The laborers begin building the temple. The LORD GOD promises to bless Solomon. The laborers finish the temple.
VERSE 1. In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the LORD’s house.
In the four hundred and eightieth year. This is very important. It enables us to fix certain dates in Israel’s history.
Based on this information, plus other ancient writings, scholars say Solomon’s reign lasted from 971 to 931 BC.
in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. That is, 966 BC.
in the month Ziv. The month of Ziv is April-May.
So the construction of the temple began in spring of 966 BC.
he began to build. The text attributes the construction of the temple to Solomon.
However, Solomon was an executive. He merely ordered the construction. He did not do any of the actual work.
Political leaders usually take the credit for construction projects, even though they do none of the actual work.
the LORD’s house. That is, the temple.
Historians refer to it as the “First Temple.” That is because after many years, it will be destroyed. Then many years after that, a “Second Temple” will be built.
VERSE 2. The house which king Solomon built for the LORD had a length of sixty cubits, and its width twenty, and its height thirty cubits.
cubits. A cubit is the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow on a man’s arm, or about 18 inches or 46 centimeters.
Based on the dimensions given in this verse, the temple was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high. That makes for 2,700 square feet.
That’s roughly the size of the average house in the United States in 2009. Source.
VERSE 3. The porch in front of the temple of the house had a length of twenty cubits, which was along the width of the house. Ten cubits was its width in front of the house.
The porch in front of the temple. It added 15 more feet to the length of the temple.
VERSE 4. He made windows of fixed lattice work for the house.
VERSE 5. Against the wall of the house, he built floors all around, against the walls of the house all around, both of the temple and of the inner sanctuary; and he made side rooms all around.
side rooms all around. These side rooms surround the temple on two or three sides.
VERSE 6. The lowest floor was five cubits wide, and the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide; for on the outside he made offsets in the wall of the house all around, that the beams should not be inserted into the walls of the house.
the third. The temple has three stories of side-rooms.
VERSE 7. The house, when it was under construction, was built of stone prepared at the quarry; and no hammer or ax or any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was under construction.
VERSE 8. The door for the middle side rooms was in the right side of the house. They went up by winding stairs into the middle floor, and out of the middle into the third.
VERSE 9. So he built the house and finished it; and he covered the house with beams and planks of cedar.
VERSE 10. He built the floors all along the house, each five cubits high; and they rested on the house with timbers of cedar.
VERSE 11. The LORD’s word came to Solomon, saying,
VERSE 12. “Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in my statutes, and execute my ordinances, and keep all my commandments to walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father.
if you will walk in my statutes. IF people obey the commands of the LORD God, he will dwell with them.
However, the LORD God already knows they will not obey his commands.
And the LORD God has no need of a temple.
VERSE 13. I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.”
VERSE 14. So Solomon built the house and finished it.
VERSE 15. He built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house to the walls of the ceiling, he covered them on the inside with wood. He covered the floor of the house with cypress boards.
boards of cedar. The interior walls were covered with cedar boards. They were overlaid with gold.
cypress boards. The floor was covered with pine boards. They too were overlaid with gold.
VERSE 16. He built twenty cubits of the back part of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the ceiling. He built this within, for an inner sanctuary, even for the most holy place.
VERSE 17. In front of the temple sanctuary was forty cubits long.
VERSE 18. There was cedar on the house within, carved with buds and open flowers. All was cedar. No stone was visible.
VERSE 19. He prepared an inner sanctuary in the middle of the house within, to set the ark of the LORD’s covenant there.
an inner sanctuary. This most holy place was where the ark of the covenant was kept.
2 Chronicles 3:10. In the most holy place he made two cherubim by carving, and they overlaid them with gold.
VERSE 20. Within the inner sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in width, and twenty cubits in its height. He overlaid it with pure gold. He covered the altar with cedar.
twenty cubits. It was a 30-foot cube.
VERSE 21. So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold. He drew chains of gold across before the inner sanctuary, and he overlaid it with gold.
VERSE 22. He overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. He also overlaid the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary with gold.
cherubim. The cherubim were sculptured angels, carved from olive wood.
The word “cherubim” is the plural of “cherub,” which is an angelic being.
VERSE 24. Five cubits was the length of one wing of the cherub, and five cubits was the length of the other wing of the cherub. From the tip of one wing to the tip of the other was ten cubits.
From the tip of one wing to the tip of the other was ten cubits. Their wings were spread out so that, side by side, they extended 30 feet.
VERSE 25. The other cherub was ten cubits. Both the cherubim were of one measure and one form.
One cherub was ten cubits high. It was 30 feet tall.
VERSE 27. He set the cherubim within the inner house. The wings of the cherubim were stretched out, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the middle of the house.
VERSE 28. He overlaid the cherubim with gold.
VERSE 29. He carved all the walls of the house around with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, inside and outside.
VERSE 30. He overlaid the floor of the house with gold, inside and outside.
VERSE 31. For the entrance of the inner sanctuary, he made doors of olive wood. The lintel and door posts were a fifth part of the wall.
The lintel and door posts were a fifth part. These olive wood doors leading from the holy place were framed with five-sided jambs (frames).
Some commentators speculate that they were sliding doors.
VERSE 32. So he made two doors of olive wood; and he carved on them carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold. He spread the gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.
VERSE 33. He also made the entrance of the temple door posts of olive wood, out of a fourth part of the wall,
VERSE 34. and two doors of cypress wood. The two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.
VERSE 35. He carved cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers; and he overlaid them with gold fitted on the engraved work.
the inner court. This inner courtyard was an open plaza surrounding the temple.
in the fourth year. Construction of the temple began in the fourth year of the reign of king Solomon. That was 966 BC.
the month Ziv. Ziv is April-May.
VERSE 38. In the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished throughout all its parts and according to all its specifications. So he spent seven years building it.
In the eleventh year. Construction of the temple was complete in the eleventh year of the reign of king Solomon. That was 959 BC.
in the month Bul. Bul is October-November.
Thus the construction took 7.5 years.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.