The Message of the Covenant

The Real Temple of Doom

Chapter 5

The Message of the Covenant

The Real Temple of Doom

Jeremiah 7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying: 'The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the Lord: the heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; where is the house that ye may build unto Me? And where is the place that may be My resting-place? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 6:11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: 12 'As for this house which thou art building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute Mine ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with thee, which I spoke unto David thy father; 13 in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 10:9 Whoso quarrieth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Solomon's Temple

Solomon's Temple was one of the most famous edifices that the world has ever seen. It was dedicated in about 967 BC and had a fairly short life for a landmark of its magnitude when compared with many other ancient buildings of great importance. Today, there is scarcely a trace of it and its precise position is not known for certain. It is known within a few hundred yards where it was, but there is not enough of it remaining to determine exactly how it was situated. This is somewhat unusual considering that there are many ruins of other important structures as old or older throughout the world. Certainly, this is no accident.

Many people have wondered why this temple was called Solomon's Temple and not YHWH's Temple or something of that nature. As it turns out, there is a very good reason for that and Solomon's Temple should indeed be called Solomon's Temple and not the temple of the Lord.

Jeremiah 7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying: 'The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these.' (JPS)

The story of the construction of Solomon's Temple begins during the time of King David. Looking at 1 Chronicles 28, one will notice that the Spirit of the Lord instructed David as to the exact design of the temple and all of its furnishings and utensils. The plans David left for the temple, furnishings and instruments were so explicit that the precise weight of each metal item was specified in the plans. It should be an obvious point that if the exact weight of something is specified before it is made there is not much room for modifications to its design. This is especially true when one is dealing with precious metals because the measure for these materials has historically been quite precise.

David Gives the Plans for the Temple to Solomon
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever. 10 Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.' 11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch of the temple, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper rooms thereof, and of the inner chambers thereof, and of the place of the ark-cover; 12 and the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, for the courts of the house of the Lord, and for all the chambers round about, for the treasuries of the house of God, and for the treasuries of the hallowed things; 13 also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord: 14 of gold by weight for the vessels of gold, for all vessels of every kind of service; of silver for all the vessels of silver by weight, for all vessels of every kind of service; 15 by weight also for the candlesticks of gold, and for the lamps thereof, of gold, by weight for every candlestick and for the lamps thereof; and for the candlesticks of silver, silver by weight for every candlestick and for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick; 16 and the gold by weight for the tables of showbread, for every table; and silver for the tables of silver; 17 and the flesh-hooks, and the basins, and the jars, of pure gold; and for the golden bowls by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls by weight for every bowl; 18 and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot, even the cherubim, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord. 19 'All this do I give thee in writing, as the Lord hath made me wise by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.' 20 And David said to Solomon his son: 'Be strong and of good courage, and do it; fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, is with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord be finished. 21 And, behold, there are the courses of the priests and the Levites, for all the service of the house of God; and there shall be with thee in all manner of work every willing man that hath skill, for any manner of service; also the captains and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.' (JPS)

When one looks at all of this in detail and compares it with what is recorded about the temple that Solomon actually built (2 Chronicles 3:2 et seq.), it becomes evident that Solomon's Temple, furnishings and instruments were not constructed according to the specifications that David left for them. That is to say, they were not constructed according to the instructions that God gave to David. That is to say, they were not constructed according to God's specifications.

1 Chronicles 28:19 All this [said David,] in writing, by the Lord's hand upon me, instructing as to all the works of the pattern. (Darby)

For example, the walls in Solomon's Temple were overlaid completely with gold while the plans of the Lord that David left called for at least some of them to be overlaid with silver. Furthermore, David's specifications listed many gold and silver items that Solomon actually made of brass. There is no mention whatsoever that Solomon made anything out of silver. Remember that the Spirit of the Lord gave the plans for the temple to David similar to the way that Moses received the instructions for building the tent tabernacle and all of its furnishings and instruments. David left plans for "gold for [things of] gold, and silver for [things of] silver" while Solomon actually made the things of gold out of gold or brass and things of silver out of gold or brass.

1 Chronicles 29:3 Moreover also, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, seeing that I have a treasure of mine own of gold and silver, I give it unto the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, 4 even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, wherewith to overlay the walls of the houses; 5 of gold for the things of gold, and of silver for the things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. Who then offereth willingly to consecrate himself this day unto the Lord?'
(JPS) (Emphasis added)
Solomon's Temple
2 Chronicles 3:4 And the porch which was in front was twenty cubits in length, in front of the house broadways, and the height was a hundred and twenty; and he overlaid it within with pure gold. 5 And the greater house he boarded with cypress-wood, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set on it palm-trees and chains. 6 And he overlaid the house with precious stones for beauty; and the gold was gold of Parvaim. 7 And he covered the house, the beams, the threshold, and its walls, and its doors with gold, and engraved cherubim on the walls. 8 And he made the house of the most holy place, the length of which was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and its breadth twenty cubits; and he covered it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents. 9 And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he covered the upper chambers with gold. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Perhaps this why it is noted that no accounting was made for silver in Solomon's day.

2 Chronicles 9:20 And all king Solomon's drinking-vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Obviously Solomon did not overlay any walls with silver and the utensils and furnishings of the temple were not necessarily made out of the specified materials either. Some of these items were also supposed to be made of silver, but there is no mention of anything actually being made of silver. There is not one thing that was made of silver, but the plans called for "gold for the things of gold, and of silver for the things of silver." Not only is this evident, but also, many items were physically different than the specifications called for. Actually, it will soon become clear that Solomon made many modifications to the temple and its furnishings and vessels. There wasn't much of the Lord's plan that Solomon didn't modify all the way down to the nails. One will notice that David left iron to make nails out of, but Solomon made the nails out of gold. While there is the possibility these nails were for different purposes, there is the blatant question of whether gold would be a suitable material for nails. There is also no record that Solomon used iron for anything. It was important to build the temple according to the specifications that the Lord gave for it and its furnishings and utensils because the temple on earth was to be a duplicate of that which is in heaven. Furthermore, God actually dwelt in the tent tabernacle of Moses and it was His intention to dwell in this building. The following verse emphasizes the importance of constructing things according to the plans.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
David's Provisions
1 Chronicles 22:3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the couplings; and brass in abundance without weight; 4 and cedar-trees without number; for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought cedar-trees in abundance to David. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Solomon's Nails
2 Chronicles 3:9 And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Getting Around to it

In the accounts about King David's preparation for building the temple, one will notice that preparations were more than adequate for construction to begin immediately before Solomon became the king. In fact, David thought that construction would begin immediately.

1 Chronicles 22:15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all men that are skilful in any manner of work; 16 of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise and be doing, and the Lord be with thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In the narrative about the actual construction of the temple, one will notice that there seems to have been some lack of promptness in beginning construction - at least as compared to the vision of David.

1 Kings 6:37 In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Ziv. 38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
2 Chronicles 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father; for which provision had been made in the Place of David, in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2 And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)

King David Prepares to Build

David bequeathed very large amounts of materials for the construction of the temple, its furnishings and instruments. It is evident that he left more than enough material to build the temple. David also left many completed things that were dedicated for the temple and some of these may have been acquired in military conquests. It is probable that David made some of the temple items before the word of the Lord came to him that he was not to build the temple. In fact, it is conceivable that he may even have laid the foundation before he turned the task over to Solomon. We do know that he began preparing materials such as quarrying stones before he was told not to build a temple. Notwithstanding the provisions of David, Solomon made absolutely all of the things that were actually used in the temple. The fact that the items made by the Israelites in the wilderness still existed and apparently were not used is probably not insignificant either. In 2 Chronicles 5:1 and 1 Kings 7:51, we see that when Solomon finished with the temple, he brought all of the items that David had dedicated for the temple and placed them in the treasuries. In slightly different words, it would be fair to say that he put them in storage.

2 Chronicles 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon wrought for the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had hallowed; even the silver, and the gold, and all the vessels, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

Solomon Acquires Materials for the Temple

Before Solomon began building the temple, he made agreements with Hiram King of Tyre to secure materials and craftsmen for the project. The primary account of this is found in 1 Kings 5.

1 Kings 5:16 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying: (JPS)
1 Kings 5:19 And, behold, I purpose to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke unto David my father, saying: Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build the house for My name. 20 Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar-trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants; and I will give thee hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt say; for thou knowest that there is not among us any that hath skill to hew timber like unto the Zidonians.' (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
1 Kings 5:24 So Hiram gave Solomon timber of cedar and timber of cypress according to all his desire. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
(These verses are not numbered the same in most translations.)

If one looks a little further back in the scripture, they will notice that David had acquired more than enough materials for the construction of the temple and its furnishings before his death (1 Chronicles chapters 22, 28, 29). The question is, what happened to them?

1 Chronicles 22:1 Then David said: 'This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt-offering for Israel.' 2 And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. 3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the couplings; and brass in abundance without weight; 4 and cedar-trees without number; for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought cedar-trees in abundance to David. 5 And David said: 'Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries; I will therefore make preparation for him.' So David prepared abundantly before his death. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
1 Chronicles 28:2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said: 'Hear me, my brethren, and my people; as for me, it was in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God; and I had made ready for the building. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
1 Chronicles 28:2 And king David stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren and my people! I had in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God, and I have prepared to build. (Darby) (Emphasis Added)

It is clear that David had prepared the materials for the temple before his death and had nearly everything ready before passing the scepter to Solomon. About the only thing that David did not do was assemble the materials into a temple. While David was not allowed to actually build the temple, evidently he was allowed to get everything ready for its construction. The inventory of items that David left to build the temple included so much cedar that it could not be quantified as well as vast amounts of large high-quality dressed stones. Nevertheless, David does tell Solomon that he could add to the materials if he wished. In addition to materials, David also completed some of the furnishings before his death, but not all of them.

Since it is known that David provided more than enough materials to build the temple, what happened to them and why did Solomon have to acquire so much more material? After all, it is clear that Solomon is acquiring all of the materials for the temple again.

Materials for Solomon's Palaces

What happened to the materials for the temple? Solomon used them to build his palaces. Supplies provided by King David that were not used for Solomon's own purposes were later placed in the temple treasuries. Solomon also acquired other precious metals in addition to stone and cedar. Observe that the gold that David left for the temple was the gold of Ophir, while the gold Solomon actually used in the temple was the gold of Parvaim. Perhaps the clearest indication in the Tanakh that Solomon used the temple materials to build his palaces is found in 1 Kings 7. This passage gives some description of the stones that Solomon used to build his own houses.What happened to the materials for the temple? Solomon used them to build his palaces. Supplies provided by King David that were not used for Solomon's own purposes were later placed in the temple treasuries. Solomon also acquired other precious metals in addition to stone and cedar. Observe that the gold that David left for the temple was the gold of Ophir, while the gold Solomon actually used in the temple was the gold of Parvaim. Perhaps the clearest indication in the Tanakh that Solomon used the temple materials to build his palaces is found in 1 Kings 7. This passage gives some description of the stones that Solomon used to build his own houses.

Solomon's Palace
1 Kings 7:1 And Solomon was thirteen years building his own house; and he finished all his house.
1 Kings 7:9 All these [buildings] were of costly stones, hewn stones, according to the measures, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation to the coping, and on the outside as far as the great court. 10 And the foundations were of costly stones, great stones, stones of ten cubits and stones of eight cubits. 11 And above were costly stones, hewn stones, according to the measures, and cedar. 12 And the great court round about had three rows of hewn stones, and a row of cedar-beams; and so it was for the inner court of the house of the Lord, and the porch of the house. (Darby) (Emphasis Added)
1 Kings 7:1 And Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.
1 Kings 7:9 All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewn stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside unto the great court. 10 And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits. 11 And above were costly stones, after the measure of hewn stones, and cedar-wood. 12 And the great court round about had three rows of hewn stone, and a row of cedar beams, like as the inner court of the house of the Lord, and the court of the porch of the house. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)

When one considers carefully the previous passage, there is the interesting phrase in the Darby translation of 1 Kings 7:12 "and so it was for the inner court of the house of the Lord." While this could mean that this feature was similar to the same feature in house of the Lord, apparently this is not the case. This could also mean that this feature had been intended to be part of the house of the Lord. Evidently, this is the true meaning of this phrase. The phrase has been interpreted differently by various translators. In many cases, they attempted to fix it, but other supporting evidence for this idea exists. The following passage from the Tanakh establishes that Solomon quarried stones for the temple again although we know that King David had quarried stones in abundance for the temple.

1 Kings 5:31 And the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with hewn stone. 32 And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders and the Gebalites did fashion them, and prepared the timber and the stones to build the house. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
(In most English translations, this passage is located in verses 5:17-18 where chapter 5 ends.)
1 Chronicles 29:1 And David the king said unto all the congregation: 'Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great; for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God. 2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the brass for the things of brass, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Historical evidence apart from the Tanakh supports that the temple materials were used in Solomon's palaces. The Levites maintained many records and some of these documents are known as Mishnah. There are Mishnah from the time of Solomon's Temple containing details about the building and the stones of its foundation.

Mishnah

Some readers will benefit from a brief explanation of what Mishnah are. The word Mishnah means records and they were passed on by oral tradition. Mishnah comprised part of the Torah as opposed to the Miqra which are the written records of the Torah. The Torah can generally be considered to be the first five books of the Bible written by Moses. In addition to that, there was an oral Torah that was never written down until about the 2nd century AD. In Jewish parlance, it is said that there are two Torahs, the written and the oral. Mishnah are generally considered to be independent of scripture as opposed to Midrash which are connected to scripture. The whole body of Jewish scriptural exegesis is Midrash and that term also designates a method of interpretation of scripture. The midrashic method of interpretation is supposed to employ scripture to interpret scripture. Therefore, the term has a slightly more-narrow meaning than exegesis.

