David had subdued neighboring nations which showed themselves hostile to the Israelite monarchy, so that Solomon's long rule of forty years was threatened by no formidable enemies and became celebrated as an era of almost unbroken peace. David named his son Solomon (Hebrew, Shlomo), signifying "peaceable", perhaps in anticipation or at least hope for the tranquility of his son's reign.

The wide exten of David's conquests (2 Samuel 8:1-18) and the greatness of Solomon's empire are emphatically indicated in the biblical notices (1 Kings 4:21). Yet in the light of the great empires of Assyria on the Euphrates, the Hittites on the Halys and Egypt on the Nile, which had existed during centuries of Old Testament history, nothing would seem more unlikely than that such a splendid and sprawling kingdom as Solomon's would have been built up or maintained. yet archeological discoveries plainly show that precisely during this period from about 1100 to 900 BC the power of all of these great nations was providentially either in eclipse or abeyance, so that Solomon could rule with the splendor and wisdom divinely promised him (1 Kings 3:13).

Against the city state of Hamath on the Orontes River in the extreme north of his kingdom, a very insigniicant power in comparison to the great Assyrian, Hittite and Egyptian empires, Solomon went to war. He was obliged to do so to secure this portion of his frontier. Accordingly, he took Hamath and built store cities in this region (2 Chron. 8:3, 4).

Excavations and discoveries at the ancient location of Hamath, 120 miles north of Damascus, have demonstrated that the city had a long and interesting occupation, particularly as a Hittite center, as evidenced by the recovery of a large number of Hittite inscriptions from this site as early as 1871. Toi, its king in the time of David, established ties of friendship with Israel, and congratulated David on his defeat of Hadadezer of Zobah, a common enemy (2 Samuel 8:9, 10:1).

Rezon of Damascus (1 Kings 11:23-25) and Hadad the Edomite (1 Kings 11:14-22) were also enemies of Solomon, but neither was strong enough to cause serious trouble to the rich and powerful Israelite monarch. However, Rezon, in seizing Damascus and making it a center of Aramaean might, laid the foundations of a strong power that was to prove a deadly antagnoist to the Northern Kingdom for a century and a half after Solomon's death and the break-up of the United Monarchy.

To hold Damascus in check, Solomon fortified Hazor, evidently to control the crossing of the upper Jordan, and built cities for his horsemen and chariots in the Lebanon region (1 kings 9:15, 19). He was also compelled to guard the road south past Edom to Ezion-geber to prevent interruption in the flow of copper and other wares from his key port on the Red Sea by the unfriendly Hadad, who had returned from Egypt to plague the Israelite monarch. Outside of these difficulites, Solomon's relations with neighboring kings were amicable. As a result he was able to devote himself to the organization of his kingdom and to the cultivation of the arts of peace, activities which brought an unprecedented era of prosperity to his realm.

The Remarkable Prosperity of the Solomonic Era

The rapid expansion of Israel's economic life under Solomon was due to a number of reasons, among which the political was of great importance. Either by treaties of friendship or subjugation David had extended the sphere of Israel's influence so that by the time Solomon succeeded to the throne the nation possessed a vast potential for expanding trade and inflow of tribute. Solomon, displaying political and administrative wisdom like his father, showed himself equal to taking full advantage of the unparalleled opportunity for economic expansion that presented itself to him, and "in his relations with other peoples...maintained his father's policy."

Solomon's Foreign Diplomacy. Israel's great commercial king carefully cultivated the ties of friendship which had existed between Israel and the important maritive kingdom of Tyre and which had great economic advantages. In addition he preserved at least the outward loyalty of subject peoples, except those of Damascus and Edom in the latter part of his long reign when decadence in his adminstration had set in. The outward loyalty of subject peoples as accomplished largely by royal marriages, which bound his satellites to him, but lead to grave religious evils (1 Kings 11:1-8). Foremost among these royal alliances was that with Egypt, which was cemented by his marriage to the daughter of the reigning Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1-2). This ruler possessed considerable power, since he was able to claim and partially enforce authority over Palestine.

