THE BOOK OF 1 KINGS
Lesson 3: Chapters 7:1-9:9
The Successes of Solomon's Reign:
Building the Temple, the Royal Palace, and the Dedication of Yahweh's Temple
Under the Old Sinai Covenant, You gave David and Solomon a plan to build Your earthly Temple where the peoples of the earth could gather to offer You worship and to learn about Your divine commands and precepts. But in the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, each believer becomes a temple of Your Holy Spirit with the mission to carry the "good news" of Christ's gift of salvation out into the world. Make each of us a conduit of Your divine grace in sharing the Gospel of salvation and demonstrating Your command to love as Jesus loved us. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
+ + +
The world is like a human eye. The white is the ocean that girds the earth, the iris is the earth upon which we dwell, the pupil is Jerusalem, and the image therein is the Temple of the Lord. Jewish sage of the 1st century AD
The Temple of Yahweh and Solomon's Palace on Mount Moriah
This is an artist's suggested floor plan of Solomon's Temple and Palace complex on Mt. Moriah: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=solomon's+palace+complex&qpvt=solomon%27s+palace+complex&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=FEC74ABF0AC1600DC530D42B61BE81EF7BDBFBB6&selectedIndex=12)
Other suggested plans of Solomon's palace show the three structures of the public spaces of the House of Lebanon, the Hall of the Throne and the Hall of Pillars as one large palace building in three parts with the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon in the center with the Hall of the Throne at one end and the Hall (or Porch) of the Pillars at the other end.
Chapter 7: The Temple of Yahweh and Solomon's Palace on Mount Moriah
began building the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah where David his
father had had a vision, on the site which David had prepared, on the
threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began building it on the second day
of the second month of the fourth year of his reign.
2 Chronicles 3:1-2
1 Kings 7:1-14 ~ Solomon's Palace Complex
1 As regards his palace, Solomon spent thirteen years on it before the building was completed. 2 He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon, a hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high, on four rows of cedar-wood pillars, with lengths of cedar wood laid horizontally on the pillars. 3 The upper part was paneled with cedar right down to the tie-beams on forty-five pillars, fifteen in each row. 4 There were three rows of window-frames, with the windows corresponding to one another at three levels. 5 All the doorways and windows were rectangular, with the windows corresponding to one another at three levels. 6 He also made the Colonnade, fifty cubits long and thirty cubits broad, with a cornice in front. 7 He also made the Hall of the Throne where he used to dispense justice, that is, the Hall of Justice; it was paneled in cedar from floor to beams. 8 His own living quarters, in the other court and inwards from the Hall, were of the same construction. And there was a house similar to this Hall for Pharaoh's daughter whom he had taken in marriage. 9 All these buildings were of special stones cut to measure, trimmed on the inner and outer sides with the saw. From the foundations to the coping, 10 the foundations were of special stones, huge stones, of ten and eight cubits, 11 and above these, special stones, cut to measure, and cedar wood, 12 and on the outside, the great court had three courses of dressed stone round it and one course of cedar beams; so also had the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh and the vestibule of the Temple.
Question: How many years did Solomon spend
building the Temple and his palace complex on Mt. Moriah? See 1 Kng 6:37-38
Answer: Solomon began building the Temple of Yahweh on Mount Moriah in the fourth year of his reign and completed the Temple seven years later. He then began building his palace after the Temple was completed, also on Mount Moriah, and completed it thirteen years later. He spent 20 years building the Temple and his palace on Mt. Moriah.
Solomon's palace was located on Mt. Moriah, south of the
Temple, and it was probably separated from the Temple by the wall of the
Temple's inner court, with both the Temple and the palace enclosed by the wall
of a great court. Within the palace complex there were three halls that were
used for official functions:
The House of the Forest of Lebanon: 2 He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon, a hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high, on four rows of cedar-wood pillars, with lengths of cedar wood laid horizontally on the pillars. 3 The upper part was paneled with cedar right down to the tie-beams on forty-five pillars, fifteen in each row. 4 There were three rows of window-frames, with the windows corresponding to one another at three levels. 5 All the doorways and windows were rectangular, with the windows corresponding to one another at three levels.
The name of this building came from the many columns of cedar wood that supported the roof of the structure that gave it the appearance of a forest. It was c. 150 feet (c. 46 meters) long, c. 75 feet (c. 23 meters) wide, and c. 45 feet (c. 13.5 meters) high. It was much larger than the Temple and served as both a reception hall and an armory (1 Kng 10:16-17, 21; Is 22:8).
There were three stories of windows along the long walls, with each window facing across from the window on the opposite wall. The windows and door frames were rectangular and not arched. The roof was made of 45 cedar beams, 15 beams to each row resting on the columns.
The Hall (Porch) of the Pillars:
6 He also made the Colonnade, fifty cubits long and thirty cubits broad, with a cornice in front.
In the front of the building, he made a colonnade or a porch of columns c. 75 feet (c. 23 meters) long and 45 feet (c. 13.5 meters) wide. There is some confusion as to whether this was a separate structure of if the porch extended the length of the columned hall. The 'in front" could refer to in front of the columns or in front of the hall.
