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What was the First Temple?

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Question: What was the First Temple?

Answer: In the tenth century BCE, King Solomon, the son of King David, built the First Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The First Temple is also referred to as the Jerusalem Temple, Solomon's Temple, and Beit HaMikdash (The Holy House).

Tens of thousands of Israelites and Caananites worked for seven years to build the Temple. The Temple was completed in 968 BCE and inaugurated in the year 961 BCE with great festivals and burnt offerings.

When the Temple was complete, the Ark of the Covenant was moved there. With the placement of the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple, worship became centralized. The Bible commanded Jewish men to appear, with a sacrifice, in the Temple three times a year – Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. The Temple became the religious and national center of the Israelites.

King Solomon’s Temple has been called one of the seven wonders of the world due to its extraordinary beauty. After more than 400 years of splendor, however, the Babylonians, led by Nebucadnezar, destroyed the First Temple by fire in 586 BCE. With its destruction, the First Temple became a symbol of lost grandeur for the Jewish People.

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