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tem´p ' 50 ( היכל , hēkhāl , "palace"; sometimes, as in 1 Kings 6:3 , 1 Kings 6:5 , etc.; Ezekiel 41:1 , Ezekiel 41:15 ff, used for "the holy place" only; בּית , bayith , "house," thus always in the Revised Version (British and American); ἱερόν , hierón , ναός , naós ):




1. David's Project

2. Plans and Preparations

3. Character of the Building

4. Site of the Temple

5. Phoenician Assistance


1. In General

2. Dimensions, Divisions and Adornments

3. The Side-Chambers

4. The Porch and Pillars


1. The Inner Court

(1) Walls

(2) Gates

2. The Great Court

3. The Royal Buildings


1. The Sanctuary

(1) The "Debhir"

(2) The "Hekhal"

2. The Court (Inner)

(1) The Altar

(2) The Molten (Bronze) Sea

(3) The Layers and Their Bases


1. Building and Dedication

2. Repeated Plunderings, etc.

3. Attempts at Reform

4. Final Overthrow



1. Relation to History of Temple

2. The Conception Unique and Ideal

3. Its Symmetrical Measurements


1. The Outer Court

2. The Inner Court

3. The Temple Building and Adjuncts



1. The Decree of Cyrus

2. Founding of the Temple

3. Opposition and Completion of the Work


1. The House

2. Its Divisions and Furniture

3. Its Courts, Altar, etc.

4. Later Fortunes



1. Initiation of the Work

2. Its Grandeur

3. Authorities

4. Measurements


1. Temple Area - C ourt of Gentiles

2. Inner Sanctuary Inclosure

(1) Wall, "Hel," "Soregh," Gates

(2) Court of the Women

(3) Inner Courts: Court of Israel; Court of the Priests

(4) The Altar, etc.

3. The Temple Building

(1) House and Porch

(2) "Hekhal" and "Debhir"

(3) The Side-Chambers


1. Earlier Incidents

2. Jesus in the Temple

3. The Passion-Week

4. Apostolic Church

5. The Temple in Christian Thought


A. Structure and History

I. Solomon's Temple

I. Introductory.

1. David's Project:

The tabernacle having lasted from the exodus till the commencement of the monarchy, it appeared to David to be no longer fitting that the ark of God should dwell within curtains (it was then in a tent David had made for it on Zion: 2 Samuel 6:17 ), while he himself dwelt in a cedar-lined house. The unsettled and unorganized state of the nation, which had hitherto necessitated a portable structure, had now given place to an established kingdom. The dwelling of Yahweh should therefore be henceforth a permanent building, situated at the center of the nation's life, and "exceeding magnificent" (1 Chronicles 22:5 ), as befitted the glory of Yahweh, and the prospects of the state.

2. Plans and Preparations:

David, however, while honored for his purpose, was not permitted, because he had been a man of war (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 22:8; compare 1 Kings 5:3 ), to execute the work, and the building of the house was reserved for his son, Solomon. According to the Chronicler, David busied himself in making extensive and costly preparations of wood, stone, gold, silver, etc., for the future sanctuary and its vessels, even leaving behind him full and minute plans of the whole scheme of the building and its contents, divinely communicated (1 Chronicles 22:2 ff; 1 Chronicles 28:11 ff; 29). The general fact of lengthened preparation, and even of designs, for a structure which so deeply occupied his thoughts, is extremely probable (compare 1 Kings 7:51 ).

3. Character of the Building:

The general outline of the structure was based on that of the tabernacle (on the modern critical reversal of this relation, see under B, below). The dimensions are in the main twice those of the tabernacle, though it will be seen below that there are important exceptions to this rule, on which the critics found so much. The old question (see TABERNACLE ) as to the shape of the building - flat or gable-roofed - here again arises. Not a few modern writers (Fergusson, Schick, Caldecott, etc.), with some older, favor the tentlike shape, with sloping roof. It does not follow, however, even if this form is, with these writers, admitted for the tabernacle - a "tent" - that it is applicable, or likely, for a stone "house," and the measurements of the Temple, and mention of a "ceiling" (1 Kings 6:15 ), point in the opposite direction. It must still be granted that, with the scanty data at command, all reconstructions of the Solomonte Temple leave much to be filled in from conjecture. Joseph Hammond has justly said: "It is certain that, were a true restoration of the Temple ever to be placed in our hands, we should find that it differed widely from all attempted 'restorations' of the edifice, based on the scanty and imperfect notices of our historian and Ezekiel" ( Commentary on 1 Ki 6, "Pulpit Commentary").

