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The Council at Jerusalem

15 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers[a]: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”

So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers[b] with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

12 Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

13 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Peter[c] has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:

16 ‘Afterward I will return
    and restore the fallen house[d] of David.
I will rebuild its ruins
    and restore it,
17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord,
    including the Gentiles—
    all those I have called to be mine.
The Lord has spoken—
18     he who made these things known so long ago.’[e]

19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21 For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

The Letter for Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders[f]—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23 This is the letter they took with them:

“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

24 “We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25 So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.

28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. 31 And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.

32 Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. 33 They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace.[g] 35 Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41 Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.

Footnotes

  1. 15:1 Greek brothers; also in 15:3, 23, 32, 33, 36, 40.
  2. 15:10 Greek disciples.
  3. 15:14 Greek Simeon.
  4. 15:16 Or kingdom; Greek reads tent.
  5. 15:16-18 Amos 9:11-12 (Greek version); Isa 45:21.
  6. 15:22 Greek were leaders among the brothers.
  7. 15:33 Some manuscripts add verse 34, But Silas decided to stay there.

Solomon Builds the Temple

So Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David, his father. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah[a] the Jebusite, the site that David had selected. The construction began in midspring,[b] during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.

These are the dimensions Solomon used for the foundation of the Temple of God (using the old standard of measurement).[c] It was 90 feet long and 30 feet wide.[d] The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet[e] wide, running across the entire width of the Temple, and 30 feet[f] high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold.

He paneled the main room of the Temple with cypress wood, overlaid it with fine gold, and decorated it with carvings of palm trees and chains. He decorated the walls of the Temple with beautiful jewels and with gold from the land of Parvaim. He overlaid the beams, thresholds, walls, and doors throughout the Temple with gold, and he carved figures of cherubim on the walls.

He made the Most Holy Place 30 feet wide, corresponding to the width of the Temple, and 30 feet deep. He overlaid its interior with 23 tons[g] of fine gold. The gold nails that were used weighed 20 ounces[h] each. He also overlaid the walls of the upper rooms with gold.

10 He made two figures shaped like cherubim, overlaid them with gold, and placed them in the Most Holy Place. 11 The total wingspan of the two cherubim standing side by side was 30 feet. One wing of the first figure was 7 1⁄2 feet[i] long, and it touched the Temple wall. The other wing, also 7 1⁄2 feet long, touched one of the wings of the second figure. 12 In the same way, the second figure had one wing 7 1⁄2 feet long that touched the opposite wall. The other wing, also 7 1⁄2 feet long, touched the wing of the first figure. 13 So the wingspan of the two cherubim side by side was 30 feet. They stood on their feet and faced out toward the main room of the Temple.

14 Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim.

15 For the front of the Temple, he made two pillars that were 27 feet[j] tall, each topped by a capital extending upward another 7 1⁄2 feet. 16 He made a network of interwoven chains[k] and used them to decorate the tops of the pillars. He also made 100 decorative pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 17 Then he set up the two pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one to the south of the entrance and the other to the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.[l]

Furnishings for the Temple

Solomon[m] also made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high.[n] Then he cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference.[o] It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of figures that resembled oxen. There were about six oxen per foot[p] all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.

The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen, all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. The walls of the Sea were about three inches[q] thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 16,500 gallons[r] of water.

He also made ten smaller basins for washing the utensils for the burnt offerings. He set five on the south side and five on the north. But the priests washed themselves in the Sea.

He then cast ten gold lampstands according to the specifications that had been given, and he put them in the Temple. Five were placed against the south wall, and five were placed against the north wall.

He also built ten tables and placed them in the Temple, five along the south wall and five along the north wall. Then he molded 100 gold basins.

He then built a courtyard for the priests, and also the large outer courtyard. He made doors for the courtyard entrances and overlaid them with bronze. 10 The great bronze basin called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the Temple.

11 Huram-abi also made the necessary washbasins, shovels, and bowls.

So at last Huram-abi completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of God:

12 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals;
13 the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars);
14 the water carts holding the basins;
15 the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;
16 the ash buckets, the shovels, the meat hooks, and all the related articles.

Huram-abi made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon had directed. 17 The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan.[s] 18 Solomon used such great quantities of bronze that its weight could not be determined.

19 Solomon also made all the furnishings for the Temple of God:

the gold altar;
the tables for the Bread of the Presence;
20 the lampstands and their lamps of solid gold, to burn in front of the Most Holy Place as prescribed;
21 the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of the purest gold;
22 the lamp snuffers, bowls, ladles, and incense burners—all of solid gold;
the doors for the entrances to the Most Holy Place and the main room of the Temple, overlaid with gold.

Footnotes

  1. 3:1 Hebrew reads Ornan, a variant spelling of Araunah; compare 2 Sam 24:16.
  2. 3:2 Hebrew on the second [day] of the second month. This day of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in April or May.
  3. 3:3a The “old standard of measurement” was a cubit equal to 18 inches [46 centimeters]. The new standard was a cubit of approximately 21 inches [53 centimeters].
  4. 3:3b Hebrew 60 cubits [27.6 meters] long and 20 cubits [9.2 meters] wide.
  5. 3:4a Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters]; also in 3:8, 11, 13.
  6. 3:4b As in some Greek and Syriac manuscripts, which read 20 cubits [9.2 meters]; Hebrew reads 120 [cubits], which is 180 feet or 55 meters.
  7. 3:8 Hebrew 600 talents [20.4 metric tons].
  8. 3:9 Hebrew 50 shekels [570 grams].
  9. 3:11 Hebrew 5 cubits [2.3 meters]; also in 3:11b, 12, 15.
  10. 3:15 As in Syriac version (see also 1 Kgs 7:15; 2 Kgs 25:17; Jer 52:21), which reads 18 cubits [8.3 meters]; Hebrew reads 35 cubits, which is 52.5 feet or 16.5 meters.
  11. 3:16 Hebrew He made chains in the inner sanctuary. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  12. 3:17 Jakin probably means “he establishes”; Boaz probably means “in him is strength.”
  13. 4:1a Or Huram-abi; Hebrew reads He.
  14. 4:1b Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters] long, 20 cubits wide, and 10 cubits [4.6 meters] high.
  15. 4:2 Hebrew 10 cubits [4.6 meters] across . . . 5 cubits [2.3 meters] deep and 30 cubits [13.8 meters] in circumference.
  16. 4:3 Or 20 oxen per meter; Hebrew reads 10 per cubit.
  17. 4:5a Hebrew a handbreadth [8 centimeters].
  18. 4:5b Hebrew 3,000 baths [63 kiloliters].
  19. 4:17 As in parallel text at 1 Kgs 7:46; Hebrew reads Zeredah.

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