Around the time of the exodus, the Torah says (Deut. 12:11, in Rabbi Kaplan's translation):

there will be a site that God will choose as the place dedicated to His name. It is there that you will have to bring all that I am prescribing to you as your burnt offerings, eaten sacrifices, [special] tithes, hand-delivered elevated gifts, and the choice general pledges that you may pledge to God.

Later, the Jews believed that that place was Jerusalem; the Samaritans, never being told where the place should be, just picked their own place.

Was God still undecided, during the exodus, where the place of the temple would be? He didn't know what he would later choose?

  • Sorry, english is not my native language and tenses trips me out a lot :)
    – user4951
    Sep 13, 2013 at 3:14
  • Thanks Jim. English is a tough language to learn sometimes; just wanted to make sure we're answering the correct question. Sep 13, 2013 at 4:00
  • The question resolves around the idea whether God has foreknowledge or not.
    – user4951
    Sep 13, 2013 at 4:11
  • And thanks for understanding my mistake. Sorry for the confusion :)
    – user4951
    Sep 13, 2013 at 5:05
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/29651/…
    – Menachem
    Sep 13, 2013 at 5:39

3 Answers 3


As explained by R' Avigdor Nebenzahl in his book, Tik'u ba-Chodesh Shofar: Thoughts for Rosh haShanah (page 240), it was David who "chose" Jerusalem, and prayed that his choice be accepted by HaShem. When HaShem made it clear that this choice was, indeed, accepted, it was essentially an acknowledgement that HaShem "chose" Jerusalem.

I suppose a cynic could argue that David should not have made a decision without clear instructions from HaShem, or that his doing so meant that HaShem didn't really choose Jerusalem in fulfillment of the verse. But I think that a)history (and the Bible) has shown that this was, in fact, the fulfillment of the verse, in that Jerusalem has been acknowledged by billions of people around the world as G-d's Holy city ever since, and b)without a direct prophecy saying otherwise, it seems G-d was "happy" with this choice.

Many things in TaNa"Ch, not to mention events throughout history, and even in our own lives, ultimately retrospectively are revealed to have been the Will of G-d, even if He didn't directly say so. I don't know why this has to be any different. He "chose" Jerusalem when it was ready to be chosen.

Did He "know" that He would later "choose" Jerusalem?* I think it was very likely*, as Jewish tradition also tells us that Jerusalem was regarded by Shem as perfect, as well as the place that HaShem told Avraham to go to offer his son Yitzhak. It is also identified by some (though not all) commentaries as the place where Ya'akov had his dream about the angels on the ladder.

If there weren't something special about Jerusalem, I don't think it would have stood the test of prophecy and time.

*(Broadly speaking, I think, questions about G-d's future knowledge are outside the scope of this particular question. My wording is meant as a plain-language answer without getting into those deeper philosophical issues.)

  • Good answer. I am wondering. Does God knows the future, including things that he will choose.
    – user4951
    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:27
  • That's a good question. I see you've asked it already.
    – Seth J
    Sep 15, 2013 at 13:41
  • This is all correct, I just want to add that before Jerusalem, the "chosen place", was the location of the Mishkan, with the Aaron Kodesh inside of it.
    – avi
    Dec 29, 2013 at 7:04

The Holy Scripture speaks here from man's perspective. It does not limit God in any way. It will appear that God chooses a place when he reveals it to David. From the fact that Isaac was 'sacrificed' by Abraham on the same spot clearly shows that the all-knowing God had this spot in mind all along.


There is a great deal of aggadic material that indicates that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was always destined to be the site of the Temple. However, the establishment of the permanent Temple at that location was not permitted until the Jewish conquest of the land was well established (as indicated in the previous verse). Thus, before that time, the site was not yet "chosen" for this purpose.

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