Material Evidence

The following Mishnah provides additional evidence that the stones that King David prepared for the temple ended up in Solomon's palaces. This conclusion is based upon the fact that stones of enormous size were quarried for the temple; nevertheless, the only scriptural note of such stones occurs in relation to Solomon's palaces. Stones of these exact dimensions are noted in the Biblical narratives as being used in palaces, not temples. Both the excerpt of this Mishnah and the Bible note stones of ten cubits. The point is, they were probably supposed to be used in the temple, but were not. This conjecture about the stones must be considered in relation to the whole body of evidence presented about the temple in connection with the words of Ezekiel. When considering all of the details of the temple together with the words of Ezekiel, it will be much clearer that these stones were misappropriated.

Emeq HaMelekh - Mishnah 5
By Rabbi Naftali Hertz
The length of one Margalit (pearl? gem? building stone?) was 10 cubits. David prepared all of these for the Great House (Temple), for Shlomo, his son.
(English Translation of "Emeq HaMelekh" [Literally: Valley of the King] By Rabbi Naftali Ben Ya'acov Elchanon 5408 (1648 c.e.))

In the information from Emeq HaMelekh - Mishnah 5 above, we see that David prepared the building stones for "for Shlomo, his son." While it is probably obvious, note that Shlomo is a variant of Solomon.

More Cedar

David had stockpiled so many cedar logs for building the temple that they could not be counted (1 Chronicles 22:4), yet Solomon tells Hiram he needs vast quantities of logs to build the temple. Solomon also gets craftsmen from Hiram, principally Huram-Abi, although David had provided for the craftsmen as well. In fact, David notes that Solomon will not need to get any additional craftsmen.

1 Chronicles 22: 3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the couplings; and brass in abundance without weight; 4 and cedar-trees without number; for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought cedar-trees in abundance to David. (JPS) (Emphasis Added)
1 Chronicles 22:15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all men that are skilful in any manner of work; 16 of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.' 17 David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son: (JPS)

Recall that God gave special skill to Bezalel, Oholiab and other Israelite craftsmen at Horeb for the construction of the Ark and the tent tabernacle. Hiram King of Tyre and Hiram-Abi were of the peoples that the Lord forbade the Israelites to intermarry with or make treaties with. However, Hiram-Abi did have one Jewish parent. The original Hebrew word meaning treaty that appears here is not always rendered in exactly the same way, depending upon the choice of the particular translator. The word is rendered vicariously as covenant. Furthermore, the original Hebrew word that is usually rendered "treaty" or "covenant" in English Bible translations does not have exactly the same connotation as those choices do. The original word is "berit," and it has a much-wider range of applications than those English substitutions since it is the ordinary term for any kind of agreement, compact or contract.

1 Kings 5:12 The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty. (RSV) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 5:26 And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
(Verses are sometimes in different orders in different translations)

It is unlikely that the peoples of Tyre were employed without an agreement of some kind. In the contemporary vernacular sense, Hiram King of Tyre was apparently acting as a general contractor.

Exodus 34:11 Observe thou that which I am commanding thee this day; behold, I am driving out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest they be for a snare in the midst of thee. 13 But ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Notice that Exodus 34:13 does not say to have these peoples build altars and pillars for the Israelites.

The following passage of 1 Chronicles 22:15 reflects the words of David instructing Solomon about the preparations he made for the temple according to what God had commanded. Following that, there is an account of how God gave the craftsmen special skill and knowledge at Horeb to create all of the things for the Tabernacle.

1 Chronicles 22:15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all men that are skilful in any manner of work. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Exodus 31:1 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the ark-cover that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the Tent; 8 and the table and its vessels, and the pure candlestick with all its vessels, and the altar of incense; 9 and the altar of burnt-offering with all its vessels, and the laver and its base; 10 and the plaited garments, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office; 11 and the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place; according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

David appointed 24,000 Levites to supervise the construction of the temple (1 Chronicles 23:4 below), but there is no mention of Solomon using any Levites for anything related to the construction of the temple. In addition, recall that no foreigner was to enter the sanctuary - not even those that lived among the Israelites. It would be difficult to build a sanctuary without ever entering it.

1 Chronicles 23:1 Now David was old and full of days; and he made Solomon his son king over Israel. 2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. 3 And the Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward; and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. 4 Of these, twenty and four thousand were to oversee the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Looking at 1 Chronicles 28 below, notice that the Spirit of the Lord instructed David as to the exact design of the temple just as Moses was instructed by the Lord at Horeb and David gave extremely detailed plans to Solomon. Not only did David give Solomon detailed plans for the temple according to the pattern shown him by the Lord, but also, for all of the items to be made for it including the utensils. The plans David left were so detailed that the exact weight of each metal item was specified in the plans.

David Gives the Plans for the Temple to Solomon
1 Chronicles 28:11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch of the temple, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper rooms thereof, and of the inner chambers thereof, and of the place of the ark-cover; 12 and the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, for the courts of the house of the Lord, and for all the chambers round about, for the treasuries of the house of God, and for the treasuries of the hallowed things; 13 also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord: 14 of gold by weight for the vessels of gold, for all vessels of every kind of service; of silver for all the vessels of silver by weight, for all vessels of every kind of service; 15 by weight also for the candlesticks of gold, and for the lamps thereof, of gold, by weight for every candlestick and for the lamps thereof; and for the candlesticks of silver, silver by weight for every candlestick and for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick; 16 and the gold by weight for the tables of showbread, for every table; and silver for the tables of silver; 17 and the flesh-hooks, and the basins, and the jars, of pure gold; and for the golden bowls by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls by weight for every bowl; 18 and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot, even the cherubim, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord. 19 'All this do I give thee in writing, as the Lord hath made me wise by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.' 20 And David said to Solomon his son: 'Be strong and of good courage, and do it; fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, is with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord be finished. 21 And, behold, there are the courses of the priests and the Levites, for all the service of the house of God; and there shall be with thee in all manner of work every willing man that hath skill, for any manner of service; also the captains and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Craftsmen

Solomon obtained craftsmen from Hiram King of Tyre although David had provided all of the craftsmen needed before his death. It is important to remember that the Israelites were given special skill at Horeb to build the tent Tabernacle in the days of Moses. It is apparent that Solomon changed the design of the temple substantially from the plans that David left and obtaining craftsmen from Tyre played a big part in this.

Tyre was a principal city in the area known as Phoenicia. The Phoenicians were in the land before the Israelites and the reason that God gave that area to Israel was because of the detestable practices of the people that possessed the land before them. Originally, these other groups were to be driven out completely.

Ezra 4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple unto the Lord, the God of Israel; 2 then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' houses, and said unto them: 'Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up hither.' 3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, said unto them: 'Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Phoenicians had ancient religious traditions and constructed many temples to various deities. Most Phoenician temples incorporated design similarities and, oddly enough, the same features are evident in Solomon's Temple. One of the more prominent deities of Phoenicia was Baal and Solomon's Temple is nearly identical to the Phoenician temples built for that deity. Contemporary archeologists have examined several Phoenician temples that are nearly identical to the description of Solomon's Temple. Since there are many distinctions between the Lord and Baal, one would think that a temple to the Lord would be considerably different from a temple to Baal. In fact, the temple that King David envisioned would have been considerably different.

Made With Hands

One may wish to ponder at this point that God does not dwell in temples made with hands as is often noted in the writings of the prophets.

Acts 7:48 But the Most High dwells not in [places] made with hands; as says the prophet, (Darby) (Emphasis added)

This is an interesting point when one considers that the Most High did indeed literally dwell in the tent tabernacle made at Horeb. We do know that the tent was built by Bezalel and Oholiab, but the narrative does not specifically state that they built it by hand. We do know that God instilled in these craftsmen special skill and it is conceivable that He gave them special monkey feet so that they could build it with their toes, but this seems improbable. Therefore, it seems much more likely that the use of the word "hands" here must be imbued with a meaning other than the most natural meaning of the hand of the human body.

It so happens that the word "hand" is one of the handiest words in English with as many as 18 different uses of the term listed in some dictionaries. Therefore, one would want to choose a more logical application of the term such as a "hired hand" to fit the context in order to ferret out what this means. Since the temple was supposed to have been built by the Hebrews themselves and King Solomon used hired persons of Tyre to do the work, this would obviously provide one real good possibility for the correct application of this term.

In this sense, one would want to consider the sense of an agrarian culture where the members of a family do the work on a farm or ranch. In this case, if the family members do the work, no one is considered a hand. However, if someone from outside the family is hired to help with the work, that person is considered a hand, a hired hand. Since the Hebrews are all considered brothers through Jacob, none of them would be a hand in the since of a hired hand even though they might be paid for their work since they all should have a share in the family's wealth. In ancient Israel, this went by tribes.

Israeli Cubits

In some English translations of the Bible such as the New International Version, there is a note in 2 Chronicles 3:3 that the foundations of the temple were laid out using the cubit of the old standard. This does not appear in all English translations of the Bible, but it is in the original text. The 1917 English translation by the Jewish Publication Society includes the notation that the cubit "after the ancient measure' was used and the verse is included below. The 1985 edition of the JPS Tanakh renders this phrase "by the former measure."

2 Chronicles 3:3 Now these are the foundations which Solomon laid for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the ancient measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In this version of the Tanakh, the phrase of special interest is "after the ancient measure." In contemporary English, this would read something like "after the old standard" and this detail is interesting on many different levels. In fact, it may have multiple meanings because there are other peculiarities about the units from this time. In this version of the Tanakh, the phrase of special interest is "after the ancient measure." In contemporary English, this would read something like "after the old standard" and this detail is interesting on many different levels. In fact, it may have multiple meanings because there are other peculiarities about the units from this time.

The cubit was a unit of linear measure used widely throughout the ancient world including Egypt. The Hebrews were in Egypt a long time before their journey to the land of Canaan and Egypt was the source of the cubit that they used at Horeb as they built the first Tabernacle under the direction of Moses. This can be determined with certainty because of the units that are used to divide the cubit. At Horeb, one will notice that dimensions are sometimes given in spans and handbreadths.

While some experts on antiquity believe that the Hebrew cubit was based upon the Babylonian cubit, spans and handbreadths are units of the Egyptian system and not the Babylonian system. Therefore, it is clear that at the time of Moses, the Israelites used the Egyptian system of measure for determining length. It is known that there was no purely Hebrew cubit at that time.

Some experts believe that the cubit used during the construction of Solomon's Temple was based upon Babylonian standards. This idea is plausible since there was interaction between the two cultures by this time. However, it is noted that the cubit used in the construction of the temple was after the ancient standard and this must mean the Egyptian cubit. This can be determined because the dimensions of some of the items are given in handbreadths and handbreadths are not part of the Babylonian system.

The Babylonian cubit was actually known as the kus and it was divided into the foot which was 2/3 of a cubit. The shusi was 1/30 of a cubit and this increment comprised the smaller named units of the kus. The shusi was roughly equivalent to the digit or finger in the Egyptian standard.

There were at least two versions of Babylonian cubits of two different sizes. The earlier cubit was shorter than the later standard. In the case of the Babylonian cubit, it was enlarged from a cubit of 27 units to a cubit of 30 units so that it would harmonize with the Babylonian sexagesimal number system. Sexagesimal means a number system based on 60. 30 is also much easier to reconcile than 27 in most cases because it has many more factors. The key to determining with confidence exactly which cubits were used lies in the difference between the earlier Babylonian cubit and the later standard. In the case of the Babylonian standards, the difference was three units or shusi. It is known from Ezekiel that the exact difference between the cubits used was one handbreadth and one handbreadth is four digits. Therefore, this refers to an Egyptian standard or a standard based upon the Egyptian system because three digits are not a handbreadth and we know that the difference between the old and new standards must be 4 digits.

Under the Egyptian system, there were two different lengths of cubits. The shorter cubit appeared first and it became known as the common cubit after the longer cubit came into use. The longer cubit was known as the royal cubit and this embodies part of the significant difference between the two cubits. At this level, the real key to the difference is the distinction between the common and the royal - or stating this slightly differently, the difference between the common and the holy.

Ezekiel 43:13 And these are the measures of the altar by cubits--the cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth: the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about a span; and this shall be the base of the altar. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There is a great deal of significance to using the cubit of the old standard and it goes far beyond simply using the wrong size. The key to understanding this is not to be found in the accounts about the construction of the temple, but rather, in the words of Ezekiel. One will notice in the specifications for Ezekiel's temple the clear message of the Lord that the cubit is to be a cubit and a handbreadth. The reason that he is doing this is because this was not the size that was used.

Despite the obvious significance of using the common cubit instead of the royal cubit, there is also another level of distinction between the two cubits. The common cubit is divided into 24 parts and the royal cubit is divided into 28 parts. This came about because the basic cubit, the length of someone's arm from the elbow to the fingertip, is comprised of six handbreadths. While the length of a cubit varies between individuals, the ratio of handbreadths remains nearly the same. Handbreadths are further divided into fingers or digits and the thumb is not included in the handbreadth. A royal cubit was one handbreadth longer, so it was seven handbreadths. Talmudic tradition from antiquity supports that cubits were divided into 6 handbreadths (Baba Batra 14a).

Part of the significance of this is in the difference between six and seven as the numbers are used symbolically in the Bible. Seven is a very significant number in the Bible and it denotes divine perfection, that which is holy and also completion. The number six is also of great significance and it represents the number of man, the struggle between good and evil and opposition to God. The real distinction between the old and new cubits is the difference between the common and the holy.

Ezekiel 43:10 Thou, son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure accurately. 11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known unto them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof, and write it in their sight; that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. 12 This is the law of the house: upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. 13 And these are the measures of the altar by cubits--the cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth: the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about a span; and this shall be the base of the altar. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Obviously, from the previous passage, there must have been something wrong with some temple somewhere and that temple was Solomon's Temple.

