1 Kings 6-7
These two chapters are of interest mainly to builders and architects. Skim through them and you’ll know all about how to build a temple. What interests me is that after hearing all about this legendary temple, its actual size turns out to be quite small – 30 X 90 feet, with a ceiling 45 feet high (ch 6:2).
Compare that to a modern megachurch. In Willow Creek Church (Chicago), the auditorium has “a 94 ft by 57 ft stage, a catwalk 47 ft above the floor, 481 light fixtures, an adjustable height lighting rack, and took so long to complete, the hours were incalculable.” (Wikipedia). Solomon’s temple sounds lavish though, the interior all overlaid with gold and ornamented with wood carvings. But if its cost were translated into current dollars, would it be any more lavish than Willow Creek, with a cost of $73 million in 2004, and “two Mitsubishi Diamond Vision high-definition LED screens 14’x 24′ in size”?
Solomon builds himself a palace alongside the temple. His palace is 4 times the size in area of the temple (150 X 75 feet), and takes almost twice as long to build (13 years vs 7). It has a 75 X 45 foot side building called the Hall of Pillars (what for?), a separate Hall of Justice (court), and separate living quarters for his wife. So what exactly is Solomon’s priority – his own house, or God’s?
Next he hires a craftsman to cast bronze works for the temple. There is a detailed list of these in v 15 – 40 (boring unless you’re an artisan). But note verse 23: “Then Huram cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference” (NLT). In the KJV those dimensions are given as “ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about”. Based on these measurements, the value of Pi is 3.0. Not very good math for a supposedly infallible book. (Note that the modern version adds the word ‘about’ to disguise the inaccuracy.)