4. Site of the Temple:

The site of the Temple was on the eastern of the two hills on which Jerusalem was built - that known in Scripture as Mt. Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1 ) or Mt. Zion (the traditional view which locates Zion on the western hill, on the other side of the Tyropoeon, though defended by some, seems untenable; see "Zion," in HDB; "Jerusalem," in DB , etc.). The place is more precisely defined as that where Araunah (Ornan) had his threshing-floor, and David built his altar after the plague (1 Chronicles 21:22; 2 Chronicles 3:1 ). This spot, in turn, is now all but universally held to be marked by the sacred rock, eṣ -ṣakhra (within what is called the Haram area on the eastern summit; see JERUSALEM ), above which the "Dome of the Rock," or so-called "Mosque of Omar," now stands. Here, according to traditional belief, was reared the altar of burnt offering, and to the West of it was built the Temple. This location is indeed challenged by Fergusson, W. R. Smith, and others, who transfer the Temple-site to the southwestern angle of the Haram area, but the great majority of scholars take the above view. To prepare a suitable surface for the Temple and connected buildings (the area may have been some 600 ft. East to West, and 300 to 400 ft. North to South), the summit of the hill had to be leveled, and its lower parts heightened by immense substructures (Josephus, Ant. , VIII, iii, 9; XV, xi, 3; BJ , V, v, 1), the remains of which modern excavations have brought to light (compare Warren's Underground Jerusalem; G. A. Smith's Jerusalem, etc.).

5. Phoenician Assistance:

For aid in his undertaking, Solomon invited the cooperation of Hiram, king of Tyre, who willingly lent his assistance, as he had before helped David, granting Solomon permission to send his servants to cut down timber in Lebanon, aiding in transport, and in the quarrying and hewing of stones, and sending a skillful Tyrian artist, another Hiram, to superintend the designing and graving of objects made of the precious metals, etc. For this assistance Solomon made a suitable recompense (1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2 ). Excavations seem to show that a large part of the limestone of which the temple was built came from quarries in the immediate neighborhood of Jerusalem (Warren, Underground Jerusalem , 60). The stones were cut, hewn and polished at the places whence they were taken, so that "there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building" ( 1 Kings 5:17 , 1 Kings 5:18; 1 Kings 6:7 ). Opinions differ as to the style of architecture of the building. It was probably unique, but Phoenician art also must have left its impress upon it. See ARCHITECTURE .

II. The Temple Building.

1. In General:

In contrast with the tabernacle, which was a portable "tent," consisting of a framework of acacia wood, with rich coverings hung over it, and standing in a "court" enclosed by curtains (see TABERNACLE ), the Temple was a substantial "house" built of stone (probably the hard white limestone of the district), with chambers in three stories, half the height of the building (1 Kings 6:5 , 1 Kings 6:6 ), round the sides and back, and, in front, a stately porch (1 Kings 6:3 ), before which stood two lofty bronze pillars - J achin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Chronicles 3:4 , 2 Chronicles 3:15-17 ). Within, the house was lined with cedar, overlaid with gold, graven with figures of cherubim, palms, and open flowers (1 Kings 6:15 , 1 Kings 6:18 , 1 Kings 6:21 , 1 Kings 6:22 , 1 Kings 6:29 ), and a partition of cedar or stone divided the interior into two apartments - one the holy place (the hēkhāl ), the other the most holy place, or "oracle" (debhı̄r ) (1 Kings 6:16-18 ). The floor was of stone, covered with fir (or cypress), likewise overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:15 , 1 Kings 6:30 ). The platform on which the whole building stood was probably raised above the level of the court in front, and the building may have been approached by steps. Details are not given. The more particular description follows.

2. Dimensions, Divisions and Adornments:

The Temple, like the tabernacle, stood facing East, environed by "courts" ("inner" and "greater"), which are dealt with below, Internally, the dimensions of the structure were, in length and width, double those of the tabernacle, namely, length 60 cubits, width 20 cubits. The height, however, was 30 cubits, thrice that of the tabernacle (1 Kings 6:2; compare 1 Kings 6:18 , 1 Kings 6:20 ). The precise length of the cubit is uncertain (see CUBIT ); here, as in the article TABERNACLE , it is taken as approximately 18 inches. In internal measurement, therefore, the Temple was approximately 90 ft. long, 30 ft. broad, and 45 ft. high. This allows nothing for the thickness of the partition between the two chambers. For the external measurement, the thickness of the walls and the width of the surrounding chambers and their walls require to be added. It cannot positively be affirmed that the dimensions of the Temple, including the porch, coincided precisely with those of Ezekiel's temple (compare Keil on 1 Kings 6:9 , 1 Kings 6:10 ); still, the proportions must have closely approximated, and may have been in agreement.

The walls of the building, as stated, were lined within with cedar; the holy place was ceiled with fir or cypress (2 Chronicles 3:5; the "oracle" perhaps with cedar); the flooring likewise was of fir (1 Kings 6:15 ). All was overlaid with gold, and walls and doors (see below) were adorned with gravings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers (1 Ki 6:19-35; 2 Chronicles 3:6 adds "precious stones"). Of the two chambers into which the house was divided, the outermost (or hēkhāl ) was 40 cubits (60 ft.) long, and 20 cubits (30 ft.) wide (1 Kings 6:17 ); the innermost (or debhı̄r ) was 20 cubits in length, breadth and height - a cube (1 Kings 6:20 ). As the height of the Temple internally was 30 cubits, it is obvious that above the most holy place there was a vacant space 20 cubits long and 10 high. This apparently was utilized as a chamber or chambers for storage or other purposes. It has been held by some (Kurtz, Fergusson, etc.) that the ceiling along the entire Temple was at the height of 20 cubits, with chambers above (compare the allusion to "upper chambers" in 1 Chronicles 28:11; 2 Chronicles 3:9 ); this, however, seems unwarranted (compare Bahr on 1 Kings 6:14-19; the upper chambers" were "overlaid with gold," 2 Chronicles 3:9 , which points to something nobler in character). The inner chamber was a place of "thick darkness" (1 Kings 8:12 ).

