« PreviousContinue »
until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and behold, the one half of thy greatness was not told me, for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.”
One cannot help thinking that the Queen of Sheba must have been converted from her heathen state to the worship of the One True God, Jehovah, the LORD ; for we find her saying, “ Blessed be the LORD thy God, Which delighted in thee to set thee on His throne, to be king for the LORD thy God; because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made He thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.”
King Solomon gave the queen all manner of costly presents, and then she and her train left him, and went back to their own country. The sacred history tells us nothing more about her; but our Blessed LORD has told us that in the Day of Judgment, when we all shall have to give account for the advantages and privi. leges each of us has enjoyed, the Queen of Sheba will stand better before the Great White Throne than many of us, who have the blessing of knowing One greater than Solomon, even
JESUS CHRIST our Lord, and yet do not seek Him with our whole heart,- do not take all our difficulties to Him, learn of Him, give Him of our best, and pour out our hearts in blessing to Him, as this heathen queen did to King Solomon.
SOLOMON'S TEMPLE. The great work of King Solomon's reign was building the Temple of the Lord. We have seen what costly materials were prepared for him by his father David, and to these Solomon added whatever most precious the world could afford. He sent to Hiram, King of Tyre, for cedar-wood, and also for skilful workmen,-as the Tyrians were famous for their beautiful work in gold and silver, and also for dyeing the best colours, purple, crimson, and blue, that could be found anywhere. When everything was prepared, Solomon began to build the Temple at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, in the place that his father David had prepared and sanctified, which had once been the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
Nothing could be more gorgeous than the
Temple was, within and without. All the stones of which it was built were hewn before they were brought to Mount Moriah ; so that no hammer or axe, or noisy tool might rudely break upon the consecrated stillness of the spot“No workman's steel, no ponderous axes rung :
Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung.' God had already vouchsafed to give very precise orders and patterns to David, and He continued to direct Solomon how to fulfil them.
The walls of the Temple were lined with cedar-wood, and all the inside was overlaid with gold, and garnished with precious stones. Deep within the Temple was the Oracle, where the Ark should rest. That, too, was overlaid with pure gold, and before it Solomon placed two cherubim of gold, their faces turned inwards towards the altar, and their outstretched wings reaching from one wall to another. There were also pillars before the holy place, and a veil, to screen it from general view, of fine linen, blue, purple, and crimson, with cherubim worked upon it. The altar was of cedar-wood, covered with gold.
1 Bishop Heber.
There was also a “sea,” as it is called, for the priests to wash in before offering sacrifices. It was supported by twelve oxen in metal, and the brim was wrought like the brim of a cup, with lily flowers. There were, besides, ten lavers, where the things used in sacrificing were washed.
Solomon also made ten golden candlesticks; and all the other articles that were used in the holy place were of pure gold,-lamps, tongs, snuffers, basons, spoons, and censers. The very hinges of the doors were of pure gold. The pots, and shovels, and basons that were used without were all of bright, burnished brass.
King Solomon also built a noble house for himself, with cedar beams and pillars, and a great throne of ivory, overlaid with gold. Two lions were made beside it, and twelve more by the sides of six steps, which went up to the throne. The king likewise built a very beautiful palace for his wife, who was an Egyptian princess, the daughter of the King of Egypt.
THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE.
When at length the Temple and all its costly work was finished, Solomon called together all the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes, and chief men and princes, that they might move the Ark of the LORD into it, with all due reverence and pomp.
These all gathered together, and the Levites took the Ark and brought it up. King Solomon and the whole congregation of Israel went before it, and offered sacrifices which could not be told or numbered for multitude. The priests carried the Ark of the covenant of the LORD unto the holy place, within the oracle, under the wings of the cherubim, and solemnly placed it therein. As soon as the priests came out of the holy place, all the Levites which were singers, standing at the east end of the altar arrayed in white linen garments, with cymbals and psalteries and harps, and a hundred and twenty priests with trumpets, all burst forth together in a song of praise.
When this glorious music broke forth, and the hymn was raised, “ Praise the LORD, for He is good : for His mercy endureth for ever,