Reported by John-Peter Gernaat with additional illustrations
Solomon was anointed King by Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet: Priest, Prophet and King, borne by three separate people at that time. He was given the task of making visible in the world the place that would be the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant would be kept, until this could transfer from being a place in the temple to being a place in the human constitution.
King Solomon is known for many by two stories: the story that exemplifies his wisdom when he is asked to decide who is the mother of a baby and the story of the Queen of Sheba which exemplifies his great wealth and his standing as an international figure, a cosmopolitan leader of world repute.
In the story of the baby, two unfaithful women, who each had given birth, come to see Solomon because the one woman had accidentally smothered her baby. She then claimed to be the mother of the other woman’s baby and that the other woman’s baby was the dead baby. Solomon resolves the situation by offering to cut the living baby in two with a sword so they can each have half. The true mother capitulates to save the life of her child and agrees that the baby belongs to the other woman, while the woman with the dead baby is happy to have the other child also killed. Thus, Solomon knows who the real mother is. They are unfaithful to each other and unfaithful to their grief and loss. The sword is the sword of truth. This is a story of faith rather than a story of prostitution, as these women are referred to in many translations.
King Solomon married many foreign women besides the daughter of Pharaoh. We can go to Abraham visiting Egypt with his wife Sarah and introducing Sarah as his sister who married the Pharaoh. It was the daughter of the Pharaoh who became the stepmother of Moses. The concept of the Pharaoh’s daughter is significant. It means Solomon is aligning himself with all sorts of spiritual cults. Solomon married into the family whose ancestors spiritually enslaved the Israelites and would not free them to find their path with YHWH (Yahweh of the Elohim). Solomon married women from the very nations that YHWH had commanded the Israelites not to marry – YHWH wishing to isolate the Israelites from the influences of these nations. But Solomon reaches out in order to be cosmopolitan, being an international diplomat. He created relationships with all of the tribes by marrying women from the tribes. YHWH forbade the marriages for fear that the women would take the hearts of the husbands and lead them to worshipping their gods, thus leading them away from YHWH and his mission for humanity. Solomon does build temples for his wives to worship their gods. Solomon had 700 wives of royal birth. This represents a very powerful span of time. He had picked up all of the developed nations. He also had 300 concubines. Solomon had 1000 women: ten times ten times ten. In his old age his wives led him astray to worship their gods. This is why Solomon was not the greatest king, and David remains the greatest king. David never faltered in his duty to YHWH. We might think of Solomon as a great king who goes to great lengths to incorporate the tribes of the world, building economic and political relationships with all of these tribes. He was the “bearer of peace” by name and by action. He gave his wives the complete freedom to worship their own gods. YHWH appeared twice to Solomon to instruct him to set aside his wives and their gods. On the third occasion YHWH made it clear that the choice was Solomon’s: to increase the wealth of the nations, to make peace with all others, become the centre of the known world, but that he, YHWH would take away the kingship from Solomon and give it to his servant, but only after Solomon’s death. One tribe, the Kingdom of Judah, would be given to Solomon’s son in order to protect Jerusalem which YHWH has chosen.
Solomon is referred to by seven names in Proverbs: a full span of the human being. In Anthroposophy we would consider these to be the physical, the etheric, the astral, the Ego, the Spirit Self, the Life Spirit and the Spirit Human. Solomon represented all of these as the bearer of peace. But because he builds human relationships ahead of his relationship of YHWH, he must pay the price.
The book of Proverbs is known as the wisdom of Solomon but in chapter 30 it is describes as the words of Agur, son of Jakeh king of Massa. It is another name for Solomon that represents a quality of Solomon. Then we have the words of Lemuel king of Massa. Massa is another name for the nation of Israel. The seven names of Solomon are:
These are the seven names or descriptions of Solomon which we can align with the seven-fold human being. This allows us to see Solomon as an extraordinarily great person, a wise person, a capable person who can do, organise, manage. His impression on the Queen of Sheba is beyond her wildest dreams; the descriptions she had heard of him do not do justice to what she discovered.
Solomon had the wealth and riches and the inflow of prosperity to build the temple which his father, King David, did not have and therefore YHWH forbade him building the temple.
Solomon who was more exoteric than his father David and had the capacity to build an exoteric building to house the secret, the Holy of Holies, the inner sense of the connection of the people of Israel and the great mighty spiritual being that represented God for them and was their chief angelic connection with the Divine. The building of the temple is placed in a historical context in the Scriptures. It was built in the 48th year after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, in the 4th year of Solomons reign over Israel, in the month of Zim which is the second month. It was a temple to YHWH and was a temple of communication in which the Israelites could connect to YHWH. YHWH is an Elohim, a mighty formative force being. The building of a house in which one could communicate with this mighty being of form was quite an extradentary achievement. It was the third great creation of a sacred space.
