1 Kings 7


Solomon Builds His Palace

      • It took Solomon 13 years to finish building his house. He named it the “House of the Lebanon Forest” and it measured 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. There were four rows of cedar pillars with cedar beams on top of the pillars. The roof above the beams, supported by the pillars, was also made of cedar. There were 45 beams in all, 15 per row. There were three rows of windows arranged in sets of three, facing each other. All of the doorways had rectangular frames and were arranged in sets of three, facing each other. He built the Hall of Pillars 75 feet long and 45 feet wide. There was a porch in front of this, and in front of the porch there was a canopy supported by pillars. He built a throne room called “The Hall of Judgment” where he was to pronounce judgment, and it was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling. The house where Solomon was to live, in the other courtyard behind the hall, was built in a similar way. He also built a house like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Before describing the Temple’s furnishings, the writer mentions the construction of Solomon’s palace complex. The multiple buildings within this complex took nearly twice as long to build (thirteen years) as the Temple (seven years, 6:38). The entire building project took twenty years (9:10). Although construction details are brief, archaeological discovery of two of Solomon’s buildings provides an idea of how this palace might have looked…The Palace of the Forest of Lebanon was named for the abundant use of cedar in its construction. It would house 300 gold shields (10:16-17) and possibly served as both treasury and armory (see 12:25-28; Isa 22:8). The Egyptian Pharoah Shishak later carried away the shields as booty (1 Kgs 14:27)…The Hall of Pillars was apparently a colonnaded entry to the Hall of Justice, where Solomon sat to hear legal matters (see also 10:18-20)…Solomon erected separate living quarters for Pharaoh’s daughter…”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “The architectural components of the complex described in the Bible are similar to those discovered at Zinjirli in modern Turkey and Palace 1723 at Megiddo. These so-called bit-hilani palaces, attested throughout the Near East during the first millennium BC, are architecturally similar to Solomon’s palace…”

      • All of these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from the foundations to the eaves, were built with valuable stones which had been cut to size and smoothed on their inner and outer surfaces. The foundation was made with huge, valuable stones, some measuring 12 feet long and some 15 feet long. Valuable stones that had been cut to size were also used above the foundation, as well as cedar. Around the great courtyard were three rows of chiseled stone and one row of cedar beams- just like the inner courtyard of Yahweh’s house with its porch.

The Temple’s Furnishings

      • Then King Solomon sent and had Hiram brought from Tyre. His mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and his father was a bronze craftsman from Tyre. He was filled with the understanding, knowledge, and skill to do every kind of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all the work he was assigned.

        • HCSB clarifies, “This Hiram is not to be confused with the king of Tyre…he was half-Israelite, unless he was the son of his mother’s first husband, in which case he was probably full-blooded Israelite.”

        • Some note an apparent contradiction here with the parallel in 2 Chr which states that he was the “son of a woman of the daughters of Dan.” The following commentaries offer reconciliations:

        • Pulpit Commentary: “The discrepancy is only apparent. For in the first place it is not absolutely necessary to understand by Dan the tribe of that name. It may well refer to the town, formerly Leshem (Joshua 19:47), or Laish (Judges 18:7, 27), colonised by the Danites, and thenceforward bearing their name (ver. 29), which was situated within the borders of Naphtali. If, however, it is preferred to see in the ‘daughters of Dan’ a tribal reference, we may suppose (with Keil, al.) that the woman was originally a Danite, but became, through her first husband, ‘of the tribe of Naphtali.’ But the first explanation is the more simple and obvious], and his father was a man of Tyre [i.e., Hiram was the son (not stepson, or adopted son, as the Rabbins) of a mixed marriage.”

      • He cast two bronze pillars; each pillar was 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference. He also cast two bronze capitals to set on top of the pillars; each was 7 ½ feet high. The latticework on the capitals on the tops of the pillars was adorned with wreaths and chains- seven for each capital. He made two rows of pomegranates circling the latticework on the capital of each pillar. The capitals that topped the pillars in the porch were six feet high and shaped like lillies. On the top of each pillar, right above the bulge next to the latticework, there were 200 pomegranates arranged in rows all the way around. He set up the pillars on the porch in front of the main hall. He named the pillar on the right side Jakin and the pillar on the left side Boaz. The capitals on the tops were shaped like lillies. So the work on the pillars was finished.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “Two massive pillars, named Jachin and Boaz (v. 21), were positioned at the temple entrance, standing 27 cubits tall, almost as high as the temple itself. Based on the Ain Dara temple, these two columns were likely designed to support the roof of the portico/porch. The pillars probably had double capitals: one with latticework, five cubits high, and the other with lily-work, four cubits high.”

        • HCSB says, “’Jakin’ means ‘He [the Lord] shall uphold,’ alluding to the function of the pillar to uphold the ceiling. ‘Boaz’ means ‘In Him [the Lord] is strength.”

