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Building Solomon's Temple

Building Solomon's Temple

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Published by glennpease
Commentary on I Kings 6: 7. The temple was built without any hammer or ax, or any tool of iron.
Commentary on I Kings 6: 7. The temple was built without any hammer or ax, or any tool of iron.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 03, 2011
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Original title was HEWIG AD BUILDIG.From Great Texts of the BibleEdited by Glenn PeaseAnd the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready atthe quarry : and there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of ironheard in the house, while it was in building. i Kings vi. 7.1. THE erection of the Temple was, it is felt instinctively, thegreat event of Solomon s reign. ot that midnight cry forwisdom ; not the marvelous insight which, as the reward of thatpetition, God gave him into the secrets of the universe ; not thewealth and honor in which, by an unasked blessing, he excelledall his contemporaries ; none of these has made him so essentiala part of the world s history as the fact that he was the man whoraised up the first sanctuary for the worship of the true God.2. As the House of God, the Temple was the chief joy of Israel and the glory of the Jewish Economy. St. Paul, in hisEpistles, frequently alludes to that Temple, and employs it as afigure or type or symbol to set forth some great Christian truth.Sometimes he speaks of the individual Christian being the templeof God. He admonishes the Corinthians not to degrade or pollutethe body, for the reason that " the body is the Lord s." " Knowye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which isin you ? " (1 Cor. vi. 19). Sometimes he speaks of the Church collectively as the temple of God. " Ye are the temple of the livingGod ; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them "(2 Cor. vi 16 ; 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17).3. In the heart of the chronicle, in the midst of architecturaldetails, which we pass with little interest, is this verse whichcaptures the imagination and shapes before the mind the pictureof a temple growing silently into shape and beauty, with nosound of hammer or ax or any tool of iron heard while it isbuilding. It is a verse which suddenly frees the fancy in themidst of the completely prosaic. It reads like an interruption inthe narrative, and the Biblical critic tells us that it has eitherbecome misplaced or is an addition by a later hand. It matterslittle whether the hand that wrote it was the earliest chronicleror a later commentator. It was the hand of a genius. It addeda touch which turns a builder s table of specifications into a poemand a parable. " The house was threescore cubits long and twentycubits broad and thirty cubits high. The porch was twenty cubitslong and ten cubits broad. The inner chamber was five cubitsbroad and the middle was six cubits," and so on ; and the onlyperson interested is the architect, who has the plans of a far finer
building pigeon-holed at home. The rest of us are not wildlyexcited by cubic measures. This is the prose of the buildingtrade. But here is poetry and mystery : " The house when it wasin building," etc. This verse comes like a touch of magic, andyou feel the silence and the mystery as of the city which theApostle saw coming down from God out of heaven.ow in the text two facts are mentioned about the buildingof the Temple : the stones were prepared beforehand in the quarry,and so the actual building was accomplished with no noise. Thuswe haveI. The House of God is Built of Prepared Stones.II. The House of God is Built Silently.THE HOUSE OF GOD is BUILT OF PREPARED STOES.1. There is one "sight" in Jerusalem, often left unvisited bythose who go to the Holy City. This is the great cavern undera portion of the city, known locally as Solomon s quarries. Theentrance to this cavern is found just outside the Damascus Gate,on the north side of the city, and opposite Jeremiah s Grotto.The entrance is very small and obscurely located. For somereason, the place is little thought of by the local guides ; but itis certainly well worth a visit. The " quarries " are not a naturalcavern, but a cavern made by the taking out of immense quantitiesof rock. The cavern extends for a long distance under the city,gradually sloping towards the south. It is 700 feet to its innerend ; it varies from 60 to 300 feet in width, and averages 30 feetin height, the roof being supported by large pillars of the nativerock. In the walls and overhead the traces of chisels are everywhere to be seen, and the chips from the hewn rock lie thick underfoot. In many places the stones have been left half cut out, andthe marks of the chisel and pick are as fresh as if the quarrymenhad only just left their work ; even the black patches made bythe smoke of their lamps are still visible. The best archaeologistsagree that there is no improbability in the supposition that thegreat stones used in the substructure of the Temple of Solomonand in its surrounding walls were obtained from this quarry andfitted for their places in this underground workshop. The stoneswere prepared in this quarry and in others, were made to theright shape and size, and were then taken to the Temple site;and the building went up from prepared material, without thesound of hammer or ax or any tool of iron while it was inbuilding.As I wandered round the walls of Jerusalem with one who
knew intimately all that is at present known of its antiquities,how well I remember the sudden surprise that came upon mewhen he said : " There you see those blocks, with huge chamberededges, and rough middle dressings. They are by their toolededges and the masons marks, of which some have been discovered,probably, almost certainly, the work of Solomon s builders."There, now level with the ground, as Christ said they should oneday be, and extending from forty to eighty feet below it, accordingto the disposition of the native rock underneath, was in very deedstone lying close to stone even as on that day when, as we readin the sixth chapter of the First Book of the Kings, " Solomonbuilt the house, and finished it." It took one s breath away ; suchcenturies had passed and the stones had not cried out, but to-daythey were eloquent. And as I gazed upon those gigantic blocksof Judsean limestone, bedded together so nicely that a sixpencecould not pass between, my thoughts naturally went off to themasons who built so wonderfully and laid the stones so well.In gazing I saw again the swart-faced builders of Solomon, andthe dark-eyed, dark-bearded masons of Hiram who did hewthe stones, and the " stone squarers " working so diligently withplumbline and square. But though about me the air seemed tobreathe the scent of the cedar and the fir from the great sidegalleries, the porches, and the chambers that Solomon built, andto feel the dazzle of the golden lilies and knops and pomegranatesand the glory of the "palmtrees and cherubim," one could notforget the motive for all those wonderful buildings those mightystones which, you remember, so touched the heart of one of thedisciples of Jesus of azareth, ten centuries after, that as hewent out of the Temple he said, as we read in St. Mark xiii. 1," Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings arehere " one could not, I repeat, forget that that motive was worship and praise of the Invisible, the worship of Jehovah, thepraise of the great I AM. 12. The stones in the spiritual House of God are prepared beforehand. Believers having been hewn out from the quarry of humanity by the grace of God are called by St. Peter "livingstones." They are not inert masses of rock, not senseless blocksof marble, but full of life, feeling, and action ; and they are thusdesignated because Christ, as " the tried corner-stone," " the surefoundation," is called " a living stone," and diffuses His own lifethrough all parts of the spiritual temple which rests on Him.So every stone in it, from the foundation to the top-stone, ismade a precious, a glistering, a living stone, through the indwelling life of Jesus, the Prince of life. So long, then, as the soul of the believer rests on Jesus Christ alone for salvation, and onnothing else, it has spiritual Life. Build it upon any otherfoundation, and it is a senseless stone ; only as laid by the HolyGhost " upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus

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