Solomon's Temple

Date and Medium: See remarks on the adjacent panel
Nave, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

The position of this panel after David and before Jeroboam (the father and son of Solomon) lead one to conclude that this is the Temple as built by Solomon. The panel shows a priest bringing a naked child to an altar, perhaps the offering of a firstborn male after 40 days required in Leviticus 12:2-8. The child cannot be the one over whom the two mothers argued, because the Temple had not been built when Solomon judged that case (1 Kings 3:16-27). The pitcher and candelabrum are among the objects that Exodus 25 says should be on the altar. The basin in the foreground should be the "sea" that 1 Kings 7 says rested on twelve oxen, three facing in each of the cardinal directions.

This is part of the extensive series of Old Testament scenes along the two walls of the nave. To view the others, follow this link.

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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.