Solomon's Temple

Solomon's Temple

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Solomon's Temple'
Start a new discussion about 'Solomon's Temple'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 (also known as Mount Zion
Mount Zion
Mount Zion is a place name for a site in Jerusalem, the location of which has shifted several times in history. According to the Hebrew Bible's Book of Samuel, it was the site of the Jebusite fortress called the "stronghold of Zion" that was conquered by King David, becoming his palace in the City...

), before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE
Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC)
In 589 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of the city and its temple in 587 BC.-Siege:Following the siege of 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar installed Zedekiah as tributary king of Judah at the age of twenty-one. However, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon, and...

.

According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the temple was constructed under Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

, king of the Israelites. This would date its construction to the 10th century BCE, although it is possible that an earlier Jebusite
Jebusite
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe who inhabited and built Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David; the Books of Kings state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event...

 sanctuary had stood on the site. During the kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the God of Israel and housed the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

. Rabbinic sources
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah
Seder Olam Rabbah
Seder Olam Rabbah is a 2nd century CE Hebrew language chronology detailing the dates of biblical events from the Creation to Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia...

, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE (3338 AM
Anno Mundi
' , abbreviated as AM or A.M., refers to a Calendar era based on the Biblical creation of the world. Numerous efforts have been made to determine the Biblical date of Creation, yielding varying results. Besides differences in interpretation, which version of the Bible is being referenced also...

), 165 years later than secular estimates.

Because of the religious sensitivities involved, and the politically volatile situation in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, only limited archaeological surveys of the Temple Mount have been conducted. As no excavations have been allowed on the Temple Mount during modern times, there is no direct archaeological evidence for the existence of Solomon's Temple, and no mentions of it in the surviving, contemporary extra-biblical literature. An Ivory pomegranate
Ivory pomegranate
The Ivory Pomegranate is a thumb-sized ivory decorative item acquired by the Israel Museum.-Description:The Ivory Pomegranate is a small ornamental bone object engraved with a short inscription in paleo-Hebrew. The inscription is inscribed in circular fashion along the shoulders of the pomegranate...

 mentions priests in the house of YHWH, and an inscription
Jehoash Inscription
The Jehoash Inscription is the name of a controversial artifact rumored to have surfaced in the construction site or in the Muslim cemetery near the Temple Mount of Jerusalem...

 recording the Temple's restoration under Jehoash
Jehoash of Judah
Jehoash or Joas , sometimes written Joash or Joás , was the eighth king of the southern Kingdom of Judah, and the sole surviving son of Ahaziah. His mother was Zibiah of Beersheba ....

 have appeared on the antiquities market, but the authenticy of both have been challenged and they remain the subject of controversy.

History


The sole contemporary source of information on the First Temple is the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (or Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

). According to the biblical sources, the temple was constructed under king Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 during Israel's period of united monarchy. This puts the date of its construction in the mid-10th century BCE. Some scholars have speculated that a Jebusite
Jebusite
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe who inhabited and built Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David; the Books of Kings state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event...

 sanctuary may have previously occupied the site. During the kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the God of Israel and housed the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

. Rabbinic sources
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah
Seder Olam Rabbah
Seder Olam Rabbah is a 2nd century CE Hebrew language chronology detailing the dates of biblical events from the Creation to Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia...

, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE (3338 AM
Anno Mundi
' , abbreviated as AM or A.M., refers to a Calendar era based on the Biblical creation of the world. Numerous efforts have been made to determine the Biblical date of Creation, yielding varying results. Besides differences in interpretation, which version of the Bible is being referenced also...

), 165 years later than secular estimates.

The following is a summary of the history according to Book of Samuel and Book of Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

, with notes on the variations to this story in the later Book of Chronicles.

The Shekinah (dwelling place) of the God of Israel, was originally the portable shrine called the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

, which was placed in the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

 tent. King David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

, having unified all Israel, brought the Ark to his new capital, Jerusalem, intending to build there a temple in order to house the Ark in a permanent place. David purchased a threshing-floor for the site of the Temple (1 Chronicles 21-22), but then Yahweh told him that he would not be permitted to build a temple. The task of building therefore passed to David's son and successor, Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

. 1 Kings 6:1-38, 1 Kings Chapter 7, and Chapter 8 describe the construction and dedication of the Temple under Solomon.