The important and strategic Canaanite city of Gezer in the Shephelah near the Maritime Plain, with an occupational history going back to about 3000 BC, is said to have revolted against Pharaoh, and after being destroyed, to have been handed over to Solomon as a dowry with Pharaoh's daughter when she was given in marriage to the Hebrew king (1 Kings 9:16). The excavated ruins of the site confirm the statement of the book of Kings and show that Solomon did not actually rebuild the city, but errected a fortress on a neighboring site (1 Kings 9:17).

Solomon's Domestic Economy. Within his own realm the Israelite monarch took important administrative steps both to further prosperity and to siphon a considerable portion of the vastly augmented national income into the royal treasury to finance his luxurious style of living and his ambitious building and commercial ventures. His division of the country into 12 districts, which to a large extent ignored the old tribal boundaries (1 Kings 4:7-20), is specifically mentioned and must have been only the skeleton of a highly efficient organization, presided over by important officals, two of whom were married to daughters of Solomon.

One of the main sources of the enormous revenue required to support Solomon's splendid reign was direct taxation in the form of money, goods, or unpaid labor furnished for his vast building projects. Weighed silver was the medium os exchange, if money was employed, since coins did not come into use until centuries later. But archeological evidence points to the fact that money was not common and that the Israelite paid his taxes in staple produce of the land, such as wheat, wine and oil. Even as late as the ninth century BC, the tribute rendered to Israel by Mesha of Moab, of archeological fame, whose stele was discovered in 1868, was paid in lambs and wool, products of a pastoral country (2 Kings 3:4).

Besides taxes in money and produce, Solomon required large donations of free labor from the remnants of the original non-Israelite inhabitants of the land, whom he pressed into practical slavery (1 Kings 9:20-21). He also raised a special levy from "all Israel" apparently for the construction of the temple (1 Kings 5:13-18).

Solomon's Commercial Expansion. Another important source of revenue for the royal treasurery was from the king's remarkable expansion of industry. He is renowned as "the first great commercial king of Israel." Taking full advantage of peculiarly favorable conditions which existed both by land and by sea, he expanded trade to a remarkable degree. The domestication of the Arabian camel from the twelth century BC onward, as Albright has noted, brough with it a tremendous increase in nomadic mobility. Caravans could now travel through deserts whose sources of water might be two or three days apart. There is ample archeological evidence that by Solomon's time caravan trade between the Fertile Crescent and south Arabia was already well-developed.

Solomon's control of the frontier districts of Zobah, Damascus, hauran, Ammon, Moab and Edom meant that he monopolized the entire cravan trade between Arabia and Mesopotamia from the Red Sea to Palmyra ("Tadmor", 2 Chron. 8:4), an oasis 140 miles northeast of Damascus, which he built (1 Kings 9:18). By thus exercising control over virtually all the trade routes both to the east and the west of the Jordan, the Israelite monarch was able substantially to increase the revenue flowing into the royal coffers by exacting tolls from the merchants passing through his territories (1 Kings 10:15).

Trade in Horses and Chariots. This prosperous enterprise, developed by Israel's industrially minded monarch and made possible because of his control of the trade routes between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, is recounted in what had been an enigmatic passage in 1 Kings 10:28-29:

Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and Kue -- the royal merchants purchaced them from Kue. They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

Instead of Kue at this point, the KJV has "linen yarn", and the American Revised Version of 1901 had "droves." The NIV, the NASB, and the New Scofield have the right translation: Kue or Qwh. Qwh, according to the Assyrian records, is Cilicia, the country between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea in Asia Minor.

This reading of the text would make Solomon the commercial middleman between Egypt and Asia Minor, having a complete monopoly on the horse and chariot trade, four Cilician horses being exchanged for one Egyptian chariot.

Construction of Chariot Cities. Solomon is said to have built up a powerful standing army of chariotry (1 Kings 4:26), which was stationed in a number of chariot cities, among which Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer are mentioned (1 Kings 9:15-19). "Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousands horses, which he kept in the chairot cities and also with him in Jerusalem." (1 Kings 10:26).

Archeological excavations at Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer have illustrated the biblical notices of Solomon's building operations there. Especially at Megiddo, the great thirteen acre mound in the Valley of Esdraelon and the headquarters of Solomon's fifth administrative district, notable discovereis dating from the Solomonic era have been made. A group of stables, capable of housing at least 450 horses and a hundred fifty chariots, have been uncovered. The plan and mode of construction of these buildings are definitely Solomonic. There has been some doubt expressed recently in the literature as to whether these are really stables or if they are actually storerooms of some sort.

