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1 Kings 6

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Introduction

After consolidating his reign and cementing his relationships with the surrounding kingdoms, Solomon turned his attention to the task that his father was unable to perform.

It was David’s desire to build a temple in Jerusalem for the Lord.

He wrote:
Psalm 27:4 NKJV
One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
The LORD knew David’s heart.
David was zealous for the Lord.
He wrote in :
Psalm 69:7–9 LEB
Because on account of you I have borne reproach; disgrace has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers and a foreigner to my mother’s sons, because the zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those reproaching you have fallen on me.
David was certainly zealous for the Lord … and of course this verse also prophetically looks forward to Christ’s zeal for God.
But for our purposes, David was zealous to build a house for the Lord.
But in , God told David that he would NOT be the one to build the Temple.
Instead, the Word of the Lord came to Nathan the prophet saying that the LORD would build David a house.
The LORD was speaking of the establishing of an everlasting kingdom through David … that is, the Messiah would eventually come through his line.
And indeed, Jesus Christ came through the line of David.
As for the direct reason that the LORD did not permit David to build the Tabernacle, 1 Chronicles sheds some light on that.
There, David is speaking to his son, Solomon, and he says:
NKJV
1 Chronicles 22:7–9 NKJV
And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.
Long story short, the Lord knew David’s heart but made it clear that He had other plans for David.
And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.
Long story short, the Lord knew David’s heart but made it clear that He had other plans for David.
• God used David to fight wars … to expand and defend the borders of the kingdom of Israel, and to establish the administration of Israel.
• Solomon, the man of peace, was God’s choice to build the temple.
And, as we saw last week, even though he could not build the temple himself, David did everything he could to pull together materials that would be needed, and prepare Solomon for this task and encourage him.
And as we have seen so far in 1 Kings, Solomon started out zealous for the LORD.
But as we know his zeal would falter as he later went after foreign gods.
----

Now, with our current chapter, we are 4 years after Solomon came to the throne and 480 years after the Exodus.

It is likely that the reference to the Exodus here is not the moment Israel walked out of Egypt, but when the Tabernacle was built.
And it’s interesting then that 480 years would also pass between Solomon’s construction of this Temple and 3408 when the Second Temple was built after the Babylonian exile.

The closing years of David’s reign had been tumultuous, but it was after 4 years of Solomon’s reign that the pre-requisite tranquility for building the temple was established in the land.

It was also during the 4 years that Solomon made his arrangements with Hiram king of Tyre as we talked about last week … and assembled the labor force.
The architectural plans for the temple were provided to Solomon by King David.
Torah tradition says that these plans were given to David by the prophets Gad and Nathan.
But scripture is somewhat ambiguous about this.
The best I can find is where David says to Solomon:
1 Chronicles 28:19 LEB
“All this I give you in writing; from the hand of Yahweh he instructed me about all the workings of this plan.”
1 Chronicles 28:19 NKJV
“All this,said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.”
David may have meant he received this from Yahweh by the prophets.
In fact, the phrase, “From the (yad) HAND of Yahweh” seems to indicate that God was speaking not directly to David, but through His prophets.
The general plan of the Temple was similar to the Tabernacle.
But it was much larger and one has to conceded that it was different in many details.
Of course, it was not mobile like the Tabernacle had been.
Israel was now established and settled firmly in the land.
So, it was built on the plot of land that David purchased from Araunah (Aran-yah).
Speaking of which, let’s consider that point.
----

Something that I want us to remember is that despite David’s zeal for the Lord, he was not by any means sinless.

In fact, most Biblically literate Christians can think of David’s two greatest sins that are recorded in scripture.

