The Christian Connection
Part Three
King Solomon's Temple
© 1998 Son Light Publishers, Ft. Smith, Arkansas

Islamic Traditions

In Islamic tradition, it is stated that King Solomon had the ability to understand the languages of animals and birds, allowing him to converse freely with them. Because God had endowed him with wisdom, grace and favor, he was also able to converse with the spirits of the underworld whom he was then able to use as servants. A mythical description of how Solomon built the Temple is related by the Moslem historian al-Siuti:

When God revealed unto Solomon that he should build him a Temple, Solomon assembled all the wisest men, genii and Afrites of the earth, and the mightiest of the devils, and appointed one division of them to build, another to cut blocks and columns from the marble mines, and others to dive into ocean-depths, and fetch therefrom pearls and coral. Now some of these pearls were like ostrich's or hen's eggs. So he began to build the Temple . . . the devils cut quarries of jacinth and emerald. Also the devils made highly-polished cemented blocks of marble. (Ref. 1)
Jewish Traditions

A Jewish legend gives this fanciful description;

When King David began to dig the foundation of the Temple, the waters of the abyss burst forth and hastened to cover the whole world. David took a fragment of pottery and wrote on it the divine Name, then threw it into the abyss. Immediately the abyss receded sixteen thousand cubits into the depths. When David saw this he said "the closer the abyss is to the earth, the more the earth drinks of its waters and is blessed thereof." What did he do? He sang the fifteen Songs of Degrees of the Book of Psalms, and the abyss rose again fifteen thousand cubits. And it remained one thousand cubits beneath the surface of the earth. (Ref. 2)
Reconstruction of the interior of Solomon's Temple. Painting: Christopher Evans
Cutaway side view of Solomon's Temple
Copyright Salim George Khalaf, used by permission. Web site: Virtual Center for Phoenician Studies

Solomon’s temple follows the traditional Phoenician design: an outer hallway or ulam, a central open courtyard or heikal, and an inner holy of holies or debir. There were two pillars outside the front entrance and rooms for temple staff in an annex.

Not much archaeological excavation on Phoenician temples has been carried out. The reason for this seems to be that archaeologists and historians are generally more interested in Greek, Roman and Hebrew history than in Phoenician. Why? All European civilisation is believed to have stemmed from ancient Greece and Rome. Monotheism is believed to have originated from the Hebrews. At any rate, once researchers reach the Greek, Roman or Hebrew layers, they tend not to look further down. For example, it is known that there are much older Phoenician temples under the Roman ones at Baalbek but only one deep ditch has been dug to tell us anything about them. However, excavation of the 13th century BC Phoenician temple at Hazor and the 9th century one at Tell Tainat shows that Solomon’s temple follows exactly the time-honoured Phoenician pattern.


King Solomon's Temple

Gold Cherubim
Copyright Salim George Khalaf, used by permission. 
Web site: Virtual Center for Phoenician Studie

1 Kings 6: 23-35

23. In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 
24. Five cubits was the length of one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the length of the other wing of the cherub; it was ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. 
25. The other cherub also measured ten cubits; both cherubim had the same measure and the same form.
26. The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was that of the other cherub. 
27. He put the cherubim in the innermost part of the house; the wings of the cherubim were spread out so that a wing of one was touching one wall, and a wing of the other cherub was touching the other wall; their other wings towards the centre of the house were touching wing to wing. 
28. He also overlaid the cherubim with gold.
29.  He carved the walls of the house all round about with carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, in the inner and outer rooms. 
30. The floor of the house he overlaid with gold, in the inner and outer rooms.
31. For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood; the lintel and the doorposts were five-sided.
32. He covered the two doors of olive wood with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers; he overlaid them with gold, and spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.
33. So also he made for the entrance to the nave doorposts of olive wood, each four-sided, 
34. and two doors of cypress wood; the two leaves of one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. 
35. He carved cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, overlaying them with gold evenly applied upon the carved work. 

King Hiram of Byblos, on a Cherubim Throne

This bas relief is from his sarcophagus. The Cherubim have been identified as Winged Sphinxes (p. 127. Sabatino Moscati. The Phoenicians. Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri Bompiani, Sonzono, Etas S.p.A. Milan. March 1988). Moscati dates the sarchopagus to the 13th-12th century B.C. that is about 300 years before King Solomon.

