Scriptures

1 Kings 7

Introduction

‘It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace. He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other. All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other. He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide. In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof. He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married. All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and smoothed on their inner and outer faces. The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight. Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams. The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the LORD with its portico.’ 1 Kings 7:1-12

Solomon Builds His Palace

Here Solomon begins to build his own palace and straight away we see that it took thirteen years to complete. This tells us how extravagant his palace was and although we don’t know exactly how it looked, we know that it was very complex and it housed the many people who were a part of Solomon’s royal court.

Remember David had spent years collecting money and materials for the temple, but this wasn’t the case for Solomon’s palace, it took almost twice as long to build as the temple and I’m pretty sure it would have almost cost twice as much.

Within his palace there were a number of different houses and projects, a house of the forest of Lebanon, 1 Kings 7:2-5, a colonnade and portico, 1 Kings 7:6, a throne hall and a hall of justice, 1 Kings 7:7, Solomon’s own palace and living space, 1 Kings 7:8, and a house for Pharaoh’s daughter, 1 Kings 7:8. No one knows why he chose to build a house only for Pharaoh’s daughter, when he had 700 other wives to look after, 1 Kings 11:3.

It’s difficult to imagine what his palace would have looked it, but it was certainly big enough to home all these people.

The Temple’s Furnishings

‘King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him. He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed. He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea. The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the centre. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths. He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side. On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal. Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same moulds and were identical in size and shape. He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. He placed five of the stands on the south side of the temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the temple. He also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls.’ 1 Kings 7:13-40

After reading these verses, especially the verse which describe the articles of the temple, it becomes clear, that the temple itself was somehow connected to Solomon’s palace, 2 Chronicles 3:15 / 2 Chronicles 3:17 / 2 Chronicles 4:2-5.

Huram’s father was from Tyre, but his mother was a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and she is also described as being of the daughters of Dan, 2 Chronicles 2:14, which means that she was of the tribe of Dan by birth but was a living in the territory of Naphtali.

Because of Huram’s reputation as a very skilled metal worker, Solomon hired him to carry out the duties in making the articles mentioned. It’s worth noting that the bronze he uses to make the bronze Sea, the pillars and various bronze articles were from the time when David had taken the bronze from the cities of Hadarezer, 1 Chronicles 18:8.

Notice that the two pillars which were placed in front of the temple were given names, ‘Jachin’ and ‘Boaz’. These names may be very symbolic, ‘Jachin’ possibly signified that the temple would stand forever and ‘Boaz’ possibly signified that God gives the temple strength and endurance.

There are a couple of other ideas concerning these names, some believe that the name ‘Jachin’ refers to God establishing the throne of the king forever and the name ‘Boaz’ refers to the strength of God in which the king would rejoice. If there are any symbolising in these names, they all carry the idea of the king standing between God and His people.

Huram made a sea out of cast bronze, this was designed as a great bowl, some fifteen feet across at the top. It was huge and if the measurements are correct, it would be able to hold around ten thousand gallons of water. The purpose behind this great bowl was to supply water for ceremonial cleansing purposes, 2 Chronicles 4:6.

The ten bronze basins were smaller bowls that were used for convenience cleansing purposes for the priest when he was away from Sea bowl, the great bowl of water.

The sprinkling bowls, which held water, were scattered around the temple so the priests could prepare the many sacrifices that were offered in reference to the temple service.

The portable basins had wheels on them, so that they could be wheeled to different parts of the temple in order to provide water for washing during and after the sacrifices.

Why Solomon ordered that these images of lions and bulls be built into the panels is not certain, some believe this was idolatry, Exodus 2:4-5, 1 Kings 12:28-29.

‘So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the LORD: the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars); the ten stands with their ten basins; the Sea and the twelve bulls under it; the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls. All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the temple of the LORD were of burnished bronze. The king had them cast in clay moulds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan. Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined. Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the LORD’s temple: the golden altar; the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence; the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary); the gold floral work and lamps and tongs; the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers; and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple. When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple.’ 1 Kings 7:40-51

The building of Solomon’s palace and all the furnishes was really a remarkable undertaking, 2 Chronicles 4:17-22/ 2 Chronicles 5:1 / 2 Chronicles 4:6 / 2 Chronicles 4:10-5:1.

There’s no doubt that Solomon chose wisely in hiring Huram to help with the furnishings of the temple because he was a very talented skilled metal worker. Some translations use the word ‘bronze’, and other translations use the word ‘brass’, but this doesn’t really matter, because brass is a term that is used to describe any copper alloy.

Solomon had them cast between Succoth and Zarethan, these places were queries where he had mined the huge amount of copper needed for all the furnishings. There were also article of gold within the temple, 2 Chronicles 4:7-8 / 2 Chronicles 4:19-22, some of this gold along with some silver came from all the kingdoms which David had earlier conquered, 2 Samuel 8:9-12.

Notice that the gold lampstands Solomon had made for the temple had ten branches. We don’t know why Solomon did this because Exodus 25:31-32 tells us that God asked for the lampstands to have only three branches on each side.

When the Jews rebuilt the temple after the Babylonian captivity, they not only put the veil that Solomon didn’t make, back to where it belongs between the holy place and the most holy place, Exodus 26:31-35 / Matthew 27:51, but they also put in a seven branched lampstand.

Notice also that Solomon had brought everything David had dedicated and placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple. This gives us the impression that the temple also functioned as some kind of national treasury. We know that the temple functioned like a community centre for the people and so the people would deposit their valuables in there.

Go To 1 Kings 8

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