1 Kings Chapter 6

Temple

In the previous chapter, King Solomon began preparations to build the temple of the Lord. Chapter 6 tells more about the process and experience.

1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.
2 And the house which king Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
3 And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.
4 And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.

480 years had passed since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt towards the promised land. Solomon began to build the temple four years after he became king over the land. A description of the size is given. I think that the temple was not only built for the Lord, but as the Lord would have it built. It is not stated specifically, but just as Solomon was inspired in his duties as the king, I think he was inspired to know how to build the temple.

5 And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:
6 The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.
7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
8 The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.
9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.
10 And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.

In this part of the description, we learn that there was a center part of the building, with rooms around it. The temple was built of stones that were prepared by cutting and shaping them before they were laid at the site of the building of the temple. This was so that no man-made tool was used directly on the building. I don’t think that this was the standard way of building at the time, but it was much like the instruction given when they were preparing the tabernacle over 400 years earlier.

11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying,
12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:
13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
17 And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.
18 And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
19 And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.
22 And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.

The Lord made promises to Solomon. If Solomon and his people would keep the commandments and be obedient to the Lord, the Lord would dwell among them and he would not abandon them. Solomon finished the building of the temple and the size and ornamental materials and designs are described in these verses. Much was made of or covered in gold. The house of the Lord was prepared to hold the ark of the covenant.

23 And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.
24 And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.
25 And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.
26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.
27 And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, 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 midst of the house.
28 And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
29 And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
30 And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.

Large gold plated cherubims were made and placed inside the temple. Then the floor was overlaid with gold as well.

31 And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
32 The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.
33 So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.
34 And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.
35 And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.

Gold, cherub, and plant ornamentations were throughout the temple.

36 And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.

There was stone and cedar that made up the inner court.

37 In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif:
38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

The foundation of the temple was laid in the forth year of Solomon’s reign and then the temple was completed in the eleventh year. This was a seven year process to build the temple of the Lord, which was the greatest that had ever built.

It is so interesting to me, to read of just how beautifully built the temple of Solomon was. It was of great importance, that it be built in a manner that would please the Lord and show the great reverence to God. A year ago I went on a little trip where I visited 10 modern day temples. They were all grand and beautiful. I had the opportunity to serve in the Salt Lake Temple. I can’t help but think of the beauty of that temple in all the areas that I was able to be in. It is majestic and the ornamentation seems so much like the description of the temple built by Solomon. However, the beauty of the temple would not have been the greatest part of it, in my opinion. Even greater, was the promise that the presence of the Lord would be within his temple, if the Israelites would live worthy of it. He would not leave them. He would remain with them so long as they remained righteous. We have these same promises made with each temple that is built in modern times. I know this is true and have felt the spirit of God in each temple I have been able to attend. I am so grateful for the spirit that can be there as I serve and how it blesses my life both in the temple and when I leave it.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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