The construction of the temple
Solomon acted as the *temple’s architect. But the plans were not his own. He used the plans that David had already made. And David did not design the plans by means of his own imagination. God’s *Spirit put these plans into his mind (1 Chronicles 28:11-12; 1 Chronicles 28:19). Hebrews 9:24 explains the reason for this arrangement. The *temple that Solomon built was a copy of the real *temple in heaven. So the design had to be God’s design. God was using Solomon to carry out his work on earth. And, by means of Solomon’s *temple, God would show his power and his honour.
The *temple was splendid. But few people would see the beauty of its rooms. Only priests entered the main hall. However, the most special place was the inner room. It was called the most *holy place. And only one man, the chief priest, would enter it. Even he could only enter it once each year (Hebrews 9:7).
v1 Solomon began to build the *temple of the *Lord. This was 480 years after the *Israelites had come out of Egypt. He began to build in the 4th year of his rule over *Israel. He started in the second month, the month called Ziv.
v2 So King Solomon built the *temple for the *Lord. The *temple was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet high. (One foot is about 30 centimetres.) v3 The entrance room was in front of the main room of the *temple. The entrance room was 15 feet long and 30 feet wide. It was as wide as the *temple itself. v4 He made windows in the *temple. These were narrow on the outside and wide on the inside. v5He built rooms onto the sides and back of the *temple. These rooms were three storeys high. Each storey was about 7 and a half feet high. v6 Each room in the lowest storey was 7 and a half feet wide. Each room in the middle storey was 9 feet wide. Each room in the top storey was 10 and half feet wide. The *temple wall on each floor was thinner than on the floor below. So the rooms leaned on the wall. But the builders did not build the beams into the wall itself.
v7 The builders prepared the stones for the *temple at the place where they dug them. Therefore there was no sound from any tools like hammers while they built the *temple.
Solomon began to build the *temple in the year 966 *B.C. This would mean that the people left Egypt in 1447 *B.C. The *temple was a small building by modern standards. It would be a house for God. But it was not like a modern church. It was not a place where a large number of people would *worship. Only the priests would *worship in the *temple, as they carried out their duties. However, the *temple was twice as long and wide as the tent that Moses had erected. They stored goods in the side rooms.
They built the *temple silently. This probably showed that the *temple was different from the buildings of other religions. It was a *holy place, where the God of *peace was present.
v8 The entrance to the lowest storey was on the south side of the *temple. Stairs led up to the middle and top storeys. v9 So King Solomon finished the *temple. He put on a roof that he made with beams and boards of *cedar. v10 He built side rooms all along the *temple. Each room was 7 and a half feet (2.25 metres) high. *Cedar beams joined them to the *temple.
v11 God spoke to Solomon. v12 ‘This is what I will do about this *temple. You must obey all my laws and commands. Then I will carry out through you the promise that I made to David, your father. v13 I will live among the *Israelites. I will never leave them.’
v14 So Solomon finished the *temple.
The staircase wound up from the bottom to the top storey. Solomon made the roof from *cedar wood. The side rooms rested on beams that rested on narrow shelves. The builders attached these shelves to the walls.
God encouraged Solomon to finish the work. He promised Solomon that he would be present with the *Israelites. And God referred to his promise to David. David’s family would always rule *Israel, if they continued to obey him. And that would be God’s promise to Solomon too, if Solomon continued to obey God. The splendid building that Solomon made could not impress God. What mattered to God was the attitude of Solomon’s heart. And if Solomon obeyed God’s law, God would support Solomon and his *kingdom. Hebrews 10:36 says, ‘You need to continue although things are difficult. Then you will receive what God has promised.’
v15 Solomon covered the inner walls with *cedar boards from the floor to the roof. He covered the floor with *pine boards. v16 He built an inner room at the back of the *temple. He called it the most *holy place. It was about 30 feet long. (One foot is about 30 centimetres.) He separated it from the rest of the *temple by *cedar boards from the floor to the roof. v17 The main room in front of this was 60 feet long. v18 The inside of the *temple was *cedar. There were *carvings of flowers and fruits. He completely covered the inside with *cedar. So it was not possible to see the stones in the walls.
v19 At the back of the *temple, Solomon had built the inner room. He prepared that room to be the place for the *Lord’s *Covenant Box. v20 This inner room was 30 feet long, 30 feet high and 30 feet wide. He covered the inside of the room with pure gold. He made an *altar with *cedar. v21 Solomon covered the inside of the *temple with pure gold. He put gold chains across the front of the inner room. He covered this with gold. v22 So he covered the whole of the inside of the *temple with gold. He also covered the *altar in the most *holy place with gold.
Solomon covered the building with *cedar wood. He covered the most *holy place with gold. It contained the box of the *Lord’s *covenant which Moses had made. Inside the box were the stones of the 10 *commandments.
v23 Solomon made two *angels out of *olive wood. He put them in the most *holy place. Each one was about 15 feet high. (One foot is about 30 centimetres.) v24 One wing of the first *angel was 7 and a half feet long. The other wing was also 7 and a half feet long. It was 15 feet from the end of one wing to the end of the other. v25 The second *angel had the same measurements. They were both the same shape and size. v26 Both *angels were 15 feet high. v27 He put the *angels inside the most *holy place of the *temple. Their wings spread out. The wing of one *angel touched one wall. The wing of the other *angel touched the other wall. The other wings touched each other in the middle of the room. v28 He covered the *angels with gold.
v29 He *carved *angels, palm trees (a tree with very big leaves) and flowers on the walls all round the *temple. He did this in both inner and outer rooms. v30 He also covered the floors of both rooms with gold.
The *angels were like guards for the *Covenant Box. They were half of the height of the room. The room was 30 feet (9 metres) high. There were *carvings of *angels, trees and flowers on the walls. They were like pictures of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). God sent people out of Eden because of their *sin. They could only come near to God if he forgave their *sin. The most *holy place was the place where they offered *sacrifices for *sin. We can only enter heaven if we trust in the *sacrifice of Jesus for our *sin.
v31 Solomon made a double door out of *olive wood. This was at the entrance to the most *holy place. The top and the sides of the doorway formed a shape with 5 sides. v32 He *carved *angels, trees and flowers on the *olive wood doors. He covered the doors, the *angels and the trees with gold. v33 He made a *frame with four sides out of *olive wood. This was for the entrance to the main room. v34He also made a double door out of *pine. v35 On it he *carved *angels, trees and flowers. And he covered them with gold.
v36 He built an inner *courtyard. It had three rows of stone and one row of *cedar beams.
v37 Solomon laid the foundation (strong base) of the *Lord’s *temple in the month called Ziv. This was in the 4th year of his rule. v38 He finished the *temple in the 8th month, the month called Bul. This was in the 11th year of his rule. He followed all the original plans completely. Solomon took 7 years to build the *temple.
We are not sure what some of the words in these verses mean. People built such a splendid *temple because they recognised the greatness of God. It also taught people that God was with them. It did not keep God in one place. Solomon says this in chapter 8:27.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:16, tells Christians that they are God’s *temple. The Spirit of God lives in them. In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul says that the church is the *temple of God. Jesus is the foundation (the strong base). Christians are like the stones of the *temple in which the *Holy Spirit lives.