1Kings 6


וַיְהִי בִשְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה לְצֵאת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ־מִצְרַיִם בַּשָּׁנָה הָרְבִיעִית בְּחֹדֶשׁ   6:1

  זִו הוּא הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי לִמְלֹךְ שְׁלֹמֹה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּבֶן הַבַּיִת לַיהוָה׃

1Kin. 6:1   And it was four hundred years and eighty years after the children of Israel coming out from the land of Egypt, in the fourth year in the month of Ziv (it is the second month) of king Solomon being over Israel that he began to build the house for the Lord.

From this verse we learn that Solomon became king 476 years and one month after the Exodus.  Solomon began building the Temple 480 years and one month after the Exodus.

וְהַבַּיִת אֲשֶׁר בָּנָה הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה לַיהוָה שִׁשִּׁים־אַמָּה אָרְכּוֹ וְעֶשְׂרִים רָחְבּוֹ וּשְׁלֹשִׁים אַמָּה קוֹמָתוֹ׃   6:2

1Kin. 6:2   And the house that king Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits its length and twenty its breadth and thirty cubits its height.

The length and width of the Temple were approximately 90 feet and 30 feet, and its height, 45 feet.

                                                                                               [Return to 1Kin. 7:2]               [Return to 2Chr. 3:3]

וְהָאוּלָם עַל־פְּנֵי הֵיכַל הַבַּיִת עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה אָרְכּוֹ עַל־פְּנֵי רֹחַב הַבָּיִת עֶשֶׂר בָּאַמָּה רָחְבּוֹ עַל־פְּנֵי   6:3 הַבָּיִת׃

1Kin. 6:3   And the porch of the house on the front of the Temple was twenty cubits its length according to the breadth of the house; ten in cubits was its breadth on the face of the house.

The porch was the same width as the front of the Temple and 15 feet in breadth (extending in front of the Temple wall).  We don’t learn how high it was until 2Chronicles Chapter 3, but I presume its base was the same height as the foundation, so it met the floor of the Temple entrance.

וַיַּעַשׂ לַבָּיִת חַלּוֹנֵי שְׁקֻפִים אֲטֻמִים׃   6:4

1Kin. 6:4   And he made windows for the house of narrow framework.

וַיִּבֶן עַל־קִיר הַבַּיִת ַיָּצוֹעַ סָבִיב אֶת־קִירוֹת הַבַּיִת סָבִיב לַהֵיכָל וְלַדְּבִיר וַיַּעַשׂ צְלָעוֹת סָבִיב׃   6:5

1Kin. 6:5   And he built a balcony against the wall of the house surrounding the walls of the house all around for the Temple and for the sanctuary, and he made side chambers all around.

I am guessing that the Hebrew here refers to an outside wall surrounding the inner walls, and that the structure of the chambers extended along the two sides and the rear of the Temple.

יָּצוֹעַ הַתַּחְתֹּנָה חָמֵשׁ בָּאַמָּה רָחְבָּהּ וְהַתִּיכֹנָה שֵׁשׁ בָּאַמָּה רָחְבָּהּ וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁית שֶׁבַע בָּאַמָּה רָחְבָּהּ כִּי   6:6 מִגְרָעוֹת נָתַן לַבַּיִת סָבִיב חוּצָה לְבִלְתִּי אֲחֹז בְּקִירוֹת־הַבָּיִת׃

1Kin. 6:6   Of the balcony the lowest was five in cubits broad, and the middle was six in cubits broad, and the third was seven in cubits broad, for ledges he set to the house all around the outside so it was not attached onto the walls of the house.

I am also guessing here that the structure had three levels, and the lowest level was seven and a half feet wide, the middle level was nine feet wide, and the uppermost level was ten and a half feet wide.  If my imagination is working right, I’m further guessing that the highest level was leaning against the outer wall, the middle level had a corridor one and a half feet wide between the wall and the structure, and the lowest level had a space three feet wide.

