2 Samuel 5:8, No Lame and Blind in the Temple

And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David’s soul.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”

//I admit, I honestly don’t know what to make of this verse. It sounds too much like legend. Here’s the deal:

By God’s decree, the lame and blind were apparently not allowed to be priests in the temple. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose … –Leviticus 21:17

There are many more disqualifications, but you get the idea. Yet somehow, this ban from the temple in time came to extend to all the lame and blind. Why?

Apparently, when David came to conquer Jerusalem from the Jebusites, they taunted him, saying Jerusalem was so well fortified that he couldn’t even capture it from the lame and blind. Well, David did capture it, and sneeringly labeled the Jebusites as “lame and blind,” proclaiming his hatred for them. This story is followed by a little ditty of explanation for why the lame and blind would not be allowed into the “house” – the temple of God, soon afterward built by David’s son. (See today’s verse).

By the way, when Jesus came on the scene, he cast that silly rule aside. First, he overthrew the money changers in the temple. “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” –Matthew 21:14


  1. God is full of mecy

  2. Jen Parkinson

    I think what happened here is that David was humiliated by the jeering comments of the Jebusites that boasted that even the lame and blind would be able to keep David’s troops out, and when David declared his hatred for “the lame and the blind”, meaning specifically the Jebusites and not people with physical hindrances, the religious zealots or people trying to show love and allegiance to the King David, took things out of context and made a new tradition; the blind and lame, who were already disallowed to be priests by the Levitical law, were now declared to be disallowed entry into God’s temple. So, in Jesus time, the blind and lame were set down at the enterings in of the temple to beg alms but were not allowed to go into the temple. The effect upon them socially and religiously is that they were as unclean outcasts, even maybe souls cursed of God, asking mercy of those “more worthy people” who, able bodied and blessed, may enter the temple and so draw near to God. The Levitical law did never mean this, but the false zeal of the religious elite pushed these needy people further away from social and religious acceptance. A law- worshipping spirit thinks it is protecting the Holy Law when it erects extra legalistic fences around the Word given, without realizing that they have added to the Truth and created something abominable. This is then the context in which Jesus, arriving at his very own palace and temple, cleanses the temple from things that shouldn’t have been there, money-changers and merchants, peddling hope to the poor and desperate, whilst filling their pockets with the carnal comfort of money, and returns the blind and lame to their rightful place in the temple to experience the love and mercy of God. The temple is cleansed of lies and oppression and the True light enters with acceptance and healing. The children fill the temple also and cry praises to the Son of David. For the Pharisees and leaders of the temple the tables have been completely overturned; Jesus has attacked their source of income by casting out the merchants and money-changers, people are disobeying tradition and bringing the blind and lame into the temple to Jesus, children are declaring Christ as Messiah and Jesus won’t quieten them, and Christ is praying to his Father and bringing wholeness to mankind.

    • And that is why Jesus performs only two recorded miracles in Jerusalem. John 5 and 9. The lame and the blind!

    • Jen,
      Vry nice response! Breath of fresh air when I see a disciple well-grounded in the real message of the Bible.

  3. Lev 21:15 applies to ‘offering the showbread’ and ‘offerings by fire’. In Jesu’s time, Herod’s temple consisted of multiple enclosed spaces.
    Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the very centre – the ‘Holy of Holies’, and then only once per year on the day of atonement.
    Only priests were allowed in the next space, the ‘Holy Place’. It was here that the showbread, the alter of incense and the golden lampstand were placed.
    The Holy Place was contained in the Temple Inner Court. The Inner court also contained and altar for burnt offerings.
    Logically, this area would have been barred to the lame and the blind.
    The Outer Court would have been accessible to Israelites of all types.
    Containing all of the above was the Court of the Gentiles, accessible by anyone.
    So it would have been possible for Jesus to heal the blind and the lame in the Court of the Gentiles or the Outer Court without actually contravening the declaration of David and definitely without contravening Le 21:18.

  4. Oyeyemi Oyelade

    I think sometimes we need to really check well(via Holy Spirit) the role of a man in our religious doings. Our understanding differ from another, yet, we placed values on invaluable(irrational love of submission to our leaders) and manage to turn into doctrines. Today, vices in doctrine as led by individual leaders have turned Christian bodies apart and confused. I even wondered when people now put on wears like their Leaders and turned it into a law(doctrine). Let us begin to check well as generations are coming after us and will continue where we stopped. God is not immoral, let’s be objective in some things as led by our Christian leaders, screwtinizing the truth and we shall be free now and ever.

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