According to the Biblical narrative, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was a temple in Jerusalem (: B hamM?qd) built under King Solomon's reign and completed in 957 BCE. The Temple was looted and then destroyed in 586/587 BCE at the hands of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, who also deported the Jews to Babylon. The destruction of the temple and the deportation were seen as fulfillments of prophecy and strengthened Judaic religious beliefs.
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) describes how Solomon's father, David, the great warrior king, united the Israelite tribes, captured Jerusalem and brought the Israelites' central artifact, the Ark of the Covenant, into the city. David chose Mount Moriah in Jerusalem as the site for a future temple to house the Ark, today known as the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif. However, God would not let him build the Temple, for he had "shed much blood." Instead, his son Solomon, known for being an ambitious builder of public works, built it. He placed the Ark in the Holy of Holies, the windowless innermost room and most sacred area of the Temple. In the Holy of Holies, God's presence rested. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the room, once per year on the Day of Atonement, carrying the blood of a sacrificial lamb and burning incense.
According to the Bible, the Temple not only served as a religious building, but also as a place of assembly for the Israelites. The Jews who had been deported in the aftermath of the Babylonian conquest were eventually allowed to return and rebuild their temple -- known as the Second Temple. But the building no longer housed the Ark, as it had disappeared.
There is a general agreement that a ritual structure existed on the Temple Mount by the point of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, however serious doubts remain in attributing it or its construction to Solomon, or any king roughly contemporaneous to his lifetime. Scholars doubt the veracity of the Biblical account as no evidence for the existence of Solomon's Temple has been found and the Temple is not mentioned in extra-Biblical accounts. Artifacts supposedly proving the existence of Solomon's Temple - an ivory pomegranate and a ninth century BCE stone tablet - have turned out to be fakes. Many scholars believe that the inscription on a pottery shard known as Ostracon 18 written around 600 BCE references the Temple in Jerusalem. If so, it would be the only extra-Biblical corroboration of the Temple found.
Rabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE (3338 AM), 165 years later than secular estimates.
The Jewish historian Josephus says; "the temple was burnt four hundred and seventy years, six months, and ten days after it was built". The temple was subsequently replaced with the Second Temple in 516 BCE.[additional citation(s) needed]
The exact location of the Temple is unknown: it is believed to have been situated upon the hill which forms the site of the 1st century Second Temple and present-day Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock is situated.
Until the reforms of King Josiah, there was also a statue for the goddess Asherah and priestesses wove ritual textiles for her. Next to the temple was a house for the temple prostitutes  who performed sacred prostitution at the temple. It is unclear whether the prostitutes included both male and female or just male prostitutes.
According to Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Asherah was Yahweh's consort, and she was worshipped alongside Yahweh. According to Richard H. Lowery, Yahweh and Asherah headed a pantheon of other Judean gods that were worshipped at the temple.
The temple had chariots of the sun and temple worshipers would face east and bow to the sun. Some Bible scholars, such as Margaret Barker, say that these solar elements indicate a solar cult. They may reflect an earlier Jebusite worship of Zedek or possibly a solarized Yahwism.
According to the Tanakh, the Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant. It says the Ark contained the Ten Commandments and was moved from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem by David before being moved into Solomon's temple. However, many biblical scholars believe the story of the Ark was written independently and then incorporated into the main biblical narrative just before the exile into Babylon. Archaeologists speculate that the Ark may have contained pagan gods and remained in Kiriath Jearim for much longer, possibly until shortly before the Babylonian conquest.
During the Deuteronomic reform of King Josiah, the cult objects of the sun and Asherah were taken out of the temple and the practice of sacred prostitution and the worship of Baal and the hosts of heaven were stopped.
A korban was a kosher animal sacrifice, such as a bull, sheep, goat, or a dove that underwent shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter). Sacrifices could also consist of grain, meal, wine, or incense. Offerings were often cooked and most of it eaten by the offerer, with parts given to the Kohen priests and small parts burned on the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem. Only in special cases was all of the offering given only to God, such as in the case of the scapegoat. Under Josiah, sacrifices were centralized at Solomon's temple and other places of sacrifice were abolished. The temple became a major slaughtering center and a major part of Jerusalem's economy.