The Hall of the Throne:
7 He also made the Hall of the Throne where he used to dispense justice, that is, the Hall of Justice; it was paneled in cedar from floor to beams.
The dimensions of this hall are not given but the hall was also paneled in cedar. Solomon's golden throne is described in 1 Kings 10:18-20a ~ The king also made a great ivory throne which he overlaid with refined gold. The throne had six steps, a back with a rounded top, and arms on each side of the seat; two lions stood beside the arms, and twelve lions stood on each side of the six steps.
An artist's depiction of King Solomon greeting the Queen of Sheba in the Hall of the Throne. Notice the depiction of the columns with their filigree or lattice capitals (from the website: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=King+Solomon+in+His+Palace&Form=IQFRDR#view=detail&id=395EDDD223B207F0E790EFE8BBF6B98F95E206AC&selectedIndex=20).
8 His own
living quarters, in the other court and inwards from the Hall, were of the same
construction. And there was a house similar to this Hall for Pharaoh's
daughter whom he had taken in marriage.
"Inwards" refers to further up the mountain from the Hall of the Throne, toward the Temple which was north of the palace complex. In addition to the official rooms of the palace, there was a separate building for the kings private living and what may have been another "hall" that was the royal harem. The queen, Pharaoh's daughter, as befitting her high station, had her own hall or private living space associated with the palace.
these buildings were of special stones cut to measure, trimmed on the inner and
outer sides with the saw. From the foundations to the coping, 10 the foundations were of special
stones, huge stones, of ten and eight cubits, 11 and above these, special stones, cut to measure, and
cedar wood, 12 and on the outside,
the great court had three courses of dressed stone round it and one course of
cedar beams; so also had the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh and the
vestibule of the Temple.
A tool was dragged across the face of the stone blocks to give them a smooth, polished look. The stones were c 15 feet (c.4.5 meters) by 12 feet (c. 3.6 meters). The great court surrounding the entire complex was constructed in the same manner as the inner court that was c. 27 feet (c. 8.1 meters) high and c. 18 feet (c. 5.4 meters) around.
The information provided in the text makes an exact plan of the palace complex impossible. However, the plan seems similar to several Syrian temple and adjoining palace complexes that archaeologists discovered that date to the 10th-9th centuries BC. The typical palace plan of this period included a pillared porch that led into a number of halls and open inner courts surrounded by smaller rooms.
1 Kings 7:13-14 ~ Hiram the master bronze worker
King Solomon sent for Hiram of Tyre; he was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, but his father had been a Tyrian, a bronze worker. He was a highly intelligent craftsman, skilled in all types of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all this work for him.
See the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 2:12-14 that states Hiram's mother was from the tribe of Dan. It is possible his mother was associated with both tribes through her parents.
Question: What was Hiram's ethnic background and
Answer: He was the son of a bronze worker from the Phoenician city of Tyre and an Israelite woman from the northern tribes of either Naphtali or Dan. He was a master craftsman who worked in bronze.
Suggested plan of the Temple Solomon built for Yahweh
The projection coming off the Altar of Sacrifice in the Inner Court is the ramp leading up to the altar. He made a bronze altar, twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high (2 Chr 4:1. It was c. 30 feet (c. 9 meters) long and wide and c. 15 feet (c. 4.5 meters) high. It was four times bigger than the sacrificial altar of the desert Sanctuary in Exodus 27:1 that was five cubits long and wide and three cubits high or c. 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) long and wide and 4.5 feet high (c. 1.3 meters).
1 Kings 7:15-22 ~ The Temple's bronze pillars
15 He cast the two bronze pillars; the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a cord twelve cubits long gave the measurement of its girth; so also was the second pillar. 16 He made two capitals of cast bronze for the tops of the pillars; the height of one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other five cubits. 17 He made two sets of filigree to cover the moulding of the two capitals surmounting the pillars, one filigree for one capital and one filigree for the other. 18 He also made pomegranates: two rows of them round each filigree, four hundred in all, applied on the raised moulding behind the filigree; 19 there were two hundred pomegranates round one capital and the same round the other. 20 The capitals surrounding the pillars were lily-shaped [LXX includes capital four cubits high]. 21 He erected the pillars in front of the portico of the Temple, he erected the right-hand pillar and named it Jachin [Yakin]; he erected the left-handed pillar and named it Boaz. 22 Thus, the work on the pillars was completed.
Hiram made two, hollow free standing bronze columns and placed them to the right and left of the Temple porch. The names of the pillars are related to God's divine power/strength (Boaz) and founding/establishing (Yakin) of the Temple and the covenant people. See the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 3:15-17. Each pillar was 27 feet (8.1 meters) tall and 18 feet (5.4 meters) wide with a decorative capital 7 feet (2.3 meters) high for a total pillar height of 34 and 1/2 feet. The lily or lotus shaped decorations on the capitals of the columns were four cubits high, that is about 6 feet ( 1.8 meters); also see verse 38.
Question: What man who played a key role in God's divine
plan for the birth of David and the Davidic Messiah has the same name as one of
the pillars? See the Book of Ruth, Mt 1:3-6 and Lk 3:31-33.
