1 Kings 6: The House for the Lord is Finally Built


480 years after the children of Israel leave Egypt (the 4th year of the reign of Solomon), in the month of Zif, which is the 2nd month, work begins on the house of the LORD.  The house is 60 cubits by 20 cubits, with a height of 30 cubits.  It had a porch of 20 by 10 cubits. The house has narrow windows. Against the walls were built round chambers for both the temple and the oracle. The nethermost chamber was 5 cubits broad, the middle was 6 cubits and the 3rd was 7 cubits.  Each of these chambers was 5 cubits high. The house was made of stone that was cut before it was brought there so that no cutting or hammering sounds were made on the building site.  When complete, the house was covered in beams and boards of cedar. The walls were covered in cedar, the floor was made in fir.  Everything was covered in wood carved with knops and open flowers  The temple portion of the house was 40 cubits long. The oracle was 20 x 20 cubits overlaid in pure gold. In fact, everything was covered in gold and there were god covered cherubim 10 cubits high. Even the floor was covered in gold. The temple door posts were made of olive tree.  The doors were of fir, and they folded.  Work started in the 4th year of Solomon’s reign in the 2nd month and it was finished in the 11th year in the 8th month. So, it took a little over 7 years to build.

In other words:

It takes 7 years to build a massive temple, cover it in expensive carved wood and overlay the entire thing, including the floor, in gold.

What it looked like:

Because this book is so specific about the plans for this temple, you can pretty much envision what it looked like. It was a long narrow building and a bit taller than it was wide.   Outside was stone. Inside – gold everywhere over ornately carved wood.  The oracle, where the ark was stored, was basically a massive 20 x 20 cubit room that had 2 cherubim with wings outstretched touching each other wall to wall, covered in gold. The doorway to get in there was ornately carve with cherubim and palm tees and covered in gold. The doors folded open.

Favorite bit:

That this is so precise, you can really imagine what it looked like.

Least favorite bit:

While this was clearly a public works program it is also a stupendous waste of money and resources.  On the other hand, it would have been amazing to see!

Moral lesson learned:

If you are going to build a building, make it look good (1 Kings 6)
Precise plans help everyone get the job done (1 Kings 6)
Details matter (1 Kings 6)