1 Kings 6-8
6 1-6 Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon started building The Temple of God. The Temple that King Solomon built to God was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. There was a porch across the thirty-foot width of The Temple that extended out fifteen feet. Within The Temple he made narrow, deep-silled windows. Against the outside walls he built a supporting structure in which there were smaller rooms: The lower floor was seven and a half feet wide, the middle floor nine feet, and the third floor ten and a half feet. He had projecting ledges built into the outside Temple walls to support the buttressing beams.
7 The stone blocks for the building of The Temple were all dressed at the quarry so that the building site itself was reverently quiet—no noise from hammers and chisels and other iron tools.
8-10 The entrance to the ground floor was at the south end of The Temple; stairs led to the second floor and then to the third. Solomon built and completed The Temple, finishing it off with roof beams and planks of cedar. The supporting structure along the outside walls was attached to The Temple with cedar beams and the rooms in it were seven and a half feet tall.
11-13 The word of God came to Solomon saying, “About this Temple you are building—what’s important is that you live the way I’ve set out for you and do what I tell you, following my instructions carefully and obediently. Then I’ll complete in you the promise I made to David your father. I’ll personally take up my residence among the Israelites—I won’t desert my people Israel.”
14-18 Solomon built and completed The Temple. He paneled the interior walls from floor to ceiling with cedar planks; for flooring he used cypress. The thirty feet at the rear of The Temple he made into an Inner Sanctuary, cedar planks from floor to ceiling—the Holy of Holies. The Main Sanctuary area in front was sixty feet long. The entire interior of The Temple was cedar, with carvings of fruits and flowers. All cedar—none of the stone was exposed.
19-22 The Inner Sanctuary within The Temple was for housing the Chest of the Covenant of God. This Inner Sanctuary was a cube, thirty feet each way, all plated with gold. The Altar of cedar was also gold-plated. Everywhere you looked there was pure gold: gold chains strung in front of the gold-plated Inner Sanctuary—gold everywhere—walls, ceiling, floor, and Altar. Dazzling!
23-28 Then he made two cherubim, gigantic angel-like figures, from olivewood. Each was fifteen feet tall. The outstretched wings of the cherubim (they were identical in size and shape) measured another fifteen feet. He placed the two cherubim, their wings spread, in the Inner Sanctuary. The combined wingspread stretched the width of the room, the wing of one cherub touched one wall, the wing of the other the other wall, and the wings touched in the middle. The cherubim were gold-plated.
29-30 He then carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and flower blossoms on all the walls of both the Inner and the Main Sanctuary. And all the floors of both inner and outer rooms were gold-plated.
31-32 He constructed doors of olivewood for the entrance to the Inner Sanctuary; the lintel and doorposts were five-sided. The doors were also carved with cherubim, palm trees, and flowers, and then covered with gold leaf.
33-35 Similarly, he built the entrance to the Main Sanctuary using olivewood for the doorposts but these doorposts were four-sided. The doors were of cypress, split into two panels, each panel swinging separately. These also were carved with cherubim, palm trees, and flowers, and plated with finely hammered gold leaf.
36 He built the inner court with three courses of dressed stones topped with a course of planed cedar timbers.
37-38 The foundation for God’s Temple was laid in the fourth year in the month of Ziv. It was completed in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (the eighth month) down to the last detail, just as planned. It took Solomon seven years to build it.
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7 1-5 It took Solomon another thirteen years to finish building his own palace complex. He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred and fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. There were four rows of cedar columns supporting forty-five cedar beams, fifteen in each row, and then roofed with cedar. Windows in groupings of three were set high in the walls on either side. All the doors were rectangular and arranged symmetrically.
6 He built a colonnaded courtyard seventy-five feet long and forty-five wide. It had a roofed porch at the front with ample eaves.
7 He built a court room, the Hall of Justice, where he would decide judicial matters, and paneled it with cedar.
8 He built his personal residence behind the Hall on a similar plan. Solomon also built another one just like it for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.
