How Solomon built his temple

How Solomon built his temple November 16, 2019

 

Not a model I've ever seen before
A model of Solomon’s temple, located in modern Jerusalem (Wikimedia CC public domain photo)

 

From Ma‘mar ibn Rashid, The Expeditions: An Early Biography of Muhammad, translated by Sean W. Anthony (New York and London: New York University Press, 2015), 106-108, I quote an interesting folkloric account, recorded in the eighth century AD, of the building of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.  That famous sanctuary was considered so remarkable that its construction absolutely had to be the product of magic:

 

Solomon declared to the demons [that is, to the jinn], “Verily, God has commanded me to build a mosque in Jerusalem, but I must not hear there the sound of a saw or the clang of a hammer.”  The demons replied, “Truly in the sea lives a demon; perhaps he is able to accomplish this and will inform you how.”  That demon was accustomed to returning every seven days to a well to drink from it, so the demons embarked on a journey to this well.  The demons dredged the well and filled it with wine.  When the demon came to the well, he said, “Truly, yours is a fine aroma, but you make a fool of the crafty, and only add to the fool’s folly.” The demon then departed and did not drink, but when his thirst became acute he returned, repeating three times what he had said before.  Finally he took a sip, and then continued to drink until he became drunk.  The demons then seized him and brought him to Solomon.  Solomon showed the demon his signet ring.  When he showed him the ring — for Solomon’s power to rule resided in his ring — Solomon declared to him, “Indeed, I have been commanded to build a temple, on the condition that I must not hear there the sound of a saw or the clang of a hammer.”  The demon requested a glass container, and it was crafted.  The glass container was placed over the egg of the hoopoe [bird].  The hoopoe then came to nestle atop its egg but could not.  When the hoopoe left, the demon said, “Watch now and see what the hoopoe brings, and then take it!”  The hoopoe returned carrying a diamond and, placing it atop the glass container, split open the glass.  The demons took the diamond and began carving stones until they had constructed the Jerusalem Temple.  [The bracketed insertions are mine.  -dcp]

To be continued.

 

 


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Latter-day Saint
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment