We should not mistake noise and notoriety for spiritual progress (v. 7).
Quietness and order both become and befriend the carrying on of spiritual work.
I Kings 1
1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
3 And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.
4 And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.
5 ¶ And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:
6 The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.
7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
8 The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.
9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.
10 And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
11 ¶ And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying,
12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:
13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
17 And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.
18 And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
19 And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.
22 And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.
23 ¶ And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.
24 And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.
25 And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.
26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.
27 And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.
28 And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
29 And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
30 And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.
31 ¶ And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
32 The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.
33 So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.
34 And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.
35 And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.
36 ¶ And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
37 ¶ In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:
38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.
I Kings – J. Vernon McGee
1 Kings 6:1-13 – The Plan of the Lord’s House
The Temple was twice the size of the Tabernacle—ninety feet long by thirty feet broad, and forty-five feet high. The plan had been given to David by revelation, I Chronicles 28:11-12. Seven years and a half were consumed in its erection. It was completed in sacred silence, I Kings 6:7. The awful sanctity of the shrine would have been violated if its construction had been marred by the harsh and violent sounds that generally accompany the mason’s toil. “Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang.” In nature, God works so silently that we do not realize His activities.
The central motive was to provide a place worthy to be called the house of God. Israel was now ruled by a king, but he was viewed as the organ and instrument of Jehovah. It was fitting, therefore, that the King of kings should have a dwelling-place among the people of Israel. The tabernacle of God was with men. He dwelled with them on the earth. The Temple was, moreover, the type, first of the body of Jesus, John 2:21; then of each believer, I Corinthians 3:16; and lastly of the whole Church, Ephesians 2:21-22. Each of these is the dwelling-place of God, and the innermost chamber—the Holy of Holies—is meant to be the throne-room of the Shekinah of His presence, Leviticus 16:2.
1 Kings 6:7—There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard.
In absolute silence, like the growth of a palm in the desert, that noble building arose in the symmetry of its fair proportions. But there was plenty of quarrying and hammering and chiseling before the materials were brought to the site.
The absolute silence with which the Temple rose is a meet emblem of the progress of the Church, from its foundations laid in the Apostolate towards the top stone, which before very long will be laid upon the completed structure. Amid the rise and fall of dynasties and empires, the Church is being built. Soul after soul, as so many added bricks, is being quietly placed upon the walls. Some day the world will be amazed when it sees the New Jerusalem descend out of heaven from God. The mightiest works of God are the fruit of silence.
You and I are now in the quarry, hewn, chipped, chiseled: or we are in the saw pit, being sawn, planed, pierced by nails. Be of good cheer! It will not be long, the preparatory work will be over, and we shall become part of the eternal structure. Into heaven there can enter neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron. The trial will have done its work. Sorrow and crying will flee away. The apostle Paul, who knew more than any man what trial and pain meant, could confidently declare (Romans 8:18): “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Then shall the city of God shine forth in completed beauty, her walls Salvation and her gates Praise; and the triumphant song of the redeemed shall ring forth (Revelation 5:13): “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”
1 Kings 6:14-28 – The Oracle in the Midst
In the Temple the general design of the Tabernacle was perpetuated by the division between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, but there were several additions. For instance, there was a lofty porch in front of the Temple, beneath which the priests passed to the entrance. Also, on the other three sides were rooms, built one above the other in three stories. They were needed for storage purposes.
Inside no stones were visible—all was of gilded cedar, olive, and cypress wood, variously carved and tapestried by embroidered hangings. It was “exceeding magnificent.” The Holy of Holies was plunged in darkness, save as the Shekinah shone from the mercy-seat over the Ark and between the cherubim. Over this venerable relic of the Wilderness pilgrimage, Solomon set up two cherubim. Each was ten cubits high, and their outstretched wings, which touched each other above the Ark, also touched the walls on either side. These symbolized the highest forms of creature-life, reverently attendant upon their Creator.
1 Kings 6:29-38 – Carved; Overlaid; Finished
The meaning of I Kings 6:31 is uncertain. We gather that the door of the inner shrine was made of wild-olive wood and in two parts, and that it occupied a fifth of the cedar partition which separated the two chambers. This wooden door was carved with cherubim, palm-trees, and open flowers, and was overlaid with gold. One part was always open, but the interior was concealed from view by a veil of blue, purple, and crimson, II Chronicles 3:14. In front of this were hung festoons of golden chains. Thus it was signified that the way into the Holiest was not then open. But we have boldness to enter, through the new and living way which Jesus consecrated for us. The surrendered will, the cleansed life, the meek and humble faith—these are the path, Hebrews 10:19-20.
The erection occupied seven and a half years, and the completed Temple stood for upward of four centuries, until destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The construction of character, after God’s ideal, may take long, but it advances to completion. First the stone, hewn with difficulty; then cedar and olive; lastly gold.