Answer: Facing the Temple, the pillar on the left bore the same name as Ruth's bridegroom Boaz. They were the great-grandparents of David and ancestors of Jesus of Nazareth.
1 Kings 7:23-26 ~ The Temple's Bronze Sea
23 He made the Sea of cast metal, ten cubits from rim to rim, circular in shape and five cubits high; a cord thirty cubits long gave the measurement of its girth. 24 Under its rim and completely encircling it were gourds surrounding the Sea; over a length of thirty cubits the gourds were in two rows, of one and the same casting with the rest. 25 It rested on twelve oxen [bulls], three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, three facing east; on these, their hindquarters all turned inwards, stood the Sea. 26 It was a hand's breath in thickness, and its rim was shaped like the rim of a cup, lily-shaped. It could hold two thousand measures.
See 2 Chronicles 4:2-5 for the parallel passage. 2,000 measures equate to 11,500 gallons. The bulls represented strength and bulls were the sin sacrifice for a chief priest (Lev 4:3). That there were twelve bull statues probably represents the twelve tribes of Israel whom the chief priests serve as God's representatives. The "sea" was used for ritual washing of the priests' hands and feet before entering the Sanctuary or approaching the altar of sacrifice. The original water basin made for the desert Sanctuary was much more modest. The purpose for the basin is clearly intended for the chief priests who are the descendants of Aaron: Whenever they are to enter the Tent of Meeting, they will wash, to avoid incurring death; and whenever they approach the altar for their service, to burn an offering for Yahweh, they will wash their hands and feet, to avoid incurring death. This is a perpetual decree for him and his descendants for all their generations to come (Ex 30:17-21; also see Ex 38:8).
Image of the Bronze Sea from the Jewish Enclyclopedia
1 Kings 7:27-39 ~ The wheeled stands and their bronze water
27 He made the ten bronze stands; each stand was four cubits long, four cubits wide and three high. 28 They were designed as follows; they had an undercarriage and crosspieces to the undercarriage. 29 On the cross pieces of the undercarriage were lions and bulls and winged creatures, and on top of the undercarriage was a support; under the lions and oxen there were scrolls in the style of ... 30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles; its four feet had shoulderings under the basin, and the shoulderings were cast ... 31 Its mouth measured one and a half cubits from where the shoulderings met to the top; its mouth was round like a stand for a vessel, and on the mouth there were engravings too; the crosspieces, however, were rectangular and not round. 32 The four wheels were under the crosspieces. The axles of the wheels were inside the stands; the height of the wheels was one and a half cubits. 33 The wheels were designed like chariot wheels: their axles, felloes [rims], spokes and naves [hubs] had all been cast. 34 There were four shoulderings at the four corners of each stand: the stand and the shoulderings were all of a piece. 35 At the top of the stand there was a support, circular in shape and half a cubit high; and on top of the stand there were lugs. The crosspieces were of a piece with the stand. 36 On the bands he engraved winged creatures and lions and palm leaves ... and scrolls right round. 37 He made the ten stands like this: the same casting and the same measurements for all. 38 He made ten bronze basins; each basin held forty measures and each basin measured four cubits, one basin to each of the ten stands. 39 He arranged the stands, five on the right-hand side of the Temple, five on the left-hand side of the Temple; the Sea he placed on the right-hand side of the Temple, to the south east.
Unfortunately there are text corruptions and interpretation difficulties with verses 20, 30, and 36. The stands for the basins were quadrangular and surmounted by a rounded support to hold the basin. Very similar moveable basins have been found in the ruins of a pagan temple in Cyprus. The original word for "measures" is bat in Hebrew. A bat equals c. 12 US gallons (c. 10 UK gallons) or c. 45 liters. The dimensions of the stands were c. 6 feet (c. 1.8 meters) long and wide and c. 4.5 feet (c. 1.3 meters) high. The height of the wheels was c. 2 1/4th feet (c. 0.7 meters). The round opening of the basin (verse 31) was c. 2.25 feet (c. 0.7 meters). At the top of the stand (verse 35) was a circular band c. .75 foot (c. 0.2 meters) deep. Each basin for the stands held c. 230 gallons (c. 880 liters). The basins measured c. 1.5 feet (c. 0.5 meters) across. The ten basins were for used for washing the bodies of the animals offered for sacrifice after they had been skinned and either cut into pieces for the altar fire (if they were intended as a holocaust offering/whole burnt offerings) or if they were returned to the priest to be eaten as a sin offering or to the person or persons who offered the animal for one of the classes of a communion meal or festival communion meal.
The Temple faced the east with the Holy of Holies in the west. The basins were placed on the north and south sides of the main Temple building. The Great Bronze Altar of Sacrifice and the Great Sea were placed in the courtyard in front of the Temple. In the desert Sanctuary the Sea was directly in front of the entrance to the Holy Place and the Altar was directly east of the Sea (Ex 40:30), but most drawings of Solomon's Temple have these two large structures side by side or the Sea slightly to the south of the Altar. There are no location instructions in either Kings or Chronicles and so it seems more likely that the locations of the Sea and the Altar would copy the original instructions God gave to Moses in Exodus 40:30.