King Solomon requested the aid of King Hiram of Tyre to provide both the quality materials and skilled craftsmen. During the construction, a special inner room, named in Hebrew Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

), was prepared to receive and house the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the Tablets of Stone
Tablets of stone
The Tablets of Stone, Stone Tablets, Tablets of Law, or Tablets of Testimony in the Bible, were the two pieces of special stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as recorded in the Book of Exodus...

—was placed therein (1 Kings 8:6-9).

The exact location of the First Temple is unknown: it is believed to have been situated upon the hill which forms the site of the 1st century Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 and present-day Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, where the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 is situated. However, two other, slightly different sites have been proposed for this same hill: one places the stone altar
Altar (Judaism)
Altars in the Hebrew Bible were typically made of earth or unwrought stone . Altars were generally erected in conspicuous places The first altar recorded in the Hebrew Bible is that erected by Noah...

 at the location of the rock which is now beneath the gilded dome, with the rest of the temple to the west. The Well of Souls
Well of Souls
This article describes the cave in Jerusalem. For the series of novels by Jack Chalker see Well World.The Well of Souls is a natural cave located immediately beneath the Foundation Stone, under the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem...

 was, according to this theory, a pit for the remnants of the blood services of the korbanot. The other theory places the Holy of Holies atop this rock. Still another location has recently been proposed between the Dome of the Rock and the gilded dome, based on orientation to the eastern wall, drainage channels, orientation of the platform stones, and the location of a possible Boaz pillar base.

2 Kings 12:4-16 describes arrangements for the refurbishment of the Temple in the time of king Jehoash of Judah
Jehoash of Judah
Jehoash or Joas , sometimes written Joash or Joás , was the eighth king of the southern Kingdom of Judah, and the sole surviving son of Ahaziah. His mother was Zibiah of Beersheba ....

 in the 9th century BCE. According to 2 Kings 14:14 the Temple was looted by Jehoash of Israel
Jehoash of Israel
Jehoash , whose name means “Yahweh has given,” was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the son of Jehoahaz. He was the 12th king of Israel and reigned for 16 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 801 BC – 786 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 798 BC – 782 BC...

 in the early 8th century and again by King Ahaz
Ahaz
Ahaz was king of Judah, and the son and successor of Jotham. He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew....

 in the late 8th century (2 Kings 16:8). Ahaz also installed some cultic innovations in the Temple which were abhorrent to the author of 1-2 Kings (2 Kings 16:10-18).

The Temple also figures in the account of King Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

, who turned Judah away from idols; when later in the same century Hezekiah is confronted with a siege by the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n king Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

 (2 Kings 18:23, 19:1 and the Taylor prism), Hezekiah "instead of plundering the temple treasuries... now uses the temple the way it is designed to be used - as a house of prayer (2 Kings 19:1-14).

Hezekiah's son, however, is much different from his father and during the reign of Manasseh of Judah
Manasseh of Judah
Manasseh was a king of the Kingdom of Judah. He was the only son of Hezekiah with Hephzi-bah. He became king at an age 12 years and reigned for 55 years. Edwin Thiele has concluded that he commenced his reign as co-regent with his father Hezekiah in 697/696 BC, with his sole reign beginning in...

 in the early and middle seventh century (2 Kings 21:4-9), Manasseh makes innovations to the Temple cult. He has been described as a Solomon who also fell into idolatry, and Manasseh is described as a king who "makes" (2 Kings 21:3-7) or "builds" (2 Kings 21:3) high place
High place
High Place, in the English version of the Old Testament, the literal translation of the Hebrew במה .This rendering is etymologically correct, as appears from the poetical use of the plural in such expressions as to ride, or stalk, or stand on the high places of the earth, the sea, the clouds, and...

s (cf. 1 Kings 11:7) (see Deuteronomy 12 for the prohibition against high place worship), yet while Solomon's idolatry was punished by a divided kingdom, Manessah's idolatry was punished by exile
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

.

King Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

, the grandson of Manasseh, refurbished and made changes to the Temple by removing idolatrous vessels and destroying the idolatrous priesthood c. 621 BCE (2 Kings 22:3-9; 23:11-12). He also suppressed worship at altars other than the Temple's.

The Temple was plundered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar was the name of several kings of Babylonia.* Nebuchadnezzar I, who ruled the Babylonian Empire in the 12th century BC* Nebuchadnezzar II , the Babylonian ruler mentioned in the biblical Book of Daniel...

 when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
In 601 BC, in the fourth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt and was repulsed with heavy losses...

 during the brief reign of Jehoiachin c. 598 (2 Kings 24:13), Josiah's grandson. A decade later, Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC)
In 589 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of the city and its temple in 587 BC.-Siege:Following the siege of 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar installed Zedekiah as tributary king of Judah at the age of twenty-one. However, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon, and...

 and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in 587 BCE, subsequently burning the Temple, along with most of the city (2 Kings 25). According to Jewish tradition, the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

, the 9th day of Av
Av
Av is the eleventh month of the civil year and the fifth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. The name is Babylonian in origin and appeared in the Talmud around the 3rd century. This is the only month which is not named in the Bible. It is a summer month of 30 days...

 (Hebrew calendar).

Architectural description


Several temples in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, many in Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, and some of the Phoenicians are now known. The description given of Solomon's Temple is not a copy of any of these, but embodied features recognisable in all of them. Its general form is reminiscent of Egyptian sanctuaries and closely matches that of other ancient temples in the region.

The detailed descriptions provided in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 and educated guesses based on the remains of other temples in the region are the sources for reconstructions of its appearance. Technical details are lacking, since the scribes who wrote the books were not architects or engineers. Nevertheless, the recorded plans and measurements have inspired Replicas of the Jewish Temple
Replicas of the Jewish Temple
Replicas of the Jewish Temple are scale models or authentic buildings that attempt to replicate the Temple of Solomon, Second Temple and Herod's Temple in Jerusalem.-Scale models:...

 and influenced later structures around the world.

Reconstructions differ; the following is largely based on Easton's Bible Dictionary and the Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jewish Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia originally published in New York between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. It contained over 15,000 articles in 12 volumes on the history and then-current state of Judaism and the Jews as of 1901...

:

Most Holy Place


The Kodesh Hakodashim, or Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

, (1 Kings 6:19; 8:6), also called the "Inner House" (6:27), (Heb. 9:3) was 20 cubit
Cubit
The cubit is a traditional unit of length, based on the length of the forearm. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times....

s in length, breadth, and height. The usual explanation for the discrepancy between its height and the 30-cubit height of the temple is that its floor was elevated, like the cella
Cella
A cella or naos , is the inner chamber of a temple in classical architecture, or a shop facing the street in domestic Roman architecture...

of other ancient temples. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar of Lebanon
Lebanon Cedar
Cedrus libani is a species of cedar native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region.There are two distinct types that are considered to be different subspecies or varieties. Lebanon cedar or Cedar of Lebanon Cedrus libani is a species of cedar native to the mountains of the Mediterranean...

 (1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 (6:20, 21, 30). It contained two cherub
Cherub
A cherub is a type of spiritual being mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and cited later on in the Christian biblical canons, usually associated with the presence of God...

im of olive-wood, each 10 cubits high (1 Kings 6:16, 20, 21, 23-28) and each having outspread wings of 10 cubits span, so that, since they stood side by side, the wings touched the wall on either side and met in the center of the room. There was a two-leaved door between it and the Holy Place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of tekhelet
Tekhelet
Tekhelet, , Tekheleth, Techelet or Techeiles is a blue dye mentioned 50 times in the Hebrew Bible and translated by the Septuagint as hyakinthinos . Its uses include the clothing of the High Priest, the tapestries in the Tabernacle, and the tassels to be affixed to the corners of one's garments...

