Shlomo monarchy in Jerusalem

 

Rabbi Yitzchak Levi

  

In the previous lectures, we described David's actions in Jerusalem, from his choosing the city as the capital of his kingdom to his turning it into the city of the Temple. Now on we will discuss Shlomo's monarchy in Jerusalem.

 

I. THE MONARCHY OF SHLOMO - AN IDEAL MONARCHY AT THE OUTSET

 

Shlomo's monarchy should have been an ideal monarchy in all senses:

 

     ·Shlomo was the first king to succeed his father.

     ·Peace prevailed in the entire region:

 

For he had dominion over all the region of this side of the river, from Tifsach to Azza, over all the kings on this side of the river; and he had peace on all sides round about him. And Yehuda and Israel dwelt in safety, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan to Be'er-Sheva, all the days of Shlomo. (Melakhim I 5:4-5)

 

        · The borders of the kingdom were the widest ever:

 

And Shlomo reigned over all kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt; they brought presents and served Shlomo all the days of his life. (ibid. v. 1)

 

        · Economic prosperity reached extraordinary heights:

 

And Shlomo's provision for one day was thirty kor of fine flour, and sixty kor of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pasture, and a hundred sheep, apart from deer and gazelles, and fallow deer, and geese. (ibid. vv. 2-3)

 

Now the weight of gold that came to Shlomo in one year was six hundred and sixty six talents of gold… And king Shlomo made two hundred targets of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield… Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with the best gold… And all king Shlomo's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold, none were of silver; that was considered nothing in the days of Shlomo… And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem like stones, and he made cedars to be like the sycamore trees that are in the lowlands for abundance. (ibid. 10:14-27)

 

                 · Shlomo's wisdom was known throughout Israel and all across the world, as is stated in the judgment involving the two harlots (ibid. 3:16-28) and as is stated regarding the queen of Sheba upon her arrival (ibid. 10:1-10).

 

                 · The entire world recognized Shlomo's superiority, strength, and wisdom:

 

And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Shlomo, from all kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom. (ibid. 5:14)

 

So king Shlomo exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought of Shlomo, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armor, and spices, horses, and mules, and so it was year by year. (ibid. 10:23-25)

 

        · David had made all the possible preparations for the building of the Temple and commanded the heads of the nation to help Shlomo on the matter (Divrei Ha-yamim I 22:6-28).

 

Shlomo's opening circumstances seem to be very promising from all perspectives – spiritual, political, internal, and economic. He is able to begin construction of the Temple and fortify his kingdom in every way.

 

II. the structure of the chapters dealing with shlomo (I melakhim 1-11)

 

The eleven chapters of Melakhim I that deal with Shlomo's kingdom are divided into several sections:[1]

 

1–2:11

The anointing of Shlomo as king and David's testament. The section ends, "Then Shlomo sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established" (2:12).

2:13-4:1

The solidification of Shlomo's kingdom. The section ends, "And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king has judged; and they feared the king. For they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. So king Shlomo was king over all Israel" (3:28-4:1).

4:2-5:14

The kingdom of Shlomo: his officers, his rule, his wealth, his strength, and his wisdom.

5:15-7:51

The treaty with Chiram and the wisdom of Shlomo, the construction of the house of God and the house of the king.

8

The dedication of the Temple, Shlomo's blessing and prayer.

9:1-9

Shlomo's second night vision (the promise regarding a dynasty and the Temple on condition that his descendents follow in the path of God).

9:10-28

Strengthening of the kingdom, its security, and its economy.

10

Shlomo's wisdom, wealth, greatness, and strength.

11

Shlomo's sins and punishment.

 

This internal division indicates that the chapters dealing with the Temple (5:15-8) lie at the heart of the chapters relating to Shlomo and divide them into three periods: the period prior to the building of the Temple, the chapters of the Temple, and the period following the building. This analysis is supported by the chiastic correspondence between chapters 3-5 and chapters 9-11, as we shall spell out in detail below.

 

The beginning of chapter 3 states:

 

And Shlomo became allied by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built to the name of the Lord until those days. And Shlomo loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. (3:1-3)

 

            There is a hint of criticism here about the fact that a house of God had not yet been built and that the people were still offering sacrifices in the high places. Later in the chapter, we find a description of God's first appearance to Shlomo at Giv'on, Shlomo's opting for wisdom, and the judgment involving the two harlots.

 

            Chapter 5 describes Shlomo's wealth, particularly specifying the number of his horses (40,000 stalls and 12,000 horsemen!). Later, Scripture expands greatly upon Shlomo's wisdom and his alliance with Chiram, king of Tzor.

 

            Chapter 9 describes God's second appearance in Giv'on, where he warns Shlomo that if he fails to observe His commandments and statutes, the Temple and the kingdom will be destroyed.

 

            In chapter 10, following a description of Shlomo's construction projects and the visit of the Queen of Sheba, there is another detailed account of Shlomo's enormous wealth: the gold and silver found in his kingdom and the gold and silver brought to him. It seems that chapter 10 translates Shlomo's wisdom, described in chapter 5, primarily into wealth. Chapter 10 relates once again to the great number of chariots and horsemen, mentioning that they originated in Egypt.

 

In chapter 11, Shlomo's love of God in chapter 3 is replaced by his love for foreign women who turn his heart away, and by the construction of bamot for idol worship to the east of the city.

 

            It is precisely the first permanent king in Israel, the son of David, who exemplifies in his actions the very opposite of the laws of the king (Devarim 17): he multiplies silver and gold, wives and horses, and maintains a close connection with Egypt. All of these sins are described at the outset, in chapters 3-5, but there the criticism is still only by intimation. In chapters 9-11 – when Shlomo's wisdom, wealth, and fame reach their climax – there is already an explicit threat regarding the destruction of the Temple. There, Shlomo's wisdom is translated primarily into gold and silver, the Egyptian source of the great number of horses is explicitly mentioned, and the love of God is replaced by the love of foreign women, which leads to idol worship.

 

Separating between these two units are the chapters dealing with the construction of the House of God and the house of the king. The chapters dealing with the Temple are the crowning chapters of Shlomo's monarchy – but they are also what lead to his downfall. Shlomo's lust, his grand and lavish construction projects (in the wake of which work and monetary taxes were imposed on the people), the emphasis placed on his enormous wealth and expansion of power (which was esteemed throughout the world) – all these turned from a means of revealing God's kingdom in the world to goals in and of themselves. The noble objective set by David – the capital of the kingdom of Israel enjoying the patronage of the kingdom of God – was not achieved. Shlomo's kingdom turned into a goal in and of itself, putting his wealth, his wives, his horses, and his glory in the eyes of the world at the center of his interest. The earthly kingdom overshadowed the lofty dream of its connection to the kingdom of God. It is precisely Shlomo's climactic chapters – dealing with the building of the House of God and the king's house – that bring about his mighty fall.

 

III. CHRONOLOGY OF THE DAYS OF SHLOMO

 

We do not have an orderly description of the various stages of Shlomo's life, but it is reasonable to assume that the events described in Melakhim I are arranged in chronological order:

 

        · Chapters 1-2 deal with the anointing of Shlomo as king and with the solidification of his kingdom - the beginning of his reign.

        · Chapters 3-5 describe, according to our understanding, the period that preceded the building of the Temple.

        · Chapters 9-11 deal with the period following the completion of the House of God and the house of the king and the dedication of the Temple.

        · Chapter 11:4 states: "For it came to pass, when Shlomo was old…”

 

Explicit dates and durations of time are recorded only in the chapters dealing with the Temple. The construction of the Temple began in the fourth year of Shlomo's monarchy (Melakhim I 6:1, 37) and lasted seven years, concluding in Shlomo's eleventh year (ibid. v. 38). Shlomo occupied himself in the building of his own house for 13 years (Melakhim I 7:1), and from what is stated in Melakhim I 9:10 – "And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Shlomo had built the two houses, the House of the Lord and the king's house" – we learn that the house of the king was built after the House of God, until the twenty-fourth year of Shlomo's kingdom. Thus, we learn that chapters 3-5 describe the first three years of Shlomo's kingdom; chapters 6-8 describe years 4-24 of his kingdom; and chapters 9-11 describe the rest of the years of his reign (which lasted 40 years – Melakhim I 11:42).

 

In the continuation of this lecture, we will survey Shlomo's own attitude towards the meaning of God's Temple.

 

iv. The Time of the building and the dedication of the temple and their significance[2]

 

In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Ziv; and in the eleventh year, in the month Bul (which is the eight month) was the house finished throughout all its parts, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it. (Melakhim I 6:37-38)

 

            The building of the Temple began during the fourth year in the month Ziv, and it was finished after seven years, in the eleventh year of Shlomo's kingdom in the month Bul. Its dedication, according to our understanding, was at the end of the twenty years of constructing God's house and the king's house, in the seventh month, on the festival of Sukkot:

 

And all the men of Israel assembled themselves to king Shlomo at the feast in the month of Eitanim, which is the seventh month. (ibid. 8:2)

 

Also at that time Shlomo kept the feast for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entrance of Chamat to the wadi of Egypt. And on the eighth day they made a solemn assembly; for they kept the consecration of the altar for seven days, and the feast for seven days. And on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, glad and merry in heart for the bounty that the Lord had bestowed on David, and to Shlomo, and to Israel his people. (Divrei Ha-yamim II 7:8-10)

 

1. Why did the building only begin in the fourth year?

 

According to the plain sense of the text, Shlomo dedicated the first four years to the solidification of his kingdom, a process that only ended with the full execution of David's testament, including the killing of Shim'i at the end of the first three years (Melakhim I 2:39). During this period, Shlomo fortified his monarchy with the killing of Yoav and Adoniyahu, and only after the kingdom was solidly his could he begin to build the Temple. This in great measure confirms what is stated in Sanhedrin 20b that the order of events is indispensible: first the monarchy, then the wiping out of Amalek, and in the end the building of the Temple. Here too the solidification of Shlomo's monarchy is a condition for the building of the Temple.

 

A different approach is proposed by the Abarbanel (following Pesikta Rabbati 6:7), who explains that Shlomo did not want to use the materials that David had prepared for the building of the Temple, and three years were needed to assemble all that was needed for the construction.

 

2. Beginning in the month of Ziv and ending in the month of BUl

 

            The Vilna Gaon writes:

 

These are the names by which they called the months before they went into exile in Bavel; that is, Iyar was called Ziv, Tishrei Eitanim, Marcheshvan Bul, and Nisan Aviv. The names that we use, Nisan and Iyar, are from after they went down to Bavel.

 

            The gemara in Rosh Hashana (11a) explains that the month of Iyar is called Ziv because during that month "the trees have splendor [ziva]," the splendor and beauty of blossoms and flowers. Similarly, Targum Yonatan renders the term: "The month of the splendor of blossoms" (Melakhim I 6:1). The term for Marcheshvan, "Bul," might mean "produce" ("yevul") (as in "the mountains bring forth food [bul]" - Iyov 40:20), for that is the month in which the harvest of the fruits of the previous year comes to an end. That is how the term is rendered by Yonatan: "The month of gathering produce."[3] There is a certain symbolism here: construction begins during the season of blossoming and flowering and concludes during the period of the gathering of the crop.

 

3. The dedication in Tishrei

 

Assuming that the dedication ceremony indeed took place at the end of the twenty-year period of building God's house and the house of the king, it stands to reason that Shlomo chose the date. One might have expected that the Temple would be dedicated, following the tradition of the dedication of the Mishkan, in Nisan - a special month for Israel, the first of the months, and a month of renewal in nature. I would like to suggest that Shlomo chose Tishrei in order to express his conviction that the Temple was intended for the entire world, for there is nothing like Sukkot to express the entire world's connection to the Temple. Seventy bulls are offered on Sukkot corresponding to the seventy nations of the world, and it is on Sukkot that the nations will in the future go up to the House of God to prostrate themselves before the King, Lord of hosts, and celebrate before Him (Zekharya 14:15).[4]

 

Shlomo expresses his understanding that the Temple is meant for the entire world in the prayer that he offers:

 

Moreover, concerning a stranger who is not of your people Israel but comes out of a far country for Your name's sake (for they shall hear of Your great name, and of Your strong hand, and of Your stretched out arm) - when he shall come and pray towards this house, hear You in Heaven, Your dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calls to You for. So that all people of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as do Your people Israel; and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name. (Melakhim I 8:41-43)

 

            Shlomo attempts to realize the vision of the prophets that in the future all the nations will go up to bow before God on the holy mountain in Jerusalem (Yeshayahu 2, Mikha 4, Zekharya 14), and "My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples" (Yeshayahu 56:7). It seems that Shlomo thought that the transition from Mishkan to Temple meant a transition from God's dwelling among the people of Israel to His dwelling among all the nations of the world.

 

            This outlook fits in well with Shlomo's political and economic situation. The kingdom of Israel existed in peace with extensive borders; Shlomo was allied through marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, taking his daughter as a wife;[5] he makes a pact with Chiram, king of Tzor, and develops extensive commercial and political connections with the surrounding nations; and even the rulers of distant countries, such as the Queen of Sheba, are aware of his wisdom, wealth, and greatness:

 

And all the earth sought of Shlomo, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armor, and spices, horses, and mules, and so it was year by year. (Melakhim I 10:24-25)

 

And a chariot going out of Egypt would cost six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse, a hundred and fifty. And so by their means they brought them out also for all the kings of Chittim and the kings of Aram. (ibid., v. 29).

 

            Some have viewed Shlomo's love for "many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, Mo'avite, Ammonite, Tzidonian and Chittite women" (Melakhim I 11:1) as part of the same tendency of uniting the entire world under the sovereignty of God:

 

"Neither shall he multiply wives to himself" (Devarim 17:17). And it is written: "But King Shlomo loved many foreign women." R. Shimon ben Yochai said: He loved them, literally, for fornication… R. Yose said: To draw them near to the words of the Torah and to draw them under the wings of the Shekhina. (Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 2:6)

 

            To summarize, Shlomo's aspiration to assign the Temple to the entire world stems from the circumstances of his rule: marital alliances with the neighboring powers, wide-scoped commercial ties, and broad recognition of his wisdom and greatness.

 

V. THe house of GOd – a permanent dwelling place for the shekhina

 

On two occasions, God reveals Himself to Shlomo and sets the conditions for the continued existence of the Temple. The first time was over the course of the construction of God's house, between the description of the external structure of the Temple and the description of its internal structure:

 

And the word of the Lord came to Shlomo saying, “Concerning the house which you are building, if you will follow My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them, then will I perform My word with you, which I spoke to David your father; and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel. (Melakhim I 6:11-13)

 

            Here we find only the positive element of the condition: If Shlomo follows God's statutes, executes His judgments, and keeps His commandments, God will dwell among the people of Israel and not forsake them.

 

            In the second revelation, immediately following the dedication of the Temple, we find two sides of the condition:

 

And the Lord appeared to Shlomo a second time, as He had appeared to him at Giv'on. And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me. I have hallowed this house, which you have built, to put My name there forever; and My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually. And if you will walk before Me, as David your father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a man upon the throne of Israel.’ But if you shall turn from following Me, you or your children, and will not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for My name, I will cast out of My sight. And Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people; and at this house, which is high, every one that passes by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss, and they shall say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ And they shall answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold of other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them; therefore has the Lord brought upon them all this evil.’” (Melakhim I 9:2-9)

 

            Why does the prophet Yirmiyahu, author of the book of Melakhim, spell out the negative element of the condition – the destruction of the Temple if the people of Israel transgress the will of God – immediately following the joyous verses dealing with the building and dedication of the Temple? We understand that the two Divine revelations constitute a response to Shlomo's perception of the meaning of the building. We have already demonstrated that Shlomo understood that the Temple was intended for the entire world, this being the vision of the prophets concerning the end of days. We now wish to argue that Shlomo also believed that this building was permanent, never to be destroyed: an eternal house – an everlasting Temple intended for the entire world. Proof for this may be brought from the prayer that he offered at the Temple's dedication:

 

If your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever you shall send them, and shall pray to the Lord towards the city which You have chosen, and towards the house that I have built for Your name, then hear You in Heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives to the land of the enemy, far or near - yet if they take thought in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captors, saying, “We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness,” and so they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land, which You did give to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name - then hear You their prayer and their supplication in Heaven, your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions in which they have transgressed against You, and give them compassion before those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them. For they are Your people and your inheritance, whom You did bring out of Egypt out of the midst of the iron furnace. That Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant, and to the supplication of Your people Israel, to hearken to them in all that they call for to You. For You did separate them from among all the people of the earth to be Your inheritance, as You did speak by the hand of Moshe Your servant when You did bring our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God. (Melakhim I 8:44-53)[6]

 

            Shlomo does not consider the possibility of the destruction of the Temple. Even if Israel will go into exile, they will always be able to pray to God by way of the Temple, because the Temple will stand forever.

 

            Without a doubt, the building's grandeur and splendor contributed to Shlomo's feeling that the Temple was permanent and would never be destroyed. Nevertheless, the notion that the existence of the Temple is not conditional upon Israel's observance of Torah and mitzvot was liable to impair the meticulous observance thereof on the part of the king and the people. Over the course of the Temple's construction, therefore, God clarifies that the continued existence of the kingdom and the Temple are conditional upon Israel's observance of Torah and mitzvot, and that if Israel transgresses the will of God, both the kingdom and the Temple will be destroyed.

 

            It seems to me that Shlomo's error is summed up in a statement of R. Yitzchak:

 

R. Yitzchak said: Why were the reasons of [some] Biblical laws not revealed? Because in two verses, reasons were revealed, and they caused the greatest in the world [Shlomo] to stumble. Thus, it is written: "He shall not multiply wives to himself" (Devarim 17:17), whereon Shlomo said: "I will multiply wives but not let my heart be perverted." Yet we read: "When Shlomo was old, his wives turned away his heart" (Melakhim I 11:4).  Again it is written: "He shall not multiply to himself horses" (Devarim 17:16), concerning which Shlomo said: "I will multiply them, but will not cause [Israel] to return [to Egypt]." Yet we read: "And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six [hundred shekels of silver]" (Melakhim I 10:29).  (Sanhedrin 21b)

 

Even the supernal wisdom that God bestowed upon Shlomo is incapable of fully comprehending the reasons for the mitzvot of the Torah.

 

            During the reign of Shlomo – the first permanent king –the issue arises regarding the boundaries of earthly kingdom in relation to the kingdom of God. The great royal building of the House of God and the house of the king, which continues for twenty years, gives rise in Shlomo to feelings of grandiosity, which express themselves in many areas. The relationship between the house of the king and the House of God, the splendor and grandeur of the buildings, the proximity of the two structures – all these cause Shlomo to imagine himself as standing together with God on one side, opposite the nation on the other side. This understanding is expressed in the construction of the milo (see Melakhim I 9:24) and in the blurring between the marriage to Pharaoh's daughter and the dedication of the Temple (Vayikra Rabba 12:5). The idea that the house of God is a permanent structure intended for the entire world, as in the vision of the prophets, means that Shlomo's kingdom itself is also a supernal kingdom, something to which Chazal gave sharp expression in their words concerning the ark's entry into the Holy of Holies.[7] The deterioration ends with the practice of idolatry under the influence of Shlomo's foreign wives.

 

            From such an elevated starting point – peace, wide and safe borders, abundance, and readiness to establish the kingdom and build the Temple – Shlomo fell into the deep pit of idolatry, and in its wake came the prophecy concerning the division of the kingdom.

 

            It is not by chance that the bamot erected by Shlomo for idol worship remained standing until the days of Yoshiyahu – almost the end of the first Temple period:

 

One verse says: "For the Lord has chosen Zion" (Tehillim 132:13), but another verse says: "For this city has been to me a provocation of My anger and of My fury from the day that they built it even unto this day" (Yirmiyahu 32:31)! The former refers to the time before Shlomo married the daughter of Pharaoh, while the latter refers to the time after Shlomo married the daughter of Pharaoh. (Nidda 70b)

 

During the very days of Shlomo – the high point of the kingdom of Israel and Jerusalem – destruction was already decreed for the city and the Temple.

 

The lesson to be learned from the period of Shlomo is that kingdom necessitates extreme humility. The king must always remember that he is sitting on the throne of God; he must bend himself before the will of God and he must direct the day-to-day life of the kingdom to the eternal life of God's Torah.

 

SUMMARY

 

            We have tried to present in this lecture an overall picture of the period of Shlomo and the manner in which he viewed the building of God's Temple. In the upcoming lectures, we will, God willing, examine through the prism of a view from above the various components of the chapters dealing with Shlomo.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)


 


[1] This division is brought in the introduction to the Da'at Mikra commentary to Melakhim, pp. 27-29.

[2] The chronological relationship between the building of God's Temple and the construction of the hosue of the king will be discussed in a separate lecture. Here we will deal with the times of the building and the dedication of the Temple alone.

[3] Radak explains: "'In the month Bul' – this is Marcheshvan… And it is called by this name because of the rains which begin to fall in that month, in the sense of mabul, flood. And in the words of the Rabbis: 'In the month Bul' - when the leaves decay (naval), and the ground is cloddy (bulot bulot), and the month when cattle is given mixed (bolelin) fodder from what is in the house, that is to say, when there is no more animal fodder in the field."

[4] The universal significance of the festival of Sukkot appears to be rooted in the fact that it is the harvest festival, when one agricultural year comes to an end and the next one begins.

[5] The marriage of the daughter of an Egyptian king to a foreigner was exceedingly exceptional during this period.

[6] Yirmiyahu's formulation in the book of Melakhim clearly takes into acount the end of the process – the eventual destruction of the Temple. From this perspective, it is important to emphasize from the outset that the entire process is conditional.

[7] See Shabbat 30a: "When Shlomo built the Temple, he desired to take the ark into the Holy of Holies, whereupon the gates clung to each other. Shlomo uttered twenty-four prayers, yet he was not answered. He opened [his mouth] and exclaimed: 'Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors: And the King of glory shall come in' (Tehillim 24:7). They rushed upon him to swallow him up, crying: 'Who is the king of glory?' (v. 10). 'The Lord, strong and mighty,' he answered (v. 8)." A similar midrash is found in Shemot Rabba 8:1.

 

 

Shlomo's monarchy in Jerusalem II)

God's Temple (I)

Lecture 76

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

            In this lecture, we will try to understand the significance of the innovation of building a permanent house for God.