Similar groups of stables (or whatever they might be) from Solomon's time at Hazor and Tell el Hesi had other evidence of Solomon's splendor and military power. The biblical evideence, substantiated by archeology, is that Solomon was the first king of Israel to employ horses and chariots in fighting. David had "hamstrung all the chariot horses" (2 Sam. 8:4). But compare Deut. 17:16. Notice the difference in attitutde between David and Solomon! Cf. 2 Sam. 12:5-6 and Exodus 22:1 for the story of the sheep and the penalty.

Voyages to Ophir. Solomon's navy and his maritime trading projects in collaboration with Hiram of Tyre constitute another source of his proverbial prosperity.

King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. And Hiram sent his men -- sailors who knew the sea -- to serve in the fleet with Solomon's men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents of gold, which the delevered to King Solomon. (1 Kings 9:26-28).

The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons. (1 Kings 10:22)

It should be noted that the word translated "baboons" is rare, and it is unclear precisely what is intended. Some older translations have "peacocks" instead.

The phrase translated "trading ships" (Hebrew 'oni tarshish) in older translations is rendered simple "Ships of Tarshish". The newer rendering is the consequence of the light brought from early Phoenician trading activities in the Mediterranean. Another way of rendering the phrase would be "smelting" or "refining ships", since these were the ships hauling smelted ores from the mining towns in Sardinia and Spain. Although such colonizing and commercial activity previous to the eigth century BC was commonly denied the Phoenicians by writers on the history and arecheology of the western Mediterranean world until relatively recently, inscriptions recovered from Nora and Bosa in Sardinia prove that as early as the ninth century BC Phoenicians were colonizing and trading in the western Mediterranean. One of these inscriptions from Nora contains the name Tarshish immediately before the name Sardinia, evidently indicating that the Phoenician name of Nora was Tarshish, meaning "the Refinery."

The name "Tarshish" also occurs in an inscription of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria in the seventh century BC and refers to a Phoenician land at the opposite end of the Mediterranean from the island of Cyprus. In the light of the archeological evidence available there is not the least reason to doubt that at the time of Hiram I of Tyre (c. 969-936 BC) Phoenician commerce was already widespread in the Mediterranean, and that Tyrian seamen were able to assist Solomon in building his fleet and in furnishing the skill to operate it.

Copper Mining and Refining. Archeology not only attests the historical reasonableness of the fact that Phoenician seamen and artisans aided Solomon in building and operating his fleet in the Red Sea, but cllearly illustrates an additional point. Phoenician technicians built the seaport of Ezeion-geber for him. An important copper smeltery discovered there by Nelson Glueck (1938-1940), the first ever found, was certainly the work of Phoenician craftsmen who were widely experinenced in the art of setting up copper furnaces and refineries at the smelting settlements in Sardinia and in Spain (the later Tartessus) which were called Tarshish, after which the ships specially equipped for transporting such ore and metal cargoes were called Tarshish ships.

The construction of the copper refinery at ancient Ezion-geber (modern Tell el-Kheleifeh) is unusually good, as Glueck has noted, and points to practical knowledge and skill which were the result of long experience. The inescapable conclusion is that Hiram's technicians, who were experts in the business, were responsible for the construction of the refinery and that it dated from the tenth century BC and was rebuilt at various later periods. Tell el-Kheleifeh was, therefore, a Tarshish, or metal refinery like the Phoenician stations of the same name in Sardinia and Spain.

The discovery of the copper refinery at Tell el-Kheleifeh illustrates the brief but important biblical reference to copper smelting and casting in the Jordan Valley (1 Kings 7:46) and points to another prolific sources of Solomon's wealth. As Glueck says, it was Solomon "who was the first one who placed the mining industry in the Wadi Arabah upon a really national scale." As a result, copper became the king's principlal export and his merchants' main stock in trade. Putting out from Ezion-geber laden with smelted ore, his fleet brought back in exchange otehr valuable goods obtainable in Arabian ports or from the nearby coasts of Africa.