 (blue), purple
Purple
Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue, and is classified as a secondary color as the colors are required to create the shade....

, and crimson
Crimson
Crimson is a strong, bright, deep red color. It is originally the color of the dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now also used as a generic term for those slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose; besides crimson itself, these colors include...

 and fine linen
Linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

 (2 Chr. 3:14; compare Exodus 26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12) and was considered the dwelling-place of the "name" of God.

The color scheme of the veil was symbolic. Blue represented the heavens, while red or crimson represented the earth. Purple, a combination of the two colors, represents a meeting of the heavens and the earth.

Holy Place


The Hekhal
Hekhal
The Hebrew noun hekhal in Classical Hebrew means a large building. This can be either the main building of the Temple in Jerusalem, that is the nave or sanctuary of the Temple, or a palace, such as the "palace" of Ahab king of Samaria, or the "palace" of the King of Babylon.-Usage:It is used 80...

, or Holy Place, (1 Kings 8:8-10), called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the "temple" (1 Kings 6:17); the word also means "palace", was of the same width and height as the Holy of Holies, but 40 cubits in length. Its walls were lined with cedar, on which were carved figures of cherubim, palm-trees, and open flowers, which were overlaid with gold. Chains of gold further marked it off from the Holy of Holies. The floor of the Temple was of fir-wood overlaid with gold. The door-posts, of olive-wood, supported folding-doors of fir. The doors of the Holy of Holies were of olive-wood. On both sets of doors were carved cherubim, palm-trees, and flowers, all being overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:15 et seq.)

Porch


The Ulam, or porch, acted as an entrance before the Temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 9:7). This was 20 cubits long (corresponding to the width of the Temple) and 10 cubits deep (1 Kings 6:3). 2 Chr. 3:4 adds the curious statement (probably corrupted from the statement of the depth of the porch) that this porch was 120 cubits high, which would make it a regular tower. The description does not specify whether a wall separated it from the next chamber. In the porch stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3), which were 18 cubits in height.

Boaz and Jachin


Two brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 pillars named Boaz and Jachin
Boaz and Jachin
Boaz and Jachin were two copper, brass or bronze pillars which stood in the porch of Solomon's Temple, the first Temple in Jerusalem.-Description:...

 stood in the porch of the Temple. (1 Kings 7:15; 7:21; 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3). Boaz stood on the left (the north) and Jachin on the right (the south). The Bible records their measurements as 27 feet (8.2 m) high and 6 feet (1.8 m) wide (18 by 12 cubit
Cubit
The cubit is a traditional unit of length, based on the length of the forearm. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times....

s) with a hollow of 4 fingers thick. (Jeremiah 52:21-22). Their 8 feet (2.4 m) high brass capital
Capital (architecture)
In architecture the capital forms the topmost member of a column . It mediates between the column and the load thrusting down upon it, broadening the area of the column's supporting surface...

s were each decorated with rows of 200 carved brass pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

s, wreathed with seven chains and topped with lilies
Lilium
Lilium is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though the range extends into the northern subtropics...

. (1 Kings 7:13-22, 41-42; 2 Chronicles 4:13) According to most translations of 1 Kings 7:13-22, these two pillars were cast of brass, though some believe the original Hebrew word used to describe their material, "nehosheth", is actually either bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 or copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, because the Hebrews were unfamiliar with zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 which, along with copper, is required to create brass.

The two pillars had their parallel not only at Tyre but at Byblus, Paphos, and Telloh (see, however, De Sarzec, "Découvertes en Chaldée," pp. 62–64). In Egypt the obelisks expressed the same idea. Those were phallic emblems, being survivals of the primitive Hamito-Semitic "maẓẓebah". Jachin and Boaz were really isolated columns, as Schick has shown, and not, as some have supposed, a part of the ornamentation of the building. Their tops were crowned with ornamentation as if they were lamps; and W. R. Smith supposed that they may have been used as fire-altars. This assumes that they contained cressets for burning the fat.