Most people would say that those were:
His adultery with Bathsheba, resulting in the murder of Uriah
And David’s taking a census of the people.
What were David’s two greatest sins? Most people would reply, “His adultery with Bathsheba and his taking a census of the people,” and their answers would be correct. As a result of his sin of numbering the people, David purchased property on Mount Moriah where he built an altar and worshiped the Lord (). David married Bathsheba and God gave them a son whom they named Solomon (). Now we have Solomon building a temple on David’s property on Mount Moriah! God took the consequences of David’s two worst sins—a piece of property and a son—and built a temple! “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (, nkjv). This isn’t an encouragement for us to sin, because David paid dearly for both of those transgressions, but it is an encouragement to us go on serving God after we’ve repented and confessed our sins. Satan wants us to think that all is lost, but the God of all grace is still at work ().
But think about this … records that a result of his sin of numbering the people was that David purchased property on Mount Moriah where he built an altar and worshiped the Lord.
And then remember that David married Bathsheba and God gave them a son whom they named Solomon.
So, now we have Solomon building a temple on David’s property on Mount Moriah.
It’s not an excuse for sin.
After all, Paul wrote, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!”
Do not read below:
Romans 6:1–2 NKJV
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Romans 6:1 NKJV
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
But it does demonstrate how God is sovereign.
God took the consequences of David’s two worst sins—a piece of property and a son—and built a temple!
Which might then remind us of another thing Paul wrote, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”
Do not read below:
Romans 5:20 NKJV
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
(, nkjv).
This isn’t an encouragement for us to sin, because David paid dearly for both of those transgressions, but it is an encouragement to us go on serving God after we’ve repented and confessed our sins.
Satan wants us to think that all is lost, but the God of all grace is still at work.
As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:
1 Peter 5:10 NKJV
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
().
Let’s stop here and pray and then we’ll dig into the chapter.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for everyone here this evening. Thank You that You know each of us by name and have caused us to walk with You. Lord, we open up Your word desiring to hear from You ... not man's word or wisdom, but Your Words and Wisdom. Please soften our hearts to receive from You.

v1-6

Since the months of the Jewish calendar are counted from Nissan (the month of Passover), Ziv is the 2nd month.

The word ziv means “brilliance, splendor.”

This name is tied to the blossoming of the trees during this time of year.
Solomon chose to begin this work then because the rainy season was over, making the work easier, but also enabling the mortar to dry.

The Temple building had 2 sections.

There was the inner Holy of Holies and the outer Sanctuary (Holy Place).

In regard to measurements … The ancient world had a “short cubit” or “common cubit” of almost eighteen inches and a “long cubit” of almost twenty-one inches.

says that the length used for the Temple was, “according to the former measure.”
Do not read below:
2 Chronicles 3:3 NKJV
This is the foundation which Solomon laid for building the house of God: The length was sixty cubits (by cubits according to the former measure) and the width twenty cubits.
This speaks of the common cubit of almost 18 inches.
The tent of the original tabernacle was 45 feet by 15 feet with a height of about 7 feet.
The structure of Solomon’s Temple was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high.
90 feet is about the length of a Brachiosaurus or a Blue Whale.
90 feet is just shy of the width between the fingertips of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro.
But perhaps the easiest way for us to see it is on a football field … it would be about the size of the red rectangle here.
MEDIA - Football field
These dimensions do not include the vestibule (porch) and the courtyard, but this puts a little perspective on it.
The porch was 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep at the front of the temple, and a courtyard for the priests surrounded the sanctuary.
A porch thirty feet wide and fifteen feet deep stood at the front of the temple, and a courtyard for the priests surrounded the sanctuary. It was separated from an outer courtyard by a wall composed of stone blocks and wood (v. 36; ). calls the court of the priests “the upper courtyard,” which suggests that it stood higher than the outer courtyard. The doors of the temple faced east, as did the gate of the tabernacle.

As verse 36 and tell us, it was separated from an outer courtyard by a wall composed of stone blocks and wood.

calls the court of the priests “the upper courtyard,” which suggests that it stood higher than the outer courtyard.
Do not read below:
Jeremiah 36:10 NKJV
Then Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house, in the hearing of all the people.

Verse 4 speaks of windows with beveled frames.

Above the Holy of Holies and the Sanctuary, the height was 45 feet.
Jewish commentaries say that these windows were larger on the outside and narrowed on the inside.
At the entrance,
It showed that the house of God not needing the light from the outside.
But it also showed the light from the inside fanning out to the outside.
In the Tabernacle, the only light was from the Menorah, which spoke of Christ being the light of the world.
This same idea carried over into the Temple.
There were also chambers all around the walls of the temple, surrounding the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies.
These chambers were used for storage and for work spaces.
The doors of the temple faced east, as did the gate of the tabernacle.
What is called the inner sanctuary here is also known as the Holy of Holies.
But the Hebrew word that is used here is Debir which means, “Word.”
This is because the Word of God emanated from there.
----

The side chambers had 3 floors.

The lowest rooms were the smallest with the rooms growing larger with each higher floor.

