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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

1 Kings 6

Verse 1

Introduction

This chapter is about the building and furnishing of the temple. A global outline:
1. Introduction, 1 Kings 6:1.
2. Exterior of the building, 1 Kings 6:2-2 Samuel :.
3. Responsibility, 1 Kings 6:11-1 Chronicles :.
4. Interior of the building, 1 Kings 6:14-Habakkuk :.
5. Completion, 1 Kings 6:37-Zechariah :.

With a more refined outline we see the following aspects of the building:
1. Beginning of the building, 1 Kings 6:1.
2. The dimensions, 1 Kings 6:2-Leviticus :.
3. The windows, 1 Kings 6:4.
4. The stories, 1 Kings 6:5-Joshua :.
5. The noiselessness of the building, 1 Kings 6:7.
6. Again the stories, 1 Kings 6:8-2 Samuel :.
7. A word for Solomon, 1 Kings 6:11-1 Chronicles :.
8. The covering of the walls and the floor, 1 Kings 6:14-Job :.
9. The inner sanctuary, covered with pure gold, 1 Kings 6:19-Proverbs :.
10. The gold covering of the whole, including the altar, 1 Kings 6:21-Song of Solomon :.
11. The two great cherubs, 1 Kings 6:23-Hosea :.
12. Cherubs, palms and open flower buds on the walls, 1 Kings 6:29.
13. The gold covered floor, 1 Kings 6:30.
14. The doors, 1 Kings 6:31-Habakkuk :.
15. The inner court, 1 Kings 6:36.
16. The duration of the building, 1 Kings 6:37-Zechariah :.

Beginning of the Building of the Temple

For the historian, the start of the building of the temple is a striking point in the history of Israel. He mentions the year in which the start is made and connects that date with Israel’s exodus from slavery in Egypt. The start of the building of the temple takes place in 966 BC. The exodus took place in 1446 BC. Although there is a lot of time in between, the exodus and building of the temple are closely connected. At the exodus, on the banks of the Red Sea, the people sang about the dwelling place of the LORD (Exodus 15:17). The purpose of the redemption from Egypt was that God would dwell with His people, a redeemed people. The temple is here called “the house of the LORD”.

Also the month of the beginning of the building is mentioned, “the month of Ziv which is the second month”. This month corresponds to our month of May. “Ziv” means “shine” or “splendor”, probably because of the budding floral splendor in that month. From a spiritual point of view, this indicates a new era in which everything is fresh and beautiful. Israel stands on the threshold of the glorious summer time of blessing and prosperity. The temple shines with gold. The place of the building is not mentioned, but we know from 2 Chronicles that it is on Mount Moria (2 Chronicles 3:1).

In spiritual terms, salvation from the power of sin and the house of God, that is the church (1 Timothy 3:15), also belong together. Our redemption by the Lord Jesus is the starting point, and whoever has accepted Him as Savior in faith is sealed with the Holy Spirit and therefore belongs to the church.

Solomon starts “in the fourth year” of his government with the building of the temple. The first three years he was busy arranging the affairs of his empire. The time we use to prepare for the work of God and to free ourselves from anything that might distract us from it is not lost time.

In building the temple Solomon is also a picture of the Lord Jesus. It is said of the Messiah that He will build the temple (Zechariah 6:12). The temple is the pledge of the durable possession of the inheritance by the people. God’s presence definitively determines the possessions.

Verses 2-10

The Exterior of the Building

The sizes of the house (1 Kings 6:2) are double the sizes of the tabernacle. So the temple is an enlarged tabernacle. The dimensions of the temple, converted to our dimensions, are twenty-seven meters long, nine meters wide and fourteen meters high. The porch in front is extra, as are the windows (1 Kings 6:3-Numbers :). They were not in the tabernacle.

The temple, like the tabernacle, is a picture of:
1. the revelation of the glory of God in Christ,
2. the dwelling place of God; and
3. a place where man can approach God to serve Him as a priest.

There are two descriptions of the temple. They are in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. In 2 Chronicles the emphasis is on the altar – and thus the service in connection with the altar – and approaching God. Here in 1 Kings the altar is not mentioned, nor the veil. Here dwelling is emphasized, because here we also have chambers all around the temple, where the priests live. Around the temple, i.e. on both long sides and the back, not the front, chambers are built in three floors (1 Kings 6:5-Joshua :).

There is an even greater joy than to go to the temple and that is to dwell there. This leads to the priesthood that is expressed in a special way in the praise of the LORD (1 Chronicles 9:33).

Where God has His dwelling place, He surrounds Himself with dwelling places. Therefore we can also see the temple as a picture of the Father’s house, of which the Lord Jesus says there are “many dwelling places” (John 14:2). The Lord Jesus also calls the temple “My Father’s house” (John 2:16).

The temple is not only a greater repetition of the tabernacle. The tabernacle was meant to be carried through the desert. The temple contrariwise is fixed, there is rest for God. The people have come to rest and live in rest in the promised land, and God dwells among His people. After the wilderness journey, the meaning of the tabernacle is ended. In the letter to the Hebrews, the tabernacle is always mentioned, but that is because of the point of view from which the writer views God’s people view.

