2 Chronicles 1-4
1 1-6 Solomon son of David took a firm grip on the reins of his kingdom. God was with him and gave him much help. Solomon addressed all Israel—the commanders and captains, the judges, every leader, and all the heads of families. Then Solomon and the entire company went to the worship center at Gibeon—that’s where the Tent of Meeting of God was, the one that Moses the servant of God had made in the wilderness. The Chest of God, though, was in Jerusalem—David had brought it up from Kiriath Jearim, prepared a special place for it, and pitched a tent for it. But the Bronze Altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon, in its place before the Tabernacle of God; and that is where Solomon and the congregation gathered to pray. Solomon worshiped God at the Bronze Altar in front of the Tent of Meeting; he sacrificed a thousand Whole-Burnt-Offerings on it.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon. God said, “What do you want from me? Ask.”
8-10 Solomon answered, “You were extravagantly generous with David my father, and now you have made me king in his place. Establish, God, the words you spoke to my father, for you’ve given me a staggering task, ruling this mob of people. Yes, give me wisdom and knowledge as I come and go among this people—for who on his own is capable of leading these, your glorious people?”
11-12 God answered Solomon, “This is what has come out of your heart: You didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies; you didn’t even ask for a long life. You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you king. Because of this, you get what you asked for—wisdom and knowledge. And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus—money, wealth, and fame beyond anything the kings before or after you had or will have.”
13 Then Solomon left the worship center at Gibeon and the Tent of Meeting and went to Jerusalem. He set to work as king of Israel.
14-17 Solomon collected chariots and horses: fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses! He stabled them in the special chariot-cities as well as in Jerusalem. The king made silver and gold as common as rocks, and cedar as common as the fig trees in the lowland hills. His horses were brought in from Egypt and Cilicia, specially acquired by the king’s agents. Chariots from Egypt went for fifteen pounds of silver and a horse for about three and three-quarters of a pound of silver. Solomon carried on a brisk horse-trading business with the Hittite and Aramean royal houses.
The Temple Construction Begins
2 Solomon gave orders to begin construction on the house of worship in honor of God and a palace for himself.
2 Solomon assigned seventy thousand common laborers, eighty thousand to work the quarries in the mountains, and thirty-six hundred foremen to manage the workforce.
3-4 Then Solomon sent this message to King Hiram of Tyre: “Send me cedar logs, the same kind you sent David my father for building his palace. I’m about to build a house of worship in honor of God, a holy place for burning perfumed incense, for setting out holy bread, for making Whole-Burnt-Offerings at morning and evening worship, and for Sabbath, New Moon, and Holy Day services of worship—the acts of worship required of Israel.
5-10 “The house I am building has to be the best, for our God is the best, far better than competing gods. But who is capable of building such a structure? Why, the skies—the entire cosmos!—can’t begin to contain him. And me, who am I to think I can build a house adequate for God—burning incense to him is about all I’m good for! I need your help: Send me a master artisan in gold, silver, bronze, iron, textiles of purple, crimson, and violet, and who knows the craft of engraving; he will supervise the trained craftsmen in Judah and Jerusalem that my father provided. Also send cedar, cypress, and algum logs from Lebanon; I know you have lumberjacks experienced in the Lebanon forests. I’ll send workers to join your crews to cut plenty of timber—I’m going to need a lot, for this house I’m building is going to be absolutely stunning—a showcase temple! I’ll provide all the food necessary for your crew of lumberjacks and loggers: 130,000 bushels of wheat, 120,000 gallons of wine, and 120,000 gallons of olive oil.”
11 Hiram king of Tyre wrote Solomon in reply: “It’s plain that God loves his people—he made you king over them!”
12-14 He wrote on, “Blessed be the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, and who gave King David a son so wise, so knowledgeable and shrewd, to build a temple for God and a palace for himself. I’ve sent you Huram-Abi—he’s already on his way—he knows the construction business inside and out. His mother is from Dan and his father from Tyre. He knows how to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, in purple, violet, linen, and crimson textiles; he is also an expert engraver and competent to work out designs with your artists and architects, and those of my master David, your father.
