pilgrimage

pilgrimage

A journey to a shrine, holy place, or sanctuary for a religious reason. In the ancient Near East, shrines or cultic (worship) centers were often established at sites connected with divine activity, such as an extraordinary event (Josh 4:1-7), or at sites revered by tradition as holy (Gen 13:18). The shrine often became the goal of pilgrimages, and worshipers would bring offerings to the shrine for petition or thanksgiving. The earliest pilgrimages recorded in the Bible were to centers that existed throughout Israel before the reforms of King Josiah (ca. 622 BCE), e.g., to Bethel (Gen 35:1-15; Gen 28:10-22; Gen 12:8), Shiloh (Judg 21:19-21; 1Sam 1:3-7; 1Sam 1:21), Gibeon (1Kgs 3:4), Beer-sheba (Amos 5:5; Amos 8:14), and Gilgal (Hos 4:15; Amos 4:4-5; Amos 5:5) as well as to numerous “high places” (1Sam 9:12-19; 1Sam 9:25). In the time of David (ca. 1000 BCE), Jerusalem was established as a religious center (2Sam 6:12-19), and following the completion of the Temple under Solomon (1Kgs 8; 2Chr 7:8-10) it increasingly became the goal of pilgrimage. Religious legislation would eventually require pilgrimages to Jerusalem three times a year: at Passover (the Festival of Unleavened Bread), the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost), and the Festival of Tabernacles (Booths). In NT times there were large crowds of pilgrims in Jerusalem for the festivals from widely scattered places (Luke 2:41-45; John 12:20; Acts 2:1-10). According to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus made several pilgrimages to Jerusalem to celebrate the festivals (John 2:13; John 5:1; John 7:2-10). Those on pilgrimage often traveled in groups (Ps 42:4; Ps 55:14; Luke 2:44), and the joy of the occasion would be marked by singing and rejoicing (Isa 30:29). Several of these songs are preserved in the “Songs of Ascent” (Ps 24; Ps 84; Ps 118; Ps 120-134). In a figurative sense, the NT also portrays the Christian life as a journey toward a heavenly city (Heb 11:13-16; 1Pet 1:17; 1Pet 2:11).

Josh 4:1-7

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Gen 13:18

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Gen 35:1-15

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Gen 28:10-22

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Gen 12:8

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Judg 21:19-21

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1Sam 1:3-7

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1Sam 1:21

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1Kgs 3:4

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Amos 5:5

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Amos 8:14

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Hos 4:15

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Amos 4:4-5

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Amos 5:5

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1Sam 9:12-19

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1Sam 9:25

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2Sam 6:12-19

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1Kgs 8

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2Chr 7:8-10

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Luke 2:41-45

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John 12:20

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Acts 2:1-10

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John 2:13

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John 5:1

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John 7:2-10

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Ps 42:4

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Ps 55:14

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Luke 2:44

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Isa 30:29

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Ps 24

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Ps 84

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Ps 118

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Ps 120-134

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Heb 11:13-16

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1Pet 1:17

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1Pet 2:11

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