The Word Made Fresh
1Solomon then had a bronze altar made that was thirty feet square and fifteen feet tall. 2He made the bronze Sea fifteen feet across and seven and a half feet tall. It’s circumference was forty-five feet. 3Around and below the rim were set figures of oxen in two rows, ten for every eighteen inches. 4The Sea itself rested on twelve cast oxen facing outward, three facing in each direction – north, west, south, and east. 5The Sea was three inches thick, and its rim was fashioned like the petals of a lily. It held seventeen thousand five hundred gallons. 6He made ten wash basins, five on the right side and five on the left, in which to wash the sacrifices for burnt offerings. The Sea was for the priests to use for washing.
7He had ten gold lampstands made according to instructions and placed them in the temple, five on the north and five on the south. 8He had ten tables made and placed in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left. He had a hundred golden bowls made. 9Then he made the court of priests and the great court and doors for the courts overlaid with bronze. 10The Sea was placed at the southeast corner of the temple.
11Huram made the pots, shovels and basins and completed all the work King Solomon assigned him to do for the house of God: 12the two pillars, the bowls, the capitals atop the pillars, the latticework to cover the base of the capitals, 13four hundred pomegranates for the latticework (two rows for each one) which covered the bowls of the capitals atop the two pillars. 14He made the basins and the stands to hold them, 15the Sea and the twelve oxen beneath it.16Huram-Abi also made the pots and shovels and forks and other accoutrements of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the LORD’s temple. 17The king had the castings made in the plains of the Jordan in the clay grounds between Succoth and Zeredah. 18All these things he had made in large quantities, and so much bronze was used that it couldn’t be weighed.
19So, Solomon had all these things made for use in the house of the LORD: the golden altar, the table for the Bread of the Presence, 20the golden lampstands and their golden lamps to burn at the entrance of the inner sanctuary, 21the flowers, lamps and tongs all of pure gold; 22also the snuffers, basins, ladles, and censors of pure gold. At the entrance of the temple the inner doors to the most holy place and the doors to the nave were of gold.
1-6: Next the great altar is cast, a massive structure of bronze 30 feet across and 15 feet high. The “molten,” or bronze water basin, is also massive: 15 feet in diameter and four inches thick. It is mounted on a platform of 12 bronze cast oxen, and stands over seven feet high. The sea is the bath for the priests. On each side of the great altar are placed five basins in which the meat of the offerings is washed before it is burned.
7-10: Ten golden lamp stands, 10 tables, 100 golden basins are fabricated. The courtyard is walled in, and the huge gates are plated with bronze.
11-18: Pots, shovels, and basins complete the inventory. A list is given of all the things Huram-Abi makes for the temple. Solomon has large furnaces in the clay floor of the Jordan valley to melt the copper and tin to make the bronze, so much of it that the total weight of it is never determined.
19-22: Further descriptions are given of all the paraphernalia Solomon orders Huram-Abi to make, with special mention of the huge quantities of gold involved. The golden altar mentioned in verse 19 is the small altar inside the temple for burning incense – the great altar at the entrance was of bronze, as described in verse 1. Solomon’s temple is to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Nothing is left of Solomon’s temple. It was destroyed by the Babylonians a few hundred years later. It must have been something to behold, although the descriptions given of it are hard to follow exactly. As we read through the account of Solomon’s reign, though, we have to wonder; was the temple built solely to the glory of the Eternal God, or to the glory of Solomon, son of David?