1 Kings 7:40-51 ~ The summary of the bronze objects
Hiram made for the Temple
40 Hiram made the ash containers, the scoops and the sprinkling bowls. He finished all the work that he did for King Solomon on the Temple of Yahweh:
41 Two pillars; the two moldings of the capitals surrounding the pillars; the two sets of filigree to cover the two moldings of the capitals surmounting the pillars; 42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of filigree, two rows of pomegranates for each set of filigree;
43 the ten stands and the ten basins on the stands;
44 the one Sea and the twelve oxen beneath the Sea;
45 the ash containers, the scoops, and sprinkling bowls.
All these objects made by Hiram for King Solomon for the Temple of Yahweh were of burnished bronze. 46 He made them by the process of sand casting, in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 There were so many of them, that the weight of the bronze was never calculated.
48 Solomon made all the objects designed for the Temple of Yahweh: the golden altar and the gold table for the loaves of permanent offering; 49 the lamp-stands, five on the right and five on the left in front of the Debir, of pure gold; the floral work, the lamps, the tongs, of gold; 50 the basins, the snuffers, the sprinkling bowls, the incense ladles and the pans, of real gold; the door panels, for the inner shrine, that is, the Holy of Holies, and for the Hekal, of gold.
51 Thus all the work done by King Solomon for the Temple of Yahweh was completed, and Solomon brought in the gifts which his father David had consecrated; and he had the silver, the gold and the utensils put into the treasuries of the Temple of Yahweh.
See the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 4:11-18. The sacred utensils were used for trimming the wicks of the lamps for the lampstands, scoops for collecting the ash from the sacrificial altar and the incense altar, for carrying the live coals from the sacrificial altar to the incense altar, etc.; the type of metal used identified the space where the utensils were used: gold for the Holy Place and bronze for the courtyard of the bronze altar of sacrifice with the exception of the chalices/bowls for collecting the blood of the sacrificed animal which was made of solid gold (1 Kng 7:50; 2 Chr 4:8, 16).
the gold table for the loaves of permanent offering ...
Verse 48 and the parallel passage in the Septuagint only mentions a single golden table to hold the Bread of the Presence (Face) of God like Exodus 25:23-30 and 37:10-16. However, 2 Chronicles 4:8 and the parallel passage in the Septuagint mentions ten tables and 1 Chronicles 28:16 and the Septuagint have the information that these ten tables were covered in silver and not gold. This presents a conundrum. Most commentators assume that there were ten tables and ten lampstands. It is possible; however, that there was one main gold covered table for the Bread of the Presence as commanded in Exodus but with additional silver tables available when hundreds chief priests served in the Temple on the pilgrim feast days and one golden Lampstand/Menorah with additional silver lampstands and lamps for lighting the larger space.
This is the suggestion certain rabbinic scholars make concerning the ten tables and the ten lampstands. 1 Chronicles 28:14-15 mentions both gold and silver lampstands, and Flavius Josephus, the 1st century AD former chief priest and Jewish historian, records that in Solomon's Temple there was one golden Table of the Bread of the Presence on the north wall of the Holy Place with the golden Lampstand (Menorah) across from it on the south wall just like the instructions God gave Moses for the desert Sanctuary in addition to the other tables and lampstands (Antiquities of the Jews, 8.3.7 [89-90]). The rabbis who support Josephus' testimony suggest that there was the one sacred golden table for the Bread of the Presence and one sacred Lampstand (Menorah) as commanded by God for the original Sanctuary in addition to the ten silver tables and ten silver lampstands to improve lighting in the larger Holy Place. They suggest that both the gold covered Table and the solid gold Lampstand/Menorah stood across from each other as they did in the desert Sanctuary with the main table placed on the north wall (Ex 40:22) and the menorah on the south wall (Ex 40:24) and with the other lampstands and tables to the sides of them (Jewish Study Bible, page 1770). The dimensions for the table, the lampstand, and the incense altar are not given in 1 Kings or Chronicles, probably because they were the same dimensions as the originals created for the desert Sanctuary or it is possible that they were the original pieces of sacred furniture like the Ark of the Covenant:
The desert Tabernacle had seven kinds of furnishings but Solomon's Temple had eight. Summary of the types of furnishings for Solomon's Temple:
Chapter 8: The Temple is consecrated to Yahweh
You see, I am
building a house for the name of Yahweh my God, to acknowledge his holiness so
that perfumed incense may be burnt before him, the loaves of permanent offering
be perpetually laid out and the burnt offerings be made morning and evening, on
the Sabbaths, New Moons and solemn festivals of Yahweh our God, as prescribed
for Israel for ever ...
2 Chronicles 2:3/4
(the "burnt offerings" made morning and evening are the twice daily liturgical worship services of the Tamid sacrifice that took precedence over all other individual and festival sacrifices)
1 Kings 8:1-9 ~ The Ark of the Covenant is brought to
1 Solomon then summoned the elders of Israel to Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh up from the city of David, that is, Zion. 2 All the men of Israel assembled round King Solomon in the month of Ethanim, at the time of the feast (that is, the seventh month). 3 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the Ark 4 and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred utensils which were in the Tent. 5 King Solomon and all Israel, present with him before the Ark, sacrificed countless, innumerable sheep and oxen. 6 The priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh to its place, in the Debir of the Temple, that is the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the winged creatures 7 for the winged creatures spread their wings over the place where the Ark stood, forming a canopy over the Ark and its shafts. 8 These were so long, however, that the ends of the shafts could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the Debir, though they could not be seen from the outside. They are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the Ark except the two stone tablets which Moses had placed in it at Horeb, the tablets of the covenant which Yahweh made with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.
