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This article is about the Temple Solomon built. You may be looking for the idea of a permanent worship house or the Second Temple.


The First Temple also known as Solomon's Temple was the first manifestation of the idea of a permanent house of worship; a Temple as an actual structural building. It was built by King Solomon in Israel's (and Judah's) capital city of Jerusalem, though the idea was concepted by David.The idea was concepted by David, who saw it unfitting that he lived in a palace, while God and his Ark of the Covenant dwelled in a tent. Though David perceived the idea, he was never allowed to construct the Temple himself, after it was revealed to him by Nathan the prophet that his successor would build it instead.

God dictated all the architectural specifications to David; however, which he passed down to his son and successor Solomon. Before Solomon became king and began construction, David did massive preparations of materials, and fundraised and donated large amounts of riches. Once Solomon became King he built the First Temple to the exact specifications, spending seven to construct it.

After the construction and dedication of Solomon's Temple, it became the fully operational center for all sacrifices and festival celebrations. It served this role long after the death of Solomon, which eventually led it to be repaired by Israel's King Joash. The Temple that Solomon had built would soon be destroyed, when the Babylonian Empire raided Jerusalem and took Judah into captivity. The Temple would not be rebuilt until the Second Temple came along, which replaced and succeeded the First.


History

Pre-Construction

Conception

The idea for a permanent house for the Ark of the Covenant began with King David. After David had his personal palace constructed, he realized that he was living in a great home while God's Ark was in a tent. He called Nathan the prophet and told him of his idea to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant[1]. However, that night Nathan received a vision. In this vision it was reiterated that for years God had lived in the Tabernacle and had never asked for a permanent facility. God did grant David's request, and promised him that one of his offspring would be the one to build the permanent Temple[2].

An altar to God

After this it was quite some time before anything concerning the Temple occurred. At one point, David sinned by taking an unnecessary census of young men in the army. God pronounced punishment by deciding to destroy the city of Jerusalem, but He decided to tell the Angel assigned to not. The Angel then waited at the threshing floor of a Jebusite named Araunah on Mount Moriah. The prophet Gad then told David to go up to the threshing floor and build an altar to God.

David did as he was told and was approached by the owner Araunah, who offered to give the land free after hearing what it would be used for. Still, David refused to take it for free and instead paid the full price of six hundred shekels (6.9 kilograms)[3]. Here on Mount Moriah an altar was built, and the future land of Solomon's Temple was purchased. At this time, the Tabernacle (the motile worship house) remained in the city of Gibeon[4].

Planning and Preparations

David's Preparation for Solomon

After building the altar on Moriah, it was clear to David Moriah would be the location for a permanent Temple for God [5]. Seeing that his son and eventual successor, Solomon was inexperienced and the First Temple was to be a massive project he made extensive preparations[6]. Out of the immigrants living in Israel some were designated to be stonecutters, who would process stone to be used in construction of the Temple [7]. In addition large amounts of iron and bronze for the doors and gates, as well as cedar logs purchased from Sidon and Tyre; were brought in, more than what could be weighed[8].

One hundred thousand talents of gold, a million of silver, wood, stone, iron and bronze were also acquired and set aside for Solomon's construction. Innumerous laborers such as stonecutters, masons, carpenters and other craftsman were also assigned to one day help Solomon[9]. Then David made a speech to his son explaining to him all the preparations that had been made and to the leaders of Israel to one day help Solomon[10].

When David was in his later years, he once again summoned all the leaders of Israel. Here he gave a speech explaining how he had it in his heart to build a permanent facility to house the Ark of the Covenant, but was not allowed to because of his bloodshed. Rather God chose his son Solomon to build this idea of the Temple. So David charged Solomon with the construction of the Temple. Then David gave Solomon all of the architectural dimensions, structure for the Priesthood, and the weights for all the materials that would be used[11]. All of these plans were recorded in writing, and had been given to David by God[12]. So while David wanted to construct a Temple for the LORD, the LORD was the architect and planner for it, making it to His own specifications.

Fundraising

Then David spoke to the assembly of government workers and asked to the audience for any willing Israelite to give gifts to be used in order to help finance the Temple's construction. Solomon was still young and unprepared to build His Temple, and David had already gave all of his riches for the project. Since it would be a palace for God Himself, it would be such a magnificent structure, that it required greater funding from Israel. Many of the leaders donated collectively donating large amounts of gold, silver, bronze and iron. Due to these funds the people rejoiced greatly at the willing hearts of Israel's leaders[13]. Then David prayed before the assembly, recognizing that all of the resources allocated for the project belonged to God.

