The Furnishings of the Temple
1 Kings 7: 13 - 49
King James Version (KJV)
Inside the temple were carved cherubim, palm trees and flowers; a reminder of the Garden of Eden, which humans could not live in anymore because of their sin. The temple also was a symbol that the Israelites could come back to paradise through the temple.
7:13,14 Hiram: An artisan, not to be confused with Hiram, the king of Tyre (5:1).
7:18-22 Two freestanding pillars or monuments. Jachin and Boaz were constructed to mark the entrance to the temple. This is a characteristic of Phoenician structures and suggests that both the temple and Solomon’s palace reflected ancient Phoenician architecture.
7:23-26 Molten Sea: This was probably some type of reservoir to hold the great amount of water needed for lavers and for worship in the temple.
7:27 –39 These verses describe the bases constructed to transport the water from the sea of cast bronze to various stations in the temple.
7:48 The table may have been one, with nine others (2Chr. 4:8). The shewbread was a holy or consecrated bread place in the tabernacle (Ex.25:23-30) or the temple (2Chr. 13:11; 29:18) every Sabbath (1Chr.9:32) to symbolize God’s continual presence and His provision for His people. The 12 loaves of bread symbolized the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. The shewbread was a reminder to them that God’s presence is more essential than one’s daily bread, and that they were to depend on God to provide for their spiritual and physical needs.
7:49 The tabernacle of Moses had one large candlestick, whereas the temple had 10 smaller candlesticks.
THE TEMPLE FURNISHINGS
1. PRIESTS’ CELLS as a TURBAN1 west side – Gold and silver bullion, I Kings 7:51, was likely stored here. These cells form the High Priest’s head cover or turban mentioned in Exodus 28:4, 37. The common priest’s cap or bonnet, Exodus 28:40, was more globular, resembling an inverted bowl.
- PRIESTS’ CELLS, south and north sides – These are the arms. Only one ingress is given, I Kings. 6:8, but Ezekiel 41:11 includes a second. The entrances correspond to the onyx stones the High Priest wore on his left and right shoulders. Each was engraved with the names of six Israelite tribes, twelve names total, Exodus. 28:9 -12.
2. TWO LARGE STARS – These are two 10-cubit tall cherubs of gold plated olive wood, I Kings. 6:23, 28; they are the eyes within Temple Man’s head, while the head is the Holy of Holies2 .
3. THE ARK of the COVENANT – This is a gold plated chest with a solid gold cover and two small cherubs (small stars).The Ark is his nose; and its poles –when attached to its long sides and drawn forward (I Kings. 8:8) – depict extended nostrils smelling the sweet smoke from the Incense Altar in the Holy Place.
4. STAIRWAY – A short staircase or ramp led from the Holy Place to a slightly elevated (six cubits) Holy of Holies. The stairway is his neck/throat and its top is his mouth.
5. INCENSE ALTAR – This small gold plated altar (I Kings 6:22) is national Israel’s heart, and its sweet-smelling smoke is the prayers and spiritual life of national ideal Israel, i.e., Israel as she should be.
6. TABLES OF THE SHOWBREAD – On these gold plated tables (I Kings 7:48) were bread and wine, symbolizing flesh and blood, i.e., the humanity of national Israel.
7. THE LAMP STANDS (I Kings 7:48, 49) – Their total number was 10 stands/msenorahs x 7 stems each = 70 lights, relating to the 70 Israelites of Exodus 1:5 (Jacob’s offspring). This is national Israel as the light to the world, and the world is the 70 nations of Genesis 10. They may also symbolize Shabbat (the Sabbath) multiplied 10 times, implying a messianic age of worldwide rest (meaning peace).
8. THE PORCH, Portico or vestibule – This antechamber, the ulam, (I Kings 6:3, II Chronicles 3:4) corresponds to the human pelvis (hips) and, therefore, procreation through the male and female genitalia.
10. TEN LAVERS – Five bronze water lavers were on the north and five on the south side, by the Porch. These signify the ten fingers of the hands. The lavers were for washing the blood off the sacrificial offerings, I Kings 7:38; II Chronicles 4:6.
11. JACHIN, BOAZ – The large bronze pillars by the Porch were named Jachin and Boaz (II Chronicles.3:17) and form Temple Man’s legs. These are two hybrid plants symbolizing Kings David and Solomon, war and peace.
12. SEA OF BRONZE, TWELVE BULLS – This was a huge basin full of water for the priests to wash their hands and feet (II Chronicles 4:2). It depicts the twelve tribes of Israel crossing the Red Sea. Its water symbolizes the God’s spirit and also his seed.
13. THE SACRIFICIAL ALTAR – This (II Chronicles. 4:1) forms Temple Man’s feet, while also symbolizing the metallic King Messiah’s feet and footstool, as was the custom of that time, II
This is the Bronze Sea, a big basin made of metal, used by the priests to clean themselves. It stood on 12 bulls.
The table for the Bread of the Presence was also made of gold. The Bread of the Presence (twelve pieces of bread, one for every tribe of Israel), symbolized a continual offeringto God by which Israel showed that she gave to God what she earned with her work, and that everything Israel had received was a blessing of God's.
Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performance Arts