See the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 5:2-10. After
the return from the Babylonian exile the seventh month was called by the
Babylonian name Tishri.
Question: Solomon planned to have the dedication of the Temple in association with which of the seven God ordained feasts of remembrance that was also a pilgrim feast? This feast took place in the month of Tishri from the 15 to the 21st and concluded with a Sacred Assembly on the 22nd. See Lev 23:33-43; Num 29:12-38; 2 Chr 8:13 and the charts on the Sacred Annual Feasts.
Answer: Solomon planned to have the dedication of the Temple during the feast that remembered the dedication of the desert Sanctuary, the Feast of Sukkoth/Tabernacles, also called the feast of Shelters or Booths.
3 When all
the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the Ark 4 and the Tent of Meeting and all the
sacred utensils which were in the Tent.
It is not clear if the Ark of the Covenant had been in the city of David from the time David brought it to Jerusalem, or if it had resided in a tent on Mt. Moriah until construction of the Temple was started and was then brought to a safer location on Mt. Zion near David's palace.
priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh to its place, in the Debir of
the Temple, that is the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the winged creatures
7 for the winged creatures
spread their wings over the place where the Ark stood, forming a canopy over
the Ark and its shafts. 8 These
were so long, however, that the ends of the shafts could be seen from the Holy
Place in front of the Debir, though they could not be seen from the outside.
They are still there today.
In the presence of Israel's tribal leaders, the Ark of the Covenant was brought to the most sacred space of the Temple's Holy of Holies. The Ark could only be carried by its poles that are described in Exodus 25:12-14. The poles were so long that they extended beyond the curtain that veiled the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place: He also made the Curtain of violet, scarlet, crimson and fine linen, working a design of winged creatures on it (2 Chr 3:14; also see Ex 26:31). The paneled wooden doors were between the curtain and the Holy Place and another set of paneled doors were located at the entrance to the Holy Place. When the doors were closed, the Ark's poles could not be seen.
was nothing in the Ark except the two stone tablets which Moses had placed in
it at Horeb, the tablets of the covenant which Yahweh made with the Israelites
when they came out of Egypt.
At this time the only objects within the Ark were the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments that are the visible evidence of God's covenant with Israel (see Ex 25:15-16, 21-22). It was for this reason that the Ark was also called the Ark of the Testimony (see Ex 25:22; 26:33; 40:21) and the Ten Commandments were also called the Tablets of the Testimony (Ex 31:18; 32:15; 34:29). Later, a pot of the manna that was saved from the time of the Exodus migration and the staff of Aaron, the first High Priest, that were kept near the Ark will also be placed inside the Ark of the Covenant (see Ex 16:33-34; Num 17:25; Heb 9:4).
1 Kings 8:10-13 ~ Yahweh takes possession of His
10 Now when the priests came out of the Holy Place, the cloud filled the Temple of Yahweh, 11 and because of the cloud the priests could not stay and perform their duties. For the glory of Yahweh filled the Temple of Yahweh. 12 Then Solomon said: "Yahweh has chosen to dwell in thick cloud. 13 I have built you a princely dwelling, a residence for you forever."
The "cloud" was the visible manifestation of the presence of Yahweh, and is often referred to as the "Glory cloud" (see for example Ex 13:21-22; 19:9, 16; 24:15-18; 33:9-10; 40:36-38; 1 Cor 10:1-3). Cloud and light are two images that occur together in the manifestation of God, as in the pillar of cloud and fire that led the children of Israel on the wilderness journey (Ex 13:21-22). In the theophanies of the Old Testament and in the Transfiguration of Jesus in the New Testament (cf Mt 17:5), the cloud is described as both dark and luminous, and it reveals the living and saving presence of Yahweh while veiling the transcendence of His glory to avoid the extinction of sinful man witnessing His divine Presence. God's holiness is so far removed from human unworthiness that anyone who looks upon God risks death (Ex 33:20). It is for this reason that Moses, Elijah, and even the seraphim covered their faces in His Presence (Ex 3:6; 1 Kng 19:13; Is 6:2). Anyone who remains alive after seeing God is overcome with astonishment and gratitude, and it is a favor God rarely grants (Ex 33:10-11, 21-23). No human being can safely look upon God's face except in heaven (Mt 5:8; 1 Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2).
Question: The miracle of God visibly taking
possession of the Temple with His Glory Cloud is similar to what event that
took place in the dedication of the desert Sanctuary in Exodus 40:34-35?
Answer: When the desert Sanctuary was dedicated, God also took possession of the Tabernacle with His Glory Cloud.
Question: The parallel passage in 2
Chronicles 5:13 gives what additional information about the number of priests
participating in the dedication when God took possession of His Temple and
what connection is there to the coming of God the Holy Spirit on the day He
took possession of the New Covenant Church in Jerusalem in the spring of 30
AD? See Acts 1:14-15 and 2:1-3.