Chambers


Chambers were built about the Temple on the southern, western and northern sides (1 Kings 6:5-10). These formed a part of the building and were used for storage. They were probably one story high at first; two more may have been added later.

Courts


According to the Bible, two courts surrounded the Temple. The Inner Court (1 Kings 6:36), or Court of the Priests (2 Chr. 4:9), was separated from the space beyond by a wall of three courses of hewn stone, surmounted by cedar beams (1 Kings 6:36). It contained the Altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the Brazen Sea laver (4:2-5, 10) and ten other lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). A brazen altar stood before the Temple (2 Kings 16:14), its dimensions 20 cubits square and 10 cubits high (2 Chr. 4:1). The Great Court surrounded the whole Temple (2 Chr. 4:9). It was here that people assembled to worship. (Jeremiah 19:14; 26:2).

Brazen Sea



The large basin known as the "Brazen Sea" measured 10 cubits wide brim to brim, 5 cubits deep and with a circumference of 30 cubits around the brim, rested on the backs of twelve oxen (1 Kings 7:23-26). The Book of Kings gives its capacity as "2,000 baths" (90 cubic meters), but Chronicles (2 Chr. 4:5-6) inflates this to three thousand baths (136 cubic meters) and states that its purpose was to afford opportunity for the purification by immersion of the body of the priests.

The lavers, each of which held "forty baths" (1 Kings 7:38), rested on portable holders made of bronze, provided with wheels, and ornamented with figures of lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s, cherub
Cherub
A cherub is a type of spiritual being mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and cited later on in the Christian biblical canons, usually associated with the presence of God...

im, and palm-trees. The author of the books of the Kings describes their minute details with great interest (1 Kings 7:27-37). Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 reported that the vessels in the Temple were composed of Orichalcum
Orichalcum
Orichalcum is a metal mentioned in several ancient writings, most notably the story of Atlantis as recounted in the Critias dialogue, recorded by Plato. According to Critias, orichalcum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of Atlantis in ancient times....

 in Antiquities of the Jews. According to 1 Kings 7:48 there stood before the Holy of Holies a golden altar of incense
Incense
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

 and a table for showbread
Showbread
Showbread , in the King James Version: shewbread, in a biblical or Jewish context, refers to the cakes or loaves of bread which were always present on a specially dedicated table, in the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God...

. This table was of gold, as were also the five candlesticks on each side of it. The implements for the care of the candles—tongs, basins, snuffers, and fire-pans—were of gold; and so were the hinges of the doors.

Archaeology


Because of the religious and political sensitivities involved, no archaeological excavations and only limited surface surveys of the Temple Mount have been conducted. Because no excavations of the site have been allowed, there is no direct archaeological evidence for the existence of Solomon's Temple. This building is not mentioned in extra-biblical accounts which have survived.
  • In 2007, artifacts dating to the 8th to 6th centuries BCE were described as being possibly the first physical evidence of human activity at the Temple Mount during the First Temple period. The findings included animal bones; ceramic bowl rims, bases, and body sherds; the base of a juglet used to pour oil; the handle of a small juglet; and the rim of a storage jar.
  • By 2006, the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation
    Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation
    The Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation is an archaeological project begun in 2005 dedicated to recovering archaeological artifacts from 300 truckloads of topsoil removed from the Temple Mount by the waqf during the construction of the underground el-Marwani Mosque from 1996-1999...

     had recovered numerous artifacts dating from the 8th to 7th centuries BCE from soil removed in 1999 by the Islamic Religious Trust (Waqf) from the Solomon's Stables
    Solomon's Stables
    Solomon's Stables or Marwani Mosque is an underground mosque some 600 square yards beneath al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem...

     area of the Temple Mount. These include stone weights for weighing silver and a First Temple period bulla
    Bulla (seal)
    Bulla , is a type of seal impression. It comes in two forms: metal and clay.- Clay bullae :The original bulla was a lump of clay molded around a cord and stamped with a seal...