Other Considerations

As a side note, in most cases it is counterproductive to convert the units of measure used in the original text of the Bible into other units because in so doing one destroys any clear symbolism or other information that could be determined from the information as it was originally presented. In the case of studying this material, it is possible to clearly determine that the cubits used at Horeb were Egyptian cubits because of the smaller units like the span and handbreadth that are used to measure various items. These smaller units were part of the Egyptian system and not part of the Babylonian system. If one used a translation where these units had been converted into some other system of measure, it would be nearly impossible to determine these types of details. Furthermore, it is clear from prophetic scripture that at some point in the near future, mankind will again be using cubits as the standard measure.

It is apparent that the number six is endemic to Solomon and his temple. Many of the features of the building were divisible by six and Jewish records indicate that there were 36,000 blocks of stone used in the foundations. Some of the possible factors of 36,000 are 6, 60 and 600. The exact same numeric values are included in the overall dimensions of the temple that are given as 60 cubits by 20 cubits by 30 cubits. This amounts to 36,000 cubic cubits. Apparently, just about every aspect and feature of Solomon's Temple carries this same numeric symbolism, just as his palace did.

No Sound of an Iron Tool
Discrepant quantities and measures in Solomon's Temple

Click on the link above for information about the Discrepant quantities and measures used in Solomon's Temple.

The Gold of Parvaim

Perhaps the most obscure term in the entire Tanakh is found in 2 Chronicles 3:6 describing one attribute of Solomon's Temple.

2 Chronicles 3:6 And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty; and the gold was gold of Parvaim. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The word Parvaim is a word whose meaning has been lost in antiquity. Nevertheless, for this investigation, this is exactly the type of detail that is of interest, but there are only scant details about the meaning of this word. Most experts contend that they do not know what Parvaim means and others simply take it to be a geographic area. There is support for that conclusion because it fits with the way the word is used. Since this is such a mysterious term, it is necessary to research obscure sources to find a meaning for it. Looking very deeply, there is a clear mention of Parvaim as a place in a very ancient book called The Genesis Apocryphon. According to this ancient scroll, Parvaim might not be just an ordinary place either, but a place of incredible distinction.

First, however, it is relevant to reiterate that although Solomon used the gold of Parvaim, King David left plenty of gold for the temple. However, the gold that King David left was the gold of Ophir, not Parvaim.

1 Chronicles 29:3 Moreover also, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, seeing that I have a treasure of mine own of gold and silver, I give it unto the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, 4 even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, wherewith to overlay the walls of the houses; (JPS) (Emphasis added)

One can ascertain the general location of Parvaim from the Tanakh, but referencing some quasi-credible books greatly augments understanding. Some of this information can be pieced together from some manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which are thought to date from at least 5 BC. In addition to this avenue of investigation, there is support for the conclusions presented in this book about these locations from accepted Tanakh scripture and the locations of other cities in close proximity to Parvaim that bolsters the exact conclusion of its whereabouts. The ancient lost texts merely augment a conclusion derived from acceptable scripture. Some of the ancient scrolls examined here were once thought to be relics of Christianity; however, since copies have surfaced that predate Christianity, it is a foregone conclusion that they must be of Jewish origin.

Isaiah 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of a book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. 19 The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the neediest among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner ceaseth, and all they that watch for iniquity are cut off; 21 That make a man an offender by words, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just with a thing of nought. 22 Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale; 23 When he seeth his children, the work of My hands, in the midst of him, that they sanctify My name; yea, they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24 They also that err in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmur shall learn instruction. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In the case of The Genesis Apocryphon, as one of the Dead Sea Scrolls it was lost until very recently. There are also other collections of ancient books now known as the Pseudepigrapha and the Apocrypha. Pseudepigrapha loosely means "false writings" while Apocrypha loosely means "things hidden away." There are two collections of apocryphal books, one that is considered more credible than the other known as The Deuterocanonical Apocrypha. The other collection is known simply as The Apocrypha. The etymology of the word "Apocrypha" reflects considerable modification to its definition over time and this factor alone casts considerable doubt on the authority of any canon of scripture. The Deuterocanonical Apocrypha collection was considered to be of Divine origin by the Roman Church. Some apocryphal books that are not part of the regular Bible today were used freely until about the 16th century AD when the collection was condensed into a uniform set of books for public distribution. In fact, several of these books were included in the original edition of The King James Bible and were included in the authoritative Septuagint collection of scripture. When the Bible was translated into Latin producing the Vulgate edition in the 5th century AD, Jerome the translator rejected some books upon his own authority because no Hebrew texts of those books could be found. However, this does not necessarily mean that no Hebrew texts ever existed and more recent discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls could be used by astute individuals to consider the canon more carefully. The standardization of the collection of books in various Bibles was accomplished through decrees known as Canons. The word "canon" is also applied to a list of books proclaimed to be the whole of Holy Scripture and decrees regulating various church dogma as well as the most solemn portion of a Mass and certain ranks of clergymen. Furthermore, some alleged saints have been canonized thereby producing a list of persons elected to salvation through the popular vote of men. Certainly one could purchase this designation for money. The list of canonized scripture was compiled by men and the word "canon" is not to be confused with the word "cannon," a device used for shooting things full of holes.

For Christianity in the Roman church, the standardization of the collection of scripture or canon was part of the acts of the Council of Trent of 1546 and this orthodox church determined that The Deuterocanonical Apocrypha was indeed Divine scripture. At about the same time, during the Protestant Reformation, Protestants similarly standardized their collections of scripture, but rejected these apocryphal books as lacking Divine authority. This all occurred during perhaps the most tumultuous moment in church history, a period punctuated with bloody events such as the various Inquisitions. Furthermore, this period is the origin of the divisions of scripture into chapters and verses. Despite the functional utility of these devices it is an obvious point that these divisions are not of Divine authority since they occasionally diminish the meaning of the text. Furthermore, orthodox actually means conforming to mass opinion and the wisdom of that as a basis for reasoning is contraindicated by the entire history of the world. To wit: Gallileo Galilei, yet another testimony to the wisdom of the church fathers of the period where the canon was devised. There are several orthodox churches including the Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Orthodox Judaism. The collections of the current Protestant Christian Old Testament and the Tanakh are similar although the books are arranged differently while the Catholic Old Testament is a slightly different collection. For those interested in Judaica, the whole question of canon is actually much more mysterious. It is not known for certain how or when the Jewish canon came about and recent authoritative rabbinical studies into that subject have tended to produce more questions than answers. Some speculate that the canon emerged during the Babylonian Captivity simply from the available books while other views abound. It is conspicuous in scripture that many books went missing during the time of the kings. In fact, this apparently included the entire Pentateuch or Chumash at one point.

2 Chronicles 34:14 And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 34:15 and Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe: 'I have found the book of the Law in the house of the Lord.' And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 34:30 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, both great and small; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In light of these types of considerations, it is possible that the formal Tanakh canon, known as the Protocanonical collection to introduce an additional level of complexity into the question of canon, simply was compiled from the only books available in Babylon. For readers that wish to conduct their own investigation into the Tanakh canon The Jewish Study Bible containing The New Jewish Publication Society Study Tanakh contains an excellent treatise on that subject. For all persuasions concerned, it is certain that valid books of scripture are missing from the canonized collections because there are several references to missing books in remaining accepted scripture. The author in no way suggests that any books not referenced in other scripture should be considered as valid; only that the books that are clearly referenced in other scripture were inadvertently omitted.

For example, there are books of the Apocrypha such as The Book of Jashar mentioned in 2 Samuel 1:18 that are also probably valid texts. In the case of The Book of Jashar, King David makes a direct reference to this book as does Joshua. One is affronted with a paradox between the canon and the Holy Scriptures.

Joshua 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Samuel1:17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, 18 and said--To teach the sons of Judah the bow. Behold, it is written in the book of Jashar: 19 Thy beauty, O Israel, upon thy high places is slain! How are the mighty fallen! (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The canons that emerged during this period were purportedly produced for valid reasons under the supervision of ostensibly competent scholars. Some might believe that the canons were the work of God, but if that were the case then it should be obvious to nearly anyone that there would only be one (1) universal canon of scripture concerning YHWH. In addition, since remaining accepted scripture contains references to some jettisoned or missing books, the Divine nature of the existing canon is blatantly fallacious. In all reality, the existing canon is the work of men that teach as precepts the teachings of men.

Isaiah 40:13 Who hath meted out the spirit of the Lord? Or who was His counsellor that he might instruct Him? 14 With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of right, and taught Him knowledge, and made Him to know the way of discernment? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 29:9 Stupefy yourselves, and be stupid! Blind yourselves, and be blind! ye that are drunken, but not with wine, that stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets, and your heads, the seers, hath He covered. 11 And the vision of all this is become unto you as the words of a writing that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying: 'Read this, I pray thee'; and he saith: 'I cannot, for it is sealed'; 12 and the writing is delivered to him that is not learned, saying: 'Read this, I pray thee'; and he saith: 'I am not learned.' 13 And the Lord said: Forasmuch as this people draw near, and with their mouth and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote; 14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Since there have been several important discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls since the plethora of canons were devised, it is probable that the questions of canon should be reexamined. It should be noted that while it appears that some of the books that were once included as accepted scripture probably should not have been removed, some of them might be suspect. A superficial examination of some of these books reveals incongruence with accepted scripture while others appear to be plausible and do not conflict with accepted scripture. If a book conflicts with accepted scripture, it is no doubt of dubious nature. Furthermore, for the most part the existing canon is sufficient. Nevertheless, some of these books are most likely credible and it is probable that the canons should be reexamined despite the fact that it is a great deal of work.

Apart from that, a copy of The Book of Enoch was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which are thought to date from about 150 BC to 5 BC. This book also can also be traced through the Ethiopian Church much further back than most apocryphal books. Nevertheless, several purportedly lucid theologians as of this writing - approximately sixty years after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947) - still maintain that The Book of Enoch was written after The Book of Jude that dates from between 70 and 80 AD. One would think that reality would present an obvious problem with that theory. Notwithstanding, the structure of the passage in The Book of Jude clearly corroborates the position that he is quoting from The Book of Enoch. In many translations, the passage clearly contains quotation marks. Since Enoch was not a contemporary of Jude, this leaves little doubt that that Jude was using a manuscript. Since Enoch was a scribe, it is reasonable to postulate that he must have written something. It is reasonable to at least consider The Book of Enoch as the work of Enoch since the text maintains that it was written by Enoch. The Book of Enoch contains apocalyptic information.

Notwithstanding, it might be best to avoid these works if there were any more reliable sources of supporting information. Nonetheless, some of the material referenced here is from a book quoted at length by the writers of accepted scripture. Since more sanctioned records are lacking, one must either ignore the question or utilize available resources to expand understanding. While some might be content to ignore questions, the purpose of this book is to produce answers. One might pause and reflect upon some of the possible variations of the word ignore to the grasp the full breadth of the wisdom and implications of that course of action. Therefore, in this case obscure references were used, so the reader must make his-or-her own determination as to the validity of the conclusions. Notwithstanding that set of concessions, the conclusions of this investigation are also supported by investigations in Tanakh scripture and all avenues of research led to the same destination.

The Genesis Apocryphon is also known as The Tales of the Patriarchs and this book is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unfortunately, the edges of the scroll were eaten away over time and parts of the text are missing. This is denoted by dots in between phrases. In The Genesis Apocryphon, Parvaim is mentioned as a place where Methuselah went to visit Enoch. Enoch was Methuselah's father and Methuselah's son was Lamech. Lamech asked Methuselah to inquire of Enoch as to the nature of the child that his wife was carrying because Enoch was a prophet of the Lord. Accepted scripture supports that this genealogy is correct and that Enoch was a man of God. This information can be found in Genesis 5:21 et seq. It is also of interest to note that an included fragment of The Book of Enoch called The Book of Noah supports this account.

Genesis 5:21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begot Methuselah three hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him. 25 And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begot Lamech. 26 And Methuselah lived after he begot Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begot sons and daughters. 27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died. 28 And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begot a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying: 'This same shall comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, which cometh from the ground which the Lord hath cursed.' 30 And Lamech lived after he begot Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begot sons and daughters. 31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years; and he died. 32 And Noah was five hundred years old; and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (JPS)

The following passage is from The Genesis Apocryphon and Lamech is speaking:

I thought, in my heart, that the conception was the work of the Watchers the pregnancy of the Holy Ones and that it belonged to the Giants[2]... and my heart was upset by this... I, Lamech, turned to my wife Bitenosh and said... Swear to me by the Most High, Great Lord, King of the Universe[3]...the sons of heavens, that you will truthfully tell me everything, if... You will tell me without lies... Then Bitenosh, my wife spoke harshly and she cried... and said: Oh my brother and lord! Remember my pleasure... the time of love, gasping for breath. I will tell you everything truthfully... and then my heart began to ache... When Bitenosh realized my mood had changed...Then she withheld her anger and said to me: O my lord and brother! Remember my pleasure. I swear to you by the Great Holy One, the King of the heavens... That this seed, pregnancy, and planting of fruit comes from you and not a stranger, Watcher, or son of the heaven... Why is your expression changed and your spirit saddened... I speak honestly to you... Then I, Lamech, went to my father, Methuselah, and told him everything so that he would know the truth because he is well liked... and he is in well with the Holy Ones and they share everything with him. Methuselah went to Enoch to find the truth... he will. And he went to Parvaim, where Enoch lived... He said to Enoch: O my father and lord, to whom I... I tell you! Do not be angry because I came here to you... fear before you... (The Genesis Apocryphon) (Emphasis added)

The reason that Lamech went to see Methuselah and Methuselah went to Parvaim was because Lamech was concerned that the Watchers had impregnated his wife. The Watchers were the Sons of God that took the daughters of men to be their wives and they begot giants and the ancient men of renown as offspring from these forbidden unions. The word Watchers is found in reference to both holy angels and fallen angels, but the term is most frequently found in conjunction to fallen angels. Apparently, Lamech's wife was exceedingly great with child, but Lamech's fears were put to rest because Enoch could see that this child would be Noah and was indeed Lamech's child. The giants and men of renown were also known as the Nephilim and their existence was part of the reason that God brought forth the Great Flood of Noah's time (Genesis 6:1-8). The Book of Enoch also mentions that another reason for the flood was that the Watchers were teaching forbidden and secret things to mankind. Notice especially at the end of the passage from The Genesis Apocryphon that Methuselah was evidently not supposed to go see Enoch at Parvaim because he asked Enoch not to be angry.