 

            There is only one Torah source for building a Temple – the command to construct the Mishkan in Parashat Teruma: "And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its vessels, even so shall you make it" (Shemot 25:8-9). Chazal expounded the last clause: "'Even so shall you make it' – for future generations" (Sanhedrin 15b). We see, then, that there is no separate commandment to build a permanent Temple. In this sense, the differences between the Mishkan and the Mikdash are small, primarily technical, regarding the materials, the structure, and the location. Essentially, however, the Mikdash and the Mishkan are similar structures serving a similar function.

 

            All this notwithstanding, the differences between the Mikdash and the Mishkan – regarding the location, the materials, the structure, the size, and the very existence of a permanent site for the resting of the Shekhina – are significant. The central theme of today's lecture is the meaning of these differences.

 

I.              THe Mishkan – a continuation of the Sinai Experience; the Mikdash – A continuation of the akeida and the creation of the world

 

The Ramban notes in several places that the Mishkan served as a continuation of the Sinai experience. Thus, for example, he writes in his commentary to Shemot 25:2:

 

The secret of the Mishkan is that the glory which abode upon Mount Sinai [openly] should abide upon it in a concealed manner.[1] For just as it is said here: "And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai" (Shemot 24:16)… so it is written of the Mishkan: "And the glory of the Lord filled the Mishkan" (ibid. 40:34)… Thus, Israel always had with them in the Mishkan the glory which appeared to them on Mount Sinai.[2]

 

            The Mikdash on Mount Moriah served as a continuation of the revelation at the time of Akeidat Yitzchak and, according to Chazal, a continuation of the tradition of offering sacrifices in that place that began immediately following the creation of the world, as is described by the Rambam (Hilkhot Beit Ha-Bechira 2:2, following Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer, chap. 31):

 

Now there was a tradition known to all that the place where David and Shlomo built the altar in the threshing floor of Arvana was the same place where Avraham built the altar upon which he bound Yitzchak. This, too, was the place where Noach built an altar when he came out of the ark. It was also the place of the altar upon which Kayin and Hevel offered sacrifices. There it was that Adam offered a sacrifice after he was created. Indeed, Adam was created from that very ground. As the Sages have taught: Adam was created from the place where he made atonement.

 

            This is all in addition to the fact that the site of the Temple is the site of the creation of the world, as is related in the Tosefta (Yoma 2:12):

 

There was a stone [in the Holy of Holies] from the days of the first prophets called Shetiya, three fingers high off the ground. At first, the ark had been set upon it. After the ark was removed, they would burn on it the incense that is brought inside. R. Yose says: The world was founded from it. As it is stated: "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth" (Tehillim 50:2).

 

The gemara comments on the same issue:

 

And it was called Shetiya. A Tanna taught: From it the world was founded. The mishna teaches in accordance with the one who says: The world was created from Zion.

 

And Rashi explains there:

 

[The world] was created from Zion – Zion was created first, and clods of earth adhered around it from all sides to the end of the world.

 

In other words: It was on Mount Moriah that the world began, the act of creation began, and the service of God began.[3]

 

II.            The Mikdash on Mount Moriah – Selecting the site forevermore

 

The Mishkan passed through various stations - Mount Sinai, the wilderness of Sinai, Gilgal, Shilo, Nov, and Giv'on – without the selection of a particular place, and therefore without eternal sanctity remaining in any of these stations after the Mishkan's destruction. On Mount Moriah, in contrast, there was a choosing of the place. In the story of the Akeida, Avraham called the name of the place "God will see" (Bereishit 22:14) – that is, God will choose. This is emphasized by the expression, "the place that the Lord will choose," which repeats itself throughout the book of Devarim.[4]

 

God expressed this selection explicitly in His oath to David: "For the Lord has chosen Zion: He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Tehillim 132:13-14), and as is stated in the psalm: "But He chose the tribe of Yehuda, Mount Zion which He loved" (ibid. 78:68).

 

Thus, we see that Mount Moriah is a known place where one is to seek the place that God has chosen, that choice being eternal and everlasting.[5] The Mishkan in its various stations was the first step along the road to the everlasting resting of the Shekhina in one place.

 

III.           The Differences between the structure of the Mishkan and its vessels and the Mikdash and its vessels

 

We cannot discuss in this framework all the details connected to the structure of the Mikdash, but we will briefly present here the main points.

 

1)    The measurements of the Mikdash as opposed to the Measurements of the mishkan[6]

 

          ·        The length and the width of the heikhal and the devir (the Holy of Holies) in the Mikdash are twice those in the Mishkan (10, 30 cubits in the Mishkan; 20, 60 cubits in the Mikdash), and when we add the width of the ulam (10 cubits), the total length reaches 70 cubits.

 

          ·        The devir has the shape of a cube. In the Mishkan, it measures 10 x 10 x 10 cubits; in the Mikdash, the measurements are doubled: 20 x 20x 20 cubits.

 

          ·        The heikhal in the Mikdash is three times as tall as in the Mishkan. The Mishkan is 10 cubits tall, whereas the Mikdash is 30 cubits tall.

 

To summarize, as a rule (except for the height), the measurements of the Mikdash are twice those of the Mishkan, with an addition of 10 cubits to the length of the building because of the ulam. The relative proportions of the Holy of Holies and the Holy do not change.

 

2)    the structure of the Mikdash as opposed to the structure of the Mishkan

 

a)    In the Mikdash, there is the addition of the ulam, 10 x 20 cubits, which was not found in the Mishkan.[7]

 

b)    The height of the ulam is not mentioned in the book of Melakhim, but according to Divrei Ha-yamim, it was 120 cubits tall (Divrei Ha-yamim II 3:4).

 

c)     The height of the entire building was 30 cubits, but the height of the devir was 20 cubits. The simple understanding is that the floors were even and that the difference was limited to the inner height of the ceiling. The second, less reasonable possibility is that the floor of the devir was 10 cubits higher than that of the heikhal; in that case we must posit stairs or a ladder or some other means by which to overcome the difference in heights (no mention of which is found in the verses; it is therefore unreasonable to assume that something like this existed).[8]

 

d)     Side structures surrounded the building on its northern, western, and southern exposures. Their overall height was 15 cubits (3 x 5) – half the height of the building. Their width: the lower balcony - 5 cubits, the middle balcony - 6 cubits, and the upper balcony – 7 cubits.

 

e)     Two copper columns were added, Yakhin and Bo'az, 18 cubits tall, each having a 5 cubit capital.

 

f)      On the walls of the Mikdash there were carved figures of keruvim, palm trees and open flowers, similar to the decorations on the curtain of the Mishkan.

 

g)     In the Mikdash, two additional keruvim were added to the keruvim of the kaporet in the Mishkan.[9] Each one was 10 cubits high and wide (so that their wings filled the entire width of the devir).

 

h)     In the Mikdash, windows not found in the Mishkan were added, wide without and narrow within.

 

i)      Whereas in the Mishkan the openings were filled with curtains, in the Mikdash, they were filled with gates and partitions.

 

3)    THE DIFFERENCES IN BUILDING MATERIALS

 

The walls of the Mishkan were constructed out of boards of shittim wood overlaid with gold that were placed in silver sockets. Its ceiling was made of curtains that were connected by silver or copper clasps. The hooks of the pillars of the courtyard were also made of silver.

 

The Mikdash (its floor, walls, and ceiling) was made entirely of stone, but inside it was faced with wood (cedar on the walls, cypress on the floor)[10] that was plated with gold. No use was made of silver.

 

4)    Differences regarding the vessels

 

a)    To the menorah that was fashioned by Moshe were added 10 menorot (Melakhim I 6:49) that were arranged from right to left (Yerushalmi, Shekalim 6:3).

 

b)    10 tables were added to the shulchan that was in the Mishkan (Divrei Ha-yamim II 4:8).

 

c)     The incense altar was covered with cedar wood (Melakhim I 6:20).[11]

 

d)    The measurements of the burnt-offering altar in the Mikdash were 20 cubits long x 20 cubits broad x 10 cubits high. Regarding the altar in the Mishkan, it is stated, "Five cubits long, and five cubits broad… and the height of it shall be three cubits" (Shemot 27:1). The Sages disagree about what this means (Zevachim 59b): According to R. Yehuda, the altar was 10 cubits long, 10 cubits wide (half the length and width of the altar in the Mikdash), and three cubits high. According to R. Yose, the measurements were 5 cubits long, 5 cubits wide, and 10 cubits high (the same height as in the Mikdash).

 

e)     In the Mikdash, a copper “sea” was added, which had not been in the Mishkan. Its volume was 2,000 bat (about 60,000 liters), and it stood on 12 oxen.

 

f)      In the Mishkan, there was a single laver (kiyor) and its stand. In the Mikdash, there were 10 copper lavers, the volume of each being 40 bat, and they rested on 10 decorated bases, each of which had cast and movable wheels.

 

In the second part of this lecture, we will discuss, God willing, the significance of these changes, but first we must deal with the question of how they were at all possible.

 

1)    HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE MEASUREMENTS, MATERIALS AND VESSELS?

 

Summarizing the plans for the building of the Temple, David says to Shlomo:

 

All this, said he, is put in writing by the hand of the Lord who instructed me, all the works of this pattern. (Divrei Ha-yamim I 28:19)

 

The commentators explain there that everything had been received by the prophet Shmuel by way of prophecy (Radak) or by way of interpretation of the Torah with the Holy Spirit (Rashi). Rashi explains (on Sukka 51b) that this means "all the works of the pattern that the Holy One, blessed be He, had taught him by way of Gad the Seer and Natan the Prophet." According to the Yerushalmi (Megilla 1:1), the reference is to a scroll that Shmuel had handed over to David.

 

            It is reasonable to assume that Shlomo changed nothing of what David had received from Shmuel by way of prophecy. Nevertheless, the difficulty remains: How is it possible to make changes from what the Torah commands? Surely Chazal expounded: "'Even so shall you make it' – for future generations" (Sanhedrin 15b)! The Chatam Sofer deals with this question at length in his commentary to the Torah, Torat Moshe (Shemot 25:9):

 

"According to all that I show you, the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its vessels, even so shall you make it" (Shemot 25:8-9) - for future generations. Thus explained Rashi. And the Ramban asked: Surely King Shlomo, may he rest in peace, changed the altar and did not fashion it according to its pattern. But I think that just the opposite needs examination. Why is "even so shall you make it" – for future generations, needed? Would you think to change anything from the pattern that the Holy One, blessed be He, carefully showed to Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace? And further examination is needed regarding the building at Shilo and the everlasting building [in Jerusalem] – who granted permission for this? The Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moshe Rabbeinu a Mishkan of boards and curtains. And even though it was built based on the word of the prophet, as it is written: "All this, said he, is put in writing by the hand of the Lord who instructed me" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 28:19), and regarding the second Temple, it was Chaggai, Zekharya, and Mal'achi, and the future building was shown to Yechezkel, nevertheless, who gave us permission to believe these prophets to innovate something? See the end of chapter Ha-Nechenakim (Sanhedrin 89b).

God, however, has illumined my eyes. For "'Even so shall you make it' – for future generations" – even though we learn a stringency from it in the second chapter of Shevu'ot (15a), that we need for future generations a king, a prophet, a High Priest, and the urim ve-tumim, it seems to me that the verse comes primarily to teach a leniency: that each time we can change the building and the vessels, based on the vision that God, blessed be He, will show to the prophets of the generation. Even though with respect to the other mitzvot in the Torah, we do not listen to the prophet to change anything, nevertheless, this mitzva of building the Temple and its vessels was given from the very outset with the stipulation that it would change in accordance with a [prophetic] vision. This is what it says: "According to all that I show you… even so shall you make it" – for [future] generations, according to what I show the prophets of the generations. And from here there is permission to make changes in what God instructed in writing, including the changes in the altar made by King Shlomo, may he rest in peace. But that regarding which He did not show a change and which was made for generations, we must fashion them according to the pattern of the first vision shown to Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace, on the mountain. And the words of Rashi are correct, and the objection raised by the Ramban has been answered.

 

            According to the Chatam Sofer, "‘According to all that I show you, the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its vessels, even so shall you make it’ - for [future] generations" means that the building should be made in accordance with what God will show the prophets of every generation.

 

            From here we may infer an important and interesting conclusion, namely, that a correspondence exists between the Mikdash and the generation and its prophets. The resting of the Shekhina is, as it were, reflected differently in every generation in accordance with the generation, and this is expressed in the structure of the Temple, its size, its form and its vessels.

 

The Or Ha-Chayyim suggests another answer: "In my opinion, 'even so shall you make it' refers only to the shape of the building, but not to its dimensions."[12]

 

IV.          Mishkan and Mikdash – betrothal and Marriage

 

The gemara (Yoma 54a) records the words of R. Katina:

 

Whenever Israel came up to the festival, the curtain would be removed for them and the keruvim were shown to them, whose bodies were intertwined with one another, and they would be thus addressed: You are beloved before God as the love between man and woman.

 

They would show those who arrived in Jerusalem the keruvim, which symbolize the intimate connection between God and the people of Israel.

 

On this, R. Chisda asks: Surely even the Levites, who carried the vessels of the Mishkan on their shoulders, were forbidden to see the vessels, and they only handled them after Aharon and his sons had covered them! How then is it possible that the people of Israel were permitted to see the keruvim? R. Nachman answers:

 

They may be compared to a bride: As long as she is in her father's house, she is reserved in regard to her husband, but when she comes to her father-in-law's house, she is no more so reserved in regard to him.

 

According to R. Nachman, the connection between Israel and God in the Mishkan was similar to the connection between a groom and his bride while she is still living in her father's house, that is, during the period of betrothal. In such a situation, she conducts herself with great modesty, and thus Israel was warned not to gaze upon the holy vessels. In contrast, the Mikdash, God's permanent house, enjoyed the quality of marriage – like a bride in her father-in-law's house – when the connection is permanent and more intimate, and it is possible to gaze upon the holy.

 

V.           the superiority of the mishkan over the mikdash

 

In several contexts, R. Ovadia Seforno notes the superiority of the Mishkan over the first and second Temples:

 

[The Torah] tells us the virtues of this Mishkan, by which reason it was worthy to be everlasting and not to fall into the hands of the enemy. First, because it was the "Tabernacle of Testimony," where the tablets of testimony were [deposited]; second, "as they were rendered according to the commandment of Moshe;" third, because it was through "the service of the Levites by the hand of Itamar,” for indeed the charge of all the parts of the Mishkan were in the hands of Itamar; fourth, "And Betzalel the son of Uri, the son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehuda made" - the leaders of the craftsmen of the Mishkan's work and its vessels were noblemen and the righteous ones of the generation, and therefore the Shekhina rested on the work of their hands, and it did not fall into the hands of their enemies. But the Temple of Shlomo [was built by] workers of the nations of the world, and although the Shekhina did rest there, its sections deteriorated and it was necessary to repair the breaches of the house, and eventually it all fell into the hands of the enemy. (Seforno, Commentary to Shemot 38:1-2)

 

"All the gold" – [The Torah] attests to and defines the [quantity] of gold, silver, and copper included in the work of the Mishkan, which was a very small amount compared to the riches of the first Temple, as explained in the book of Melakhim, and even more so were the riches of Herod's temple. Nevertheless, the appearance of God's glory was more constantly [found] in the Mishkan of Moshe than in the first Temple, and was not present at all in the second Temple. This teaches us that it is not the amount of riches and the size of the structure which causes the Shekhina to dwell in Israel, but God desires those who fear Him and their deeds in order to dwell in their midst. (ibid. v. 24.)

 

"And whenever the cloud went up" – The Shekhina was so [firmly] established in the Mishkan that it did not depart at all from there until Israel had to journey. [Now] this was not so in Shilo, nor in the first Temple nor in the second Temple. But even more than this will be [manifested] in the third Temple, may it be built and established speedily in our days, as it says: "For I, says the Lord, will be to her a wall of fire roundabout, and will be the glory in the midst of her" (Zekharya 2:9). (ibid. 40:36)

 

Seforno describes here several unique qualities of the Mishkan: The Mishkan was built exclusively by members of the Jewish people, and in particular, by the righteous members of the generation. The nations of the world did not participate in its construction, and therefore it did not fall into the hands of the enemies, as did the first and second Temples. The paucity of the Mishkan in comparison to the two Temples demonstrates that the resting of God's Shekhina depends on actions, and not on external splendor. The resting of the Shekhina was more constant in the Mishkan than in the two Temples.

 

Indeed, Scripture implies that, in contrast to the Mikdash, the Shekhina rested on the Mishkan even when the people of Israel sinned. When God wanted to destroy the Jewish people in the aftermath of the sin of the spies, Moshe offered the following prayer:

 

Then Egypt shall hear it (for You did bring up this people in Your might from among them) and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land, who have heard that You Lord are among this people, that You Lord are seen face to face, and that Your cloud stands over them, and that You go before them, by day time in a pillar of cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You shall kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of You will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which He swore to them, therefore He has slain them in the wilderness. (Bamidbar 14:13-16) 

 

Rashi explains there (s.v. "and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land"): "…Because they have heard that You, O Lord, dwell in their midst and that You appear to them face to face and all this is in an affectionate manner, and they have not perceived of You that Your love has been detached from them hitherto." And indeed, we do not find that God made any changes in the resting of His Shekhina in the Mishkan in the wake of the sin of the spies or in the wake of any other sin.[13] This stands in contrast to God's revelation to Moshe, which was interrupted during Israel's thirty eight years of wandering in the wilderness on account of the sins of the people (see Ibn Ezra on Bamidbar 20:1, s.v. bechodesh ha-rishon). It turns out, then, that from the time of the dedication of the Mishkan in the second year after the exodus from Egypt and until the Mishkan was erected in Gilgal, there were no changes in the manner of the Shekhina's resting in the Mishkan in the fire and in the cloud. The resting of the Shekhina in the Mikdash, on the other hand, depended on the actions of Israel, as was explicitly told to Shlomo following its dedication (Melakhim I 6:11-13; 9:2-9).

 

It is precisely because the Mishkan was meant for the wilderness and for a limited and defined period of time, until Israel's entry into the Land and the building of the Mikdash, that the Shekina rested unconditionally in it. This stands in contrast to the resting of the Shekhina in the Mikdash, which was meant to be permanent, and therefore was conditioned on observance of the Torah and mitzvot.

 

In this lecture, we have tried to understand the novelty of the building of a permanent house for the Shekhina. In the next lecture, we hope, God willing, to examine additional aspects of the building of the Mikdash and discuss the significance of the differences between it and the Mishkan.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)

 


 


[1] See below, section IV.

[2] The Ramban records here many parallel texts, and repeats what he said in Shemot 23:34-35.

[3] The midrash finds an interesting connection between Mount Moriah and Mount Sinai: "From where did Sinai come? R. Yose said: It was torn off from Mount Moriah, as challa is torn off from the dough, from the place where Yitzchak Avinu was bound. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Since their forefather Yitzchak was bound there, it is fitting that his sons should receive the Torah there. And from where do we know that it will eventually return to its place? For it is stated: 'The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains' (Yeshayahu 2:2) – these are Tavor, Carmel, Sinai, and Zion. He-harim – five mountains, that is to say, as the number of the five books of the Torah" (Midrash Tehillim, ed. Buber, 68:9). According to the midrash, Mount Moriah is likened to dough, and Mount Sinai to challa. The mishna in Ta'anit 4:8 similarly identifies "the day of his wedding" (Shir Ha-shirim 3:11) with the giving of the Torah, and "the day of the gladness of his heart" (ibid.) with the construction of the Mikdash.

[4] We dealt with this at length in our lectures in previous years on the Akeida and on "The Place that God shall Choose" (Lecture 12). This difference is evident in the two times that the Rambam relates to the mitzva of building the Temple in his Mishnah Torah. In Hilkhot Beit Ha-Bechira 1:1, he writes: "It is a positive commandment to make a house unto the Lord, designed for the offering of sacrifices and for making thereto a pilgrimage three times each year. For it is said: 'And let them make Me a sanctuary' (Shemot 25:8). The Mishkan which Moshe our master made is clearly described in Scripture, but it was for temporary use only. As it is said: 'For you are not as yet come to the rest, etc.' (Devarim 12:9)." But in Hilkhot Melakhim 1:1, he writes: "Three commandments – to be carried out on entering the Land – were enjoined upon Israel: to appoint a king, as it is said: 'You shall surely set him king over you' (Devarim 17:15); to destroy the seed of Amalek, as it is said: 'You shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek' (Devarim  25:19); and to build the sanctuary, as it is said: 'Even unto His habitation shall you seek and thither shall you come' (Devarim 12:5)." In Hilkhot Bet Ha-Bechira, the mitzva relates to the construction of the building, whereas in Hilkhot Melakhim, the mitzva is to seek the place that God will choose - that is, the selection of the site.

[5] We will mention here two halakhot that stem from the everlastingness of the choosing of Jerusalem: 1) The Rambam (Hilkhot Beit Ha-Bechira 6:16) explains that in contrast to the sanctity of the Land of Israel, the first sanctification of Jerusalem and the Mikdash was not only for that time, but for all time to come, "because the sanctity of the Mikdash and of Jerusalem derives from the Shekhina, and the Shekhina is never banished." In other words, the sanctuary is not dependent upon the building, but upon the place, and is therefore eternal. 2) The mishna in Zevachim (14:4-8) asserts that with the selection of Jerusalem, the bamot were prohibited for all time: "Before the Mishkan was set up, the bamot were permitted and the service was performed by the firstborn. When the Mishkan was set up, the bamot were prohibited, and the service was performed by the priests… After they arrived at Gilgal, the bamot were permitted… When they came to Shilo, the bamot were prohibited. There was no roof to it, but below [were walls] like a house of stone and curtains above, and this was the 'resting place.'… After they came to Nov and to Giv'on, the bamot were [again] permitted… When they came to Jerusalem, the bamot were prohibited, and were never again permitted, and this was 'the inheritance.'…"    

Let us briefly consider one additional aspect. In the wilderness, every member of Israel had a much closer relationship with the Mishkan, for the entire camp with the various tribes was arranged around the Mishkan. According to R. Yishmael, as long as Israel was in the wilderness and encamped around the Mishkan, the people were not permitted to eat unconsecrated meat, but only the meat of peace offerings from God's table (Chullin 16b-17a). Unconsecrated meat was, however, permitted upon Israel's entry into the Land, owing to the geographical distance from the Mikdash (see Devarim 12:20-28). The increased distance became even sharper with the building of a permanent Temple.