3. The Side-Chambers:

The thickness of the Temple walls is not given, but the analogy of Ezekiel's temple (Ezekiel 41 ) and what is told of the side-chambers render it probable that the thickness was not less than 6 cubits (9 ft.). Around the Temple, on its two sides and at the back, were built chambers ( celā‛ōth , literally, "ribs"), the construction of which is summarily described. They were built in three stories, each story 5 cubits in height (allowance must also be made for flooring and roofing), the lowest being 5 cubits in breadth, the next 6 cubits, and the highest 7 cubits. This is explained by the fact that the chambers were not to be built into the wall of the Temple, but were to rest on ledges or rebatements in the wall, each rebate a cubit in breadth, so that the wall became thinner, and the chambers broader, by a cubit, each stage in the ascent. ( 1 Kings 6:5-10 ). The door admitting into these chambers was apparently in the middle of the right side of the house, and winding stairs led up to the second and third stories (1 Kings 6:8 ). It is not stated how many chambers there were; Josephus (Ant. , VIII, iii, 2) gives the number as 30, which is the number in Ezekiel's temple (Ezekiel 41:6 ). The outer wall of the chambers, which in Ezekiel is 5 cubits thick (Ezekiel 41:9 ), may have been the same here, though some make it less. It is a question whether the rebatements were in the Temple wall only, or were divided between it and the outer wall; the former seems the more probable opinion, as nothing is said of rebatements in the outer wall. Above the chambers on either side were "windows of fixed lattice-work" (Ezekiel 41:4 ), i.e. openings which could not be closed ("windows broad within and narrow without"). The purposes for which the chambers were constructed are not mentioned. They may have been used partly for storage, partly for the accommodation of those engaged in the service of the Temple (compare 1 Chronicles 9:27 ).

4. The Porch and Pillars:

A conspicuous feature of the Temple was the porch in front of the building, with its twin pillars, Jachin and Boaz. Of the porch itself a very brief description is given. It is stated to have been 20 cubits broad - the width of the house - and 10 cubits deep (1 Kings 6:3 ). Its height is not given in 1 Kings, but it is said in 2 Chronicles 3:4 to have been 120 cubits, or approximately 180 ft. Some accept this enormous height (Ewald, Stanley, etc.), but the majority more reasonably infer that there has been a corruption of the number. It may have been the same height as the Temple - 30 cubits. It was apparently open in front, and, from what is said of its being "overlaid within with pure gold" ( 2 Chronicles 3:4 ), it may be concluded that it shared in the splendor of the main building, and had architectural features of its own which are not recorded. Some find here, in the wings, treasury chambers, and above, "upper chambers," but such restorations are wholly conjectural. It is otherwise with the monumental brass (bronze) pillars - J achin and Boaz - of which a tolerably full description is preserved (1 Kings 7:15-22; 2 Chronicles 3:15-17; 2 Chronicles 4:11-13; compare Jeremiah 52:20-23 ), still, however, leaving many points doubtful. The pillars which stood in front of the porch, detached from it, were hollow bronze castings, each 18 cubits (27 ft.) in height (35 cubits in 2 Chronicles 3:15 is an error), and 12 cubits (18 ft.) in circumference, and were surmounted by capitals 5 cubits (7 1/2 ft.) high, richly ornamented on their lower, bowl-shaped ( 1 Kings 7:20 , 1 Kings 7:41 , 1 Kings 7:42 ) parts, with two rows of pomegranates, enclosing festoons of chain-work, and, in their upper parts, rising to the height of 4 cubits (6 ft.) in graceful lily-work. See JACHIN AND BOAZ .

It was seen that the holy place ( hēkhāl ) was divided from the most holy ( debhı̄r ) by a partition, probably of cedar wood, though some think of a stone wall, one or even two cubits thick. In this partition were folding doors, made of olive wood, with their lintels 4 cubits wide ( 1 Kings 6:31; some interpret differently, and understand the upper part of the doorway to be a pentagon). The doors, like the walls, had carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and flowers, and the whole was gold-plated (1 Kings 6:32 ). Behind the partition hung the sanctuary veil (2 Chronicles 3:14 ). At the entrance of the Temple, similarly, were folding doors, with their lintels 5 cubits in width, only this time the posts only were of olive, while the doors, divided into two leaves, were of fir (or cypress) wood (1 Kings 6:33-35 ). The carving and gold-plating were as on the inner doors, and all the doors had hinges of gold (1 Kings 7:50 ).

