Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 5

The stone for the temple

1 Kings 5:17-18

It took Solomon seven years to build the temple, the great house of God in Jerusalem (6:38). The task was not just the construction of the main, sacred building. Solomon needed to build a series of buildings, with rooms for the priests, guards and other officials. There needed to be an inner yard, where the priests could prepare sacrifices (the animals that they offered to God). Also, there needed to be a great outer yard, where all Israel’s people could gather. Strong walls surrounded the whole area.

So in addition to the wood, Solomon needed a vast quantity of stone. The wood came from Lebanon, many miles (or kilometres) away. However, Solomon was able to obtain suitable stone locally, from the hills round the temple. He ordered his workmen to use only the best and most beautiful pieces of stone. They prepared the stone in the same place where they had cut it from the rock. Then they brought it to the place of the construction. By Solomon’s special order, they did not use any iron tools at the place of the temple (6:7).

Hiram, the king of Tyre, had arranged for the best skilled workmen to cut the wood and stone. They came from Gebal, which is usually called Byblos in history books. That was another city under Hiram’s control. Its people were very skilled in the construction of boats (Ezekiel 27:9). They knew how to cut wood in the best possible manner, so that the beams would join together firmly. They used their great skills to assist Israel’s best workmen in the construction.

Next part: 480 years since Israel's people left Egypt (1 Kings 6:1)


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