The Building of the Temple.

THE BUILDING ITSELF. — V.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, this exact chronological statement serving as a guide and norm for the solution of all problems concerned with the fixing of time in that period of Israel’s history, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, corresponding roughly to our May, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord, evidently on the very day of the new moon. V.2. And the house which King Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof, of the main building, of the Sanctuary proper, was threescore cubits, inside measure, the cubit used in this case being either eighteen or twenty-one inches in length, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. V.3. And the porch, a sort of entrance-hall, before the Temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, it was as long as the Sanctuary was wide, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof, its depth, before the house. V.4. And for the house he made windows of narrow lights, set apparently near the ceiling, with a wide opening on the inside, but gradually becoming narrower toward the outside, and covered with heavy screens, or grilles. V.5. And against the wall of the house, leaning against the Sanctuary, as it were, he built chambers round about, wings flanking the main building, both of the temple, the Holy Place, and of the oracle, the Most Holy Place; and he made chambers round about, ribs, or joints, which divided the wings into distinct compartments. V.6. The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle, the second story, 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, literally, “he provided lessening to the house round about outside,” that is, the wall was recessed or made thinner for each succeeding story of the outer structure, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house, for the fine, costly stones of the Temple proper were to remain whole and uninjured, that no holes should be cut into them for the purpose of inserting the ends of the ceiling-beams. V.7. And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither, hewn and prepared according to careful measurements at the quarries, so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building. V.8. The door for the middle chamber, the side-structure, or wings, was in the right side of the house, on the south side; and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, inside the side-structure, and out of the middle into the third. V.9. So he built the house and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. This was the roof-construction, a flat roof, whose cedar-beams were covered with cedar-boards, as the roof proper. V.10. And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high, for each story; and they rested on the house with timber of cedar, whose ends, resting upon the top of the walls of the Temple, served to unite the side structure with the main building. V.11. And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, probably through one of the prophets, saying, v.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, that contained in the wonderful Messianic promise, 2 Sam. 7, 13; v.13. and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. The eternal confirmation and establishment of the throne of David included the living of Jehovah among His people, presupposed this, in fact. “Such a promise necessarily encouraged and strengthened Solomon in his great and difficult undertaking, as it reminded and urged him to the performance of his sacred obligations.” (Lange.) V.14. So Solomon built the house and finished it, under the inspiration of this promise. The Temple of Solomon is a type of the great Temple of the New Testament, the Christian Church. There Jehovah lives in the midst of His people, through His Word and Spirit. But only those who truly believe and live a life of faith are citizens with the saints and of the household of God.

THE ORNAMENTATION OF THE TEMPLE. — V.15. And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, veneering the stone walls with this fine lumber, both the floor of the house and the walls of the ceiling, literally, “from the floor of the house to 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, with cypress-flooring. V.16. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, the rear or western end of the entire Sanctuary, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar, from the floor to the beams of the ceiling; he even built them, this space, for it within, even for the oracle, even for the Most Holy Place, which was thus separated from the Holy Place by a partition of cedar-wood. V.17. And the house, that is, the temple before it, the Holy Place, was forty cubits long. V.18. And the cedar of the house within, in the walls and ceilings, was carved with knops and open flowers, raised work in flowers and festooning; all was cedar; there was no stone seen. V.19. And the oracle, the Most Holy Place, he prepared in the house within to set there the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. V.20. And the oracle, this room, in the forepart, was twenty cubits in length and twenty cubits in breadth and twenty cubits in the height thereof, a perfect cubical space, which may have had an unused attic room, if the Sanctuary was thirty cubits high over its entire length; and he overlaid it with pure gold, in the form of thin sheets; and so covered the altar, which was of cedar, this being the altar of incense, which stood against the immediate wall of the Most Holy Place and was almost considered a part of its equipment, Ex. 30, 6; 40, 5. 26. V.21. So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold; and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle, these chains evidently being fastened to the east wall of the Most Holy Place and serving to hold the bolts of the doors in place; and he overlaid it with gold. V.22. And the whole house, both rooms of the Sanctuary, he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house; also the whole altar that was by the oracle, the altar of incense, he overlaid with gold. V.23. And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive-tree, of the wood of wild olive-trees, very strong and durable, each ten cubits high, apparently figures resembling human beings, at least in some respect, 2 Chron. 3, 13. V.24. And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, as it was stretched out, 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. V.25. And the other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubim were of one measure and one size. V.26. The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. V.27. And he set the cherubim within the inner house, in the Most Holy Place; and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubim, 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, as they faced toward the east, touched one another in the midst of the house. V.28. And he overlaid the cherubim with gold. V.29. And he carved all the walls of the house, the edges being raised and the figures sunken, round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm-trees and open flowers, buds or flower-work, probably in the nature of festoons, within and without, on both sides of the partition. V.30. And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without. V.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, that is, the entrance was four cubits broad. V.32. The two doors, the leaves of the double door, also were of olive-tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubim and palm-trees and open flowers, as in the walls, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubim and upon the palm-trees, the thin plates of gold making the entire figures appear as if made of chased gold. V.33. So also made he for the door of the Temple, for the entrance to the Holy Place, posts of olive-tree, a fourth part of the wall, the width of this entrance thus being five cubits. V.34. And the two doors were of fir-tree, of cypress-wood; the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding, so that only a part of the opening might be in use. V.35. And he carved thereon cherubim and palm-trees and open flowers, and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work, carefully fitted over the carving according to the rules of the craft. V.36. And he built the inner court, that reserved for the priests, with three rows of hewed stone and a row of cedar-beams, the wall of stones being topped off by the coping of cedar-wood. V.37. In the fourth year, namely, of Solomon’s reign, was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif, v.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, as it had been planned. So was he seven years in building it, the exact time being seven years and six months. The Temple of God, the Christian Church, of which Solomon’s Temple was a type, is an eternal kingdom, with a divine glory, the glory and majesty of Jehovah’s mercy. It is a paradise on earth, a place of peace and bliss without end.