Solomon's Temple


Introduction
Looking back at some of the earliest years of God's chosen people, we can see that worship played quite a significant role in the everyday lives of the people. Until the temple in Jerusalem was built, there was no real establishment or unification of the people since their captivity to Egypt. Solomon, one of Israel's first few kings, built the Temple of Jerusalem. Solomon's Temple was believed to be the dwelling place of God.
The Temple was a very complex structure, and because of its destruction there is no abundance of information upon its exact design. Therefore, most of the information that we have today is taken from the books of Kings and also from the books of Chronicles in the Holy Bible. In this paper, the Biblical references come from a New King James Version of the Holy Bible. In this paper we will examine the history behind Solomon's Temple, its structure, and its downfall.
A Brief Introduction to Solomon's Temple
In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel came out of Egypt, Solomon built the Temple. The building of Solomon's temple lasted seven years. The completion of the temple was in the eleventh year of Solomon's reign. Although it underwent many changes and renovations, Solomon's temple stood for nearly four centuries until its destruction in 586 BC.
The temple was considered to be a divine presence; it included such things as the ark, the cherubim, and on very rare occasions a statue of Yahweh. It also contained objects used in God's service such as the table of shewbread, and a lampstand. The altar was not included with the temple building but in an open court adjoining the temple. The format of the temple is laid out in the books of Kings and also in Chronicles. Solomon's temple was designed to be a more magnificent shrine than any other in the land, one benefiting the wealth and splendor of the king himself.
The History Behind The Temple
The Temple was not built until the reign of Solomon, but significant steps had already been taken. To see this, we must first look at the life of David, the second chosen king of Israel and also Solomon's father. David ruled as king for seven years, and he then established his throne in Jerusalem after overcoming the ancient Jebusite community that was there. His reign continued in Jerusalem for the next thirty-two years. David contemplated the erection of a shrine for the Ark of the Covenant. At first the prophet Nathan gave David approval to construct a temple, but the following night God intervened. Speaking to Nathan in a dream, God laid out for David an amazing covenant, which would establish the house of David forever. He also told Nathan of the temple that was to be built. Although David was not allowed to build the Temple, he amassed the means for the temple to be built. The task was to be given to his son, Solomon.
After the death of his father David, Solomon issued the orders for the building of the First Temple to commence. The building of the Temple was a monumental task and in the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of Egypt, the construction began. This was in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel. In the fourth year of construction the foundation of the Temple was laid. Then the building of the ?House of God? began.
The Temples Structure
The Temple was essentially a rectangular building erected on a platform, orientated east and west. It consisted of a porch (ulam) and two chambers, one behind the other (hekal and debir). The measurements of the Temple are given in cubits, with one cubit being approximately twenty inches. Within Solomon's temple the cherubim and ark were contained in the inner sanctum; one table , a lampstand and an altar of incense in the outer sanctum; and a burnt-offering altar and water containers in the court.
The Temple proper consisted of a porch beyond which was a large chamber, later called the Holy Place, and beyond this a smaller inner shrine, or the Holy of Holies, into which the ark was brought. The porch was a kind of entrance hall, either projecting or flush