THE HOUSE OF GOD ON MOUNT MORIAH
I Kings v: 1, to ix: 9; II Chronicles iii: 1, to vii: 22.
HE great work of Solomon's reign was the building of the
house of God, which was called "The Temple." This stood
on Mount Moriah, on the east of Mount Zion, and it
covered the whole mountain. King David had prepared for
it by gathering great stores of gold, and silver, and
stone, and cedar-wood. The walls were made of stone,
and the roof of cedar.
SOLOMON BUILDS THE TEMPLE
For the building the cedar was brought from Mount
Lebanon, where there were many large cedar-trees. The
trees were cut down
and carried to Tyre on the seacoast. There they were
made into rafts in the Great Sea, and were floated down
to Joppa. At Joppa they were taken ashore and were
carried up to Jerusalem. All this work was done by the
men of Tyre, at the command of their king, Hiram, who
was a friend of Solomon, as he had been a friend of
All the stones for the building of the Temple were hewn
into shape and fitted together before they were brought
to Mount Moriah. And all the beams for the roof and the
pillars of cedar were carved and made to join each
other; so that as the walls arose no sound of hammer or
chisel was heard; the great building rose up quietly.
You remember the form of the Tabernacle which was built
before Mount Sinai, in the wilderness, with its court,
its Holy Place, and its Holy of Holies. (See Story 27.)
The Temple was copied after
the Tabernacle, except that it was much larger, and was
a house of stone and cedar, instead of a tent.
The Tabernacle had one court around it, where the
priests only could enter; but the Temple had two
courts, both open to the sky, with walls of stone
around them, and on the walls double rows of cedar
pillars, and a roof above the pillars, so that people
could walk around the court upon the walls protected
from the sun. The court in front was for the people,
for all the men of Israel could enter it, but no people
of foreign race. This was called "the Fore-court."
Beyond the Fore-court was the Court of the Priests,
where only the priests were allowed to walk. At the
east gate of this court stood the great altar of
burnt-offerings, built of rough, unhewn stones, for no
cut stones could be used in the altar. This altar stood
on the rock which had been the threshing-floor of
Araunah, where David saw the angel of the Lord
standing. (See Story 69.)
Near the altar, in the Court of the Priests, stood a
great tank for water, so large that it was called "a
sea." It was made of brass, and stood on the backs of
twelve oxen, also made of brass. From this the water
was taken for washing the offerings.
Within the Court of the Priests stood the Holy House,
or the Temple building, made of marble and of cedar.
Its front was a high tower, called the Porch. In this
were rooms for the high-priest and his sons.
Back of the Porch was the Holy Place. This was a long
room in which stood the table for the twelve loaves of
the bread, and
golden altar of incense. In the Holy Place of the
Tabernacle stood the golden lampstand. We are not sure
whether it was in the Temple; for either in place of
the lampstand, or perhaps in addition to it, Solomon
placed ten lamps of gold in the Holy Place.
Between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was a
great vail, as in the Tabernacle. And in the Holy of
Holies the priests placed the Ark of the Covenant.
This, you remember, was a box or chest of gold, in
which were kept the two stone tablets of the Ten
Commandments. This ark of the covenant was all that
stood in the Holy of Holies; and into this room only
the high-priest came, and he only on one day in the
year, the great Day of Atonement, when the scapegoat
was sent away. (See Story 30.)
Outside of the Temple building were rooms for the
priests. They were built on the outer wall of the
house, on the rear and the two sides, but not in front,
three stories high; and were entered from the outside
only. In these rooms the priests lived while they were
staying at the Temple to lead in the worship.
Seven years were spent in building the Temple, but at
last it was finished; and a great service was held when
the house was set apart to the worship of the Lord.
Many offerings were burned upon the great altar, the
ark was brought from Mount Zion and placed in the Holy
of Holies, and King Solomon knelt upon a platform in
front of the altar and offered a prayer to the Lord
before all the people, who filled the courts of the
One night, after the Temple was finished, the Lord
appeared to Solomon in a dream for the second time. And
the Lord said to Solomon, "I have heard the prayer
which you have offered to me, and I have made this
house holy. It shall be my house, and I will dwell
there. And if you will walk before me as David, your
father, walked, doing my will, then your throne shall
stand forever. But if you turn aside from following the
Lord, then I will leave this house, and will turn from
it, and will let the enemies of Israel come and destroy
this house that was built for me."