וְהַבַּיִת בְּהִבָּנֹתוֹ אֶבֶן־שְׁלֵמָה מַסָּע נִבְנָה וּמַקָּבוֹת וְהַגַּרְזֶן כָּל־כְּלִי בַרְזֶל לֹא־נִשְׁמַע בַּבַּיִת בְּהִבָּנֹתוֹ׃   6:7

1Kin. 6:7   And the house, during its building, it was built of stone made ready at the quarry, so hammers and ax, any tool of iron, was not heard in the house during its building.

If the altar was to be made of stone, its stones could not be hewn.  But outer walls of the Temple itself could be built of stone.  I presume the Temple stone was hewn at the quarry away from the Temple out of reverence for the Lord and for the Temple itself, perhaps even for its ground.

פֶּתַח הַצֵּלָע הַתִּיכֹנָה אֶל־כֶּתֶף הַבַּיִת הַיְמָנִית וּבְלוּלִּים יַעֲלוּ עַל־הַתִּיכֹנָה וּמִן־הַתִּיכֹנָה אֶל־הַשְּׁלִשִׁים׃   6:8

1Kin. 6:8   The door of the middle chamber was on the right side of the house and on winding stairs they would go up onto the middle and from the middle to the third.

At this point my imagination fails me.  I can’t figure out how a spiral staircase could fit in the picture I imagined above.

וַיִּבֶן אֶת־הַבַּיִת וַיְכַלֵּהוּ וַיִּסְפֹּן אֶת־הַבַּיִת גֵּבִים וּשְׂדֵרֹת בָּאֲרָזִים׃   6:9

1Kin. 6:9   And he built the house and he finished it.  Then he covered the house beams and stories with cedar planks.

וַיִּבֶן אֶת־הַיָּצוֹעַ עַל־כָּל־הַבַּיִת חָמֵשׁ אַמּוֹת קוֹמָתוֹ וַיֶּאֱחֹז אֶת־הַבַּיִת בַּעֲצֵי אֲרָזִים׃   6:10

1Kin. 6:10   And he built the balcony against the entire house five cubits in its height and attached to the house with timbers of cedar.

I presume the balcony was about seven and a half feet high.

וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־שְׁלֹמֹה לֵאמֹר׃   6:11

1Kin. 6:11   And the word of the Lord occurred to Solomon saying,

הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה בֹנֶה אִם־תֵּלֵךְ בְּחֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת־מִשְׁפָּטַי תַּעֲשֶׂה וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺתַי לָלֶכֶת   6:12 בָּהֶם וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־דְּבָרִי אִתָּךְ אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתִּי אֶל־דָּוִד אָבִיךָ׃

1Kin. 6:12   “This house that you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, and you execute My judgments, and you keep all My commandments, walking in them, then I will establish My word with you that I spoke to David your father,

וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא אֶעֱזֹב אֶת־עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   6:13

1Kin. 6:13   and I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel, and I will not forsake My people Israel.”

וַיִּבֶן שְׁלֹמֹה אֶת־הַבַּיִת וַיְכַלֵּהוּ׃   6:14

1Kin. 6:14   And Solomon built the house and he finished it.

This verse is a good example of a summary and anticipatory statement that effectively introduces much of the remainder of this chapter.

וַיִּבֶן אֶת־קִירוֹת הַבַּיִת מִבַּיְתָה בְּצַלְעוֹת אֲרָזִים מִקַּרְקַע הַבַּיִת עַד־קִירוֹת הַסִּפֻּן צִפָּה עֵץ מִבָּיִת וַיְצַף   6:15 אֶת־קַרְקַע הַבַּיִת בְּצַלְעוֹת בְּרוֹשִׁים׃

1Kin. 6:15   And he built the walls of the house in the house with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house up to the walls of the ceiling, he overlay wood inside.  Then he covered the floor of the house with boards of cypress.

וַיִּבֶן אֶת־עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה (מִיַּרְכּוֹתֵי) [מִיַּרְכְּתֵי] הַבַּיִת בְּצַלְעוֹת אֲרָזִים מִן־הַקַּרְקַע עַד־הַקִּירוֹת וַיִּבֶן לוֹ   6:16 מִבַּיִת לִדְבִיר לְקֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים׃

1Kin. 6:16   And he built twenty cubits from the sides of the house with boards of cedar from the floor up to the walls.  Then he built for himself inside for the Sanctuary, for the Holiest of Holy Places.

