Through the Bible Day by Day
And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
THE PLAN OF THE LORD’S HOUSE
The Temple was twice the size of the Tabernacle-ninety feet long by thirty feet broad, and forty-five feet high. The plan had been given to David by revelation, 1Ch_28:11-12. Seven years and a half were consumed in its erection. It was completed in sacred silence, 1Ki_6:7. The awful sanctity of the shrine would have been violated if its construction had been marred by the harsh and violent sounds that generally accompany the mason’s toil. “Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang.” In nature, God works so silently that we do not realize His activities.
The central motive was to provide a place worthy to be called the house of God. Israel was now ruled by a king, but he was viewed as the organ and instrument of Jehovah. It was fitting, therefore, that the King of kings should have a dwelling-place among the people of Israel. The tabernacle of God was with men. He dwelled with them on the earth. The Temple was, moreover, the type, first of the body of Jesus, Joh_2:21; then of each believer, 1Co_3:16; and lastly of the whole Church, Eph_2:21-22. Each of these is the dwelling-place of God, and the innermost chamber-the Holy of Holies-is meant to be the throne-room of the Shekinah of His presence, Lev_16:2.
BREAKING THREE COMMANDMENTS
1Ki_21:1-29; 1Ki_1:1-53; 1Ki_2:1-46; 1Ki_3:1-28; 1Ki_4:1-34; 1Ki_5:1-18; 1Ki_6:1-38; 1Ki_7:1-51; 1Ki_8:1-66; 1Ki_9:1-28; 1Ki_10:1-29; 1Ki_11:1-43; 1Ki_12:1-33; 1Ki_13:1-34; 1Ki_14:1-31; 1Ki_15:1-34; 1Ki_16:1-34
From a worldly point of view Naboth might have done a good stroke of business by selling his estate to. Ahab. A royal price and assured favor might have been his-but he had a conscience! Above the persuasive tones of the monarch’s offer sounded the voice of God: “The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine.” See Lev_25:23; Num_36:7; Eze_46:18.
Ahab knew perfectly well that Jezebel could not give him the property of another except by foul means, but he took pains not to inquire. Though the direct orders for Naboth’s death did not come from him, yet, by his silence, he was an accomplice and an accessory; and divine justice penetrates all such specious excuses. God holds us responsible for wrongs which we do not arrest, though we have the power. The crime was blacker because of the pretext of religion, as suggested by a fast. See also 2Ki_9:26. The blood of murdered innocence cries to God, and his requital, though delayed, is inevitable. See Rev_6:9-10.
So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
THE ORACLE IN THE MIDST
In the Temple the general design of the Tabernacle was perpetuated by the division between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, but there were several additions. For instance, there was a lofty porch in front of the Temple, beneath which the priests passed to the entrance. Also, on the other three sides were rooms, built one above the other in three stories. They were needed for storage purposes.
Inside no stones were visible-all was of gilded cedar, olive, and cypress wood, variously carved and tapestried by embroidered hangings. It was “exceeding magnificent.” The Holy of Holies was plunged in darkness, save as the Shekinah shone from the mercy-seat over the Ark and between the cherubim. Over this venerable relic of the Wilderness pilgrimage, Solomon set up two cherubim. Each was ten cubits high, and their outstretched wings, which touched each other above the Ark, also touched the walls on either side. These symbolized the highest forms of creature-life, reverently attendant upon their Creator.
And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
CARVED; OVERLAID; FINISHED
The meaning of 1Ki_6:31 is uncertain. We gather that the door of the inner shrine was made of wild-olive wood and in two parts, and that it occupied a fifth of the cedar partition which separated the two chambers. This wooden door was carved with cherubim, palm-trees, and open flowers, and was overlaid with gold. One part was always open, but the interior was concealed from view by a veil of blue, purple, and crimson, 2Ch_3:14. In front of this were hung festoons of golden chains. Thus it was signified that the way into the Holiest was not then open. But we have boldness to enter, through the new and living way which Jesus consecrated for us. The surrendered will, the cleansed life, the meek and humble faith-these are the path, Heb_10:19-20.
The erection occupied seven and a half years, and the completed Temple stood for upward of four centuries, until destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The construction of character, after God’s ideal, may take long, but it advances to completion. First the stone, hewn with difficulty; then cedar and olive; lastly gold.