Furnishings for the Temple
“Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of the LORD” (v. 48).- 1 Kings 7:13–51
Impressive in size and in its details, Solomon’s temple was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in all of human history. Featuring gold-covered walls and angelic cherubim carved and woven throughout (2 Chron. 3), the temple was God’s royal palace on earth, a tangible fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to “dwell among the people of Israel and [to] be their God.” Initially, the Lord kept this promise by dwelling in the tabernacle (Ex. 29:38–46), but the temple replaced that portable sanctuary as a more permanent residence for God in the land where Israel found rest.
Not only was the temple structure grand and beautiful, but so also were the furnishings of the temple. We learn this in today’s passage, which describes the construction of the various furnishings and tools used in Solomon’s temple. The text records the fashioning of furnishings from bronze and gold. Hiram, a man from Tyre who had Israelite ancestry in the tribe of Naphtali, made the bronze furnishings (1 Kings 7:13–47). Hiram is described as a man “full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze” (v. 14). This parallels the description of Bezalel, the man whom God gave “skill . . . intelligence . . . knowledge . . . all craftsmanship” to construct the tabernacle’s furnishings (Ex. 35:31). Just as God was with the artisans who built the tabernacle’s furniture and tools, so He was with the craftsmen who did the same for the temple.
Hiram made bronze pillars adorned with pomegranates, adding to the beauty of the structure and also likely intended as a reminder of the garden of Eden and its fruit (1 Kings 7:15–22). Of note also is “the sea of cast metal,” which sat on the backs of twelve bronze oxen, probably representing the twelve tribes of Israel (vv. 23–26). This stood in the temple’s courtyard, replacing the tabernacle’s basin as the place for the priests to cleanse themselves (Ex. 30:17–21). Additionally, Hiram made bronze pots, shovels, stands, and basins for the interior of the temple, and these were used for handling sacrificial animals and sacrificial blood and for cleansing the sacrifices and the tools used in them (1 Kings 7:27–47; see Ex. 27:3).
Fittingly, Solomon oversaw the construction of the golden implements for the temple—the table of showbread, lampstands, tongs, and more (1 Kings 7:48–51). Everything was made with care for the worship of God.
God’s gifting of those who built the implements for use in temple worship indicates that the Lord gives His people various gifts for use in worship and in the service of His church. Not all of us can be ordained ministers, but all of us have been gifted with the Spirit to serve in some way, perhaps in music, hospitality, technical support, cleaning the sanctuary, staffing the nursery, or other duties that make possible the corporate worship of the church.
Passages for Further Study
2 Chronicles 4
1 Corinthians 14