[6] The building of the Mikdash is described in Melakhim I 6-7 and in Divrei Ha-yamim II 3-4. The building of the Mishkan is described in Shemot 35-38. It is interesting to note that the measurements of the Mishkan are not explicitly recorded, whereas the measurements of the Mikdash are stated explicitly in the verses. It is possible that this difference stems from the difference between the transience of the Mishkan, as opposed to the permanence of the Mikdash. It is also possible that the difference is related to the size of the structure – the Mishkan was small in comparison to the Mikdash.

[7] It is interesting that according to the Rambam (Hilkhot Beit Ha-Bechira 1:5), the ulam is one of the things that are essential in the construction of the Temple.

[8] The fact that Scripture says nothing explicit about this may indicate that it attaches no special importance to it. If it does bear significance, perhaps a low ceiling expresses the descent of the Shekhina and its coming close to man, whereas a high ceiling gives more room to human expression. Another explanation that may support the understanding that the floor was even and the ceiling was low is that the devir was a cube, 30 cubits long, wide, and high. A cube expresses perfection in that all its dimensions are the same.

[9] We will explain below why we have included the keruvim in the section dealing with the structure of the Mikdash and not in the section devoted to its vessels.

[10] The Vilna Gaon (on Melakhim I 6:15) explains that cedars were used to cover the walls because of their length and strength, whereas the cypresses were used on the floor because of their width. This is the meaning of the verse which states: "The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters are of cypress" (Shir Ha-shirim 1:17).

[11] According to the Vilna Gaon (on Melakhim I 6:20), Shlomo added the covering so that the dimensions of the altar would be twice those of the altar built by Moshe.

[12] It is interesting that the Rambam, in his introduction to the order of Zera'im, learns from the verse, "All this is put in writing by the hand of the Lord who instructed me," that Shlomo's building constitutes the basic model for the Mikdash, and that it should be followed: "After Tamid, he arranged Middot, which contains only narratives enumerating the measurements of the Temple, its shape, its construction and this whole subject. The benefit to be derived from this matter is that when the Temple will be rebuilt, one should follow and make that shape and form and arrangement, because these come from Divine inspiration. As it is stated: 'All this is put in writing by the hand of the Lord who instructed me.'"

[13] The Seforno notes in several places that in the wake of sins, Israel became obligated in additional sacrifices. In other words, the resting of God's Shekhina did not change; what changed were the preparations required of Israel in order to be worthy of the Shekhina. This is a broad topic, connected to the Seforno's entire understanding of the Mishkan. Unfortunately, we cannot expand upon the matter in this framework.

 

Lecture 77: Shlomo's monarchy in Jerusalem (II)

 

God's Temple (II)

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

I.              The building of the mishkan – with the contributions of the entire people; the building of the mikdash – Royal construction

 

The description of the building of the Mishkan in the book of Shemot heavily emphasizes the spirit of voluntarism on the part of the entire people. This finds expression in the repeated use of certain terms, such as “offering,” “heart stirring,” and “willing spirit.” For example:

 

And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing of heart, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and bracelets, all jewels of gold. And every man that had offered an offering of gold to the Lord. (Shemot 35:21-22)

 

            Scripture continues with a detailed description of what each sector of the people contributed, and then concludes:

 

The children of Israel brought a willing offering to the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moshe, to be made. (ibid. v. 29)

 

The willing offering was so great that the people brought more than what was necessary, and Moshe was forced to restrain them from bringing more (ibid. 36:4-7).

 

            In the case of Shlomo's construction project, on the other hand, the people did not contribute freely. Rather, there was "a levy out of all of Israel" (Melakhim I 5:27). Shlomo's Temple was a royal project that involved compulsion. It is true that it is stated in the book of Divrei Ha-yamim: "Then the chief of captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly… Then the people rejoiced, for having offered willingly, because with a perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord; and David the king also rejoiced with great joy" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 29:6-9). This, however, is not mentioned in the book of Melakhim,[1] and in any event, the verses in Divrei Ha-yamim deal primarily with the participation of the leadership (paralleling the nesi'im in the period of the Mishkan), and this too at the initiative of King David (as a repair of his failure to include the people until that time) and merely as a complement to his own efforts.

 

            The Torah emphasizes Moshe's part in the construction of the Mishkan, but nevertheless the part of the people in the construction is far more striking in the case of the Mishkan than in that of the Mikdash. The people are full partners in the building of the Mishkan, and they are mentioned both in the initial command concerning the Mishkan ("That they may bring Me an offering; of every man whose heart prompts him to give you shall take My offering" - Shemot 25:2), and at the end of the description of its construction ("Thus was all the work of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting finished; and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moshe, so they did" - ibid. 39:32). The popular nature of the Mishkan suited life in the wilderness, where the people camped around the Mishkan and lived in close proximity to it. What is more, for the people of Israel, who witnessed with their own eyes the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the sea, the journey in the wilderness (the cloud, the manna, the quail, and the well), and, of course, the awesome Divine revelation at Mount Sinai, the construction of the Mishkan constituted a tangible revelation of God – that very same revelation that they had sought to achieve in perverted ways through the Golden Calf. They therefore harnessed themselves to the mission with all their might, perhaps also as a repair of that sin.

 

            In the case of the Mikdash, in contrast, it is the royal and state dimension that stands out most prominently. The people of Israel had already settled themselves in their country and the kingdom had been established. The building of the Temple proceeded as part of the obligations falling upon the state (following the appointment of a king and the wiping out of Amalek). The connections made with the neighboring countries regarding the Temple also testify to the stately/royal nature of its construction (see Melakhim I 5:16-32). The people themselves did not feel closely connected to the idea of the Mikdash; during the period of Shilo, idolatry was practiced in the land, and even when the great bama was in Nov and Giv'on and the ark was in Kiryat-Ye'arim and in the city of David, we do not find the people showing special interest in these places. The king initiated, organized, and executed the construction of the Temple, and the people participated primarily through the levy that he imposed upon them. In the future as well, "the messianic king will arise and restore the kingdom of David to its former state and original sovereignty. He will rebuild the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel" (Rambam, Hilkhot Melakhim 11:1).

 

II. The meaning of the changes made in the Mikdash[2]

 

1)      From temporariness to permanence

 

Some of the changes made in the construction of the Mikdash express the transition from the primacy and temporariness that the Mishkan reflected in the wilderness - the aspect of betrothal - to the permanence of the Mikdash in the midst of a people living securely in its own land. This transition expresses itself in the building's enlargement, the addition of balconies to the main building, the addition of the keruvim, the change in materials, the addition of holy vessels, and other changes in the entire structure. As the Rambam states (Hilkhot Beit Ha-Bechira 1:11):

 

The most desirable way of complying with the commandment [to build the Temple] was to make the building as strong and as imposing as the community was able. For it is said, "To raise up the house of our God" (Ezra 9:9). The Temple was to be embellished and beautified as much as possible. If the community could afford to overlay it with gold and to enhance its appointments, it was a meritorious act to do so.

 

2)      The absence of silver

 

 

 

In the Mishkan, silver was an important part of the contributions and the construction; it was out of silver that the sockets and the pillars were formed. In the Mikdash, on the other hand, there was gold inside and copper on the outside - but no silver. The simple explanation for this may be that "silver was considered nothing in the days of Shlomo" (Melakhim I 10:21), but it might also be that the separation between the gold and the copper was meant to emphasize the separation between holy and profane, which assumed greater importance in the permanent Mikdash.[3] This fact joins others that point to the tendency to separate between holy and profane.

 

3)      The Ulam

 

The ulam was an enormous structure; according to Divrei Ha-yamim, it was a hundred and twenty cubits in height – four times as high as the Mikdash itself! It was not found in the Mishkan, and was added in the Mikdash between the courtyard and the sanctuary – the heikhal and the Holy of Holies. According to our approach, this addition was part of the same tendency of emphasizing the separation from the holy. This imposing structure was meant to indicate that from there on was the sanctified zone.[4]

 

4)      Windows wide without (Shekufim) and narrow within (Atumim) (Melakhim I 6:4)

 

The very existence of windows may be expected in a permanent structure, but not in a temporary tent.

 

The terms, "shekufim" and "atumim" (Melakhim I 6:4) have been explained in many ways. We will limit ourselves here to the interpretations given by Chazal in the midrash:

 

This bears on the text: "The Lord was pleased, for His righteousness' sake, to make the Torah great and glorious" (Yeshayahu 62:21). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moshe: It is not because I require lamps that I have reminded you about them, but only in order that Israel may acquire merit. For it says: "The light dwells with Him" (Daniel 2:22), and it is written: "Even the darkness is not too dark for You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness is even as the light" (Tehillim 139:12). All this serves to teach you that He does not need the lamps of mortals. There is proof that it is so. When a man builds a house he makes in it windows that are narrow on the outside and broad within, that the light may enter the outside and illumine the interior. Shlomo, however, who built the Temple, did not do it in this manner, but made windows that were narrow on the inside and broad on the outside, so that the light might go forth from the Temple and shine outside. As it says: "And for the house he made windows broad within and narrow without" (Melakhim I 6:4). This serves to inform you that He is all light and does not need Israel's light. Why then did He command you to kindle lamps? In order to enable you to acquire merit. This is the reason why it says: "When you light the lamps." Thus we have explained the text: "The Lord was pleased for His righteousness' sake." Moreover, if you will be careful to light the lamps before Me I will cause a great light to shine upon you in the messianic era. Accordingly, it says: "Arise, shine - for Your light is come… And nations shall walk at Your light, and kings at the brightness of Your rising" (Yeshayahu 40:1-3). (Bamidbar Rabbah 15, 2)

 

According to this midrash, these windows express the general idea of the Mikdash and all of Jerusalem serving as a place whose light radiates to the entire world.

 

5)      Added vessels

 

We suggested earlier that this change is rooted in the permanency of the place. The author of the Meshekh Chokhma, however, writes as follows (beginning of Parashat Tetzave):

 

It was already stated about his father David that he left gold "for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for its lamps" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 28:15). For he understood that since in the Mishkan, which was ten by thirty cubits, there was one menorah, and the entire area was ten times thirty, or three hundred cubits, and it was ten cubits high – then according to this calculation, in the heikhal built by Shlomo, which was sixty by twenty [cubits], and twenty times sixty is a thousand two hundred, and its height was thirty, so that it is three times that amount, i.e., three thousand and six hundred [cubits] – it was necessary for there to be eleven candlesticks. Besides that of Moshe, there were ten candlesticks, five to the right of Moshe's and five to the left. If so, according to the calculations, there should have been one more – but it was impossible for there to be more on one side than on the other. And especially according to Rashi's understanding that the devir was twenty [cubits] high, so that it was only a hundred cubits more. For this reason he also made ten tables, because the table must be opposite the candlestick, and like this so the other. And this was only in Shlomo's Temple, where there was a revelation of the Shekhina. But in the second Temple, which was only a statute, one sufficed.

 

            In other words, the number of vessels increased in proportion to the larger size of the structure. This may be formulated not only in connection to the difference in space, for it is clear that there is an inner connection between the vessels and their number and the size of the structure. The vessels are an integral part of the sanctuary and an increase in the sanctuary itself means an increase in the number of vessels.

 

            Midrash Tadsheh offers a different understanding:

 

"He also made ten lavers" (Divrei Ha-yamim II 4:6) – in order to increase the rain, for in the lavers there was water. Ten lavers corresponding to the Ten Commandments. And why was only one laver made in the wilderness? Because Israel did not need rain in the wilderness, because the manna came down for them from heaven and the well was with them. But Shlomo made ten lavers in order to increase the rain, because he was in a civilized country and they needed much rain, as it is stated: "It is a land of hills and valleys, [and drinks water of the rain of heaven]" (Devarim 11:11)…

 

"And he made ten tables" (Divrei Ha-yamim II 4:8) – in order to increase grain. And why did Moshe make only one [table]? Because they did not need a lot of grain in the wilderness. But when Shlomo came, he made ten in order to increase grain… And therefore he put five to the right which is south, corresponding to the right of the world, from where dew of blessing goes out into the world. Shlomo said: By virtue of these tables set on the right, may rains of blessing and dew of blessing go out into the world from the south. And therefore he put five to the left, corresponding to the north which is to the left of the world, from where evil goes out into the world. Said Shlomo: By virtue of these tables set on the left, may evil be barred from Israel…

 

"And he made ten candlesticks of gold" corresponding to the Ten Commandments. And every candlestick has seven lamps, totaling seventy, corresponding to the seventy nations. For as long as the candles burn, the nations are subdued, but from the day that the candles were extinguished, they became strong. (Otzar Midrashim [Eisenstein], p. 474)

 

According to the midrash, the increase in the number of holy vessels fits in with the general tendency of expanding the Shekhina's presence in the world through a permanent Temple, the objective of which is bringing about an increase of rain and grain. In Eretz Yisrael, the people are in greater need of the blessing of rain, and the Temple service must be made to match the needs of the people in their own land.

 

6)      The Keruvim

 

To the keruvim on the kaporet that was on the ark, Shlomo added two additional keruvim:

 

And within the sanctuary he made two keruvim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. And five cubits was the one wing of the keruv, and five cubits the other wing of the keruv: from the uttermost part of the one wing to the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits. And the other keruv was ten cubits: both the keruvim were of one measure and one form. The height of the one keruv was ten cubits, and so was that of the other keruv. And he set the keruvim within the inner house: and the wings of the keruvim were spread out, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other keruv touched the other wall, and the wings which they stretched towards the midst of the house touched one another. And he overlaid the keruvim with gold. (Melakhim I 6:23-28)

 

And in the most holy place he made two keruvim of figured work, and overlaid them with gold. And the wings of the keruvim were twenty cubits long: the wing of the one was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other keruv. And the wing of the other keruv was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house, and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other keruv. The wings of these keruvim spread themselves out to twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward. (Divrei Ha-yamim II 3:10-13)

 

            It seems that the primary difference between these keruvim and the keruvim of the kaporet is that the keruvim fashioned by Moshe were part of a movable vessel, whereas the keruvim added by Shlomo were much bigger: their height (ten cubits) was half the height of the devir (the Holy of Holies), and their overall breadth (twenty cubits) was equal to its breadth (and therefore they touched each other and the walls of the devir. This means that the keruvim were added to the structure of the devir, and that they were not part of a vessel, but rather part of the building. This fits in with the rest of the changes made by Shlomo in the structure of the Mikdash.

 

            At this point, we would like to dwell on the description, "and their faces were inward," which is different than the direction of the keruvim on the kaporet, "and their faces shall look one to another" (Shemot 25:20; 37:9). The gemara discusses this difference:

 

How did they stand? — R. Yochanan and R. Elazar [disagree]. One says: They faced each other; and the other says: Their faces were inward. But according to him who says that they faced each other, [it may be asked]: Is it not written: "And their faces were inward"?  [This is] no difficulty: The former [was] at a time when Israel obeyed the will of God; the latter [was] at a time when Israel did not obey the will of God. [Rashbam: They turn their faces toward each other like a man and woman who love each other, as a sign that God loves Israel… and when they fail to do the will of God, they turn their faces inwards by way of a miracle.] And according to him who says that their faces were inward [it may be asked]: Is it not written: "With the faces one to another"? They were slightly turned sideways.  For [so] it was taught: Onkelos the proselyte said: “The Cherubim had the form of babes and their faces were turned sideways as a student who takes leave of his master. (Bava Batra 99a)

 

            The gemara's answer appears to be difficult. Surely, according to the plain meaning of the text, we are dealing with two different sets of keruvim! R. Chayim Volozhiner and the Netziv dealt with this issue. R. Chayim writes as follows:

 

The generation of the wilderness, who merited to eat from Heaven's table, daily bread from heaven, and whose clothing did not grow old upon them, and who did not need any worldly support whatsoever – all agree that they would not be called "obeying the will of God," unless they looked heavenward with absolute uprightness, and subjugated their hearts exclusively to Torah and service, and to the fear of God, blessed be His name, day and night not departing from their mouths, literally, without turning aside whatsoever, for even a short moment to occupy themselves with their support. And as the Sages said: "The Torah was only given to those who eat the manna" (Mekhilta, Beshalach 17, and elsewhere). Therefore, the keruvim were made to stand then in accordance with the way that they were obeying the will of God, the one actually facing the other, to show that "the upright shall behold His face," blessed be He, face to face with His holy people.

 

In the days of Shlomo, however, when the masses of Israel were forced to turn a little to earning a living, at least to the extent of maintaining themselves, this being the fundamental truth of His will, blessed be He, according to R. Yishmael, who maintains that for the masses it is better to act in this manner. As they said in Avot: "Torah study together with an occupation is an excellent thing… any study of Torah without some kind of work…" (Avot 2:2). And all the words of Avot are words of piety. Only that even when they engage in an occupation, their hearts should be turned to wisdom in contemplation of the words of the Torah. Therefore, the keruvim were made to stand from the outset, in accordance with the way they were obeying the will of God, their faces turned a little to the side, but nevertheless… with an affectionate face, to show His love for us, this being His will, blessed be He, as stated above. (He agrees with R. Yishmael, and the one who says that even the keruvim of Shlomo were set from the outset, in accordance with the way they were obeying the will of God, the one actually facing the other, agrees with R. Shimon ben Yochai.)

 

The question remains why it was necessary to stand the two keruvim turned to the side. Surely the one keruv, which alludes to Him, blessed be He, should have been made to face forward. Rather, it is as we wrote, that His connection, as it were, to all the worlds and all the powers is in accordance with the movement and stirring reaching them from our actions below, and in that measure His smiling and gracious face devolves also down to us. Therefore, even the keruv that alludes to Him, blessed be His name, had to be set turned to the side to the same degree as was the keruv that alludes to us. (Nefesh Ha-Chayim, gate 1, chap. 9)

 

            According to Rav Chayim Volozhiner, the position of the keruvim in the Mishkan – the one facing the other – reflected the situation of the people of Israel in the wilderness, when they subjugated their hearts exclusively to Torah and Divine service. In contrast, in the days of Shlomo, in Eretz Yisrael, they had to work for a living, and therefore the faces of the keruvim were turned a little to the side, a position that alludes to the mutuality in the relationship between God and the Jewish people: to the extent that we do not turn to Him, He does not turn to us.[5]

 

            The Netziv writes in similar manner (Ha'amek Davar on Shemot 25:2, in Harchev Davar):

 

For Israel in the wilderness was likened to a bride during her wedding period, and after they entered into Eretz Yisrael, they were likened to a married woman. A bride has nothing whatsoever to do but to adorn herself so that her groom will gaze upon her and enjoy her appearance… Therefore, the keruvim were positioned the one facing the other. In Eretz Israel, however, they were like a married woman, whose maintenance is provided in exchange for her handiwork, and so [the keruvim] faced inwards… So too in future generations when [the people of] Israel obey the will of God and occupy themselves in Torah, about them it is written: "And their faces shall look one to another." And when they maintain themselves through work it is written: "And their faces were inward."

 

            The addition of the keruvim teaches then about the unique essence of the Mikdash, which is different from the Mishkan, as explained by the Vilna Gaon in his commentary to Shir Ha-shirim (1:17):

 

For a wife is intended for two things: the one, marital relations, and the other, taking care of the house. That which is stated in the gemara, "I never called my wife 'my wife,' but rather 'my house'" (Shabbat 118b, Gittin 52a) – this is because she is for two things. I never called her "my wife," because that is vulgar, but rather "my house," which signifies the second benefit - that she takes care of the needs of her house. This is the difference between the Mishkan and the Mikdash, for in the Mishkan, there was a manifestation of the marital relationship; they cleaved at all times to the Holy One, blessed be He, and therefore it was called "our couch" (Shir Ha-shirim 1:16), the place of coupling. But the two Batei Mikdash were at the level of a woman who takes care of her house, there being no manifestation of cleaving… And this is the meaning of "You shall no longer call me Ba'ali" (Hoshe'a 2:19), in the sense of ba'al ha-bayit, owner of the house, but rather Ishi (ibid.). The marital relationship will be evident to all when they will cleave at all times to the Holy One, blessed be He. As it is written: "When I should find you outside, I would kiss you; and none would scorn me" (Shir Ha-shirim 8:1) on account of the cleaving.

 

            Regarding the keruvim, then, the gemara does not distinguish between the Mishkan and the Mikdash. In the Vilna Gaon's explanation, a clear distinction is made between the Mishkan and the Mikdash, whereas Rav Chayim Volozhiner and the Netziv reach a compromise between them. It seems that based on the various explanations, it is possible to present different understandings regarding the relationship between the Mishkan and the Mikdash.

 

Summary

 

            We dealt in this lecture with the significance of the establishment of a permanent Temple on Mount Moriah. We saw that the transition from a temporary Mishkan to a permanent Mikdash involved many changes in the structure, dimensions, materials, and vessels, all of which express the transition from the primal and elevated connection between the people of Israel and God to the fixed and permanent connection of the people in its land.

 

            In the next lecture, we will, God willing, discuss Shlomo's efforts on behalf of the building of the Temple: the treaty with the king of Tzor, Shlomo's part in the construction as opposed to the part of David, and the significance of the fact that the Temple was built by two kings.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)

 

[1] It is possible that the noting of the matter in Divrei Ha-Yamim is a literary expression of the general tendency on the part of Ezra, author of the book, to describe the construction of the second Temple as similar to the construction of the Mishkan with respect to the intensive involvement of the people (but this is not the forum to discuss this possibility at length).

 

[2] R. Yona Merzbach related to some of these changes in his book, Alei Yona: Asufat Ma'amarim U-Khetavim (Jerusalem-Bnei Brak, 1989), in the chapter, "Bet Ha-Mikdash Ve-Ha-Mishkan," p. 300ff.

 

[3] We have brought here the gist of the words of R. Yigal Ariel, Mikdash Melekh – Iyyunim Be-Sefer Melakhim (Chispin, 1994), pp. 70-71.

