Gilbert House Fellowship #367: 1 Chronicles 11–12; Psalms 133, 106

DAVID ASCENDS to the throne in Jerusalem, and we recount the history of Israel, including some startling examples of warfare in the unseen realm, in the psalms accompanying our study this week.

First, we discuss the Jebusites and the city of Jebus, which apparently was the area around the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David—the area just south of the Temple Mount. “Jebus” means “threshing floor,” from a verb meaning “to tread down,” as in treading out the grain. In the ancient world, as Sharon wrote in Veneration, threshing floors were believed to be portals to the spirit realm.

1859 drawing of the Well of Souls (click to enlarge)

This is an interesting connection to the Hurrian people, relevant because Araunah, owner of the threshing floor on Mount Moriah, is not a name but a title that means “lord” or “king.” The Hurrians believed that gods of the underworld, including spirits of the dead, had to be summoned from the underworld in an underground pit called the abi, from which the Hebrews got the word ôb (“medium”). It just happens that there is a cave directly below the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount called the Holy of Holies by the Crusaders and the Well of Souls by Muslims.

We also discuss the cryptic reference to the “Ariels of Moab,” although the ESV renders it “heroes of Moab” (1 Chr. 11:22). In the King James, ariel is translated “lion-like,” based on the Hebrew ari (“lion”). So, ariels are literally “lions of God,” although “lions of El” is more likely, given that they were from Moab, where Yahweh was not normally worshiped.

What are those ariels? We don’t know. There’s an entry for ariel in the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, and it doesn’t give a conclusive answer. We can only guess, but based on the Septuagint, which was translated into Greek from an older Hebrew manuscript by about 200 BC, the best reading might be, “[Benaiah] struck the two sons of Ariel of Moab.”

In other words, as disappointing as it may seem, it’s likely there were no “lion-like men of Moab,” just two warriors from Moab whose father’s name was Ariel.

After a celebratory psalm, Psalm 133, we read the important Psalm 106. This is where we find one of only three mentions of demons in the Old Testament. It’s a translation of the word shedim, a type of territorial spirit depicted in the ancient Near East as winged bulls—like the giant statues of protective spirits found outside the palace of the kings of Assyria now on display at museums around the world.

We also dig into Psalm 106:28–29, a passage that explains why God sent a plague against the Israelites while they camped at Shittim. The worship of Baal-Peor (“lord of the opening to the underworld”) involved eating sacrifices offered to the dead. We’ve recently learned that scholars since the 1940s believe that it’s possible Shittim was not the Jordan valley across from Jericho, but might have been the 80-acre site on the hill called Tall el-Hammam—ancient Sodom.

In other words, the tabernacle may have been directly over the site of the destroyed temple in Sodom.

TRAVEL WITH US TO TURKEY! Join us and our special guests Dr. Judd Burton and Dr. Aaron Judkins as we visit the churches of Revelation, Göbekli Tepe, Abraham’s home town Harran, the “Gates of Hell,” Mount Nemrut, and much more. Dates are October 17–November 3, 2023. More information is available at

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