The temple is in the land. It presupposes a people in possession of the land, which for us is a picture of the heavenly places. The temple is on a higher level. Three times a year, the Israelite goes to the three harvest feasts, when he has gathered the blessings of the land. Are we familiar with the blessings of the promised land, for us the heavenly places? Only then will we understand and appreciate the meaning of the temple.

To explain 1 Kings 6:6, a remark is made in the middle of the description of the priestly dwellings in 1 Kings 6:7 about the ready-prepared stones for the temple. The stones have already been worked in the quarry, so that no sound is heard during building.

In the spiritual sense we see that man is naturally dust, but when he becomes a believer, he becomes a stone (1 Peter 2:5). Christ is the rock from Whom we are hewn and as such have been added to the house of God. The work of God’s Spirit is done in silence, without the outward display and the great noise that is present in many Christian communities.

In 1 Kings 6:8-2 Samuel : there are three stories. This also shows a certain growth, because the rooms are getting bigger and bigger higher up. It contains the encouragement for each priest not to stay on the lower story, but to go higher. What the chambers are, we read in the third description of the temple, in Ezekiel 42, the temple of the kingdom of peace (Ezekiel 42:1-2 Chronicles :). These are the places where the priests abide. It is not a question of approaching, but of abiding constantly (cf. Psalms 23:6; Psalms 27:4).

Verses 11-13

A Word for Solomon

In these verses we are again reminded of the responsibility (2 Samuel 7:13-2 Chronicles :). This also applies to the church. The fact that the Lord Jesus is among those who come together as a church has everything to do with the will of God, with obedience. We have God’s will in the Bible. If we want to listen to Him, He will fulfill His Word and dwell among the assembled believers and not leave them. It is remarkable that Solomon is addressed personally. If we want to experience God’s presence together, we will all have to listen to His Word personally. Then He dwells with His people and will not leave them.

Verses 14-22

The Covering of Wood and Gold

The stones are covered with cedar wood. The cedar represents the greatness of man which is humiliated by the LORD (Isaiah 2:12-1 Chronicles :). When a person repents, another greatness returns for it. Christ is compared to a cedar in Song of Songs and God unites us with Christ in His greatness (Song of Solomon 5:15; Psalms 92:12). Thus we are useful to God for the building of His house. The great thing that the believer is, he only is through Christ. Therefore the wood is covered with gold again. Everything speaks in God’s temple of His glory (Psalms 29:9).

The inner sanctuary or rear space – a large, glorious space – is the place where the ark is placed. The altar (1 Kings 6:20) and the veil (1 Kings 6:21) are also mentioned. The altar is also mentioned in 1 Kings 6:22. It is seen here as belonging to the most holy place, although it will stand before the veil, but directly close to it (cf. Numbers 18:7; Hebrews 9:4).

Verses 23-28

The Cherubim

The cherubs are made of olive wood, which is wood from the wild olive tree, of which also the doors of the holy and the posts of the entrance of the temple are made. They have large dimensions, larger than the cherubs on the ark. They fill the most holy place.

Cherubs are special angels who are connected with God as Judge (Genesis 3:24). God rides on them (Psalms 18:10) and they are God’s throne (Ezekiel 1:4-Hosea :; Ezekiel 10:8-Esther :). They represent God in His judicial glory. In the books of Moses they occur only in connection with paradise and the tabernacle.

Verses 29-35

The Walls, Floor and Doors

On the walls of the house “cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers” are carved. The cherubim remind us of paradise (Genesis 3:24). They watch over a service in the sanctuary, not to stop it, but to let it take place in accordance with God. In the temple paradise is as it were open to man again. This is possible because the Lord Jesus gained the victory, of which the palms trees speak, over sin and death on the cross. As a result, new life is possible, which is represented by the open flowers.

The floor is made of gold. There is walking on the basis of God’s glory which has become visible in Christ and which is the part of everyone who believes. This golden floor is reminiscent of the street of gold in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:21).

The doors are a picture of Christ through Whom we can only approach God (John 10:7). “For through Him we … have our access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). This is the great privilege for us who are saved by grace. On the doors is the same carved artwork as on the walls of the house. This reminds us that we will be like Christ when we are with Him and the work of grace is perfect (1 John 3:3).

Verse 36

The Inner Court

In the inner court, where the bronze altar is, where the priests serve, a low wall is made. This wall is the separation between the people and the priests. It consists of three rows of cut stones with a row of cedar beams on top. It is a low wall, so that the people can look over it and see everything the priests do and hear everything the priests say to them.

Verses 37-38

Duration of the Building of the Temple

The duration of the building of the temple is seven years, a complete time. God is building a wonderful house in this time, His church. That building will also take a complete time.

The last verse contains an important indication that Solomon built the house “ according to all its plans”. Solomon did not follow his own imagination during the building. He also didn’t think about making a small adjustment here and there. He built the temple exactly as God had indicated to David by the Spirit, not only orally, but for greater certainty and accuracy, in writing (1 Chronicles 28:11-2 Kings :; 1 Chronicles 28:19). It is just as He had given Moses a sketch of the tabernacle on the mountain (Exodus 25:40).

This is an important indication for our time, in which ‘being a church’ is increasingly being attuned to the needs of people. The services should be enlivened with music and dance, the speeches should be delivered by men (or women!) of name. Man must feel at home there, while there is less and less reckoning with whether God can still feel at home in His own house.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Kings 6". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-kings-6.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.