      • Then he made the large bronze basin called “The Sea,” which was circular in shape, measured 15 feet from rim to rim, was 45 feet in circumference, and stood 7 ½ feet high. Just below the rim, it was encircled by two rows of gourds. There were 10 gourds every half-yard and they were cast in one piece with the basin. The basin stood on top of 12 bulls- 3 facing north, 3 facing west, 3 facing south, and 3 facing east. They faced outward with their hindquarters toward the center. The basin was about 3 inches thick and its rim was shaped like a cup or like a lily blossom. It held about 12,000 gallons.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The giant bronze basin called the Sea replaced the smaller bronze washbasin used in the Tabernacle service (see Exod 30:17-21). The Sea was cast as one solid piece, excluding the twelve bronze oxen on which it sat. The oxen were placed so that three faced each direction…The priests used the Sea, like the bronze washbasin before it, for ceremonial washing (2 Chr 4:6) as they prepared to minister before God…The apparent discrepancy in the amount of water it could hold (see 2 Chr 4:5) is probably due to standards of measurement that varied according to place and time.”

      • He also made 10 bronze movable stands. Each stand was 6 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 6 feet high. This is how the stands were designed: they had panels, and the panels were set in frames. On these panels were lions, bulls, and cherubim. On the frames, both above and below the lions and bulls, were wreaths of hammered work. Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports. The supports were cast with wreaths on each side. Inside the stand was a circular opening that was 18 inches deep; it had a support that was 27 inches long. Around the opening were engravings and their frames were square, not round. There were four wheels under the frames, and the axles were connected to the stand. Each wheel was 27 inches tall. The wheels were designed similar to chariot wheels: the axles, rims, spokes, and hubs were all of cast metal. Each stand had four supports, one projecting from each corner, and each support was of one piece with the stand. On top of each stand was an opening three quarters of a foot deep. At the top of the stand, its supports and frames were of one piece with it. He engraved cherubim, lions, and palm trees on the panels of the supports and frames wherever there was room, with encircling wreaths. He made all 10 stands this way. All of them were cast using the same mold and were identical in measurement and shape.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The ten bronze water carts each held a basin for rinsing burnt offerings (2 Chr 4:6). Five stood on either side of the Temple. Because they had wheels, they could be moved as needed.”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds, “Similar movable stands are mentioned in a text from the Canaanite Ugarit listing the quanitites of copper and tin needed for the production of 40 bronze stands, each with four wheels. Several wheels from bronze stands were found at Philistine sites: three wheels were discovered in a sanctuary at Ekron (11th century BC) and one at Tell Qasile. In addition, stone molds for decorative panels on such stands were found in Cyprus at Enkomi and Hala Sultan Tekke. A complete and beautifully preserved wheeled stand from the late thirteenth to twelfth century BC was also discovered in Cyprus. Its construction and decoration are nearly identical to what 1 Kings 7:28-36 describes.”

Image via wikimedia commons. Bronze wheeled stand with an animal frieze on the ring and figures in the side panels. The panels principally show a seated harp-player approached by a musician and a serving boy, a winged sphinx, a lion gripping a water bird by its neck, and a chariot. Made in Cyprus. 13th or 12th century BC.

      • He also made 10 bronze basins, each of which was 6 feet in diameter and held approximately 240 gallons. There was one basin for each stand. He positioned 5 basins on the right side of the house and 5 on the left side of the house. He placed “The Sea” on the right side of the house, in the southeast corner.

      • Hiram also made the basins, shovels, and bowls. He finished all the work that Solomon had assigned to him for Yahweh’s house:

        • the two pillars; the two bowls of the capitals that were on the tops of the pillars; two latticeworks to cover the bowls of the capitals that were on the tops of the pillars; 400 pomegranates for the two latticeworks (2 rows of pomegranates for each latticework on the bowls of the capitals on top of the pillars); 10 movable stands with their 10 basins; the large bronze basin called “The Sea” with the 12 bulls under it; and the pots, shovels, and bowls.

      • All of these items that King Solomon assigned Hiram to make for Yahweh’s house were made of polished bronze. The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan. Solomon left all of these items unweighed. There were so many of them they didn’t weigh the bronze.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “This area east of the Jordan River (see Josh 3:16; Judg 8:4-5) was known for metallurgy. Abundant clay for molds, wood for fuel, and a prevailing north wind facilitated the casting process.”

      • Solomon also made all the following items for Yahweh’s house:

        • the gold altar; the gold table that the bread of the Presence was placed on; the pure gold lampstands at the entrance to the inner sanctuary (five on the right side and five on the left side); the gold flowers, lamps, and tongs; the pure gold bowls, trimming shears, basins, pans, and censors; and the gold hinges for the doors of the inner sanctuary (that is, the Most Holy Place) and for the doors of the main hall of the house.

      • When King Solomon finished building Yahweh’s house, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated- the silver, gold, and various items- and put them in the treasuries of Yahweh’s house.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “The gold altar replaced the altar for burning incense used in the Tabernacle (Exod 30:1-10). The one table and one lampstand used in the Tabernacle (Exod 25:23-40) were replaced by ten such sets in the Temple. Although the author lists a single gold table for the Bread of the Presence, the Chronicler reports ten tables, five on each side of the Temple’s main room (cp 2 Chr 4:8), along with the ten lampstands of solid gold. The bread represented God’s provision for his people, and the lampstand characterized God as the source of life and truth. Both symbols pointed to Christ, the bread of life (John 6:35) and the light of the world (John 8:12).”

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