Answer: There were 120 priests blowing trumpets at the dedication of Solomon's Temple and there were 120 members of the royal priesthood of the New Covenant Church praying with the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room when God the Holy Spirit took possession of His New Covenant Church and each person, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to proclaim the Gospel of salvation. In the Old Covenant, God took possesion of a building, but in the New Covenant He took possession of His people.
1 Kings 8:14-21 ~ King Solomon addresses the people
14 The king then turned round and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while the whole assembly of Israel stood. 15 He said, "Blessed by Yahweh, God of Israel, who has carried out by his hand what he promised with his mouth to my father David, when he said, 16 'From the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt I chose no city, in any of the tribes of Israel, to have a temple built where my name should be, but I did choose David to rule my people Israel.' 17 My father David had set his heart on building a temple for the name of Yahweh, God of Israel, 18 but Yahweh said to my father David, 'You have set your heart on building a temple for my name, and in this you have done well; 19 and yet, you are not the man to build the temple; but your son, yet to be born to you, will be the one to build the temple for my name.' 20 Yahweh has kept the promise which he made: I have succeeded my father David and am seated on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised; I have built the Temple for the name of Yahweh, God of Israel, 21 and in it I have made a place for the Ark containing the covenant of Yahweh which he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt."
In his address to the assembly of Israel, Solomon mentions that God did not choose a place for His Temple from among the tribes until He chose Jerusalem (Dt 12:5, 11-12; 2 Chr 6:6). He recounts David's desire to build a Temple for Yahweh and how he has, with Yahweh's approval, fulfilled his father's desire. His prayer relies on God's covenantal promises, on God's active presence among the covenant people like God's mighty deeds in the children of Israel's exodus out of Egypt. Solomon will begin and end his prayer by mentioning the great event of God's intervention for Israel in the Exodus liberation (verses 21, 51 and 53).
Solomon also testifies that the Ark of the Covenant that
he has placed in the Temple's Holy of Holies is the same Ark God commanded
Moses to build at Mt. Sinai.
Question: What is the covenant document Solomon refers to in verse 21?
Answer: The two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments written by God Himself.
1 Kings 8:22-29 ~ King Solomon's prays for himself and
for the Temple
22 Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel Solomon stood facing the altar of Yahweh and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, 23 said, "Yahweh, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, as loyal to the covenant and faithful in love to your servants as long as they walk wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept the promise you made to your servant, my father David, as you promised him you would. Today you have carried it out by your power. 25 And now, Yahweh, God of Israel, keep the promise which you made to your servant David when you said, 'You will never lack for a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, provided that your sons are careful how they behave, walking before me as your yourself have done.' 26 So now, God of Israel, let the words come true which you spoke to your servant, my father David. 27 Yet will God really live with human beings on earth? Why, the heavens, the highest of the heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple built by me! 28 Even so, listen favorably to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, Yahweh my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant makes to you today: 29 day and night may your eyes watch over this temple, over this place of which you have said, 'My name will be there.' Listen to the prayer which your servant offers in this place."
Solomon stood before God's sacrificial altar in the courtyard in front of the Temple Sanctuary, and then he kneeled down with his hands out stretched at shoulder height, palms upward and began, in the presence of the Assembly of Israel, to offer a prayer to Israel's God (see 1 Kng 8:54). In his prayer, Solomon prays on his own behalf, on behalf of the entire nation, and for the generations yet to come. Both the High Priest and the King are God's servants who are the intermediaries or covenant representatives between God and His covenant people. The High Priest is the people's religious intermediary and the King is the people's civil intermediary who enforces God's laws and is the people's emissary to foreign nations. Solomon then mentions God's covenant with David and David's descendants. It is an eternal covenant that is not conditional on the righteousness of the individual Davidic kings, but the blessings of Yahweh on each successive king is based on his obedience and faithfulness to his leadership role as God's righteous agent in serving God's people.
will God really live with human beings on earth?
Solomon then comes to a point in His prayer when he asks Yahweh a very interesting question. He asks if the God of the universe will really live among mankind on earth.
Question: He is referring to God dwelling above the Mercy-seat of the Ark of the Covenant, but for those of us on this side of salvation history the question is a dramatic foreshadowing of what event?
Answer: Solomon's question foreshadows the Incarnation of God the Son who came in His humanity to live among human beings.
King Solomon prays for the people of Israel
1 Kings 8:30-51 ~ King Solomon prayer
30 "Listen to the entreaty of your servant and of all your people Israel; whenever they pray in this place, listen from the place where you reside in heaven; and when you hear, forgive.
Solomon's prayer for the covenant people is composed of seven petitions. Each petition presents a condition of trial followed by the request for God's forgiveness and/or intervention:
Petition #1: 31 "If someone has wronged his neighbor and a curse is laid on him to make him swear an oath here before your altar in this Temple, then listen from the place where you reside in heaven and do justice between your servants: condemning the guilty one by making him suffer for his conduct, and acquitting the upright by rewarding him as his uprightness deserves."
