2020-11-02

Solomon’s Palace and Temple as Re-worked Assyrian Accounts — part 3

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by Neil Godfrey

One of the main tasks of the historian is to compare and cross-reference sources. If different sources attest independently to the same phenomenon, the historical reliability of that phenomenon is greatly enhanced. Thus, the biblical description of Solomon’s Temple, the stone building model from Khirbet Qeiyafa, and the temple from Motza correspond to one another, hence confirming the historicity of the biblical tradition.

— Yosef Garfinkel and Madeleine Mumcuoglu, The Temple of Solomon in Iron Age Context

Garfinkel and Mumcuoglu have overlooked the most basic step in the above argument. Sources may cohere with one another but before concluding that they therefore testify to historical facts one must test whether they are indeed independent of one another. The historian’s task is to cross-examine the witnesses even (or especially) when they agree.

Before continuing with Russell Gmirkin’s analysis of the biblical account of the constructions of Solomon’s palace and temple we’ll hear a little more from Garfinkel and Mumcuoglu (with my bolded highlighting — as in all quotations):

Scholars of the minimalist school have argued that no temple at all was built in Jerusalem at the time of Solomon. According to the most extreme of these scholars, the description of the temple is entirely imaginary. Thus, an attempt has been made to remove the basis for legitimate study of the temple from an architectural or historical perspective and move all the attention to the literary and ideological levels (see discussions: Van Seters 1997; Smith 2006).

Two recent discoveries in the Kingdom of Judah have changed the picture (Figure 1). First, a building model dated to the 10th century BCE unearthed at Khirbet Qeiyafa in 2011 sheds light on some technical terms mentioned in the biblical text and enables us to overcome some of the difficulties (Garfinkel and Mumcuoglu 2013, 2016, 2018). Second, a temple dated to the 9th century BCE was uncovered in 2012 at Motza, 5 km west of Jerusalem (Kisilevitz 2015). These new finds clearly show that the architecture described in the biblical text existed in the same era and region. The new data bear out the historicity of the biblical text, even if it was rewritten and edited centuries after the actual construction of the building.

Figure 1. The Kingdom of Judah and the location of sites mentioned in the text.

(G&M, 2f)

You can download and read the full open-source paper by Yosef Garfinkel and Madeleine Mumcuoglu, The Temple of Solomon in Iron Age Context. Meanwhile, here are the finds they refer to that demonstrate that the biblical description of Solomon’s temple matched other ninth century temples of the Levant and Mesopotamia.

Compare this image and its note (from Solomon’s Temple and Palace):

And the comparable temple layouts:

A photograph of the Motza temple from an article by Kisilevitz:

G & M’s reconstruction of Solomon’s temple is thus:

and

Russell Gmirkin calls himself a “post-maximalist”. He does not deny the similarity between the biblical and Near Eastern building accounts and Iron Age (in this case the tenth to eighth centuries) archaeological finds, but he does deny the independence of the biblical account.

Before taking up the case for the dependence of the biblical description it is worth noting for us non-specialists that we are looking at a set literary type or form. We read about various literary forms of the ancient Near East appearing in the Bible and Gmirkin directs us to a study by Hurowitz that describes in detail the “well-known ancient Near Eastern pattern” of the “building account”. To quote Hurowitz,

In the first part of this study, more than twenty extra-biblical building accounts were analyzed and found to possess similar or nearly identical thematic structures. Despite certain flexibility and variability in the structure, all the stories examined preserved the same basic sequence of topics and central events, including:

(1) a reason to build or restore a building along with the command or consent of the gods to the proposed project;

(2) preparations for the project including enlisting workers, gathering and manufacturing building materials and laying the foundations of the building;

(3) a description of the building process and of the edifice under construction;

(4) dedication of the building by populating it, along with celebrations and rituals;

(5) a prayer or a blessing meant to assure a good future for the building and the builder. Some of the stories included an additional element:

(6) conditional blessings and curses addressed to a future king who will repair the building when it falls into ruin.

An analysis of 1 Kgs 5.15-9.25 showed that this building account as well is strikingly similar in its structure to the extra-biblical stories. The same can be said about other biblical building accounts—the building of the Tabernacle, the restoration of the Temple by the returnees from Exile, and the repair of the walls of Jerusalem carried out and reported by Nehemiah. Even Josephus’s account of the rebuilding of the Temple by Herod seems to have adhered to this structure. These stories share not only the same thematic structure, but display many common motifs, expressions and ideas as well. In the subsequent chapters the individual components of the building stories were examined, concentrating on 1 Kings 5-9. It was seen that, as far as ideas and linguistic usage are concerned, these components have parallels in many other extra-biblical building stories . . . 

(Hurowitz, 311. My formatting)

Impression of Palace Without Rival. — From the British Museum Blog

Gmirkin writes that there are “prominent Assyrian influences on the biblical description of the temple that point specifically to 1 Kgs 5:13-7:51 as originally a seventh-century BCE composition of Assyrian authorship.”

Many details in the description of Solomon’s temple directly parallel Sennacherib’s description of his Palace Without Rival in inscriptions dating to 694 BCE.

(p. 85)

Gmirkin lists in citation form a list of parallels but being me I want to check the sources and see for myself and for others who also like to inspect the details for themselves I have copied out the texts in full. Each heading is Gmirkin’s description of the parallel; I have copied and pasted the relevant text beneath each point.

the emphasized use of forced labor for quarry work

I Kgs 5:15

Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills

 

From claudemariottini.com
364. But I, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, gave my thought and brought my mind to accomplish this work according to the command (will) of the gods. The people of Chaldea, the Arameans, the Manneans, (the people) of the lands of Kue and Hilakku, who had not submitted to my yoke, I deported (from their lands), made them carry the headpad and mold bricks. I cut down the reed marshes which are in Chaldea, and had the men of the foe whom my hands had conquered drag their mighty reeds (to Assyria) for the completion of its work.