This section possibly contains original research. (August 2014)
In the Bible book 2 Samuel, Hiram I, the king of the Phoenician city state Tyre, becomes an ally of David, following his conquest of Jerusalem. The friendship continues after Solomon succeeds David and a literary account of how Hiram helps Solomon build the Temple is given in the Bible books 1 Kings chapter 5 to 9 and 2 Chronicles chapter 2 to 7.
Hiram agrees to Solomon's request to supply him with cedar and cypress tree for the construction of the Temple. He tells Solomon that he will send the trees by sea: "I will make them into rafts to go by the sea to the place that you indicate. I will have them broken up there for you to take away." In return for the lumber, Solomon sends him wheat and oil. Solomon also brings over a skilled craftsman from Tyre, also called Hiram (or Huram-abi), who oversees the construction of the Temple. Stonemasons from Gebal (Byblos) cut stones for the Temple.
According to 1 Kings, the foundation of the Temple is laid in Ziv, the second month of the fourth year of Solomon's reign and construction is completed in Bul, the eighth month of Solomon's eleventh year, thus taking about seven years. According to Flavius Josephus, "Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, on the second month, which the Macedonians call Artemisius, and the Hebrews Jar, five hundred and ninety two years after the exodus out of Egypt, but after one thousand and twenty years from Abraham's coming out of Mesopotamia into Canaan and after the deluge one thousand four hundred and forty years; and from Adam, the first man who was created, until Solomon built the temple, there had past in all three thousand one hundred and two years."
After the Temple and palace (taking an additional 13 years) is completed, Solomon gives Hiram twenty towns in the Galilee as a partial payment for goods delivered. But when Hiram comes to see the towns he isn't pleased: "What are these towns that you have given me, my brother?" he asks. Though he remains on friendly terms with Solomon.
The Bible book 2 Chronicles fills in some details of the construction not given in 1 Kings. It states that the trees sent as rafts were sent to the city of Joppa on the Mediterranean coast, and in return for the lumber supplied, Solomon, in addition to the wheat and oil, sent wine to Hiram.
and record that in the seventh month of the year, at the feast of Tabernacles, the priests and the Levites brought the Ark of the Covenant from the City of David and placed it inside the Holy of Holies.
1 Kings 8:10-66 and 2 Chronicles 6:1-42 recount the events of the temple's dedication. When the priests emerged from the holy of holies after placing the Ark there, the Temple was filled with an overpowering cloud which interrupted the dedication ceremony, "for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord [such that] the priests could not stand to minister" (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14). Solomon interpreted the cloud as "[proof] that his pious work was accepted":
Solomon then led the whole assembly of Israel in prayer, noting that the construction on the temple represented a fulfilment of God's promise to David, dedicating the temple as a place of prayer and reconciliation for the people of Israel and for foreigners living in Israel, and highlighting the paradox that God who lives in the heavens cannot really be contained within a single building. The dedication was concluded with musical celebration and sacrifices said to have included "twenty-two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep". These sacrifices were offered outside the temple, in "the middle of the court that was in front of the house of the Lord", because the altar inside the temple, despite its extensive dimensions, was not big enough for the offerings being made that day. The celebration lasted eight days and was attended by "very great assembly [gathered] from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt". The subsequent feast of Tabernacles extended the whole celebration to 14 days, before the people were "sent away to their homes".
After the dedication, Solomon hears in a dream that God has heard his prayer, and God will continue to hear the prayers of the people of Israel if they adopt the four ways in which they could move God to action: humility, prayer, seeking his face, and turning from wicked ways. Conversely, if they turn aside and forsake God's commandments and worship other gods, then God will abandon the temple: "this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight".
2 Kings 12:1-17 and 2 Chronicles 24:1-14 recount that King Joash and the priests of the temple organised a restoration programme funded from popular donations. The temple was restored to its original condition and further reinforced.
According to the Tanakh, the Temple was plundered by the Neo-Babylonian Empire king Nebuchadnezzar II when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem during the brief reign of Jehoiachin c. 598 BCE (2 Kings 24:13). A decade later, Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in 587 BCE, subsequently burning the Temple, along with most of the city (2 Kings 25). According to Jewish tradition, the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of Av (Hebrew calendar).
