Scriptures

1 Kings 6

Introduction

‘In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD. The temple that King Solomon built for the LORD was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple. He made narrow windows high up in the temple walls. Against the walls of the main hall and inner sanctuary he built a structure around the building, in which there were side rooms. The lowest floor was five cubits wide, the middle floor six cubits and the third floor seven. He made offset ledges around the outside of the temple so that nothing would be inserted into the temple walls. In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built. The entrance to the lowest floor was on the south side of the temple; a stairway led up to the middle level and from there to the third. So he built the temple and completed it, roofing it with beams and cedar planks. And he built the side rooms all along the temple. The height of each was five cubits, and they were attached to the temple by beams of cedar.’ 1 Kings 6:1-10

Solomon Builds The Temple

The writer begins by telling us the date when the building of the temple begun, it was four hundred and eighty years since Israel came out of Egypt, which is a reference to the exodus, around 1445 B.C., 2 Chronicles 3:1-14. Up until this point the tabernacle was used and was moved around to different tribal areas, which was God’s intention.

Solomon reigned from 971 to 931 B.C., which means the fourth year of his reign would have been 967 B.C. A cubit is around eighteen inches, which means the temple would have been around ninety feet long, thirty feet wide and forty five feet high.

It’s worth noting that the temple wasn’t built as place for everyone to gather together, but rather as a place in which they could place the ark of the covenant and other items which were in the tabernacle.

Remember when the tabernacle was built, the pattern they used was from God, given to Moses when he was up the mountain, Exodus 25-31, the tabernacle was built according God’s measurements and requirements.

However, notice here the phrase, ‘he built’, this tells us that the temple was being built by Solomon’s instructions not Gods. In other words, the temple was David’s idea and Solomon putting his idea together, but it was never God’s idea, He never commanded for a temple to be built in the first place, 2 Samuel 7:6-7.

‘The word of the LORD came to Solomon: ‘As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfil through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.’ 1 Kings 6:11-13

I find it interesting that God comes to Solomon, whilst Solomon is in the middle of building the temple. One possible reason for this was because God saw that the religious pride of His people had moved from the temple of God in heaven where God reigns, to a physical temple on earth where God would reside.

Over a period of time Israel forgot what the purpose of the tabernacle was all about and Israel would soon make the same mistake again, concerning the temple, Hosea 4:6.

‘So Solomon built the temple and completed it. He lined its interior walls with cedar boards, panelling them from the floor of the temple to the ceiling, and covered the floor of the temple with planks of juniper. He partitioned off twenty cubits at the rear of the temple with cedar boards from floor to ceiling to form within the temple an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. The main hall in front of this room was forty cubits long. The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen. He prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the LORD there. The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar. Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold. So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary. For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood, each ten cubits high. One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits—ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. The height of each cherub was ten cubits. He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. He overlaid the cherubim with gold. On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold. For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors out of olive wood that were one fifth of the width of the sanctuary. And on the two olive-wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold. In the same way, for the entrance to the main hall he made door frames out of olive wood that were one fourth of the width of the hall. He also made two doors out of juniper wood, each having two leaves that turned in sockets. He carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold hammered evenly over the carvings. And he built the inner courtyard of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams. The foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.’ 1 Kings 6:14-38

Notice that the temple is also called ‘the house’, 1 Kings 6:2 / 1 Kings 6:16, or ‘the house of the Lord’, 1 Kings 16:1. The temple was made up of three different parts, firstly, there was a portico, 1 Kings 6:3, this was outside the temple and faced east. This was the place of the two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, 1 Kings 7:21.

Secondly, there was the temple itself, 1 Kings 6:17. Finally, there was the inner sanctuary, 1 Kings 6:19, which contained the altar of cedar that was overlaid with gold, this was the most holy place or the holy of holies, this is where the cherubim and the ark of the covenant were kept, Exodus 26:33. The angels were like guards for the ark of the covenant and they were half of the height of the room.

The room itself was around 30 feet high and there were carvings of angels, trees and flowers on the walls. The most holy place was the place where they offered sacrifices for sin.

Solomon covered the building with cedar wood and covered the most holy place with gold. All of this tells us that the temple was built with the best materials they had available and Solomon used the best labourers he could find to do the job.

Because it took seven years to complete, this tells us that Solomon took his time to get every detail of the temple correct, including its contents.

Despite all the effort to build such a wonderful structure, Solomon’s temple was to be eventually destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. After the Babylonian captivity, the remnant of Israel begun to build the temple again in 536 B.C. but struggled to continue with the build because they knew it would never be as wonderful as Solomon’s original temple, Ezra 3:12.

Even though Herod the Great built another temple in its place during his reign, it looked nothing as wonderful as Solomon’s original temple. And of course, this temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans.

You will notice that there is no mention of a veil in Solomon’s plans, the veil is the curtain which separated the holy place from the most holy place, Exodus 26:31-35. For some reason Solomon didn’t include the veil in his plans, but it was later introduced into the temple after the Babylonian captivity, Matthew 27:51.

Go To 1 Kings 7

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.’"

Acts 18:9

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