It took Solomon another thirteen years to finish building his own palace complex.
He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred and fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high.
There were four rows of cedar columns supporting forty-five cedar beams, fifteen in each row, and then roofed with cedar.
Windows in groupings of three were set high in the walls on either side.
All the doors were rectangular and arranged symmetrically.
He built a colonnaded courtyard seventy-five feet long and forty-five wide. It had a roofed porch at the front with ample eaves.
He built a court room, the Hall of Justice, where he would decide judicial matters, and paneled it with cedar.
He built his personal residence behind the Hall on a similar plan. Solomon also built another one just like it for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had married.
No expense was spared - everything here, inside and out, from foundation to roof was constructed using high-quality stone, accurately cut and shaped and polished.
The foundation stones were huge, ranging in size from twelve to fifteen feet, and of the very best quality.
The finest stone was used above the foundation, shaped to size and trimmed with cedar.
The courtyard was enclosed with a wall made of three layers of stone and topped with cedar timbers, just like the one in the porch of The Temple of God.
King Solomon sent to Tyre and asked Hiram (not the king; another Hiram) to come.
Hiram's mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali. His father was a Tyrian and a master worker in bronze. Hiram was a real artist - he could do anything with bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all the bronze work.
First he cast two pillars in bronze, each twenty-seven feet tall and eighteen feet in circumference.
He then cast two capitals in bronze to set on the pillars; each capital was seven and a half feet high
and flared at the top in the shape of a lily. Each capital was dressed with an elaborate filigree of seven braided chains and a double row of two hundred pomegranates, setting the pillars off magnificently.
He set the pillars up in the entrance porch to The Temple; the pillar to the south he named Security (Jachin) and the pillar to the north Stability (Boaz).
The capitals were in the shape of lilies.
Hiram's next project was to make the Sea - an immense round basin of cast metal fifteen feet in diameter, seven and a half feet tall, and forty-five feet in circumference.
Just under the rim there were two bands of decorative gourds, ten gourds to each foot and a half. The gourds were cast in one piece with the Sea.
The Sea was set on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the bulls faced outward supporting the Sea on their hindquarters.
The Sea was three inches thick and flared at the rim like a cup, or like a lily. It held about 11,500 gallons.
Hiram also made ten washstands of bronze. Each was six feet square and four and a half feet tall.
They were made like this: Panels were fastened to the uprights.
Lions, bulls, and cherubim were represented on the panels and uprights. Beveled wreath-work bordered the lions and bulls above and below.
Each stand was mounted on four bronze wheels with bronze axles. The uprights were cast with decorative relief work.
Each stand held a basin on a circular engraved support a foot and a half deep set on a pedestal two and a quarter feet square. The washstand itself was square.
The axles were attached under the stand and the wheels fixed to them. The wheels were twenty-seven inches in diameter;
they were designed like chariot wheels. Everything - axles, rims, spokes, and hubs - was of cast metal.
There was a handle at the four corners of each washstand, the handles cast in one piece with the stand.
At the top of the washstand there was a ring about nine inches deep. The uprights and handles were cast with the stand.
Everything and every available surface was engraved with cherubim, lions, and palm trees, bordered by arabesques.
The washstands were identical, all cast in the same mold.
He also made ten bronze washbasins, each six feet in diameter with a capacity of 230 gallons, one basin for each of the ten washstands.
He arranged five stands on the south side of The Temple and five on the north. The Sea was placed at the southeast corner of The Temple.
Hiram then fashioned the various utensils: buckets and shovels and bowls. Hiram completed all the work he set out to do for King Solomon on The Temple of God:
two pillars; two capitals on top of the pillars; two decorative filigrees for the capitals;
four hundred pomegranates for the two filigrees (a double row of pomegranates for each filigree);
ten washstands each with its washbasin; one Sea;
twelve bulls under the Sea;
miscellaneous buckets, shovels, and bowls.
He cast them in clay in a foundry on the Jordan plain between Succoth and Zarethan.
These artifacts were never weighed - there were far too many! Nobody has any idea how much bronze was used.
Solomon was also responsible for all the furniture and accessories in The Temple of God: the gold Altar; the gold Table that held the Bread of the Presence;
the pure gold candelabras, five to the right and five to the left in front of the Inner Sanctuary; the gold flowers, lamps, and tongs;
the pure gold dishes, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, ladles, and censers; the gold sockets for the doors of the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, used also for the doors of the Main Sanctuary.
That completed all the work King Solomon did on The Temple of God. He then brought in the items consecrated by his father David, the silver and the gold and the artifacts. He placed them all in the treasury of God's Temple.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)