1 Kings 6
He Began To Build
Every nation points to certain events which define them as a people and Israel is no exception. The record of the temple being built starts with establishing a timeline in light of the exodus out of Egypt and Solomon's reign. The temple was a relatively small structure that measured approximately ninety feet long by thirty feet wide, by forty-five feet high. The temple was not intended to hold the entire congregation of Israel; it was a place for the presence of God and the priests who ministered before him. The people of Israel never met in the temple; they surrounded the temple when they gathered to worship. The main building had a porch that extended across the entire front and was fifteen feet deep. The temple had an unspecified number of windows and around the outside wall were three stories of partitions and compartments. These chambers served as storage, lodging, and perhaps support for the walls. The stones used to build the temple were hewn in the quarry and then transported to the construction site where they were fit together. This was a holy place, and so the sounds of iron tools were not to be heard. The Lord came to Solomon with a gracious promise. Solomon had undertaken a noble task, and if he continued to walk well before the Lord, he would enjoy tremendous blessings. God would confirm the promise given to David and God would dwell in the midst of his people. Solomon continued this work, seeing it through to completion.
The interior walls of the temple were lined with wood which was engraved and then the wood was overlaid with small gold plates which were attached to the wood with nails. The walls were also embellished with precious stones, and the floor was covered with cypress wood. Thirty feet from the west end of the house a floor to ceiling partition separated the most holy place from the rest of the house. The most holy place housed the ark of the covenant, and it was overlaid with pure gold which weighed almost twenty-three tons. In front of the most holy place was a stone altar covered with cedar and overlaid with gold. Gold chains hung in front of the most holy place. Two cherubim made of olive wood overlaid with gold decorated the interior of the of the most holy place. Their outstretched wings reached across the entire width and between their bodies was a space of several feet where the ark of the covenant rested. The doors leading to the most holy place were made of olive wood overlaid with gold. A curtain hung inside which prevented any priest from seeing through when the doors were opened once each year on the day of atonement. The outer doors of the house were decorated with figures of cherubim, palm trees and flowers overlaid with gold. The inner court of the temple was enclosed by a low wall formed by three rows of hewn stones and a row of cedar beams. The temple was finished in the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign.
Things To Consider:
- How does the exodus relate to the building of the temple?
- Why do you think such detail is included in the building of the temple?
- Why do you think it was important to limit the noise around the temple during its construction?
- Does this principle have any implications for today? Why or why not?
- Why do you think God came to Solomon during the construction of the temple?
- Does God promise Solomon anything that he has not promised before?
- What set apart the most holy place?
- Why was this necessary?
- Is it significant that the construction took seven years? Why?
- What does 1 Peter 2:5 tell us about the temple today?