 

[4] According to the book of Melakhim – if we assume that it disagrees with Divrei Ha-Yamim and assumes that the ulam was of the same height as the sanctuary – it may be suggested that the ulam constitutes a transitional area between the courtyard and the sanctuary. This, too, is part of that same tendency: a transitional structure is necessary in order to prepare the person about to enter for his entry into the sanctuary.

 

[5] The words of Scripture, "As in water face answers face, so the heart of man to man" (Mishlei 27:19), are true, as it were, even about God. The Mikdash faithfully reflects the true relationship between the Jewish people and God: To the extent that the people of Israel seek God's closeness through their deeds and traits, God gives expression to His closeness to them.

 

Lecture 78 Shlomos monarchy in Jerusalem  III Shlomo's efforts on behalf of the temple

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

In the previous lecture, we focused on the details of the Temple, on the changes that resulted from the transition from Mishkan to Mikdash, and on the significance of those changes. In this lecture, we will examine the entirety of Shlomo's actions on behalf of the Temple.

 

I.              THE PACT WITH CHIRAM, KING OF TZOR

 

1)      David and Chiram

 

The beginnings of the connection with Tzor traces back to the days of King David. Immediately after describing David's conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of his monarchy therein, Scripture tells of the assistance that Chiram provided David in connection with the building of his palace – both materials and workers:

 

And Chiram king of Tzor sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons, and they built David a house. (Shmuel II 5:11; parallel found in Divrei Ha-Yamim II 14:1)

 

This assistance did not come in response to a request on the part of David, but rather on the initiative of Chiram, which some interpret as a sign of Chiram's appreciation of David for his war against Tzor's enemy, the Pelishtim. The friendship between David and Chiram continued throughout the period of David's kingdom (Melakhim I 5:15).

 

2)      Shelomo and Chiram

 

The connection between Shlomo and Chiram is described in Melakhim I 5:15-32; 9:11-14, 26-28; 10:11, and 22 (and in the parallel passages in Divrei Ha-Yamim II 2:2-15; 8:2, 18; 9:10, 21).

 

According to the report in Melakhim, with the foundation of Shelomo's monarchy, Chiram turned to him with the request that he be allowed to continue the warm and friendly relations that he had enjoyed with the kingdom of Israel in the time of David:

 

And Chiram king of Tzur sent his servants to Shlomo, for he had heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father; for Chiram always loved David. (Melakhim I 5:15)

 

Presumably, Chiram also heard about Shlomo's wisdom, as is reported in the previous verse regarding the rest of the kings. Shlomo responded by asking Chiram to provide him with cedars from the Lebanon, and Chiram agreed to send Shlomo as many cedar and cypress trees as he desires. In exchange, Shlomo provided Chiram with wheat and oil for food for his household year by year (according to the Radak, throughout the period that Chiram's men worked in Shlomo's service). Chiram and Shlomo's workers worked together in transporting the wood and preparing the wood and the stones. Chapter 9 relates that Chiram also provided Shlomo with gold and that Shlomo offered to give him twenty cities in the Galil, but Chiram was not pleased with them. Later in that same chapter, we read about the international gold trade that Shlomo and Chiram developed at Yam Suf.

 

            This extensive and diversified activity led to a pact between the two kings:

 

And the Lord gave Shlomo wisdom, as He promised him, and there was peace between Chiram and Shlomo; and they two made a league together. (Melakhim I 5:26)

 

There are a number of differences[1] in the report in Divrei Ha-Yamim I, only a few of which we will mention here:

 

  · Whereas in Melakhim, Shlomo wanted to give Chiram twenty cities in the Galil, in Divrei Ha-Yamim, Chiram gave Shlomo cities and Shlomo rebuilt them and settled them with members of the people of Israel (Divrei Ha-Yamim II 8:2).[2]

 

        · In Divrei Ha-Yamim, there is no mention of a pact between Shlomo and Chiram.

 

        · According to Melakhim, Chiram – the craftsman that Chiram king of Tzur sent Shlomo for smith work in the Temple – was from the tribe of Naftali and a coppersmith, whereas according to Divrei Ha-Yamim, he was a multi-talented craftsman ("skillful to work in gold and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to engrave any manner of engraving, and to work all kinds of artistic work;" Divrei Ha-Yamim II 2:13) from the tribe of Dan.

 

Incidentally, this joining of the tribe of Dan (Chiram the smith from Tzur) to the tribe of Yehuda (Shlomo) in the construction of the Temple is reflective of Divrei Ha-Yamim's tendency to describe through various literary means the construction of the Mikdash as a continuation of the construction of the Mishkan. Thus writes the midrash:

 

You find that when the Mishkan was made, two tribes shared in the work. R. Levi said in the name of R. Chama son of R. Chanina: The tribe of Dan and the tribe of Yehuda. The tribe of Yehuda – Betzalel; the tribe of Dan – Oholi'av ben Achisamakh of the tribe of Dan. And similarly in the construction of the first Temple, two tribes were partners. "And King Shlomo sent and fetched Chiram from Tzur" (Melakhim I 7:13), the son of a widow from the tribe of Dan, and Shlomo ben David who was from the tribe of Yehuda. (Pesikta Rabbati 6).[3]

 

3)      THe significance of the pact

 

The pact established between Shlomo and Chiram raises two questions: First of all, how is it possible to enter into a treaty with Chiram?[4] In several places, the Torah forbids Israel to enter into a pact with the nations of the world. Thus, for example, we find in Shemot 23:32: "You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods;" similarly, in Shemot 34:12: "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go."

 

Second, what is the spiritual significance of the partnership of the people of Tzur in the building of the Temple?[5]

 

In this lecture, we will deal exclusively with the second question.

 

R. Ovadya Seforno (Shemot 38:21-22) finds fault with allowing foreigners to take part in the building:

 

[The Torah] tells us the virtues of this Mishkan, by which reason it was worthy to be everlasting and not to fall into the hands of the enemy. First, because it was the "Tabernacle of Testimony," where the tablets of testimony were [deposited]; second, "as they were rendered according to the commandment of Moshe;" third, because it was through "the service of the Levites by the hand of Itamar,' for indeed the charge of all the parts of the Mishkan were in the hands of Itamar; fourth, "And Betzalel the son of Uri, the son of Chur, of the tribe of Yehuda made…," the leaders of the craftsmen of the Mishkan's work and its articles were noblemen and the righteous ones of the generation, and therefore the Shekhina rested on the work of their hands, and it did not fall into the hands of their enemies. But the Temple of Shelomo [was built by] workers of the nations of the world, and although the Shekhina did rest there, its sections deteriorated and it was necessary to repair the breaches of the house, and eventually it all fell into the hands of the enemy. But the second Temple, which did not meet even one of these conditions [and] the Shekhina did not come to rest in it at all, fell into the hand of the enemy; for indeed, the second Temple was not "the Mishkan of the testimony" since there were no tablets of testimony in it [at all] and it was Koresh who charged it [that it be built], and [also] there were no sons of Levi there, as Ezra attested when he said: "And I inspected the people and the priests but found there none of the sons of Levi" (Ezra 8:15), and among those who occupied themselves with the building were Tzidonites and Tzorites, as is explained in the book of Ezra (3:7). (Seforno, Commentary to Shemot 38:21-22)[6]

 

According to the Seforno, the first and second Temples fell into the hands of the enemy because they were built with the participation of craftsmen from Tzor and Tzidon, whereas the Mishkan, the craftsmen of which were all of noble lineage and among the righteous of the generation, never fell into enemy hands. Accordingly, the Mikdash should have been built exclusively by members of Israel, without the participation of foreign craftsmen.[7]

 

In the words of the prophets themselves, however, we do not find any criticism whatsoever regarding Shlomo's allowing the artisans and craftsmen of Tzor to participate in the construction. An attempt should, therefore, be made to find positive meaning in the participation of the Tzorites in the building of the Temple.

 

Various prophets prophesied about Tzor: Yechezkel dedicates three chapters to Tzor (26-28); Yeshayahu – "the burden of Tzor" (chap. 23); and Yo'el (6:6-8) and Amos (1:9-10). These prophecies (and especially the prophecies of Yechezkel, which devote the most attention to Tzor) imply three important characteristics of Tzor.[8]

 

In chapter 27, Yechezkel likens Tzor to a ship "perfect of beauty" (v. 3), constructed of the most precious and beautiful materials from all over the world. The motif of beauty is repeated also in the next chapter, in a lamentation over the king of Tzor:

 

Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tzor, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord God; You are a seal and a paragon, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, the crysolithe, and the diamond, the emerald, the shoham, and the jade, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the beryl, and gold; the workmanship of your settings and your sockets was in you, in the day that you were created they were prepared. You were the far covering keruv; and I have set you so. You were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” (Yechezkel 28:12-14)

 

We have here a detailed description of Tzor being likened to the Garden of Eden, filled with parallels to the Temple (keruv, covering, holy mountain, the stones of the choshen, and others).[9] It is therefore "fitting to take of the beauty of Lebanon which is reminiscent of the beauty of the Garden [of Eden] and establish it in the Temple" (the words of R. Shaviv – see note 8).[10]

 

Another characteristic of Tzor is its cosmopolitanism – it was "a merchant of the peoples" (Yechezkel 27:3). Tzor's location on the Mediterranean coast turned it into an international center of commerce and culture, as is spelled out in the continuation of that chapter (27:12-25; see also Yeshayahu 23:8). In this sense, Tzur was a miniature representation of all the nations in the world, and perhaps its participation in the construction of the Temple heralds the prophetic vision that in the future all the nations will recognize God's kingship and go up to Jerusalem for judgment. In other words, during that period Tzor was a fitting conduit to connect the entire world to the building of the Temple, and when the time comes also to reach the Temple and recognize the monarchy of God.

 

Another characteristic of Tzor, which connects it to the construction of the Temple in a different way, is its great pride, which is expressed in the pride of its prince:

 

The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, Son of Man, say to the prince of Tzor. Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, ‘I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the heart of the seas;’ yet you are a man, and not God, though you have your heart as the heart of God. Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; there is no secrete that they can hide from you; with your wisdom and with your understanding you have acquired riches and have gotten gold and silver in your treasures. By your great wisdom and by your trading you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches. Therefore, thus says the Lord God: Because you have set your heart as the heart of God, behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon you, the most terrible of the nations. And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and they shall defile your brightness. They shall bring you down to the pit, and you shall die the deaths of them that are slain in the heart of the seas. Will you yet say before him that slays you, I am God? But you are a man, and not God, in the hand of him that slays you. You shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, says the Lord God. (Yechezkel 28:1-10)

 

The beauty, the power and the universal recognition of his protection filled the prince of Tzor with pride and the feeling of "I am a God, I sit in the seat of God."[11] The participation of Tzor – which regards itself as the supreme kingdom on earth – in the construction of the Temple is a repair of this conception, inasmuch as it constitutes recognition of the supremacy of God. This point was already noted by the Zohar:

 

Chiram made himself into a god, and when Shlomo came, he removed him from this idea, and Chiram thanked him for that. And we have learned: R. Yitzchak said in the name of R. Yehuda: Shlomo sent Chiram a certain demon who went down to the seventh level of Gehhinom and brought him up. Every day, Shelomo would send Chiram messages with that demon, until he repented, and he thanked Shlomo for that. (Zohar, Vayikra 61a)

 

In this context, it should also be noted that Tzor had acquired its great riches through wrongdoing and injustice (Yechezkel 28:16-18), and the connection to the Mikdash and Jerusalem, the city of justice, was able to repair this disgraceful trait as well.

 

This idea of repairing the sins of Tzor, the cosmopolitan kingdom of commerce and culture, which perhaps represents the entire world, fits in well with Shlomo's perception of the Mikdash as an eternal and universal Temple designated for the repair of the entire world. Just as Shlomo's marriages with foreign, idol-worshipping women were meant, according to some opinions, to draw them closer to God (Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 2:6), so too his covenant with Tzor – which saw itself as the pinnacle of humanity, even though it acquired its wealth unjustly – may have been part of his attempt to repair it, as part of the repair of the entire world, by way of the Temple.[12]

 

Practically speaking, this goal was not achieved, neither in the days of Shlomo nor during the entire first Temple period.[13] Shlomo himself went after Ashtoret, god of the Tzidonites (Melakhim I 11:5),[14] and over the course of the generations, the commercial connections led to marital alliances: the marriage of Ach'av to Izevel, daughter of Itba'al, king of the Tzidonites. This brought the worship of Ba'al to the kingdom of Israel (Melakhim I 16:31), from where it arrived also in the kingdom of Yehuda by way of Atalya (see Melakhim II 11:14).[15]

 

In the end, Yechezkel sees the connection between Tzor and Jerusalem in a negative light:

 

Because Tzor has said against Jerusalem, “Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the peoples; she is turned to me,” I shall be filled with her that is laid waste. (Yechezkel 26:2)

 

 

 

In the continuation of that very prophecy, the relationship between Tzor and Jerusalem is presented as the reason for the great destruction of Tzor. The gemara (Megilla 6a) learns from the aforementioned verse that there exists an antithetical relationship between Tzor (which is replaced in the gemara by Ceasaria, in accordance with the reality of the period) and Jerusalem:

 

Caesaria and Jerusalem – if someone tells you that both of them have been destroyed, do not believe him; that they are both settled, do not believe him; Caesaria is destroyed and Jerusalem settled, or Jerusalem is destroyed and Caeasaria is settled – believe him. As it is stated: "I shall be filled with her that is laid waste" (Yechezkel  26:2) – if this one is filled, that one is laid waste, if that one is filled, this one is laid waste.[16]

 

It follows from what we have said that it is possible to relate to the connection with Tzor in different ways. On the one hand, the Seforno criticizes the connection and its consequences, something that also later left its mark on the relationship between the kingdoms of Israel and Yehuda and those of Tzor and Tzidon. On the other hand, in Tzor lies the potential for great repair.

 

4) Lebanon and the temple[17]

 

            When Moshe pleaded to be allowed entry into Eretz Yisrael, he said:

 

I pray you, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan, the goodly mountain region and the Lebanon. (Devarim 3:25)

 

According to the plain sense of the text, Moshe was referring to two main regions: the central mountain massif of Eretz Yisrael and the Lebanon to its north. The midrashic understanding of "Lebanon" as a reference to the Mikdash stems from the cedars of Lebanon that Chiram sent Shlomo and from which the Mikdash was constructed. This is explicitly stated in Bereishit Rabbah (15:1):

 

R. Yochanan said: The world was not worthy of using the cedars, which were created exclusively for the sake of the Temple. This is [the meaning of] what is written: "The trees of the Lord have their fill; the cedars of Lebanon" (Tehillim 104:16), and Lebanon means the Temple. This is what is written: "The goodly mountain region and the Lebanon." (Devarim 3:25).

 

Yonatan ben Uziel, other opinions in Chazal, and the Rishonim, however, understood differently:

 

"The goodly mountain region" – this refers to Jerusalem; "and the Lebanon" – this refers to the Temple. (Mekhilta De-Rashbi, 17:14)

 

Calling the Temple by the name "Lebanon" is explained in Midrash Zuta to Shir Ha-Shirim (4:8) as follows:

 

"Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, with me from Lebanon" (Shir Ha-Shirim 4:8). What is Lebanon? This is the Temple, which was called Lebanon. And why was it called Lebanon? Whoever would go up there with a sin in his hand would not leave from there before his sins would become white (mitlabenim) as snow, in fulfillment of what it says: "Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Yeshayahu 1:18).[18]

 

            Yet another interpretation of this designation is found in Vayikra Rabbah (1:2):

 

R. Tavyumi said: Because all hearts (levavot) rejoice in it. This is what is written: "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth" (Tehillim 48:3). And the Rabbis said: Because of "My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually" (Melakhim I 9:3).

 

Here the word Lebanon is understood in the sense of "heart" (lev), alluding to the joy that is found in the hearts of all in the Temple, and to God's heart (i.e., Divine providence), which is found there at all times.

 

The vitality that the metaphor of heart bestows upon the Temple expresses itself in another way in yet another interpretation of the cedars of Lebanon:

 

The cedars which Chiram king of Tzor sent to Shlomo for the construction of the Temple smelled of life and were green. R. Levi said: When Shlomo brought the ark into the Temple, all the trees and cedars that were there turned green and produced fruit, as it is stated: "Those that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Tehillim 92:14). And they produced fruit and were a source of great income to the young priests, until Menasheh brought an idol into the Holy of Holies, and the Shekhina removed itself, and the fruits dried up, as it is stated: "And the flower of Lebanon fades" (Nachum 1:4). (Tanchuma, Teruma 11)[19]

 

It is possible that the significance of the connection between the Temple and the Lebanon (and between Shlomo, king of Jerusalem, and Chiram, king of Tzor) should be understood in light of Lebanon's being the northern end of Eretz Yisrael. According to this, the connection between the Temple and the Lebanon expresses the relationship between the heart, which sits in the center, and the outermost reaches of the country: the entirety of Eretz Yisrael – including its northernmost region – is connected to the source, the Temple, and receives its vitality from it. The heart bestows of its vitality even on the most distant and northern (tzafon; and perhaps also concealed – tzafun) end. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth: Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King" (Tehillim 48:3);[20] "Like the dew of Chermon descending upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life for evermore" (ibid. 133:3) – the material abundance and blessing from the north connect with the mountains of Zion, where the eternal blessing is found, "even life for evermore."

 

II.            WHAT DID SHLOMO ACTUALLY DO IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONTSTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE?

 

1)       What use did Shlomo make of THOSE THINGS THAT had been prepared by His father, David

 

At the end of the description of the construction of the Temple, it is stated:

 

So was ended all the work that king Shlomo made for the house of the Lord. And Shlomo brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, he did put in the treasuries of the house of the Lord. (Melakhim I 7:51; parallel found in Divrei Ha-Yamim II 5:1)

 

Why didn't Shlomo use what his father David had consecrated? This is explained in Pesikta Rabbati (6):

 

Some [of the Rabbis] explain this to his credit; others explain it to his discredit.

 

Those who explain this to his credit: David petitioned for this, saying to Him: Master of the universe, I see in my prophecy that the Temple will eventually be destroyed, and all that I have set aside comes from houses of idol worship that I destroyed. Let not the nations of the world say: What did David think? He destroyed the house of our gods and made a house for God; our gods stirred up and took their revenge and destroyed the house of God. Therefore, he prayed that Shlomo should not need them.

 

And those who explained this to his discredit: During the days of David, there were three years of famine. David had several storehouses filled with silver and gold that he had set aside for the building of the Temple. He should have spent the money to keep the people alive, but he failed to do so. God said to him: My children are dying of hunger and you amass money for the construction of a building. You should have used it to keep people alive, [but] you did not do so. By your life, Shlomo will not need to take anything from it whatsoever.

 

            Abarbanel adds:

 

Just as He did not want David to build the Temple during his lifetime on account of the great amount of blood that he had spilled, so too He did not agree that the Temple should be built with the money that he had amassed in his wars from the spoils of the nations. But Shlomo, who was a man of peace and whose money was amassed in a just and peaceful manner – he was to build the Temple from that money, and not from anything else, for the Lord will give strength to His people, and the Lord will bless His people with peace.[21]

 

It is also possible that we are dealing here with an expression of independence: Shlomo wanted to build the Temple by himself.

 

This notwithstanding, Divrei Ha-Yamim explicitly states that Shlomo made use, at least in part, of what had been prepared by David (and it deals there with spoils of war!):

 

 

 

Likewise, from Tivchat and from Kun, cites of Hadar'ezer, David took very much brass, with which Shlomo made the brazen sea, and the pillars, and the vessels of brass. (Divrei Ha-Yamim I 18:8)

 

Moreover, it seems evident that Shlomo made use of the Temple plans that David had given him; in light of what is stated in Divrei Ha-Yamim I (28:19): "All this, said he, is put in writing by the hand of the Lord who instructed me, all the works of this pattern." In light of Chazal's tradition regarding the Temple scroll that had been handed down from Moshe to David and from David to Shlomo, it does not stand to reason that Shlomo made changes in the original plans. Similarly, there is no reason to assume that Shlomo instituted changes in David's division of the priesthood and the Levites into mishmarot (Divrei Ha-Yamim I 23-26).

 

2)       the things that Shlomo did on his own

 

        · Bringing of the craftsmen and construction materials (including his turning to Chiram regarding craftsmen, cedars, cypress trees and gold).

 

        · Inviting Chiram the brass worker from Tzor, who was responsible for all the brass work.

 

        · The actual building of all the structures and vessels.

 

        · Bringing the ark up from the city of David to the Temple and standing all the vessels in their proper places.

 

        · All aspects of the dedication of the Temple.

 

 

III.           THE CONTSTRUCTION OF THE FIRST TEMPLE BY DAVID AND SHLOMO

 

1)      The temple and Jerusalem – joint project of two kings

 

Until now, we have emphasized, based on the plain sense of Scripture, the part played by each of the two kings in the construction of the Temple. David initiated the building, sought out the place, found it, acquired it, erected an altar, and prepared the plans, the mishmarot, and the ma'amadot. Shlomo added craftsmen and building materials, executed the building of the structure and the vessels, brought up the ark from the city of David to the Temple, and dedicated God's house.

 

 

 

In addition, Chazal assert in several places that David was also a partner in the construction proper: David constructed the foundation, and Shlomo the building itself. Thus, for example, we find in the following midrash:

 

"And for a sacrifice of peace offerings" (Bamidbar 7:17) – this refers to David and Shlomo… and both of them built the Temple: David made the foundation and Shlomo built it up. (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:14)

 

Similarly, Tosafot in Berakhot (18a) expound the expression "two lion-hearted men of Mo'av" (Shmuel II 23:20) – "this refers to David and Shlomo, who built the Temple and who came from Ruth the Moabite woman."

 

We see, then, that the Temple – and more than that, Jerusalem in its entirety as the city of the Temple – was the joint project of David and Shlomo. Each of the two kings made his own unique contribution, but only together did they fashion the perfect creation of a city with a Temple at its center:

 

Our Rabbis taught: Which is a coin of Jerusalem? David and Shlomo on one side and the holy city of Jerusalem on the other. (Bava Kama 97b)

 

2)      THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FACT THAT THE TEMPLE WAS BUILT BY TWO KINGS

 

Why was the Temple built by two kings, rather than by a single king? There are several possible answers to this question.