III. Courts, Gates and Royal Buildings.

The Temple was enclosed in "courts" - an "inner" (1 Kings 6:36; 1 Kings 7:12; 2 Chronicles 4:9 , "court of the priests"; Jeremiah 36:10 , "the upper court"; Ezekiel 8:3 , Ezekiel 8:16; Ezekiel 10:3 ), and an outer or "greater court" (1 Kings 7:9 , 1 Kings 7:12; 2 Chronicles 4:9 ) - regarding the situation, dimensions and relations of which, alike to one another and to the royal buildings described in 1 Ki 7 the scanty notices in the history leave room for great diversity of opinion. See COURT OF THE SANCTUARY .

1. The Inner Court:

The "inner court" ( ḥācēr ha - penı̄mı̄th ) is repeatedly referred to (see above). Its dimensions are not given, but they may be presumed to be twice those of the tabernacle court, namely, 200 cubits (300 ft.) in length and 100 cubits (150 ft.) in breadth. The name in Jeremiah 36:10 , "the upper court," indicates that it was on a higher level than the "great court," and as the Temple was probably on a platform higher still, the whole would present a striking terraced aspect.

(1) Walls:

The walls of the court were built of three rows of hewn stone, with a coping of cedar beams ( 1 Kings 6:36 ). Their height is not stated; it is doubtful if it would admit of the colonnades which some have supposed; but "chambers" are mentioned (Jeremiah 35:4; Jeremiah 36:10 - if, indeed, all belong to the "inner" court), which imply a substantial structure. It was distinctively "the priests' court" ( 2 Chronicles 4:9 ); probably, in part, was reserved for them; to a certain degree, however, the laity had evidently free access into it (Jeremiah 36:10; Jeremiah 38:14; Ezekiel 8:16 , etc.). The mention of "the new court" (2 Chronicles 20:5 , time of Jehoshaphat), and of "the two courts of the house of Yahweh" (2 Kings 21:5; 2 Chronicles 33:5 , time of Manasseh), suggests subsequent enlargement and division.

(2) Gates:

Though gates are not mentioned in the narratives of the construction, later allusions show that there were several, though not all were of the time of Solomon. The principal entrance would, of course, be that toward the East (see EAST GATE ). In Jeremiah 26:10 there is allusion to "the entry of the new gate of Yahweh's house." This doubtless was "the upper gate" built by Jotham ( 2 Kings 15:35 ) and may reasonably be identified with the "gate that looketh toward the North" and the "gate of the altar" (i.e. through which the sacrifices were brought) in Ezekiel 8:3 , Ezekiel 8:1 , and with "the upper gate of Benjamin" in Jeremiah 20:3 . Mention is also made of a "gate of the guard" which descended to the king's house (2 Kings 11:19; see below). Jeremiah speaks of a "third entry that is in the house of Yahweh" (Jeremiah 38:14 ), and of "three keepers of the threshold" (Jeremiah 52:24 ), but it is not clear which court is intended.

2. The Great Court:

The outer or "great court" of the Temple ( ḥācēr ha - gedhōlāh ) opens up more difficult problems. Some regard this court as extending to the East in front of the "inner court"; others, as Keil, think of it as a great enclosure surrounding the "inner court" and stretching perhaps 150 cubits East of the latter (compare his Biblical Archaeology , I, 170-71). These writers remove the court from all connection with the royal buildings of 1 Kings 7 , and distinguish it from "the great court of 1 Kings 7:9 , 1 Kings 7:12 ." A quite different construction is that advocated by Stade and Benzinger, and adopted by most recent authorities (compare articles on "Temple" in HDB , IV, in EB , IV, in one-vol HDB , in DB (Dalman); G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 59 ff, etc.). The great court, on this view, not only surrounds the Temple, with its (inner) court, but, extending to the South, encloses the whole complex of the royal buildings of 1 Ki 7. This has the advantage of bringing together the references to the "great court" in 1 Kings 7:9 , 1 Kings 7:12 and the other references to the outer court. The court, thus conceived, must have been very large. The extensive part occupied by the royal buildings being on a lower level than the "inner court," entrance to it is thought to have been by "the gate of the guard unto the king's house" mentioned in 2 Kings 11:19 . Its wall, like that of the inner court, was built in three courses of hewn stone, and one course of cedar (1 Kings 7:12 ). Its gates overlaid with brass (2 Chronicles 4:9 , i.e., "bronze") show that the masonry must have been both high and substantial. On the "other court" of 1 Kings 7:8 , see next paragraph.

