This week’s lesson focuses on the construction of the first temple. Previously there had been many places for offering sacrifices and several buildings that we would call temples. But this is the first one built on the site traditionally associated with Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. As this temple came to prominence, it overshadowed the others and, by the time of the return from Babylon, it became the only one recognized. The first two chapters of 1 Kings are the background for that temple-building.
Chapters 1-2 deal with the final days of David, when his son, Adonijah, aided by the captain of the army, Joab, and one of the two chief priests, Abiathar, attempted a coup. Nathan and Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, entered into their own plot, telling David (who had previously promised that Solomon would be king) what Adonijah was doing. David’s solution is to have Zadok, the other chief priest, anoint Solomon co-regent.
Historical side note: The term “Sadducees” in the New Testament may be a transliteration of ”Zadokite,” reflecting their desire for a legitimate priesthood holder, a descendant of Zadok, ultimately the first temple’s high priest, to occupy the office. After the exile in Babylon, Ezekiel declared that only descendants of Zadok could perform all of the priestly duties in the Temple, but the high priest of the temple in the 1st century was not a Zadokite, but a Hasmonean. (But the name “Sadducee” may, instead, mean “separatist.” We are not sure.)