9-12 No expense was spared—everything here, inside and out, from foundation to roof was constructed using high-quality stone, accurately cut and shaped and polished. The foundation stones were huge, ranging in size from twelve to fifteen feet, and of the very best quality. The finest stone was used above the foundation, shaped to size and trimmed with cedar. The courtyard was enclosed with a wall made of three layers of stone and topped with cedar timbers, just like the one in the porch of The Temple of God.
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13-14 King Solomon sent to Tyre and asked Hiram (not the king; another Hiram) to come. Hiram’s mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali. His father was a Tyrian and a master worker in bronze. Hiram was a real artist—he could do anything with bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all the bronze work.
15-22 First he cast two pillars in bronze, each twenty-seven feet tall and eighteen feet in circumference. He then cast two capitals in bronze to set on the pillars; each capital was seven and a half feet high and flared at the top in the shape of a lily. Each capital was dressed with an elaborate filigree of seven braided chains and a double row of two hundred pomegranates, setting the pillars off magnificently. He set the pillars up in the entrance porch to The Temple; the pillar to the south he named Security (Jachin) and the pillar to the north Stability (Boaz). The capitals were in the shape of lilies.
22-24 When the pillars were finished, Hiram’s next project was to make the Sea—an immense round basin of cast metal fifteen feet in diameter, seven and a half feet tall, and forty-five feet in circumference. Just under the rim there were two bands of decorative gourds, ten gourds to each foot and a half. The gourds were cast in one piece with the Sea.
25-26 The Sea was set on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the bulls faced outward supporting the Sea on their hindquarters. The Sea was three inches thick and flared at the rim like a cup, or like a lily. It held about 11,500 gallons.
27-33 Hiram also made ten washstands of bronze. Each was six feet square and four and a half feet tall. They were made like this: Panels were fastened to the uprights. Lions, bulls, and cherubim were represented on the panels and uprights. Beveled wreath-work bordered the lions and bulls above and below. Each stand was mounted on four bronze wheels with bronze axles. The uprights were cast with decorative relief work. Each stand held a basin on a circular engraved support a foot and a half deep set on a pedestal two and a quarter feet square. The washstand itself was square. The axles were attached under the stand and the wheels fixed to them. The wheels were twenty-seven inches in diameter; they were designed like chariot wheels. Everything—axles, rims, spokes, and hubs—was of cast metal.
34-37 There was a handle at the four corners of each washstand, the handles cast in one piece with the stand. At the top of the washstand there was a ring about nine inches deep. The uprights and handles were cast with the stand. Everything and every available surface was engraved with cherubim, lions, and palm trees, bordered by arabesques. The washstands were identical, all cast in the same mold.
38-40 He also made ten bronze washbasins, each six feet in diameter with a capacity of 230 gallons, one basin for each of the ten washstands. He arranged five stands on the south side of The Temple and five on the north. The Sea was placed at the southeast corner of The Temple. Hiram then fashioned the various utensils: buckets and shovels and bowls.
40-45 Hiram completed all the work he set out to do for King Solomon on The Temple of God:
two capitals on top of the pillars;
two decorative filigrees for the capitals;
four hundred pomegranates for the two filigrees
(a double row of pomegranates for each filigree);
ten washstands each with its washbasin;
twelve bulls under the Sea;
miscellaneous buckets, shovels, and bowls.
45-47 All these artifacts that Hiram made for King Solomon for The Temple of God were of burnished bronze. He cast them in clay in a foundry on the Jordan plain between Succoth and Zarethan. These artifacts were never weighed—there were far too many! Nobody has any idea how much bronze was used.
48-50 Solomon was also responsible for all the furniture and accessories in The Temple of God:
the gold Altar;
the gold Table that held the Bread of the Presence;
the pure gold candelabras, five to the right and five to the left in front of the Inner Sanctuary;
the gold flowers, lamps, and tongs;
the pure gold dishes, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, ladles, and censers;
the gold sockets for the doors of the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, used also for the doors of the Main Sanctuary.
