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The Design of Solomon’s Temple
by Ed Halpaus
Dear Masonic Student,
Below is an article written by Brother Albert Mackey, which I thought you would like to see. – Ed
The Design of Solomon’s Temple
When Solomon had matured his design of a. temple to be consecrated to the Most High, he found it impossible to carry that design into execution without foreign assistance. The Hebrew nation, constantly struggling for its material existence, and just rising to the condition of a civilized people, had made little proficiency in science and architecture, and especially the ornamental arts. There were few artificers and no architects in Judea. Solomon, consequently, applied to Hiram, King of Tyre, for assistance, and that monarch sent him a company of Tyrian architects, under the superintendence of Hiram Abif, by whom the temple was erected. It was an oblong stone building, 150 feet in length, and 105 in width. On three sides were corridors, rising above each other to the height of three stories, and containing rooms, in which were preserved the holy utensils and treasures. The fourth, or front side was open, and was ornamented with a portico ten cubits in width, supported by two brazen pillars – Jachin and Boaz.
The interior was divided into the most holy place, or oracle, 20 cubits long, which contained the ark of the covenant, and was separated by a curtain, or veil, from the sanctuary or holy place, in which were the golden candlestick, the table of the shew bread, and the altar of incense. The walls of both apartments, and the roof and ceiling of the most holy place, were overlaid with woodwork, skillfully carved. None but the High-Priest was permitted to enter the latter, and only the priests, devoted to the temple service, the former.
The temple was surrounded by an inner court, which contained the altar of burnt offering, the brazen sea and lavers, and such instruments and utensils as were used in the sacrifices which, as well as the prayers, were offered here. Colonnades, with brazen gates, separated this court of the priests from the outer court, which was likewise surrounded by a wall.
This celebrated temple certainly reflected honor on the builders of that age. It was begun on the 2d day of the month Zif, corresponding with the 21st of April, in the year of the world 2992, or 1012 years before the Christian era, and was completed in little more than seven years, on the 8th day of the month Sul, or the 23rd of October, in the year 2999, during which period no sound of axe, hammer or other metallic tool was heard, everything having been cut and prepared in the quarries or on Mount Lebanon, and brought, properly carved, marked and numbered, to Jerusalem, where they were fitted in by means of wooden mauls. So of Freemasonry, it has always been the boast that its members perfect the work of edification by quiet and orderly methods, “without the hammer of contention, the axe of division, or any tool of mischief.”
The excellency of the Craft in the days of our Grand Master Solomon was so great, that, although the materials were prepared so far off, when they were put together at Jerusalem, each piece fitted with such exactness that it appeared more like the work of the Great Architect of the Universe than of human hands. The temple retained its pristine splendor but thirty-three years, when it was plundered by Shishak, King of Egypt. After this period it underwent sundry profanations and pillages, and was at length utterly destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, A. M. 3416, B. C. 588, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem carried as captives to Babylon.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014