The First Temple
The Temple Courts
The remains of Israel's first temple lie buried beneath the present-day Temple Mount. But at Tel Arad, a city located in the Negev, archaeologists discovered the remains of a temple modeled after Jerusalem's First Temple.
Although the temples of Arad and Jerusalem probably had some differences, both temples contained the same courts and accomplished the same worship functions. Based on biblical descriptions and the archaeological find at Arad, scholars have developed a helpful picture of the temple built by Solomon.
The Holy of Holies
(God's dwelling place) in Jerusalem contained the ark of the covenant, which held the Ten Commandments. In the temple in Arad, this area was reached by climbing two steps, symbolizing going up to God.
The Holy Place
(The Priests' court) was a rectangular room between the worship court and the Holy of Holies that contained the table of showbread, golden lampstand, and the altar of incense. This offering symbolized a thanksgiving gift to God as well as a request for his provision.
The Worship Court
(The people's place) was a large outer court in which the people stood to worship, containing the altar of sacrifice and the basin