This is about all of the pertinent information that can be gleaned from this particular scroll. However, it is possible to connect the information from The Genesis Apocryphon with information from The Book of Enoch, thereby producing startling information. The Book of Enoch is a partial narrative of Enoch's life as the scribe of the Watchers. The Book of Enoch chapter 1 verses 3-9 is quoted at length in The Book of Jude verses 14-16.

Credibility

Since accepted scripture quotes The Book of Enoch, this casts a ray of undeniable credibility upon the book regardless of whether or not it was approved by canon. Despite the fact that some church bureaucrats have determined the book to be suspect, obviously God is not of the same opinion. The point being, if the book is quoted in accepted scripture then it is either necessary to accept it as scripture or declare Jude a heretic and remove his book as well. To establish that The Book of Enoch is supported by scripture accepted by some the following portion is juxtaposed with a portion of The Book of Jude.

The Book of Enoch
Parable of Enoch on the Future Lot of the Wicked and the Righteous
Chapter I
1. The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. 2 And he took up his parable and said--Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is for to come. 3 Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:
The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling, 4 And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai, And appear from His camp And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens. 5 And all shall be smitten with fear, And the Watchers shall quake, And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth. 6 And the high mountains shall be shaken, And the high hills shall be made low, And shall melt like wax before the flame. 7 And the earth shall be wholly rent in sunder, And all that is upon the earth shall perish, And there shall be a judgment upon all (men). 8 But with the righteous He will make peace. And will protect the elect, And mercy shall be upon them. And they shall all belong to God, And they shall be prospered, And they shall all be blessed. And He will help them all, And light shall appear unto them, And He will make peace with them. 9 And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones, To execute judgment upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness, which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (Emphasis added)
(The Book of Enoch translated by R.H. Charles, London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1917)
Jude 1:14 And Enoch, [the] seventh from Adam, prophesied also as to these, saying, Behold, [the] Lord has come amidst his holy myriads, 15 to execute judgment against all; and to convict all the ungodly of them of all their works of ungodliness, which they have wrought ungodlily, and of all the hard [things] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their lusts; and their mouth speaks swelling words, admiring persons for the sake of profit. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

While the author must stop short of exactly saying this is a direct quote by Jude from the Book of Enoch, it seems highly probable. The factor that precludes stating this with absolute certainty is that different people translated these texts at different times so the wording is not exactly the same. Nevertheless, it appears that the thoughts of both passages are identical. The point of this examination is that at least some of The Book of Enoch is quite probably valid scripture. In addition, there are other parts of the Apocrypha such as The Book of Jashar mentioned in 2 Samuel 1:18 that are also probably valid texts. In the case of The Book of Jashar, King David makes a direct reference to this book. One would think that this would lend credibility to this book. Again, one is confronted with a paradox of canon and scripture.

2 Samuel 1:17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, 18 and said--To teach the sons of Judah the bow. Behold, it is written in the book of Jashar: 19 Thy beauty, O Israel, upon thy high places is slain! How are the mighty fallen! (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Location of Parvaim

Resuming with the main question, that being, where or what is Parvaim, the following information continues that investigation.

The Book of Enoch
Enoch 12:1 Before these things Enoch was hidden, and no one of the children of men knew where he was 2 hidden, and where he abode, and what had become of him. And his activities had to do with the Watchers, and his days were with the holy ones. 3 And I Enoch was blessing the Lord of majesty and the King of the ages, and lo! the Watchers 4 called me - Enoch the scribe - and said to me: 'Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves 5 wives: "Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth: And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness 6 of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children, The murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain."'
(The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament R.H. Charles; Oxford: The Clarendon Press) (Emphasis added)

If one connects the information from The Book of Enoch and the information from The Genesis Apocryphon, it becomes evident that Parvaim was the place where the Watchers dwelt after they were ejected from heaven. Therefore, extrapolating this to its ultimate conclusion, Parvaim - the dwelling place of fallen angels - is in the Nether World. Be aware that by definition the word "nether" means that which is situated below. Similarly, the word infernal has the same meaning.

Isaiah 57:9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thine ambassadors far off, even down to the nether-world. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It seems that one would have to go a little out of the way to get gold from Parvaim. How one would get to, or return from Parvaim is something that the reader can ponder.

Legends of the Gold of Parvaim

There are several extraordinary legends of the Levites about the gold of Parvaim in the temple. In one of the legends, this gold was a magical material that grew and moved. Allegedly, the trees would bear golden fruit from time to time. Another legend maintains that this gold was the color of the blood of oxen. In many cases the gold of Parvaim has been thought to be fine gold and this would probably be true in any event.

One way of refining most elemental metals is to put them in fire. When they melt, most of the impurities float to the top. This material is something like scum on a pond in principle and it is frequently called dross. It can be easily skimmed off a crucible of molten metal. If this process is repeated many times, more and more impurities can be removed. Jewish legends maintain that some of the gold used in the temple or its fixtures was subjected to this process 1000 times. It seems that melting things might not be a problem at Parvaim.

While these aspects of Parvaim are interesting enough, there also is another level of significance to this word as it is used in the Tanakh. There are six words for gold in Hebrew and all of the other words that describe gold have been used before this one appears - at least according to the Jewish Encyclopedia in a treatise on metals. The author takes their word for this. In addition, the word appears in 2 Chronicles 3:6 and does not appear in scripture again. Superstitious types could contemplate any possible significance to the word's appearing in verse 3:6.

2 Chronicles 3:6 And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty; and the gold was gold of Parvaim. (JPS)

According to the same source, there is another word for gold that is peculiar to Solomon's time and it is used only in connection with his throne. That word for gold and Solomon's throne are examined in detail a special chapter. On a final note for this particular section, one may wish to consider the words of Solomon in the following passage from Ecclesiastes. Recall the special nature of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest. 11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Casting Brass

Between Succoth and Zarethan

Solomon had many items for the temple made of cast brass by a craftsman from Tyre named Hiram-Abi. This name also has the variant of Huram-Abi and there are additional variations of that name. Solomon had these items cast in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. The name Zarethan appears in Chronicles as a variation written Zeredah. It is unknown if there is any significance to this different name or if it is simply a variation.

1 Kings 7:46 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarethan. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 4:17 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah. (JPS)

The brass items are fascinating in and of themselves, but the location where they were made is extremely notable. Scripture indicates that the place where Hiram-Abi made these items was in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. Experts believe they know the approximate location of Succoth today, but the location of Zarethan has been a mystery. When studying these two cities, another mysterious locale named the City Adam also enters the picture. Many believe that Zarethan must be near Succoth and some experts have concluded that it is near the confluence of the Jordan and Jabbok rivers.

One would ordinarily think that the statement that these items were cast in the clay ground in the plain of the Jordan would mean that a foundry was located there and perhaps the clay was suitable for making molds. While that thinking is plausible, molds for casting metal are normally made mostly of sand. The name for the oldest and most common process for casting metal is "sand casting" for that reason.

There are additional mentions of Zarethan in scripture and if one looks at all instances of the name together it is possible to ascertain its general location. Zarethan is mentioned again in 1 Kings 4:12 and this verse gives its location relative to known places.

1 Kings 4:12 Baana the son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo, and all Beth-shean which is beside Zarethan, beneath Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, as far as beyond Jokmeam; (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The location of Beth-shean is known with certainty because it still exits today. The name has the variations of Beth-Shan, Bethshan and Beth Shan. Several other places mentioned in this passage are also known today. When the narratives in Kings and Chronicles note that the items were cast in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarethan, this is evidently a very literal description of the location where these things were made. It is of great interest that 1 Kings 4:12 notes that Zarethan is beneath Jezreel. While one would ordinarily take this to mean south of Jezreel - apparently this is not the case. Evidently, this word was very carefully selected and it literally means that Zarethan is underneath Jezreel, to wit: "far underground." Therefore, Zarethan is in the Netherworld or Sheol, in the clay ground beneath Jezreel and Succoth.

It is relevant to note, and also lends great credibility to the hypothesis presented here, that a footnote in the New Jewish Publication Society Tanakh for 1 Kings 7:46 explains that the phrase that is usually rendered "in the clay ground" would be rendered literally "in the thick of the earth." In the thick of the earth would generally tend to infer something well beneath the surface. Therefore, Zarethan is literally in the thick of the earth, that is to say, far underground. Since the location where the king had the items cast was between Zarethan and Succoth, this too would be underground.

1 Kings 7:46 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarethan. (JPS)

City Adam

There is another mention of Zarethan in scripture and this occurs in Joshua 3:16. In this case, a bit more information is included and the text notes that Zarethan is beside the City Adam. This creates another problem, however, because the location of the City Adam is also unknown.

Joshua 3:14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over the Jordan, the priests that bore the ark of the covenant being before the people; 15 and when they that bore the ark were come unto the Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bore the ark were dipped in the brink of the water--for the Jordan overfloweth all its banks all the time of harvest-- 16 that the waters which came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off from Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, were wholly cut off; and the people passed over right against Jericho. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

One will notice that the waters of the Jordan "rose up in one heap, a great way off from Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan." If something is piled up in a heap, it is understood by definition that it is going up in the air and a heap will be somewhat cone-shaped. One could say that this describes a mountain of water. If a heap is advancing away from something, that something must be beneath the heap. Generally, a heap would begin on the ground. It logically follows that the city Adam and Zarethan must necessarily be underground - or twin cities of the Netherworld. The words are evidently not toponyms, the word for a place on the surface of the earth, but rather, subternyms, a newly made-up word meaning a place below the surface.

Isaiah 57:9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thine ambassadors far off, even down to the nether-world. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Strong's entries for Zarethan follow:

6891 Tsarthan tsaw-reth-awn' perhaps for 6868; Tsarethan, a place in Palestine:--Zarthan. see HEBREW for 06868
6868 Tsredah tser-ay-daw' or Tsredathah {tser-ay-daw'-thaw}; apparently from an unused root meaning to pierce; puncture; Tseredah, a place in Palestine:--Zereda, Zeredathah.
(Strong's Lexicon, KJV)

Perhaps if one pierced or punctured the clay ground near Succoth they would uncover the exact locations of the City Adam, Parvaim and Zarethan.

Map of King Solomon's World

The planet with a molten core

Transgression at the City Adam

In Hosea 6, a phrase has caused a good deal of confusion about its correct rendering. The confusing aspect of this verse is that in the original Hebrew text it reads: "at Adam they have transgressed." In most cases, translators have attempted to fix the passage to read "like Adam, they have transgressed" rather than render it word-for-word. Nevertheless, the transgression that Hosea is speaking of had nothing to do with Adam the man, but rather, making the items for the temple including a false ark in this special place called the City of Adam. The correct application of the verse requires that it read "at Adam they have transgressed." This is important because the verse addresses very specific events that occurred in this particular place. Some translations render the passage something like: "at Adam they broke My covenant." Furthermore, the context of the entire chapter of Hosea where this appears is about the events that occurred back in the days of Solomon and the results of those transgressions. One English translation of the Bible that handles this verse correctly is the Revised Standard Version. It should be noted that the included verse from the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh renders the word Adam as men. While this may appear to be a great difference in English, the name Adam is also the generic Hebrew word for man or men. Therefore, this translation is more similar to the other included translations than might be immediately apparent. The New International Version of the Bible includes the footnote for Hosea 6:7 "As at Adam they have broken my covenant" for an alternative rendering of the passage.

Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. 7 But at Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me. (RSV) (Emphasis added)
Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loving-kindness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings. 7 But they like Adam have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings. 7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant; there have they dealt treacherously against Me. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Observe that the construction of the passage heavily supports the position Adam is a place. In verse seven of all of the translations included here, the last phrase in verse seven is rendered, "there they have dealt." Therefore, Adam is a place because one would almost never apply the word "there" in reference to a man in this context.

The written Hebrew language contained no vowels. Therefore, the markings that one would be dealing with in the original text for the word Adam would consist solely of the letters DM. A number of valid interpretations for this marking can be achieved by inserting different vowels. In this case, the written word DM could be rendered as the words red, earth, earthen, ground, man, mankind, Adam, Edom, and possibly ruddy. Therefore, it would be legitimate to render the phrase into English as the City of the Ground or earth.

Since the author does not speak or read Hebrew, it is obviously outside his capabilities to render any verses so it is necessary to use supporting research from those who are skilled at translating passages of scripture. As support and amplification for this particular portion of scripture, we look to the work of Dr. James West of the Quartz Hill School of Theology and his course explanation of Hosea 6.

"Instead of such fleeting faithfulness, God desires real loyalty. A difficulty lies in the verse -- for the Hebrew text literally says "at Adam they have transgressed" instead of "like Adam...". The city of Adam was on the Jordan river, cf. Josh 3:16….."
(Used by permission of Don Patterson and Quartz Hill School of Theology; Dr. James West, Online Course B454, www.theology.edu/hosea/hosea06.htm, 2002; Quartz Hill School of Theology, 43543 51st Street West; Quartz Hill, CA 93536; Special thanks to Don Patterson.)

Location of the City Adam

From the scripture presented so far it is certain that the City Adam was situated under the Plain of the Jordan also known as the Vale of Siddim, meaning the valley of the broad plains; therefore, it is possible that it is one of the cities of the Pentapolis buried by burning sulfur. Those cities were Sodom, Gemorah, Admah, Zevoiim, and Bela - later called Tzoar, so this could indicate that Admah is also the City Adam.

