Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 7

The gold altar and the gold table for the holy place

1 Kings 7:48

Inside the temple, God’s house in Jerusalem, there were two rooms. The rooms, and the sacred objects in them, matched the tabernacle, the holy tent that God told Moses to make. The outer room was called the holy place; the inner room was called the most holy place, or the holy of holies.

In its most holy place, Solomon’s temple would have the ark, the same sacred box that Moses made (Exodus 25:10-16; 1 Kings 8:3-6). However, for the holy place, the outer room, Solomon made new sacred objects to replace those that Moses had made.

The gold altar stood in front of the most holy place. An altar is a place where the priests burn gifts to offer them to God. This is the same altar as we read about previously (6:22). Here, the priests burned only incense, a substance with a sweet smell (Exodus 30:1-10; Exodus 30:31-38). Another altar, where the priests offered sacrifices (the gift of animals to God) stood outside, immediately in front of the temple building.

God had told Moses to make a special table for the tabernacle (Exodus 25:23-30). On this table, the priests placed the special bread that Leviticus 24:5-9 describes, in front of God. There were 12 loaves, to match the 12 tribes (family groups) in Israel. This expressed the fact that God takes care of his people. He was watching over them, in other words he looks after them constantly (Psalm 121:4). Solomon actually made 10 gold tables for this purpose (2 Chronicles 4:8) - probably, the priests only used one of them.

Next part: A gold lampstand, and gold tools and censers (1 Kings 7:49-50)


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