Our study of God’s Word brings us to two parallel chapters in the Bible, 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 2 (We will conclude our readings of the Proverbs in a few days, but chronologically we are returning to the history of Israel in the time of King Solomon.)
You might remember both I and II Kings were written in the post-Davidic era, but before the Babylonian exile. The Chronicles (the first and second books) are believed to have been composed after Israel returned from exile. (Many scholars suggest they were the work of Ezra, inspired and preserved by God, 2 Peter 1:21). In an earlier devotion, I suggested the Book of the Kings gives us the human perspective on Israel’s history, while the Book of the Chronicles reflects God’s perspective on His chosen people.
Returning to our study of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, we find Solomon setting his heart to build the Temple as he had been commanded by God. As a nation, Israel was at peace with her neighbors, and the wealth of the kingdom was unprecedented. David had longed to build a house for the LORD, but because his hands were bloodied from war, God had denied him the opportunity to build His Temple. Thus, the closing years of David’s life had been spent preparing his son, Solomon to build the Temple, while he dedicated himself to setting in store the gold, silver, and brass implements that would be utilized in the daily Temple worship.
After ascending the throne of Israel, Hiram, king of Tyre (a coastal city to the north of Israel, and in an area known today as Lebanon), sent ambassadors to Solomon to congratulate his anointing as king (5:1). The king of Tyre had been a dear friend of David, and had supplied timber for the king’s palace in Jerusalem.
Solomon wasted no time in petitioning for timber and workmen from Hiram’s kingdom, and requested the king might send him his finest artisans to assist in preparing the wood and stones required for constructing the Temple (5:2-7). Hiram agreed to Solomon’s request, and the two kings set terms for the goods and materials he had requested (5:8-18).
1 Kings 6 gives us the time Solomon began to build the Temple (6:1, 37-38), its dimensions (6:2-3), and design, including its windows (6:4), rooms (6:5-10), walls, floors (6:15-18), and doors (6:31-35). The extraordinary beauty of the carvings in the walls and floors overlaid with gold are detailed (6:15, 18, 21-22). Within the “oracle” (the Holy of Holies where the “ark of the covenant of the LORD” rested), Solomon placed two carved cherubim (estimated at nearly fifteen feet in height), their wings outstretched, spanning the breadth of the hall, each gilded with gold (6:19-28). With the foundation of the Temple laid in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, the construction of the Temple was completed in the eleventh year (6:37-38).
Closing thoughts – Together, the accounts of the construction of the Temple remind us the central focus of Israel was the LORD, and the beauty and presence of His house was a perpetual reminder of God’s presence in the midst of His people. Care was taken to sanctify, and dedicate every step in the process of building the Temple. All the labor and preparation of the materials used in the construction were cut and prepared outside of the Temple Mount, and then transported to be placed intact without the need or the noise of a hammer or axe in the holy city (6:7;Proverbs 24:27).
It was the desire of the LORD to bless Israel; but we are reminded the fulfillment of His promises was conditioned upon the people obeying His Laws and keeping His commandments (6:12). If Israel would obey Him, the LORD promised He would never forsake them (6:13).
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith