The call to God (Joel 2:17-2:17)

“Between the vestibule

And the altar,

Let the priests,

The ministers of Yahweh,

Weep!

Let them say!

‘Spare your people!

O Yahweh!

Do not make your heritage

A mockery!

Do not let it be

A byword among the nations!

Why should it be said

Among the people?

‘Where is their God?’”

Joel wanted the temple priests, the minister of Yahweh, to deliver a prayer to Yahweh between the altar and the vestibule, in the open court. They were to weep and ask God to spare them. They did not want the heritage of Yahweh to be a mockery or a byword among the various countries. There should never be a question about their God. Yahweh should show himself during this time of the locust plagues.

The southern inner court dimensions (Ezek 40:29-40:31)

“Its recesses,

Its pilasters,

Its vestibule

Were of the same size

As the others.

There were windows

All around within it,

As well as in its vestibule.

Its length was

Fifty cubits.

Its breadth was

Twenty-five cubits.

There were vestibules

All around.

They were

Twenty-five cubits deep,

Five cubits wide.

Its vestibule

Faced the outer court.

Palm trees were

On its pilasters.

Its stairway

Had eight steps.”

The inner court is somewhat similar to the outer court, since they were the same size as the others, with windows all around it. The vestibule was 50 cubits or 80 feet long and 25 cubits wide or 40 feet wide. There also was a vestibule that was 25 cubits or 40 feet deep and only 5 cubits or 8 feet wide. These vestibules faced the outer court with palm trees on its pilasters. This stairway had 8 steps, and not 7 like the others that came from the gates. Apparently, this Temple was built on different level terraces.

The size of the Temple (2 Chr 3:3-3:4)

“These are King Solomon’s measurements for building the house of God. The length, in cubits of the old standard, was sixty cubits. The breadth was twenty cubits. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, across the width of the house. Its height was one hundred and twenty cubits.”

This is the same description of the size of the Temple as in 1 Kings, chapter 6. To review, a cubit is the length from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger, about 1 foot, 6 inches, so that 2 cubits = 1 yard or 3 feet. This Temple building was 60 cubits long, (30 yards or 90 feet long). Its width was 20 cubits or (10 yards wide or 30 feet wide), which is not very wide. It was 3 times as long as it was wide. The vestibule or porch in front of the temple was the same width as the temple, (20 cubits) 30 feet wide.   Here there is no indication of its depth, which was only (10 cubits) 15 feet in 1 Kings. However, it was higher than it was wider at 30 cubits, (15 yards high or 45 foot high) in 1 Kings, but here the vestibule is 120 cubits, which would be 60 yards or 180 feet high. Therefore it was 6 times higher than it was wider, 30 feet wide and 180 feet high. This height seems a little funny. This seems like a pretty small building by today’s standards. It would be the equivalent of a small portion of a football field, 30 yards by 10 yards, or what we might call a small chapel today.

King David gives Solomon the plans for the temple (1 Chr 28:11-28:19)

“Then David gave his son Solomon the plan of the vestibule of the temple, and of its houses, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers, and the room for the mercy seat. The plan of all that he had in mind for the courts of the house of Yahweh, all the surrounding chambers, the treasuries of the house of God, and the treasuries for dedicated gifts was there.   It was laid out for the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, and all the work for the service in the house of Yahweh. All the vessels for the service in the house of Yahweh were clear. The weight of the gold for all golden vessels for each service was determined. The weight of the silver vessels for each service was determined. The weight of the golden lamp stands and their lamps, as well as the weight of gold for each lamp stand and its lamps was clear. The weight of silver for a lamp stand and its lamps, according to the use of each lamp stand in the service was determined. The weight of the gold for each table for the rows of bread, the silver for the silver tables, and the pure gold for the forks, the basins, and the cups was clear. Both the golden bowls and the weight of each and the silver bowls and the weight of each were determined. The altar of incense was to be made of refined gold, and its weight clearly determined. His plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of Yahweh was delineated. All this, in writing at Yahweh’s direction, he made clear to me, the plan of all the works.”

Now we have the explicit plans for the temple. Actually the temple will be built according to the plans laid out in the Pentateuch, the Law of Moses in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. However, King David had specific plans that he wanted his son to have. Nothing will be left to chance. Clearly, this biblical author wanted to show the superiority of King David over King Solomon. Once again, the room for the mercy seat plays an important role as in Exodus, chapter 35 and Leviticus, chapter 16, as it is mentioned with the general plans for the vestibule, the temple, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers. The Levites and the priests as well as their services were clear. The weight of all the gold and silver vessels and lamp stands was in the plans. Everything was there. This biblical author made it seem that King David got these plans directly from Yahweh, at Yahweh’s direction, the same as Moses. These were not just ideal thoughts of a king but they were the directives of Yahweh about the implementation of the Mosaic Law about worship.