Modern view of Cherubim

Today Cherubim have been styilized to be cute chubby babies, completely taking away what they looked like in the past.

"The Molten Sea"
1 Kings 7

23. Then he made the cast sea; it was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high. A line of thirty cubits would encircle it completely. 
24. Under its brim were panels all round it, each of ten cubits, surrounding the sea; there were two rows of panels, cast when it was cast. 
25. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the sea was set on them. The hindquarters of each were towards the inside. 
26. Its thickness was a hand breadth; its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily; it held two thousand baths.* 

Note: In 2 Chronicles 4.5 it states that the laver held three thousand baths...

For Further Study:

The Brass Serpent of Moses
Numbers 21

8. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous* serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ 
9. So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

John 3

14. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
15. that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.*

Note that no one was told to bow down to the brass serpent, and neither was anyone instructed to pray before it, even though the serpent on the pole represented Jesus Christ who though innocent would become sin, and be crucified for all of mankind. Looking upon the serpent brought life to those dying, just as faith in Jesus Christ will bring life to all who will believe and have faith.

Now, notice what happened when years later, the exact same serpent of brass is again mentioned in scripture: 
Note that no one was told to bow down to the brass serpent, and neither was anyone instructed to pray before it, even though the serpent on the pole represented Jesus Christ who though innocent would become sin, and be crucified for all of mankind. Looking upon the serpent brought life to those dying, just as faith in Jesus Christ will bring life to all who will believe and have faith.

Now, notice what happened when years later, the exact same serpent of brass is again mentioned in scripture:

2 Kings 18

3. And he [King Hezekiah] did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.
4. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

So what prompted the King to destroy the brass serpent? Because the people had begun worshipping it as an idol, and burning incense before it. So Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and destroyed it.

Abyss - Absu - Gateway
Revelations 4 

5. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; 
6. and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.

Other References to Circles of Power

The following items are references that we came across in our research and have not yet been fully explored, but are offered as points of interest none the less. These will require more research and references and we will list the results when we have them. - Editor

The Molten Sea

Another example of a circle with a perimeter that is an integral multiple of the diameter is found in the bible. I KINGS, Chapter 7 reads like an installment of This Old House, where Solomon is building a house and fetched Hiram, who was "filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning. . . ", sort of a biblical Norm Abrams. Hiram, among other things, "made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other: it was round all about . . . and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."

I suspect that those dimensions approximate. If they are accurate, then the outline must have been flattened, like some neolithic stone circles. - Source - Dartmouth University

Genesis 37

9. He dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, "Behold, I have dreamed yet another dream: and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me." 

Though this was from a dream, it still clearly shows that the people at the time of Jacob accepted the fact that there were 11 planets or "wandering stars"

Bible: The Abyss; A watery gateway...

a·byss – noun
1. a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity; vast chasm.
2. anything profound, unfathomable, or infinite: the abyss of time.
3. (in ancient cosmogony)
   a. the primal chaos before Creation.
   b. the infernal regions; hell.
c. a subterranean ocean.
[Origin: 1350–1400; earlier abisse, ME abissus < LL abyssus < Gk ábyssos bottomless, equiv. to a- a-6 + byssós bottom of the sea] 

American Heritage Dictionary

a·byss – noun
1. An immeasurably deep chasm, depth, or void: "lost in the vast abysses of space and time" (Loren Eiseley).
    1. The primeval chaos out of which it was believed that the earth and sky were formed.
    2. The abode of evil spirits; hell.

[Middle English abissus, from Late Latin abyssus, from Greek abussos, bottomless : a-, without; see a-1 + bussos, bottom.] 

The Koran says Solomon had a magic ring which could give him power over enemies, and transport him to a celestial sphere where he could rest from the cares of state.

Romans wore rings dedicated to the goddess Salus (Hygeia) engraved with a pentagram and a coiled snake, to ensure good fortune.

Rings of Jasper or Bloodstone were worn by Egyptians for success in battle or other struggle
End Notes
  1. Solomon Steckoll, The Temple Mount, Tom Stacey Ltd., London, 1972.
  2. Zev Vilnay, Legends of Jerusalem, Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1973.
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