I believe this verse means that the walls of the Sanctuary was thirty feet high, leaving a space above them of fifteen feet.

There’s an apparent error in the word in parentheses.  However, the correction shown in the brackets is -- in my very humble opinion (!) -- incorrect.  I believe the correction should be made by removing the final yad.  The word is feminine plural and therefore should not have a yad at the end.  How presumptuous of me!

וְאַרְבָּעִים בָּאַמָּה הָיָה הַבָּיִת הוּא הַהֵיכָל לִפְנָי׃   6:17

1Kin. 6:17   And the house was forty in cubits; it was before the Temple.

The Hebrew of this verse is obscure.  First of all, what was the meaning of the dimension?  Was the house sixty feet square, or sixty feet tall?  Wasn’t this the same house being referred to up to this point?  It’s not clear.

Then the wording and grammar of the final phrase, it was before the Temple, is very unusual.  Almost never is the word for before (the last Hebrew word) placed after the noun it refers to, the Temple.  I’m not sure there is any example in the bible of its being anywhere but before its noun or verb.  One might guess that the correct translation might be it was for a face of the Temple or it was the Temple before.  Other translations add words to make the verse have some meaning, but they leave questions unanswered:  What house is forty cubits? And is the forty cubits a length, a width, or a height?  If I may be so bold, I might imagine that the house really referred to the space between the Sanctuary and the front and back walls of the Temple.  I say this because the Temple was sixty cubits long and the Sanctuary was twenty cubits long, leaving a space of forty cubits.

וְאֶרֶז אֶל־הַבַּיִת פְּנִימָה מִקְלַעַת פְּקָעִים וּפְטוּרֵי צִצִּים הַכֹּל אֶרֶז אֵין אֶבֶן נִרְאָה׃   6:18

1Kin. 6:18   And the cedar in the house within was of carving of knops and buds of flowers.  The whole was cedar; there was no stone seen.

וּדְבִיר בְּתוֹךְ־הַבַּיִת מִפְּנִימָה הֵכִין לְתִתֵּן שָׁם אֶת־אֲרוֹן בְּרִית יְהוָה׃   6:19

1Kin. 6:19   And he prepared the sanctuary in the midst of the house toward the inside to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

וְלִפְנֵי הַדְּבִיר עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה אֹרֶךְ וְעֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה רֹחַב וְעֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה קוֹמָתוֹ וַיְצַפֵּהוּ זָהָב סָגוּר וַיְצַף   6:20 מִזְבֵּחַ אָרֶז׃

1Kin. 6:20   And before the sanctuary of twenty cubits length and twenty cubits width and twenty cubits its height and he laid pure gold over it and he overlaid an altar of cedar.

This verse appears to have a word missing or added.  I think the Hebrew would be better without the word for And before.  Then the verse could be translated as “The sanctuary was twenty cubits length and twenty cubits width and twenty cubits its height, and he laid pure gold over it and he overlaid an altar of cedar.”  Other translations either ignore the word for And before or translate it liberally (too liberally for me) as And within.

וַיְצַף שְׁלֹמֹה אֶת־הַבַּיִת מִפְּנִימָה זָהָב סָגוּר וַיְעַבֵּר (בְּרַתִּיקוֹת) [בְּרַתּוּקוֹת] זָהָב לִפְנֵי הַדְּבִיר   6:21  וַיְצַפֵּה וּזָהָב׃

1Kin. 6:21   And Solomon laid pure gold over the house from within, and he overran with chains of gold before the sanctuary and he laid gold over it.

The word for with chains in parentheses is misspelled, containing a yad where there should be a vav.  The correction is in the brackets.

וְאֶת־כָּל־הַבַּיִת צִפָּה זָהָב עַד־תֹּם כָּל־הַבָּיִת וְכָל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר־לַדְּבִיר צִפָּה זָהָב׃   6:22

1Kin. 6:22   And he laid gold over the whole house until the whole house was completed.  And the entire altar that was for the sanctuary he overlaid with gold.

