Scripture reading – 1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 2

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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.)

 

Review

 

You might remember both I and II Kings were written in the post-Davidic era but before the Babylonian captivity. 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 and inspired and preserved by God, 2 Peter 1:21.) In an earlier devotion, I suggested the Books of the Kings give the human perspective on Israel’s history, and the Books of the Chronicles record God’s perspective on His chosen people.

As we return to our study of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, we find Solomon setting his heart to build the Temple as the LORD had commanded. Israel was at peace with her neighbors as a nation, and the kingdom’s wealth was unprecedented. David had longed to build a house for the LORD, but because his hands were bloodied from war, God denied him the opportunity to build His Temple. Thus, the closing years of David’s life were spent preparing his son, Solomon, to build the Temple. At the same time, the elderly king dedicated himself to storing the gold, silver, and brass implements that would be utilized in the daily Temple worship.

Blessed with the gift of wisdom that excelled all men (1 Kings 4:29-34), Solomon set his heart on constructing the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 5).

 

After Solomon ascended the throne of Israel, Hiram, king of Tyre (a coastal city in an area of today’s Lebanon), sent ambassadors to the young king and congratulated his anointing as king (1 Kings 5:1). The king of Tyre had been a dear friend of David’s and supplied timber for the king’s palace in Jerusalem.

Solomon wasted no time and petitioned Hiram for timber and workers, including Tyre’s finest artisans, to assist in preparing the wood and stones required for constructing the Temple (1 Kings 5:2-7). Hiram agreed to Solomon’s request, and the two kings set terms for his requested goods and materials (1 Kings 5:8-18).

 

The Design and Dimensions of the Temple (1 Kings 6:1-18)

1 Kings 6 gives us the time Solomon began to build the Temple (1 Kings 6:1, 37-38), its dimensions (1 Kings 6:2-3), and design, including its windows (1 Kings 6:4), rooms (1 Kings 6:5-10), walls, floors (1 Kings 6:15-18), and doors (1 Kings 6:31-35). The extraordinary beauty of the carvings on the walls and floors overlaid with gold are detailed (1 Kings 6:15, 18, 21-22).

 

The Holy of Holies, its Cherubim and Doors (1 Kings 6:19-38)

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 beautifully covered with gold (1 Kings 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 (1 Kings 6:37-38).

You will notice that 2 Chronicles 2 gives similar details to the preparations and building of the Temple. Thousands of workers were employed in the construction (2 Chronicles 2:17-18).

Closing thoughts

 

Taken together, the accounts of the construction of the Temple remind us the central focus of Israel was the LORD. The beauty and presence of His house on Mount Zion was a perpetual reminder of God’s presence amid His people. Care was taken to sanctify and dedicate every step in building the Temple. All the labor and preparation of the materials used in the construction were cut and prepared outside of the Temple Mount, then transported and placed intact without the need or the noise of a hammer or axe in the holy city (1 Kings 6:7; Proverbs 24:27).

The LORD desired to bless Israel, but we are reminded the fulfillment of His promises was conditioned upon the people obeying His Laws and keeping His commandments (1 Kings 6:12). If Israel obeyed Him, the LORD promised He would never forsake them (1 Kings 6:13).

 

Questions to consider –

1) What was forbidden on the Temple Mount during the construction of the Temple? (1 Kings 6:7)

2) What type of timber was used in building the Temple? (1 Kings 6:9-10)

3) What did God promise David and his son Solomon if Israel obeyed His law and commandments? (1 Kings 6:12-13)

4) What symbols were carved into the wood of the Temple? (1 Kings 6:29-35)

5) How many years did it take to complete the Temple? (1 Kings 6:38)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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