This was because Solomon had the walls built thicker at the base, growing narrower with each story.
This strange design allowed the enclosing of the temple within a “cedarwood crate” meaning Solomon could use few beams which would detract from the beauty inside.
Now, scripture does not say how many individual cells there were, but the Jewish commentary puts the number at 38:
15 along the north and south sides … that’s 5 on each level.
8 along the west side … 3 on the lower levels and 2 on top.

v7-10

As we talked about last week, the stones were finished at the quarry so that the chiseling was not heard in the temple while it was being built.

› Do not read below:
NKJV
1 Kings 6:7 NKJV
And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.
And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.
This corresponds with the Torah instruction of :
This corresponds with the Torah instruction of :
Exodus 20:25 NKJV
And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.
NKJV
So then, this rule seems to have been considered tempered by doing the work at the quarry rather than at the temple site.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
So then, this rule seems to have been considered tempered by doing the work at the quarry rather than at the temple site.
The Mishnah elaborates on this with the saying, “The Altar is intended to prolong man’s life and iron is used to shorten man’s life. It is not fitting that the shortener should be applied against the lengthener.”
Whatever the case, this kind of long distance work would make things much more difficult.
Masons used large picks (weighing thirty or thirty-five pounds) for quarrying the stone and smaller picks (weighing twelve or fifteen pounds) for the shaping of the stone.
As you can imagine this would raise quite a ruckus.
In addition, many of the stones were huge … 16 to 20 feet at the foundation of the Temple and close to 600 tons in weight.
So cutting the stones exactly so that they fit when they arrived to the temple site, and transporting these stones, things had to be planned out and organized just right.
So the noise of this work was kept from the Temple site, and the scrap from chiseling would not corrupt the Temple grounds.
Also to haul stones as large as that would be an incredible undertaking.
But the plans called for it.
Now, there are those that say that no iron tools were used at all to quarry the stone.
So people may have been tempted to cut them into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Archaeology in other areas of the world has demonstrated that this is possible using different forces such as using water to cause wood inserted into crevices to expand and break the stone, as well as heat and cold.
So then, this work would demand careful planning and expert supervision.
The doors of the temple faced east, as did the gate of the tabernacle before it.
With 8, we move on to the access of the temple.
The doors of the temple faced east, as did the gate of the tabernacle.
But on the south side there was a doorway entering into the rooms of the lower story.
The second and third stories were reached by means of a spiral staircase.

v11-13

This message from the LORD to Solomon is kind of interjected into the description of the building of the Temple.

We don’t know who brought this message to Solomon … scripture does not tell us.

Nor does the text say when it was delivered.
We know from the text of the Lord’s message that Solomon was already building the Temple … it says, “Concerning this temple which you are building.”
The building was a difficult and no doubt taxing task for Solomon.
So, perhaps the LORD sent His Word to the king at a time when he was discouraged.
but the Lord sent His Word to the king at a time when he was either discouraged with the building program or (more likely) starting to become proud of what he was accomplishing. The Lord reminded Solomon, as He must constantly remind us, that He’s not impressed with our work if our walk isn’t obedient to Him. What He wants is an obedient heart (). God would fulfill His promises to David and Solomon (), not because Solomon built the temple but because he obeyed the Word of the Lord. A similar warning was included in the covenant God gave Moses in , so it was not a new revelation to Solomon. This was the second time God spoke to Solomon about obedience (see 3:5ff), and He would speak to him about it again after the dedication of the temple (9:3–9).
Or perhaps Solomon was starting to become proud of what he was accomplishing.
In this message, the LORD reminded Solomon, of the covenant made with his father, David.
The Lord reminded Solomon, as He must constantly remind us, that He’s not impressed with our work if our walk isn’t obedient to Him. What He wants is an obedient heart (). God would fulfill His promises to David and Solomon (), not because Solomon built the temple but because he obeyed the Word of the Lord. A similar warning was included in the covenant God gave Moses in , so it was not a new revelation to Solomon. This was the second time God spoke to Solomon about obedience (see 3:5ff), and He would speak to him about it again after the dedication of the temple (9:3–9).
And what the LORD is describing is finishing with the zeal Solomon had at the beginning.
But notice how daunting these things are … the building of the temple sure seemed daunting.
But consider all the “ifs” here … If you walk in my statutes.
If you execute my judgments … keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will perform my word with you.
What’s more daunting, building the Temple or keeping all the commandments?
These are essentially the same promises of the Old Covenant made to Israel at Sinai.
Now, these verses with this message from the LORD are not present in the LXX.
This is probably included here, perhaps originally, perhaps inserted at some point, as a reminder of the spiritual conditions on which the presence of God will dwell with His people.
And even as Solomon was pouring such riches into it’s construction, God reminds them that the Temple would endure only if he and the nation of Israel remained obedient to God.

