Psalm 99 – Jehovah’s Reign & Thrones in the Ancient World

1 3831 The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.

2 The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.

2 The Royal Lion Throne of Myanmar
The Royal “Lion Throne” of Myanmar
The 180-year-old Sihasana Pallanka (Great Lion Throne) was exhibited in the Lion Throne Hall.

Surrounding were all together 8 miniture replica models of the Thrones used by the Myanmar Kings in ancient times.

3 Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

4 The king’s strength also loveth Judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest Judgment and righteousness in Jacob.

5 Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.

7 He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.

8 Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.

9 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

All are invited to rejoice in God the creator of all.  Calling upon the Lord and experiencing Him corporately for the sake of His testimony on the earth in Zion.

Thrones in the Ancient World 

3 winged female
This winged female sphinx may come from Ahab’s Palace of the Ivories; if so, this is where Jezebel lived.
The princess of Tyre was renowned for bringing with her to Israel (she married Ahab) 400 priests of the pagan god Baal and the goddess Asherah.

Royal and ritual thrones of the ancient world were typically constructed of wood frames overlaid with precious metals and inlaid with gems.  Popular ornamentation included engravings of lions, winged sphinxes, and composite mythological creatures.

4 Eye of the Tigris...ancient carved heads of gods on the summit of Mount Nemrut.
Eye of the Tigris…ancient carved heads of gods on the summit of Mount Nemrut.

According to artistic tradition throughout the ancient world, these served as images of power and authority.  Solomon’s throne was inlaid with ivory and overlaid with gold.  It featured a rounded top and a pair of standing lions for armrests.  Six steps led up to the royal dais, and each step was flanked by two lions, one on each end (1 Kgs 10:19-20).

Aspects of the throne’s design recall other royal furniture of that time and region.  For example, an ivory engraving from Megiddo and a sarcophagus (coffin) from Byblos, both dating roughly to the 13th century B.C., picture rulers seated upon thrones with curved-top backs supported by sphinxes, their feet resting on footstools. 

Footstools typically accompanied thrones and were occasionally engraved with scenes of vanquished foes, an image communicating triumph over one’s enemies (Ps 110:1).  An ancient king literally sought to make his enemies his footstool.

5 The winged
The winged sphinxes also appear in ivory furniture ornaments of Canaanite and early Hebrew palaces.

She appears to hold a Double Feather crown of Egypt.

The gods of the ancient Near East are depicted seated either upon thrones or atop animals or mythical beings (e.g., a goddess might be seated astride a lion).  The creatures themselves become the seat of divinity.  Images of gods carved into the hills along the Tigris River portray deities mounted upon such composite creatures.

The divine throne of Yahweh is envisioned as a living entity composed of fiery creatures whose outspread wings form the chariot upon which he transverses the heavens  (2 Sam 22:11; Ps 18:10; Ez 10:1).

His throne is a spectacle of light, shining with a radiance of jewels (Ez 1:26; Rev 4:3) and issuing flames of fire (Ps 104:3-4; Dan 7:9). 

Although heaven is God’s throne and Earth His footstool (Is 66:1), the temple of Jerusalem (i.e., the temple city) are often referred to as the throne and footstool of God, respectively  (1 Chr 28:2; Ps 132:7).

This imagery evokes the divine presence of Yahweh and his kingship over his covenant people.

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