וַיַּעַשׂ בַּדְּבִיר שְׁנֵי כְרוּבִים עֲצֵי־שָׁמֶן עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת קוֹמָתוֹ׃   6:23

1Kin. 6:23   And he made on the sanctuary two cherubim of olive wood each ten cubits in its height.

If the cherubim were on top of the sanctuary, they apparently extended to the ceiling of the Temple.

וְחָמֵשׁ אַמּוֹת כְּנַף הַכְּרוּב הָאֶחָת וְחָמֵשׁ אַמּוֹת כְּנַף הַכְּרוּב הַשֵּׁנִית עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת מִקְצוֹת כְּנָפָיו   6:24 וְעַד־קְצוֹת כְּנָפָיו׃

1Kin. 6:24   And five cubits was one wing of the cherub and five cubits was the other wing of the cherub, ten cubits from an end of its wing and out to the other end of its wing.

Actually, I don’t think anyone knows what the cherubim really looked like.  Paintings and sculptures typically depict childlike beings with broad wings like those of a bird.  I might guess that the wings met on the upper back of each cherub.  As each of the wings was seven and a half feet long, we might also assume that the being’s body was about eight feet tall and the wings extended over it at an angle sufficient to have it reach just to the ceiling.  However, we may surmise from the further description below (v. 6:27) that the cherubim’s bodies were fifteen feet tall, so their heads were to the ceiling and their wings were stretched horizontally.

וְעֶשֶׂר בָּאַמָּה הַכְּרוּב הַשֵּׁנִי מִדָּה אַחַת וְקֶצֶב אֶחָד לִשְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים׃   6:25

1Kin. 6:25   And ten in cubits was the other cherub; one size and one shape were for the two cherubim.

קוֹמַת הַכְּרוּב הָאֶחָד עֶשֶׂר בָּאַמָּה וְכֵן הַכְּרוּב הַשֵּׁנִי׃   6:26

1Kin. 6:26   The height of one cherub was ten in cubits and so was the other cherub.

וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־הַכְּרוּבִים בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת הַפְּנִימִי וַיִּפְרְשׂוּ אֶת־כַּנְפֵי הַכְּרֻבִים וַתִּגַּע כְּנַף־הָאֶחָד בַּקִּיר וּכְנַף   6:27 הַכְּרוּב הַשֵּׁנִי נֹגַעַת בַּקִּיר הַשֵּׁנִי וְכַנְפֵיהֶם אֶל־תּוֹךְ הַבַּיִת נֹגְעֹת כָּנָף אֶל־כָּנָף׃

1Kin. 6:27   And he set the cherubim on the middle of the interior house, and they stretched the wings of the cherubim so a wing of one touched on a wall and a wing of the other cherub was touching on the other wall, and their wings at the middle of the house were touching wing to wing.

As I see it at this point, the cherubim were placed side by side with a wing of one touching the opposite wing of the other.  They were placed side by side across the width of the sanctuary, their wings stretching from one wall of the Temple to the opposite wall.

וַיְצַף אֶת־הַכְּרוּבִים זָהָב׃   6:28

1Kin. 6:28   And he laid gold over the cherubim.

וְאֵת כָּל־קִירוֹת הַבַּיִת מֵסַב קָלַע פִּתּוּחֵי מִקְלְעוֹת כְּרוּבִים וְתִמֹרֹת וּפְטוּרֵי צִצִּים מִלִּפְנִים וְלַחִיצוֹן׃   6:29

1Kin. 6:29   And all the walls of the house all around he carved carvings of carved cherubim and palm trees and buds of flowers inside and outside.

וְאֶת־קַרְקַע הַבַּיִת צִפָּה זָהָב לִפְנִימָה וְלַחִיצוֹן׃   6:30

1Kin. 6:30   And he laid gold over the floor of the house on the inside and on the outside.

וְאֵת פֶּתַח הַדְּבִיר עָשָׂה דַּלְתוֹת עֲצֵי־שָׁמֶן הָאַיִל מְזוּזוֹת חֲמִשִׁית׃   6:31

1Kin. 6:31   And he fashioned the entryway of the sanctuary, doors of strong olive wood, five door posts.