The need for the Temple

Shortly after this David passed away and Solomon succeeded him to the throne. Solomon became King and obeyed all the commandments that God had instructed to him through his father, except that he sacrificed at high places[14]. Solomon did travel to Gibeon where the Tabernacle still remained and made large sacrifices there, thus making offerings in the only designated space[15]. At this time the Ark of the Covenant remained in a separate tent that David had pitched, located in the City of Jerusalem (perhaps in preparation to eventually put it in the First Temple)[16]. Still Solomon returned to Jerusalem and gave sacrifices at the Ark as well[17].

Then Solomon knew that it was time for him to build the Temple that his father had charged him with[18]. At this time 153,600 men were appointed as carriers, stone cutters, and managers to begin construction soon.

Enlisting King Hiram of Tyre

Hiram, king of Tyre, heard that Solomon had come to power and sent diplomats to meet with him. Solomon then sent a message to Hiram explaining to him the upcoming temple project and asked for an infinite supply of various woods, in exchange for any payment he wished. In addition Solomon asked for a skilled craftsman to perform whatever work he would be assigned. Upon receiving the message Hiram wrote back and agreed to send a skilled craftsman and supply the wood.

Hiram would handle all the logistics of acquiring all the kinds of wood and shipping it to Israel. Hiram's lumberjacks would cut down the wood from the forest-covered Lebanon, in addition to the wood found in Tyre (if not Sidon also). Ten-thousand workers sent by Solomon to help Hiram's lumbermen would come in shifts for a month and then would alternate with another ten-thousand (this done for three months to total thirty-thousand). All of the wood would then be floated down the Mediterranean Sea by raft, at the designated location, Joppa. Here more servants from Tyre would process and separate the woods by type and from there Israel would ship the wood to Jerusalem[19]. In return for all of Tyre's work, food would be provided for Hiram's royal household, as well as wages and amenities for the paid laborers.

Designating Personnel

After making the agreement with Hiram, Solomon designated more personnel in addition to those already appointed. In order to do this, Solomon took a census of all foreigners residing in Israel, assigning seventy-thousand to be carriers (who would literally carry all the needed resources, manage wagons and shipping, loading and unloading), eighty-thousand stonecutter and thirty-six hundred supervisors[20].

Construction

After extensive preparation and planning that occurred years before, Solomon's Temple was finally ready to be built. The construction began on the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of Solomon's rule[21]. Construction was happening on the designated site of Aranuah's threshing floor where David's altar was located on Mount Moriah. As agreed upon, Tyre began the logistics of delivering the needed wood for its construction. Solomon then dedicated a lot of his time to the construction, having a great amount of personal oversight by him and his staff. The Temple's construction was the priority of the Israelite government.

Immediately work began on erecting the foundation for the First Temple. By the end of the month the foundation was completed[22]. During the construction, all the blocks were dressed in the quarry; as no metal tools were heard at the temple site[23]. This was done to follow rules God had given concerning the Tabernacle's construction[24]. With these blocks the structure of the building was put together. The front portico was built and various windows were cut.

After this the Temple was roofed with beams and planks of cedar.

Architectural

Dimensions

Exterior

The foundation of the original temple was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits tall (about 90 ft. by 30 ft. by 45 feet) [25]. The portico of the Temple was 20 cubits (about 30 feet) long and high and extended outwards 10 cubits (15 feet) [26]. The entrance to the lowest floor of the Temple was located on the southern side. There was a winding staircase leading to second and third floors [27]. Other structures were built up against the main hall and the inner sanctuary ("God's dwelling place") [28]. Windows were added in the upper levels of the temple [29]. Solomon had the roof constructed using beams and planks of cedar [30].

Interior

The interior was covered with pure gold [31]. The main hall of the Temple had panels of juniper wood and like the rest of the interior temple was lined with gold. It was also decorated with carvings of palm trees and chain designs [32]. The temple was also adorned with expensive stones [33]. Solomon directed that the inner sanctuary of God to be a perfect cube measuring 20 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 20 cubits tall (30 feet by 30 feet by 30 feet) [34]. This room was lined with 600 talents of gold and was held together with golden nails.[35] Two statues of cherubim, plated in gold, stood beside one another, reached across the whole room with wingspans of 10 cubits (15 feet) spread from wall to wall[36].

