Bible Review 10:5, October 1994

Did King Solomon Violate the Second Commandment?

By Victor Hurowitz

Reader’s Letter Sparks Article

When reading Victor Hurowitz’s “Inside Solomon’s Temple,” BR 10:02, a question suddenly occurred to me that I should have thought of years ago.

In the shrine of the temple were “two huge, gold-plated, olive-wood cherubim,” writes Hurowitz. Did it never occur to the builders of the Temple (or to those who wrote about it) that the second commandment of the Decalogue states, “You shall not make for yourself any graven image, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth”?

I am aware that this commandment prohibits the making of an idol, but is it not true that the Hebrews interpreted this law so strictly that they refused to create any image, so that the temptation to idolatry would be avoided? Yet here is such an image, in the very Holy of Holies!

How would Dr. Hurowitz answer this question?

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