Petition #2: "When your people Israel are defeated by the enemy because they have sinned against you, but then return to you and acknowledge your name, and pray and seek your favors in this Temple, 32 then listen from the place where you reside in heaven; forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the country which you gave to their ancestors."
Petition #3: 35 "When the heavens are shut and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray in this place and praise your name and, having been humbled by you, desist from their sin, 36 then listen from the place where you reside in heaven and forgive the sins of your servant and your people Israel, for you are constantly showing them the good way which they must follow, and send rain on your country, which you have given to your people as their heritage."
Petition #4: 37 "Should there be famine in the country, or pestilence, wind-blast or mildew, locust or caterpillar; should their enemy lay siege to one of their gates; should there be any plague or any disease: 38 whatever be the prayer or entreaty of the individual aware of a particular affliction: when that person stretches out their hands towards this Temple, 39 then listen from heaven where you reside, forgive and, since you know what is in the heart, deal with each as their conduct deserves, for you alone know what is in every human heart, 40 so that they may reverence you throughout their lives in the country which you gave to our ancestors."
Petition #5: 41 "Even the foreigner, not belonging to your people Israel but coming from a distant country, attracted by your name, 42 for they too will hear of your name, of your mighty hand and outstretched arm; of a foreigner comes and prays in this Temple, 43 listen from heaven where you reside, and grant all that the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may acknowledge your name and, like your people Israel, revere you and know that this Temple, which I have built, bears your name."
Petition #6: 44 "If your people go out to war against the enemy, on whatever mission you send them, and they pray to Yahweh, turning towards the city which you have chosen and towards the Temple which I have guilt for your name, 45 then listen from heaven to their prayer and their entreaty, and uphold their cause."
Petition #7: 46 "When they sin against you, for there is no one who does not sin, and you are angry with them and abandon them to the enemy, and their captors carry them off to a hostile country, be it far away or near, 47 if they come to their senses in the country to which they have been taken as captives and repent and entreat you in the country of their captors, saying, 'We have sinned, we have acted perversely and wickedly,' 48 and turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the country of the enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to you, turning towards the country which you gave to their ancestors, towards the city which you have chosen and towards the Temple which I have guilt for your name, 49 listen to their prayer and their entreaty from the place where you reside in heaven, uphold their case, 50 forgive your people for having sinned against you and for all the crimes against you of which they have been guilty, and allow them to arouse the pity of their captors so that these may have pity on them: 51 for they are your people and your heritage whom you brought out of Egypt, that iron foundry!"
The 7th petition reads like a prophecy of what will take place in the Assyrian exile in the 8th century BC and the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC. In exile in Babylon, the people will repent their sins and turn back to Yahweh. God will hear their pleas for mercy, and He will forgive them and return them to the land He gave them, as He promised through the prophet Isaiah (Is 40:1-11).
1 Kings 8:52-61 ~ The conclusion of Solomon's prayer
and the blessing of the people
52 "May your eyes be opened to the entreaty of your servant and the entreaty of your people Israel, to listen to them, whatever they ask of you. 53 For you it was who set them apart from all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, Lord Yahweh."
54 When Solomon had finished offering to Yahweh this whole prayer and entreaty, he rose from where he was kneeling with hands stretched out towards heaven before the altar of Yahweh, 55 and stood upright. And in a loud voice he blessed the whole assembly of Israel. 56 "Blessed be Yahweh," he said, "who has granted rest to his people Israel, keeping all his promises. Of all the promises of good that he made through his servant Moses, not one has failed. 57 May Yahweh our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he never desert us or cast us off. 58 May he turn our hearts towards him so that we may follow all his ways and keep the commandments and laws and ordinances which he gave to our ancestors. 59 May these words of mine, of my entreaty before Yahweh, be present with Yahweh our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of Israel his people, as each day requires, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may come to know that Yahweh is God indeed and that there is no other. 61 May your hearts be wholly with Yahweh our God, following his laws and keeping his commandments as at this present day."
Question: In his conclusion, of what does Solomon
remind Yahweh concerning His relationship with the children of Israel? See Ex 19:3-5.
Answer: Solomon reminds Yahweh that out of all the other nations of the earth, God chose the children of Israel to be His personal possession. They were chosen by divine election.
Question: According to Solomon's understanding of
the Sinai Covenant, what is the success of Israel's covenant relationship based
Answer: The success of the relationship with Yahweh is based on Israel's continuing obedience to God's laws and willingness to keep His commandments.
1 Kings 8:62-66 ~ The sacrifices on the Feast of
Sukkoth (Tabernacles) for the Temple dedication
62 The king and all Israel with him offered sacrifice before Yahweh. 63 Solomon offered a communion sacrifice of twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep to Yahweh; and thus the king and all the Israelites dedicated the Temple of Yahweh. 64 On the same day the king consecrated the middle part of the court in front of the Temple of Yahweh; for that was where he presented the burnt offerings, oblations and fatty parts of the communion sacrifices, since the bronze altar which stood before Yahweh was too small to hold the burnt offerings, oblations and the fatty parts of the communion sacrifice. 65 And then Solomon and with him all Israel from the Pass of Hamath to the Torrent of Egypt, a great assembly, celebrated the feast before Yahweh our God for seven days. 66 On the eighth day he dismissed the people, who bade farewell to the king and went home joyful and happy of heart over all the goodness which Yahweh had shown to his servant and his people Israel.
