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Solomon (d. c. 930 bc)



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A bronze pillar on the right (the south side) of the porch of Solomon's Temple (1 Kgs. 7: 15–22), hollow and free-standing, about 8 m. (26 feet) high and 5 m. (17 feet) in circumference, surmounted by a bowl-shaped capital decorated with pomegranates. There was a corresponding pillar on the north side. The independent position of the two pillars (Jachin and Boaz) contrasts with Doric pillars in ancient Greece as in the Parthenon at Athens, which were an integral part of the building, with a logical and aesthetic place in the whole structure. Differently arranged, they would look bizarre, and indeed the building (it was a treasury) might not even stand. But Jachin and Boaz had no functional or architectural raison d'être. They were symbolical. They were the gateposts for the Temple, which was Yahweh's dwelling place and into the inmost sanctuary the public were forbidden to enter. The pillars were an impressive reminder to Israelites and visitors alike that Yahweh was within and that Solomon who built the Temple was his appointed king.

Archaeological excavations have shown that similar free-standing pillars were a feature also of Canaanite temples.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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