3. The Royal Buildings:

The group of buildings which, on theory now stated, were enclosed by the southern part of the great court, are those described in 1 Kings 7:1-12 . They were of hewn stone and cedar wood (1 Kings 7:9-11 ), and embraced: (1) The king's house, or royal palace (1 Kings 7:8 ), in close contiguity with the Temple-court (2 Kings 11:19 ). (2) Behind this to the West, the house of Pharaoh's daughter (2 Kings 11:9 ) - the apartments of the women. Both of these were enclosed in a "court" of their own, styled in 2 Kings 11:8 "the other court," and in 2 Kings 20:4 margin "the middle court." (3) South of this stood the throne-room, and porch or hall of judgment, paneled in cedar" from floor to floor," i.e. from floor to ceiling ( 2 Kings 11:7 ). The throne, we read later (1 Kings 10:18-20 ), was of ivory, overlaid with gold, and on either side of the throne, as well as of the six steps that led up to it, were lions. The hall served as an audience chamber, and for the administration of justice. (4) Yet farther South stood the porch or hall of pillars, 50 cubits (75 ft.) long and 30 cubits (45 ft.) broad, with a sub-porch of its own (1 Kings 10:6 ). It is best regarded as a place of promenade and vestibule to the hall of judgment. (5) Lastly, there was the imposing and elaborate building known as "the house of the forest of Lebanon" (1 Kings 10:2-5 ), which appears to have received this name from its multitude of cedar pillars. The scanty hints as to its internal arrangements have baffled the ingenuity of the commentators. The house was 100 cubits (150 ft.) in length, 50 cubits (75 ft.) in breadth, and 30 cubits (45 ft.) in height. Going round the sides and back there were apparently four rows of pillars. The Septuagint has three rows), on which, supported by cedar beams, rested three tiers or stories of side-chambers (literally, "ribs," as in 1 Kings 6:5; compare the Revised Version margin). In 1 Kings 6:3 it is disputed whether the number "forty and five; fifteen in a row" (as the Hebrew may be read) refers to the pillars or to the chambers; if to the former, the Septuagint reading of "three rows" is preferable. The windows of the tiers faced each other on the opposite sides ( 1 Kings 6:4 , 1 Kings 6:5 ). But the whole construction is obscure and doubtful. The spacious house was used partly as an armory; here Solomon put his 300 shields of beaten gold (1 Kings 10:17 ).

IV. Furniture of the Temple.

1. The Sanctuary:

We treat here, first, of the sanctuary in its two divisions, then of the (inner) court.

(1) The "Debhir".

In the most holy place, or debhı̄r , of the sanctuary stood, as before, the old Mosaic ark of the covenant, with its two golden cherubim above the mercy-seat (see ARK OF THE COVENANT; TABERNACLE ). Now, however, the symbolic element was increased by the ark being placed between two other figures of cherubim, made of olive wood, overlaid with gold, 10 cubits (15 ft.) high, their wings, each 5 cubits (7 1/2 ft.) long, outstretched so that they reached from wall to wall of the oracle (20 cubits), the inner wings meeting in the center (1 Kings 6:23-28; 2 Chronicles 3:10-13 ). See CHERUBIM .

(2) The "Hekhal".

In the holy place, or hēkhāl , the changes were greater. ( a ) Before the oracle, mentioned as belonging to it ( 1 Kings 6:22 ), stood the altar of incense, covered with cedar, and overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:20-22; 1 Kings 7:48; 2 Chronicles 4:19; see ALTAR OF INCENSE ). It is an arbitrary procedure of criticism to attempt to identify this altar with the table of shewbread. (b ) Instead of one golden candlestick, as in the tabernacle, there were now 10, 5 placed on one side and 5 on the other, in front of the oracle. All, with their utensils, were of pure gold (1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chronicles 4:7 ). (c ) Likewise, for one table of shewbread, there were now 10, 5 on one side, 5 on the other, also with their utensils made of gold (1 Kings 7:48 , where, however, only one table is mentioned; 2 Chronicles 4:8 , "100 basins of gold"). As these objects, only enlarged in number and dimensions, are fashioned after the model of those of the tabernacle, further particulars regarding them are not given here.

2. The Court (Inner):

(1) The Altar.

The most prominent object in the Temple-court was the altar of burnt offering, or brazen altar (see BRAZEN ALTAR ). The site of the altar, as already seen, was the rock eṣ ṣakhrā , where Araunah had his threshing-floor. The notion of some moderns that the rock itself was the altar, and that the brazen (bronze) altar was introduced later, is devoid of plausibility. An altar is always something reared or built (compare 2 Samuel 24:18 , 2 Samuel 24:25 ). The dimensions of the altar, which are not mentioned in 1 K, are given in 2 Chronicles 4:1 as 20 cubits (30 ft.) long, 20 cubits (30 ft.) broad, and 10 cubits (15 ft.) high. As utensils connected with it - an incidental confirmation of its historicity - are pots, shovels, basins and fleshhooks ( 1 Kings 7:40 , 1 Kings 7:45; 2 Chronicles 4:11 , 2 Chronicles 4:16 ). It will be observed that the assumed halving proportions of the tabernacle are here quite departed from (compare Exodus 27:1 ).

(2) The Molten (Bronze) Sea.