The Visit From the Queen of Sheba. Solomon's ships plied the Red Sea. His caravans penetrated far into Arabia. In his wide commercial outreach he must have been doing business with, and at the same time necessarily competing with, the famous Queen of Sheba. Her strenuous journey (1 Kings 10) to Jerusalem by camel, traversing over twelve hundred miles of inhospitable terrain, almost certainly was dictated by business reasons as well as by the pleasure of seeing Solomon's splendor and hearing his wisdom.

The visit must have involved delimitation of spheres of interest and the arrangement of trade treaties which regulated the equitable exchange of the products of Arabia for the products of Palestine and particularly the copper of the Wadi Arabah. The Queen's diplomatic visit and conversations with the Israelite monarch were evidently highly successful (1 Kings 10:1, 2, 10, 13).

Although the Queen of Sheba of the Solomonic era has not been attested as yet in South-Arabian inscriptions, there is no valid reason for denying the historicity of either her or her visit to the Israelite monarch. It is true that the oldest inscriptions of Saba (Sheba) reach back only to the seventh or eighth century BC and Assyrian inscriptions do not begin to mention names of Sabean kings until toward the end of the eighth century BC. However, there is no warrant to doubt that Sheba was an important kingdom or tribal confedderacy two or three centuries earlier. Nor is there any reason to dismiss the whole account of the Queen's visit "as a romantic tale," as generally used to be done. Although queens played little part in the later history of South Arabia, they ruled large tribal confederacies in North Arabia from the ninth to the seventh centuries BC, as the cuneiform inscriptions relate.

Solomon's Matrimonial Alliances. To insure the future peace and security of his realm, Solomon yielded to the custom of the times and made many domestic alliances with subject races and tribes by marrying foreign women. From the Amarna Letters of the 14th century BC and numerous other sources, there is ample illustration of this practice of royal intermarriage for political and other reasons. Kings of Egypt, for example, gave their daughters in marriage to the kings of the Hittites and the princes of Mitanni in the 14th and 13th centuries BC. Ahab of the royal house of Omri married into the royal house of Tyre in the 9th century BC.

Instead of securing the kingdom, this evil expedient led to spiritual decline and idolatry, and the eventual disruption of the nation. It was a disaster both nationally and personally. Of the many deities to which his foreign wives turned his heart, perhaps the best known in the ancient world was Ashtoreth, called "the Abomination of the Sidonians" in 1 Kings 11:5, 33. She was a fertility goddess, known as Astarte among the Greeks, and Ishtar in Babylon. Worshipping this goddess usually meant having sex with prostitutes in her temple. In addition to being a fertility deity, she was also a goddess of war in Babylon and Assyria. Her picture appears on a seal impression found at Bethel, where her name is given in hieroglyphic characters.

Solomon's Temple

Archeology has furnished testimony that Solomon's building and industrial activities were even more extensive than might be concluded from the vivid account in the Book of Kings. There is, however, evidence to substantiate the biblical notices that Israel's king drew heavily upon Phoenician skill not only in his maritime ventures, but particularly in the construction of the magnificent temple at Jerusalem and other buildings. Excavations by Albright at Gibeah (Tell el-Ful), the site of Saul's capital, have revealed the strength but extreme crudity of the royal buildings in comparison to the architectural skill displayed at Solomonic Megiddo and required by the temple and royal palace at Jerusalem.

At the time of David and Solomon, both of whom maintained ties of amity with hiram I of Tyre (c. 969-936 BC), southern Phoenicia was consolidated under one king who ruled at Tyre, but who bore the official title of "King of the Sidonians". From the twelfth to the seventh centuries BC, Tyre and Sidon existed as one political entity. Only before and after this period were there two separate states, so that Hiram was a rich and powerful ruler, in winning and maintaining whose friendship Solomon gave a demonstration of his proverbial wisdom. Moreover, the name Hiram (or Ahiram) was a common Phoenician royal name, as is attested by the inscriptions, notably that found on the sarcophagus of Ahiram at Byblus (Biblical Gebel: Psalm 83:7; Ezekiel 27:9), discovered in 1923-24 by a French expedition under M. Montet and dating probably from the 11th century BC.

