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caused the rose on her cheeks to fade, her flesh to consume away, and her skin to become dry and withered, and have covered her face with the wrinkles of age; but who still retains some general features, by which we recognise her as the person who used to be the delight of the circle in which she moved. Such is the present appearance of this Holy City, which was once the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth."
THE FIRST TEMPLE.
THE idea of building a Temple for the Lord was first excited in the mind of David. God would not allow him however, to execute the design, because he had been a man of war and had shed blood. It was declared to him, nevertheless, that his son who should succeed him on the throne, would be permitted to erect the sacred building. (1 Chron. xvii. 1-15.)
Still, the good king was not forbidden to bear his part in the great work, as far as he could help forward its future accomplishment by making preparation for it beforehand. His piety, accordingly, displayed itself in this way in a very interesting manner. All his life, it appears, he had been in the habit of consecrating a very large portion of his worldly property to the Lord, to be employed in his service. (2 Sam. viii. 11.) But in his latter days his zeal and activity for God grew still more conspicuous. The temple, though he was never to see it with his own eyes, became the object of his unceasing and most lively interest. No care or expense which might contribute to its perfection, seemed to him too great to be incurred. Great, therefore, exceedingly, was the preparation which he caused to be made for this end. In his trouble he prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight, by reason of abundance; timber also and stone, hewed for use, in great quantity; and
all manner of precious stones besides. And over and above all this preparation, because he had set his affection on the house of his God, he left, of his own proper wealth, three thousand talents of gold of Ophir, and seven thousand of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the sacred edifice withal. In addition to the whole, the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, stirred to pious liberality by the generosity of their king, offered willingly a large sum for the same good design. Altogether, therefore, the value of the materials collected for the temple, before David's death, was such as mocks calculation. (1 Chron. xxviii. 2—5, 14– 16. xxix. 1-9.)
Not only did the aged monarch make such a vast preparation for the work, for the assistance of his son, but he gave him also the exact plan according to which the whole was to be made. In all this, he was himself instructed by the same God that revealed to Moses the pattern of the tabernacle on mount Sinai. The sacred House, as well as the sacred Tent, in which the Most High humbled himself to dwell, was not left to be contrived in any sort by human wisdom. The Lord pointed out the hill on which it should be erected, and the very spot upon that hill where the great altar of burnt-offering, that was to be in front of the sanctuary, should stand. (1 Chron. xxi. 18, 26, 28. xxii. 1.) Afterwards, he caused his servant, whose heart was so much set upon the work, to understand clearly the manner after which its several parts were to be constructed. (1 Chron. xxviii. 11-19.) David carefully delivered the entire plan to Solomon, committed the collected materials to his direction, solemnly charged him to be faithful in his great and honourable trust, exhorted the princes of Israel to help him with all their might, and then departed, full of days and honour, to a better world.
Provided with such an amount of materials, Solomon undertook to execute the important work. He added yet more to the preparations of his father, made arrangements with Hiram king of Tyre for aid, set many thousand labourers to work, and in the commencement of the fourth year of his reign began to build. On mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Ornan the
"The house when
Jebusite, the temple silently ascended. it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building." At the end of seven years, it stood complete in all its splendour-the glory of Jerusalem-the most magnificent edifice in the world.-(1 Kings iv. 1-18. vi. 7, 27, 38.)
As has been already intimated, the top of Moriah was enlarged by art, to make room enough for the courts of the sacred house. Solomon caused a strong wall of square stones to be raised from the bottom of it, and then filled up the space between the wall and the side of the hill with earth. Thus the summit was sufficiently extended.
The temple stood like the tabernacle, with its front toward the east. It consisted of the Sanctuary, or sacred house itself, and a most splendid Porch rising before it. The Sanctuary was sixty cubits long, twenty broad, and thirty high, and was divided into two apartments-the Holy, and the Most Holy, Place. It was built of square stones; but they were not to be seen in any part; for over them, within and without, was a covering of cedar boards overspread with pure gold. The Porch, extending along the whole front of the house from north to south, and reaching forward towards the east ten cubits, ascended far above the rest of the building to no less a height than one hundred and twenty cubits. By the entrance of it, were set up two great pillars of brass, one on the right hand and the other on the left, distinguished by the names of Jachin and Boaz. The passage into this Porch, as it seems, was not closed by any door, but was left continually open.