A new feature in the sanctuary court - taking the place of the "laver" in the tabernacle - was the "molten sea," the name being given to it for its great size. It was an immense basin of bronze, 5 cubits (7 1/2 ft.) high, 10 cubits (15 ft.) in diameter at the brim, and 30 cubits (45 ft.) in circumference, resting on 12 bronze oxen, and placed between the altar and the Temple-porch, toward the South (1 Kings 7:23-26 , 1 Kings 7:39; 2 Chronicles 4:2-5 , 2 Chronicles 4:10 ). The bronze was a handbreadth in thickness. The brim was shaped like the flower of a lily, and encompassing the basin were ornamental knops. Its capacity is given as 2,000 baths (1 Kings 7:26; by error in 2 Chronicles 4:5 , 2 Chronicles 4:3 ,000 baths). The oxen on which it rested faced the four cardinal points - three looking each way. The "sea," like the laver, doubtless supplied the water for the washing of the priests' hands and feet (compare Exodus 30:18; Exodus 38:8 ). The view of certain scholars (Kosters, Gunkel, etc.) that the "sea" is connected with Babylonian mythical ideas of the great deep is quite fanciful; no hint appears of such significance in any part of the narrative. The same applies to the lavers in the next paragraph.

(3) The Lavers and Their Bases.

The tabernacle laver had its place taken by the "sea" just described, but the Temple was also provided with 10 lavers or basins, set on "bases" of elaborate design and moving upon wheels - the whole made of bronze (1 Kings 7:27-37 ). Their use seems to have been for the washing of sacrifices (2 Chronicles 4:6 ), for which purpose they were placed, 5 on the north side, and 5 on the south side, of the Temple-court. The bases were 4 cubits (6 ft.) long, 4 cubits broad, and 3 cubits (4 1/2 ft.) high. These bases were of the nature of square paneled boxes, their sides being ornamented with figures of lions, oxen and cherubim, with wreathed work beneath. They had four feet, to which wheels were attached. The basin rested on a rounded pedestal, a cubit high, with an opening 1 1/2 cubits in diameter to receive the laver (1 Kings 7:31 ). Mythological ideas, as just said, are here out of place.

V. History of the Temple.

1. Building and Dedication:

The Temple was founded in the 4th year of Solomon's reign (1 Kings 6:1 ), and occupied 7 1/2 years in building (1 Kings 6:38 ); the royal buildings occupied 13 years (1 Kings 7:1 ) - 20 years in all (the two periods, however, may in part synchronize). On the completion of the Temple, the ark was brought up, in the presence of a vast assemblage, from Zion, and, with innumerable sacrifices and thanksgiving, was solemnly deposited in the Holy of Holies (1 Ki 8:1-21; 2 Chronicles 5:1-14; 2 Chronicles 6:1-11 ). The Temple itself was then dedicated by Solomon in the noble prayer recorded in 1 Ki 8:22-61; 2 Ch 6:12-42, followed by lavish sacrifices, and a 14 days' feast. At its inauguration the house was filled with the "glory" of Yahweh (1 Kings 8:10 , 1 Kings 8:11; 2 Chronicles 5:13 , 2 Chronicles 5:14 ).

2. Repeated Plunderings, Etc.:

The religious declension of the later days of Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-8 ) brought in its train disasters for the nation and the Temple. On Solomon's death the kingdom was disrupted, and the Temple ceased to be the one national sanctuary. It had its rivals in the calf-shrines set up by Jeroboam at Beth-el and Dan (1 Kings 12:25-33 ). In the 5th year of Rehoboam an expedition was made against Judah by Shishak, king of Egypt, who, coming to Jerusalem, carried away the treasures of the Temple, together with those of the king's house, including the 300 shields of gold which Solomon had made (1 Kings 14:25-28; 2 Chronicles 12:2-9 ). Rehoboam's wife, Maacah, was an idolatress, and during the reign of Abijam, her son, introduced many abominations into the worship of the Temple (1 Kings 15:2 , 1 Kings 15:12 , 1 Kings 15:13 ). Asa cleared these away, but himself further depleted the Temple and royal treasuries by sending all that was left of their silver and gold to Ben-hadad, king of Syria, to buy his help against Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings 15:18 , 1 Kings 15:19 ). Again the Temple was foully desecrated by Athaliah (2 Chronicles 24:7 ), necessitating the repairs of Jehoash (2 Kings 12:4 ff; 2 Kings 24:4 ff); and a new plundering took place in the reign of Ahaziah, when Jehoash of Israel carried off all the gold and silver in the Temple and palace ( 2 Kings 14:14 ). Uzziah was smitten with leprosy for presuming to enter the holy place to offer incense (2 Chronicles 26:16-20 ). Jehoshaphat, earlier, is thought to have enlarged the court (2 Chronicles 20:5 ), and Jotham built a new gate (2 Kings 15:35; 2 Chronicles 27:3 ). The ungodly Ahaz went farther than any of his predecessors in sacrilege, for, besides robbing the Temple and palace of their treasures to secure the aid of the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:8 ), he removed the brazen altar from its time-honored site, and set up a heathen altar in its place, removing likewise the bases and ornaments of the lavers, and the oxen from under the brazen (bronze) sea (2 Kings 16:10-17 ).