The Plan of the Temple. The numerous archeological finds in the ANE have cast a lot of light on the construction of the temple in Jerusalem, although that temple itself has been utterly destroyed. It is now known that the plan of the edifice was characteristically Phoenician, as would be expected since it was builty by an architect from Tyre (1 Kings 7:13-15). Similar ground plans of sactuaries of the general period (1200 to 900 BC) have been excavated in northern Syria, especially by the University of Chicago at Tell Tainat in 1936, and the findings have demonstrated that the specifications of the Solomonic structure outlined in 1 Kings 6-7 are pre-Greek and authentic for the tenth century BC and not to be denied historical genuiness or assigned to the period of the Hellenic influence after the sixth century BC, as some critics were accustomed to do.

Like Solomon's temple the shrine at Tell Tainat was rectangular, with three rooms, a portico with two columns in front, a main hall, and a cella or shrine with a raised platform. It was two-thirds as long as Solomon's temple and was in all likelihood lined with cedar.

The proto-Aeolic pilaster capital was extensively used in Solomon's temple, and examples of this construction have been discovered at Megiddo, Samaria, at Shechem, in Moab and near Jerusalem, dating from before 1000 BC, or as at Megiddo, from the eighth century BC. The decorations of the temple, such as lillies, palmettes, and cherubim, were likewise characteristically Syro-Phoenician, the latter being a winged lion with human head -- that is, a winged sphinx. This hybrid animal, however, was not a Solomonic innovation, but was inherited from the tabernacle and appears hundreds of times in the iconography of western Asia between 1800 and 600 BC. Many representations are found with a deity or king seated on a throne supported by two cherubim. In Israel, Yahweh and his throne -- both invisible -- were smilarly supported by symbolic cherubim (but cf. Ezekiel 1:4-14 and 10:15).

Jachin and Boaz. Like the north Syrian shrine at Tell Tainat Solomon's ediface had two columns which stood in the portico. Such pillars flanking the main entrance of a temple were common in the first millenium BC in Syria, Phoenicia, and Cyprus. The spread eastward to Assyria where they are to be found in Sargon's temples at Khorsabad (late third century BC) and westward to the Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean. In Solomon's temple, following a common Near Eastern custom, they bore the distinctive names "Jachin" and "Boaz". It has been convincingly demonstrated that the names of the two columns represented the first words of dynastic oracles hich were inscribed on them. The "Jachin" formula may have been something like "Yahweh will establish (Hebrew yakin) your throne forever" and the "Boaz" oracle may have run something like "In Yahweh is the king's strength" (Hebrew boaz).

Jachin and Boaz have been frequently interpreted as sacred obelisks, like those which stood beside the great Egyptia temples at Heliopolis and Thebes, or beside the temple of Melcarth at Tyre, and it is possible, of course, that Solomon might make concessions to the architectural fads of his day. Sometimes they have been viewed as stylized trees or again as cosmic pillars, like the pillars of Hercules. Robertson Smith suggested, years ago, that they might be gigantic cressets or fire altars.

W.F. Albright adopted Robertson Smith's essential view that Jachin and Boaz were huge cressets or fire altars, using proof from the painted tombs of Marisa in southern Palestine, where similar incense burners appear. Corroborating evidence is also drawn from the Egyptian Djed Pillar, a sacred emblem of Osiris, which bears certain similarities to these collumns. Most important, Albright stressed that each of the shafts of the two pillars is clearly said to be crowned with a gullah -- that is, an oil basin of a lampstand (1 Kings 7:41; cf. Zechariah 4:3).

Thus, following Phoenician models, these incense stands apparently illuminated the facade of the temple in Jerusalem.

The Furnishings of the Temple. Archeology has also shed light on the equipment of the temple, which in part, at least, was modelled after Syro-Phoenician copies, and which in turn went back to much earlier items from Mesopotamia. The altar of burnt offering, for instance, from the measurements of that in Ezekiel's temple (Ezekiel 43:13-17), which was certainly the same shape as Solomon's altar, if not the same size, was a miniature temple-tower (Akkadian, zigguratu), after which it was partly designed. Ezekiel's description of this altar is important and exceedingly interesting from an archeological point of view because it preserves some of the current terminology which used to be applied to its various parts.

