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The House of The Forest of Lebanon
by Wayne Blank
"He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon"
Solomon was famous for his wisdom, and his knowledge (which don't automatically go together). He was also well familiar with nature, including the magnificent cedars of Lebanon, which back then existed in vast numbers.
"And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about."
When the time came for Solomon to begin building the palace complex, he asked Huram the king of Tyre for a supply of cedar, as Solomon's father King David did before him.
"And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me" (2 Chronicles 2:3 KJV)
The "house of the forest of Lebanon" was a grand area of the palace complex, not only because of the magnificence of its structure but also from the articles of gold that Solomon stored within.
"Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon" (1 Kings 10:14-17 KJV)
Fact Finder: Ironically, although the cedar used in the construction of the palace and Temple was very beautiful, the natural resins that make cedar more resistant to insects and decay than many other woods also makes it much more flammable, as evidenced when the Babylonians destroyed the city (see Why Babylon?). Everything was either looted or burned, with one very major exception - the Ark of the Covenant. What happened to it?