1 Kings 6:6 reports:

The lowest story was five cubits broad, the middle one was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad. For around the outside of the house he made offsets on the wall in order that the supporting beams should not be inserted into the walls of the house.

This seems to me a strange shape for a temple, being smaller at the base and larger on higher levels (does this structure resemble any archeological discoveries of the time?). The verse seems to highlight the fact that the supporting beams should not be inserted into the walls. Why was that feature so relevant?

Also, 1 Kings 6:7 says:

and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built

The fact that this behavior was reported makes me think that it was actually quite important.

Is my feeling correct? If so, why? Were there some kind of religious laws (such as those provided in Deuteronomy about the food), regarding construction and building?

1 Answer 1


This is less complicated than it appears and quite prosaic.

The outside dimensions of the temple were the same for every floor; however, the inside dimensions increased with increasing height for a very simple reason - the floor beams of each floor needed a ledge to sit on. Therefore, half a cubit on each side wall was provided.

This means that the walls were thicker at the base that the upper stores.

Now, we are not told the outer dimensions but for the sake of this discussion, let us assume that the outer dimension was (say) 9 cubits. This means that:

  • the lowest story was five cubits plus two cubits for the walls thickness = nine cubits overall
  • the middle story was six cubits plus one and a half cubits for the wall thickness = nine cubits overall
  • the top story was seven cubits plus one cubit for the wall thickness = nine cubits overall.

Thus, a half cubit ledge was made for the floor beams to sit upon - these are the "offsets" mentioned in 1 Kings 6:6 to avoid niches/sockets penetrating the walls.

1 Kings 6:7 was simply a provision (of silence) to ensure that the site was a sacred site even during construction of the sacred temple.

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