BEFORE David died, he gave Solomon the plans from God for building Jehovah’s temple. In the fourth year of his rule, Solomon begins building the temple, and it takes seven and a half years to finish it. Tens of thousands of men work on the temple, and the building costs lots and lots of money. This is because so much gold and silver are used in it.
The temple has two main rooms, just as the tabernacle had. But these rooms are twice the size of those in the tabernacle. Solomon has the ark of the covenant put in the inside room of the temple, and the other things that were kept in the tabernacle are put in the other room.
When the temple is finished, there is a big celebration. Solomon kneels in front of the temple and prays, as you can see in the picture. ‘Not even all of heaven is large enough to hold you,’ Solomon says to Jehovah, ‘how much less, then, can this temple hold you. But, O my God, please listen to your people when they pray toward this place.’
When Solomon finishes his prayer, fire comes down from heaven. It burns up the animal sacrifices that have been made. And a bright light from Jehovah fills the temple. This shows that Jehovah is listening, and that he is pleased with the temple and Solomon’s prayer. The temple, rather than the tabernacle, now becomes the place where the people come to worship.
For a long time Solomon rules in a wise way, and the people are happy. But Solomon marries many women from other countries who do not worship Jehovah. Can you see one of them worshiping before the idol? Finally his wives get Solomon to worship other gods too. Do you know what happens when Solomon does this? He no longer treats the people kindly. He becomes cruel, and the people are not happy anymore.
This makes Jehovah angry with Solomon, and he tells him: ‘I will take the kingdom away from you and give it to another man. I will not do this in your lifetime, but during the rule of your son. But I won’t take all the people of the kingdom away from your son.’ Let’s see how this happens.