Materials

The Temple has a high usage of different woods such as cedar and juniper. The Temple in all used 3,420 kilograms of gold and 34,200 kilograms of silver. The temple also used much bronze and stone [37] Only blocks mined at the quarry were used [7] and fine tools were not used in the Temple's construction [38]

Furniture

In the outer court, there was an altar made of bronze that was twenty cubits (30 feet) square and 10 cubits (15 feet) high [39]. Across the courtyard stood a laver measuring 10 cubits (15 feet) across the inside and 30 cubits (45 feet) around the outside.

Within the temple itself, the furnishings from the tabernacle were used: a table, a lampstand and a altar for burning incense, and (within the inner sanctuary), the ark of the covenant.

Personnel

The First Temple took an enormous amount of personnel to not only construct, but to maintain it. The Temple served as the permanent house of worship and sacrifice for God, requiring a great many Levites to work in the Temple to conduct its purpose. The Temple in itself was a very large building and required much upkeep, maintenance and other work to make sure the structure was operational. In addition, it was the headquarters of the Levitical Priesthood and contained large amounts of people, and many priceless treasures (such as the Ark of the Covenant), being the treasury for the Priesthood. Therefore it had large amounts of security.

Construction

In order to accomplish the task set before him, Solomon employed 70,000 men to transport materials by various methods, 80,000 to process stones, and 3,600 to supervise [40].These were in addition to innumerous amounts of workers already assigned by David to construct the Temple[9]

Temple Workers

When David was old he assigned twenty-four thousand Levites, that were over thirty to the work and operations of Solomon's Temple[41].

A great many Levites were designated to conduct the ministry programs and security for the First Temple, rather than making sure the facility itself was operational. Four-thousand were assigned to music, and a large portion of those would conduct music at the Temple[42]. Four-thousand men were assigned as Gatekeepers throughout Israel [43], with many of them providing security for the Temple[44]. In addition their were many Levites assigned to management of the treasuries contained within the First temple[45].

Verses

  1. 2 Sam 7:1-3, 1 Chr 17:1-3 (Link)
  2. 2 Sam 7:5-7, 12-13 (Link)
  3. 1 Chr 21:18-25 (Link)
  4. 1 Chr 21:29 (Link)
  5. 1 Chronicles 22:1 (Link)
  6. 1 Chr 22:5 (Link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 1 Chronicles 22:2
  8. 1 Chr 22:3-4 (Link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 1 Chr 22:14-16
  10. 1 Chr 22:11-13,17-19 (Link)
  11. 1 Chr 28:11-18 (Link)
  12. 1 Chr 28:12, 19 (Link)
  13. 1 Chr 29:1-5 (Link)
  14. 1 Kings 3:3 (Link)
  15. 1 Kings 3:4, 2 Chr 1:3 (Link)
  16. 2 Chr 1:4 (Link)
  17. 1 Kings 3:15, 2 Chr 1:13 (Link)
  18. 2 Chr 2:1 (Link)
  19. 1 Kings 5:3-14, 2 Chr 2:3-15 (Link)
  20. 1 Kings 5:17-18, 2 Chr 2:17-18 (Link)
  21. 1 Kings 6:1, 2 Chr 3:2 (Link)
  22. 1 Kings 6:37, 2 Chr 3:3 (Link)
  23. 1 Kings 6:7 (Link)
  24. Exo 20:25, Deut 27:5 (Link)
  25. 1 Kings 6:2, 2 Chronicles 3:3 (Link)
  26. 1 Kings 6:3, 2 Chronicles 3:4 (Link)
  27. 1 Kings 6:8 (Link)
  28. 1 Kings 6:10 (Link)
  29. 1 Kings 6:4 (Link)
  30. 1 Kings 6:9 (Link)
  31. 2 Chronicles 3:4 (Link)
  32. 2 Chronicles 3:5 (Link)
  33. 2 Chronicles 3:6 (Link)
  34. 2 Chronicles 3:8 (Link)
  35. 2 Chronicles 3:9 (Link)
  36. 2 Chronicles 3:10 (Link)
  37. 1 Chronicles 22:14-16 (Link)
  38. 1 Kings 6:7 (Link)
  39. 2 Chronicles 4:1 (Link)
  40. 2 Chr 2:2 (Link)
  41. 1 Chr 23:4 (Link)
  42. 1 Chr 25:6 (Link)
  43. 1 Chr 23:5 (Link)
  44. 1 Chr 26:12 (Link)
  45. 1 Chr 26:20 (Link)

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