The dedication of the Temple is taking place in the early fall, after the harvest and on the feast day that was created to remember the dedication of the desert Sanctuary, on the pilgrim feast of Sukkoth/Tabernacles (also called Shelters or Booths). As you will recall, it was a seven day feast that every adult man of the covenant was required to attend with a Sacred Assembly on the eighth day (Lev 23:33-37; Num 28:12-16, 35; Dt 16:16; 2 Chr 8:13).
offered a communion sacrifice of twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and
twenty thousand sheep to Yahweh; and thus the king and all the Israelites
dedicated the Temple of Yahweh.
The many communion sacrifices were festival hagigah communion sacrifices offered on behalf of the people and were to be eaten in the city of Jerusalem in the presence of God as a sign of covenant unity and continuation. The eating of this sacred meal was reminiscent of the communion meal eaten by Israel's representatives on Mt. Sinai in the presence of God at the Sinai Covenant ratification ceremony (Ex 24:9-11). Every communion meal eaten during the annual feasts by the assembly of Israel as one family in God's presence took on this sacred character.
Question: What event took place that is recorded
in of 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 when Solomon finished his prayer began to offer the
sacrifices? What earlier historical events were repeated? What did this event
signify? See Lev 9:24.
Answer: When Solomon finished His prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices as the glory of God filled the Temple. This is similar to the event in the very first liturgical worship service at the desert Sanctuary when God also sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices. Both events signified God pleasure in the liturgy of worship that the covenant people offered Him.
1 Kings 9:1-9 ~ Yahweh appears a second time to
1 When Solomon had finished building the Temple of Yahweh, the royal palace and everything else which Solomon had wanted to do, 2 Yahweh appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 Yahweh said to him, "I have heard your prayer and the entreaty which you have before me. I consecrate this temple which you have built: I place my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there always. 4 For your part, if you walk before me in innocence of heart and in honesty, like your father David, if you do everything that I command and keep my laws and my ordinances, 5 I shall make your royal throne secure over Israel for ever, as I promised your father David when I said, 'You will never lack for a man on the throne of Israel.' 6 But if you turn away from me, either you or your descendants, and instead of keeping my commandments and laws which I have laid down for you, you go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I shall banish Israel from the country which I have given them, and shall disown this Temple which I have consecrated for my name, and Israel will be a proverb and a by word among all peoples. 8 As for this once-exalted Temple, everyone who passes by will be appalled, and they will whistle and say, 'Why has Yahweh treated this country and this Temple like this?' 9 And the answer will be 'Because they deserted Yahweh their God who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshipped and served them; that is why Yahweh has brought all these disasters on them.'"
In the twenty-fourth year of Solomon's reign, when all
the building projects were completed, Yahweh appeared to Solomon a second time
to reaffirm the Davidic Covenant that God promised David. However, Yahweh also
gave Solomon a very stern warning concerning the conditions that would allow an
unbroken line of Davidic kings to rule over Israel and for God's continuing protection
of His Temple.
Question: What were those conditions and what were the promised consequences for failure?
Answer: His successors must faithfully keep God's laws and ordinances. Failure to keep the laws outlined in the Ten Commandments and enumerated in the expanded law of the Torah, especially the command not to worship other gods, would result in:
It is a dire warning for both Israel's kings and the covenant people as a whole. David was a model king of God's people in his role as the shepherd who guides and prays for his people. His submission to the will of God for his life, his praise for God, and his humble repentance when he sinned became a model for kingship and for the prayers of the people in the beautiful psalms, many of which are attributed to David. As God's "anointed" representative, David's song of praise for Yahweh (2 Sam 22:1-51) and his last words (2 Sam 23:1-7) express a loving and joyful trust in God who David acknowledges as the only God and the only King and Lord. His descendants, even Solomon, will not live up to his model of servant kingship.
Questions for reflection or group discussion:
Solomon offered multiple communion sacrifices from the herd and flock to feed the people attending the Temple dedication during the Feast of Sukkoth (Tabernacles/Shelters). The observance of a meal to celebrate the intimacy of fellowship was an established tradition in the ancient world. It was a sign that those who had eaten or "broken bread" together and consumed a common substance had a mutual relationship. Likewise, for people in a covenant relationship with God, fellowship (communion) with God was celebrated in a sacred meal of thanksgiving that was a symbol of covenant union and continuation. Under the Sinai Covenant there were several different categories of communion meals including the festival communion offerings called the hagigah, the covenant people's sacred meals of the Passover victim consumed on the first night of the feast of Unleavened Bread within the holy city of Jerusalem, and the Todah ("thanksgiving" in Hebrew) communion offering that was only eaten by members of the covenant within the Temple precincts in the presence of God. See the document "The Church's Thanksgiving Feast".
Question: What is the sacred communion meal of covenant continuation that the New Covenant family eats in the presence of God? What are the similarities and the differences between the Old Covenant communion meals and the New Covenant communion meal of the Eucharist?
Question: How do you view the significance of your participation in the New Covenant sacred meal of thanksgiving?
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2014 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.