House: (v 35): A house, in its literal meaning, is a building erected for human habitation. More figuratively, a church is sometimes called “the house of God” – it is a building whose primary purpose is the worship of God. ‘House’ in v 35 may, according to this usage, refer to the Temple in Jerusalem, which the Jews believed to be the dwelling place of God. But there are other possibly pertinent senses of ‘house’. A ‘royal house’ may refer not to a palace but to a royal family, line or dynasty, as in “House of Windsor”, where the reference is not just to the present royal family but to the line or dynasty which they represent. The ‘House of David’ is a Biblical equivalent. A notable family other than royalty may also be termed a ‘house’ – eg Shakespeare’s House of Montague, House of Capulet, in Romeo and Juliet. In these senses ‘house’ may refer not just to the royal line or family itself but also to the claims it makes for its own legitimacy and status and the ‘history’ and stories it appropriates in support of those claims. In the present context, ‘house’ probably refers to Jerusalem, not just as a place of stones and mortar but also as the centrepiece of Jewish life and history and identity as God’s chosen people. The Greek word for ‘house’, oikos, when conjoined to nomia, means ‘household management’, especially with regard to expenditure, and gives us our word ‘economy’ = ‘the financial management of a nation’.
A Word in Season