383. The people of Chaldea, the Arameans, the Manneans, (the people of) the lands of Kue and Hilakku, (of) Philistia and Tyre, who had not submitted to my yoke, I deported (from their lands), made them carry the headpad and mold bricks.

407. Palace of Sennacherib, the great king, the mighty king, king of the universe, king of Assyria, king of the four quarters (of the world); favorite of the great gods; wise sovereign, provident prince, shepherd of peoples, ruler of widespreading nations, am I. The queen of the gods, the goddess of procreation, looked upon me with favor (while I was still) in the womb of the mother who bore me, and watched over my conception, while Ea provided a spacious womb, and granted (me) keen understanding, the equal of Master Adapa’s. Assur, father of the gods, brought in submission to my feet the whole race of black-headed men, raised aloft my head to be ruler of land and people, gave me a righteous scepter which enlarges my land and put into my hands an unsparing sword for the overthrow of my enemies. At that time I made the enemy population which my hand had conquered carry the headpad (do forced labor) and mold bricks.

description of quarrying and hewing of stone

I Kings 5:17-18

At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.

390. That I might accomplish the construction of my palace, and bring to an end the work of my hands, at that time, Assur and Ishtar, who love my priesthood, and have called me by name, showed me how to bring out the mighty cedar logs which had grown large in the days gone by, and had become enormously tall as they stood concealed in the mountains of Sirara. Alabaster (marble) which in the days of the kings, my fathers, was precious enough for (inlaying) the hilt of a sword, they disclosed to me in the darkness of Mount Ammanana (anti-Lebanon). And breccia for all kinds of great jars, such as had never been seen before, in (by) the city of KapridargilH, which is on the border of Til-Barsip, disclosed itself. Near Nineveh, in the land of Balatai, by decree of the god, white limestone was found (appeared) in abundance; and bull-colossi and sculptured statues of alabaster, which were carved out of one stone, of enormous proportions, towering high upon their own bases; alabaster cow-colossi, whose appearance was splendid, whose bodies shone like the bright day; great slabs of breccia I fashioned and cut free on both sides, in their mountain, and had them dragged to Nineveh for the construction of my palace. The bull and cow-colossi of white limestone, with Ninkurra’s help, I had fashioned (“caused to be begotten”), in the land of Balatai, and made complete as to their members.

408. The palace inside the city of Nineveh, which extended 360 cubits on the side, 95 cubits on the front, and whose site had become too small, which the kings who went before, my fathers, had built for their royal abode, but had not beautified:—bull-colossi of white limestone, they fashioned in the city of Tastiate to flank their (the palaces’) doors. For the construction of boats (rafts) they felled mighty trees in the forests throughout the whole of their land. In Aim, at the time of the regular spring floods, they laboriously brought them over to this side on the mighty rafts. As they crossed the quay wall, their large boats went down. Their crews strained and injured their bodies, but by might and main, with difficulty, they landed them and placed them by their doors.

411. That I might accomplish the construction of my palace, and bring to an end the work of my hands, at that time, Assur and Ishtar, who love my priesthood, and have called me by name, showed me how to bring out the mighty cedar logs which had grown large in the days gone by and had become enormously tall as they stood concealed in the mountains of Sirara. Alabaster (marble) which in the days of the kings, my fathers, was precious enough for (inlaying) the hilt of a sword, they disclosed to me in the darkness of Mount Ammanana, and breccia (used) for all kinds of great jars, such as had never been seen before, in (near) Kapridargilii, which is on the border of Til-Barsip, disclosed itself. Near Nineveh, in the land of Balatai, by decree of the god, white limestone was found (appeared) in abundance; and bull-colossi and sculptured statues of alabaster, which were carved out of one stone, of enormous proportions, towering high upon their own bases; alabaster cow-colossi, whose appearance was splendid, whose bodies shone like the bright day; great slabs of breccia I fashioned and cut free on both sides, in their mountain, and had them dragged to Nineveh for the construction of my palace. The huge bull-colossi and cow-colossi of white limestone, with Ninkurra’s help I “caused to be begotten” and made complete as to their members.

421. The palace of Sennacherib, the great king, king of the universe, king of Assyria. Through the might of the scepter which Assur, father of the gods, presented to me, costly basalt, from a distant land (mountain; lit., whose land, or, mountain is distant), I brought and under the doorposts of the gates of my palace I placed it.

426. Mighty cedar beams, the product of Amanus, the shining mountain, I stretched over them (i.e., with cedar I roofed them). Door-leaves of Wan-wood I covered with a sheathing of bright bronze and set them up in their doors. Out of white limestone, which is found in the country of the city of Baladai, I had mighty colossi fashioned and stationed right and left of their entrances. For the equipment of the blackheaded (people; i.e., the Assyrians), the housing (storing) of (battle)-steeds, mules, colts, riding-camels (?), chariots, wagons, carts, quivers, bows and arrows, all kinds of battle equipment, teams of horses and mules which possessed enormous strength, and were broken to the yoke, I greatly enlarged its (i.e., the palace’s) court of the gate(?). That palace, from its foundation to its coping, I constructed, I finished. A memorial with my name inscribed I set up in it.

felling of cedar trees from Syria

I Kings 5:6, 14, 18

6 “So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.”