The first was the building of Noah’s ark. This was a house that would house all of YHWH’s forms, the human, the animal; the living, moving, breathing forms until the waters subsided and all the plants, all that can be cultivated and create the space for the human being to live, had returned. This is a picture of building a sacred space, an ark, the word that in Hebrew means coffin. Noah and the animals are going through a death from one form of existence and are being born anew through the water of the flood like the waters of baptism into a new experience of life on earth. We speak of a post-diluvian world, Steiner speaks of post-Atlantean epochs and cultures. The whole world at one time was Atlantis and then it flooded and the floods subsided and a new world appeared.
Second was the Ark of the Covenant in which the Law could be placed: the holy contract with YHWH.
The contract must now live in a house in which people could gather. The house was described as three-folded. In the Hebrew of the first Book of Kings the words for the three parts of the temple of Solomon are not originally Hebrew words; they were borrowed from the Accadian language. This language was usually codified in Cuneiform and later in an Accadian script similar to the Arabic and Hebrew. It was the language of the Phoenicians. We have already looked at the parallel between the Lord of Israel and the Lord of the Phoenicians, the Lord Their God, YHWH of the Elohim – Adonai – and Adonis the lordly being of the Phoenicians.
The builder of Solomon’s temple is a Phoenician. Solomon builds a Phoenician building in its interior and exterior design. It shows the cosmopolitan nature of Solomon, and it would have been quite splendid. The building itself was much smaller than one may realise. The temple would have a looked like the chapel in a large palace complex of today, such as St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle:
The description of its size in the Book of Kings meant it was quite a manageable building. The names given to the three parts of the temple were probably adopted into the Hebrew language at the time of the building of the temple. They are Ulam – the vestibule, Hechal – the long room in which there was an altar, a seven branched candelabrum and tables with holy bread on either side, and Devir – the Holy of Holies.
The wall separating the Holy of Holies from the Long Room was a wooden wall. The interior of the entire temple was gilded with gold and there was a large quantity of bronze work from which was fashioned many aspects inside and outside of the temple. The Holy of Holies is in the west of the temple with the entrance on the east. There had been a spiritual movement from east to west. The Holy of Holies was placed in the direction of the setting sun. It is the place where the sun will set so that a new sun will rise. This new sun will be the Son of God. The Holy of Holies was already identifying itself as a place of ending, not of new beginning. The new beginning is Easter Sunday, the Day of Resurrection. There was a lot of imagery of rising again, or renewal, even of resurrection (strangely enough) in this temple. This included the great columns, Jachin and Boaz, designed by Hiram the temple builder, that signified day and night, birth and death. It was between these two pillars that one entered the great gate into the temple. The Holy of Holies was placed behind a wood wall rather than a wall of the stone used for the walls of the temple which were created in the quarry so that there would be no sound of chiselling of rock at the site of the building of the temple. The temple was built in a holy silence. Covering the entrance to the Holy of Holies was a curtain and only once a year would a priest enter the Holy of Holies to fulfil the ritual that was required to be performed. This is the place where Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, found himself when he meets the Angel of the Lord: Gabriel. He was struck dumb and exited the Holy of Holies unable to speak. The Hebrews realised that he has had an extraordinary encounter in the Holy of Holies. The curtain covering the entrance of the Holy of Holies was in four colours: white, purple, blue and red. Different qualities have been associated with these colours based on what they may have signified at the time for the Israelites. The suggestion is that white represented purity, purple represented sacrifice, blue represented meditation and red represented love. These were the essential qualities the priest would have required to enter the Holy of Holies: he would have had to be pure, willing to sacrificially offer himself, be in a meditative frame of being filled with the love and devotion for the Divine. The colours of the curtain informed the Hebrews of the qualities of soul, the quality of attitude required to enter the most sacred of spaces. However, one may also consider that the four colours of the curtain represented the four-fold human being: body – the vessel that can hold the pure spirit, formative life force – the place from which self-sacrifice is possible, soul expression – the space to connect with the Divine and others, and the essential quality of spirit – the ability to express love. As the temple was open to everyone who visited Jerusalem this was a picture that was available for the whole of humanity to see.
The vestibule was half as long as it was wide. The long room was twice as deep as it was wide which held the altar for the burnt offering and the seven branched candelabrum and the table with consecrated bread on either side. Then the third room with the curtain of four colours, the Holy of Holies.
From Philo to Thomas Aquinas to Martin Luther theologians have identified that the three-fold temple represented the three-fold human being. Entering the vestibule was to enter the body of the building, then entering more deeply one entered the soul realm in the Long Room and then the Holy of Holies was the spirit of the temple which represents the spirit of the human being. The form of the temples represented the form of the highest achievement of YHWH and the other Elohim in the creation of the world: the human form: body, soul and spirit.
