Solomon’s slaves build the temple.
VERSE 1. Then Solomon began to build the LORD’s house at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared to David his father, which he prepared in the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
on Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah was an important location for Abraham, David, and Solomon. Great events took place there. Today we know it as the Temple Mount. Read more »
This was probably 966 BC.
VERSE 3. Now these are the foundations which Solomon laid for the building of God’s house: the length by cubits after the first measure was sixty cubits, and the width twenty cubits.
the building of God’s house. The temple. It was a huge building. It was the center of Jewish worship and sacrifice and teaching. It was the center of the nation and the world.
People traveled great distances to going there on pilgrimage. It was so big that Jesus got separated from Mary and Joseph.
Or was it?
The Temple was not at all like we imagine:
the length by 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.
sixty cubits, and the width twenty cubits. That is, 90 x 30 feet. That makes for 2,700 square feet.
As a public building, and as the most important building in the history of the world, the temple is small. Pitifully small.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,700 square feet in 2009.
The size of the temple is the same as the size of the average house in the U.S.
As a public building, that is tiny. Roadside rest stops are bigger than that.
We are left wondering why Solomon built such a small temple. We don’t have answers. We only have questions:
- Did Solomon see the temple as a private chapel for himself?
- Did Solomon see the temple as an extension of his own ego?
- Was the temple just a fancy storage unit for the Ark of the Covenant?
- Did Solomon keep it small so it wouldn’t compete with his own Palace?
By building such a small temple, Solomon excluded his people from right worship and sacrifice and teaching. There simply wasn’t room for them.
It is no wonder that the people went to the high places to make sacrifices. And fell into idolatry.
1. First Temple. The temple that Solomon built is referred to as the “First Temple.” It was built in 957 BC and was destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC.
2. Second Temple. Cyrus the Great ordered the construction of the “Second Temple” in 538 BC. It was completed 23 years later, during the reign of Darius the Great. Herod the Great renovated it around 20 BC, and it became known as Herod’s Temple. The Roman Empire destroyed it in 70 AD.
3. Dome of the Rock. In 691 AD, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered the construction of an Islamic shrine over the site of the Temple. It stands to this day.
VERSE 4. The porch that was in front, its length, across the width of the house, was twenty cubits, and the height one hundred twenty; and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
twenty cubits. The porch was 30 feet wide.
VERSE 5. He made the larger room with a ceiling of cypress wood, which he overlaid with fine gold, and ornamented it with palm trees and chains.
VERSE 6. He decorated the house with precious stones for beauty. The gold was gold from Parvaim.
VERSE 7. He also overlaid the house, the beams, the thresholds, its walls, and its doors with gold, and engraved cherubim on the walls.
VERSE 8. He made the most holy place. Its length, according to the width of the house, was twenty cubits, and its width twenty cubits; and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
six hundred talents. A talent is about 30 kilograms or 66 pounds or 965 Troy ounces, so 600 talents is about 18 metric tons
fifty shekels of gold. A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.32 Troy ounces, so 50 shekels was about 0.5 kilograms or about 16 Troy ounces.
the most holy place. Within this room was the ark of the covenant:
1 Kings 6:19. He prepared an inner sanctuary in the middle of the house within, to set the ark of the LORD’s covenant there.
VERSE 11. The wings of the cherubim were twenty cubits long: the wing of the one was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house; and the other wing was five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.
VERSE 12. The wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house; and the other wing was five cubits, joining to the wing of the other cherub.
VERSE 13. The wings of these cherubim spread themselves out twenty cubits. They stood on their feet, and their faces were toward the house.
VERSE 14. He made the veil of blue, purple, crimson, and fine linen, and ornamented it with cherubim.
VERSE 15. Also he made before the house two pillars thirty-five cubits heigh, and the capital that was on the top of each of them was five cubits.
VERSE 16. He made chains in the inner sanctuary, and put them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
VERSE 17. He set up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.
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.