Building large buildings, monuments or statues for a higher power has always been a part of human culture. King Solomon’s reign of Israel was celebrated by the construction of a glorious temple in the capital city, Jerusalem. Solomon’s father, David, wanted to construct a temple while he had been in Solomon’s position in order to store the Ark of the Covenant which held the Ten Commandment tablets. But, God forbid him from doing so, as quoted in I Chronicles 28:3 “You will not build a house for My name,” God told David, “for you are a man of battles and have shed blood.”
The existence of Solomon’s Temple and it being historical is currently debated, and the possibility of it being real is up in the air. Some say that it is not real, since no archaeological evidence has been found. Nothing of the building has been found, since performing excavation on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is impossible.
Solomon’s Temple was one of the most famous and great temples of the time. The temple was built in 970-931 B.C. and destroyed in 587 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army. King Solomon was known around the world for overseeing the construction of the Temple. The Temple was constructed with cedar beams, bronze pillars, ivory-paneled doors, golden vessels, and carved stonework.
Cedar wood was purchased from King Hiram of Tyre, and precious blocks of stone. Solomon built up so much debt from building the Temple that he was forced to hand over twenty towns in the Galilee to King Hiram to pay off the debt. The Temple stood at a staggering 20 stories tall, which is about 207 feet. The Temple contained three chambers, like the Canaanite temples. Citizens and people congregated in the outer court, while priests and nobles remained in the inner court. The inner court contained the Altar of burnt offering, The high priest approached the sanctuary, or the holy of holies which is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, annually. The outer court surrounded the entire temple, which was where people gathered to worship.
The Temple was dedicated to Yahweh, until other gods began to be worshipped in the Temple, such as Baal and the goddess Asherah. Next to the Temple was a house for the Temple prostitutes, which were prostitutes that remained at the temple to do sacred prostitution, which they believed was good.
Sacrifices were performed and were called korban. Korban was animal sacrifice that included mainly bull, sheep, goat, or dove that had shechita performed, which is a Jewish ritual animal slaughter. Sometimes, grain, wine, incense, or meal was also sacrificed. These offerings were usually cooked or burned, and usually eaten by the offeror.
Solomon’s Temple was very significant to the Jewish and even non-Jewish of the time. Solomon invited all people to come to the temple and pray. I Kings 8:43 ‘Thus all the peoples of the earth will know Your name and revere You, as does Your people Israel; and they will recognize that Your name is attached to this House that I have built’ It was also important for the Jews because it was a major place for prayer and reconciliation. On the opening day, the dedication of the temple was accompanied by the sacrifice of “twenty two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep.”The Temple has definitely influenced today’s world. Many churches after the time of Solomon’s Temple have taken influence from it’s design. As a part of the religion, to this day, people of the traditional Jewish religion pray three times a day, hoping for the restoration of The Temple.
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