Garden of Eden

Another place that is situated in the Netherworld today is the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:22 And the Lord God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.' 23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In Genesis 3, one will note that Adam and Eve dwelt outside the Garden of Eden after their expulsion. It is a conspicuous point that God posted two cherubim to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden and a sword of fire to guard the tree of life. Obviously, if these precautions had to be taken it would have otherwise been possible for Adam and Eve to re-enter the garden. Furthermore, it is evident that some type of fence or hedge was around the garden if there was an entrance on the East. This then was the world's first gated community. In this case it would have been more specifically a "condomínio fechado" or closed estate. Scripture infers that they lived just outside the Garden, to the west of it. It is possible to conclude that Adam and Eve lived to the west of the garden because one will notice in Genesis 3:23 that Adam went "to till the ground from whence he was taken."

If one backs up in Genesis to discover the location where Adam was made from dust, it is clear in Genesis 2:7-8 that the garden was planted east of the location where Adam was formed. Therefore, when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden they returned to this area west of the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward, in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Later, there is a note that Cain moved off and built a city east of Eden called Enoch in the land of Nod. This is the first city specifically mentioned in the Bible.

About Cain
Genesis 4:14 Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the land; and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Genesis 4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch; and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son Enoch. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Where is Eden?

One problem in ascertaining the location of the Garden of Eden is that it must have been somewhere and nobody can find any such place today. Since mankind now inhabits a fair amount of the land on the planet, and no place matching its description can be found, it is safe to say that the Garden of Eden no longer exists on the face of the Earth. Nevertheless, archeologists search for it. It is also probably one of the more frequent questions in Sunday School classes and the like.

Since Eden could not have been a fictional place, where is it? Ezekiel makes clear mention of Eden and its fate. In fact, Eden is now in the Nether-world, and apparently, in the clay ground beneath other places. From the description of the rivers of the Garden of Eden it is certain that it was originally located somewhere in the vicinity of Mesopotamia. The Biblical account mentions four rivers flowing from the garden, the Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon and Gihon. Of those, only two are known with a fair degree of certainty today. Oddly enough, the only water source with the name Gihon is a spring flowing from underground outside ancient Jerusalem. It seems highly probable that Eden is in or actually is the former Netherworld Paradise.

Ezekiel 31:15 Thus saith the Lord GOD: In the day when he went down to the nether-world I caused the deep to mourn and cover itself for him, and I restrained the rivers thereof, and the great waters were stayed; and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. 16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to the nether-world with them that descend into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the nether parts of the earth. 17 They also went down into the nether-world with him unto them that are slain by the sword; yea, they that were in his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the nations. 18 To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shall thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth; thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Brazen Pillars

Hiram-Abi made many brass items including the two brass pillars that were placed in front of the temple. It is technologically astonishing that Hiram-Abi was able to cast such large objects. In fact, the pillars might be more of a wonder of the ancient world than are the pyramids of Egypt. This prowess in the foundry was lost and not realized anywhere again until perhaps the 16th century AD when enormous cannon were made. Nevertheless, the largest diameter cannon ever made, the Czar Cannon or Great Mortar of Moscow, was much smaller than these pillars. The brazen pillars had a diameter of almost 4 cubits while this great gun only had a diameter of about 2 cubits. The gun was only about 12 cubits long while Solomon's pillars were 18 cubits long. One might wonder when something as large as Solomon's pillars were ever cast again or even if Andrew Carnegie or Alfred Krupp were ever able to cast anything as large as these pillars. There is a real puzzle in that fact alone. One would need an extremely abundant supply of molten metal to cast them. Just imagine the size of the crucible and furnace needed for this job. While in some cases, casting can be assisted by heating the mold, this too would be an enormous feat. Under the circumstances, it might be relevant to note that today geologists believe that the earth's core is molten and mostly composed of heavier elements such as metals. The pillars must have weighed at least 150 tons avoirdupois each, and casting something that large is just phenomenal. Never mind how they were transported to the temple site.

Apart from that, the pillars are interesting in many respects. They were conspicuously large relative to the rest of the building in respect to normal architectural proportions. It is not believed that they served any structural purpose, but were each monolithic. In light of these considerations and their absence in subsequent temple architecture it is evident that these pillars smack of innuendo suggesting the sacred pillars often erected nearby Ashera poles, the sacred tree-stems symbolical of Ashtoreth the ancient Canaanite goddess.

1 Kings 7:13 And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. 14 He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass; and he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill, to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work. 15 Thus he fashioned the two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high each; and a line of twelve cubits did compass it about; and so the other pillar. 16 And he made two capitals of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars; the height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17 He also made nets of checker-work, and wreaths of chain-work, for the capitals which were upon the top of the pillars: seven for the one capital, and seven for the other capital. 18 And he made the pillars; and there were two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the capitals that were upon the top of the pomegranates; and so did he for the other capital. 19 And the capitals that were upon the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily-work, four cubits. 20 And there were capitals above also upon the two pillars, close by the belly which was beside the network; and the pomegranates were two hundred, in rows round about upon each capital. 21 And he set up the pillars at the porch of the temple; and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz. 22 And upon the top of the pillars was lily-work; so was the work of the pillars finished. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 12:3 And ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods; and ye shall destroy their name out of that place. (JPS)

The fact that the Chabod or Shekhinah appeared to the Israelites as pillars of fire and cloud is readily apparent, so the possibility of idolatry concerning them cannot be overlooked. They could be considered to be images of the Chabod or visible manifestation of God. The Israelites were forbidden to make for themselves any image of anything from the heavens above, the earth or the sea.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 I am HaShem thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; 6 and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments. (JPS)

While there are pillars in subsequent temples including Ezekiel's, they are clearly architectural in nature and obviously much different than the two prominent pillars that Solomon installed. There are artifacts of pillars like those used in Solomon's Temple throughout the ancient world. Similar pillars were found in temples of Baal throughout Phoenicia. They were also found in Egyptian temples and certain elements of the pillars of Solomon's Temple are nearly identical to the Egyptian variety.

One of the chief similarities of Egyptian pillars and Solomon's is that the capitals are all in the form of lilies. Just as in Solomon's Temple, Egyptian pillars were also constructed in front of their temples in monolithic proportions and served no structural purpose. Similarly, the lily used on both Egyptian and Solomon's capitals was the lotus flower, which was a type of water lily. The extinct lotus has several interesting aspects, one being that it was symbolic of fertility and the flowers were mixed into wine to make a powerful aphrodisiac. Apparently the concoction had both seductive characteristics and physical enhancement properties similar to Viagra, all mixed in a tasty and festive beverage. It was exceedingly popular as a party concoction in the ancient world. This is likely what the prophets are referring to in their many mentions of champions at mixing wine. It would probably be safe to speculate that it must have taken some reinforcement for a man with 1000 wives simply to make all of the rounds in one year.

The lotus was also symbolic of the Sun god, thought to be the source of all life by those that worshiped that god. This symbolism was probably derived from the flower's blue petals and yellow center, considered to symbolize the sun riding through a blue sky. The flowers also close at night thereby reinforcing the association with the sun. The legend of the Sun god begins with "In the beginning were the waters of chaos; darkness covered the waters until the primeval water lily rose from the abyss."

Phoenician Temples

As if the Egyptian aspects of the pillars were not enough, similar columns have been found in all known Phoenician temples. In fact, one will find almost an exact pattern of the whole of Solomon's Temple in the temple of Melqart-Baal that was the centerpiece of Tyre. Temples to Baal are indigenous to Phoenicia and nearly always incorporate features similar to Solomon's Temple. All known Phoenician temples included two monumental pillars. However, in most cases, one pillar was made of wood in reverence to Asherah, and the other was made of stone in homage to Baal.

According to the ancient historian Herodotus, the temple at Tyre had one emerald pillar and another of gold. It is believed that the emerald-green pillar represented a green tree and therefore replaced the wooden pole. The historian reported that this pillar was actually made of green glass illuminated from within at night. In respect to the gold pillar, it obviously would not have been made of solid gold, but rather, of some gilded substrate, or perhaps brass or bronze, just as Solomon's pillars were. In Phoenician temples that were evidently models of the temple that Solomon built, these pillars would have represented Asherah and Baal respectively, two of the more notorious gods known for being highly unpopular with the Lord.

As if those aspects of the pillars in Solomon's Temple were not enough, they apparently have a much more sinister level of meaning. Solomon named the pillars Jachin and Boaz and these names have always been viewed to be deeply symbolical although there has been some question as to exactly what they symbolize. Evidently, the true symbolic meaning of them is clearly embodied in those names. However, unless one considers the temple for what it actually was and not for what it should have been, it is difficult to assimilate their true symbolism.

The name Jachin was the name of the fourth son of Simeon in Genesis 46:10 and it appears as the variant Jakin in many translations. It is usually thought that the name means firm, but there is also more to the meaning. It also has direct variants, one of which is Jarib and that usage appears in 1 Chronicles 4:24. That name has a further variant in spelling as Jarub and there are several uses of that word in the Tanakh. One instance of this name occurs as part of an alternate name for Gideon and the whole name was Jerub-Baal (Judges 6:32). The name Jarib means adversary and it is frequently the word used for Satan. In the case of Gideon, it meant "adversary of Baal" or "let Baal contend."

The name Boaz means alacrity and this means promptness in response or eager. So, if one puts these words together they will come up with a meaning something like "eager adversary" or "firm adversary." This is likely the correct interpretation of the symbolic meaning of the names of the pillars.

Amos 9:1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar; and He said: Smite the capitals, that the posts may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the residue of them with the sword; there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. 2 Though they dig into the nether-world, thence shall My hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. (JPS)

Of the more conventional interpretations of the meanings associated with these names, there is the theory that Jachin might mean, "Yahweh will establish thy throne forever" and Boaz could mean, "in him is strength." These interpretations would also fit because somebody's throne will indeed be established forever. Incidentally, it is not always a good thing to have one's throne established forever. It seems that upon completion of the temple, Solomon had achieved a great deal and he was singled out for disaster by God. As if it were to say, "if you have such special plans for my temple, I have some special plans for you too." In fact, Solomon's throne will be established forever and Solomon is not quite finished even at the time that this is being written.

1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son: 'Be strong and of good courage, and do it; fear not, nor be dismayed; for HaShem God, even my God, is with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until all the work for the service of the house of HaShem be finished. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Brazen Sea

King Solomon Conducts the AssemblySolomon made a giant vessel for the water of cleansing that was known as the brazen or molten sea. The sea is not mentioned again after the time of Solomon except when it was broken up and carried off to Babylon. At Horeb, and up until Solomon's Temple was completed, the Israelites used a laver as prescribed by Moses. There are some historical indications that the sea as well as many of the other vessels made by Solomon were not used long and that the priests soon resumed using the vessels made at Horeb. There is no mention of a sea in later temples built by Zerubbabel or Herod.

2 Kings 25:13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases and the brazen sea that were in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldeans break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon. (JPS)

The water of cleansing was an important feature of the sacrificial system because most of the sacrifices were supposed to be rinsed and the priests were supposed to wash before entering the presence of the Lord or serving at the altar. This all had to be done in specific ways with water that had been kept and handled according to the regulations concerning this. If the priests were not properly prepared through the water of cleansing, they would die, so obviously it was imperative duty to follow these procedures correctly. The laws concerning this are extremely complex and only a few aspects of it can be addressed here. It is conceivable that the laws concerning purities became unduly complex over time.

Little information concerning purities is contained in the written Torah and most of this information is part of the oral Torah. This is because this information mostly concerned the Levites and the rabbis were responsible for instructing worshipers in these matters. Therefore, the priests passed this information along to successive generations through oral tradition. Today, the oral Torah is recorded in the Mishnah. Recall that there are two Torahs, the written and the oral.

Hiram-Abi cast the brazen sea in the plain of the Jordan, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarethan, just as he had cast the pillars and other items. According to the Tanakh, the purpose of the sea was for the priests to bathe in, like a giant bathtub or swimming pool.

2 Chronicles 4:2 Also he made the molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and the height thereof was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. 3 And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about, for ten cubits, compassing the sea round about. The oxen were in two rows, cast when it was cast. 4 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; and the sea was set upon them above, and all their hinder parts were inward. 5 And it was a handbreadth thick; and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily: it received and held three thousand baths. 6 He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as belonged to the burnt-offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The brazen sea incorporated a number of decorative elements that were images of various plants and animals. Just as in the work of the pillars, one should question whether there should have been images incorporated into the design considering the general prohibition against making images. It would seem that one would at least have followed those statutes at the temple. After all, many ordinary people at least don pious behavior at church - although this might actually camouflage their true character amongst their peers.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 I am HaShem thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; 6 and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves--for ye saw no manner of form on the day that the Lord spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire-- 16 lest ye deal corruptly, and make you a graven image, even the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the heaven, 18 the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth; (JPS)

The brazen sea was intended for the priests to wash in because it was a requirement that the priests wash their hands and feet before ministering in the sanctuary or at the altar or else they would die. The point of all of this was that the priests had to be ceremonially clean. Washing with the water of cleansing constituted a significant portion in attaining ceremonial cleanness, however, there were many other aspects of this as well. Due to the vast complexity of the whole issue, the consideration here will be limited specifically to the waters in their vessels in Solomon's Temple and their purposes as stated in the Tanakh. A priest could not make an error in this respect more than once because he would die if improperly prepared.

Exodus 30:17 And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying: 18 'Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, whereat to wash; and thou shalt put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat; 20 when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to cause an offering made by fire to smoke unto HaShem; 21 so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not; and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The brazen sea was an enormous vessel sitting in the hot sun and it obviously would have been something like a hot tub. At the level of common sense, one consideration would be that this was built long before such facilities could be equipped with circulating pumps, diatomaceous earth filters and chlorinators. Therefore, this fixture would obviously have been unclean on any level; in fact, it would have been downright filthy.

