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Solomon Asks for Wisdom

Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him very powerful.

Solomon called together all the leaders of Israel—the generals and captains of the army,[a] the judges, and all the political and clan leaders. Then he led the entire assembly to the place of worship in Gibeon, for God’s Tabernacle[b] was located there. (This was the Tabernacle that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had made in the wilderness.)

David had already moved the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem. But the bronze altar made by Bezalel son of Uri and grandson of Hur was there[c] at Gibeon in front of the Tabernacle of the Lord. So Solomon and the people gathered in front of it to consult the Lord.[d] There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the Lord’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it.

That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! 10 Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly,[e] for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— 12 I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”

13 Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel.

14 Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses.[f] He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. 15 The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.[g] 16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt[h] and from Cilicia[i]; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. 17 At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver,[j] and horses for 150 pieces of silver.[k] They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

Preparations for Building the Temple

[l]Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord, and also a royal palace for himself. [m]He enlisted a force of 70,000 laborers, 80,000 men to quarry stone in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen.

Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram[n] at Tyre:

“Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. It will be a place set apart to burn fragrant incense before him, to display the special sacrificial bread, and to sacrifice burnt offerings each morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, at new moon celebrations, and at the other appointed festivals of the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do these things forever.

“This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him?

“So send me a master craftsman who can work with gold, silver, bronze, and iron, as well as with purple, scarlet, and blue cloth. He must be a skilled engraver who can work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem who were selected by my father, David.

“Also send me cedar, cypress, and red sandalwood[o] logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. An immense amount of timber will be needed, for the Temple I am going to build will be very large and magnificent. 10 In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley,[p] 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil.[q]

11 King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon:

“It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! 12 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the Lord and a royal palace for himself.

13 “I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented. 14 His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father.

15 “Send along the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine that my lord has mentioned. 16 We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea[r] to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.”

17 Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. 18 He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.

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[s] the Jebusite, the site that David had selected. The construction began in midspring,[t] 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).[u] It was 90 feet long and 30 feet wide.[v] The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet[w] wide, running across the entire width of the Temple, and 30 feet[x] 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[y] of fine gold. The gold nails that were used weighed 20 ounces[z] 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[aa] 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[ab] tall, each topped by a capital extending upward another 7 1⁄2 feet. 16 He made a network of interwoven chains[ac] 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.[ad]

Furnishings for the Temple

Solomon[ae] also made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high.[af] 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.[ag] It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of figures that resembled oxen. There were about six oxen per foot[ah] 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[ai] thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 16,500 gallons[aj] 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.[ak] 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. 1:2 Hebrew the commanders of thousands and of hundreds.
  2. 1:3 Hebrew Tent of Meeting; also in 1:6, 13.
  3. 1:5a As in Greek version and Latin Vulgate, and some Hebrew manuscripts; Masoretic Text reads he placed.
  4. 1:5b Hebrew to consult him.
  5. 1:10 Hebrew to go out and come in before this people.
  6. 1:14 Or charioteers; also in 1:14b.
  7. 1:15 Hebrew the Shephelah.
  8. 1:16a Possibly Muzur, a district near Cilicia; also in 1:17.
  9. 1:16b Hebrew Kue, probably another name for Cilicia.
  10. 1:17a Hebrew 600 [shekels] of silver, about 15 pounds or 6.8 kilograms in weight.
  11. 1:17b Hebrew 150 [shekels], about 3.8 pounds or 1.7 kilograms in weight.
  12. 2:1 Verse 2:1 is numbered 1:18 in Hebrew text.
  13. 2:2 Verses 2:2-18 are numbered 2:1-17 in Hebrew text.
  14. 2:3 Hebrew Huram, a variant spelling of Hiram; also in 2:11.
  15. 2:8 Or juniper; Hebrew reads algum, perhaps a variant spelling of almug; compare 9:10-11 and parallel text at 1 Kgs 10:11-12.
  16. 2:10a Hebrew 20,000 cors [4,400 kiloliters] of crushed wheat, 20,000 cors of barley.
  17. 2:10b Hebrew 20,000 baths [420 kiloliters] of wine, and 20,000 baths of olive oil.
  18. 2:16 Hebrew the sea.
  19. 3:1 Hebrew reads Ornan, a variant spelling of Araunah; compare 2 Sam 24:16.
  20. 3:2 Hebrew on the second [day] of the second month. This day of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in April or May.
  21. 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].
  22. 3:3b Hebrew 60 cubits [27.6 meters] long and 20 cubits [9.2 meters] wide.
  23. 3:4a Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters]; also in 3:8, 11, 13.
  24. 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.
  25. 3:8 Hebrew 600 talents [20.4 metric tons].
  26. 3:9 Hebrew 50 shekels [570 grams].
  27. 3:11 Hebrew 5 cubits [2.3 meters]; also in 3:11b, 12, 15.
  28. 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.
  29. 3:16 Hebrew He made chains in the inner sanctuary. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  30. 3:17 Jakin probably means “he establishes”; Boaz probably means “in him is strength.”
  31. 4:1a Or Huram-abi; Hebrew reads He.
  32. 4:1b Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters] long, 20 cubits wide, and 10 cubits [4.6 meters] high.
  33. 4:2 Hebrew 10 cubits [4.6 meters] across . . . 5 cubits [2.3 meters] deep and 30 cubits [13.8 meters] in circumference.
  34. 4:3 Or 20 oxen per meter; Hebrew reads 10 per cubit.
  35. 4:5a Hebrew a handbreadth [8 centimeters].
  36. 4:5b Hebrew 3,000 baths [63 kiloliters].
  37. 4:17 As in parallel text at 1 Kgs 7:46; Hebrew reads Zeredah.

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