 

First, this may have been to preclude the situation in which a king feels that it was he who, with his great strength and abilities, "arranged" a place for the Master of the universe, and among his various royal construction projects also built a house for God. The fact that two kings participated in the project lessens such a feeling.

 

Second, the fact that the Temple was built by father and son bestows an element of permanence. The establishment of a permanent royal dynasty is what allowed for the construction of the Temple, and it is this dynasty which built it.

 

And third, the Temple was built by two kings with very different dispositions. David started out in life as a shepherd and engaged in many great struggles before ascending to the throne; David is the model for the trait of lowliness and humility and the feeling of profound dependency upon God, on the one hand, and upon the tribes of Israel, on the other. David's ceaseless devotion to the Temple, which manifested itself even before he served as king in practice and which continued even after he was explicitly told that he himself would not be able to build the Temple, is one of his most striking qualities. Another of his traits was his unmediated connection to the ark, the vessel that more than anything else expresses the resting of the Shekhina. All these account for the fact that the Temple was attributed to David ("A psalm, a song for the dedication of the Temple; of David"), the root of whose soul was in the house of God.

 

 

 

Shlomo, on the other hand, was born into the royal court and received on a silver platter a kingdom that enjoyed extensive and peaceful borders and grand economic abundance. The entire world came before him and recognized his wisdom, power, wealth, and influence: not dependence on the tribes, but rather the appointment of a royal mechanism of governors ruling the people; not lowliness and humility, but rather great self-confidence and profound recognition of his value in the eyes of his people and the entire world. As opposed to David, Shlomo's clear connection was not to the ark, but to the high place in Giv'on – to the altar and the sacrificial service. In all of these – his nature, his personality and his qualities – Shlomo complemented David, and thus the Temple was built by the two of them: David – who was the foundation, the starting point - and Shelomo, the successor, who represents permanence in all of its senses.

 

SUMMARY

 

In this lecture, we completed our analysis of Shlomo's contribution to the construction of the Temple. We examined the details of the covenant with Chiram and its spiritual significance, we investigated where Shelomo made use of what had been prepared by David and where not, and we concluded with a discussion of the significance of the fact that the Temple was built by both David and Shlomo.

 

In the next lecture, we will discuss the relationship between the house of the king and the house of God.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)

 

[1] The positions of the Malbim and the Abarbanel regarding these differences are quite interesting. The Malbim (Divrei Ha-Yamim II 2:2) writes that "Ezra [in Divrei Ha-Yamim] did not write here anything stated in the book of Melakhim, but only related new things." Abarbanel (Melakhim I 5:15) writes: "And the prophet [in Melakhim] received these things from God, blessed be He, and wrote them in the book, his formulation being very near the truth of the matter. Ezra, however [in Divrei Ha-Yamim], saw fit to write these things and arranged the related matters in a manner most attractive to him. For this is the manner of writers of chronicles, although he spoke with the holy spirit. His intention was to arrange the matter in an attractive manner in agreement with the truth of the event, and there is no change here, or contradiction." Abarbanel's distinction between Melakhim and Divrei Ha-Yamim is fascinating, and it explains changes and contradictions in other places as well.

 

[2] We will not try to resolve this contradiction here. The Radak speaks of an exchange of territories.

 

[3] This partnership between the ruling southern tribe (Yehuda) and the northern tribe from the sons of the maidservants (Dan or Naftali; we will not attempt to reconcile the contradiction here) emphasizes that the Mishkan and the Mikdash belong to all of Israel, from Dan to Be'er-Sheva, just as did the acquisition of the site of the Temple with the money of all of Israel.

 

[4] The various opionions on this issue are cited in R. Yigal Ariel, "Ha-Berit im Tzor," Techumin 4 (1983), pp. 267-277. We will merely note here the view of Tosafot in Yevamot (23a, s.v. ha-hu be-shiv'a umot ketiv), who relate specifically to our question and suggest three answers (my numbering): "1) Perhaps a covenant is only forbidden when established for the sake of idol worship…; 2) Or perhaps Chiram the king of Tzor was a ger toshav; 3) And it further seems to me that the establishment of a covenant is only forbidden with the seven [Cana'anite] nations."

 

In addition to the issue concerning the covenant itself, Shlomo's handing over of cities to Chiram requires clarification, for it allowed foreign rule in the heart of Israel. This, however, is not the forum in which to examine this difficulty.

 

[5] It is interesting that regarding the construction of the second Temple as well there was a plan (which in the end did not materialize; see Chaggai 1:8) to have the people of Tzor and Tzidon participate in the building: "They gave money also to the masons, and to the carpenters; and food, and drink, and oil, to those of Tzidon, and of Tzor, to bring cedar trees from the Lebanon to the sea of Yafo, according to the grant that they had from Koresh king of Paras" (Ezra 3:7). On the other hand, Zerubavel answers with an absolute negative to the request of the enemies of Yehuda and Binyamin to participate in the building (an understandable refusal in light of their attitude to the building in general).

 

[6] As opposed to our argument in the previous note, the Seforno understands that the people of Tzor and Tzidon did, in fact, participate in the building.

 

[7] It should be emphasized that the significance of the foreign factor on the resting of the Shekhina is very complicated, for the Shekhina rested on the first Temple, but not on the second Temple. R. Yochanan explained that the Shekhina did not rest on the second Temple because "it is written 'God shall enlarge Yefet, and He shall dwell in the tents of Shem' (Bereishit 9:27) – even though 'God enlarges Yefet,' the Shekhina will rest only in the tents of Shem" (Megila 9b). Rash explains (ad loc.): "Even though "God enlarges Yefet," the Persians meriting to build the second Temple, the Shekhina rested only in the first Temple, built by Shlomo, who descended from the seed of Shem." Of course, the part played by the Persians regarding the second Temple, which included granting authorization, patronage, and means, was immeasurably greater than and essentially different from the part played by the foreign workers of which the Seforno speaks.

 

[8] This issue was dealt with by R. Yehuda Shaviv, "Be-Inyan shel Tzor Ve-Tzidon," Merchavim 5747; R. Yoel Bin Nun, "Tzor Ve-Tzidon Be-Nachalat Asher," Alon Shevut 96. In this framework, we will not deal with the many sins attributed to Tzor by Yoel and Amos, including trading in Jewish slaves.

 

[9] The parallelism between the Temple and the Garden of Eden is well known. See Yehuda Kil, "Ha-Mishkan, ha-Mikdash, ve-ha-Gan be-Eden," published in his introduction to the Da'at Mikra edition of Bereishit, vol. 1, pp. 102-120.

 

[10] It should be remembered that Jerusalem is also called "the perfection of beauty" (Eikha 2:15).

 

[11] Yalkut Shim'oni (Yechezkel, 367) describes in shockingly graphic terms the feeling of divinity and the final end of the prince of Tzor (which it identifies with Chiram, friend of David and Shlomo): "'Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God'… Chiram king of Tzor was exceedingly arrogant and boastful. What did he do? He entered the sea, and fashioned for it fourty square iron pillars of equal length, and stood them up in a row, and he fashioned seven heavens and a throne and beasts and thunder and shooting stars and lightning. The first heaven he fashioned out of glass, five hundred cubits by five hundred cubits. And he made in it a sun, a moon and stars. The second heaven he fashioned out of iron, a thousand cubits by a thousand cubits, with a stream of water separating between the first and second heavens. The third was fashioned out of iron, fifteen hundred cubits by fifteen hundred cubits, with a stream of water separating between the second and third heavens. And he made round stones in the heaven, which would knock into each other and sound like thunder. The fourth heaven he made of lead, two thousand cubits by two thousand cubits, with a stream of water separating between the third and fourth heaven. The fifth heaven was made of copper, twenty five hundred cubits by twenty five hundred cubits, with a stream of water separating between the fourth and fifth cubits. The sixth heaven was made of silver, three thousand cubits by three thousand cubits, with a stream of water separating between the fifth and sixth heavens. The seventh heaven was made of gold, thirty five hundred cubits by thirty five hundred cubits, and he set in it precious stones and pearls one cubit by one cubit, seen from this side and that side, from which were fashioned the lightning and shooting stars. He himself shuddered, and those stones would knock into each other and sound thunder. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Yechezkel: Son of man, say to Chiram, king of Tzor: Why are you proud? You are [but] born of a woman. He said before Him: Master of the Universe, how can I go to him when he is suspended in the air? At that very moment, the Holy One, blessed be He, brough a wind and lifted him up to Chiram. When Chiram saw Yechezkel, he shuddered and trembled. He said to him: Who brought you up here? He said to him: The Holy One, blessed be He, commanded me as follows: Go, say to him: Why are you proud? You are [but] born of a woman. He said to him: I am born of a woman, but I will live and exist forever. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He – his throne is out at sea, so too me – my throne is out at sea. Just as the Holy One, blessed be He, has seventy heavens – so too I have. And what is more, various kings have died, and I [still] exist. And so too twenty one kings of the kings of the house of David, and twenty one of the kings of Israel, and fifty prophets, and ten High priests – I buried them all and I am [still] alive. Surely, then, "I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the heart of the seas." Yechezkel said to him: Surely there were people greater than you who did not do as you did. To what was Chiram likened? To a slave who made a garment for his master. As long as his master wore the garment, the slave saw it and was proud: I made this garment for my master. The master said: I will rend this garment, and so the slave will not be proud before me. Thus, Chiram was proud for having sent cedars for the Temple. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I will destroy his house so that Chiram not be proud before Me. As it is stated: "Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars" (Zekharya 11:1). And what was his end? The Holy One, blessed be He, bought Nevuchadnetzer upon him, who fornicated with his mother in his presence, and removed him from his throne, and chopped off two fingers worth of flesh every day, dipped them in vinegar and ate them, until he died a strange death. What happened with those palaces? The Holy One, blessed be He, rended them, and hid them away for the righteous in the future."

 

Shlomo, in contrast, sat "on the throne of the Lord as king" (Divrei Ha-Yamim II 29:23). There is also room to examine the significance of the parallel to the prince of Tzor in connection with Shlomo's wisdom, wealth, pride and fall.

 

[12] In his Olat Ra'aya (I, p. 40), Rav Kook explains the unique quality of Eretz Israel to turn even the most evil and corrupt content into blessing. Perhaps this idea applies also to the relationship between the Temple and Tzor: the Temple elevates and sanctifies the base and lowly forces that are found in Tzor.

 

[13] This idea may be found in R. Ariel's Mikdash Melekh, pp. 62-63.

 

[14] Some of the prophecies relate to Tzor, while others relate to Tzidon, but we did not distinguish between them here.

 

[15] It is interesting that even in the days of Menashe, at the end of the first Temple period, the prophets connect the expected destruction of Yehuda and Jerusalem with the sins of the house of Ach'av: "Menashe was twelve years old when he began to reign… And he reared up altars for the Ba'al, and made an ashera, as Ach'av king of Israel… And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying…  And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Shomeron, and the plummet of the house of Ach'av: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down." (Melakhim II 21:1-13).

 

[16] Yechezkel's prophecy regarding the destruction of Tzidon (28:20-26) does indeed draw a connection between that destruction and Israel's secure settlement in their land. It is not by chance that in the first half of that chapter, the prophet describes the destruction of Tzor as the destruction of the Garden of Eden, to which Jerusalem is also likened. We find a similar phenomenon in Yeshayahu, which joins the "burden of Tzor" (chap. 23) to the "burden of Gei-Chizayon," which relates to Jerusalem (chap. 22).

 

Before concluding this section, I wish to note that my revered teacher, R. Yoel Bin-Nun, proposes in his article (see above, note 8) a different way of understanding the connection between Jerusalem and Tzor. He argues that Tzor and Tzidon were Canaanite cities within the boudaries of the land that had been consecrated (see Bereishit 49:13: "Zevulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; and he shall be a haven for ships; and his border shall be at Tzidon"]. It is possible that they included an Israelite settlement, which had assimilated into Canaanite culture, and David and Shlomo tried, using their connections, to bring their residents back to the Mikdash and the people of Israel.

 

[17] The sources in this section were collected in Yehuda Etzion's "Bein Levanon le-Levanon," Adar-Nisan, 5759.

 

[18] Atonement is, undoubtedly, one of the main functions of the Temple. The whitening of the crimson thread on Yom Kippur was also derived from the verse: "Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as which as snow" (Yoma 67a).

 

[19] According to the midrash, bringing the ark into the Temple is what gives it its vitality.

 

[20] Another explanation of this verse is connected to the fact that "tzafon" is a poetic idolatrous designation of the mountain on which the deity rests (see Yeshayahu 14:13; Iyov 37:22). Accordingly, the verse means that the house of God on Mount Moriya is the true "tzafon" (and indeed it is located north of the city of David) – the resting place of the true God.

 

[21] With this, Abarbanel also explains why Shlomo began building the Temple only in the fourth year (Melakhim 6:1): He needed three years to collect everything that was necessary for the construction.

 

Shelomo's tendency to emphasize the issue of peace in the construction of the Temple is expressed in many areas; e.g., expansion of the prohibition to use hewn stone from the altar (Shemot 20:21) to the entire Temple (see Melakhim I 6:7).

 

 

LECTURE 79: SHLOMO'S MONARCHY IN JERUSALEM (IV)

THE HOUSE OF GOD AND THE HOUSE OF THE KING

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

            After having dealt with the structure of the house of God and having surveyed Shlomo's actions relating to its construction, in this lecture, we will discuss the relationship between the house of the king and the house of God.  King Shlomo initiated many construction projects throughout Eretz Yisrael and in Jerusalem in particular, but his crowning achievement was the building of the house of God and the house of the king in Jerusalem.  Surprisingly, these two structures are described as a single entity that was built as one continuous project with respect to both time and place.  In this lecture, we will try to understand the meaning of the connection between these two structures.  We will see that in the end, the immediate proximity of the two buildings, their size, and seeing them as a single entity are what led to Shlomo's sin.

 

I.              DESCRIPTION OF THE TWO STRUCTURES AS A SINGLE ENTITY

 

This is the order and internal structure of the chapters dealing with the Temple in Melakhim I:

 

6:1-10

The external structure of the Temple

6:15-38

The inside of the Temple

7:1-12

The structures of the house of the king

7:13-51

The inner furnishings and vessels of the Temple

8

The dedication of the house of God and Shlomo's prayer

 

Why does Scripture split up the description of the Temple and insert a description of the buildings comprising the royal palace in the middle, in between the description of the Temple itself (outside and inside) and the description of its inner furnishings and vessels? Without a doubt, the prophet wishes to underline the special connection between the two houses and to present them as a single entity.  Scripture joins the two in many other verses as well (Melakhim I 3:1; 9:1, 10, 15; 10:12; Divrei Ha-yamim II 1:18; 7:11; 8:1; 9:11).  Especially interesting is the following formulation:

 

And Shlomo determined to build a house for the name of the Lord, and a royal house for himself.  (Divrei Ha-yamim II 1:18)

 

            This verse presents us with a single unit comprised of two houses – a house for the King, King of kings, and a house for the king of flesh and blood.  These two houses are connected to each other; the worldly kingdom must be connected to God's kingdom, and therefore the royal palace must be connected to the palace of the King, King of kings.

 

II.            THE TIMES OF THE CONSTRUCTION AND THE DEDICATION – THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE HOUSE OF THE KING AND THE HOUSE OF GOD

 

1)     THE TIME AND DURATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION

 

Scripture tells us precisely when the two houses were constructed:

 

In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Ziv; and in the eleventh year, in the month Bul (which is the eighth month), was the house finished throughout all its parts, and according to all the fashion of it.  So was he seven years in building it.  But Shlomo spent thirteen years in building his own house, and he finished all his house.  (MelakhimI 6:37-7:1)

 

Elsewhere, the duration of the construction of the houses is totaled together:

 

And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Shlomo had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king's house.  (ibid.  9:10)

 

            Two points should be mentioned here:

 

        · The order of construction: first the house of God and afterwards the house of the king.

        · The duration of the construction: the house of the Lord was built in seven years, and the house of the king in thirteen years.

 

The midrash (Pesikta Rabbati 6, which we already cited earlier this year in Lecture no. 69: "Why Can't David Build the House of God [part I]") relates to both of these two points:

 

Another explanation: "Do you see a man diligent in his business" (Mishlei 22:29) – this is Shlomo.  In what business? In the business of the Temple.  You find that when he built his own house, he built it for thirteen years.  But when he built the Temple, he built it for seven years.  "And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, etc." (Melakhim I 9:10), and similarly "And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul" (ibid.  6:38), "But Shlomo spent thirteen years in building his own house" (ibid.  7:1).  Anyone who hears that he spent thirteen years building his own house and seven years building God's Temple might think that perhaps his own house was larger than that of the Holy One, blessed be He.  This is not so, but rather he was lazy about his own house, but about the house of the Holy One, blessed be He, he was not lazy.  And furthermore, he put the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, before his own glory.  Therefore, Natan says to his father: "Shall you build Me a house" (Shmuel II 7:5), and elsewhere it says: "You shall not build" (Divrei Ha-yamim I 17:4).  He said to him: You put your glory before My glory, for [only] when you saw yourself sitting in a house of cedars did you ask to build the Temple: "The king said to Natan the prophet, 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells within a curtain'" (Shmuel II 7:2; Divrei Ha-yamim I 17:1).  But Shlomo puts My glory before his own glory: "And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, was the house finished throughout all its parts, and according to all the fashion of it" (Melakhim I 6:38).  And afterwards: "But Shlomo spent [thirteen years in] building his own house" (ibid. 7:1).  And because he displayed alacrity in the building of the Temple, he merited joining with the righteous kings.

 

The midrash establishes that Shlomo, in contrast to David, put God's glory before his own glory, in that be built the house of God before his own house, and that the difference in the duration of the two projects follows from the fact that he was lazy with regard to his own house, but diligent concerning the building of God's house.  Many Rishonim follow the approach taken by this midrash(see, for example, Rashi and Metzudat David on Melakhim I 7:1).

 

            It is interesting that the midrash writes that the royal house was not bigger than the Temple.  The Metzudat David goes even further, claiming that the Temple was "much larger than his own house." However, the plain sense of the verses describing the complex of buildings that comprised the royal palace and their dimensions implies otherwise.  Let us compare the dimensions of the house of God with the dimensions of one of the buildings making up the royal house – the house of the forest of the Lebanon.  The house of God was 60 cubits (or 70 cubits including the 10 cubits of the ulam) long, by 20 cubits wide, by 30 cubits high (Melakhim I 6:2); the house of the forest of the Lebanon was much larger – 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high (ibid. 7:2). And let us not forget that besides the house of the forest of the Lebanon, the royal complex included other buildings, such as the house of Shlomo and the house of the daughter of Pharaoh.  We see, then, that according to the plain sense of Scripture, the royal house was much large than the house of God.

 

            In light of this, the difference in the duration of the building of the two houses might be understood differently.  While indeed Shlomo began with the building of the house of God, and this was certainly to his credit, he invested more time in the building of his own house because the entire palace complex was larger and more magnificent.

 

2.    THE TIME OF THE DEDICATION OF THE HOUSE

 

We shall try below to establish when precisely the Temple was dedicated based on the assumption that the order of Scripture corresponds to the chronological order of the events.

 

We saw earlier that the order of the chapters dealing with the Temple is as follows: The Temple (chap.  6), the house of the king (7:1-12), the copper vessels (7:13-51), the dedication of the Temple and Shlomo's prayer (8).  Chap. 9 opens:

 

And it came to pass, when Shlomo had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all Shlomo's desires which he was pleased to do.  (Melakhim I 9:1)[1]

 

            And in the continuation of the same chapter:

 

And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Shlomo had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king's house.  (ibid. v. 10)

 

This order implies that the dedication the Temple was not celebrated at the end of the seven years of its construction, but at the end of the twenty years of the building of the Temple and the royal house.

 

            Further proof for our contention that the Temple was only dedicated after the building of the royal house was completed may be brought from the dates of the construction and the dedication.  The building of the Temple was finished in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (Marcheshvan), but the dedication of the Temple took place only in the month of Tishrei.  One who wishes to argue that the Temple was dedicated after its construction was completed must explain the eleven-month gap between the completion of the building and the dedication.  According to our proposal, on the other hand, this is understandable, for there was a thirteen-year delay until the end of the building of the royal house.

 

            The delay in the dedication of the Temple until the completion of the construction of the royal house follows without a doubt from the fact that the two houses were viewed as a single entity, reflecting the fact that the kingdom of Israel serves as a means of revealing the kingdom of God in the world (as it is stated, "And Shlomo sat on the throne of God as king" - Divrei Ha-yamim I 29:23), and the fundamental proximity of the two kingdoms; the power and authority of the kingdom of flesh and blood come entirely from God, and it therefore cannot exist detached from God's kingdom.  The house of the king can only be built together with the house of God.

 

III.        THE LOCATION OF THE ROYAL HOUSE IN RELATION TO THE TEMPLE

 

            The location of the royal complex is not explicitly spelled out in Scripture, but a number of verses are informative regarding the matter.  Several verses imply that Mount Moriah and the Temple were higher in altitude than the house of the king:

 

And they brought down the king from the house of the Lord, and came by the way of the gate of the runners to the king's house.  (Melakhim II 11:19)

 

They came up from the king's house unto the house of the Lord, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord's house.  (Yirmiyahu 26:10)[2]

 

            On the other hand, other verses imply that the house of the king was more elevated than the city of David.  (These verses relate to the house of the daughter of Pharaoh, but as we shall see below, that house was part of the royal complex):

 

But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David to her house which he had built for her; then did he build the Milo.  (Melakhim I 9:24)

 

And Shlomo brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David to the house that he had built for her (Divrei Ha-yamim II 8:11)

 

            In light of this, it is most reasonable to assume that the house of the king was located on the eastern hill of the city, between Mount Moriah and the house of God built upon it, and the city of David.[3] This location fits in well with the verse, "And it came to pass, before Yeshayahu was gone out in to the middle court" (Melakhim II 20:4), according to which the royal complex was situated in the middle, in between the Temple to the north and the city of David to the south.