3. Attempts at Reform:

An earnest attempt at reform of religion was made by Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1-6; 2 Chronicles 29:31 ), but even he was driven to take all the gold and silver in the Temple and king's house to meet the tribute imposed on him by Sennacherib, stripping from the doors and pillars the gold with which he himself had overlaid them (2 Kings 18:14-16; 2 Chronicles 32:31 ). Things became worse than ever under Manasseh, who reared idolatrous altars in the Temple-courts, made an Asherah, introduced the worship of the host of heaven, had horses dedicated to the sun in the Temple-court, and connived at the worst pollutions of heathenism in the sanctuary (2 Kings 21:3-7; 2 Kings 23:7 , 2 Kings 23:11 ). Then came the more energetic reforms of the reign of Josiah, when, during the repairs of the Temple, the discovery was made of the Book of the Law, which led to a new covenant with Yahweh, a suppression of the high places, and the thorough cleansing-out of abuses from the Temple (2 Ki 22; 23:1-25; 2 Ch 34; 35). Still, the heart of the people was not changed, and, as seen in the history, and in the pages of the Prophets, after Josiah's death, the old evils were soon back in full force (compare e.g. Ezekiel 8:7-18 ).

4. Final Overthrow:

The end, however, was now at hand. Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiakim his tributary; then, on his rebelling, came, in the reign of Jehoiachin, took Jerusalem, carried off the treasures of the Temple and palace, with the gold of the Temple vessels (part had already been taken on his first approach, 2 Chronicles 36:7 ), and led into captivity the king, his household and the chief part of the population (2 Ki 24:1-17). Eleven years later (586 BC), after a siege of 18 months, consequent on Zedekiah's rebellion (2 Kings 25:1 ), the Babylonian army completed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Only a few lesser utensils of value, and the brazen (bronze) pillars, bases and sea remained; these were now taken away, the larger objects being broken up (2 Kings 25:13-16 ). The Temple itself, with its connected buildings, and the houses in Jerusalem generally, were set on fire (2 Kings 25:9 ). The ark doubtless perished in the conflagration, and is no more heard of. The residue of the population - all but the poorest - were carried away captive (2 Kings 25:11 , 2 Kings 25:12; see CAPTIVITY ). Thus ended the first Temple, after about 400 years of chequered existence.

II. Ezekiel's Prophetic Sketch

I. Introductory.

1. Relation to History of Temple:

Wellhausen has said that Ezekiel 40 through 48 "are the most important in his book, and have been, not incorrectly, called the key to the Old Testament" ( Prolegomena , English translation, 167). He means that Ezekiel's legislation represents the first draft, or sketch, of a priestly code, and that subsequently, on its basis, men of the priestly school formulated the Priestly Code as we have it. Without accepting this view, dealt with elsewhere, it is to be admitted that Ezekiel's sketch of a restored temple in chapters 40-43 has important bearings on the history of the Temple, alike in the fact that it presupposes and sheds back light upon the structure and arrangements of the first Temple (Solomon's), and that in important respects it forecasts the plans of the second (Zerubbabel's) and of Herod's temples.

2. The Conception Unique and Ideal:

While, however, there is this historical relation, it is to be observed that Ezekiel's temple-sketch is unique, presenting features not found in any of the actually built temples. The temple is, in truth, an ideal construction never intended to be literally realized by returned exiles, or any other body of people. Visionary in origin, the ideas embodied, and not the actual construction, are the main things to the prophet's mind. It gives Ezekiel's conception of what a perfectly restored temple and the service of Yahweh would be under conditions which could scarcely be thought of as ever likely literally to arise. A literal construction, one may say, was impossible. The site of the temple is not the old Zion, but "a very high mountain" (Ezekiel 40:2 ), occupying indeed the place of Zion, but entirely altered in elevation, configuration and general character. The temple is part of a scheme of transformed land, partitioned in parallel tracts among the restored 12 tribes (Ezek 47:13 through 48:7, Ezekiel 48:23-29 ), with a large area in the center, likewise stretching across the whole country, hallowed to Yahweh and His service (Ezekiel 48:8-22 ). Supernatural features, as that of the flowing stream from the temple in Ezekiel 47, abound. It is unreasonable to suppose that the prophet looked for such changes - some of them quite obviously symbolical - as actually impending.

3. Its Symmetrical Measurements:

The visionary character of the temple has the effect of securing that its measurements are perfectly symmetrical. The cubit used is defined as "a cubit and a handbreadth" (Ezekiel 40:5 ), the contrast being with one or more smaller cubits (see CUBIT ). In the diversity of opinion as to the precise length of the cubit, it may be assumed here that it was the same sacred cubit employed in the tabernacle and first Temple, and may be treated, as before, as approximately equivalent to 18 inches.

II. Plan of the Temple.

Despite obscurities and corruption in the text of Ezekiel, the main outlines of the ideal temple can be made out without much difficulty (for details the commentaries must be consulted; A. B. Davidson's "Ezekiel" in the Cambridge Bible series may be recommended; compare also Keil; a very lucid description is given in Skinner's "Book of Ezk," in the Expositor's Bible , 406-13; for a different view, see Caldecott, The Second Temple in Jerusalem ).