Solomon's Temple is considered by Finkelstein to be built according to Phoenician design, and its description is in accordance with the way a Phoenician temple looked like. The detailed descriptions provided in the Tanakh are the sources for reconstructions of its appearance. Technical details are lacking, since the scribes who wrote the books were not architects or engineers. Nevertheless, the descriptions have inspired modern replicas of the temple and influenced later structures around the world.
Archeologists categorize the Biblical description of Solomon's Temple as a langbau building. That is, a rectangular building that is longer than it is wide. It is furthermore classified as a tripartite building, consisting of three units; the ulam (porch), the heikal (sanctuary), and the debir (the Holy of Holies). It is also categorized as being a straight-axis temple, meaning that there is a straight line from the entrance to the innermost shrine.
The ulam, or porch, featured two bronze pillars Jachin and Boaz. It is unclear from the biblical descriptions whether the porch was a closed room, a roofed entranceway, or an open courtyard. Thus, it is not known whether the pillars were freestanding or structural elements built into the porch. If they were built into the porch, it could indicate that the design was influenced by similar temples in Syria or even Turkey, home to the ancient Hittite empire. While most reconstructions of the Temple have the pillars freestanding, Yosef Garfinkel and Madeleine Mumcuoglu finds it likely that the pillars supported a roof over the porch.
The porch led to the heikal, main chamber, or sanctuary. It measured 40 cubits in length, 20 cubits in width, and 30 cubits in height and contained a candelabrum, a table and a gold-covered altar used for offerings. In the sanctuary, loaves of Showbread were left as an offering to God. At the far end of the sanctuary there was a wooden door, guarded by two cherubim, leading to the Holy of Holies.
The walls of the sanctuary were lined with cedar, on which were carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, which were overlaid with gold . Chains of gold further marked it off from the Holy of Holies. The floor of the Temple was of fir overlaid with gold. The doorposts, of olivewood, supported folding doors of fir. The doors of the Holy of Holies were of olivewood. On both sets of doors were carved cherubim, palm trees, and flowers, all being overlaid with gold ( et seq.) This main building was between the outer altar, where most sacrifices were performed, and inside at the far end was the entry to the Holy of Holies, originally containing the Ark of the Covenant. The main hekhal contained a number of sacred ritual objects including the seven-branched candlestick, a golden Altar of Incense, and the table of the showbread. According to 1 Kings 7:48 these tables were of gold, as were also the five candlesticks on each side of the altar. The candle-tongs, basins, snuffers, fire-pans, and even the hinges of the doors were also gold.
The Holy of Holies, also called the "Inner House," was 20 cubits in length, breadth, and height. The usual explanation for the discrepancy between its height and the 30-cubit height of the temple is that its floor was elevated, like the cella of other ancient temples. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar of Lebanon, and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold amounting to 600 talents or roughly 20 metric tons. It contained two cherubim of olive-wood, each 10 cubits high and each having outspread wings of 10 cubits span, so that, since they stood side by side, the wings touched the wall on either side and met in the center of the room. There was a two-leaved door between it and the Holy Place overlaid with gold; also a veil of tekhelet (blue), purple, and crimson and fine linen. It had no windows and was considered the dwelling-place of the "name" of God.
The Holy of Holies was prepared to receive and house the Ark; and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark, containing the original tablets of the Ten Commandments, was placed beneath the cherubim.
Chambers were built around the Temple on the southern, western and northern sides (1 Kings 6:5-10). These formed a part of the building and were used for storage. They were probably one story high at first; two more may have been added later.
According to the Bible, two courts surrounded the Temple. The Inner Court (1 Kings 6:36), or Court of the Priests (2 Chr. 4:9), was separated from the space beyond by a wall of three courses of hewn stone, surmounted by cedar beams (1 Kings 6:36). It contained the Altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the Brazen Sea laver (4:2-5, 10) and ten other lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). A brazen altar stood before the Temple (2 Kings 16:14), its dimensions 20 cubits square and 10 cubits high (2 Chr. 4:1). The Great Court surrounded the whole Temple (2 Chr. 4:9). It was here that people assembled to worship. (Jeremiah 19:14; 26:2).