    , or seal impression, containing ancient Hebrew writing which includes the name Netanyahu ben Yaush. Netanyahu is a name mentioned several times in the Book of Jeremiah while the name Yaush appears in the Lachish letters
    Lachish letters
    The Lachish Letters are a group of letters written in carbon ink in Ancient Hebrew on clay ostraca. The individual ostraca probably come from the same broken clay pot and were most likely written in a short period of time...

    . However, the combination of names was unknown to scholars.
  • A thumb-sized ivory pomegranate
    Ivory pomegranate
    The Ivory Pomegranate is a thumb-sized ivory decorative item acquired by the Israel Museum.-Description:The Ivory Pomegranate is a small ornamental bone object engraved with a short inscription in paleo-Hebrew. The inscription is inscribed in circular fashion along the shoulders of the pomegranate...

     measuring 44 millimetres (1.7 in) in height bearing an ancient Hebrew inscription "Sacred donation for the priests in the House of YHVH" was believed to have adorned a sceptre used by the high priest
    Kohen Gadol
    The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

     in Solomon's Temple. It was considered the most important item of biblical antiquities in the Israel Museum
    Israel Museum
    The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

    ’s collection. However, in 2004, the Israel Antiquities Authority reported the inscription to be a forgery
    Forgery
    Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

    , though the ivory pomegranate itself was dated to the 14th or 13th century BCE. This was based on the report's claim that 3 incised letters in the inscription stopped short of an ancient break, as they would have if carved after the ancient break was made. Since then, it has been proven that one of the letters was indeed carved prior to the ancient break, and the status of the other two letters is now in question. Some paleographers and others have continued to insist that the inscription is ancient and the authenticity of this artifact is still the object of discussion.
  • Another artifact, the so-called Jehoash Inscription
    Jehoash Inscription
    The Jehoash Inscription is the name of a controversial artifact rumored to have surfaced in the construction site or in the Muslim cemetery near the Temple Mount of Jerusalem...

     contains a 15 line description of King Jehoash's ninth century BCE restoration of the Temple. Its authenticity was called into question by a report by the Israel Antiquities Authority which claimed that the surface patina was modern. This finding has since been undermined by examination of the patina using more advanced techniques, as well as examination of a new break in the stone caused by handling since the original report was issued.
  • In 1940 American archaeologist Nelson Glueck
    Nelson Glueck
    Nelson Glueck was an American rabbi, academic and archaeologist. Dr Glueck served as president of Hebrew Union College from 1947 until his death, and his pioneering work in biblical archaeology resulted in the discovery of 1,500 ancient sites....

     "proclaimed ... that he had discovered the Edomite mines controlled by King Solomon." Later in '97, investigating the role of "metallurgy in [the] social evolution" of Southern Jordan, University of California anthropologist Tom Levy "started probing the site known as Khirbat en Nahas (Arabic for "ruins of copper")." The samples Levy sent off to "Oxford for radiocarbon dating confirmed that Glueck had been on the right track: This was a tenth-century copper production site ‒ and Levy adds ... 'the closest copper source to Jerusalem.'". In response to these findings archaeologist Amihai Mazar
    Amihai Mazar
    Amihai "Ami" Mazar is an Israeli archaeologist. Born in Haifa, Israel , he is currently Professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, holding the Eleazer Sukenik Chair in the Archaeology of Israel.Mazar has directed archaeological excavations at a number of...

     has stated, "I believe that if, one day, we should find the copper objects from the temple in Jerusalem, it will prove to come from this area".

Notable mentions


  • In the 6th century CE, the Temple was included on a list of seven wonders which included the Pharos of Alexandria and Noah's Ark
    Noah's Ark
    Noah's Ark is a vessel appearing in the Book of Genesis and the Quran . These narratives describe the construction of the ark by Noah at God's command to save himself, his family, and the world's animals from the worldwide deluge of the Great Flood.In the narrative of the ark, God sees the...