14 He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor.

8 The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.

 

 

The technique of felling these trees is shown in a relief from the reign of Seti I (about 1300 B.C.). Men of Lebanon are pictured cutting down cedars to be sent to the Egyptians. One of the men is chopping at the base of a tree trunk, while his companions carefully control the fall of the tree by the use of ropes attached to it. At center right Lebanese princes are saluting the Pharaoh. (From Readers Digest Illustrated Bible)
366. In a propitious month, on a favorable day, in its (the river’s) hidden bed, (for a space of) 60 (GAR) on the side, and 34 (GAR) on the front, I covered over great mountain bowlders, and made a field rise up from the water, and made it like unto the dry land. Lest in the passing of days its platform should give way before the (floods of) high water, I set up great slabs of limestone around its walls, and strengthened its structure (lit., heaping,—of earth); over these (slabs) I filled in the terrace to a height of 170 tipku,—I added to the site (lit., measurement) of the former palace, and widened its bulwarks(?). Thereon (lit., therein) I had them build a palace of ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry (musukannu), cedar, cypress, spruce and pistachio, the “Palace without a Rival,” for my royal abode. Beams of cedar, the product of Mount Amanus, which they dragged with difficulty out of (those) distant mountains, I stretched across their ceilings(P). Great door-leaves of cypress, whose odor is pleasant as they are opened and closed, I bound with a band of shining copper and set them up in their doors. A portico, patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, which they call in the Amorite tongue a Mt-hilaniy I constructed inside them (the doors), for my lordly pleasure.

388. To 700 large cubits on the side and 440 large cubits on the front, I brought the size of the palace, and enlarged its site. A palace of gold, silver, copper, carnelian(P), breccia, alabaster, ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry (musukanni), cedar, cypress, spruce, elammaku-wood, sindu-wood, for my royal dwelling I built and portals (“door-houses”), patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace I had constructed in front of the doors. With (beams) of cedar and cypress, whose scent is pleasant, products of Amanus and Sirara, the snowcapped (lit., shining) mountains, I roofed them. Door-leaves of cedar, cypress, pine and sindu-wood, I bound with a band of silver and copper and set up in their doors. In the room within the building, I arranged (lit., opened) chambers, and opened corridors(P).

392. Bull-colossi, made of bronze, two of which were coated with enamel (? gilding), bull-colossi of alabaster, together with cow-colossi of white limestone, I placed at the thresholds of my palaces. High pillars of bronze, together with tall pillars of cedars, the product of Mount Amanus, I inclosed in a sheathing of bronze and lead, placed them upon lion-colossi, and set them up as posts to support their doorways. Upon the alabaster cow-colossi, as well as the cow colossi made of bronze, which were coated with enamel (?) and the cow-colossi made of GU-AN-NA, whose forms were brilliant, I placed pillars of ebony, cypress, cedar, dupranu-wood, spruce and sindu-wood, with inlay of pasalli and silver, and set them up as columns in the rooms of my royal abode. Slabs of breccia and alabaster, and great slabs of limestone, I placed around their walls; I made them wonderful to behold.

410. A palace of breccia, marble, ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry, cedar, cypress, spruce, elammaku-wood, for my royal abode I built and portals, patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, I had constructed in front (or, place) of the doors; with beams of cedar (and) cypress, whose scent is pleasant, products of Amanus and Sirara, the snow-capped (lit., shining) mountains, I roofed them. Door-leaves of cedar, cypress and spruce I bound with a band of silver and copper and set them up in their doorways. In the room within the building, I arranged (lit., opened) chambers, and opened corridors(P). Female colossi of marble and ivory, wearing horned headdresses(?), their fore legs (lit., hands) kneeling, clothed with strength and vigor, full of splendor, I set up by their doors and made them a wonder to behold. The dark color of the roofing timbers in the chambers I brightened (painted?) and made them shine like the day. Clothes-hooks (pegs) of silver and copper I put up around their interior. With burnt brick, KA -stone and lapis lazuli I adorned the walls, cornices, and all their copings.

411. That I might accomplish the construction of my palace, and bring to an end the work of my hands, at that time, Assur and Ishtar, who love my priesthood, and have called me by name, showed me how to bring out the mighty cedar logs which had grown large in the days gone by and had become enormously tall as they stood concealed in the mountains of Sirara. Alabaster (marble) which in the days of the kings, my fathers, was precious enough for (inlaying) the hilt of a sword, they disclosed to me in the darkness of Mount Ammanana, and breccia (used) for all kinds of great jars, such as had never been seen before, in (near) Kapridargilii, which is on the border of Til-Barsip, disclosed itself. Near Nineveh, in the land of Balatai, by decree of the god, white limestone was found (appeared) in abundance; and bull-colossi and sculptured statues of alabaster, which were carved out of one stone, of enormous proportions, towering high upon their own bases; alabaster cow-colossi, whos appearance was splendid, whose bodies shone like the bright day; great slabs of breccia I fashioned and cut free on both sides, in their mountain, and had them dragged to Nineveh for the construction of my palace. The huge bull-colossi and cow-colossi of white limestone, with Ninkurra’s help I “caused to be begotten” and made complete as to their members.

426. Mighty cedar beams, the product of Amanus, the shining mountain, I stretched over them (i.e., with cedar I roofed them). Door-leaves of Wan-wood I covered with a sheathing of bright bronze and set them up in their doors. Out of white limestone, which is found in the country of the city of Baladai, I had mighty colossi fashioned and stationed right and left of their entrances. For the equipment of the blackheaded (people; i.e., the Assyrians), the housing (storing) of (battle)-steeds, mules, colts, riding-camels (?), chariots, wagons, carts, quivers, bows and arrows, all kinds of battle equipment, teams of horses and mules which possessed enormous strength, and were broken to the yoke, I greatly enlarged its (i.e., the palace’s) court of the gate(?). That palace, from its foundation to its coping, I constructed, I finished. A memorial with my name inscribed I set up in it.

