King Solomon's Temple
Solomon’s Temple, also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first temple of the ancient religion of the biblical Israelites in Jerusalem.
According to the Bible, it functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot in ancient Judaism.
Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The reconstructed temple in Jerusalem, which stood between 516 BCE and 70 CE, was the Second Temple. However, some modern studies, such as The Bible Unearthed question the historical accuracy of the Biblical account of King Solomon and a United Monarchy.
The city served as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, but became the capital of the less powerful of the two kingdoms (Judah) after the death of Solomon and the division of the country into two kingdoms. It regained its central status after the conquest and destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. In 586 BCE the city was invaded by the Babylonians. At the order of King Nebuchadnezzar II the city was torched, the Temple was razed, and the people were taken into exile. Jewish tradition holds this incident to be the first exile of the Jewish nation.
by king Shishak of
Egypt, c.933 BCE (1 Kings 14:25, 26);
The Kadosh Kadoshim, the Temple’s Most Holy Place (1 Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the “inner house” (6:27), and the “Holy of Holies” (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length, breadth, and height. The usual explanation for the discrepancy between its height and the 30-cubit height of the temple is that its floor was elevated, like the cella of other ancient temples. It was floored and wainscotted with Cedar of Lebanon (1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold (6:20, 21, 30). It contained two cherubim of olive-wood, each 10 cubits high (1 Kings 6:16, 20, 21, 23-28) and each having outspread wings 10 cubits from tip to tip, so that, since they stood side by side, the wings touched the wall on either side and met in the center of the room. There was a two-leaved door between it and the holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; compare Exodus 26:33).It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was considered the dwelling-place of God.
The reason for the colour scheme of the veil was symbolic. In Jewish tradition, blue represented the heavens, while red or crimson represented the earth. Purple, a combination of the two colours, represents a meeting of the heavens and the earth. Thus, purple can also be a representation of the Holy Messiah in Jewish and Christian traditions.
The Hekhal: the holy place, 1 Kings 8:8-10, called also the “greater house” (2 Chr. 3:5) and the “temple” (1 Kings 6:17); the word also means “palace”. It was of the same width and height as the Holy of Holies, but 40 cubits in length. Its walls were lined with cedar, on which were carved figures of cherubim, palm-trees, and open flowers, which were overlaid with gold. Chains of gold further marked it off from the Holy of Holies. The floor of the Temple was of fir-wood overlaid with gold. The door-posts, of olive-wood, supported folding-doors of fir. The doors of the Holy of Holies were of olive-wood. On both sets of doors were carved cherubim, palm-trees, and flowers, all being overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:15 et seq.)
The Ulam: the porch or entrance before the temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 9:7). This was 20 cubits long (corresponding to the width of the Temple) and 10 cubits deep (1 Kings 6:3). 2 Chr. 3:4 adds the curious statement (probably corrupted from the statement of the depth of the porch) that this porch was 120 cubits high, which would make it a regular tower. The description does not specify whether a wall separated it from the next chamber. In the porch stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3), which were 18 cubits in height and surmounted by capitals of carved lilies, 5 cubits high.
The chambers, which were built about the temple on the southern, western and northern sides (1 Kings 6:5-10). These formed a part of the building and were used for storage. They were probably one story high at first; two more may have been added later.
According to biblical tradition, round about the building were:
The court of the priests (2 Chr. 4:9), called the “inner court” (1 Kings 6:36), which was separated from the space beyond by a wall of three courses of hewn stone, surmounted by cedar beams (1 Kings 6:36).
The great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9). Here the people assembled to worship God (Jeremiah 19:14; 26:2).
The inner court of the Priests contained the Altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen Sea (4:2-5, 10) and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). 2 Kings 16:14 says that a brazen altar stood before the Temple, 2 Chr. 4:1 gives its dimensions as 20 cubits square and 10 cubits high.
The brazen Sea (Laver), 10 cubits wide brim to brim, 5 cubits deep and with a circumference of 30 cubits around the brim, rested on the backs of twelve oxen (1 Kings 7:23-26). The Book of Kings gives its capacity as “2,000 baths” (24,000 US gallons), but Chronicles inflates this to three thousand baths (36,000 US gallons) (2 Chr. 4:5-6) and states that its purpose was to afford opportunity for the purification by immersion of the body of the priests. (According to Talmud tractate Mikwaoth, a “bath” of 40 seahs is the minimum permissible size for a Mikvah).
The lavers, each of which held “forty baths” (1 Kings 7:38), rested on portable holders made of bronze, provided with wheels, and ornamented with figures of lions, cherubim, and palm-trees. The author of the books of the Kings describes their minute details with great interest (1 Kings 7:27-37). Josephus reported that the vessels in the Temple were composed of Orichalcum in Antiquities of the Jews. According to 1 Kings 7:48 there stood before the Holy of Holies a golden altar of incense and a table for showbread. This table was of gold, as were also the five candlesticks on each side of it. The implements for the care of the candles—tongs, basins, snuffers, and fire-pans—were of gold; and so were the hinges of the doors.REPRINTED FROM TYNE-CASTLE, NORTHUNBERLAND, ENGLAND