The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Third Book of Kings
It was in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites left Egypt, in the second month (Zio, as it is called) of the fourth year of Solomon’s reign in Israel, that the building of the Lord’s house began.✻
This house built by Solomon in the Lord’s honour was sixty cubits long, twenty wide, and thirty high;
in front of the temple was a porch whose length, like the width of the temple itself, was twenty cubits, but it was only ten cubits wide.
Slanting windows he made to light his temple,
and about its walls he built storied galleries, that ran all round the sides of the temple and its shrine with pent-houses round about them;
the lowest of these galleries was five, the middle six, and the highest seven cubits broad; and they rested on beams close to the outside of the building all about, they were not attached to the temple walls.
All the time the temple was a-building, the stones used were ready hewn and shaped, so that there was no ringing of hammer or axe or iron tool in the house itself, while it was being built.
There was a door in the middle of the pent-house on the southern side of the building; from this a spiral staircase led to the first floor, and another to the top floor.
When he had finished building the walls of the house, Solomon covered it in with cedar rafters;
then, over the whole of it, he built an added storey five cubits high, and roofed the house with planks of cedar.
This was a message the Lord sent to Solomon:
So thou art building me a house? Follow, then, my commandments, execute my decrees, hold fast to all the laws I have given thee, and by these guide thy steps. So I will grant thee fulfilment of the promise I made to thy father David;
I will come and live among the sons of Israel, and not forsake my people any more.
So Solomon pressed on with the building of the house, until all was finished.
Its walls within were cedar-panelled, from the floor to the top of the walls, where the rafters sprang, no panel but was of cedar; only the floor was covered with planks of fir.
The furthest part of the temple was cedar-panelled to a height of twenty cubits from top to bottom; it was this inmost recess that he made into a shrine, a place all holiness,
and before the doors of this shrine the remaining forty cubits of length made up the temple proper.
All was cedar panelling, rounded and fitted with the craftsman’s utmost skill, embossed with carving, cedar everywhere, and no stone in the walls allowed to shew itself.
And there in the midst, in the inmost part of the building, stood the shrine in which the ark of the Lord was to rest;
twenty cubits in length, width, and height, and covered with plates of pure gold; plated, too, was the cedar altar.
Then he covered all the rest of the building, the ante-room of the shrine, with plates of pure gold, fastened with golden nails.
Nothing in the temple but was sheathed in gold, the altar that stood before the shrine with the rest.
Within the shrine stood two cherubim, made of olive-wood, ten cubits high;
each of these had wings of five cubits’ breadth, so that there was ten cubits’ distance between the tips of them.
The second cherub matched the first in height, no difference of size or of workmanship between them.
Ten cubits high they stood,
there in the midst of the inner shrine, either touching the wall with one wing and its fellow’s wing with the other.
The cherubim, too, he plated with gold.
All the walls of the temple were adorned with bands of carved and embossed work, cherubim and palm-trees and other patterns, standing out in high relief;
the floor, within the sanctuary and without, he covered with gold.
At the entrance to the shrine he made doors of olive-wood, between five-sided pilasters;
doors of olive-wood, carved with figures of cherubim and palm-trees, and other sculpture in high relief; doors and cherubim and palm-trees and all the rest were covered with gold.
At the entrance to the temple were square posts of olive-wood;
and the door on either side was of fir-wood; either door was double, but the two halves were connected, so that they opened together.
Cherubim, and palm-trees, and other sculpture stood out in high relief, and he covered all with gold plates squared by rule.
He also built an inner courtyard, whose walls had three courses of dressed stone and one of cedar-wood.✻
So, in the month of Zio of the fourth year of his reign, the foundations of the building were laid;
and it was finished, in all its parts and with all its appurtenances, in the eighth month (Bul, as it is called) of his eleventh year; so that it was seven years in building.
The Holy Bible