Page images

With respect to Solomon's Temple, the plan of which was given by God to David," and by bim delivered to Solomon; it was seventy cubits long, the porch being ten cubits, and the holy and most holy places sixty cubits;of which, the most holy place is stated to be twenty cubits, and the holy place forty cubits.

In this Temple, the width of the porch, holy, and most holy places, was twenty cubits;- and the height over the holy and most holy places was thirty cubits ;! but the height of the porch was much greater, being no less than one hundred and twenty cubits," or four times the height of the rest of the building.

To both the sides and the west end of the holy and most holy places, or all around the edifice, from the back of the porch on the one side to the back of the porch on the other side, were attached buildings. These were called side-chambers, and consisted of three stories, each story being five cubits high,' and joined to the wall of the Temple without. But what may seem singular is, that the lowest of these stories was five cubits broad on the floor; the second, six cubits; and the third, seven cubits, and yet the outer wall of them all was upright." The reason of which was, that the wall of the Temple, against which they leaned, had always a scarcement of a cubit at the height of every five cubits, both to strengthen the wall, and to prevent the joists of these side-chambers from being fixed in it. Thus the three stories of side-chambers, when taken together, were fifteen cubits high, and, consequently, reached exactly to half the height of the side walls and end of the Temple; so that there was abundance of space above these for the windows which gave light to the Temple. Let us, however, for the sake of memory, vary the description :- The Temple stood from east to west, having the porch on the east, the most holy place on the west, and the holy place in the middle. If the porch or front was twenty cubits wide, and one hundred and twenty cubits high, that made it, of our measure, thirty-six feet five inches wide, and two hundred and eighteen feet ten inches high, allowing 21.888 inches to a cubit. The sides and west end of the building would appear of two stories, viz. the side and end chambers of fifteen cubits, or twenty-seven feet four inches high, with a flat roof; and the rest of the wall above these chambers, or other fifteen cubits, equal to twenty-seven feet four inches, in which

• 1 Chron. xxviii. 11--19. 6 1 Kings vi. 3.
d 2 Chron. qüi. 8. • 1 Kings vi. 17. f Chron. üi. 3.
2 Cbron, iji. 4.

i 1 Kings vi. 10.

« Ib. vi. 2.
& 1 Kings vi. 2.
k Ib. vi, 6.

space were the several windows that lighted the temple. In other words, the Temple of Solomon would have a considerable resemblance to our ancient cathedrals, which were probably copied from it.

The above is the account of Solomon's Temple as given to us in Scripture, but Josephus seems to have read differently; for he says, that, “its height was sixty cubits, its length sixty, and its breadth twenty," which are the Hebrew measures; but then he adds, that “there was another building erected over it, equal to it in its

So that the entire height of the temple was one hundred and twenty cubits.” And lest we should think that these one hundred and twenty cubits meant the porch, he tells us, that “ as to the porch, they built it before the Temple; its length was twenty cubits, and so placed as to agree with the width of the house : and it had twelve cubits in breadth, and its height was raised as high as one hundred and twenty cubits.” Thus, according to him, the Temple itself was one hundred and


- 1 Kings vi. 4.


Antiq. viii. 3.

twenty cubits high as well as the porch; and, a little afterwards, he says, that the entry to the large apartment above the Temple, was by steps in the wall; and that the entry to it, and to the thirty side-chambers, was not from the principal entrance at the east end, but from the sides of that sacred building.

Were I to hazard a conjecture, I would say, that Josephus, in his description of Solomon's Temple, confounded the Scripture account of it with that of the Temple after the Captivity, and of Herod, each of which had an apartment over the holy and most holy places, but their heights by no means corresponded with his measures.

Such was the Temple built by Solomon, and which is thought to have given rise to the elegant temples that were found among the heathen; for Shuckford in his Connexion of Sacred and Profane History, well remarks, that as none of the heathen divinities had a covering over them before God ordered the tabernacle of the congregation, so no temple was erected in heathen lands in honour of their gods till after the divinely-planned Temple at Jerusalem. The preparations for it gave employment to one hundred and eighty-three thousand three hundred men for four years, so that not a hammer was heard while it was building. It was begun in April, A.M. 2992, four hundred and eighty years after the children of Israel came out of Egypt, and was finished in October, seven years and a-half afterwards, A.M. 2999, and before Christ 1005. The dedication took place eleven months after at the feast of tabernacles, or the 9th of October; and its destruction was occasioned by Nebuzaradan four hundred and twenty years after, or 583 years before Christ, and nineteen years after the two tribes had been carried away to Babylon, on accoumt of the repeated insurrections of those who were left.

< 1b, yi. 1.

· 1 Kings v, 13-16. d Ib. vi. 37, 38. Vol. I.

blb. vi. 7
• Ib. viii. 2.

The quantity of precious metals used in the Temple of Solomon, must have been very great, as the following calculations will easily shew :

The gold delivered by David to his son Solomon for ornamenting the Temple and making its utensils, was as follows:- From David, as king, one hundred thousand talents, which at one hundred and twenty-five pounds troy (equal to ninety-three pounds twelve ounces avoirdupois,) which is the usual calculation, amount to twelve millions five hundred thousand pounds troy; from David, as an individual, three thousand talents, which, at the above calculation, make three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds troy; from the chiefs of the fathers, princes of the tribes, captains of thousands and hundreds, and rulers of the work, five thousand talents and ten thousand drachms (equal to fifty-two pounds troy,) as mentioned in 1 Chron. xxix. 7, which, at the above calculation, amount to six hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds troy; making in all thirteen millions five hundred thousand pounds troy of gold.

The silver-from David, as king, one million of talents, which, at one hundred and twenty-five pounds troy, make one hundred and twenty-five million pounds troy; from David, as an individual, seven thousand talents, weighing eight hundred and seventy-five'thousand pounds; from the chiefs of the fathers, ten thousand talents, weighing one million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds; making in all one hundred and twentyseven millions one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds troy of silver.

• 2 Kings xxv. 8, 9.
< 1 Chron. xxii. 14.
f Ib. xxix. 4.

b Lightfoot's Chronicle on the place.
d Ib. xxix. 4. e 1 Chron. xxii, 14
& lb. xxix. 7.

The brass and iron--of David, as king, is said to have been without weight, it was in such abundance, but we may judge of it from the present which was made by the chiefs of the fathers, for they gave eighteen thousand talents, or fifteen thousand and sixty-six cwt. threequarters and twenty-four pounds avoirdupois of brass, and one hundred thousand talents, or eighty-three thousand seven hundred and five cwt. one-quarter twelve pounds avoirdupois of iron.

Such was the quantity which David delivered to Solomon : but we shall have a more distinct view of the richness of the Temple and its furniture, if we consider the value of the above quantities of gold and silver in sterling money.

Thus thirteen millions five hundred thousand pounds troy of gold at 4l. the ounce, which is the present price of pure gold, are equal to 648,000,0001. and one hundred and twenty-seven millions, one hundred and twentyfive thousand pounds troy of silver, at 58. the ounce, which is the present price of unalloyed silver, are equal to 381,375,000l. ; making together the extraordinary sum of 1029,375,000l.: a sum so prodigious, as gives reason to think that there must be an error somewhere. For it makes David and his nobles to have laid up for the Temple no less than 25,734,375l. every year during all the forty years that he reigned. Accordingly, various methods have been resorted to to bring the amount within the bounds of probability. I shall mention several of them:

The first is that of Michaelis, who estimates the ta

Ib. xxii, 14.

b Ib. xxix. 7.


Suppl. ad. lleb. Lex. p. 367,

« PreviousContinue »