Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37

Jesus role is to keep out the wicked (sheep and goats parable) - keeping the chosen and casting out the others. Jesus, as mediator and judge knows the difference, but also knows that all can be found in him eventually.

Of course, Jesus came as a lowly servant. Serving God and man, but he has qualified to become the one at God's right hand. Yet he is still the only way to the Father - still the door-keeper at the best address in the universe!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.