In modern societies, many people would be repulsed by the idea of bathing in such a fixture unless the water was changed in between each use and many would wish that it be cleaned and disinfected. That is all at the level of common sense. It so happens that the Mishnah seems to maintain a similar position. Why would the water of purification be unsanitary? One would not think that the water of purification would be designed to spread disease, that is, if it was designed correctly. Perhaps the designer had something against the priests; and if so, this was not designed by God. Ezekiel has no sea, therefore, there should have been no sea. The author's understanding of purities is not even moderately adequate for this particular segment, but there must surely be some element of common sense involved.

Jeremiah 2:12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye exceeding amazed, saith the Lord. 13 For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Mishnah contends that in most cases, immersion was to be done in exactly 40 seahs of water for purification. The seah was a unit of measure equivalent to about 3 gallons or roughly 12 liters. If there was a question as to whether or not there are 40 seahs, the person is unclean. 40 seahs of water would be about 13.2 ephahs, and the ephah is supposed to be equivalent to the bath. The brazen sea might have held 6000 or 9000 seahs of water, but since it is unclear exactly what the capacity was, it is likely that it was unclean for that reason alone. In all probability, the reason for that aspect of purity had to do with maintaining accurate weights and measures. If the measures were corrupted, it is possible that everything involving them was defiled.

The Mishnah contains regulations of purities and according to Miqvaot 7.6, an immersion pool that contains exactly 40 seahs of water is probably only suitable for one use, a position that would be supported by common sense. 40 seahs appears to be the prescribed minimum amount of water for such a bath. Irrespective of any ceremonial considerations, one would think that a bath should impart cleanness at the level of sanitation and common sense.

According to Miqvaot 7.6, when an immersion pool contains exactly forty seahs of water - if two people immersed in it subsequently, the first person would be clean, the second unclean.

It appears that most water for cleansing purposes was supposed to be running water as in a stream or spring. Where vessels were used, as in the tent tabernacle of Moses, it seems that the basin was only intended for one use and then refilled.

Using running water should be an obvious thing because in earlier times when one could drink water directly from a stream - or in the few places where this is still possible - it is important to only drink running water. Part of the reason for this is that running water is purified through aeration. Oxygen and carbolic acid purify water.

There is additional information on this in the Jewish Encyclopedia in an article on bathing.

Public Bath-Houses
Some reminiscence of the older custom of utilizing rivers and streams for Bathing purposes is preserved, at least for the religious or ritual bath, in the ruling regulation that all such Baths must be taken in water that is continually running and of the minimum capacity of 40 seahs, about 120 gallons (according to Num. R. xviii., the seah [= 3 gallons = 700 cubic inches] was the cubic measure of 144 eggs; according to Yoma 31a, the cubic contents of a space one cubit wide, three cubits long, and one cubit deep, the bulk of the average human body). (Jewish Encyclopedia)

It would seem that the only way that the brazen sea could be used was if the water was changed between each use. This raises an important point because it would be very difficult to change the water in the brazen sea simply because of the volume that it held. If it held 2000 baths that would be about 11,500 gallons or 43,132 liters.

In fact, there should have been no sea at all, but the water of cleansing should have come from a spring-fed cistern or directly from a spring. In additional portions of the Mishnah, there are regulations concerning water vessels and in most cases it is important that they be tightly covered to maintain purity. It is also possible to construct a vessel in such a way that it defiles everything in it, under it and around it and imparts uncleanness to everything else. It appears that Solomon's brazen sea may have embodied those exact attributes. If that is indeed the case, then the sea alone defiled the temple. It should be a conspicuous point that no bronze sea existed before this and another did not replace it in any subsequent temple. The cleansing was to be done using lavers.

More Images

The brazen sea was mounted on twelve oxen, probably one ox for each tribe. Since the Israelites were forbidden to make any graven image for themselves of anything from the heaven above, the earth or the sea, one must wonder how the oxen found their way into the temple. Recall that Moses broke the first tables of the law at Horeb when he discovered the Israelites worshiping a golden calf. Brass is golden when polished. In Solomon's Temple, there are suddenly twelve images of bovine creatures, one for each tribe.

Exodus 32:3 And all the people broke off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said: 'This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.' (JPS)
Exodus 32:7 And HaShem spoke unto Moses: 'Go, get thee down; for thy people, that thou broughtest up out of the land of Egypt, have dealt corruptly; 8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed unto it, and said: This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.' 9 And HaShem said unto Moses: 'I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people. 10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation.' 11 And Moses besought HaShem his God, and said: 'HaShem, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, that Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? (JPS)
Exodus 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. (JPS)

It is significant that Moses ground the golden calf that the Israelites made into powder and then put the powder into the water and made the people drink it. This is likely the symbolism of Solomon's brazen sea.

It appears that the brazen sea was intended for the priests to wash in disrobed as one would use a giant bathtub because that was the way that these pools were used in pagan temples. A pool or bath was a common element in all pagan temples of the region and certainly all known Phoenician temples had such facilities. Pools were also found in Egyptian temples where lotus pillars were found. The Tanakh notes that the brazen sea was in the form of a lily blossom or lotus flower - just as the capitals of the pillars were.

In Egypt, the bowl was symbolic of the female and a bowl symbol was the hieroglyphic symbol for woman. Egyptologists theorize that the bowl of water was a fertility image representing the woman derived from pagan sources.

One will notice that there is no sea in any of the other temples. After the Babylonian Exile, great attention was paid to using stone vessels for water. Ezekiel's temple incorporates a spring because this is what should have been and could have been. The brazen sea was a transgression that has generally gone unrecognized among men, but it will eventually be fully appreciated.

Jeremiah 2:13 For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (JPS)
Isaiah 48:18 Oh that thou wouldest hearken to My commandments! then would thy peace be as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea; (JPS)

Ten Gold Lampstands

Of all of the furnishings and smaller articles that were made for Solomon's Temple, 2 Chronicles 4:7 mentions that ten gold lampstands were made according to the specifications for them.

2 Chronicles 4:7 And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to the ordinance respecting them, and set them in the temple, five on the right hand and five on the left. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

The lampstands are the only items where the narrative states that they were made according to the specifications for them. By this point, it is logical to conclude that nothing else was. Nevertheless, ten of them was probably not the correct number as this is the only place where ten gold lampstands are mentioned in the scriptures. Referring back to the specifications for the temple that David left, one will notice that there were supposed to be silver lampstands as well, but there were no silver lampstands in Solomon's Temple (1 Chronicles 28:15). In the Tent of Meeting built by the Israelites in the wilderness, there was only one gold lampstand. It was important that the temple be made according to God's specifications because it was a duplicate of that which was in heaven. The following verse from the time of Moses notes that it was important to make the tabernacle according to its pattern so that God would dwell among them. It is logical to postulate that the same conditions applied to the temple. Therefore, in the event that these things were not made according to their specifications, then it is obviously God's included position that He will not dwell among them.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it. (JPS)

There is evidence that there was only supposed to be one lampstand from shortly after the time of Solomon. After the kingdom divided, there was a conflict between Abijah and Jeroboam. The account of this is found in 2 Chronicles 13. Abijah was the king of Judah when he delivered the following admonition to Jeroboam shortly before a battle in which Jeroboam suffered an irreparable loss of military strength. The political and military details are not so important here, but notice that in the following passage, the priests and Judah are rather unusually observing the requirements of God and there is again only one lampstand.

2 Chronicles 13:10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and we have priests ministering unto the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites in their work; 11 and they burn unto the Lord every morning and every evening burnt-offerings and sweet incense; the showbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God; but ye have forsaken Him. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is highly likely that during the time of Rehoboam, Shishak carried the ten gold lampstands that Solomon made to Egypt (2 Chronicles 12:9 & 1 Kings 14:25-26). However, if ten were required and the priests were keeping God's requirement during the time of Abijah, would they not have had ten lampstands also? Furthermore, Mosaic Law indicates that it was forbidden to make any copies of the lampstand. This law is not in the Tanakh, but it is in the part of the Mosaic Law that is not part of the Tanakh.

It is exceedingly probable that the exact reason why Solomon made ten gold lampstands according to the specification for them is because nine of them were copies that should not have been made at all. It was forbidden to make copies of the temple lampstand and that is probably why he made them - because it was forbidden. It was the duty of the priests, the Levites, to see to it that these laws were carefully observed and instruct the people about the law as well as the difference between the common and the holy. However, recall that although King David appointed 24,000 Levites to supervise the construction of the temple, there is no mention that Solomon used any Levites in that capacity (1 Chronicles 23:4).

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, there is quite a bit of historical information about the use of Menorah aside from its proper use in the temple and at times the Israelites made them with other numbers of arms and lamps so that they would not be exact copies of the true Menorah. This is the pattern of the Menorah used for the Chanukah celebration, that of the lampstand from the temple of the Lord, but the Chanukah lampstand has a different number of lamps. However, this practice would obviously consist of trying to approach a taboo as closely as possible without going too far. An analogy of this routine might be swimming on the edge of a waterfall. The prohibition against making copies of the Menorah is still in effect, so it would be a good idea to eliminate the copies and discontinue any unauthorized use of this image.

Some records from the period while the temple still existed indicate that, at some point, the priests did not use the lampstands or lavers that Solomon made, but rather, resumed using the furnishings from the time of Moses. Could it be that the priests did not use these items because there was something terribly wrong with them? For example, one will notice that the lavers Solomon made were mounted on wheels, while the Mishnah seems to indicate that lavers are to be stationary.

It is not possible to find a sanctioned use of more than one gold lampstand, or more than one in scripture after the time of Solomon's Temple. Only a single gold lampstand is represented among the prophets. The following excerpts from Zechariah note only one gold lampstand. According to Zechariah, the lampstand has significance far beyond simply being a source of light.

Zechariah 4:2 And he said unto me: 'What seest thou?' And I said: 'I have seen, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes, yea, seven, to the lamps, which are upon the top thereof;? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Zechariah 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? even they shall see with joy the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, even these seven, which are the eyes of the Lord, that run to and fro through the whole earth.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Seventy Sevens

It is interesting to consider the possible significance of the fact that the number of lamps on one lampstand is seven while the number of lamps on ten lampstands would obviously be seventy. When this is considered in conjunction with the recollection that the lamps in the prescribed pattern had seven channels to each lamp, it does seem that there could be a great deal of significance to the ten lamps.

Jeremiah 25:7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke Me with the work of your hands to your own hurt. (JPS)
Jeremiah 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and a waste; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (JPS)

It is a bit mysterious exactly what the seven channels or pipes of the lamps means. It could refer literally to pipes that carried the oil into the lamp or perhaps it indicates a spectrum of light resulting from prismatic dispersion. More probably in this case, it might indicate a spectrum of light produced by an ancient diffraction grating. A spectrum could be considered to consist of seven channels if one ascribes to the notion that there are seven colors in the spectrum. Most physicists promulgate a model of seven basic colors in the spectrum, namely: red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and violet. An alternate model employs slightly different color names, but it also maintains that there are seven basic colors. This theory divides the spectrum into the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet and has the advantage of a mnemonic association conceivably of a person's name: that being, Roy G. Biv.

If one had seventy somethings with seven channels each, then they would have seventy sevens. Seventy sevens is a phrase that keeps popping up throughout scripture and has the most significant of connotations. In fact, God's schedule of judgment as stated in the Tanakh is based on seventy sevens and this is expressed alternatively as seventy weeks in some texts due to the fact that a week consists of seven days. It has been a bit of a mystery where the seventy weeks came from or what their significance might be. Could the transgression of making ten lampstands have been the source of the seventy sevens? If not that transgression, what is the source of this schedule? The following passage makes use of that phrase.

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times. 26 And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be poured out upon that which causeth appalment.' (JPS)
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are apportioned out upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to close the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make expiation for iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal the vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies. 25 Know therefore and understand: From the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah, the Prince, are seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. The street and the moat shall be built again, even in troublous times. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with an overflow, and unto the end, war, -- the desolations determined. 27 And he shall confirm a covenant with the many [for] one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and because of the protection of abominations [there shall be] a desolator, even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate. (Darby)

In Zechariah 4, there is another mention of one single lampstand.

Zechariah 4:1 And the angel that spoke with me returned, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said unto me: 'What seest thou?' And I said: 'I have seen, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; there are seven pipes, yea, seven, to the lamps, which are upon the top thereof; 3 and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.' And I answered and spoke to the angel that spoke with me, saying: 'What are these, my lord?' 5 Then the angel that spoke with me answered and said unto me: 'Knowest thou not what these are?' And I said: 'No, my lord.' 6 Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying: 'This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain before Zerubbabel? thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the top stone with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it.' 8 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: 9 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? even they shall see with joy the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, even these seven, which are the eyes of the Lord, that run to and fro through the whole earth.' (JPS)

There is another level of symbolism that must be considered in respect of the lampstand or lampstands. The lampstand was made with its arms and lamps having artistic references to the almond tree and this symbolism is more specific to almond branches and blossoms in particular. The symbolism of the almond branch is another recurrent theme in scripture and in this case, it is probably another reference to the rebellion of Korah and his followers that occurred all of the way back in Numbers 16. Although the first lampstand had been made long before they perpetrated this transgression, the symbolism was already in place. Recall that the almond branch was a symbol to the rebellious of God's choice of leaders. Since this was covered in detail elsewhere, there is no need to repeat it in entirety here.

