The Torah tells us how to build the Mishkan, but not the Temple. And the dimensions of many of the objects in the Temple were not the same as in the Mishkan (the Copper Altar was bigger, for instance) as well as having many duplicates (10 Menorahs, for instance).

How did Solomon have permission to make these changes? Was it in the Oral Torah? Even though he was a Navi, surely he couldn't use that to change the instructions in the Torah itself.

Edit: It doesn't help to transfer the instructions from David. He, too, could not go against the Torah.

2 Answers 2


Yalkut Shimoni, Nach 1081, says:

מגלת בית המקדש מסרה הקב"ה בעמידה.... משה מסרה ליהושע בעמידה... עמד יהושע ומסרה לזקנים בעמידה... עמדו זקנים ומסרוה לנביאים בעמידה, עמדו נביאים ומסרוה לדוד בעמידה... עמד דוד ומסרה לשלמה בנו בעמידה

In short, the "Scroll of the Beis Hamikdash," containing all of the details mentioned in the verses in Chronicles mentioned in Josh's answer, was given by Hashem to Moshe, and passed down from generation to generation until Shlomo.

See also Ohr Hachayim, Shemos 25:9, for an exhaustive discussion of the topic, including (a) that the measurements of the altar given to Moshe weren't necessarily binding even then (i.e., Moshe could have made it a different size if he had wanted, just provided it was square and had certain other features required by halachah), and (b) that many of the details of the Temple structure and furnishings are actually hinted at in the verses in Shemos there.


Divrei HaYamim I 28:11-19:

וַיִּתֵּן דָּוִיד לִשְׁלֹמֹה בְנוֹ אֶת־תַּבְנִית הָאוּלָם וְאֶת־בָּתָּיו וְגַנְזַכָּיו וַעֲלִיֹּתָיו וַחֲדָרָיו הַפְּנִימִים וּבֵית הַכַּפֹּרֶת׃ וְתַבְנִית כֹּל אֲשֶׁר הָיָה בָרוּחַ עִמּוֹ לְחַצְרוֹת בֵּית־ה' וּלְכָל־הַלְּשָׁכוֹת סָבִיב לְאֹצְרוֹת בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים וּלְאֹצְרוֹת הַקֳּדָשִׁים ... הַכֹּל בִּכְתָב מִיַּד יְהוָה עָלַי הִשְׂכִּיל כֹּל מַלְאֲכוֹת הַתַּבְנִית׃

David gave his son Solomon the plan of the porch and its houses, its storerooms and its upper chambers and inner chambers; and of the place of the Ark-cover; and the plan of all that he had by the spirit: of the courts of the House of the LORD and all its surrounding chambers, and of the treasuries of the House of God and of the treasuries of the holy things ... “All this that the LORD made me understand by His hand on me, I give you in writing—the plan of all the works.”

So it seems that King Solomon built the temple according to the plan which he received from his father King David, which had been communicated to him by G-d.

  • But again this seems like a problem to me. David was a prophet but he wasn't Moses, so he could not make any permanent innovations in the Law. How could he instruct Solomon to do something different from the Mishkan in the Torah? Feb 28, 2019 at 10:01
  • 1
    Because G-d told him to? Moses was commanded to build the Mishkan in a certain way. Was he told anything regarding building a future permanent Temple?
    – Joel K
    Feb 28, 2019 at 10:07
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    Oh, well this goes to theory. I had thought that a Navi could never institute a permanent institution by prophecy. Only a Beit Din could do that. Moreover, making a bigger altar seems (on the surface) to be actually going against the Torah, which even a Navi can only do on a temporary basis. Feb 28, 2019 at 10:39
  • What do you think on judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/104715/…
    – Al Berko
    Jun 12, 2019 at 13:29

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