15-16 “Go ahead and send the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine you promised for my work crews. We’ll log the trees you need from the Lebanon forests and raft them down to Joppa. You’ll have to get the timber up to Jerusalem yourself.”
17-18 Solomon then took a census of all the foreigners living in Israel, using the same census-taking method employed by his father. They numbered 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 to work the quarries in the mountains, and 3,600 as foremen to manage the work crews.
3 1-4 So Solomon broke ground, launched construction of the house of God in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, the place where God had appeared to his father David. The precise site, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, had been designated by David. He broke ground on the second day in the second month of the fourth year of his rule. These are the dimensions that Solomon set for the construction of the house of God: ninety feet long and thirty feet wide. The porch in front stretched the width of the building, that is, thirty feet; and it was thirty feet high.
4-7 The interior was gold-plated. He paneled the main hall with cypress and veneered it with fine gold engraved with palm tree and chain designs. He decorated the building with precious stones and gold from Parvaim. Everything was coated with gold veneer: rafters, doorframes, walls, and doors. Cherubim were engraved on the walls.
8-9 He made the Holy of Holies a cube, thirty feet wide, long, and high. It was veneered with six hundred talents (something over twenty-two tons) of gold. The gold nails weighed fifty shekels (a little over a pound). The upper rooms were also veneered in gold.
10-13 He made two sculptures of cherubim, gigantic angel-like figures, for the Holy of Holies, both veneered with gold. The combined wingspread of the side-by-side cherubim (each wing measuring seven and a half feet) stretched from wall to wall, thirty feet. They stood erect facing the main hall.
14 He fashioned the curtain of violet, purple, and crimson fabric and worked a cherub design into it.
15-17 He made two huge free-standing pillars, each fifty-two feet tall, their capitals extending another seven and a half feet. The top of each pillar was set off with an elaborate filigree of chains, like necklaces, from which hung a hundred pomegranates. He placed the pillars in front of The Temple, one on the right, and the other on the left. The right pillar he named Jakin (Security) and the left pillar he named Boaz (Stability).
4 He made the Bronze Altar thirty feet long, thirty feet wide, and ten feet high.
2-5 He made a Sea—an immense round basin of cast metal fifteen feet in diameter, seven and a half feet high, and forty-five feet in circumference. Just under the rim, there were two parallel bands of something like bulls, ten to each foot and a half. The figures were cast in one piece with the Sea. The Sea was set on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. All the bulls faced outward and supported the Sea on their hindquarters. The Sea was three inches thick and flared at the rim like a cup, or a lily. It held about 18,000 gallons.
6 He made ten Washbasins, five set on the right and five on the left, for rinsing the things used for the Whole-Burnt-Offerings. The priests washed themselves in the Sea.
7 He made ten gold Lampstands, following the specified pattern, and placed five on the right and five on the left.
8 He made ten tables and set five on the right and five on the left. He also made a hundred gold bowls.
9 He built a Courtyard especially for the priests and then the great court and doors for the court. The doors were covered with bronze.
10 He placed the Sea on the right side of The Temple at the southeast corner.
11-16 He also made ash buckets, shovels, and bowls.
And that about wrapped it up: Huram completed the work he had contracted to do for King Solomon:
two bowl-shaped capitals for the tops of the pillars;
two decorative filigrees for the capitals;
four hundred pomegranates for the filigrees (a double row of pomegranates for each filigree);
ten washstands with their basins;
one Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
miscellaneous buckets, forks, shovels, and bowls.
16-18 All these artifacts that Huram-Abi made for King Solomon for The Temple of God were made of burnished bronze. The king had them cast 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.
19-22 Solomon was also responsible for the furniture and accessories in The Temple of God:
the gold Altar;
the tables that held the Bread of the Presence;
the Lampstands of pure gold with their lamps, to be lighted before the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies;
the gold flowers, lamps, and tongs (all solid gold);
the gold wick trimmers, bowls, ladles, and censers;
the gold doors of The Temple, doors to the Holy of Holies, and the doors to the main sanctuary.