The House of God on Mount Moriah
Building the Temple
I Kings v: 1, to
II Chronicles iii: 1, to vii: 22
great work of Solomon's reign was the building of
the house of God, which was called "The Temple."
This stood on Mount Moriah, on the east of Mount
Zion, and it covered the whole mountain. King David
had prepared for it by gathering great stores of
gold, and silver, and stone, and cedar-wood. The
walls were made of stone, and the roof of cedar.
For the building the cedar was brought from Mount
Lebanon, where there were many large cedar-trees.
The trees were cut down and carried to Tyre on the
seacoast. There they were made into rafts in the
Great Sea, and were floated down to Joppa. At Joppa
they were taken ashore and were carried up to
Jerusalem. All this work was done by the men of
Tyre, at the command of their king, Hiram, who was a
friend of Solomon, as he had been a friend of King
All the stones for the building of the Temple were
hewn into shape and fitted together before they were
brought to Mount Moriah. And all the beams for the
roof and the pillars of cedar were carved and made
to join each other; so that as the walls arose no
sound of hammer or chisel was heard; the great
building rose up quietly. You remember the form of
the Tabernacle which was built before Mount Sinai,
in the wilderness, with its court, its Holy Place,
and its Holy of Holies. The Temple was copied after
the Tabernacle, except that it was much larger, and
was a house of stone and cedar, instead of a tent.
The Tabernacle had one court around it, where the
priests only could enter; but the Temple had two
courts, both open to the sky, with walls of stone
around them, and on the walls double rows of cedar
pillars, and a roof above the pillars, so that
people could walk around the court upon the walls
protected from the sun. The court in front was for
the people, for all the men of Israel could enter
it, but no people of foreign race. This was called
"the Fore-court." Beyond the Fore-court was the
Court of the Priests, where only the priests were
allowed to walk. At the east gate of this court
stood the great altar of burnt-offerings, built of
rough, unhewn stones, for no cut stones could be
used in the altar. This altar stood on the rock
which had been the threshing-floor of Araunah, where
David saw the angel of the Lord standing.
Near the altar, in the Court of the Priests, stood a
great tank for water, so large that it was called "a
sea." It was made of brass, and stood on the backs
of twelve oxen, also made of brass. From this the
water was taken for washing the offerings.
Within the Court of the Priests stood the Holy
House, or the Temple building, made of marble and of
cedar. Its front was a high tower, called the Porch.
In this were rooms for the high-priest and his sons.
Back of the Porch was the Holy Place. This was a
long room in which stood the table for the twelve
loaves of the bread, and golden altar of incense. In
the Holy Place of the Tabernacle stood the golden
lampstand. We are not sure whether it was in the
Temple; for either in place of the lampstand, or
perhaps in addition to it, Solomon placed ten lamps
of gold in the Holy Place.
Between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was a
great vail, as in the Tabernacle. And in the Holy of
Holies the priests placed the Ark of the Covenant.
This, you remember, was a box or chest of gold, in
which were kept the two stone tablets of the Ten
Commandments. This ark of the covenant was all that
stood in the Holy of Holies; and into this room only
the high-priest came, and he only on one day in the
year, the great Day of Atonement, when the scapegoat
was sent away.
Outside of the Temple building were rooms for the
priests. They were built on the outer wall of the
house, on the rear and the two sides, but not in
front, three stories high; and were entered from the
outside only. In these rooms the priests lived while
they were staying at the Temple to lead in the
Seven years were spent in building the Temple, but
at last it was finished; and a great service was
held when the house was set apart to the worship of
the Lord. Many offerings were burned upon the great
altar, the ark was brought from Mount Zion and
placed in the Holy of Holies, and King Solomon knelt
upon a platform in front of the altar and offered a
prayer to the Lord before all the people, who filled
the courts of the Temple.
One night, after the Temple was finished, the Lord
appeared to Solomon in a dream for the second time.
And the Lord said to Solomon, "I have heard the
prayer which you have offered to me, and I have made
this house holy. It shall be my house, and I will
dwell there. And if you will walk before me as
David, your father, walked, doing my will, then your
throne shall stand forever. But if you turn aside
from following the Lord, then I will leave this
house, and will turn from it, and will let the
enemies of Israel come and destroy this house that
was built for me."
Building the Temple