430. (Relying) on the exalted might of the gods, my lords, I sent the order to the kings of Amurru, all of them, who had submitted to me (lit., at my feet). Great cedar beams they felled in Mount Amanus, dragged them to Nineveh and roofed (my palaces with them). Door-leaves of cypress and liaru-wood I covered with a sheathing of bronze and set them up in their doors. Ashnan-stone, whose beautiful structure had the appearance of cucumber seeds, and was highly prized for necklaces (lit., stones of the neck), or amulets to bring on rain (lit., stone for commanding favor and bringing on rain) and to keep disease from approaching a man, which was brought from the foot of Mount Nipur, together with white limestone which is found in Baladai, I had them fashion into protecting colossi and placed them by their entrances. Upon cow-colossi of (this) ashnan-stone I set cedar columns (pillars) and (on these) I placed the cornice of that limestone palace.

the difficult transport of building materials, partially by raft

I Kings 5:9

My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food for my royal household.

 

From AramcoExPats
366. In a propitious month, on a favorable day, in its (the river’s) hidden bed, (for a space of) 60 (GAR) on the side, and 34 (GAR) on the front, I covered over great mountain bowlders, and made a field rise up from the water, and made it like unto the dry land. Lest in the passing of days its platform should give way before the (floods of) high water, I set up great slabs of limestone around its walls, and strengthened its structure (lit., heaping,—of earth); over these (slabs) I filled in the terrace to a height of 170 tipku,—I added to the site (lit., measurement) of the former palace, and widened its bulwarks(?). Thereon (lit., therein) I had them build a palace of ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry (musukannu), cedar, cypress, spruce and pistachio, the “Palace without a Rival,” for my royal abode. Beams of cedar, the product of Mount Amanus, which they dragged with difficulty out of (those) distant mountains, I stretched across their ceilings(P). Great door-leaves of cypress, whose odor is pleasant as they are opened and closed, I bound with a band of shining copper and set them up in their doors. A portico, patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, which they call in the Amorite tongue a Mt-hilaniy I constructed inside them (the doors), for my lordly pleasure.

384. The former palace, whose dimensions were 360 cubits on the side and 95 cubits on the front, and whose site had become too small; (the palace) which the kings who went before, my fathers, had built as an abode of royalty, but had not made its structure artistic:—bull-colossi of white limestone, they quarried in (near) the town of Tastiate, which lies across the Tigris, as supports for their (the new palaces’) doors. For the construction of boats (rafts) they felled mighty trees in the forests throughout the whole of their land. In Airu, at the regular time of the spring floods, they laboriously brought them over to this side on the mighty rafts. As they crossed the quay-wall, the large boats went down. Their crews strained and injured their bodies, but by might and main, with difficulty, they landed them {lit., brought) and placed them by their doors.

408. The palace inside the city of Nineveh, which extended 360 cubits on the side, 95 cubits on the front, and whose site had become too small, which the kings who went before, my fathers, had built for their royal abode, but had not beautified:—bull-colossi of white limestone, they fashioned in the city of Tastiate to flank their (the palaces’) doors. For the construction of boats (rafts) they felled mighty trees in the forests throughout the whole of their land. In Aim, at the time of the regular spring floods, they laboriously brought them over to this side on the mighty rafts. As they crossed the quay wall, their large boats went down. Their crews strained and injured their bodies, but by might and main, with difficulty, they landed them and placed them by their doors.

the description of building dimensions and other architectural features

I Kings 6:2-9

The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple. He made narrow windows high up in the temple walls. Against the walls of the main hall and inner sanctuary he built a structure around the building, in which there were side rooms. The lowest floor was five cubits wide, the middle floor six cubits and the third floor seven. He made offset ledges around the outside of the temple so that nothing would be inserted into the temple walls.

In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.

8 The entrance to the lowest floor was on the south side of the temple; a stairway led up to the middle level and from there to the third. So he built the temple and completed it, roofing it with beams and cedar planks.

I Kings 6:15-38; 7:1-12

15 He lined its interior walls with cedar boards, paneling them from the floor of the temple to the ceiling, and covered the floor of the temple with planks of juniper. 16 He partitioned off twenty cubits at the rear of the temple with cedar boards from floor to ceiling to form within the temple an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. 17 The main hall in front of this room was forty cubits long. 18 The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen.

19 He prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the Lord there. 20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar. 21 Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold. 22 So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary.

23 For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits—ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. 25 The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. 26 The height of each cherub was ten cubits. 27 He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. 28 He overlaid the cherubim with gold.

29 On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. 30 He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.

31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors out of olive wood that were one fifth of the width of the sanctuary. 32 And on the two olive-wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold. 33 In the same way, for the entrance to the main hall he made doorframes out of olive wood that were one fourth of the width of the hall. 34 He also made two doors out of juniper wood, each having two leaves that turned in sockets. 35 He carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold hammered evenly over the carvings.

36 And he built the inner courtyard of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams.

37 The foundation of the temple of the Lord was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.

It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace. He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other. All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other.

He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide. In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.

He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.

All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and smoothed on their inner and outer faces. 10 The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight. 11 Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams. 12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the Lord with its portico.

365. The former palace, which was 30 GAR (360 cubits) on the side and 10 GAR (120 cubits) on its front, which the kings, who went before, my fathers, had built, whose structure they had not, however, made artistic, up to whose side the Tebiltu River had come from days of old, worked havoc with its foundation and destroyed its platform,—that small palace I tore down in its totality. The course (i.e., the channel) of the Tebiltu I improved and directed its outflow.

