Solomon Builds His Palace
1 It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace.
Seven years for the temple. But 13 years for his own place.
2 He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high (that is, about 150 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high), with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. 3 It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row.
So much magnificent cedar wood from Lebanon was used to build Solomon’s palace that they called it the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Walking in the richly paneled walls of the palace was like walking in a forest! The forty-five pillars set in the House of the Forest of Lebanon also gave the impression of being in a majestic forest. 1 Kings 10:16-17 mentions 500 gold shields that were hung in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Isaiah specifically called this building an armory in Isaiah 22:8.
4 Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other. 5 All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other.
6 He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide (that is, about 75 feet long and 45 feet wide). In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.
7 He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. 8 And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.
9 All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and smoothed on their inner and outer faces. 10 The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits (about 15 feet) and some eight (about 12 feet). 11 Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams. 12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the LORD with its portico.
When you travel in old Europe today, you often come to magnificent cathedrals. These amazing building were mostly built hundreds of years ago at great labor and cost to poor people who could never dream of living in such spectacular places. When their most magnificent buildings were churches, it said something about their values. When Solomon made his palace more spectacular than the temple, it said something about his values. Our most magnificent buildings in the modern world — usually given over to business, shopping, or entertainment — say something about our values.
The Temple’s Furnishings
13 King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, 14 whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze (which is to say, he had a Jewish mother and a Gentile father). Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.
Perhaps the pillars were meant to remind Israel of the twin pillars from the Exodus. The pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day were constant reminders of the presence of God in the wilderness.
15 He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference (that is, about 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference). 16 He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits (that is, about 7 1/2 feet) high. 17 A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. 18 He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. 19 The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits (that is, about 6 feet) high. 20 On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. 21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin (Jakin probably means he establishes) and the one to the north Boaz (Boaz probably means in him is strength). 22 The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.
It was used by priests for cleansing their hands and feet and perhaps also to supply water to the standing basins for the rinsing of offerings.
23 He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits (that is, about 45 feet)to measure around it. 24 Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.
25 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. 26 It was a handbreadth (that is, about 3 inches) in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths (that is, about 12,000 gallons).
27 He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high (that is, about 6 feet long and wide and about 4 1/2 feet high). 28 This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. 29 On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. 30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side. 31 On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep (that is, about 18 inches). This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half (that is, about 2 1/4 feet). Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. 32 The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. 33 The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal.
34 Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. 35 At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit (about 9 inches) deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. 36 He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. 37 This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.
38 He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths (that is, about 240 gallons) and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. 39 He placed five of the stands on the south side of the temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the temple. 40 He also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls.
(I know you can’t read the words, but the cut-away does help give a general idea.)
So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the LORD:
41 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);
43 the ten stands with their ten basins;
44 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
45 the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.
All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the temple of the LORD were of burnished bronze. 46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.
48 Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the LORD’s temple:
2 Chronicles 1:15 (NLT)
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.
the golden altar;
the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence;
49 the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary);
the gold floral work and lamps and tongs;
50 the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers;
and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple.
51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple.
HERE, from the Brahms Requiem. The text of “How lovely is thy dwelling place” comes from Psalm 84.