Numbers 17:23 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and put forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. 24 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto all the children of Israel; and they looked, and took every man his rod. 25 And the Lord said unto Moses: 'Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept there, for a token against the rebellious children; that there may be made an end of their murmurings against Me, that they die not.' 26 Thus did Moses; as the Lord commanded him, so did he. (JPS)
(Numbers 17:23 appears at 17:1 in many translations)

The Altar

There is not much information specifically about the altar that Solomon installed in the temple. Only a few of its features are mentioned with those being the dimensions and material, but it does appear that it was in the wrong location. For such an important item, it is strange that more information is not included. Nevertheless, it is possible to conclude from the information presented that some major aspects about it were not according to the way they should have been. For one thing, it seems that its dimensions were incorrect - at least as compared with the altar from Ezekiel's temple. Solomon's altar is much larger.

2 Chronicles 4:1 Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof. (JPS)

One might consider that it was important to make the altar to exact specifications at Horeb just as at Jerusalem. The altar made at Horeb was made of acacia wood overlaid with copper or bronze. It was much smaller than Solomon's and Ezekiel's. However, it was designed to be portable and the temple altar is stationary. One might wish to consider the fact that the Zadokites will be the only Levites allowed to minister before the Lord in the future. It is certain that King David left Zadok ministering before the altar at Gibeon. The altar at Gibeon was the altar made at Horeb.

Exodus 27:8 Hollow with planks shalt thou make it; as it hath been shown thee in the mount, so shall they make it. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The altar in Ezekiel's temple is the correct pattern for the future and its specifications are listed below.

Ezekiel 43:13 And these are the measures of the altar by cubits--the cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth: the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about a span; and this shall be the base of the altar. 14 And from the bottom upon the ground to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth a cubit. 15 And the hearth shall be four cubits; and from the hearth and upward there shall be four horns. 16 And the hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve broad, square in the four sides thereof. 17 And the settle shall be fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad in the four sides thereof; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and the steps thereof shall look toward the east.' 18 And He said unto me: 'Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD: These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, and to dash blood against it. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

Apart from that, there is another aspect of the altar that becomes apparent when reading the narratives about the opening of Solomon's Temple in that its steps must have faced some other direction than east. Looking carefully at 2 Chronicles 5:12 one will notice that the priests "stood at the east end of the altar" during the temple dedication. If the priests stood at the east end of the altar, then it would seem that there were no steps at that end.

The aspect of steps on the altar is another point that raises a big question because back in Exodus there is a prohibition against going up to an altar on steps.

Exodus 20:23 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto Mine altar, that thy nakedness be not uncovered thereon. (JPS)

There is an explanation of the altar steps that appears in scripture shortly and it explains why steps were acceptable and are found in Ezekiel's temple also. The following verses explain the details of the altar that was installed in Solomon's Temple.

2 Chronicles 4:1 Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 5:11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place--for all the priests that were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their courses; 12 also the Levites who were the singers, all of them, even Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and their brethren, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets- (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is useful to note that the priests stood at the east end of the altar with an additional 120 priests blowing trumpets. The point is, this would leave little room for steps on the east end of the altar. At the end of the following passage from Ezekiel, one will see that the word of the Lord specifies that the steps of the altar in His temple are to face east. They were supposed to face east in Solomon's Temple also, but they did not.

Ezekiel 43:12 This is the law of the house: upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. 13 And these are the measures of the altar by cubits--the cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth: the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about a span; and this shall be the base of the altar. 14 And from the bottom upon the ground to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth a cubit. 15 And the hearth shall be four cubits; and from the hearth and upward there shall be four horns. 16 And the hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve broad, square in the four sides thereof. 17 And the settle shall be fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad in the four sides thereof; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and the steps thereof shall look toward the east.' (JPS)

While it might seem that maybe the altar should not have had steps at all and Solomon might have put them on to defile the altar, it is apparent that the altar in Ezekiel's temple also has steps. It is known that other altars had ramps, but this still leaves a perplexing issue of why there are steps up to Ezekiel's altar. It is logical to conclude that altar steps are acceptable if there are some in Ezekiel's temple. However, one is left with the problem of figuring out why it is forbidden in Exodus yet acceptable in Ezekiel. After careful consideration, it becomes clear that the distinction is that the regulations in Exodus apply to the time before the priestly accouterments existed. The key to this is that after the time of Exodus 20:23, the priests were to be clothed with linen breeches about their loins, thereby concealing their nakedness. There is conspicuous mention of this both in Exodus after the time to which verse 20:23 applies and in Ezekiel. Today, one would call these breeches shorts or maybe jams. The prohibition in Exodus is in place "so that your nakedness not be exposed." If, however, one were attired with some undergarments rather than solely a robe-type gown that was the attire of the day, then one's nakedness would not be exposed.

Exodus 28:42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach. (JPS)
Ezekiel 44:17 And it shall be that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen tires upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Cherubim

Solomon installed two very large sculptures - or images - of cherubim into the Holy of Holies. King David mentioned something of this nature before his death (1 Chronicles 28). Upon close examination, it becomes evident that Solomon made significant design changes to these cherubs.

1 Chronicles 28:18 and for the altar of incense, refined gold by weight; and the pattern of the chariot of the cherubim of gold, which spread out [their wings] and cover the ark of the covenant of the Lord. 19 All this [said David,] in writing, by the Lord's hand upon me, instructing as to all the works of the pattern. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
1 Chronicles 28:18 and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot, even the cherubim, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In the previous passage in the Darby Bible, one may notice the odd phrase, "chariot of the cherubim of gold." Now what exactly could this mean? Well, chariots have wheels. No matter how this could be interpreted, there would have to be wheels on something.

In the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, it is much clearer that this detail refers to the large cherubim that were to be built in the Most Holy Place to cover the Ark. For one thing, this is certain from the context because this passage addresses temple plans and not the Ark. At the time-period that this is referring to, the ark is in a tent that David pitched for it, and obviously, its construction was completed hundreds of years earlier. "Chariot of the cherubim" must mean that the cherubim in the temple were to have wheels and this is the key point.

While it is unlikely that the chariot of the cherubim refers to the Ark of the Covenant, there are mentions of cherubim that had wheels in Ezekiel and a few other places in scripture. This must be what "chariot of the cherubim" refers to because there is little else that it could possibly be.

Ezekiel 10:4 And the glory of the Lord mounted up from the cherub to the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory. 5 And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of God Almighty when He speaketh. 6 And it came to pass, when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying: 'Take fire from between the wheelwork, from between the cherubim', that he went in, and stood beside a wheel. 7 And the cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubim unto the fire that was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed in linen, who took it and went out. 8 And there appeared in the cherubim the form of a man's hand under their wings. 9 And I looked, and behold four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside one cherub, and another wheel beside another cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. 10 And as for their appearance, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been within a wheel. 11 When they went, they went toward their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. 12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. 13 As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing The wheelwork. 14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 15 And the cherubim mounted up--this is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar. 16 And when the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them. 17 When they stood, these stood, and when they mounted up, these mounted up with them; for the spirit of the living creature was in them. 18 And the glory of the Lord went forth from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. 19 And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight when they went forth, and the wheels beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord's house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. 20 This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim. (JPS)

It seems that the "chariot of the cherubim" refers to cherubim with wheels. In the account of the cherubim made for Solomon's Temple, however, there is no mention of wheels or a chariot in connection with them. The only reference to their supports from the floor is in Chronicles and it says that they were standing on their feet.

2 Chronicles 3:10 And in the house of the most holy place he made two cherubim of image work, and they overlaid them with gold. 11 And the wings of the cherubim were twenty cubits long: one wing of five cubits touched the wall of the house; and the other wing of five cubits touched the wing of the other cherub. 12 And the wing of the other cherub of five cubits touched the wall of the house; and the other wing was five cubits joining the wing of the other cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim spread forth were twenty cubits; and they stood on their feet, and their faces were toward the house. (Darby)
(Emphasis added)

To augment the point that the cherubim in Solomon's Temple were not made according to plan, it is notable that the cherubim with wheels are mentioned in Ezekiel, because much of the book deals with how the temple should have been. Heretofore, this has not been widely recognized.

The chariot was a representation of that which is in heaven because the heavenly throne is frequently called a chariot. In Hebrew this throne chariot is known as the "Ma'aseh Merkabah, or just "Merkabah" for short.

There is another facet to the cherubim that is also of interest here. One will notice in 2 Chronicles 3:10 above, that Solomon made the two cherubim of image work and they were overlaid with gold. The question is, why would the cherubim be made of image work?

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 I am HaShem thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Great House

It took Solomon seven years to build the temple and its dimensions are listed as being 60 cubits long by 20 cubits wide by 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2-4). 60 X 20 X 30 cubits would be about 90 X 30 X 45 feet or 28 X 6 X 9 meters. In 2 Chronicles 3:3, one will notice that these exact dimensions are applied to the foundation of the temple. One would ordinarily think that the walls of the temple would be set somewhat inside the boundaries of the foundation. However, in the case of Solomon's Temple this is apparently not the case. In most buildings, there would be a setback of several feet for a quality building with walls of substantial thickness. Now, if the width of the foundation of the house was 20 cubits, how was it possible for the width of the house to be 20 cubits? The only way that this would be possible is if the walls were constructed right at the outside edge of the foundation walls. But wait, there is more information included in the text that enables one to conclude with certainty that these walls were literally paper-thin.

2 Chronicles 3:10 And in the house of the most holy place he made two cherubim of image work, and they overlaid them with gold. 11 And the wings of the cherubim were twenty cubits long: one wing of five cubits touched the wall of the house; and the other wing of five cubits touched the wing of the other cherub. 12 And the wing of the other cherub of five cubits touched the wall of the house; and the other wing was five cubits joining the wing of the other cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim spread forth were twenty cubits; and they stood on their feet, and their faces were toward the house. (Darby)

In the passage from 2 Chronicles 3:10 above, one will notice that the cherubim inside the house had combined wingspans of 20 cubits. This is to say that they were 20 cubits wide overall. Since 2 Chronicles 3:13 notes that they were facing the house, one can conclude that this dimension is in respect to the width-dimension of the temple which is specified as being 20 cubits as well. Now, the obvious problem is how would one possibly build this? The walls of the temple had to have a thickness of zero. In fact, the tent tabernacle might have had thicker walls. The following passage from Ezekiel makes some note of thin walls somewhere. It is also a conspicuous point that Ezekiel makes extensive mention of this wall being covered with whited plaster - a word vicariously rendered whitewash in some translations of the Bible. Whitewash was a forerunner of paint. It is also conceivable that the word whitewash could also be used to figuratively represent some other technique, such as gilding.

Ezekiel 13:10 Because, even because they have led My people astray, saying: Peace, and there is no peace; and when it buildeth up a slight wall, behold, they daub it with whited plaster; 11 say unto them that daub it with whited plaster, that it shall fall; there shall be an overflowing shower, and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall, and a stormy wind shall break forth, 12 and, lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you: Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: I will even cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in Mine anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it. 14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with whited plaster, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be uncovered; and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 15 Thus will I spend My fury upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with whited plaster; and I will say unto you: The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; 16 to wit, the prophets of Israel that prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and that see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD. (JPS)

While one could construe that this passage literally means whited plaster, it is evident that whitewash is being used figuratively for some material that covered some specific wall or walls somewhere. This can be determined because one will notice that in verse 12, people will be seeking the daubing that the wall was daubed with.

Ezekiel 13:12 and, lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you: Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? (JPS)

It is certain that nobody is going to be looking for actual whitewash because it is useless and worthless after a wall crumbles. It is nearly worthless before it is applied. However, if a wall was covered with some highly valuable material that could be salvaged and reused after the wall collapsed, then it is conceivable that people would try to recover it. Ezekiel does not specifically state what wall he is referring to, but if one could think of some particular walls that were covered with an especially valuable material that had been mentioned in scripture, then one might consider whether he was making reference to that structure. It so happens that Solomon's Temple is noted for having been covered with material that would have been valuable enough to salvage from a pile of ruins even if it was paper-thin. That material was fine gold and very few materials of greater value exist. In fact, historical records indicate that when the temple was plundered, great effort was expended toward recovering the gold.

If the foregoing evidence were not enough to support that Ezekiel is making reference to Solomon's Temple, one will observe in the following passage that there are some very specific mentions of the specifications of the thickness of the walls in Ezekiel's temple.

Ezekiel 41:5 Then he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side-chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every side. (JPS)

The most holy place in Solomon's Temple is the same size as the same feature in Ezekiel's temple (20 X 20 X 20 cubits). However, in Ezekiel's temple the dimensions are taken as actual measurements on the inside of the room. It is also certain that the correct cubit was used in Ezekiel's temple. The dimensions of Solomon's Temple, as given, cannot possibly be the actual measurements of the room because the measurements of the foundation only give a width of 20 cubits. The walls could not have been set outside the boundary of the foundation without their being cantilevered - a practice unknown in the ancient world. Since the walls must have had some thickness in order to stand, obviously the dimensions are expressed in whole numbers after the common ancient practice and this tends augment their slightness. However, it is also clear that walls of the thickness specified in Ezekiel's Temple would not be possible if the foundation were only 20 cubits wide.

Ezekiel 41:4 And he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple; and he said unto me: 'This is the most holy place.' (JPS)

Certainly, it was not possible for the temple to have been the correct size. Since this room is dimensioned seemingly from the inside in other passages that are in close proximity to the foundation dimensions it is necessary to conclude that the walls of the temple were literally paper-thin. They were not supposed to be paper-thin, however, and the Lord points out through Ezekiel that the walls were supposed to be six cubits thick. In consideration of Ezekiel's entire message, one would be reasonable to conclude that there must have been some error in the thickness of the walls in some other temple because this detail is obviously a major issue. While 6 cubits seems very thick today, it would not be unusual in an ancient building constructed without mortar and the mass of the stones was what held ancient buildings together.

Contemporary stone buildings of high quality are still built with thick walls, but there are few truly high-quality buildings constructed today. This would still be an ideal way to construct a building, but current building methods do not normally allow for such costly techniques.

