Why were 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats sacrificed at the dedication of the temple?

The numbers of animals sacrificed in that just one instance, even if possibly over a couple weeks, is staggering.
Why would God require that many animals to be killed? How was this done?

1 Kings 8:63

LS1910 - 63 Salomon immola vingt-deux mille boeufs et cent vingt mille brebis pour le sacrifice d'actions de grâces qu'il offrit à l'Eternel. Ainsi le roi et tous les enfants d'Israël firent la dédicace de la maison de l'Eternel.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 30 2016 Mini Samuel Bourassa

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In my opinion, as extreme as this action may appear, the number of animals sacrificed was an expression of the people's overwhelming and voluntary joy and thanksgiving to God for the completion of the temple, and for the visible presence of God in it (1 Kings 8:10-11), which indicated not only that He was among them, but also His pleasure with the temple, and with the actions of the people in building it. (As God had previously made clear to Israel (Psalm 50:10), all those animals were His to begin with, even before they were offered, so the people were in a sense only offering back to God what was already His.)

The animals (as I understand it) were normally killed by slitting their throats and draining their blood, since it was the blood that was the operative element in the sacrifice, especially where atonement for sin was involved. As Hebrews 9:22 notes, without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. (This practice was a foreshadowing of the full and final remission of sin that Jesus would accomplish by the sacrificial shedding of His own blood.) 

There were also so many animals offered (again, in my opinion) because the cumulative offerings were on behalf of each individual inhabitant of Israel, rather than being just one person's offering. (1 Kings 8:62 says that "all the people of Israel" were present at the dedication of the temple.) The Law given to Israel through Moses routinely required the sacrificial offering of animals by individuals. This was the same thing, but done on the scale or level of the whole nation.

December 01 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
In my opinion, there is a difficulty in the numbers appearing in the bible, since so many end in one, two or three zeroes. This doesn't mean that the scriptures were not perfectly given by God, only that they may have been altered by men, probably many centuries ago before the oldest existing manuscripts were written. 

As other examples, the 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35) killed by an angel in one night should have resulted in a day of celebration in the Jewish calendar, but there is no such day. Also, that many corpses should have left a discoverable place where they were buried, but no such area
has yet been found. 

In Rev 21:16 the New Jerusalem is described as a cube of 12,000 furlongs for each side. If a furlong is a tenth of a mile, then the city would extend 1,200 miles into the atmosphere, thus potentially interfering with any space travel or communication satellites existing then. 

What isn't considered in this case is that there would not have been enough Aaronic priests to slaughter 142,000 animals within the time frame of the dedication ceremony (which might have lasted several days).
The sacrifices for week days and sabbaths were already prescribed, and there is no obvious reason why the sacrifices for the dedication of the temple should depart from existing ritual into astronomically large numbers. For this particular verse, I believe the three zeroes should be ignored.

December 01 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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