Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
1 Kings 3:16-28
1 Kings 5:1-18
2 Chronicles 2:1-18
2 Chronicles 3:1-14
1 Kings 6:14-38
Questions & Observations
Q. (1 Kings 3:16-28): This well-known story almost seems like a parable.
A. I can see why you would say that, but it does match things that we know about the society at the time: part of what Moses established was a series of rulers/courts for the people to come and see justice as these women are seeking. There may be some “parabolic” elements to it, but the author has something greater in mind that will come into view later. I won’t spoil what yet, but I promise to bring it to your attention when we get there in a few days.
O. (5:13-15): It’s extremely hard to imagine a labor force that large — 153,600 — to build a temple. But how many times have you been on a tour of some historic building and just wondered how many people it took to build it with all of it’s intricate details and many of them have elaborate paintings. And this one is for God. Just for fun, I looked up the top U.S. employers. Check it out at http://www.statisticbrain.com/u-s-largest-employers/ Keep in mind the employees of these large companies are scattered all over. Solomon’s laborers were concentrated in a few spots. My husband retired from the Navy last year. His last tour was on an aircraft carrier, which holds about 5,000 sailors. It’s hard to imagine that many people on one ship. But, Solomon had a crew that would fill about 31 U.S. Navy ships.
Q. (2 Chronicles 2:1-18): The 2 Chronicles account is much more detailed than the 1 Kings account.
A. Yes. Some places Kings give the “fuller” story, and in some places its Chronicles.
Q. (1 Kings 6:2-10): This is a great visual description of the temple plans. Will we learn what activities went on in the temple? Solomon just mentioned to King Hiram that God was too great to have just a temple built for Him. And that it could at least be a place to burn offerings. Was he telling a fact or just being humble?
A. The Temple will be treated as exactly as the Tabernacle was in the wilderness: it will have the same sections and divisions as the Tabernacle: an outer court for sacrifices, an inner court for the priests, and the Holy of Holies, where the Ark will reside. Once that happens, the people will come to the Temple to make their sacrifices and offerings.
Q. (2 Chronicles 3:3-14): I guess Solomon is dictating the size and design of the temple. In the desert, God dictated the design for the Tabernacle. Is this because God was teaching the Israelites what he desired and now that it’s been over 400 years since the Tabernacle was built, the Israelites have learned what God desires for a place of offering?
A. While the instructions were not “dictated” as they were to Moses, there is no reason to assume that God did not give Solomon the vision for the Temple. I don’t know the scale, but the Temple dimensions correspond proportionally to the Tabernacle, so that is part of the plan as well. Basically the Temple is in every way a suitable replacement for the Tabernacle.
Q. (1 Kings 6:28-29): I can’t imagine so much being overlayed with gold! Is there any information about the whereabouts of the Temple now? And speaking of past, sacred worshiping venues, what happened to the Tabernacle and its contents?
A. The Temple has been destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times over the centuries — I won’t say more right now, that’s part of the story. But the area of the Temple mount is surely known to this day: a portion of the western wall — called the Wailing Wall — still stands to this day, and is a sacred place for Jews to visit in Jerusalem. Mount Moriah is also currently the home to the Dome of the Rock erected around 700 AD, one of the sacred sites of Islam, which, as you might imagine, has created some tension over the years. So the sight itself is well known, but as to the temple itself, hang on. Let’s get it built first and dedicated (cool story!) before we start talking about where it is today.