The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 6


1 In the four hundred and eightieth year from the departure of the Israelites from the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, the construction of the temple of the LORD was begun.


The temple which King Solomon built for the LORD was sixty cubits long, twenty wide, and twenty-five high.


The porch in front of the temple was twenty cubits from side to side, along the width of the nave, and ten cubits deep in front of the temple.


Splayed windows with trellises were made for the temple,


and adjoining the wall of the temple, which enclosed the nave and the sanctuary, an annex of several stories was built.


Its lowest story was five cubits wide, the middle one six cubits wide, the third seven cubits wide, because there were offsets along the outside of the temple so that the beams would not be fastened into the walls of the temple.


(The temple was built of stone dressed at the quarry, so that no hammer, axe, or iron tool was to be heard in the temple during its construction.)


The entrance to the lowest floor of the annex was at the right side of the temple, and stairs with intermediate landings led up to the middle story and from the middle story to the third.


When the temple was built to its full height, it was roofed in with rafters and boards of cedar.


The annex, with its lowest story five cubits high, was built all along the outside of the temple, to which it was joined by cedar beams.


2 This word of the LORD came to Solomon:


"As to this temple you are building - if you observe my statutes, carry out my ordinances, keep and obey all my commands, I will fulfill toward you the promise I made to your father David.


I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites and will not forsake my people Israel."


When Solomon finished building the temple,


its walls were lined from floor to ceiling beams with cedar paneling, and its floor was laid with fir planking.


At the rear of the temple a space of twenty cubits was set off by cedar partitions from the floor to the rafters, enclosing the sanctuary, the holy of holies.


The nave, or part of the temple in front of the sanctuary, was forty cubits long.


The cedar in the interior of the temple was carved in the form of gourds and open flowers; all was of cedar, and no stone was to be seen.


3 In the innermost part of the temple was located the sanctuary to house the ark of the LORD'S covenant,


4 twenty cubits long, twenty wide, and twenty high.


Solomon overlaid the interior of the temple with pure gold. He made in front of the sanctuary a cedar altar, overlaid it with gold, and looped it with golden chains.


The entire temple was overlaid with gold so that it was completely covered with it; the whole altar before the sanctuary was also overlaid with gold.


In the sanctuary were two cherubim, each ten cubits high, made of olive wood.


Each wing of a cherub measured five cubits so that the space from wing tip to wing tip of each was ten cubits.


The cherubim were identical in size and shape,


and each was exactly ten cubits high.


The cherubim were placed in the inmost part of the temple, with their wings spread wide, so that one wing of each cherub touched a side wall while the other wing, pointing toward the middle of the room, touched the corresponding wing of the second cherub.


The cherubim, too, were overlaid with gold.


The walls on all sides of both the inner and the outer rooms had carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers.


The floor of both the inner and the outer rooms was overlaid with gold.


At the entrance of the sanctuary, doors of olive wood were made; the doorframes had beveled posts.


The two doors were of olive wood, with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The doors were overlaid with gold, which was also molded to the cherubim and the palm trees.


The same was done at the entrance to the nave, where the doorposts of olive wood were rectangular.


The two doors were of fir wood; each door was banded by a metal strap, front and back,


and had carved cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, over which gold was evenly applied.


The inner court was walled off by means of three courses of hewn stones and one course of cedar beams.


The foundations of the LORD'S temple were laid in the month of Ziv


in the fourth year, and it was completed in all particulars, exactly according to plan, in the month of Bul, the eighth month, in the eleventh year. Thus it took Solomon seven years to build it.



1 [1] Construction of the temple of the LORD is here paralleled in importance with the founding of the nation after the departure from Egypt. In both, God is the central figure who chose Israel as his people, and now chooses the place where his temple should be built ( Deut 12:4-18, 26). The year is given in a round number, 480, which corresponds to twelve generations. The fourth year of Solomon's reign: c. 968 B.C.

2 [11-13] The word of the LORD . . . my people Israel: the oracle, which came as a climax at the completion of the work, was an expression of God's acceptance and approval. Nevertheless the fulfillment of God's promises to David and his royal descendants will depend on their observance of his ordinances and commands.

3 [19] The innermost part of the temple: the sanctuary or holy of holies reserved exclusively for the Lord. Here through his presence he dwelt as on a throne between the cherubim above the ark of the covenant ( 1 Kings 6:23-28; 2 Chron 3:10-13). See note on Exodus 25:18-20.

4 [20] Twenty (cubits) high: it is usually supposed that the holy of holies was of this height because it had a raised floor, five cubits above the floor level of the nave, rather than a dropped ceiling. The building was twenty-five cubits high ( 1 Kings 6:2) according to the reading here followed.

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