372. As for the former palace which (measured) 360 cubits on the side toward the inclosure of the temple tower, (was) 80 cubits wide on the side toward the bit-namari of the temple of Ishtar, and 134 cubits wide on the side toward the bit-namari of the Kidmuri temple, and 95 cubits wide (on the fourth side), which the kings who went before me, my fathers, had built for their royal dwelling, but had not beautified its workmanship,—the Tebiltu River, a raging, destructive stream, which, at its high water, had destroyed the mausoleums inside the city and had exposed to the sun their tiers of coffins (lit., piled-up coffins), and, from days of old, had come up close to the palace and with its floods at high water had worked havoc with its foundation and destroyed its platform: —that small palace I tore down in its totality. I changed the course of the Tebiltu, repaired the damage, and directed its outflow through its covered channel (bed). Below, reeds, above, mighty blocks of mountain stone, I covered with asphalt, and raised up a field out of the waters and turned it into dry land.

384. The former palace, whose dimensions were 360 cubits on the side and 95 cubits on the front, and whose site had become too small; (the palace) which the kings who went before, my fathers, had built as an abode of royalty, but had not made its structure artistic:—bull-colossi of white limestone, they quarried in (near) the town of Tastiate, which lies across the Tigris, as supports for their (the new palaces’) doors. For the construction of boats (rafts) they felled mighty trees in the forests throughout the whole of their land. In Airu, at the regular time of the spring floods, they laboriously brought them over to this side on the mighty rafts. As they crossed the quay-wall, the large boats went down. Their crews strained and injured their bodies, but by might and main, with difficulty, they landed them {lit., brought) and placed them by their doors.

388. To 700 large cubits on the side and 440 large cubits on the front, I brought the size of the palace, and enlarged its site. A palace of gold, silver, copper, carnelian(P), breccia, alabaster, ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry (musukanni), cedar, cypress, spruce, elammaku-wood, sindu-wood, for my royal dwelling I built and portals (“door-houses”), patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace I had constructed in front of the doors. With (beams) of cedar and cypress, whose scent is pleasant, products of Amanus and Sirara, the snowcapped (lit., shining) mountains, I roofed them. Door-leaves of cedar, cypress, pine and sindu-wood, I bound with a band of silver and copper and set up in their doors. In the room within the building, I arranged (lit., opened) chambers, and opened corridors.

392. Bull-colossi, made of bronze, two of which were coated with enamel (? gilding), bull-colossi of alabaster, together with cow-colossi of white limestone, I placed at the thresholds of my palaces. High pillars of bronze, together with tall pillars of cedars, the product of Mount Amanus, I inclosed in a sheathing of bronze and lead, placed them upon lion-colossi, and set them up as posts to support their doorways. Upon the alabaster cow-colossi, as well as the cowcolossi made of bronze, which were coated with enamel (?) and the cow-colossi made of GU-AN-NA, whose forms were brilliant, I placed pillars of ebony, cypress, cedar, dupranu-wood, spruce and sindu-wood, with inlay of pasalli and silver, and set them up as columns in the rooms of my royal abode. Slabs of breccia and alabaster, and great slabs of limestone, I placed around their walls; I made them wonderful to behold.

410. A palace of breccia, marble, ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry, cedar, cypress, spruce, elammaku-wood, for my royal abode I built and portals, patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, I had constructed in front (or, place) of the doors; with beams of cedar (and) cypress, whose scent is pleasant, products of Amanus and Sirara, the snow-capped (lit., shining) mountains, I roofed them. Door-leaves of cedar, cypress and spruce I bound with a band of silver and copper and set them up in their doorways. In the room within the building, I arranged (lit., opened) chambers, and opened corridors(P). Female colossi of marble and ivory, wearing horned headdresses(?), their fore legs (lit., hands) kneeling, clothed with strength and vigor, full of splendor, I set up by their doors and made them a wonder to behold. The dark color of the roofing timbers in the chambers I brightened (painted?) and made them shine like the day. Clothes-hooks (pegs) of silver and copper I put up around their interior. With burnt brick, KA -stone and lapis lazuli I adorned the walls, cornices, and all their copings.

413. Over great posts and crossbars of wood, 12 fierce lion-colossi together with 12 mighty bull-colossi, complete in form, 22 cow-colossi clothed with exuberant strength and with abundance and splendor heaped upon them,—at the command of the god I built a form of clay and poured bronze into it, as in making half-shekel pieces, and finished their construction. Bull-colossi, made of bronze, two of which were coated with enamel (?), bull-colossi of alabaster, together with cow-colossi of white limestone, I placed at the thresholds of my palaces. High pillars of bronze, together with tall pillars of cedars, the product of Mount Amanus, I inclosed in a sheathing of bronze and lead, placed them upon lion-colossi and set them up as posts to support their doors. Upon the alabaster cow-colossi as well as the cow-colossi made of bronze, which were coated with enamel(?) and the cow-colossi made of GU-AN-NA, whose forms were brilliant, I placed pillars of maple, cypress, cedar, dupranu-vtood, pine and sinduwood, with inlay of pasalli and silver, and set them up as columns in the rooms of my royal abode. Slabs of breccia and alabaster, and great slabs of limestone, I placed around their walls; I made them wonderful to behold. That daily there might be an abundant flow of water of the buckets, I had copper cables(?) and pails made and in place of the (mud-brick) pedestals (pillars) I set up great posts and crossbeams over the wells. Those palaces, all around the (large) palace, I beautified; to the astonishment of all nations, I raised aloft its head. The “Palace without a Rival” I called its name.

