Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM - Forum

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

King Solomon's Temple

Architecture of the Temple

The assemblage of the world's architectural genius at Jerusalem,and the amassed store of materials of gold, silver, brass, iron, granite, and marble, together with the precious stones and costly woods and fabrics brought from foreign shores, resulted in a structure distinctive in design, gigantic in proportions, and glorious in embellishments, the like of which Israel and the people of that day had never before seen, and which will never again be equaled, much less excelled. The Temple and the Palace together, as a unit, consisted of a series of terraces round about Mount Moriah, the highest point of which was crowned by the Great Porch, with the Holy and the Most Holy Place.

The second highest terrace, surrounding the Mount, was an oblong or rectangle, 1,600 feet long and 800 feet wide, having a retaining wall rising from the base of the Mount to a height of from 80 to 240 feet as conditions required for support, for defense, and to produce a uniform raised level about the Mount. Within this first enclosure the architects provided homes for the porters and singers, as well as havens for the worshipers. The upper terrace was 800 feet long and 400 feet wide, surrounded by a retaining wall of great stone. The eastern half of this second enclosed terrace or court was embellished by three rows of hewed stones or pillars, round about, forming a colonnade and supporting an entablature of cedar beams and costly stones. The Covert for the King was located on the north side and was of solid brass. In the western half of this oblong enclosure, and on the north side, was the Court for the women, surrounded by high walls and enclosing a series of chambers suitably arranged. To the south was the Court of the Priests, containing the chambers for those who were actively engaged in the Temple services. In the center of the western half of the great court was the inner court, 400 feet by 200 feet in size, in the form of a rectangle, surrounded by a cloistered colonnade of three rows of pillars supporting a beautiful entablature of cedar beams and costly stones. The only entrance to the inner court was through the Great Gate on the eastern side. In the center of the eastern half of the inner court stood the Great Altar of Burnt-offering. In the southeast corner was the Molten Sea, and on the north and south sides, five on each side, were the Lavers. The western square of the inner court contained the House, or Holy and Most Holy Places, surrounded by a series of chambers. The approach to these sacred precincts was through the Great Porch, rising to a height of 240 feet.
These crowning terraces which supported the Temple and King Solomon's Palace or Citadel, including his house, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, the Queen's Palace, the Porch of Pillars, and kindred structures, were surrounded for the sake of security by a wall which began at the bottom of the Mount. Some of the sides of this wall were reared 280 feet in height before they attained the desired level, and these massive and curious bases, together with the super-structure, formed an impressive prospect, which was the marvel of all beholders. 2 Chronicles 3:4.

Approaching the Temple terraces from the southwest was a road leading through a gate into the great citadel, within the walls of which were the numerous buildings. The citadel was on an elevation just below that of the Temple, and visitors to the latter had to pass through the former. Here were the King's Palace, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, the Porch of Pillars, the Queen's Palace, the Tower of David, the Palace of the Captain of the Host, the Palace of the High Priest, and the Judgment Seat or Throne. Within this same enclosure were to be found the homes of the Royal Harem, and of the immediate official family and attendants. Here also were the Royal Gardens in which were to be found a great variety of trees and beautiful shrubbery, and enclosures for wild and domestic animals and birds.

The King's Palace, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, and the other royal buildings were of a size and magnificence such as Israel had never seen before, and were prized because they reflected the high political rank of the nation, as the Temple reflected the glory of its religious institutions. The road from the southwest gate ran diagonally northeastward to a central square which was dominated by the Tower of David. At the south of the square was the Court of Guards, at the west of the Queen's Palace, and at the east the Palace of King Solomon.

Author: Mishkan Ministries

Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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