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Easton's Bible Dictionary

 

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Temple, Solomon's
        Before his death David had "with all his might" provided
        materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on
        the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chr. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chr. 3:1), on
        the east of the city, on the spot where Abraham had offered up
        Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In the beginning of his reign Solomon set
        about giving effect to the desire that had been so earnestly
        cherished by his father, and prepared additional materials for
        the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he
        obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of
        the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the
        building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders. He also
        entered into a compact with Hiram II., king of Tyre, for the
        supply of whatever else was needed for the work, particularly
        timber from the forests of Lebanon, which was brought in great
        rafts by the sea to Joppa, whence it was dragged to Jerusalem (1
        Kings 5). As the hill on which the temple was to be built did
        not afford sufficient level space, a huge wall of solid masonry
        of great height, in some places more than 200 feet high, was
        raised across the south of the hill, and a similar wall on the
        eastern side, and in the spaces between were erected many arches
        and pillars, thus raising up the general surface to the required
        level. Solomon also provided for a sufficient water supply for
        the temple by hewing in the rocky hill vast cisterns, into which
        water was conveyed by channels from the "pools" near Bethlehem.
        One of these cisterns, the "great sea," was capable of
        containing three millions of gallons. The overflow was led off
        by a conduit to the Kidron.
        In all these preparatory undertakings a space of about three
        years was occupied; and now the process of the erection of the
        great building began, under the direction of skilled Phoenician
        builders and workmen, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 480
        years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6; 2 Chr. 3). Many thousands of
        labourers and skilled artisans were employed in the work. Stones
        prepared in the quarries underneath the city (1 Kings 5:17, 18)
        of huge dimension (see QUARRIES T0003032) were gradually placed
        on the massive walls, and closely fitted together without any
        mortar between, till the whole structure was completed. No sound
        of hammer or axe or any tool of iron was heard as the structure
        arose (6:7). "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang."
        The building was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits
        high. The engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, in their
        explorations around the temple area, discovered what is believed
        to have been the "chief corner stone" of the temple, "the most
        interesting stone in the world." It lies at the bottom of the
        south-eastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet
        long. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches
        below the present surface. (See PINNACLE T0002957.) In
        examining the walls the engineers were "struck with admiration
        at the vastness of the blocks and the general excellence of the
        workmanship."
        At length, in the autumn of the eleventh year of his reign,
        seven and a half years after it had been begun, the temple was
        completed in all its architectural magnificence and beauty. For
        thirteen years there it stood, on the summit of Moriah, silent
        and unused. The reasons for this strange delay in its
        consecration are unknown. At the close of these thirteen years
        preparations for the dedication of the temple were made on a
        scale of the greatest magnificence. The ark was solemnly brought
        from the tent in which David had deposited it to the place
        prepared for it in the temple, and the glory-cloud, the symbol
        of the divine presence, filled the house. Then Solomon ascended
        a platform which had been erected for him, in the sight of all
        the people, and lifting up his hands to heaven poured out his
        heart to God in prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6, 7). The feast of
        dedication, which lasted seven days, followed by the feast of
        tabernacles, marked a new era in the history of Israel. On the
        eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, Solomon dismissed the
        vast assemblage of the people, who returned to their homes
        filled with joy and gladness, "Had Solomon done no other service
        beyond the building of the temple, he would still have
        influenced the religious life of his people down to the latest
        days. It was to them a perpetual reminder and visible symbol of
        God's presence and protection, a strong bulwark of all the
        sacred traditions of the law, a witness to duty, an impulse to
        historic study, an inspiration of sacred song."
        The temple consisted of, (1.) The oracle or most holy place (1
        Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the
        "holiest of all" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length,
        breadth, and height. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar
        (1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold
        (6:20, 21, 30). There was a two-leaved door between it and the
        holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue
        purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; comp. Ex.
        26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was indeed the
        dwelling-place of God. (2.) The holy place (q.v.), 1 Kings
        8:8-10, called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the
        "temple" (1 Kings 6:17). (3.) The porch or entrance before the
        temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 29:7). In the porch
        stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings
        11:14; 23:3). (4.) The chambers, which were built about the
        temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1 Kings
        6:5-10). These formed a part of the building.
        Round about the building were, (1.) The court of the priests
        (2 Chr. 4:9), called the "inner court" (1 Kings 6:36). It
        contained the altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen
        sea (4:2-5, 10), and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). (2.) The
        great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9).
        Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2).
        This temple erected by Solomon was many times pillaged during
        the course of its history, (1) 1 Kings 14:25, 26; (2) 2 Kings
        14:14; (3) 2 Kings 16:8, 17, 18; (4) 2 Kings 18:15, 16. At last
        it was pillaged and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13;
        2 Chr. 36:7). He burned the temple, and carried all its
        treasures with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:9-17; 2 Chr. 36:19;
        Isa. 64:11). These sacred vessels were at length, at the close
        of the Captivity, restored to the Jews by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Temple, Solomon's' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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