    , compiled by Gregory, Bishop of Tours
    Gregory of Tours
    Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

    .
  • Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), the noted English scientist, mathematician and theologian, studied and wrote extensively upon the Temple of Solomon. He dedicated an entire chapter of The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms
    The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms
    The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms is an approximately 87,000-word composition written by Sir Isaac Newton, first published posthumously in 1728 in limited supply, but since republished in mass paperback format...

    to his observations regarding the temple. Newton was intrigued by the temple's sacred geometry and believed that it was designed by King Solomon with privileged eyes and divine guidance.

See also


General:
  • Tabernacle
    Tabernacle
    The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

  • Temple in Jerusalem
    Temple in Jerusalem
    The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

  • Temple Mount
    Temple Mount
    The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

  • Solomonic column
    Solomonic column
    The Solomonic column, also called Barley-sugar column, is a helical column, characterized by a spiraling twisting shaft like a corkscrew...

  • Replicas of the Jewish Temple
    Replicas of the Jewish Temple
    Replicas of the Jewish Temple are scale models or authentic buildings that attempt to replicate the Temple of Solomon, Second Temple and Herod's Temple in Jerusalem.-Scale models:...

  • Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
    Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
    In 601 BC, in the fourth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt and was repulsed with heavy losses...

  • Solomon's Shamir
    Solomon's Shamir
    In the Gemara the shamir was a worm or a substance that had the power to cut through or disintegrate stone, iron and diamond. It was used by King Solomon in the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem in the place of cutting tools...



Persons:
People associated with the First Temple
  • Prophet Isaiah
    Isaiah
    Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

  • Prophet Jeremiah
    Jeremiah
    Jeremiah Hebrew:יִרְמְיָה , Modern Hebrew:Yirməyāhū, IPA: jirməˈjaːhu, Tiberian:Yirmĭyahu, Greek:Ἰερεμίας), meaning "Yahweh exalts", or called the "Weeping prophet" was one of the main prophets of the Hebrew Bible...

  • King David
  • King Solomon
  • King Hezekiah
    Hezekiah
    Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

  • King Josiah
    Josiah
    Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

  • Yosef Elboim, leading figure in movement to rebuild the Temple
  • Zadok
    Zadok
    Zadok was a high priest of the Israelites in Jerusalem after it was conquered by David.Zadok may also refer to:*Rabbi Zadok, tanna of the 1st-century CE*Zadok the Priest, an 18th-century coronation anthem by Handel...



Places:
Sites associated with the First Temple
  • City of David
  • Mount Moriah
  • Temple Mount
    Temple Mount
    The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

  • Hezekiah's Tunnel
  • Siloam Inscription
    Siloam inscription
    The Siloam inscription or Silwan inscription is a passage of inscribed text found in the Hezekiah tunnel which brings water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century...

  • Second Temple
    Second Temple
    The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...



General references

  • Benjamin Mazar
    Benjamin Mazar
    Benjamin Mazar was a pioneering Israeli historian, recognized as the "dean" of biblical archaeologists. He shared the national passion for the archaeology of Israel that also attracts considerable international interest due to the region's biblical links...

    , The Mountain of the Lord (Doubleday, NY, 1975) ISBN 0-385-04843-2.
  • Roland De Vaux
    Roland de Vaux
    Father Roland Guérin de Vaux OP was a French Dominican priest who led the Catholic team that initially worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was the director of the Ecole Biblique, a French Catholic Theological School in East Jerusalem, and he was charged with overseeing research on the scrolls...

     (tr. John McHugh), Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (NY, McGraw-Hill, 1961).
  • Goldman, Bernard, The Sacred Portal: a primary symbol in ancient Judaic art, Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1966. It has a detailed account and treatment of Solomon's Temple and its significance.
  • Young, Mike, Temple Measurements and Photo recreations http://www.solomonstemple.com/the-temple/
  • Hamblin, William
    William J. Hamblin
    William James Hamblin is a Mormon apologist and associate professor of history at Brigham Young University . He is a former board member of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies at BYU.- Biography :...

     and David Seely, Solomon's Temple: Myth and History (Thames and Hudson, 2007) ISBN 0500251339

Further reading


21st Century resources

Post-1945 resources

Pre-1945 resources