 

            This understanding is also confirmed by the harsh prophecy of Yechezkel:

 

And he said to me, Son of man, behold the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever; and the house of Israel shall no more profane My holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places, In their setting of their threshold by My thresholds, and their doorpost by My posts, and only the wall between Me and them, they have defiled My holy name by their disgusting deeds which they have committed, and so I have consumed them in My anger.  Now let them put away their harlotry, and the carcasses of their kings, far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.  (Yechezkel 43:7-9)

 

            Without a doubt the prophet is describing here the immediate proximity of the house of the king to the house of God, and the spiritual meaning that this has when the kings profane the adjacent Temple with their abominations.[4]

 

The relative locations create a graded structure that is reflected both in the geography – the house of the king is situated in the middle, between the city and the Temple – and in the topography - the house of the king is higher than the city of David but lower than the house of God.  This topographical structure teaches us about the ideal spiritual meaning of the monarchy.  In the section dealing with the selection of the king, it is stated:

 

You shall surely appoint a king over you, whom the Lord your God shall choose.  (Devarim 17:15)

 

            In other words, two factors join together in the appointment of the king: his selection by God and his acceptance by the people.[5] In the continuation of that passage, the Torah issues a command regarding how the king must conduct himself in office:

 

And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites.  And it shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes to do them.  (ibid. vv. 18-19)

 

            The Rambam explains:

 

When the kings sits on his royal throne… he must write two Torah scrolls, one of which he sets down in his treasure house… and the second may not move from before him… he goes out to war and it is with him, he returns and it is with him, he sits in judgment and it is with him, he reclines, and it is before him.  As it is stated, "And it shall be with him and he shall read from it all the days of his life." (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Melakhim 3:1)

 

A close reading of the words of the Rambam indicates that the obligation to have a Torah scroll with him at all times is not merely a personal obligation; it is part of his role as king – to execute his monarchal duties (e.g., going out to war or sitting in judgment) in the light of the Torah, as part of the general objective of uniting the people under his kingship and leading them in the stately fulfillment of the Torah.

 

            The location of the house of the king below the Temple and above the city symbolizes the role of the monarchy as a means of unifying the people and leading them in the path of Torah andmitzvot.  Just as the king is obligated to take a Torah scroll with him wherever he goes, so too his house is adjacent to the house of God, so that he should remember at all times the source of his authority, the house of God, on the one hand, and his obligation to the people, represented by the city below his house, on the other.

 

IV.          THE STRUCTURES COMPRISING THE ROYAL COMPLEX AND THEIR CORRESPONDENCE TO THE HOUSE OF GOD

 

1)     THE ROYAL COMPLEX (Melakhim I 7:1-12)

 

But Shlomo spent thirteen years in building his own house, and he finished all his house.

 

He built also the House of the Forest of the Lebanon; its length was a hundred cubits, and its breadth was fifty cubits, and its height was thirty cubits upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.  And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, which lay on forty-five pillars, fifteen in a row.  And there were window spaces in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.  And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows, and light was against light in three ranks.

 

And he made a porch of pillars; the length of which was fifty cubits and its breadth thirty cubits,

 

And a porch was before them; and other pillars and a thick beam were before them.

 

Then he made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment, and it was covered with cedar from floor to floor.

 

And his house where he dwelt in the other court within the porch was of the like work.

 

Shlomo made also a house for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had taken as a wife, like his porch.

 

All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewn stones, sawed with saws, within and without, from the foundation to the coping, and on the outside toward the great court.  And the foundation was of costly stones, great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.  And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewn stones, and cedars.

 

And the great court round about was with three rows of hewn stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the Lord and for the porch of the house.

 

            The description of these structures is vague, and Scripture gives us no information regarding the geographical and architectural relationship between them.  Scripture allows for three possible understandings: 1) The porch of pillars, the porch before it and the porch of judgment are all parts of the House of the Forest of the Lebanon (and we are dealing here with a general statement followed by its particulars); 2) the three porches constitute a single entity, and the House of the Forest of the Lebanon is a separate structure; 3) each of the four structures stands independently.  Because of the great court round about, it stands to reason that we are dealing with a single entity, in accordance with one of the first two possibilities.[6] We cannot deal here with all the different structures; we will merely mention several important points regarding the central structure in the complex: the House of the Forest of the Lebanon.

 

2)     THE HOUSE OF THE FOREST OF THE LEBANON – ITS FORM AND FUNCTION

 

Yonatan ben Uziel renders the term as "bet mekerat malkhaya," that is, "royal summerhouse" (similar to what is mentioned in Amos 3:15).  In Melakhim I 10 we read:

 

And King Shlomo made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.  And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield.  And the king put them in the House of the Forest of the Lebanon… And all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold.  (Melakhim I 10:16-21)

 

            It is reasonable to assume that these golden targets and shields were intended for decoration and ceremonial use (see also Melakhim I 14:25-28).  In connection with the siege of Sancheriv, it is stated: "That you did look on that day to the armor of the house of the forest" (Yeshayahu 22:8).  The commentators (ad loc.) explain that this is a reference to these targets and shields, which Chizkiyahu made use of during the war.

 

            As for the details concerning the structure, we cannot relate here to all the terms and descriptions mentioned in the text and to all the many positions of the Rishonim.  We will merely note several facts arising from the explanations offered by most of the Rishonim.

 

            According to the simplest understanding, the name of the structure relates to the many cedar pillars contained therein.  As the Metzudat David suggests:

 

It was called by this name because, owing to the many pillars contained therein, it looked like a forest with many trees.  Or else, because he built it in place of the forest of the Lebanon, for it was the royal custom at that time to build a house in the forest to cool off there during the days of the summer, and it was built with many windows in order to allow the air in there.

 

            Abravanel brings the explanation of Yosef ben Guryon, according to which the large structure was divided into two stories and included various sections, each one with a different purpose:

 

And it had two kinds and arrangements of apartments, a lower one and a higher one, and in each apartment there were many rooms.

In the lower apartments, all the royal vessels, wealth and treasures were arranged in superb fashion.  In one room were spices of every taste and smell, choice and expensive.  In another room were all the weapons, of iron, gold and silver, which Shlomo had made for his glory and majesty.  And in another room were all the drinking utensils that Shlomo had fashioned out of silver.  And in yet another room were the king's garments.  And so too in each of the other rooms there were different things.

And in the upper apartments … there was a section for the king, and for his servants, and a council room, where the officers would gather together.  And there were rooms there designated for eating, drinking, sleeping, and sitting. 

 

            We should emphasize the similarity between the name "House of the Forest of the Lebanon," a name that the structure was given undoubtedly because of the cedars and cypress trees of Lebanon out of which it was built, and the derasha of Chazal found in several places (Berakhot 48b, Gittin 56b, and elsewhere) that the Temple was called Lebanon (regarding this point, see our previous lecture).  While without a doubt the cedars and cypress trees were brought from Lebanon both for the construction of the Temple and for the construction of the royal house, nevertheless, the parallel names points to a connection and similarity between the two buildings.  Interesting in this context is the novel explanation offered by the Ralbag (to Melakhim I 7:2), which draws a connection between the Temple's being called "Lebanon" and its proximity to the House of the Forest of the Lebanon: "I think that the forest of the Lebanon was near the Temple, and for that reason the Temple was called Lebanon."

 

            In front of the House of the Forest of the Lebanon and as a vestibule to it stood the porch of the pillars.  The commentators disagree about what is written about this porch, "and a porch was before them; and other pillars and a thick beam were before them." Are we talking about the same porch or an additional porch? In that case, a difficulty arises as to the meaning of the words "before them." Was the additional porch on top of the porch of the pillars (Rashi), or perhaps in front of it?

 

            Noga Hareuveni[7] suggests that the House of the Forest of the Lebanon was designed in an ingenious manner, which was intended to astonish the diplomatic and commercial delegations that came to visit Shlomo and to leave an indelible impression in their hearts about the majesty, grandeur, and wealth of Jerusalem.  According to him, the house was built in such a way that the visitor was given the impression that he was entering into a forest: the pillars were fashioned in the form of trees, and to them were attached cedar cuttings that completed the look, and the entire porch was surrounded with mirrors that reflected the imitation-cedar pillars, creating the illusion of an endless forest.

 

3)     THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE BUILDINGS THAT COMPRISED THE ROYAL HOUSE AND THE TEMPLE

 

As stated above, the description of the buildings comprising the house of the king is not sufficiently detailed to allow us to draw up a plan of the relationship between the various structures. We wish to note several elements that were common to both the Temple and the royal house.

 

According to the understanding that the porch of the pillars, the porch before it, and the porch of judgment constituted a single entity (whether or not they were all part of the House of the Forest of the Lebanon), there is a correspondence between the design of this entity and the design of the Temple: the porch of the pillars corresponds to the heikhal; the porch before it, at whose facade stood columns, corresponds to the ulam, at whose facade there were also two pillars – Yakhin and Boaz; and these two structures were situated in the middle of a large court.  The parallelism is completed with "the porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment" (Melakhim I 7:7), which, according to Scripture, took up a considerable portion of theinside of the royal house.  This description alludes to verses such as "I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne" (Yeshayahu 6:1) and "You sat on the throne giving righteous judgment" (Tehilim 9:5). The porch of judgment parallels, with respect to its place and its function, the devir (only that the porch of judgment contains the throne of judgment, whereas the devir contains the Ark and thekeruvim).

 

This correspondence, if it is correct, can be understood in light of the centrality of the principle of justice to the essence of the monarchy, and the parallelism between the justice and judgment in God's kingdom and the justice and judgment in the kingdom of flesh and blood.  The King, King of kings, the King of judgment, sits on His royal throne in the Holy of Holies, and Torah and judgment go forth into the world from between the two keruvim (see Shemot 25:22 and Bamidbar 7:89), to fulfill that which was stated: "For out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Yeshayahu 2:3; Mkha 6:2).  Paralleling this (although utterly different!), Shlomo, the mortal king, sits in the porch of judgment, the inner chamber of his palace, and issues forth judgments.  And once again, the location of the porch of the throne and the entire house of the king at the foot of the throne of the kingdom of God must influence the way the king judges his nation.

 

There are also many parallels between the two buildings in their style of building.  In Melakhim I 7:12, Scripture draws an explicit connection between the two: "And the great court round about was with three rows of hewn stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the Lord and for the porch of the house." The close connection is emphasized again by the similar terms used in connection with the House of the Forest of the Lebanon and the Temple: "covered with cedar," "window spaces," "porch of the pillars," "three rows of hewn stones," and "a row of cedar beams."

 

V.        THE MEANING OF THE CORRESPONDENCES

 

            Thus far, we have surveyed various aspects of the close connection between the house of God and the house of the king: their description in Scripture as a single complex; their construction in succession and the delay in dedicating the Temple until the building of the house of the king was finished; the location of the house of the king at the foot of the house of God; and the clear parallels in Scripture regarding the style of building and the design of the buildings.

 

            What do these correspondences come to teach us?

 

            Without a doubt, we are dealing here with a parallel between the house of the King, King of kings, and the house of the king of flesh and blood, a parallel which reflects the principle that a human king must imitate God and that his rule on earth must reflect God's rule over the universe.  (As the Zohar [Bereishit 197a] says: "Kingdom on earth is like kingdom in Heaven.")

 

            This very parallelism, however, can lead the king in two opposite directions in his attitude toward God.  On the one hand, it can bring him to feel God's closeness and to fear Him, and thus to conduct himself in the way of Torah and mitzvot.  Then the king will see his house as standing in the shadow of the Temple, and himself as an instrument for doing God's will and revealing His kingdom in the world (similar to the commandment falling upon the king to have a Torah scroll with him at all times).  In this sense, the correspondence between the two houses represents the intimate connection that must exist between the kingdom (and the Davidic kingdom, in particular) and the Temple, in order that the Temple radiate its sanctity onto the kingdom.

 

            However, the correspondence between the two houses is also liable to bring the king to the opposite feeling, that he resembles the King, King of kings, and parallels him, and that he has similar powers and strengths which allow him to rule without any constraints.  In this manner, the closeness does not express the idea that the human kingdom stands in the shadow of the heavenly kingdom, but rather the opposite - that it parallels the kingdom of heaven and can substitute for it.  Yechezkel's critique (43:7-9) clearly relates to those kings who chose the second possibility and profaned the Temple with their deeds.

 

            We see, then, that the physical proximity in and of itself lends itself to two interpretations, for good and for bad.  It contains within it a great prospect, for it allows essential intimacy in all of the king's conduct; but at the same time it contains great danger – that the king will see himself as standing alongside God, as it were, and thus he will rule the people from an inappropriate position of power, on the one hand, and cause a great profanation of God if his deeds are inappropriate, on the other.  In the last section of this lecture, we will examine how the prophets related to the monarchy of Shlomo in this context.  But first we will bring as examples two cases in which this closeness brought about a blurring of the proper relationship between a human king and the King of kings.

 

            A phenomenon that repeats itself with several kings is the use made of the Temple treasuries to appease foreign kings.  We find this in the case of Rechavam, upon the arrival of Sheshak king of Egypt (Melakhim I 14:25-26); with Assa in his war with Ba'asha (ibid.  15:17-19); with Chizkiyahu upon the arrival of Sancheriv (Melakhim II 18:14-15); and others.  Such actions give expression to the king's feeling that he rules over the Temple and its treasuries and is therefore permitted to do with them as with his own.  It stands to reason that the physical closeness and easy access to the Temple contributed to this feeling.

 

In extreme cases, not only did the king make use of the Temple treasuries, but he actually dismantled parts of the Temple in order to further his own objectives.  We find that Achaz behaved in this manner for the purpose of idol worship – to erect in the house of God an altar to the god of Damesek (compare Divrei Ha-yamim II 28:23 with the allusion in Melakhim II 16:17-18). Chizkiyahu also conducted himself in this manner (Melakhim II 18:15), but only to further his royal objectives.

 

Another case that illustrates in extreme fashion the great danger that lies in the misinterpretation of the proximity of the house of the king to the house of God was Uziyahu's entry into the Temple to burn incense, which teaches us about the blurring of his understanding of the place and authority assigned to the king and of his understanding of his limitations:

 

But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God and went into the Temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.  And Azaryahu the priest went in after him and with him eighty priests of the Lord, who were men of valor, and they withstood Uziyahu the king, and said to him, "It is not for you, Uziyahu, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests the sons of Aharon, who are consecrated to burn incense.  Go out of the sanctuary, for your have trespassed; for it shall not be for your honor from the Lord God." Then Uziyahu was angry, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense.  And while he was angry with the priests, the tzara'at broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar.  And Azaryahu the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was diseased in his forehead, and they thrust him out quickly from there.  And he himself hastened to go out, because the Lord had smitten him.  (Divrei Ha-yamim II 26:16-20)[8]

 

VI.          THE HOUSE OF GOD AND THE HOUSE OF THE KING WITH RESPECT TO SHLOMO

 

Thus far, we have seen that the location of the royal house above the city but at the foot of the Temple could give expression to the Torah's ideal of monarchy, but it posed an exceedingly great danger if the king did not do the will of God.[9]

 

How are we to judge Shlomo? Did the house that he built give expression to the great opportunity, or perhaps to the great danger? It seems that the house of Shlomo inclines more to the side of the danger because of a combination of factors:

 

        · The enormity of the royal complex in relation to the size of the Temple.

        · The exceedingly great closeness of the royal complex to the Temple, which turned the entire entity into a single unit, swallowing up the Temple because of its relative smallness.

        · According to the understanding of Chazal, the milo (see Melakhim I 9:15, 24; 11:27) served as a barrier between the city and the Temple, and not as a bridge between them (a separate lecture will be devoted to the milo).

 

Yechezkel's harsh prophecy (43:7-9) regarding the kings of Yehuda was delivered at the end of the first Temple period, but it would seem that his criticisms apply to the place from the time of its very construction:

 

In the setting of their threshold by My thresholds, and their doorpost by My posts, and only the wall between Me and them, they have defiled My holy name by their disgusting deeds which they have committed: and so I have consumed them in My anger.

 

            This verse was fulfilled already in the days of Shlomo¸ when he began to marry foreign women, erect altars to idols, and multiply silver, gold, horses, and wives.  In the next lecture, we will discuss the factors that led to Shlomo's downfall.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)

 


 


[1] A similar formulation, which also describes the completion of the two buildings as one, is found in the parallel verse, Divrei Ha-yamim II 7:11.

[2] The Da'at Mikra commentary on the verse, "Mount Zion, the sides of the north, the city of the great King" (Tehillim 48:2), suggests that Mount Zion is Mount Moriah, which is located to the north of the city of David.

[3] Indeed, at the southern wall excavations, remnants were discovered of a gatehouse and storehooms containing utensils bearing insciptions in the early Hebrew script that could be read as "belonging to the chief [of the bakers, or stables, or treasury]." These structures have been dated to the ninth century BCE, and they seem to be part of the royal complex. 

[4] This explains the clear geographical separation of the Temple from the royal house in the Temple envisioned by Yechezkel. 

[5] This is most striking with respect to the first two kings, David and Shaul.  Both were first anointed as king by a prophet fulfilling God's agency, and then both were crowned a second time by the people, who accepted the king who had been chosen by God.  We find the same regarding Shlomo (Divrei Ha-yamim I 29:22).

[6] Between the two, the second possibility seems more reasonable, for the description of the House of the Forest of the Lebanon at the beginning of the chapter appears to be complete and detailed, and there is no mention there of the three porches within the house.

[7] In his book, Si'ach Ve-Etz Be-Moreshet Yisra'el (Ne'ot Kedumim, 1984), pp. 108-111.

[8] The relationship between king and prophet is a broad and interesting topic, which we will not be able to deal with in this framework.  We will merely offer a concise list of the many halakhot which express the correspondence between the High Priest, who is in charge of the eternal life of the people of Israel, and the king, who is in charge of their temporal life: Both are chosen by God, both wear glorious and majestic garments which attest to their office; both have a crown (the High Priest's tzitz is referred to as his crown); both are anointed with the anointing oil; both offices are hereditary; the laws of honor due to the High Priest parallel the laws of honor due to the king; both judge the people; both are responsible for imposing Torah rule.

[9] The house which David built for himself appears to have been located in the city, close to the metzuda in the upper portion of the city.  See Ayelet Mazar, "Seridei Armon David Ha-Melekh Bi-Yerushalayim – Mechkar Be-Archeologiya Mikra'it" in Chiddushim Be-Cheker Yerushalayim – Divrei Ha-Kenes Ha-Sheni, who tries to prove this on the basis of Scriptural proofs, topographical logic, and archeological findings.  Excavations conducted by Mazar at the Visitor's Center in Ir David in the summer of 2005 uncovered impressive remains of a public building from the days of David and Shlomo, which might be connected to King David's house/palace.  For our purposes, in any event, the location of his house within the city gives expression to David's humility, his feeling of connectedness to the people, and his outlook that the king represents the people – elevated above, but yet part of the people.

 

 

 

 

LECTURE 80: SHLOMO'S MONARCHY IN JERUSALEM (V)

THE MILO

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

            To complete our study of the period of Shlomo, we wish today to discuss the issue of the Milo, one of the most important structures during this period. We will begin with its identification, continue with an examination of the events connected to it – the building of the royal complex and the house of the daughter of Pharaoh and the rebellion of Yarovam - and conclude with an examination of the significance of the building in the context of Shlomo's overall outlook.

 

I.              IDENTIFICATION OF THE MILO

 

1.     THE SOURCES

 

In order to understand the meaning of the term Milo, we must first examine all the sources in which the term is mentioned. The Milo is mentioned during the days of David, Shlomo and Chizkiyahu. The verses that describe David's hold on Jerusalem following its conquest state:

 

So David dwelt in the stronghold and called it the City of David, And David built round about from the Milo and inward. (Shmuel II 5:9)

 

And David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the City of David. And he built the city round about, even from the Milo round about. (Divrei Ha-yamim I 11:7-8)

 

            During the days of Shlomo, in the framework of the description of the royal buildings, it is stated:

 

And this is the manner of the levy which King Shlomo raised - to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and the Milo, and the wall of Jerusalem. (Melakhim I 9:15)

 

But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the City of David to her house which he had built for her; then did he build the Milo. (ibid. v. 24)

 

            In the account of Yarovam's rebellion, it is stated:

 

And Yarovam the son of Nevat, an Efrati… he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Shlomo built the Milo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. (ibid. 11: 26-27)

 

            Regarding King Chizkiyahu, it is stated:

 

And he strengthened the Milo in the city of David. (Divrei Ha-yamim II 32:5)

 

            In addition, the Milo is mentioned in two places in the expression, "the house of Milo." Regarding the murder of King Yehoash, it is related:

 

And his servants rose and made a conspiracy and slew Yoash in the house of Milo, on the way that goes down to Sila. (Melakhim II 12:21)

 

            And in the story of Avimelekh (in which we are dealing with the Shekhem region!), it is stated:

 

And all the men of Shekhem gathered together, and all the house of Milo, and went, and made Avimelekh king… But if not, fire will come out from Avimelekh and devour the men of Shekhem and the house of Milo; and fire will come out from the men of Shekhem and the house of Milo, and devour Avimelekh. (Shoftim 9:6, 20)

 

            These are all the biblical references to the Milo.

 

2.     THE VARIOUS EXPLANATIONS OF THE WORD "MILO" AND ITS INDENTIFICATION

 

Various explanations have been offered regarding the word "Milo." It is commonly understood in the sense of "filled in" with earth and stones, but there are a number of possibilities regarding the nature of this filling. According to one possibility, we are talking about the filling in and topographical elevation of a certain area. According to another possibility, we are dealing with some type of fortification based on support walls that strengthen and raise a certain area (for example, an incline), and thus improve the military defense conditions and allow for stable construction above it (which also improves the defense possibilities). It is also possible that it refers to a fortified building – an actual stronghold.

 

Is it possible to decide between these three possibilities based on the sources? The expression "house of Milo" suggests that we are dealing with an especially fortified structure which was raised with a filling of earth and stones. From the context of the verse regarding Chizkayahu – preparing the city for Sancheriv's siege – it stands to reason that we are dealing with the fortification of a particular area. The Milo built by Shlomo is mentioned between his house and "the wall of Jerusalem," and therefore it could be a fortification of a certain area filled in with earth. Regarding the other sources, the first possibility is the most appropriate - the filling in of a certain area.

