- In Matthew 6:5 Jesus tells his disciples to go onto the "tameion" to pray.
Moulton/Milligan define this as "storeroom", which is, I suspect, a
legitimate rendering. But the word also has another meaning: privy.
In Hesiod (Works and Days 520) the "inner room" is the boudoir. Josephus
uses the term (in Ant. 14.462) for the place where baths are taken.
On the other hand, Pausanias (Description of Greece 2.10.2) uses "inner
chamber" as a description of the room only the priests can go.
Generally, interpreters take the use of the word by Jesus to mean
"storeroom"- but I wonder if this is accurate and if Jesus is not being a
tad scatolgical here by telling the disicples to go into the privy to pray
instead of belting 'em out on the streetcorners. To take the line a little
further, is what the Pharisees do on the streetcorners the same thing as
regular folk do in the privy, and is this what Jesus is hinting at?
Jim West, ThD
Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
Adjunct Professor of Bible,
Quartz Hill School of Theology