Ezekiel 41:4 And he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple; and he said unto me: 'This is the most holy place.' 5 Then he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side-chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every side. (JPS)
Ezekiel 13:10 Because, even because they have led My people astray, saying: Peace, and there is no peace; and when it buildeth up a slight wall, behold, they daub it with whited plaster; 11 say unto them that daub it with whited plaster, that it shall fall; there shall be an overflowing shower, and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall, and a stormy wind shall break forth, 12 and, lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you: Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: I will even cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in Mine anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it. 14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with whited plaster, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be uncovered; and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 15 Thus will I spend My fury upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with whited plaster; and I will say unto you: The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; 16 to wit, the prophets of Israel that prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and that see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD. (JPS)

Site Plan of Solomon's Temple

By this point, it is reasonable to suspect that many details of this temple are not according to the plan that God gave to David. It is revealing to study the site plan to see if the most basic details such as the layout were wrong with Solomon's Temple.

1 Kings 7:21 And he set up the pillars for the porch of the temple; and he set up the right pillar, and called its name Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called its name Boaz. (Darby)
1 Kings 7:21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin [13] and the one to the north Boaz. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 3:17 And he set up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz. (JPS)

If one considers the foregoing passages carefully, it is apparent that Solomon's Temple was facing West. If the pillar to the north is named Boaz and the pillar named Boaz is to the left, this means that the temple was facing West. Some scholars have concluded that perhaps this orientation of the pillars could refer to their positions as one exits the temple, it is obvious that they would not be visible from inside the building. Furthermore, there is an additional note that the brazen sea was located to the right, at the southeast corner. Obviously, this temple is situated 180 degrees from the way it was supposed to have been situated. It is relevant that in Egyptian religion the West and setting sun are representative of the land of the dead.

2 Chronicles 4:10 And he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward, toward the south. (JPS)

Solomon's Temple

Site Plan of Solomon’s Temple

As best as can be determined, these verses appear in various translations with the position of the pillars either noted as right and left or north and south. Therefore, it is simplest to look at different translations of the Bible to clarify this. One English translation that did not use the right and left notation was the New International Version. This is not a mistake on the part of the translators and the location of the sea makes it very clear and certain.

Jeremiah 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say: Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. 3 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. 4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying: 'The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these.' (JPS)

Correct Site Plan

It would be good to review the scripture about other temples to see how they were situated. If one looks at the Tent of Meeting of Moses, it is apparent that it was to be set up in a specific compass orientation. The instructions for the setting up the tent tabernacle with respect to its compass orientation appears in Exodus 36.

Exodus 36:23 And he made the boards for the tabernacle: twenty boards for the south side southward. (Darby)
Exodus 36:25 And for the other side of the tabernacle, on the side toward the north, he made twenty boards. (Darby)
Exodus 36:27 And at the rear of the tabernacle, westward, he made six boards. (Darby)
Exodus 36:31 -- And he made bars of acacia-wood: five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle. (JPS)
Exodus 36:32 and five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle at the rear, westward. (Darby)

It is certain from the description in Exodus that the tent tabernacle was facing east if the hinder part is to the west. When looking at this particular aspect of Ezekiel's temple, one will find that it also faces east.

Ezekiel 47:1 And he brought me back unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward, for the forefront of the house looked toward the east; (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Concrete Evidence

The following passage is from the book of Ezra. The book records the events of the returning Israelites after the Babylonian Exile. The temple being built during the time that this book references is the next temple after Solomon's Temple. It is very revealing that that the people that had seen Solomon's Temple wept when they saw the foundation of this temple when it was laid. Why did they weep? Because there were many things wrong with the previous temple and it became clear upon seeing only the foundation of the next temple. It is notable that at the time that Ezra was written, the Israelites were very penitent and worshiped the Lord as had rarely been done before or since.

Ezra 3:10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the direction of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang one to another in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord: 'for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel.' And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, the old men that had seen the first house standing on its foundation, wept with a loud voice, when this house was before their eyes; and many shouted aloud for joy; 13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Location of Solomon's Temple

Click on the link above for information about the location, location, location of Solomon's Temple.

Rain

As one should know, Israel became almost completely desolate for a time and this became blatantly evident at about the time of the Babylonian Exile. The land remained a desert as it really is today. As far as a lush land of milk and honey described by Moses and Joshua is concerned, there are few places in the middle-east that match that description. One can easily determine that Canaan must have been much different in ancient times. Obviously, if it rained more frequently, the climate would support more vegetation and the land would more nearly match the descriptions of Moses and Joshua.

The climate has shown some improvement since the nation of Israel resumed in the 1940s. It is widely purported that contemporary scientific agricultural methods have caused the rains to return; however, according to scripture, the fact is that it is the Lord that causes rain and withholds it, not science. Similarly, it is the Lord that is re-gathering the Israelites to the land of Israel.

Deuteronomy 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15 And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be satisfied. 16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17 and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, so that there shall be no rain, and the ground shall not yield her fruit; and ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you. (JPS)
Job 38:33 Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth? 34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 35 Canst thou send forth lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee: 'Here we are'? 36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who hath given understanding to the mind? 37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, 38 When the dust runneth into a mass, and the clods cleave fast together? (JPS)
Jeremiah 14:22 Are there any among the vanities of the nations that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? Art not Thou He, O the Lord our God, and do we not wait for Thee? For Thou hast made all these things. (JPS)
Zechariah 10:1 Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain, even of the Lord that maketh lightnings; and He will give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. (JPS)
Isaiah 41:17 The poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst; I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers on the high hills, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia-tree, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane-tree, and the larch together; 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. (JPS)

While this examination of rain might seem to be unrelated to the subject of the temple, nothing could be more relevant. According to Jewish legend, rain fell annually in the eighth month in the land of Canaan in ancient times right up until Solomon's Temple was completed. After that, the late rains never fell again. This is supported from historical Jewish sources. It might seem overly tedious to some to state this point, however, to others it is probably well to point out clearly that it is not a good thing that the rains departed the land. This is why the land became desolate. In all reality, this is another extremely clear omen that things were not going well and what further sign would one need that the Lord was not dwelling among them.

The Building Of The Temple
The Temple was finished in the month of Bul, now called Marheshwan, but the edifice stood closed for nearly a whole year, because it was the will of God that the dedication take place in the month of Abraham's birth. Meantime the enemies of Solomon rejoiced maliciously. "Was it not the son of Bath-sheba," they said, "who built the Temple? How, then, could God permit His Shekinah to rest upon it?" When the consecration of the house took place, and "the fire came down from heaven," they recognized their mistake.
The importance of the Temple appeared at once, for the torrential rains which annually since the deluge had fallen for forty days beginning with the month of Marheshwan, for the first time failed to come, and thenceforward appeared no more.
(Excerpt from: The Legends of the Jews; Solomon; The Building of the Temple; By Louis Ginzberg) (Emphasis added)

Despite various ways of interpreting this sign of no rain, this was not a good omen. Nor was it a good omen that the fire came down from heaven because this was likely an indication that the Lord had withdrawn Himself from them. In fact, this lack of rain would eventually leave the land parched and completely desolate. It was no coincidence that the rains failed to come at this time and never came again. This was a clear sign that things had gone very wrong.

Deuteronomy 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17 and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, so that there shall be no rain, and the ground shall not yield her fruit; and ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Haggai 1:7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hill-country, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. 9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of My house that lieth waste, while ye run every man for his own house. 10 Therefore over you the heaven hath kept back, so that there is no dew, and the earth hath kept back her produce. 11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Not Dwelling Among Them

From the time of Moses until the death of King David, the Lord literally dwelt among the Israelites excepting a few instances such as that at Shiloh. The Lord actually dwelt upon the Ark in the tent tabernacle, a facility abrogated by the temple. Instead, a structure that was nearly the opposite to the plans of the Lord was constructed. In most respects, the true essence of Solomon's Temple could be compared to replacing Notre Dame Cathedral with a gold gilt double-wide mobile home turned upside down and backwards.

In light of the foregoing information, it is somewhat odd that the Lord allowed His Name to be associated with Solomon's Temple at all. This was probably only due to the fact that most people were unaware of the true nature of Solomon's Temple and because of His great mercy.

It would seem that Solomon's Temple, rather than being called the Temple of the Lord, should actually have been called the House from Hell or possibly the Synagogue of Satan.

Jeremiah 7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying: 'The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these.' (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

The purpose of the temple was so that God would literally dwell among the Israelites. This was the purpose of the tent tabernacle that Moses built at Horeb and Solomon's Temple was to serve the same function. The phrase "House of the Lord" was supposed to be very literal. It is no accident that this house was called Solomon's Temple and not the Temple of the Lord. If one considers the word of the Lord to Solomon after the completion of the temple and the King's palace, it is apparent that God is not going to dwell in the temple. The reasons for that are abundantly clear, but if there was any question about the details, the following passage should clarify the fact that God never dwelt in Solomon's Temple, not even from the beginning.

2 Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king's house; and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. 12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him: 'I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for a house of sacrifice. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

A house of sacrifice, but not a house to dwell in. By the way, exactly what did He mean by that? Notice also that the passage mentions, "all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord." If King David left the plans for all of the items for the temple as instructed by the Lord, then this would not seem to leave much room for what came into Solomon's heart.

2 Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; 14 if My people, upon whom My name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Why does God have to hear from heaven if He is dwelling among them at the temple? Obviously, God is not dwelling among them, He is already gone. There could be no clearer statement.

2 Chronicles 7:15 Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent, unto the prayer that is made in this place. (JPS)

His eyes and ears will be on this place, just like everyplace else, but obviously, He will not be there.

2 Chronicles 7:16 For now have I chosen and hallowed this house, that My name may be there for ever; and Mine eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Lord had withdrawn Himself from them before the temple opened.

Recompense

In the following passage, the Lord gives Solomon explicit instructions about the terms of his service as the king of Israel.

2 Chronicles 7:17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before Me as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep My statutes and Mine ordinances; 18 then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I covenanted with David thy father, saying: There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In logic, the previous passage is clearly an IF-THEN statement, a Boolean expression. George Boole (1815-1864), a British mathematician is credited with developing Boolean algebra, the progenitor of Boolean logic, despite the fact that this example of Boolean logic from the Bible predates him by thousands of years. In Boolean logic, the operators are distributive across all of the terms of the expression which is to say that if condition one is true then condition two must be true and so on. If condition one is false then condition two must necessarily be false.

One can gain great insight into the exact terms of this passage by considering it with reversed conditions. There is no clearer sign that the events of King Solomon's reign constituted the who, what, when, where, why and how Israel transgressed the covenant. The logical operators at work in the passage are expanded to an IF-THEN-ELSE statement in the larger passage included below. The ELSE part of the statement begins in verse 19 with the term "but if."

2 Chronicles 7:17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before Me as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep My statutes and Mine ordinances; 18 then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I covenanted with David thy father, saying: There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. 19 But if ye turn away, and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20 then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for My name, will I cast out of My sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 And this house, which is so high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall say: Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house? 22 And they shall answer: Because they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them; therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them.' (JPS)

Chapter Epilog

The foregoing factors seem to be why this temple is called Solomon's Temple and not the Temple of the Lord.

The Temple, Solomon's Chapel
The Temple of Solomon was in reality an innovation in Israel. It was a part of a regal magnificence which was foreign to the national life, and which had to be introduced from outside and patterned on foreign models; and it was looked upon with little favor by many of his subjects. Moreover, the Temple was erected upon a site but recently conquered from the Jebusites, and which for the Israelites had no sacred associations. Other sites-those of Shechem, Beth-el, Hebron-were consecrated by patriarchal tradition (Gen. xxii. 2 is the product of a later time), but Jerusalem was unhallowed by such associations, and its sanctuary was full of foreign innovations. When Jeroboam revolted and erected Beth-el and Dan into royal sanctuaries he perpetuated a ritual of a simpler and more national character (comp. I Kings xii. 28). The Temple at Jerusalem was in reality Solomon's chapel-a part of that regal pile of buildings which he had constructed not so much for the use of his subjects as for his personal aggrandizement. It was later events, such as Sennacherib's invasion, Isaiah's conception that Jerusalem was inviolable, the Deuteronomic reform (which made all sanctuaries except that at Jerusalem illegal), and, above all, the tragic events of the Exile, which made this Temple supremely sacred in the thought of Jews of later times.
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Temple of Solomon; By: Executive Committee of the Editorial Board & George A. Barton) (Emphasis added)

The word of the Lord came to Solomon several times not the least of which was after the completion of the temple. Nevertheless, he persisted in going his own way and never heeded the Lord's warnings. From his own writings, it is apparent that Solomon expressed great regret near the end of his life for the judgment that had befallen him.

1 Kings 6:11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 6:12 'As for this house which thou art building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute Mine ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with thee, which I spoke unto David thy father; 13 in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 11:9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 29:18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. 19 When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way." This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 The LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the Lord: The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what is the house that ye will build unto me? and what is the place of my rest? 2 Even all these things hath my hand made, and all these things have been, saith the Lord. But to this man will I look: to the afflicted and contrite in spirit, and who trembleth at my word. 3 He that slaughtereth an ox, smiteth a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, breaketh a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, [it is as] swine's blood; he that presenteth a memorial of incense, [is as] he that blesseth an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations, 4 I also will choose their calamities, and will bring their fears upon them; because I called, and none answered, I spoke, and they did not hear, but did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delight not. (Darby)
(Emphasis added)
Isaiah 66:6 Hark! an uproar from the city, Hark! it cometh from the temple, Hark! the Lord rendereth recompense to His enemies. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 10:5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, like an error which proceedeth from a ruler: 6 Folly is set on great heights, and the rich sit in low place. 7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him. 9 Whoso quarrieth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Psalm 127:1 A Song of Ascents; of Solomon. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
It's cohesive!
The reader's appropriate response to this material:
Acts 17:11 And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so. (Darby) (Emphasis added)