426. Mighty cedar beams, the product of Amanus, the shining mountain, I stretched over them (i.e., with cedar I roofed them). Door-leaves of Wan-wood I covered with a sheathing of bright bronze and set them up in their doors. Out of white limestone, which is found in the country of the city of Baladai, I had mighty colossi fashioned and stationed right and left of their entrances. For the equipment of the blackheaded (people; i.e., the Assyrians), the housing (storing) of (battle)-steeds, mules, colts, riding-camels (?), chariots, wagons, carts, quivers, bows and arrows, all kinds of battle equipment, teams of horses and mules which possessed enormous strength, and were broken to the yoke, I greatly enlarged its (i.e., the palace’s) court of the gate(?). That palace, from its foundation to its coping, I constructed, I finished. A memorial with my name inscribed I set up in it.

430. (Relying) on the exalted might of the gods, my lords, I sent the order to the kings of Amurru, all of them, who had submitted to me (lit., at my feet). Great cedar beams they felled in Mount Amanus, dragged them to Nineveh and roofed (my palaces with them). Door-leaves of cypress and liaru-wood I covered with a sheathing of bronze and set them up in their doors. Ashnan-stone, whose beautiful structure had the appearance of cucumber seeds, and was highly prized for necklaces (lit., stones of the neck), or amulets to bring on rain (lit., stone for commanding favor and bringing on rain) and to keep disease from approaching a man, which was brought from the foot of Mount Nipur, together with white limestone which is found in Baladai, I had them fashion into protecting colossi and placed them by their entrances. Upon cow-colossi of (this) ashnan-stone I set cedar columns (pillars) and (on these) I placed the cornice of that limestone palace.

432. In the great court below the limestone palace (built) for my royal residence, I built (laid) a pavement of ashnan, breccia, and sabu-stone. Four copper pillars, whose capitals^) were of cast lead, I set up on it (the pavement) and over beams of cedar which were covered with silver, I stretched its roof. The former palace I greatly enlarged. I finished it and splendidly adorned it, to the amazement of all peoples I filled it with costly equipment. Gifts, the tribute of the lands, the wealth of the distant Medes, whose tribute none among the kings my fathers had (ever) received, together with the wagons and [riding] chariots of the Elamite king, the king of Babylon and Chaldea, which my hands had captured, and innumerable (pieces) of equipment which I had laid up as a store for that palace,—(all this) I had (them) bring and place therein (in the armory).

dedication ceremonies accompanied by sacrifices

1 Kings 8:63-65

Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the Lord: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the Lord.

On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar that stood before the Lord was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.

65 So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the Lord our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all.

370. After I had brought to an end the work on my royal palace, had widened the squares, made bright the avenues and streets and caused them to shine like the day, I invited Assur, the great lord, the gods and goddesses who dwell in Assyria, into its midst. I offered sacrifices in great numbers and presented my gifts.

416. When I had made an end of building my palace, Assur, the great lord, the gods and goddesses who dwell in Assyria, I invited therein and oflfered countless sacrifices and gave (them) presents. Oil of the fruit tree (the olive), the products of the gardens, I brought to them in abundance. At the dedication of the palace I drenched the foreheads of the people of my land with wine, with mead I sprinkled their hearts. At the command of Assur, father of the gods, and Ishtar, the queen, may the gracious shedu and the gracious lamassu ever be seen in that palace, may they not withdraw from its side.

the decorative motif of lions, bulls and cows

1 Kings 7:25, 27, 36, 43

25 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center.

27 He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high.

36 He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around.

43 the ten stands with their ten basins;

 

 

Wikimedia Commons

 

 

390. That I might accomplish the construction of my palace, and bring to an end the work of my hands, at that time, Assur and Ishtar, who love my priesthood, and have called me by name, showed me how to bring out the mighty cedar logs which had grown large in the days gone by, and had become enormously tall as they stood concealed in the mountains of Sirara. Alabaster (marble) which in the days of the kings, my fathers, was precious enough for (inlaying) the hilt of a sword, they disclosed to me in the darkness of Mount Ammanana (anti-Lebanon). And breccia for all kinds of great jars, such as had never been seen before, in (by) the city of Kapridargil, which is on the border of Til-Barsip, disclosed itself. Near Nineveh, in the land of Balatai, by decree of the god, white limestone was found (appeared) in abundance; and bull-colossi and sculptured statues of alabaster, which were carved out of one stone, of enormous proportions, towering high upon their own bases; alabaster cow-colossi, whose appearance was splendid, whose bodies shone like the bright day; great slabs of breccia I fashioned and cut free on both sides, in their mountain, and had them dragged to Nineveh for the construction of my palace. The bull and cow-colossi of white limestone, with Ninkurra’s help, I had fashioned (“caused to be begotten”), in the land of Balatai, and made complete as to their members.

391. In times past, when the kings, my fathers, fashioned a bronze image in the likeness of their members, to set up in their temples, the labor on them exhausted every workman; in their ignorance and lack of knowledge, they drank oil, and wore sheepskins to carry on the work they wanted to do in the midst of their mountains. But I, Sennacherib, first among all princes, wise in all craftsmanship,—great pillars of bronze, colossal lions, open at the knees, which no king before my time had fashioned, through the clever understanding which the noble Nin-igi-kug had given me, (and) in my own wisdom, I pondered deeply the matter of carrying out that task. Following the advice of my head (will) and the prompting of my heart, I fashioned a work of bronze and cunningly wrought it. Over great posts and crossbars of wood, 12 fierce lion-colossi together with 12 mighty bull-colossi, complete in form, 22 cow-colossi, clothed with exuberant strength and with abundance and splendor heaped upon them,—at the command of the god, I built a form of clay and poured bronze into it, as in making half-shekel pieces, and finished their construction.

