Solomon builds a palace and furnishes the Temple
1 Kings 7:1-12 Having completed the Temple, Solomon then sets about building a new royal palace to the south of the Temple – which takes a further thirteen years to complete. The main hall (The Hall of the Forest of Lebanon) is panelled with cedar. The Hall of Justice is built as Solomon’s throne room.
1 Kings 7:13-45 The Temple is filled with magnificent bronze furnishings, including a bronze altar for burnt offerings (see 1 Kings 8:22, 64 & 9:25), two gigantic bronze pillars with elaborately ornamented capitals, a huge ceremonial bronze basin or ‘laver’ (called the ‘Brazen Sea’) and ten smaller portable bronze handbasins resting on ceremonial washing or ‘laver’ stands (see Exodus 30:17-21). A similar portable bronze laver stand (probably from Cyprus) can be seen at the British Museum in London.
A Jewish ceremonial washing stand in the 2nd century AD synagogue at Sardis
The bronze castings for the Temple are made by Huram of Tyre using copper from the mines at Timna in the southern Negev Desert, near the port of Ezion Geber at the head of the Gulf of Aqabah (see 5 on Map 57).
1 Kings 7:46-51 The Israelite bronze foundry is located between Succoth and Zarethan in the Jordan Valley.
King Solomon’s Mines
The elegant bronze castings for Solomon’s Temple were made with copper from the mines at Timna in the southern Negev Desert near the Gulf of Aqaba. The copper was taken north to the bronze foundry between Sukkoth and Zarethan in the Jordan Valley, where highly skilled metal workers from the Kingdom of Tyre were employed to produce the bronze alloys needed for the elaborate castings.
The site of King Solomon’s Mines at Timna, about 18 miles / 30 km north of Eilat, can still be visited today. Copper mining began here over four thousand years ago under the Egyptians and the Midianites, reaching its zenith in the time of King Solomon. Mining ceased after the Romans left, but saw renewed working as recently as the 1970s. The Yotvata Museum and Visitor Centre has a display of mining techniques and archaeological finds.
King Solomon's Pillars, Timna Park (Little Savage)
As well as the copper mines, the Timna Park site also contains a life-size reconstruction of the Israelite ‘Tabernacle’ (the ‘Tent of the Lord’s Presence’) and several 50 metre high sandstone pillars known as King Solomon’s Pillars. Other features include the remains of an Egyptian temple to the goddess Hathor, some unusual mushroom-shaped rock formations and the remnants of a small Midianite temple.
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