 

In the Rishonim and in modern scholarship, we find various suggestions similar to the basic explanations presented above. Rashi, Rabbeinu Yeshaya, and Mahari Kra all explain that we are dealing with supporting fortifications adjacent to the wall:

 

A low wall filled in with earth, the high point of the mound being in the middle and sloping in all directions – this is called Milo. Upon it David constructed buildings and the Milo surrounded the stronghold. (Rashi, Shmuel II 5:9)

 

Milo refers to the earth that is put next to the wall from the inside up to the height of the wall, so that it will be easy for them to climb from the city to the wall. And on that very mound of earth on the inside of the wall he built towers all around. Similar to this is, "And they filled them with earth" (Bereishit 26:15). (Rabbeinu Yeshaya, ibid.)

 

There was a place in Jerusalem in the City of David called Milo because it was surrounded by a low wall and filled in with earth. (Mahari Kra, Melakhim I 9:15)[1]

 

            A similar approach was taken by the archeologist Kathlene Kenyon, who excavated the steep eastern slope of the city of David. Kenyon discovered along the length of a large part of this slope a series of boxes filled with earth and stones, which served as large supporting walls that raised the slope and strengthened it, thus allowing for stable construction above it. According to her, this was the Milo.[2]

 

            Radak (and in his wake, also the author of the Metzudat David) understood that the Milo was an open square. He suggests the novel interpretation that the word Milo denotes a gathering of people:

 

The Milo was a place adjacent to the wall, wide enough for the people to assemble there… and from there and further in he built. (Radak, Shmuel II 9:5)[3]

 

            Prof. Ben-Zion Luria suggests[4] that the Milo refers to a strong fortification that served as the residence of the officers and soldiers of a certain class. (According to this view, it is possible that the Milo is the "house of the warriors" mentioned in Nechemia 3:16.)

 

            An intermediate possibility might also be suggested - that the Milo was a stronghold built on an area that had been raised by a landfill of earth and stones.

 

            Today, however, one of the most widely accepted understandings[5] – and we too shall follow in its path – is that the Milo refers to a landfill of earth and stones in the saddle between Mount Moriah to the north and the City of David to the south. It is possible that in an ancient period – perhaps in the days of Shlomo – the king filled in this area with earth in order to turn the eastern ridge into one consecutive entity, and also in order to raise the king's house above the city.[6]

 

II.            THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MILO IN THE DAYS OF SHLOMO

 

As we have seen, the Milo is mentioned in the days of David, but the intensive royal construction only began in the period of Shlomo. It is possible then that the reference to the Milo in David's days is based on something that would only be built in the future.[7]

 

            During the days of Shlomo, the Milo played a significant role in two contexts: Shlomo's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter and Yarovam's rebellion. We will try to demonstrate the connection between the roles played by the Milo in these two incidents.

 

            As it may be remembered, following his marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, Shlomo brought his wife to the City of David, "until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about" (Melakhim I 3:1). Later, after having completed his two greatest building projects – the house of God and the house of the king – Shlomo built his wife a house as part of the royal complex (ibid. 7:8). For our purposes, what is important is the next verse, which attests to the connection between the times of the building the house of Pharaoh's daughter and the Milo:

 

But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the City of David to her house which he had built for her; then did he build the Milo. (Melakhim I 9:24)[8]

 

            The nature of the connection seems to be clear. We have already demonstrated that the royal complex was situated between the house of God to the north and the city to the south – precisely in the area where the Milo was found according to our understanding! It may be concluded, then, that the royal buildings, including the house of Pharaoh's daughter, were built on the Milo, and that the Milo, the house of God, the royal palace, and the wall of Jerusalem were effectively a single construction project. Therefore, Pharaoh's daughter had to wait until the project was completed (which, according to our understanding, took place in the 24th year of Shlomo's monarchy) in order to move from the City of David to her house.

 

            Now we can move on to discuss Yarovam's rebellion. Scripture says about him as follows:

 

And Yarovam the son of Nevat, an Efrati of Tzereda, Shlomo's servant, whose mother's name was Tzeru'a, a widow - he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the matter that he lifted up his hand against the king: Shlomo built the Milo and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. And the man Yarov'am was a mighty warrior, and Shlomo, seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the labor of the house of Yosef. (Melakhim I 11:26-28)

 

Why is the statement "Shlomo built the Milo and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father" regarded as a lifting up of a hand against the king? The gemara (Sanhedrin 101b) connects this directly to the daughter of Pharaoh:

 

R. Yochanan said: Why did Yarovam merit the kingdom? Because he rebuked Shlomo. And why was he punished? Because he rebuked him in public. As it is stated: "And this was the matter that he lifted up his hand against the king: Shlomo built the Milo and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father." He said to him: Your father David made breaches in the wall so that Israel would make pilgrimage visits. But you have closed them in order to make a levy (anagriya) for Pharaoh's daughter!

 

R. Yochanan's statement takes us back in a most interesting manner to the difference that we already noted in the past between the house of David and of Shlomo. David's house was situated in the middle of the city. Therefore, the breaches that he left in the wall – apparently the northern wall – allowed for a direct connection between the city and the Mikdash. This direct approach was closed off by Shlomo when he built the royal complex to the north of the wall, and this, according to R. Yochanan, in order to make a levy for Pharaoh's daughter.

 

The term used by R. Yochanan, "anagriya," refers to a levy that must be paid to the ruling authority in personal service or the service of one's animal (Ibn Shoshan Dictionary). But what is the idea of an "anagriya" in the context of the daughter of Pharaoh? Rashi (ad loc.) offers three possible understandings:

 

And you fenced them in to raise a levy – so that they should enter through the gates, and you should know who came in, in order to collect a tax for Pharaoh's daughter…

Another explanation: He closed the gates and made a tower for Pharaoh's daughter above one of the gates, and all pass through there so that they should be near her to show her honor and serve her. All service of the royal house is called "anagriya."

Another explanation: Shlomo was accustomed to close the gates of the Temple courtyard and keep the keys to himself. And it is the manner of the king to sleep the first three hours of the day, and Israel had to stand outside the Temple courtyard until the king arose. And Yarovam said to him: "Do you want them to give you an angriya for your wife the daughter of Pharaoh, so that you should give them the keys?!"[9]

 

The Milo – he sealed one of the breaches, and filled the hole in the wall and built there a tower for the daughter of Pharaoh and the men who served her.

 

In effect, Rashi in his commentary continues the midrashic tendency that we discussed in the previous lecture to contrast Shlomo's connection to the daughter of Pharaoh with his connection to God in the Temple. The repair of the breaches was meant to allow for the collection of a tax from those making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the daughter of Pharaoh (a tax upon which the pilgrimage was conditioned!) and force them to honor and serve her. Thus, Shlomo turned the journey undertaken to appear before God into a sort of tool in the service of Pharaoh's daughter. This situation was expressed by Yarovam in his cynical remark, "Do you want them to give you an angriya for your wife the daughter of Pharaoh, so that you should give them the keys?!"

 

            R. Yochanan's statement aptly portrays what is described according to the plain sense of the text. Yarovam, the mighty warrior, was put in charge "over all the labor of the house of Yosef," that is to say, over the forced labor – the anagriya – cast upon the house of Yosef. Shlomo's grand construction projects continued for decades and included not only Jerusalem, but the entire kingdom (Chatzor, Gezer, Meggido, and other places as well), and the house of Yosef, so it seems, bore a considerable share of the work. The people were ready to bear the burden of building the Temple and the necessary government buildings. But the demand that they continue to invest such great energy into royal palaces – and especially the house for Pharaoh's daughter, regarding whose marriage to Shlomo the people apparently had reservations (together with the serious spiritual significance of the timing of the marriage and the standing of Pharaoh's daughter in general, as was discussed at length in the previous lecture) – this demand stirred up great resentment among the people.

 

Thus explains the Radak (Melakhim I 11:27):

 

"Shlomo built the Milo" – the Milo was a place in the city of Jerusalem near the wall, a square where the people could gather… And Shlomo built that place because he needed it when he built a house for the daughter of Pharaoh. It seems, however, that the people did not look favorably upon Shlomo's actions, but they feared to say, Shlomo did such and such. It was the arrogant Yarovam who dared to say, "Shlomo built the Milo," that is to say: "See the evil that he did." And furthermore, he said "Shlomo," and not "the King." This was his rebellion against the king.

 

            The Milo (which, in our opinion, was a grand construction project) represented for the people decades of forced labor and the injustice of the continuation of this suffering in favor of construction projects, the whole purpose of which was to glorify Shlomo's kingdom with his foreign wife. This criticism, which the people kept to themselves owing to their fear of Shlomo, was voiced openly and bluntly by Yarovam, who daringly broke the silence.

 

            Thus far, we have dealt with the significance of the sealing of the breaches of the city of David according to R. Yochanan and the connection between the construction of the Milo and the daughter of Pharaoh according to this explanation. The Radak (ibid.) suggests another understanding of Shlomo's sealing of the breaches of the city of David:

 

David made a breach in the wall of Zion, so that if Israel rebelled against him, he would leave through there and flee without their knowledge, as is the custom today among the kings of Yishmael to make a breach in their fortifications, so that if the people of the city rise up against him, he can run away through there, and they call it, "the gate of treachery." And Shlomo sealed this breach. And so Yarovam said: See his arrogance, for he sealed the breach. That is to say, he is confident, having no fear of rebellion.

 

This explanation also sharpens the difference between David and Shlomo: David, in his modesty and humility, was unsure of himself and felt constant dependence on the tribes, and therefore he left himself an escape hatch in case of a rebellion, whereas Shlomo, in his arrogance, had no fear of rebellion and therefore sealed the breaches. According to this, the rebellion expressed itself in Yarovam's bringing Shlomo's arrogance to the public's attention.

 

            The Ralbag (ad loc.) proposes a third explanation:

 

There was a place where the wall was breached so that Israel could come to the king when they wished to present him with their quarrels.

 

The Ralbag's explanation also emphasizes the difference between David's extreme closeness to the people, including the easy and direct access that he provided them in order that they should be able to present their complaints before him, and Shlomo's distance and sense of superiority, which did not allow for such availability.

 

            We can summarize, then, that the issue of the Milo exemplifies well Shlomo's outlook regarding the standing of the kingdom, so different from that of David both with respect to his attitude toward the people and with respect to his attitude to God and the Temple. On the one hand, Shlomo felt detached from the people and superior to them, and in his great arrogance, he sealed the breach made by his father David and erected a barrier between him and the nation. The special status that this sealing gave to Pharaoh's daughter is another expression of the same point. On the other hand, the sealing of the breach put an end to the direct passage to the Temple and allowed for the imposition of a tax upon those who arrived for the pilgrimage festivals. In this way, the monarchy turned into a barrier between the people and the Mikdash, rather than a bridge between them. Like other issues that were discussed earlier, the issue of the Milo also illustrates the terrible price exacted in turning the eternal status of the monarchy into a goal of its own: the creation of a barrier before the people on the one hand and before God on the other.

 

III.           THE NATURE OF THE PLACE

 

The location of the Milo between the city and Mount Moriah – above the city but below the Temple Mount – dictated its nature as a passageway between the city and the Temple.

 

In the early periods, this region was outside the fortified area of the city. During the days of David, this region was not settled, and it separated between the northern part of the city and the residence of Aravna, the Yevusi king, on Mount Moriah. (Yo'av may have spared the lives of those living in the area, outside the wall, as part of his sparing "the rest of the city"; see Divrei Ha-yamim I 11:8).

 

The acquisition of Mount Moriah from Aravna the Yevusi and the building of the altar on the threshing floor on the mountain created a connection between the city and Mount Moriah and bestowed new meaning upon the area in between. From now on, this was the place through which one would go up from the city to the altar on the mountain – the area that connected the city to Mount Moriah.

 

During the days of Shlomo, there was a change in the way that the area was used. Shlomo built up the area (apparently after artificially raising it with landfill) and encircled it with a wall. From that time on, it was included, together with Mount Moriah, within the city, serving as the house of the king - a royal compound surrounded by its own wall, connected to the house of God above it, and including both the public royal buildings (the House of the Lebanon, the porch of the throne, the porch of justice, and the porch of pillars) and the private royal buildings (the house of the king and the house of the daughter of Pharaoh). While during the period of David, the area connected the city to Mount Moriah, during the period of Shlomo it comprised an independent unit located between them.

 

The location of the house of the king between the city and the house of God – above the city and at the foot of the Temple – raises in the sharpest form the question regarding the relationship between the people, the king, and God. Does the king properly lead the people, who live in the city below him, does he serve as a bridge between the people and God, and is he indeed subject to the kingdom of God, at the foot of whose Temple he resides?

 

In their words concerning Yarovam's rebellion, Chazal emphasize the second possibility. Shlomo used the house of the king and the Milo as a tool to glorify his kingdom in and of itself. Thus, the place through which the people had been accustomed to go up to the house of God turned into a barrier zone between the people and the house of God on account of the sins of the king who resided there with his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh.

 

The location of the Milo determines its duel nature. The geographic and topographic conditions of the place can emphasize the close connection between the people, headed by the king, and the house of God, as was the case in the days of David; but they are also liable to negatively emphasize the king's feelings of superiority over the people and his independent standing, as it were, and thus break the natural connection between the people and their God, as in the days of Shlomo. The region of the Milo symbolizes the great opportunity afforded by the unmediated connection between the king and the house of God, through self-nullification and subjugation to Him, but also the great danger that, in his arrogance, the king will impair the connection between the people and the house of God. As Yechezkel stated:

 

And He said to me, Son of man, behold the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever; and the house of Israel shall no more profane My holy name, neither they nor their kings by their harlotry, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places. In their setting of their threshold by My thresholds, and their doorpost by My posts, and only the wall between Me and them, they have defiled My holy name by their disgusting deeds which they have committed; and so I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put away their harlotry, and the carcasses of their kings, far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. (Yechezkel 43:7-9)

 

(Translated by David Strauss)


 


[1] Mahari Kra's description is not sufficiently detailed and clear, but it certainly fits in with archeological findings familiar to us from other places in Israel - wall supports that are found inside the wall of a city and that strengthen it.

[2] K.M. Kenyon, Jerusalem – Excavating 3000 Years of History (Germany, 1967), pp. 49-50.

[3] In support of his interpretation regarding the word Milo, the Radak cites the verse, "Cry, gather together (mil'u) and say, 'Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities'" (Yirmiyahu 4:5). By referring to this verse, the Radak may be suggesting that he understands the Milo as a fortified square, the purpose of which was to protect the masses during times of war.

[4] B.Z. Luria, "Beit Milo" in Pirkei Yerushalayim – Mechkarim Be-Kadmoniyot Yerushalayim Ve-Yosheveha (Ha-Chevra Le-Cheker Ha-Mikra Be-Yisra'el, Kiryat Sefer, 1980), pp. 70-74.

[5] See, for example, the Olam Ha-Tanakh commentary on Shmuel II, ibid.)

[6] Indeed, in the excavation in area M (between the Giv'ati parking lot of today and the southern Turkish wall, namely, the southwestern edge of the Milo according to this proposal), Kenyon found a series of ancient landfills that could be attributed to the time of Shlomo.

[7] The expression, "from the Milo and inward (va-vaita, lit. 'toward the house')," which implies that there is some "house" adjacent to the Milo, strengthens the possibility that we are dealing with an area outside the city and north of it. The parallel term in Divrei Ha-Yamim, "even from the Milo round about," requires further study.

[8] The word "az" ("then") can be understood as referring either to the past or to the future, although the former is more reasonable.

The formulation of the parallel verse in Divrei Ha-yamim II 8:11 is very interesting, for it implies that the daughter of Pharaoh was brought to her house not in order to place her in the house of the king, but rather to distance her from the house of God on account of the sanctity of the ark that sat therein. It seems that this is yet another allusion in Scripture itself to the problematic nature of Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh and her dwelling in the City of David.

[9] The narrative in the third explanation is very similar to what appears in Vayikra Rabba (12:5), which we cited in the previous lecture: "R. Chunya said: That night, the daughter of Pharaoh danced eighty kinds of dances, and Shlomo slept until the fourth hour of the day, and the keys to the Temple were under his head…." And indeed, the midrash there concludes: "His mother went in and rebuked him. And some say: Yarovam ben Nevat went in and rebuked him."

LECTURE 81: SHLOMO'S MONARCHY IN JERUSALEM (VI)

THE FALL

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

I.              SHLOMO'S MARRIAGE TO THE DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH

 

 

1)      THE DESCRIPTION IN SCRIPTURE

 

The book of Melakhim relates to Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh in several places:

 

And Shlomo became allied by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. (Melakhim I 3:1)

 

Shlomo made also a house for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like this porch. (ibid. 7:8)

 

For Pharaoh, king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Cana'ani that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present to his daughter, Shlomo's wife. (ibid. 9:16)

 

But king Shlomo loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, Moavite, Ammonite, Edomite, Tzidonian, and Hittite women, of the nations concerning whom the Lord said to the children of Israel, You shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in to you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods. Shlomo attached himself to these in love. (ibid. 11:1-2)

 

            Let us take note of several points. First of all, Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh is initially presented as a political marriage: "And Shlomo became allied by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt." In this sense, there is no comparable marriage in history; this is the only clearly documented case of a marriage of the daughter of a king of Egypt – one of the great powers of the ancient world – to a foreign ruler!

 

            Following their marriage, Shlomo takes the daughter of Pharaoh to the city of David, and Scripture implies that it was his intention to settle her at some later stage in a house of her own, to be erected among the royal buildings. The importance of Pharaoh's daughter in Shlomo's kingdom is attested to by the fact that she is the only woman designated as "Shlomo's wife." Take note: at this point, Scripture expresses no explicit criticism of this marriage. Ultimately, however, Pharaoh's daughter is included among the woman mentioned at the beginning of chapter 11 to whom Shlomo attached himself in love despite the fact that they were idol-worshippers.

 

2)     THE TIMING

 

Assuming that the order of the chapters reflects the actual chronology, Shlomo entered into this marriage at the beginning of his rule. Indeed, the Malbim on the verse, "And Shlomo became allied by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt" (Melakhim I 3:1), writes:

 

After establishing his kingdom among his people, he also established it in relation to the surrounding kings, by becoming allied through marriage with a great king, ruler of a vast empire in those days, and thus he found external help against his enemies.

 

 

            The words, "after establishing his kingdom among his people," relate to the verse, "And the kingdom was established in the hand of Shlomo" (Melakhim I 2:46), which immediately precedes the description of Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, and closes the chapter dealing with the killing of Adoniyahu, Yo'av, and Shimi (the killing of Shimi – which took place three years into Shlomo's kingship [ibid., v. 39] – is described in that very verse!). In noting that Shlomo's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter took place at the beginning of Shlomo's kingship, as is implied by the order of Scripture, Malbim follows in the footsteps of Ulla:

 

R. Chiyya bar Ami said in the name of Ulla: A person should always live in the vicinity of his master, for as long as Shimi ben Gera was alive, Shlomo did not marry Pharaoh's daughter. (Berakhot 8a)[1]

 

As Rashi explains there:

 

"For as long as Shimi ben Gera was alive, etc." For immediately following the death of Shimi, it is written: "And Shlomo became allied by marriage with Pharaoh."

 

The Radak on Melakhim I 3:1 writes:

 

"And Shlomo became allied by marriage" – [The Sages] said about this that for this reason this follows immediately after the death of Shimi, for as long as Shimi was alive, Shlomo did not marry Pharaoh's daughter, because he feared him and he would have rebuked him for this, he being his master. It was during the fourth year that he married the daughter of Pharaoh, for Shimi lived in Jerusalem for three years.

 

            The author of Seder Olam Rabba also maintains (chap. 15) that Shlomo married Pharaoh's daughter at the beginning of the fourth year of his kingdom, that is to say, at the same time that he began construction of the Temple.

 

            There is, however, another opinion in Chazal, according to which Shlomo's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter took place at the time of the dedication of the Temple (Vayikra Rabba 12, 5),[2] which was much later.

 

            We lack the tools to decide this disagreement,[3] although the simple understanding of the verses supports the first possibility.

 

3) THE HALAKHIC STATUS OF THE DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH

 

            The gemara in Yevamot (76) assumes as self-evident that Shlomo converted the daughter of Pharaoh.[4] The Abravanel writes as well (in his commentary to Melakhim I 3:1):

 

It is clear from all this and from the plain meaning of Scripture that Shlomo did not violate the law or sin when he took Pharaoh's daughter as his wife, for he converted her, had her undergo immersion, and brought her under the wings of the Shekhina. All the more so that he took her [as a wife] in order to make an alliance with Pharaoh her father. Owing to the fact that when he married her, his intentions were desirable and his actions were for the sake of Heaven, it says immediately afterwards: "And Shlomo loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father" (Melakhim I 3:3).[5]

 

            The Rambam also relates to this issue:

 

Let it not enter your mind that Shimshon, savior of Israel, or Shlomo, king of Israel, who was called "God's friend," married foreign women while they were heathens. Rather the secret of the matter is as follows: The proper mitzva is that when a [prospective] male or female convert comes to convert, we examine whether he came to join the religion because of money that he would acquire or some position that he would gain, or fear. In the case of a man, we examine whether perhaps he cast his eyes on a Jewish woman, and in the case of a woman, we examine whether perhaps she cast her eyes on a man of the men of Israel. If no such cause is discovered, we inform them of the heavy yoke of the Torah and the burden of its performance upon the ignorant, in order that they might leave. If they accept this and do not leave, and we see that they come out of love [of God], we accept them, as it is stated: "When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left off speaking to her" (Rut 1:18).

Therefore, the courts did not accept converts throughout the days of David and Shlomo; during the days of David, for perhaps they came out of fear, and during the days of Shlomo, for perhaps they came because of the kingdom, and goodness, and greatness that Israel was enjoying. For anyone who leaves idol worship for any of the vanities of the world is not counted among the righteous converts. But nevertheless, many converts converted [to Judaism] during the days of David and Shlomo in the presence of commoners, and the Great Court had doubts about them; they did not reject them inasmuch as they had already immersed [in a mikva], but they did not draw them near until their end became clear.

Now Shlomo converted women and married them, and similarly Shimshon converted women and married them. It is well known that they converted only because of an ulterior motive and their conversion was not under the guidance of a court. Hence, Scripture considered them as heathens and they remained forbidden. Moreover, their conduct ultimately revealed their initial intent, for they would worship false deities and build altars for them. Therefore, Scripture considered it as if [Shlomo] built them, as it states: "And then Shlomo built an altar" (Melakhim I 1:7). (Hilkhot Issurei Bi'ah 13:14-16)

 

In other words: Formally speaking, Shlomo's foreign wives had converted. But since their conversion was not for the sake of Heaven, and since they continued to worship their idols, Scripture relates to them as if they were still heathens, and even attributes their actions to the discredit of Shlomo himself.