392. Bull-colossi, made of bronze, two of which were coated with enamel (? gilding), bull-colossi of alabaster, together with cow-colossi of white limestone, I placed at the thresholds of my palaces. High pillars of bronze, together with tall pillars of cedars, the product of Mount Amanus, I inclosed in a sheathing of bronze and lead, placed them upon lion-colossi, and set them up as posts to support their doorways. Upon the alabaster cow-colossi, as well as the cowcolossi made of bronze, which were coated with enamel (?) and the cow-colossi made of GU-AN-NA, whose forms were brilliant, I placed pillars of ebony, cypress, cedar, dupranu-wood, spruce and sindu-wood, with inlay of pasalli and silver, and set them up as columns in the rooms of my royal abode. Slabs of breccia and alabaster, and great slabs of limestone, I placed around their walls; I made them wonderful to behold.

411. That I might accomplish the construction of my palace, and bring to an end the work of my hands, at that time, Assur and Ishtar, who love my priesthood, and have called me by name, showed me how to bring out the mighty cedar logs which had grown large in the days gone by and had become enormously tall as they stood concealed in the mountains of Sirara. Alabaster (marble) which in the days of the kings, my fathers, was precious enough for (inlaying) the hilt of a sword, they disclosed to me in the darkness of Mount Ammanana, and breccia (used) for all kinds of great jars, such as had never been seen before, in (near) Kapridargilii, which is on the border of Til-Barsip, disclosed itself. Near Nineveh, in the land of Balatai, by decree of the god, white limestone was found (appeared) in abundance; and bull-colossi and sculptured statues of alabaster, which were carved out of one stone, of enormous proportions, towering high upon their own bases; alabaster cow-colossi, whose appearance was splendid, whose bodies shone like the bright day; great slabs of breccia I fashioned and cut free on both sides, in their mountain, and had them dragged to Nineveh for the construction of my palace. The huge bull-colossi and cow-colossi of white limestone, with Ninkurra’s help I “caused to be begotten” and made complete as to their members.

412. In times past, when the kings, my fathers, fashioned a bronze image in the likeness of their members, to set
up in their temples, the labor on them exhausted every workman; in their ignorance and lack of knowledge, they drank oil, and wore sheepskins to carry on the work they wanted to do in the midst of their mountains. But, I, Sennacherib, first among the princes, wise in all craftsmanship, great pillars of bronze, colossal lions, open at the knees, which no king before my time had fashioned,—through the clever understanding which the noble Nin-igi-kug had given me, (and) in my own wisdom, I pondered deeply the matter of carrying out that task, following the advice of my head (will) and the prompting of my heart I fashioned the work of bronze and cunningly wrought it.

413. Over great posts and crossbars of wood, 12 fierce lion-colossi together with 12 mighty bull-colossi, complete in form, 22 cow-colossi clothed with exuberant strength and with abundance and splendor heaped upon them,—at the command of the god I built a form of clay and poured bronze into it, as in making half-shekel pieces, and finished their construction. Bull-colossi, made of bronze, two of which were coated with enamel (?), bull-colossi of alabaster, together with cow-colossi of white limestone, I placed at the thresholds of my palaces. High pillars of bronze, together with tall pillars of cedars, the product of Mount Amanus, I inclosed in a sheathing of bronze and lead, placed them upon lion-colossi and set them up as posts to support their doors. Upon the alabaster cow-colossi as well as the cow-colossi made of bronze, which were coated with enamel(?) and the cow-colossi made of GU-AN-NA, whose forms were brilliant, I placed pillars of maple, cypress, cedar, dupranu-wood, pine and sinduwood, with inlay of pasalli and silver, and set them up as columns in the rooms of my royal abode. Slabs of breccia and alabaster, and great slabs of limestone, I placed around their walls; I made them wonderful to behold. That daily there might be an abundant flow of water of the buckets, I had copper cables(?) and pails made and in place of the (mud-brick) pedestals (pillars) I set up great posts and crossbeams over the wells. Those palaces, all around the (large) palace, I beautified; to the astonishment of all nations, I raised aloft its head. The “Palace without a Rival” I called its name.

the twelve lion sculptures leading to Solomon’s throne, six on a side / the twelve lion colossi similarly arranged in pairs at the entrances to Sennacherib’s palace

I Kings 10:18-20

18 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.

391. In times past, when the kings, my fathers, fashioned a bronze image in the likeness of their members, to set up in their temples, the labor on them exhausted every workman; in their ignorance and lack of knowledge, they drank oil, and wore sheepskins to carry on the work they wanted to do in the midst of their mountains. But I, Sennacherib, first among all princes, wise in all craftsmanship,—great pillars of bronze, colossal lions, open at the knees, which no king before my time had fashioned, through the clever understanding which the noble Nin-igi-kug had given me, (and) in my own wisdom, I pondered deeply the matter of carrying out that task. Following the advice of my head (will) and the prompting of my heart, I fashioned a work of bronze and cunningly wrought it. Over great posts and crossbars of wood, 12 fierce lion-colossi together with 12 mighty bull-colossi, complete in form, 22 cow-colossi, clothed with exuberant strength and with abundance and splendor heaped upon them,—at the command of the god, I built a form of clay and poured bronze into it, as in making half-shekel pieces, and finished their construction.

‘a portico, patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, which they call in the Amorite tongue a bît-hilâmi / like that of Solomon’s temple

1 Kings 6:3; 7:6-8, 12, 21

The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple.

He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide. In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.