Now, take a moment and compare this with what we have through Christ today.

All these things are type and shadow of a heavenly, spiritual reality.

Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets and all who receive Christ are made righteous in Him, not by works … but by God’s grace through faith.
And at salvation, God’s Holy Spirit indwells us and seals us to salvation … which cannot be lost.
So then we don’t have to build a Temple or construct a beautiful church building.
Instead, we are the church.
Christ is the cornerstone, the apostles and prophets are the foundation and believers are the stones that make up the spiritual building.
And there are no longer the “ifs” that came with the law.
----

Back to our text, God would fulfill His promises to David and Solomon, but not because Solomon built the temple.

Rather, because he obeyed the Word of the Lord.

A similar warning was included in the covenant God gave Moses in .
So then, this was not something new for Solomon.
God spoke to Solomon about obedience back in chapter 3, so this was the 2nd time.
And God would speak to him about it again after the dedication of the temple (as we will see later in chapter 9.)

v14-35

When the basic building was completed, the workers focused on the inside of the temple.

Of course, the inside was the most important part, because it was inside that the priests carried out the ministry of the Lord.

Since Solomon intended to cover the inside of the Temple with gold, he had to cover the stone walls with wood.
We are dealing with the sanctuary (or Holy Place) … and will get to the Most Holy Place in a minute.
As we know, Solomon used cedar wood.
The cedars of Lebanon were very tall, and cedar wood repels insects, resist rot, and has a nice scent.
Verse 18 and 29 say that on these boards were carved with figures of cherubim, palm trees, ornamental buds, and open flowers.
repel insects, resist rot, and had a favorable aroma.
But for the floor, Solomon chose cypress because the boards could be broader and the wood is harder and heavier … better suited for the floor.
He also overlaid the floor with gold.
----

After that, work moved on to the Holy of Holies, which was a 20 cubit area.

Now we get to the Holy of Holies, which was a 20 cubit area.

This whole room from ceiling to floor was paneled with cedar boards, overlaid with gold.

The interior walls from ceiling to floor were paneled with cedar boards, overlaid with gold (v. 22), on which were carved open flowers and gourds, and the floor was covered with planks of pine (or fir), also overlaid with gold (vv. 15 and 30). A pair of beautifully carved folding doors led into the Holy Place from the court of the priests (vv. 31–35). Like the cherubim, these doors were made of olive wood covered with gold, and they even had hinges of gold (7:50). Golden chains hung across the outside of the doors (v. 21).
Between the Holy of Holies and the Sanctuary, was the beautiful veil that separated the rooms.
2 Chronicles 3:14 NKJV
And he made the veil of blue, purple, crimson, and fine linen, and wove cherubim into it.
This created a room that square and another room that was rectangular.
2 Chronicles 3:14
The square room was the Holy of Holies.
The rectangular room was the sanctuary.
This is just how it was with the Tabernacle, only on a smaller scale.
off the Holy of Holies, also called the Most Holy Place (2 Chron. 3:10). This created a room that was a cube, measuring thirty feet on every side (v. 20). In the tabernacle of Moses, the Holy of Holies was also a cube, but it measured only fifteen feet per side. In fact, the dimensions of the temple were twice those of the tabernacle—ninety feet by thirty feet as opposed to forty-five feet by fifteen feet. The walls of the Holy of Holies were paneled with cedar wood and covered with gold, and the floor was made of gold-plated fir planks. Even the nails used in the Holy of Holies were plated with gold. It was in the Holy of Holies that the Ark of the Covenant was kept.
Like the sanctuary, the floor of the Holy of Holies was made of gold-plated cypress planks.
Even the nails used in the Holy of Holies were plated with gold.
In verse 19, where it reads “inner sanctuary” again it is that word debir.
The thing is, that word is used for both the Holy of Holies and the veil that isolated the room.
So, we have to look at context, and the context here could be argued to mean either.
So, either this is meaning Solomon prepared the veil so the ark could be placed in the room.
Or this is introducing the finishing touches he made to complete the room.
It was in the Holy of Holies that the Ark of the Covenant was kept.
This is what gave the room it’s extra level of sanctity above the rest of the Temple and why it was the place where the Kohen Gadol could only enter only once a year.
The Ark of the Covenant represented the throne of God who was “enthroned between the cherubim” as reads.
Do not read below:
Psalm 80:1 NIV84
Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
(NIV84) Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
The ark was a wooden chest covered in gold, 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high.
1 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
It was a wooden chest, forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. Because the two tables of the law were in the Ark, it was also called “the Ark of the Testimony” (). Across the top of the Ark was a golden “mercy seat,” and at each end was a cherub made of olive wood and covered with gold. The cherubim were fifteen feet high and their wings were fifteen feet across, so that as the Ark sat in the Holy of Holies, the four wings reached from wall to wall. (See vv. 23–28 and and 37:1–9). Once a year, the high priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat and thus cover the sins of the people for another year ().
Because the two tables of the law were in the Ark, it was also called “the Ark of the Testimony.”
Across the top of the Ark was a golden “mercy seat,” and at each end was a cherub made of olive wood and covered with gold.
Also in this chamber were another two large sculptures of cherubim, facing the entrance, to the east.
The combined wingspan of the cherubim was 20 cubits, reaching across the width of the Holy of Holies.
Just outside of the veil was the altar of incense and this is the altar spoken of in verse 20.
Just outside of the veil was the altar of incense and this is the altar spoken of in verse 20.

