29 Aug. 1 Kings 7:1-12

29 Aug.  Solomon builds a magnificent palace

“King Solomon also built a palace for himself; it took him thirteen years to finish it. Built of cedars from the Forest of Lebanon, it was 50 metres long, 25 metres wide and 15 metres high.”

“It had four rows of cedar columns which supported the cedar beams. There were 45 beams on the roof, with 15 beams in each row, and the ceiling was covered with cedar above the beams. Windows were placed in three rows facing each other. All the doors were square, and the three doors at each end faced each other.”

“Solomon also built the porch that had pillars. This porch was 25 metres long and 15 metres wide. Along the front of the porch was a roof supported by pillars.”

“Solomon also built a throne room where he judged people, called the Hall of Justice. This room was covered with cedar from the floor to the ceiling.”

“The palace where Solomon lived was built like the Hall of Justice, and it was behind this hall. Solomon also built the same kind of palace for his wife, who was the daughter of the king of Egypt.”

“All these buildings were made with blocks of fine stone. First they were carefully cut. Then they were trimmed with a saw in the front and back. These fine stones went from the foundations of the buildings to the top of the walls. Even the courtyard was made with blocks of stone.”

“The foundations were made with large blocks of fine stone, some as long as 5 metres. Others were 4 metres long. On top of these foundation stones were other blocks of fine stone and cedar beams.”

“The palace courtyard, the courtyard inside the Temple and the porch of the Temple were surrounded by walls. All of these walls had three rows of stone blocks and one row of cedar beams.”

          (1 Kings 7:1-12)

 

 

Having completed the Temple in seven years, Solomon then set about building a new royal palace to the south of the Temple – which took a further thirteen years to complete. Once again, timber was bought from King Hiram of Tyre (see 1 Kings 7:13), and was sourced from the coastal forests of Lebanon, while fine limestone was quarried near the Temple Mount in the underground quarries of Jerusalem.

The main hall of the palace (The Hall of the Forest of Lebanon) was panelled with cedar, which would have been carved with trees, fruits and flowers as in the Temple (see 1 Kings 6:18). Outside the main entrance to the hall, an open portico (or porch) was built with a roof supported by columns to provide shade to the frontage of the building.

The Hall of Justice was built as Solomon’s throne room. This was a magnificent room, panelled from floor to ceiling with cedar from Lebanon, where Solomon would hear cases brought before him and dispense justice.

While the Bible records that Solomon also built a palace for his Egyptian wife (see 1 Kings 7:8) it doesn’t state where the palace was.  There is evidence, however, that it was located some distance away from Solomon’s own palace on the Temple Mount. Excavations in 1882, on land beside the Nablus road to the north of the Damascus Gate (near the École Biblique), revealed evidence of an Egyptian ‘quarter’, dating from the time of Solomon, just to the north of the present (medieval) city walls.

This area probably contained the palace for Solomon’s Egyptian queen and her retinue, together with a temple for the Egyptian court to worship the sun-god Ra. Stone tombs were cut into the rocks to carry the bodies of Solomon’s queen and her attendants. The site of the Egyptian queen’s palace now lies underneath the nave of the Church of St Etienne.

The aerial photo (by Avram Graicer) shows the area of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which would have accommodated both Solomon’s Temple, and, to the south (right) of the Temple, Solomon’s palace and the Hall of Justice.

You can read more about Solomon’s Egyptian queen @ https://thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/31-the-golden-age-of-israel-under-king-solomon/solomons-alliance-with-egypt/


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