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Molten Sea or Brazen Sea ( ? "cast metal sea") was a large basin in the Temple for ablution of the priests. It is described in 1 Kings 7:23-26 and 2 Chronicles 4:2-5. It stood in the south-eastern corner of the inner court. According to the Bible it was five cubits high, ten cubits in diameter from brim to brim, and thirty cubits in circumference. The brim was "like the calyx of a lily" and turned outward "about an hand breadth"; or about four inches. It was placed on the backs of twelve oxen, standing with their faces outward. The Book of Kings states that it contains 2,000 baths (90 cubic meters), while Chronicles (2 Chr. 4:5-6) states it can hold up to 3,000 baths (136 cubic meters) and states that its purpose was to afford opportunity for the purification by immersion of the bodies of the priests.
The fact that it was a wash basin which was too large to enter from above lends to the idea that water would likely have flowed from it down into a subcontainer beneath. The water was originally supplied by the Gibeonites, but was afterwards brought by a conduit from Solomon's Pools. The molten sea was made of brass or bronze, which Solomon had taken from the captured cities of Hadarezer, the king of Zobah (1 Chronicles 18:8). Ahaz later removed this laver from the oxen, and placed it on a stone pavement (2 Kings 16:17). It was destroyed by the Chaldeans (2 Kings 25:13).
Also outside the temple were 10 lavers, each of which held "forty baths" (1 Kings 7:38), resting on portable holders made of bronze, provided with wheels, and ornamented with figures of lions, cherubim, and palm-trees. The author of the books of the Kings describes their minute details with great interest (1 Kings 7:27-37). Josephus reported that the vessels in the Temple were composed of orichalcum covered in gold in Antiquities of the Jews.
Because of the religious and political sensitivities involved, no archaeological excavations and only limited surface surveys of the Temple Mount have been conducted since Charles Warren's expedition of 1867-70. There is no solid archaeological evidence for the existence of Solomon's Temple, and the building is not mentioned in surviving extra-biblical accounts.
Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman argue that the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem was not built until the end of the 7th century BCE, around three hundred years after Solomon. They believe the temple should not really be assigned to Solomon (whom they see as little more than a small-time hill country chieftain) and argue that it was most likely built by Josiah, who governed Judah from 639 to 609 BCE.
William G. Dever challenges this position and argues that the biblical description of the Temple itself shows profound similarities with other temples of the time (Phoenician, Assyrian and Philistine), suggesting that this cult structure was actually built by Solomon (whom he sees as an actual king of Israel) in the 10th century BCE, although the biblical description is undoubtedly excessive. These views are shared by the archaeologist Amihai Mazar, who underlines how the description of the Temple in the Bible, albeit exaggerated, is substantially in line with the architectural descriptions already present in the Levant in the second millennium BCE.
There is archaeological and written evidence of three Israelite temples, either contemporary or of very close date, dedicated to Yahweh (Elephantine temple, probably Arad too), either in the Land of Israel or in Egypt. Two of them have the same general outline as given by the Bible for the Jerusalem Temple.
Rituals in Freemasonry refer to King Solomon and the building of his Temple. Masonic buildings, where lodges and their members meet, are sometimes called "temples"; an allegoric reference to King Solomon's Temple.
The Temple in Jerusalem is mentioned in verse 6 of the surah Al-Isra in the Quran with the words " (We permitted your enemies) to.... enter your dwellings"; commentators of Quran such as Muhammad al-Tahir ibn Ashur postulate that this verse refers specifically to the Temple of Solomon.
Kabbalah views the design of the Temple of Solomon as representative of the metaphysical world and the descending light of the creator through Sefirot of the Tree of Life. The levels of the outer, inner and priest's courts represent three lower worlds of Kabbalah. The Boaz and Jachin pillars at the entrance of the temple represent the active and passive elements of the world of Atziluth. The original menorah and its seven branches represent the seven lower Sephirot of the Tree of Life. The veil of the Holy of Holies and the inner part of the temple represent the Veil of the Abyss on the Tree of Life, behind which the Shekhinah or Divine Presence hovers.
Solomon's Temple appears in Solomon and Sheba (1959) and in the novel King Solomon's Mines (1885). It also appears in the video game Assassin's Creed where the main character Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad deals with Robert de Sablé. It appears too in Assassin's Creed Unity (2014) where the Knight Templar Jacques de Molay is burned and dies.
It has a detailed account and treatment of Solomon's Temple and its significance.