51 That completed all the work King Solomon did on The Temple of God. He then brought in the items consecrated by his father David, the silver and the gold and the artifacts. He placed them all in the treasury of God’s Temple.
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8 1-2 Bringing all this to a climax, King Solomon called in the leaders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the family patriarchs, to bring up the Chest of the Covenant of God from Zion, the City of David. And they came, all Israel before King Solomon in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month, for the great autumn festival.
3-5 With all Israel’s leaders present, the priests took up the Chest of God and carried up the Chest and the Tent of Meeting and all the holy vessels that went with the Tent. King Solomon and the entire congregation of Israel were there at the Chest worshiping and sacrificing huge numbers of sheep and cattle—so many that no one could keep track.
6-9 Then the priests brought the Chest of the Covenant of God to its place in the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. The outspread wings of the cherubim stretched over the Chest and its poles. The poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the entrance to the Inner Sanctuary, but were not noticeable farther out. They’re still there today. There was nothing in the Chest but the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb where God made a covenant with Israel after bringing them up from Egypt.
The Temple Finished, Dedicated, Filled
10-11 When the priests left the Holy Place, a cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t carry out their priestly duties because of the cloud—the glory of God filled The Temple of God!
12-13 Then Solomon spoke:
God has told us that he lives in the dark
where no one can see him;
I’ve built this splendid Temple, O God,
to mark your invisible presence forever.
14 The king then turned to face the congregation and blessed them:
15-16 “Blessed be God, the God of Israel, who spoke personally to my father David. Now he has kept the promise he made when he said, ‘From the day I brought my people Israel from Egypt, I haven’t set apart one city among the tribes of Israel to build a Temple to fix my Name there. But I did choose David to rule my people Israel.’
17-19 “My father David had it in his heart to build a Temple honoring the Name of God, the God of Israel. But God told him ‘It was good that you wanted to build a Temple in my honor—most commendable! But you are not the one to do it—your son will build it to honor my Name.’
20-21 “God has done what he said he would do: I have succeeded David my father and ruled over Israel just as God promised; and now I’ve built a Temple to honor God, the God of Israel, and I’ve secured a place for the Chest that holds the covenant of God, the covenant that he made with our ancestors when he brought them up from the land of Egypt.”
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22-25 Before the entire congregation of Israel, Solomon took a position before the Altar, spread his hands out before heaven, and prayed,
O God, God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and relentlessly loves them as they sincerely live in obedience to your way. You kept your word to David my father, your personal word. You did exactly what you promised—every detail. The proof is before us today!
Keep it up, God, O God of Israel! Continue to keep the promises you made to David my father when you said, “You’ll always have a descendant to represent my rule on Israel’s throne, on the condition that your sons are as careful to live obediently in my presence as you have.”
26 O God of Israel, let this all happen;
confirm and establish it!
27-32 Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn’t large enough to give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I’ve built. Even so, I’m bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both intercessory and personal, O God, my God. Listen to my prayers, energetic and devout, that I’m setting before you right now. Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, “My Name will be honored there,” and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place.
Listen from your home in heaven
and when you hear, forgive.
When someone hurts a neighbor and promises to make things right, and then comes and repeats the promise before your Altar in this Temple, listen from heaven and act accordingly: Judge your servants, making the offender pay for his offense and setting the offended free of any charges.
33-34 When your people Israel are beaten by an enemy because they’ve sinned against you, but then turn to you and acknowledge your rule in prayers desperate and devout in this Temple,
Listen from your home in heaven,
forgive the sin of your people Israel,
return them to the land you gave their ancestors.
35-36 When the skies shrivel up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, but then they pray at this place, acknowledging your rule and quitting their sins because you have scourged them,
Listen from your home in heaven,
forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel.
