The Doorways of Solomon’s Temple

June 15, 2015  (Source:

King Solomon’s Temple was resplendent. Described in 1 Kings 6–7, the temple was divided into three parts: the forecourt (ulam), the outer sanctum (heikhal) and the inner shrine (devir), also known as the Holy of Holies. Built of stone and roofed with wooden beams, Solomon’s Temple was intricately ornamented. Its interior walls and floors were lined with wooden boards and covered in gold. It took seven years to complete the temple and its furnishings.

Despite the Biblical description and archaeological parallels, there are still some mysteries about Solomon’s Temple. For example, 1 Kings 6:31 describes the doors between the outer sanctum and the inner shrine of Solomon’s Temple as having five mezuzot (the plural form of mezuzah). What is a mezuzah? In the Bible, mezuzah is normally translated as “doorpost.” However, in the context of Solomon’s Temple, doors with five doorposts do not make sense.

Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Yosef Garfinkel explore this enigma in “The Puzzling Doorways of Solomon’s Temple” in the July/August 2015 issue of BAR. They contend that a recent discovery from Khirbet Qeiyafa may hold the answer to unlocking the meaning of a mezuzah in the Bible regarding Solomon’s Temple.

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