1. The Outer Court:

The temple was enclosed in two courts - an outer and an inner - quite different, however, in character and arrangement from those of the first Temple. The outer court, as shown by the separate measurements (compare Keil on Ezekiel 40:27 ), was a large square of 500 cubits (750 ft.), bounded by a wall 6 cubits (9 ft.) thick and 6 cubits high (Ezekiel 40:5 ). The wall was pierced in the middle of its north, east and south sides by massive gateways, extending into the court to a distance of 50 cubits (75 ft.), with a width of 25 cubits (37 1/2 ft.). On either side of the passage in these gateways were three guardrooms, each 6 cubits square (Ezekiel 40:7 margin), and each gateway terminated in "porch," 8 cubits (12 ft.) long ( Ezekiel 40:9 ), and apparently (thus, the Septuagint, Ezekiel 40:14; the Hebrew text seems corrupt), 20 cubits across. The ascent to the gateways was by seven steps (Ezekiel 40:6; compare Ezekiel 40:22 , Ezekiel 40:26 ), showing that the level of the court was to this extent higher than the ground outside. Round the court, on the three sides named - its edge in line with the ends of the gateways - was a "pavement," on which were built, against the wall, chambers, 30 in number (Ezekiel 40:17 , Ezekiel 40:18 ). At the four corners were enclosures (40 cubits by 30) where the sacrifices were cooked (compare Ezekiel 46:21-24 ) - a fact which suggests that the cells were mainly for purposes of feasting. (The "arches" ('ēlammı̄m ) of Ezekiel 40:16 , Ezekiel 40:21 , etc. (the Revised Version margin "colonnade"), if distinguished from the "porch" ('ulām ) - A . B. Davidson and others identify them - are still parts of the gateway - Ezekiel 40:21 , etc.).

2. The Inner Court:

The inner court was a square of 100 cubits (150 ft.), situated exactly in the center of the larger court (Ezekiel 40:47 ). It, too, was surrounded by a wall, and had gateways, with guardrooms, etc., similar to those of the outer court, saving that the gateways projected outward (50 cubits), not inward. The gates of outer and inner courts were opposite to each other on the North, East, and South, a hundred cubits apart (Ezekiel 40:19 , Ezekiel 40:23 , Ezekiel 40:27; the whole space, therefore, from wall to wall was 50 and 100 and 50 = 200 cubits). The ascent to the gates in this case was by eight steps (Ezekiel 40:37 ), indicating another rise in level for the inner court. There were two chambers at the sides of the north and south gates respectively, one for Levites, the other for priests (Ezekiel 40:44-46; compare the margin); at the gates also (perhaps only at the north gate) were stone tables for slaughtering (Ezekiel 40:39-43 ). In the center of this inner court was the great altar of burnt offering (Ezekiel 43:14-17 ) - a structure 18 cubits (27 ft.) square at the base, and rising in four stages (1, 2, 4, and 4 cubits high respectively, Ezekiel 43:14 , Ezekiel 43:15 ), till it formed a square of 12 cubits (18 ft.) at the top or hearth, with four horns at the corners (Ezekiel 43:15 , Ezekiel 43:16 ). Steps led up to it on the East (Ezekiel 43:17 ). See ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING .

3. The Temple Building and Adjuncts:

The inner court was extended westward by a second square of 100 cubits, within which, on a platform elevated another 6 cubits (9 ft.), stood the temple proper and its connected buildings (Ezekiel 41:8 ). This platform or basement is shown by the measurements to be 60 cubits broad (North and and South) and 105 cubits long (East and West) - 5 cubits projecting into the eastern square. The ascent to the temple-porch was by 10 steps (Ezekiel 40:49; Septuagint, the Revised Version margin). The temple itself was a building consisting, like Solomon's, of three parts - a porch at the entrance, 20 cubits (30 ft.) broad by 12 cubits (18 ft.) deep (so most, following the Septuagint, as required by the other measurements); the holy place or hēkhāl , 40 cubits (60 ft.) long by 20 cubits (30 ft.) broad; and the most holy place, 20 cubits by 20 (Ezekiel 40:48 , Ezekiel 40:49; Ezekiel 41:1-4 ); the measurements are internal. At the sides of the porch stood two pillars (Ezekiel 40:49 ), corresponding to the Jachin and Boaz of the older Temple. The holy and the most holy places were separated by a partition 2 cubits in thickness (Ezekiel 41:3; so most interpret). The most holy place was empty; of the furniture of the holy place mention is made only of an altar of wood (Ezekiel 41:22; see ALTAR A , III, 7; B, III, 3). Walls and doors were ornamented with cherubim and palm trees (Ezekiel 41:18 , Ezekiel 41:25 ). The wall of the temple building was 6 cubits (9 ft.) in thickness (Ezekiel 41:5 ), and on the north, south, and west sides, as in Solomon's Temple, there were side-chambers in three stories, 30 in number (Ezekiel 41:6; in each story?), with an outer wall 5 cubits (7 1/2 ft.) in thickness (Copyright Statement
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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Temple'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​t/temple.html. 1915.
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