Why five door posts?  From v. 6:34 below, we may assume that the two folding doors required them.  I can envision two posts to hold the outside hinges of the doors, two posts against which the joints of the folds rested, and the fifth in the center on which the doors would close.

וּשְׁתֵּי דַּלְתוֹת עֲצֵי־שֶׁמֶן וְקָלַע עֲלֵיהֶם מִקְלְעוֹת כְּרוּבִים וְתִמֹרוֹת וּפְטוּרֵי צִצִּים וְצִפָּה זָהָב וַיָּרֶד   6:32 עַל־הַכְּרוּבִים וְעַל־הַתִּמֹרוֹת אֶת־הַזָּהָב׃

1Kin. 6:32   And the two doors of olive wood that he carved, on them were carvings of cherubim and palm trees and buds of flowers, over which he laid gold, and he spread the gold over the cherubim and over the palm trees.

וְכֵן עָשָׂה לְפֶתַח הַהֵיכָל מְזוּזוֹת עֲצֵי־שָׁמֶן מֵאֵת רְבִעִית׃   6:33

1Kin. 6:33   And so he did for the entrance of the Temple, door posts of olive wood from four sides,

וּשְׁתֵּי דַלְתוֹת עֲצֵי בְרוֹשִׁים שְׁנֵי צְלָעִים הַדֶּלֶת הָאַחַת גְּלִילִים וּשְׁנֵי קְלָעִים הַדֶּלֶת הַשֵּׁנִית גְּלִילִים׃   6:34

1Kin. 6:34   and two doors of cypress wood.  Two leaves of one door were folding and two leaves of the other door were folding.

The larger doors of the Temple required only four posts apparently.  We might assume here that the two doors were separated, each between two of the posts.

וְקָלַע כְּרוּבִים וְתִמֹרוֹת וּפְטֻרֵי צִצִּים וְצִפָּה זָהָב מְיֻשָּׁר עַל־הַמְּחֻקֶּה׃   6:35

1Kin. 6:35   And he carved cherubim and palm trees and buds of flowers, and smoothed overlaid gold over the carvings.

וַיִּבֶן אֶת־הֶחָצֵר הַפְּנִימִית שְׁלֹשָׁה טוּרֵי גָזִית וְטוּר כְּרֻתֹת אֲרָזִים׃   6:36

1Kin. 6:36   And he built the inner court of three rows of hewn stone and a row of cedar beams.

בַּשָּׁנָה הָרְבִיעִית יֻסַּד בֵּית יְהוָה בְּיֶרַח זִו׃   6:37

1Kin. 6:37   In the fourth year he laid the foundation of the house of the Lord, in the month of Ziv,

וּבַשָּׁנָה הָאַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה בְּיֶרַח בּוּל הוּא הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁמִינִי כָּלָה הַבַּיִת לְכָל־דְּבָרָיו וּלְכָל־ (מִשְׁפָּטוֹ)   6:38 [מִשְׁפָּטָיו] וַיִּבְנֵהוּ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים׃

1Kin. 6:38   and in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul -- it is the eighth month -- he finished the house according to all his words and according to his every judgment.  So he built it seven years.

The last word in the top line is said to be missing a yad because it should be plural, not singular.  The alleged correction is in the brackets.  I’m not sure about this so-called error.  As I translate the words (and his every judgment), there is no error.  I believe the sages translated the last two words in the top line as and all its parts.  Other translators also conceded the error, but translated the last word as its plans or its specifications.

Because there is no et before the word for the house (fifth from last in the top line), translators have made the verb for finished passive, translating the middle of the verse as something similar to “the house was finished according to all its plans and according to all its specifications.”  This is not too unreasonable, and would make the error an actual one.  However, I have a problem with this translation.  It raises a question about the last part of the verse:  Who is the “he” who built it seven years?  Solomon, of course, but looking at the verses before this one, Solomon is the active doer throughout.  So why not interpret this verse as continuing his active participation as I have?


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