Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 6

The size and the plan of the temple

1 Kings 6:2-6

The temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, was 90 feet (27 metres) long, and 30 feet (9 metres) wide. That is not a particularly large building by modern standards.

It was not like a church. There were no seats for the people, because nobody gathered inside it. There were no meetings in it for prayer, or to read the Bible, or for any other purpose. The main sacred ceremonies all happened outside the temple building, in the inner and outer courts (yards) of the temple.

Nobody went inside the temple to see its beauty. Only a few priests entered it each day, and each of them carried out only a brief ceremony inside. There was a small outside area with a roof where the priests could prepare themselves. When they were ready, they went in to carry out their ceremonies. For example, they might burn incense (a substance with a sweet smell), or they might look after the oil lamps. Then they left.

There were rooms round the temple building. Those rooms were not part of the temple; but they leaned against it. They had their own separate entrance from outside; it was not possible to go directly from these rooms into the temple. These rooms may have been for the priests, or to store sacred objects.

The most important place in the temple was its inner room, called the holy of holies, or most holy place (6:19-20). Here, nobody entered except for the chief priest, once each year (Leviticus chapter 16). This was the most sacred place on earth - the holiest place, where God was present in his glory (splendid beauty).

Next part: No iron tools at the place of the temple (1 Kings 6:7)


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