The Word Made Fresh
1Four hundred eighty years after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, in the month of Ziv (the second month of the year), he began to build the temple of the LORD.
2It was ninety feet long, sixty feet wide and forty-five feet tall. 3The front entrance was thirty feet wide and fifteen feet deep. 4He placed windows high in the walls. 5He had side rooms added around the outside of the walls within the supported structure. 6They were three levels tall; the first level was seven and a half feet wide, the middle one nine feet wide and the third ten and a half feet wide. These were offset from the walls so that nothing would intrude on the inner chamber of the temple.
7The temple was constructed of stones that had been dressed at the quarries so that the sound of hammers and axes and other tools would not be heard in the temple during its construction. 8There was a spiral stairway on the south side of the building that gave access to the middle and third stories.
9The building was roofed with cedar joists covered with cedar planks. 10Each story was seven and a half feet tall and joined to the temple building with cedar logs.
11The word of the LORD came to Solomon concerning 12the temple he was building: “If you will obey my statutes and laws and keep all my commandments day by day, I will continue the promise I made to David with you. 13My dwelling will be among the people, and I will not abandon them.”
14So, he continued building the temple and completed it. 15The inside was lined with cedar boards from floor to rafters, and the floor was covered with cypress planks. 16Thirty feet at the rear of the temple were boarded off with cedar, floor to rafters, as an inner sanctuary, the most sacred space. 17The nave in front of the inner sanctuary was sixty feet long. 18The cedar wood inside the temple was carved with images of gourds and flowers, and completely covered the stonework. 19The inner sanctuary was to hold the LORD’s covenant chest. 20The space was a cube, thirty feet long, wide, and high, overlaid with pure gold. The altar was of cedar. 21The inside of the temple was overlaid with gold. Golden chains were placed across the inner sanctuary, which was also plated with gold. 22Then he had everything overlaid with gold, the whole building and the altar of the inner sanctuary.
23Using olivewood he made two cherubim, each fifteen feet tall, to place in the inner sanctuary. 24Each wing was seven and a half feet long, reaching fifteen feet from wingtip to wingtip. 25The two cherubs were identical; 26both were fifteen feet high. 27He placed them in the inner sanctuary, their wings touching one another at the center, and reaching to the walls on either side. 28The cherubim were overlaid with gold.
29The walls inside the temple were carved with cherubim, palm trees, and flower blossoms, as were the walls of the outer rooms. 30The floors were all overlaid with gold.
31Two doors of olivewood, set within a five-sided frame, led into the sanctuary. 32He carved cherubim, palm trees, and flower blossoms, and overlaid the doors and the images with gold.
33At the entrance to the nave, square olivewood posts were placed, 34on which were hung two doors of cypress wood. They were folding doors, each with two parts. 35He carved cherubim, palms trees, and flower blossoms into them and covered it all with gold. 36The inner court had three courses of dressed stones and one of cedar beams.
37In the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, during Ziv, the second month, the foundation was laid. 38The temple was completed in the eleventh year of his reign during the month of Bul, the eighth month. The work took more than seven years altogether.
1-6: A detailed description of the temple and its dimensions are given. For an estimate, we multiply the measurements in cubits by 1.5 to get feet. (20 cubits roughly equals 30 feet.)
7: One amazing detail: the temple is constructed more or less noiselessly.
8-10: It is hard to picture exactly how the structure looks. You can go on line and find numerous artists’ renditions of Solomon’s temple.
11-13: During the construction, Solomon receives assurance that he is doing what God wants him to do, and that God will in turn never forsake the children of Israel.
14-22: It must have smelled wonderful in there with all that cedar and cypress covering the walls and floors, and beautiful with the gold plate covering the wood.
23-28: Two huge cherubim are fashioned out of olive wood, plated with gold, and placed in the inner sanctuary, reminding us of the golden cherubim with which Moses had adorned the lid for the covenant chest.
29-32: The walls and floors and even the doors are overlaid with gold, and carved with cherubim, palm trees, and flowers.
33-36: Cherubim, palm trees, and flowers of gold everywhere.
37-38: Reading back over the description of the construction, you would think Solomon did all the work personally. Verse 14 says, “Solomon built the house,” and throughout the description we find that “he” built this and “he” carved that and “he” overlaid it all with gold.
It took a bit more than 7 years for the temple to be completed. That’s impressive, but it only took God 7 days to make everything, including the material Solomon used. And God even took a day off.