Then start over with them: Train them to live right and well; send rain on the land you gave your people as an inheritance.
37-40 When disasters strike, famine or catastrophe, crop failure or disease, locust or beetle, or when an enemy attacks their defenses—calamity of any sort—any prayer that’s prayed from anyone at all among your people Israel, hearts penetrated by the disaster, hands and arms thrown out to this Temple for help,
Listen from your home in heaven.
Forgive and go to work on us. Give what each deserves, for you know each life from the inside (you’re the only one with such “inside knowledge”!) so that they’ll live before you in lifelong reverent and believing obedience on this land you gave our ancestors.
41-43 And don’t forget the foreigner who is not a member of your people Israel but has come from a far country because of your reputation. People are going to be attracted here by your great reputation, your wonder-working power, who come to pray at this Temple.
Listen from your home in heaven.
Honor the prayers of the foreigner so that people all over the world will know who you are and what you’re like and will live in reverent obedience before you, just as your own people Israel do; so they’ll know that you personally make this Temple that I’ve built what it is.
44-51 When your people go to war against their enemies at the time and place you send them and they pray to God toward the city you chose and this Temple I’ve built to honor your Name,
Listen from heaven to what they pray and ask for,
and do what’s right for them.
When they sin against you—and they certainly will; there’s no one without sin!—and in anger you turn them over to the enemy and they are taken captive to the enemy’s land, whether far or near, but repent in the country of their captivity and pray with changed hearts in their exile, “We’ve sinned; we’ve done wrong; we’ve been most wicked,” and turn back to you heart and soul in the land of the enemy who conquered them, and pray to you toward their homeland, the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you chose, and this Temple I have built to the honor of your Name,
Listen from your home in heaven
to their prayers desperate and devout
and do what is best for them.
Forgive your people who have sinned against you; forgive their gross rebellions and move their captors to treat them with compassion. They are, after all, your people and your precious inheritance whom you rescued from the heart of that iron-smelting furnace, Egypt!
52-53 O be alert and attentive to the needy prayers of me, your servant, and your dear people Israel; listen every time they cry out to you! You handpicked them from all the peoples on earth to be your very own people, as you announced through your servant Moses when you, O God, in your masterful rule, delivered our ancestors from Egypt.
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54-55 Having finished praying to God—all these bold and passionate prayers—Solomon stood up before God’s Altar where he had been kneeling all this time, his arms stretched upward to heaven. Standing, he blessed the whole congregation of Israel, blessing them at the top of his lungs:
56-58 “Blessed be God, who has given peace to his people Israel just as he said he’d do. Not one of all those good and wonderful words that he spoke through Moses has misfired. May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors.
59-61 “And let these words that I’ve prayed in the presence of God be always right there before him, day and night, so that he’ll do what is right for me, to guarantee justice for his people Israel day after day after day. Then all the people on earth will know God is the true God; there is no other God. And you, your lives must be totally obedient to God, our personal God, following the life path he has cleared, alert and attentive to everything he has made plain this day.”
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62-63 The king and all Israel with him then worshiped, offering sacrifices to God. Solomon offered Peace-Offerings, sacrificing to God 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. This is how the king and all Israel dedicated The Temple of God.
64 That same day, the king set apart the central area of the Courtyard in front of God’s Temple for sacred use and there sacrificed the Whole-Burnt-Offerings, Grain-Offerings, and fat from the Peace-Offerings—the bronze Altar was too small to handle all these offerings.
65-66 This is how Solomon kept the great autumn feast, and all Israel with him, people there all the way from the far northeast (the Entrance to Hamath) to the far southwest (the Brook of Egypt)—a huge congregation. They started out celebrating for seven days—and then did it another seven days! Two solid weeks of celebration! Then he dismissed them. They blessed the king and went home, exuberant with heartfelt gratitude for all the good God had done for his servant David and for his people Israel.
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