Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 7

The quality of Solomon’s construction work

1 Kings 7:9-12

Solomon’s workmen were using new methods of construction with great success. They had learned how to cut stone with a saw, several centuries before the workmen in many other countries discovered this. For these great buildings, both the palace and the temple (God’s house), Solomon directed them to use only the best quality materials. The cost was immense, but the buildings were beautiful.

It is the immense size of the stones that most astonishes us. Some of the stones at the base of the buildings were as much as 15 feet (5 metres) long. It is possible to see such stones today in the wall at the base of the platform where the temple once stood. When Solomon’s workmen had cut those stones, they had to move them into position without any modern machines. So, teams of men moved the stones by physical effort. With great skill, they put together these stones, and then they supported the rest of the building on them. The main buildings were 45 feet or 14 metres high. So it was essential that the base of each building should be very strong.

It is likely that few of Israel’s workmen had any real experience in the construction of great buildings. David had a wooden palace (2 Samuel 7:2). However, many of the towns and cities in Israel had strong walls for defence. Those walls were practical and not beautiful - but they gave Israel’s workmen the skill in how to use large pieces of stone. The men from Tyre, Sidon and Gebal who assisted them, had much more experience in how to build large and beautiful buildings (5:18).

Next part: Hiram, the expert artist for the temple (1 Kings 7:13-14)


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