He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.

12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the Lord with its portico.

21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz.

366. In a propitious month, on a favorable day, in its (the river’s) hidden bed, (for a space of) 60 (GAR) on the side, and 34 (GAR) on the front, I covered over great mountain bowlders, and made a field rise up from the water, and made it like unto the dry land. Lest in the passing of days its platform should give way before the (floods of) high water, I set up great slabs of limestone around its walls, and strengthened its structure (lit., heaping,—of earth); over these (slabs) I filled in the terrace to a height of 170 tipku,—I added to the site (lit., measurement) of the former palace, and widened its bulwarks(?). Thereon (lit., therein) I had them build a palace of ivory, maple, boxwood, mulberry (musukannu), cedar, cypress, spruce and pistachio, the “Palace without a Rival,” for my royal abode. Beams of cedar, the product of Mount Amanus, which they dragged with difficulty out of (those) distant mountains, I stretched across their ceilings(P). Great door-leaves of cypress, whose odor is pleasant as they are opened and closed, I bound with a band of shining copper and set them up in their doors. A portico, patterned after a Hittite (Syrian) palace, which they call in the Amorite tongue a Mt-hilaniy I constructed inside them (the doors), for my lordly pleasure.

425. In a favorable month, on an auspicious day, on the top of that terrace, following the prompting (lit., cunning) of my heart, a palace of limestone and cedar, of Hittite workmanship (or, in Hittite style of architecture), also a lofty palace of Assyrian workmanship, which far surpassed the former (palace) in size and beauty (cunning workmanship),— according to the plan of wise architects, I had (them) build (these) for my royal residence.

and innovative bronze-working as an expression of royal wisdom and cunning

I Kings 7:13-14

13 King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, 14 whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.

 

(Compare Sennacherib’s boast to having been prepared by the a god “from the womb” to perform his tasks with similar statements by a prophet and an apostle in the Bible)

407. Palace of Sennacherib, the great king, the mighty king, king of the universe, king of Assyria, king of the four quarters (of the world); favorite of the great gods; wise sovereign, provident prince, shepherd of peoples, ruler of widespreading nations, am I. The queen of the gods, the goddess of procreation, looked upon me with favor (while I was still) in the womb of the mother who bore me, and watched over my conception, while Ea provided a spacious womb, and granted (me) keen understanding, the equal of Master Adapa’s. Assur, father of the gods, brought in submission to my feet the whole race of black-headed men, raised aloft my head to be ruler of land and people, gave me a righteous scepter which enlarges my land and put into my hands an unsparing sword for the overthrow of my enemies. At that time I made the enemy population which my hand had conquered carry the headpad (do forced labor) and mold bricks.

412. In times past, when the kings, my fathers, fashioned a bronze image in the likeness of their members, to set
up in their temples, the labor on them exhausted every workman; in their ignorance and lack of knowledge, they drank oil, and wore sheepskins to carry on the work they wanted to do in the midst of their mountains. But, I, Sennacherib, first among the princes, wise in all craftsmanship, great pillars of bronze, colossal lions, open at the knees, which no king before my time had fashioned,—through the clever understanding which the noble Nin-igi-kug had given me, (and) in my own wisdom, I pondered deeply the matter of carrying out that task, following the advice of my head (will) and the prompting of my heart I fashioned the work of bronze and cunningly wrought it.

That’s more than enough for one post. (I’m learning as I go and maybe some of you are, too.) Will conclude next time.


Garfinkel, Yosef, and Madeleine Mumcuoglu. 2013. “Triglyphs and Recessed Doorframes on a Building Model from Khirbet Qeiyafa: New Light on Two Technical Terms in the Biblical Descriptions of Solomon’s Palace and Temple.” Israel Exploration Journal 63 (January): 135–63.

———. 2019. “The Temple of Solomon in Iron Age Context.” Religion 10 (March). https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030198.

Gmirkin, Russell. 2020. “‘Solomon’ (Shalmaneser III) and the Emergence of Judah as an Independent Kingdom.” In Biblical Narratives, Archaeology and Historicity: Essays In Honour of Thomas L. Thompson, edited by Lukasz Niesiolowski-Spanò and Emanuel Pfoh, 76–90. Library of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament Studies. New York: T&T Clark.

Kisilevitz, Shua. 2015. “The Iron Iia Judahite Temple at Tel Moza.” Tel Aviv 42 (October): 147–64. https://doi.org/10.1179/0334435515Z.00000000052.

Luckenbill, Daniel David, ed. 1927. Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia. Volume II, Historical Records of Assyria from Sargon to the End. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press. http://archive.org/details/LuckenbillAncientRecordsAssyria02


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3 thoughts on “Solomon’s Palace and Temple as Re-worked Assyrian Accounts — part 3”

  1. Wow! Really excellent the way you drill down and quote primary and secondary sources. And amazing illustrations.

    Note that Sennacherib invited attendees from around the world to the dedication of his Palace Without Rival in ca. 690 BCE, which would have included officials from the province of Samerina who could have read these same cuneiform inscriptions. This directly accounts for the extensive literary influence of Sennacherib’s building inscriptions.

  2. Wow. This is the Bible, a series of books known to borrow from other accounts instead of making up their own accounts, no? So, they want to use evidence of other buildings in the area at that time as a source of support for there being a building in Jerusalem as described actually built? I would want them to prove that none of the writers of those scriptures had access to the accounts and descriptions of those other buildings.

    When dealing with serial plagiarists, one must first discount plagiarism, no?

  3. Since I published this post (when tired late last night) I have seen some gaffes that I have now corrected. I expect there will be more modifications here and there before too much dust settles on it.

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