According to Ezekiel's account the foundation was called, symbolically, "the bosom of the earth" (heq ha-aretz, Ezek. 43:14) and the top "the mountain of God" (har 'el, Ezekiel 43:15-16). Both of these expressions are literal translations of the corresponding Akkadian terms for the base and summit of the common staged temple-tower or ziggurat of the ancient Babylonian world, as is known from cuneiform tablets. In this connection, a further striking parallel appears in the fact that the summit of the ziqquratu (lit., "mountain peak"), like the Hebrew altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:2; Ezekiel 43:15), was also ornamented with four horns, as is known from inscriptions and monumental representations.

It is interesting to notice in addition that the word for "temple" in Hebrew (hekal) had been taken over by the Canaanites from the non-Semitic Sumerians, the precursors of the semitic Babylonians in the lower Tigris-Euphrates Valley, at least a millenium and a half earlier. Such borrowings are common as in the case of the cherubim and other features both of the tabernacle and temple, and do not in the least imply that the Hebrews attached any pagan significance whatever to them. In fact, as in the tabernacles where every item of construction and equipment was divinely ordered, each detail was at the same time divinely invested with a meaning consonant with the worship of the one true God and endowed with a rich symbolism typical of the coming future Messianic Redeemer.

However, Solomon went far beyond the chaste divinely ordered simplicity of the tabernacle and its symbolic ritual and furniture. An instance of this is not only furnished by the twin obelisks gracing the threshold of the temple, but also by the great copper sea set on twelve bulls, and oriented toward the four quarters of the compass, a new feature in the sanctuary court (1 Kings 7:23-26). This immense basin, taking the place of the laver of the tabernacle, was ornately decorated with bunches of flowers in high relief and served, as did its simple precursor, for ceremonial washings. In the name given to it by Solomon (sea) and in its construction, both doubtless the result of Syro-Phoenician influence, clear cosmic significance is apparent.

In the ANE, the "sea" was universally recognized as possessing cosmic significance, and in name and function Solomon's "molten sea" can scarcely be separated from the Mesopotamian "sea" Apsu, a term used both as the designation of the suberranean fresh water ocean, the source of all life and fertility, and as the name of a basin of holy water set up in the temple. Moreover, these various cosmic sources of water were conceived in mythological terms as dragons both in Akkadian (Apsu and Tiamat), Canaanite ("sea", yammu and "river" nahar) and in Biblical Hebrew ("sea" yam, and "rivers" neharoth). The term "sea", meaning the source of life among the Syrians and Phoenicians, came to denote the Mediterranean, the main source of Canaanite livelihood, as in Mesopotamia, it had denoted the putative subterranean source of the great life-giving rivers of that land.

The relation of the "sea" to the portable lavers that Solomon made (1 Kings 7:38), which correspond to Phoenician portable lavers found on the island of Cyprus, was similar to that between the "sea" (Apsu) and "the portable basins of water" (egubbe) in Babylonian temples.

Some would suggest that inn going beyond the divinely ordered simplicity of the tabernacle, the temple with its elaborate organization and its heavy indebtedness to Syro-Phoenician religious architecture and practice presented the peril of religious syncretism, which was to manifest itself in intermittant conflict between religious assimilators and separatists in subequent centuries.

On the other hand, considering the lack of criticism in the biblical account of the building of the temple, the fact that building a temple in place of the tabernacle was God's intent, and the obvious blessing of Yahweh upon the finished product then and later, it is perhaps better to recognize simply a translation of ancient forms into an approach more comprehensible to the times of Solomon, just as changes in a language require the updating of ancient texts or new translations. After all, somewhere between two and four hundred years had passed since the tabernacle's design had been established; culture and history had marched on; changes were necessary and not inappropriate. After all, we do not today use the same songs in church that our forbears of even two hundred years ago used; we have added sound systems and adopted different instruments, even. We don't talk the same way, either. A constant reinvention, to keep the old truths from becoming cliches, is necessary and not despicable, simply because conventions change. How we worship God is not as important as that we worship God, and the how inevitably changes.

After all, we no longer worship God in a temple at all; regardless of the theological reasons, practically speaking, since there is neither temple nor tabernacle, and since appropriate priests cannot be identified, there is no way to still worship God by sacrificing animals.

It should also be noticed that there is another shift in the shape of the temple, when one considers the description Ezekiel gives of the temple that is apparently yet to be. It looks neither like Solomon's temple, nor the temple that followed after the Exile, nor the renovated temple ornamented by Herod the Great.