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Bible: What Does 1 Kings 4-7 Teach Us About Solomon's Temple?

Updated on September 28, 2016

King Solomon

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Solomon's Administration

The author then lists the members of Solomon's "cabinet":

(1) priesthood;

(2) scribes;

(3) the recorder;

(4) the Army Chief of Staff;

(5) more priests;

(6) the Secretary of Defense (?);

(7) another priest and a personal friend/confidante;

(8) Domestic Secretary; and

(9) Secretary of Labor (vv. 1-6).

Solomon also appoints twelve "governors" from every quadrant of the nation, whose job it was to supply the king's household with food (vv. 7-19).

Some of these men are Solomon's sons-in-law (vv. 11, 15); some of them control large portions of the land (vv. 13, 19).

From the description of the daily needs of Solomon's "household" and his guests (vv. 22-23, 26-28), their work was substantial.

During the impressive reign of King Solomon (who commands the allegiance of and exacts tribute from many other kings in that region), Israel is numerous, prosperous, and at peace (vv. 20-21, 24-25).

God had given Solomon wisdom far beyond that of other wise men (vv. 30-31); the author describes it as "exceedingly great understanding," and "largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore" (perhaps to meet the needs of Israel's multitudes) [v. 29].

The king also becomes an accomplished poet, composer, botanist, and zoologist; eventually, his wisdom attracts worldwide attention and acclaim (vv. 32-34).

The First Temple

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Primary Contractor

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1 Kings 5

The time arrives for Solomon—a man at peace with all peoples (v. 4)—to build the temple in fulfillment of Yahweh's promise to David (v. 5).

[The latter could not construct it during his lifetime because he was constantly engaged in warfare] [v. 3]

Solomon contracts the work out to his father's old friend Hiram king of Tyre, whom he knows has access to the incomparable cedars and cypresses of Lebanon as well as the excellent lumberman of Sidon (vv. 1-2, 6).

Noting Solomon's fine wisdom in making such a choice, Hiram gladly accepts the business (vv. 7-8).

Then he informs the young king of his plan to transport the logs in rafts down the Mediterranean to the specified location (v. 9).

Once they agree on the terms—lumber for food—the enterprise continues, and both parties are satisfied (vv. 10-12).

Of course, temple building is no small task; Solomon needs to muster an almost two hundred thousand men labor force to carry burdens and quarry large and costly hewn stones for the temple foundations (vv. 13-18).

Headed by Adoniram, thousands of supervisors coordinate work schedules (v. 14), as well as subcontract out the different kinds of jobs necessary to build the structure (vv. 16-18).

The Ark of the Covenant

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Date of The Construction of the First Temple

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Temple Construction Begins

1 Kings 6

The author takes great care to record the exact date of the historic commencement of the building of the first temple, linking it with Israel’s exodus from Egypt as a close estimate of its national importance (v. 1).

[Conservative scholars calculate these dates as 966 B.C. and 1445 B.C., respectively].

About forty-five feet high, thirty feet wide, and ninety feet long, the temple includes a holy place that extends across its entire width and is located fifteen feet from the front (vv. 2-3).

The house's windows have beveled frames (v. 4). Solomon commands the carpenters to build side chambers of various sizes all around the inside against the walls (vv. 5-6).

The masons he requires to chisel each stone in the quarry; he does not allow them to make any unnecessary noise in the temple complex (v. 7).

It is a three-story construction made of cedar boards and beams, which have attached to it side chambers in excess of seven feet tall (vv. 8-10).

[Inserted after this notation is God's promise to Solomon that He would dwell with Israel if the king walked faithfully before Him (vv. 11-13)].

Verses fourteen through thirty-six delineate the materials that Solomon uses in each section of the temple: cedar boards for the inside walls, cypress for the floor (vv. 14-15), and cedar for the thirty-foot high Most Holy Place (v. 16).

The inner sanctuary—the home of the Ark—he builds and overlays with pure gold everywhere (vv. 17-22).

Two olive wood cherubim—overlaid with gold and standing fifteen feet tall with fifteen-foot wingspans—stretch from one wall to the other in the inner room, their wings touching each other in the middle (vv. 23-28).

Both inner and outer sanctuaries Solomon decorates with exquisite carvings; their floors he overlays with gold (vv. 29-30).

Even the olive wood doors have a gold overlay and various carvings as decorations (vv. 31-35).

In addition, the inner court he builds partly of hewn stone and partly of cedar beams (v. 36). From the laying of the foundation to the completion of all the temple's details (vv. 37-38), the entire project takes seven years to finish (vv. 37-38).

1 Kings 7

Solomon prioritizes his building endeavors, constructing the temple as well as several other houses.

Besides spending thirteen years and much lumber erecting his private home (v. 1), he uses a considerable amount of time and timber putting up the many-pillared House of the Forest in Lebanon (vv. 2-5).

The king also makes the Hall of Pillars (v. 6), the Hall of Judgment (for his throne) [v. 7], his own dwelling place (same as private home?) [v. 8a], and a house for Pharaoh's daughter (one of his wives) [v. 8b].

The author emphasizes the astronomical cost of the hewn stones and cedar wood used to build all these structures (vv. 9-12).

King Hiram sends another Hiram to Solomon to begin his work on the bronze objects for the temple (vv. 13-14).

This master craftsman fashions various items, including two lily-shaped pillars with its latticed capitals (vv. 15-17).

Above this lattice network, Hiram uses four hundred pomegranate figures to cover the top capitals (vv. 18-20). He names the right pillar Jachin and the left pillar Boaz (vv. 21-22).

Next, Hiram makes a Sea: a round, bowl-like container having ornamental buds encircling it (vv. 23-24).

This object sits atop twelve bronze oxen; three oxen face outward in each direction (vv. 25-26).

Ten carts, decorated with panels having lion, cherub, and oxen figures on them, are among other Hiram creations (vv. 27-29).

These wheeled vehicles have supports on their four feet (vv. 30, 32-34); Hiram designed each one the same way (v. 37).

One laver sits on each cart; five carts he put on the right side of the house with the Sea, and five on the left (vv. 38-39).

Finally, the author lists all the bronze articles Hiram made for the temple; each one has a clay cast and is not weighed (vv. 40-47).

Solomon orders all other furnishings to be made of gold: the altar, the table of showbread, the lampstands, and various other items (vv. 48-50).

With the work completed, the king brings into the temple treasuries all of David's dedicated things (v. 51).

© 2013 glynch1

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      What does it say about God that He gives such detailed instructions? The end result of his instructions for the temple was a really beautiful edifice. Thank you for recording the details.

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