2Chronicles 3:1 ¶ Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
2Chronicles 3:2 And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
We are told that Solomon began the actual construction of the temple on the 2nd day of the 2nd month in the 4th year of his reign. The NIV Commentary notes: “This particular regnal year extended from the fall of 967 B.C. to the fall of 966; but since ‘the second month’ begins in April/May, the exact date must have fallen in the spring of 966.” Guzik makes the following observation: “This doesn’t mean that Solomon delayed his obedience for four years. He probably started to organize the work right away. There is some evidence that it took three years to prepare timber from Lebanon for use in building. If Solomon began the construction of the temple in the fourth year of his reign, he probably started organizing the construction in the very first year of his reign.”
The location of the temple was on mount Moriah where the LORD had appeared to David at the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. David bought the site from Ornan specifically for this purpose.
Chuck Smith notes: “Now the temple was actually built on the side of Mount Moriah, not on the top, which is interesting in itself. Because among all of the pagan religions, they always built their altars and their places of worship at the tops of the mountains….Mount Moriah continues up, slopes upwards from the temple site and the top of Mount Moriah is actually Mount Calvary or Golgotha. And you can look at the whole topography of that area and you can see how Mount Moriah gently slopes from the temple mount right on up to the top which would be Calvary, Golgotha. And the skull is formed there in the cliff because of the quarries where they excavated out that portion of the mount. And you look back towards the city of Jerusalem and you can see where they’ve actually cut away the mountain, built the wall of the city right up over the bedrock which continues from there, or did continue at the time of Abraham, and crested on the top. Golgotha, the place of the skull, where God provided Himself a sacrifice.”
Before we start this next section, I think it is important to remember that God had given David specific instructions that he had given to Solomon regarding the building of the temple and all its furnishings.
1 Chronicles 28:11–19 “Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD. He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service: Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick. And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver: Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons he gave gold by weight for every bason; and likewise silver by weight for every bason of silver: And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD. All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.”
2Chronicles 3:3 Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.
2Chronicles 3:4 And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
2Chronicles 3:5 And the greater house he cieled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains.
2Chronicles 3:6 And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim.
2Chronicles 3:7 He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls.
Some of the detailed measurements given Solomon:
The temple was to be 60 cubits (105 feet) long by 20 cubits (35 feet) wide.
The porch in front of the temple was to be 20 cubits wide, 120 cubits (210 feet) high and overlaid on the inside with pure gold. The account in 1Kings tells us that it extended 10 cubits (17.5 feet) in front of the interior of the building.
1 Kings 6:3 “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.”
The main room (Holy Place) of the temple (excluding the Most Holy Place, aka the Holy of Holies) had a ceiling of fir tree (cypress wood) overlaid with fine gold that was decorated with figures of palm trees and chains.
The whole building was decorated with precious stones and with gold from Parvaim. This would seem to be another name for Ophir in light of the record of 1Chronicles.
1 Chronicles 29:3–4 “Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal….”
The whole building—including the beams, posts, walls and doors—was overlaid with gold.
Figures of cherubim were engraved on the walls.
2Chronicles 3:8 And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
2Chronicles 3:9 And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.
2Chronicles 3:10 ¶ And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.
2Chronicles 3:11 And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.
2Chronicles 3:12 And one wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub.
2Chronicles 3:13 The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.
The Holy of Holies was 20 cubits (35 feet) square, a cube. It was overlaid with 600 talents (20 tons) of gold.
Golden nails weighing 50 shekels (1.25 pounds) were used.
The upper chambers in the temple were also overlaid with gold.
Two cherubim were made for the Holy of Holies that were overlaid with gold.
The wingspread of the cherubim extended 20 cubits (35 feet). Each wing of the cherubim was 5 cubits (8.75 feet) long. Their wings were spread so that one wing of each cherub touched the wall on one side and the wing of the other cherub in the middle of the room.
The cherubim stood against the back wall facing the ark and the main room.
2Chronicles 3:14 And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.
2Chronicles 3:15 Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits.
2Chronicles 3:16 And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
2Chronicles 3:17 And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.
The veil to the Holy of holies was made of fine linen of blue, purple and crimson and was decorated with figures of cherubim. Guzik notes: “In the temple, this veil was torn from top to bottom at the death of Jesus showing that through His death, there is no longer a barrier to the Most Holy place.”
Matthew 27:50–51 “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom….”
Two pillars, each 35 cubits (61.25 feet) high, were placed at the front of the temple; and each pillar had a chapiter on top that added 5 cubits (8.75 feet) to its height. We are told in 1Kings 7 that the pillars were made of brass.
Chains were made matching those featured in the main room for the heads of the pillars. Then 100 pomegranates were made and attached to the chains.
The pillars were erected at the front of the temple on the south and north sides. The one on the south was named Jachin (Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary: “he that strengthens and makes steadfast”), and the one on the north was called Boaz (“in strength”).
Note: More details can be found in my journals on the corresponding passages in 1Kings 7-8.