 

4)    THE SPIRITUAL MEANING

 

The prophet Yirmiyahu says:

 

For this has been to Me as a provocation of My anger and of My fury from the day that they built it and to this day, that I should remove it from before My face. (Yirmiyahu 32:31)[6]

 

The Radak explains:

 

"From the day that they built it" – for during the days of Shlomo, who built the city and the Temple, they began to offer sacrifices on the bamot, and Shlomo's wives worshipped foreign gods. From that day, it was as a provocation of My anger and My fury, that is to say, it existed despite My anger and My fury, for in My anger, it should have been removed; I was long-suffering until this day, but I will suffer no longer. And in the midrash: On the day that the Temple was established, Shlomo married the daughter of Pharaoh.

 

            Radak's understanding is based on a gemara in Nidda (70b):

 

One verse says, "For the Lord has chosen Zion" (Tehillim 132:13), and another verse says, "For this has been to Me as a provocation of My anger and of My fury from the day that they built it and to this day" (Yirmiyahu 32:31)! Here before Shlomo married Pharaoh's daughter; here after Shlomo married Pharaoh's daughter.

 

According to the gemara, from the time of Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, God wanted to destroy Jerusalem (which negates His selection of the city).

 

            Vayikra Rabba (12:5), according to which Shlomo's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter took place at the time of the dedication of the Temple, has exceedingly harsh things to say about their wedding night:

 

R. Yudan said: All those seven years that Shlomo built the Temple, he did not drink any wine. Once he built it and married Batya, daughter of Pharaoh - that night he drank wine. Two celebrations took place, one over the construction of the Temple and one over the daughter of Pharaoh. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Which one shall I accept, of these or of these? It then entered His mind to destroy Jerusalem. This is what is stated: "For this has been to Me as a provocation of My anger and of My fury, etc." R. Hillel bar Helene said: Like one who passes through a filthy place and turns up his nose.

R. Chunya said: That night, the daughter of Pharaoh danced eighty kinds of dances, and Shlomo slept until the fourth hour of the day, and the keys to the Temple were under his head. This is what we have learned regarding the daily morning offering that it is offered at the fourth hour (Eduyot 6:1). His mother went in and rebuked him. And some say that Yarov'am ben Nevat went in and rebuked him.

 

            Bamidbar Rabba (10, 4) records a parallel midrash:

 

This is what is stated: "The words of Lemuel the king" (Mishlei 31:1). Why was Shlomo called Lemuel? R. Yishmael said: On that very night that Shlomo completed the construction of the Temple, he married Batya, daughter of Pharaoh, and there were joyous cries from the celebration of the Temple, and joyous cries from the daughter of Pharoah, and the joyous cries of the celebration of the daughter of Pharaoh were louder than the joyous cries regarding the Temple… Therefore, [Shlomo] was called Lemuel, because he cast off the yoke of the heavenly kingdom, that is to say, Why do I need God (lama li El)? At that time, it entered God's mind to destroy Jerusalem. This is what is stated, "For this has been to Me as a provocation of My anger and of My fury, etc."

 

And in Shabbat 56b it says:

 

R. Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: When Shlomo married the daughter of Pharaoh, she brought into the marriage a thousand kinds of musical instruments, and said to him: Thus we do for this idol, and thus we do for that idol. And he did not raise any objections.

R. Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: When Shlomo married Pharaoh's daughter, Gavriel went down and stuck a reed into the sea, and it gathered a bank around it, on which the great city of Rome was built.

 

            According to this harsh statement of Shmuel, Shlomo's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter heralded the beginning of the building of Rome, which, according to Chazal, represents the people of Israel's greatest enemy.

 

            Let us try to summarize what emerges from all of the aforementioned midrashim. According to these midrashim, Scripture points out in various places the far-reaching consequences of Shlomo's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter, with respect to the fate of the people in general and the destruction of Jerusalem in particular.

 

            Our working assumption is that of R. Yose, that when he married the foreign women, Shlomo's intentions were for the sake of Heaven, "to draw them to the words of the Torah, and bring them under the wings of the Shekhina" (Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 2:6). The decision (according to the midrash) to hold the wedding at the same time as the dedication of the Temple stems apparently from the very same objective. By marrying Pharaoh's daughter and bringing her into his house at the very moment of Israel's greatest intimacy with God, the day of the dedication of the permanent Temple, Shlomo tried to bring her as well under the wings of the Shekhina. (We have already noted that Shlomo understood that the Temple was meant for the entire world.) Therefore, Shlomo fixed the day of his wedding - his personal day of rejoicing – on the day of the dedication of the Temple (see Ta'anit 4:8). According to this understanding, not only is there no contradiction between the two, but rather they parallel and complement each other.

 

            In reality, however, things turned out in an entirely different manner. The wedding celebration blurred the celebration over the dedication of the Temple, and in certain senses this indicates a misunderstanding of the relationship between the resting of God's kingdom in its permanent place in the Temple and the building of the king's private house with the daughter of Pharaoh. Shlomo's interpretation of his sitting on God's throne as king (Divrei Ha-yamim I 29:23) went too far – as if the kingdom of flesh and blood and the kingdom of God are one and the same – and led to inappropriate violations of boundaries, because of which Shlomo's marriage that night was viewed as the very opposite of the building of God's Temple.[7]

 

II.            BRINGING THE ARK INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

 

The transfer of the ark from the tent in the city of David to the Temple is described in Melakhim I 8:1-11 and in Divrei Ha-yamim II 5:2-10. Chazal record many traditions on the matter; here, we shall bring only one of them and try to understand its significance. It is stated in Shemot Rabba (8:1; parallel in Tanchuma, Va'era 7):

 

"And it came to pass on the day when the Lord spoke…." "And the Lord said to Moshe, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh" (Shemot 6:28; ibid. 7:1). This is [the meaning of] what is written, "Lift up your heads, O you gates" (Tehillim 24:7). Shlomo uttered this verse when he brought the ark into the Holy of Holies. He had made an ark of ten cubits. When he reached the entranceway of the Temple, the entrance was ten cubits and the ark was ten cubits, and ten cubits cannot enter through ten cubits. And moreover, there were people carrying it. When he came to bring it in, he was unable [to do so]. Shlomo stood up, embarrassed, not knowing what to do. He began to pray before the Holy One, blessed be He. What did Shlomo do? Our Rabbis of blessed memory said: He went and brought the ark of David, and said: "O Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your anointed" (Divrei Ha-yamim II 6:42)… And Shlomo said: Master of the universe, do it for the sake of this one, as it is stated, "Remember the faithful love of David your servant" (Divrei Ha-yamim II, ibid.). Immediately he was answered. What is written afterwards? "Now when Shlomo had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house" (ibid. 7:1). And the holy spirit cried out, "So I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive" (Kohelet 4:2). Shlomo began to say, "Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in" (Tehillim 24:7). The gates said to him, "Who is this King of glory?" (ibid. v. 10). He said to them, "The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory (sela)" (ibid.). As soon as he said this to them, they were appeased; were it not for this, they would have smashed his head and killed him.

 

            This midrash is very astonishing. Didn't Shlomo, the wisest of men, know that a ten cubit ark would be unable to fit through a ten cubit entranceway, and all the more so when you take into consideration those carrying the ark as well? And why was another ark needed in the first place? What was missing in the ark that had been in the Mishkan? (This is particularly difficult according to the Tanchuma's reading: "He made an ark of ten cubits and put into it the ark [that had been made by Moshe], and carried it.") There is no doubt that Chazal are sharply criticizing Shlomo, but what exactly is the criticism?

 

            What leads us to an understanding of the matter is the end of the midrash: "As soon as he said this to them, they were appeased; were it not for this they would have smashed his head and killed him." Why did the gates want to kill Shlomo? What answer did they expect other than "The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory"? The answer to this question appears in the version found in the Tanchuma: "They thought that he was referring to himself when he said "the king of glory"!

 

            It appears, then, that this midrash, like the other midrashim about Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, revolves around the question of the place, power, and authority of a human king in relation to the kingship of the King, King of kings. The first part of the midrash illustrates this problem by way of the measurements of the ark – the vessel that symbolizes God's throne in the Temple. The ark fashioned by Shlomo cannot fit through the entranceway to the Holy of Holies. In his attempt to push his kingdom beyond its appropriate boundaries, Shlomo pushes aside, as it were, the feet of the Shekhina, and the ark that he had made can only dwell in its resting place by virtue of the faithful love of David, who submitted himself to God even in his kingship.

 

III.           PREPARING A PLACE TO BURY THE ARK

 

In Divrei Ha-yamim II 35:3, King Yoshiyahu says to the Levites as follows:

 

Put the holy ark in the house which Shlomo the son of David king of Israel did build; you need no longer carry it upon your shoulders. Serve now the Lord your God and His people Israel.

 

The Radak explains (ad loc.):

 

Perhaps Menashe had removed it [the ark] from there when he placed the idol in the house of God. But it may be asked: How is it that he did not return it there after having gone in, repented, and removed the image from the house of God?

Our Rabbis, of blessed memory, explained that he commanded that the ark should be buried so that it not go into exile with the captives. And they said: There was a stone in the western side of the Holy of Holies on which the ark rested, and before it were the jar of manna and the staff of Aharon. When Shlomo built the Temple, which would eventually be destroyed, he constructed a place in which to bury the ark deep in the ground, and that stone covered that place. And King Yoshiyahu issued a command and they buried the ark in that place that Shlomo had built. As it is stated, "Put the holy ark;" and together with the ark, they buried Aharon's staff, the jar of manna, and the anointing oil.[8]

 

            What is the meaning of preparing a place to bury the ark? Did Shlomo, with his holy spirit, understand where that would lead? It is difficult to answer this question according to the plain meaning of the text, but homiletically we can suggest that, indeed, Shlomo understood, consciously or unconsciously, the significance of his actions.

 

IV.          THE BUILDING OF BAMOT FOR IDOL WORSHIP

 

1)      THE LOCATION OF THE BAMOT

 

Melakhim I describes the erection of the bamot as follow:

 

Then did Shlomo build a bama for Kemosh, the abomination of Mo'av, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molekh, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his foreign wives, who burnt incense and sacrificed to their gods. (Melakhim I 11:7-8)

 

These bamot stood until almost the end of the First Temple period (!), when they were removed by Yoshiyahu. As it is stated:

 

And the bamot that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the Mount of Corruption (Har ha-Mashchit), which Shlomo the king of Israel had built for Ashtoret the abomination of the Tzidonim, and for Kemosh the abomination of Mo'av, and for Mikom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. (Melakhim II 23:13)

 

This is a fine example of the principle, "The words of the Torah are poor in one place and rich in another" (or as we would say today: Scripture "explains itself"). In Melakhim I, we are told that the bamot were built "in the hill that is before Jerusalem," that is, on a hill to the east of Jerusalem.[9] In Melakhim II, Scripture adds and explains that the bamot were "before Jerusalem, on the right hand of the Mount of Corruption," that is, to the south of the Mount of Corruption. What is "the Mount of Corruption"? Targum Yonatan renders this phrase: "Before Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Olives." The Radak expands on the matter:

 

"The Mount of Corruption" – the Mount of Olives. And it was called the Mount of Corruption[10] to its disgrace; because of the idol worship conducted there, it was called the Mount of Corruption.[11]

 

            In light of this information, it seems that we can identify the place as the wooded ridge to the east of the city, above the village of Shilo'ah,[12] a little south of the peak of the Mount of Olives.

 

2)     THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LOCATION

 

In our usual manner, we will try to demonstrate here as well the spiritual meaning of the topography. Why did Shlomo choose to locate the bamot dedicated to idol worship precisely in that spot, due east of the city of David, on the eastern side of the Kidron wadi?

 

The first explanation is to Shlomo's credit, whereas the other three explanations are to his discredit.

 

a)    Opposite the city, but not opposite God's Temple: First of all, it seems that Shlomo chose this ridge, to the south of the peak of the Mount of Olives, in order that the bamot should not stand opposite the Temple, but rather further south, opposite the city and outside of it.[13]

 

b)    Idol worship – in a high place. We demonstrated earlier that construction on a high place was characteristic of idol worship; according to idolatrous thinking, physical height expresses greatness and might and draws man near to his deity.

 

c)    Facing eastward to the gods of Ammon and Mo'av: Shlomo's wives worshipped the gods of Ammon and Mo'av, and erecting the bamot on the eastern side of the city allowed them to face eastward, toward their country and toward their gods.

 

d)    Facing eastward to the sun: Turning to the sun in idol worship is mentioned many times in Scripture. Inasmuch as it is a fundamental source of vitality (the hours of light are the hours of work, heat, photosynthesis, etc.), the sun served already in the most ancient periods as a primary object of idol worship. Man's natural and understandable admiration of the sun (which diminished significantly since the invention of florescent lighting) quickly turned into worship of that source of light, heat, and life.[14] Even Avraham Avinu turned at first, according to a famous midrash, to the sun and the moon, and only after they each set and then rose again did he understand that they must have a common master. It is not by chance that according to the Rambam, the worship of the celestial bodies assumed a central role in the process by which idol worship came into being (Hilkhot Avoda Zara 1:1).[15] The construction of the bamot in the days of Shlomo was done in the classic and original style of idol worship: facing eastward.

 

In absolute contrast to the idolatrous conception, the Temple of God faces westward, and its most sanctified place – the devir – is on its western side. In Bava Batra 25b, R. Akiva claims that the Shekhina is in the west, and the gemara offers two explanations of the phenomenon:

 

a)     In contrast to the idolaters, who face eastward. Thus, for example, we find in the mishna (Sukka 5:4):

 

They would reach the gate that faced east, [and then] they would turn their faces westward and say: Our forefathers, who were in this place, "with their backs toward the Temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves towards the sun eastwards" (Yechezkel 8:16), but our eyes are toward the Lord.

 

            The Rambam, in his Guide of the Perplexed (III:25), also notes that at the akeida, Avraham Avinu established the altar on the western side of the mountain, in contrast to the practice of the idolaters.

 

b)     "The host of heaven worships you" (Nechemiah 9:6) – the gemara views the rising of the celestial bodies in the east and their movement toward the west as daily worship of God. The celestial bodies, of course, lack free choice, and in this sense, a person who serves in the Temple is sort of a prayer leader on behalf of all of creation; it is as if each day he bears the sun, the moon, and the stars, and prostrates himself westward, toward the Shekhina in the Holy of Holies.[16]

 

The assertion that the Shekhina is in the west finds many expressions in the life of the Temple:

 

        · The blood of the red heifer was sprinkled on the Mount of Olives "towards the front of the Tent of Meeting" (Bamidbar 19:4). The eastern wall of the Temple Mount was therefore lower, so as to allow the kohen who was sprinkling the blood to see the entranceway of the Temple.

        · For the same reason, all the eastern entranceways (in the Second Temple) were lined up on the same axis (the eastern gate of the Temple Mount, called the Shoshan gate, the gate to the women's courtyard, the Nikanor gate, and the entranceways to the ulam, the heikhal, and the Holy of Holies).

        · A person who brings a sacrifice faces westward; the animal being sacrificed faces westward (at the time of semikha, when hands are laid on the animal).

        · The western light of the menora had unique importance.

        · The daily offering brought in the morning was slaughtered near the north-west corner of the altar, and the daily offering brought in the afternoon was slaughtered near its north-east corner.

 

To summarize, the east-west axis in the Temple expressed the absolute contrast to idol worship, and even more than that, the submission of all of creation to the Creator and its recognition of His Kingdom.[17]

 

We see, then, that the bamot built by Shlomo expressed a turning to idol worship in all its aspects – its form, its location, and its direction – and in many senses constituted absolute opposition to the Temple. As stated above, these bamot stood in Jerusalem until the days of Yoshiyahu. It turns out, then, that almost from the first days of the city, and for most of the First Temple period, a pilgrim arriving in Jerusalem was faced with two alternatives: proceeding northward to Mount Moriya and the Temple of God or crossing the Kidron wadi eastward and practicing idol worship at the bamot built on the ridge south of the Mount of Olives.

 

V.           MULTIPLYING SILVER AND GOLD, HORSES AND FOREIGN WOMEN

 

Melakhim I 10-11 describes how King Shlomo violated the three prohibitions applying to a king: multiplying horses (from Egypt), wives (who turn his heart away), and silver and gold.[18] Ironically, it was precisely the first king, who was supposed to represent the ideal king in Israel, who stumbled in those very things that are supposed to distinguish the king of Israel from the kings of the other nations and failed to establish a fitting kingdom.

 

SUMMARY

 

            In this shiur, we examined the various components of Shlomo's fall. The common denominator of all of them is the blurring on the part of the first permanent king of Israel of the limits of his authority and rule in relation to the kingdom of God. The consequences were very grave: despite the outstanding beginning conditions, it was precisely in the days of Shlomo that it was decreed that the kingdom would be split and the Temple destroyed.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)

 

[1] On Shimi ben Gera's being Shlomo's teacher, see also Gittin  59a.

[2] Regarding this midrash and its meaning, see below.

[3] It is possible that the two midrashim can be reconciled as follows: The alliance with the king of Egypt was made during the fourth year, at which point Pharaoh's daughter was brought to the city of David, but the marriage itself only took place at the conclusion of the construction of the two houses and her entry into her own house.

[4] The gemara there discusses whether a female Egyptian convert is immediately fit for marriage to a born Jew or only after the third generation. The gemara also raises the possibility that Shlomo never actually married the daughter of Pharaoh or the other foreign women; rather, "his intentions were fornication" (Rashi, ad loc.), but because of the excessive love that he had for Pharaoh's daughter, Scripture regards him as if he had married her. We shall stick to the plain meaning of the text, according to which it is clear that Shlomo married these women, as understood by the Rambam cited below.

In connection with the conversion of Pharaoh's daughter, it should be noted that some argue that this is alluded to in Tehillim 45 (see summary of the psalm in the Da'at Mikra commentary to Tehillim, p. 263). The psalm, which is addressed to the king, states: "Kings' daughters are among your favorites; upon your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ofir. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear; forget also your own beauty; for he is your lord, and do homage to him" (Tehillim 45:10-12). The psalm refers to a marriage with the daughter of a foreign king, and the psalmist turns to the queen/bride and admonishes her to forget her nation, its customs, and the idolatry that she had learned in her father's house and be loyal to the king. It is possible that the expression "shir yedidot" (ibid. v. 1) in the psalm's heading alludes to the name of Shlomo – Yedidya.

[5] The juxtaposition of the verses may serve as a hidden judgment of Shlomo's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh.

[6] It is interesting to note that while it would appear that David was the first to build Jerusalem, the gemara nevertheless attributes the building to Shlomo.

[7] See R. Kook's Ayin Aya commentary to tractate Shabbat (sec. 75), where he expounds on this matter at length.

[8] It is interesting that Chazal attribute the burying of the ark that Shlomo had brought into the Temple to Yoshiyahu, the very same king who abolished the bamot that Shlomo had built east of the city for idol worship and which stood for most of the First Temple period.

[9] In Scripture, the basic orientation is toward the east; thus "forward" (panim or kedem) is east, "backward" (achor) is west, "right" is south, and "left" is north.

The issue of directions in Scripture is a very broad and interesting topic. According to the simple understanding, "kedem" is east, because the sun appears from that direction – a fundamental fact that impacted not only on day-to-day life, but also on matters of faith (as we shall discuss below).

In this context, it is also interesting to note the connection between the concepts of time and place in biblical Hebrew. The word "kedem" is used also in the sense of the "the earlier period," since that is the time that is before us and we can see it. "Achor," on the other hand, refers to the future, which only the prophets can see. In modern Hebrew, the concepts have been reversed, and the word "kidma" refers to the future.

[10] The term Har Ha-Moshcha is found also in Chazal. See, e.g., Rosh Ha-Shanah 2:4.

[11] We bring here the continuation of the Radak's comment because of its importance for understanding the removal of the bamot by Yoshiyahu: "'Which Shlomo had built' – how is it that they were not destroyed by Assa and Yehoshafat, who destroyed all the idols in Eretz Yisrael? They destroyed the idols, but they did not destroy the bamot, because at the time they were used for offerings to God. For regarding all of them, it is stated, 'And the bamot were not removed; the people were still bringing sacrifices and burning incense on the bamot.' And Yoshiyahu demolished the bamot as well, because they had originally been built for idol worship or in order that they not be used even for sacrifices to God, for inasmuch as the Temple was standing, the bamot were forbidden. Therefore, it is written about him, 'And like him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might' (Melakhim II 23:25). For the kings before him did not remove the bamot, even though they were good kings."

[12] Today, a Christian hostel, called "the House of Abraham," stands on the site.

[13] We have already mentioned previously that in very ancient times, this ridge was already used as a burial ground.

[14] We already saw above that for this reason, east was regarded in the ancient world as "panim," forward. And indeed, ancient maps have an eastward orientation; they are drawn with east in the upper portion.

[15] Christianity has perpetuated the idolatrous custom of facing eastward in that its churches face in that direction.

[16] The idea that man in his daily service of God gives expresion to all of creation's yearning for the Divine follows also from the gemara in Berakhot 9b, which proposes an asmakhta for the custom of the prayer of vatikin - the verse, "May they fear You with the sun" (Tehillim 72:5).

[17] In Scripture, west expresses standing before God, whereas going eastward usually denotes distancing from God. For example, following their sin, Adam and Chava are sent eastward from the Garden of Eden; Kayin is sent eastward; Lot chooses the east; the children of Avraham's concubines are sent eastward; Esav goes eastward to Mount Se'ir; the two and a half tribes choose the east bank of the Jordan; the Shekhina leaves the Temple and heads eastward (Yechezkel 11); and others. This is a broad topic, worthy of a separate shiur.

[18] Shlomo's sin with his foreign wives is still mentioned in the days of Nechemia: "Did not Shlomo king of Israel sin by these things? And even though among many nations there was no king like him who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel, nevertheless, the foreign women caused even him to sin" (Nechemia 13:26).