2 Chronicles 3 describes the building of the House of the Lord by Solomon. It was a project God gave to David who passed it on to Solomon. The location was set – “on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” which is on Mount Moriah and where the Lord had appeared to David. And the plans were set by God and handed down to Solomon. So all that is left is for the construction to take place. David hadn’t gotten it done because of the constant wars and battles he was in. But now Solomon is ready to take on the task.
He begins to build “in the second month of the fourth year of his reign”. Speculation is that it took that long to get the materials in place and the people assembled for this huge task. It was no little deal to move timbers from another area, accumulate enough gold and other precious metals and gems to complete the job. But whatever the case, the time has come and Solomon begins the project. We find measurements using terms we don’t use today: cubits, talents, shekels and the like.
So how long is a cubit? It depends as there are different definitions based on the time in history and who is writing about it. Seems that the one common denominator is that the cubit is defined as the distance from the elbow to the fingertip. But that obviously depends on whose are we are using as a measurement. Investigation reveals that the cubit can be anywhere from 17 to 25 inches in length. Here is a chart of some of the common cubit measurements:
Whatever measure of cubit we use, the House of the Lord was an enormous project. The different places in scripture that define the size may in fact use different cubit lengths as the numbers given differ between 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles and Ezekiel. But it was one and the same building, and a magnificent House of the Lord.
While the cubit is a measure of length, the talent and shekel are measurements of weight. Again, there are different definitions of what these things are through history. It was approximately equal to the mass of water to fill a cubic foot and equated to as little as 57 pounds but up to 130 pounds in New Testament times. So again, it is all over the board. The shekel is a sub measure of a talent which was divided into 60 mina which was subdivided into 60 shekels. These numbers don’t mean a lot to us today – but the key is that God had a very specific blueprint and Solomon followed it closely. Are you seeking God’s blueprint for your life? He has given a big portion of it to us in scripture. The question is really whether or not we are living life according to what He has told us!