Passing across the porch, the priest entered, through beautiful folding doors of fir, ornamented with carved figures and covered with gold, into the first apartment of the Sanctuary, the Holy Place. It was a stately room, taking in the whole breadth and height of the house, and extended forty cubits backward in length, floored, and ceiled, and walled around with fir and cedar, all overlaid with shining gold. Carved figures of various sorts adorned the sides and ceiling, and for beauty they were garnished besides with all manner of rare and precious stones. The
apartment was not without windows, though we are not informed of their number, or manner. Its furniture was an altar of incense, overlaid with gold, standing before the Most Holy Place, as in the tabernacle,-ten tables overlaid with gold, and ten golden candlesticks. The tables and candlesticks were ranged on the two sides, five of each on the north, and five on the south. All the instruments and vessels connected with them, which were many in number, were made of pure gold. One of the tables, we may sup pose, was particularly designed for receiving the shew-bread. Through another door, that closed with folds of olivewood, covered with gold, and ornamented as those of the front one were, the High-priest, once in the year, entered into the awful Holy of holies. It was twenty cubits in length, in breadth, and in height, having the same measure every way, and all overlaid with fine gold. There, as in the tabernacle, the sacred ark that was made in the wilderness, had its secluded place, holding within it the two tables of the law, and overshadowed above by its golden cherubim. At each end of it, between it and the side wall, Solomon caused another cherub to stand, much larger than those on the mercy-seat. These two cherubim were each ten cubits high, made of olive-wood, and covered with gold. The wings of each were stretched out on either side; reaching on one side to the wall, and on the other extending over the ark, so as to meet in the middle clear above the other cherubim. Over the door and the whole partition wall before this Oracle, or most holy place where God was consulted, there was hung a great veil, like that costly one that was made for the tabernacle.
As the whole house was thirty cubits high, and the Holy of holies was only twenty, it is plain there was considerable room above it-no less than twenty cubits of length and breadth, and ten of height. How this was occupied, or whether occupied at all, we are not told. It has been conjectured, that the materials of the tabernacle, and its sacred vessels and utensils that were not used in the temple, were laid up there to be carefully preserved.
Close against the wall of the house, in the north and south sides and at the west end round about, there was erected an additional structure. It consisted of three sto
ries, each five cubits high, which seem to have been occupied with chambers, having a walk or gallery running round before them, into which they opened. On the south side, there were winding stairs to go up from the first story to the second, and from that to go up to the third. This structure was close up against the walls of the sanctuary, but its beams were not allowed to be fastened into them in any way. From the bottom of the house, along the side of these walls, was started an additional wall, three cubits broad. After this rose up as high as five cubits, one third of it stopped, and became a resting place round about for the ends of the beams that supported the floor of the second story of chambers. The remainder of the wall, two cubits in breadth, went up five cubits more, and then there was another cubit left, like the first, for a resting place, on which the ends of the beams of the next floor might be placed. From there, the wall, with only the breadth of one cubit, was carried up yet five cubits more, and then stopped altogether, furnishing a third resting place, on which were supported the ends of the beams of the roof of the whole structure. Thus, while the lower story of chambers was only five cubits broad across the floor, the second was six, and the third, seven.
The first temple was surrounded with two courts or enclosures, a smaller one, called the Inner Court, or the Court of the Priests, and a larger one round this embracing all the rest of the ground that there was to be used, which was styled the Outer Court, and also the Great Court. There were several gates by which the outer Court was entered, one on the east side, one on the north side, one on the south side, and four, it seems, on the west side. The most important of these last, was the one to which the causeway from the royal palace led. There were several gates, also, between the outer and inner courts, to pass through from one to another. Around the courts, there were various buildings, for the use of the sanctuary: some of them furnished places of lodging for those who were employed in the sacred duties of the place, and others were used as depositories for different sorts of vessels and implements, and for various articles, such as flour, salt, wine, and oil, that were needed for the temple service.