These foreigners are not paid day laborers; they are slaves forced to build a temple they may never enter. This scenario is similar to the Hebrews’ forced labor in Egypt and to the Israelites’ eventual forced labor in Babylonia. But one thing makes Solomon’s rule over them different: he presumably follows the laws of God regarding slaves (Leviticus 25:39–55). These laws specify that slaves may come from surrounding nations, must be treated fairly, and must be released in the jubilee year (a prescribed time every 50 years when debts are forgiven, seized land returns to its original owners, and slaves are freed).
3 1-2 Having assembled the materials and workers for the temple, Solomon began to build the Eternal’s temple on the second day in the second month of the fourth year of his reign. He built it in Jerusalem on Ornan the Jebusite’s threshing floor (which David had purchased and consecrated) on Mount Moriah (where Abraham had been willing to sacrifice Isaac to God generations before).
3 When Solomon prepared the plans of the True God’s temple, he modeled the design after temples in Syria and Canaan. The length was 90 feet and the width was 30 feet. 4 The length of the front porch was as wide as the temple (30 feet), and it was 30 feet[a] high. The rooms of the temple were highly ornamented. The porch was gilded inside. 5 The main room was paneled with gilded cypress wood and engraved with palm trees and ornamental chains. 6 The entire temple was decorated with precious stones and gilded with gold from Parvaim. 7-9 Even the supports and fasteners were gilded—the beams, the thresholds, the walls, the doors, and the nails (which weighed 20 ounces each). The walls were engraved with winged guardians, and the upper rooms were gilded.
The most holy place, which was located at the rear of the temple, was a 30-foot square room gilded with 23 tons of gold—the same amount that David paid for the temple site. 10 Inside the most holy place were two gilded, sculpted winged creatures, 11-12 each with a wingspan of 15 feet.
These fantastic creatures with bird wings, human faces, and animals’ body parts protect the covenant chest, and together they act as God’s footstool in the temple.
Each cherub touched one wing to the wall of the room and the other wing to the other cherub. 13 Together, their wings spanned across the room guarding the most holy place facing the main room and standing upright on their feet. 14 A veil of violet, purple, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, embroidered with winged creatures, covered the entrance to the most holy place.
15-17 Before the porch stood two columns, 52 feet high, crowned with 90-inch-high capitals. Solomon made decorative chains in the most holy place, adorned them with 100 pomegranates, and draped them on the tops of the columns. The column on the right was named Jachin, meaning “He establishes,” and the column on the left was named Boaz, meaning “He strengthens.”
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