1 Kings 7:23-51
When the pillars were finished, Hiram’s next project was to make the Sea—an immense round basin of cast metal fifteen feet in diameter, seven and a half feet tall, and forty-five feet in circumference. Just under the rim there were two bands of decorative gourds, ten gourds to each foot and a half. The gourds were cast in one piece with the Sea.
The Sea was set on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the bulls faced outward supporting the Sea on their hindquarters. The Sea was three inches thick and flared at the rim like a cup, or like a lily. It held about 11,500 gallons.
Hiram also made ten washstands of bronze. Each was six feet square and four and a half feet tall. They were made like this: Panels were fastened to the uprights. Lions, bulls, and cherubim were represented on the panels and uprights. Beveled wreath-work bordered the lions and bulls above and below. Each stand was mounted on four bronze wheels with bronze axles. The uprights were cast with decorative relief work. Each stand held a basin on a circular engraved support a foot and a half deep set on a pedestal two and a quarter feet square. The washstand itself was square. The axles were attached under the stand and the wheels fixed to them. The wheels were twenty-seven inches in diameter; they were designed like chariot wheels. Everything—axles, rims, spokes, and hubs—was of cast metal.
There was a handle at the four corners of each washstand, the handles cast in one piece with the stand. At the top of the washstand there was a ring about nine inches deep. The uprights and handles were cast with the stand. Everything and every available surface was engraved with cherubim, lions, and palm trees, bordered by arabesques. The washstands were identical, all cast in the same mold.
He also made ten bronze washbasins, each six feet in diameter with a capacity of 230 gallons, one basin for each of the ten washstands. He arranged five stands on the south side of The Temple and five on the north. The Sea was placed at the southeast corner of The Temple. Hiram then fashioned the various utensils: buckets and shovels and bowls.
Hiram completed all the work he set out to do for King Solomon on The Temple of God:
two capitals on top of the pillars;
two decorative filigrees for the capitals;
four hundred pomegranates for the two filigrees
(a double row of pomegranates for each filigree);
ten washstands each with its washbasin;
twelve bulls under the Sea;
miscellaneous buckets, shovels, and bowls.
All these artifacts that Hiram made for King Solomon for The Temple of God were of burnished bronze. He cast them in clay in a foundry on the Jordan plain between Succoth and Zarethan. These artifacts were never weighed—there were far too many! Nobody has any idea how much bronze was used.
Solomon was also responsible for all the furniture and accessories in The Temple of God:
the gold Altar;
the gold Table that held the Bread of the Presence;
the pure gold candelabras, five to the right and five to the
left in front of the Inner Sanctuary;
the gold flowers, lamps, and tongs;
the pure gold dishes, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, ladles, and
the gold sockets for the doors of the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of
Holies, used also for the doors of the Main Sanctuary.
That completed all the work King Solomon did on The Temple of God. He then brought in the items consecrated by his father David, the silver and the gold and the artifacts. He placed them all in the treasury of God’s Temple.
1 Kings 8:1-21
Bringing all this to a climax, King Solomon called in the leaders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the family patriarchs, to bring up the Chest of the Covenant of God from Zion, the City of David. And they came, all Israel before King Solomon in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month, for the great autumn festival.
With all Israel’s leaders present, the priests took up the Chest of God and carried up the Chest and the Tent of Meeting and all the holy vessels that went with the Tent. King Solomon and the entire congregation of Israel were there at the Chest worshiping and sacrificing huge numbers of sheep and cattle—so many that no one could keep track.
Then the priests brought the Chest of the Covenant of God to its place in the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. The outspread wings of the cherubim stretched over the Chest and its poles. The poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the entrance to the Inner Sanctuary, but were not noticeable farther out. They’re still there today. There was nothing in the Chest but the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb where God made a covenant with Israel after bringing them up from Egypt.
The Temple Finished, Dedicated, Filled
When the priests left the Holy Place, a cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t carry out their priestly duties because of the cloud—the glory of God filled The Temple of God!
Then Solomon spoke:
God has told us that he lives in the dark
where no one can see him;
I’ve built this splendid Temple, O God,
to mark your invisible presence forever.
The king then turned to face the congregation and blessed them:
“Blessed be God, the God of Israel, who spoke personally to my father David. Now he has kept the promise he made when he said, ‘From the day I brought my people Israel from Egypt, I haven’t set apart one city among the tribes of Israel to build a Temple to fix my Name there. But I did choose David to rule my people Israel.’
“My father David had it in his heart to build a Temple honoring the Name of God, the God of Israel. But God told him ‘It was good that you wanted to build a Temple in my honor—most commendable! But you are not the one to do it—your son will build it to honor my Name.’
“God has done what he said he would do: I have succeeded David my father and ruled over Israel just as God promised; and now I’ve built a Temple to honor God, the God of Israel, and I’ve secured a place for the Chest that holds the covenant of God, the covenant that he made with our ancestors when he brought them up from the land of Egypt.”