The Temple Legend, very popular among the Rosicrucian, tells that when the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon the temple is in the process of being built. When she entered the temple for the first time her reaction was recorded in many writings. The most astonishing of these appears in the Qur’an. As the Queen of Sheba stepped into the temple the floor was so highly polished and the moon shining through the windows causing a reflection on the floor giving the Queen the impression that the floor was flooded, and she lifted her skirts so as not to wet them as she walked across the floor. This temple was a moon temple connected to YHWH who operates from the sphere of the Moon which is a reflection of the Sun. It was not a light in itself. YHWH is not El, he was a reflection of El to the people of Israel with an exceedingly important task. YHWH is the leading Elohim of Earth Evolution.
In the Temple Legend the Queen of Sheba also meets Hiram. She was very connected with the old ways, while Solomon was very much a descendant of Abraham with clear, brain-based thinking. He was filled with understanding and wisdom and a cosmopolitan leader, connecting with all the nations, marrying princesses from each nation, making Jerusalem a place of destination and pilgrimage. The Queen of Sheba was more connected to atavistic wisdom. When she heard of Jerusalem she was driven to visit it, rather than making a conscious decision to visit it. For her it was a knowing that this what she must do rather than a thought through process. She was taken with the design and craftsmanship Hiram was introducing to the temple and Solomon became jealous of Hiram. He believed that the Queen of Sheba considered Hiram to be more informed and developed than he was and as a result Solomon decides that Hiram’s secret must die with him and, according to the Temple Legend, not the Book on Kings, Solomon ordered the death of Hiram. In this legend Solomon was seen as being descended from the stream of Abel and Harim was descended from the stream of Cain and especially Tubal-cain. The impulse of Abel was transferred and carried by the son Seth who was born to Adam and Eve after the slaying of Abel. The Temple Legend understands something of the origins of Cain and Abel. The origin of Cain is pre-Paradise, out of a conception that belonged to before the Fall. Abel was a conception after the Fall. Therefore, there were two streams, one in touch with the arts and creativity and through human, artistic activity creating a human paradise, and the other taming and managing the earth, taking hold and cultivating the land and keeping flocks. Cain grew crops in order that the life forces would grow from the earth and the gift he brought to YHWH were all derived from the sun-forces of growth. Abel brought a gift that derived from the moon forces: the first-born of his flock and herd. Cain killed Abel. In the Temple Legend the Abel stream took revenge on the Cain stream and nothing changes. There is no restoration from the first offerings to YHWH to the House of YHWH. There is a deep division in the human experience that involves death. There is no hope of renewal, resurrection and new life.
The renewal comes through Christ. And the curtain of the temple was rent from top to bottom. It was so high that it would not have been possible to tear from top to bottom without high ladders. The tearing from top to bottom meant that the Divine world tore the curtain, opening the veil, exposing the Holy of Holies. There is no longer a hidden place out in the world, the only hidden place now resides in the human being. As a result, there is no longer a temple in the world, the temple is now in us. Our body is the temple of the Divine, the Holy Spirit, according to St Paul.
Hiram is known as the son of the widow. The reference to the son of the widow means that Hiam was a Phoenician. Adonis was born after the death of his father. In the myth of Isis and Osiris, Isis gave birth to Horus after Osiris was killed. The great gods therefore were the ‘sons of the widow’. It became an esoteric descriptor of one who had been through an initiation; an initiation, one might say, into the mindset of the gods. It gave them the ability to work like a priest. Therefore, the temple was built by a high initiate, someone who could work in the space of a priest. Solomon was king, anointed as king, but he was not priest. He was not initiated into the great wisdom of the esoteric mysteries, and he failed to build the absolute connection to YHWH, in the way David, his father had. Solomon remained entirely worldly and failed in the one aspect in which his father remained steadfast, despite his many other failings. Hiram could build the temple because he was a great initiate. In the Gospels we have the only son of the widow being carried out of the city on a bier. Therefore, we know that this young man was not dead but in a temple sleep. It may be that he was experiencing a former initiation and needed to raised from the temple sleep, which Jesus did and presented him to his mother. The initiation allowed the person to spend three days in the spiritual world in a way that would allow the person to return with knowledge that would advance humanity. They would return as a new human being.
This report represents the end of the Old Testament Study that began in November 2020. There will be further studies of aspects of the Old Testament, and these will be announced in time. They will most likely not occur again on a Saturday as it appears that a more suitable day and time needs to be considered for everyone interested in participating.
*The Temple of Solomon in Iron Age Context
Yosef Garfinkel ** and Madeleine Mumcuoglu
Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190501 Jerusalem, Israel;
** Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: 24 February 2019; Accepted: 13 March 2019; Published: 15 March 2019
Follow us on Twitter. We put reminders of events and notices on Twitter.
2021 - January to December
2020 - January to December
2019 - January to December
2018 - January to December
2017 - January to December
2016 - January to December
2015 - January to December
2014 - November & December
2013 - July to December
2013 - January to June
2012 - April to December
Send us your photos of community events.
Articles (prefaced by month number)