Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 6

The inner court

1 Kings 6:36

The temple building was not a public building. It was God’s house, and only a few of the priests entered it each day.

In fact, people who were not priests, did not even go near to the temple building. A yard, square in its shape, surrounded the temple. This was called the inner court, and it was only for the priests. Here they did much of their special work for God.

So, when people went to pray at the temple, they actually gathered outside, in the outer court or yard.

That arrangement made it possible for vast numbers of people to be present at the most important ceremonies.

It seems that a low wall separated the inner court from the outer court. 1 Kings 6:36 is probably a description of this wall. That allowed the people in the outer court to see what was happening in the inner court. As they stood there, they joined in with the prayers and the songs to praise God.

It seems likely that men and women prayed separately at Solomon’s temple. By the time of Christ, Herod had rebuilt the temple, so we call it Herod’s temple. By that time, the outer court had become two separate courts, called the court of Israel, and the court of women.

In addition, Herod’s temple also had a further, vast yard beyond these. It was called the court of the Gentiles. Gentiles are people who do not belong to Israel. At that time, many people from foreign nations had accepted Israel’s God as the only true God. They visited the temple; but the court of the Gentiles was the nearest place where they could go to the temple building. The law of Herod’s temple did not allow the Gentiles even to enter the other courts of the temple.

Next part: The time until the temple was ready for use (1 Kings 6:37-38)


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