v31-35

Two doors were placed at the entrance of the Temple from the court of the priests.

The court of the priests where the altar and laver were set and sacrifice was conducted.

Outside of that was the great court, where the people came to pray.
And outside of that was the court of the women.
And outside that was the court of the Gentiles.
The doors into the Temple were carved folding doors and they led directly into the Holy Place from the porch.
Like the cherubim, these doors were made of olive wood covered with gold.
Chapter 7 says that even the hinges were covered in gold.
And verse 21 of our chapter even says there were Golden chains hung across the outside of the doors.
----

Hiram, king of Tyre, cast two large pillars of bronze, each 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference.

These were free standing, and further tells us that these pillars were hollow.

Do not read below:
Jeremiah 52:21 NKJV
Now concerning the pillars: the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, a measuring line of twelve cubits could measure its circumference, and its thickness was four fingers; it was hollow.
And in chapter 25 of 2 Kings, we learn that four foot high ornately decorated bronze capitals were set on top of each pillar.
They were comprised of an inverted bowl, lotus petals, and a network or interwoven chain of pomegranates.
Do not read below:
2 Kings 25:17 NKJV
The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the capital on it was of bronze. The height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around the capital were all of bronze. The second pillar was the same, with a network.
2 Kings 25:17
We’ll see next week in chapter 7 that the two pillars were named “Jachin” (meaning “He will establish”) and “Boaz” (“in Him is strength”).
A decorative capital four feet high rested on top of each pillar (). It was comprised of an inverted bowl, lotus petals, and a network or interwoven chain of pomegranates. The two pillars were named “Jachin” (“he establishes”) and “Boaz” (“in him is strength”) and they stood outside the entrance to the Holy Place, Jachin to the north and Boaz to the south. The “he” in these definitions surely refers to God, and the pillars bore witness to the Jewish people that it was God who established their nation and Israel’s faith in Jehovah was the source of their strength. Some see in this a reference to David’s dynasty, established by God () and continued by Him.
They stood outside the entrance to the Holy Place, Jachin to the north and Boaz to the south.
The “he” in these definitions refers to God, and the pillars bore witness to the Jewish people that it was God who established their nation and Israel’s faith in Him was the source of their strength.
So, Solomon completed the Temple over 7 years.
This is repetitive … and probably so that the reader recognizes that Solomon continued without interruption until the work was complete.
In other words, he started the work with zeal and completed it with zeal.
If only Solomon had kept that zeal for the Lord throughout his whole reign.
As the king lost his zeal for God, so did the kingdom of Israel.
And without continued faithfulness to God, the temple’s glory quickly faded.
This glorious temple was plundered just five years after the death of Solomon.
So, we’ll end here for tonight and next week we’ll move into chapter 7 and the furnishings of the Temple and in the courtyard.
Let’s pray:
Prayer: Lord Father we thank You for this time we’ve had together studying Your Word and we ask that You would make it fertile in our lives to do what You desire. Help us to be devoted to You and to Your Word. Thank You for loving us so much and may Your desires be the desires of our hearts.
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