“One of the Greatest Engineering Works”
WHEN Jehovah’s temple was built in Jerusalem during the reign of King Solomon some 3,000 years ago, a beautiful water reservoir of copper was made and placed outside the temple entrance. It weighed over 30 tons and held some 11,000 gallons [40,000 L] of water. This huge basin was called the molten sea. (1 Kings 7:23-26) “There can be little doubt that it was one of the greatest engineering works ever undertaken in the Hebrew nation,” says former technical officer at the National Research Council of Canada, Albert Zuidhof, in Biblical Archeologist.
How was the sea constructed? “In the District of the Jordan it was that the king cast [copper utensils] in the clay mold,” states the Bible. (1 Kings 7:45, 46) “The casting process must have been similar to the ‘lost wax’ method still in use for large bronze bells,” says Zuidhof. He explains: “Basically this would involve a wax model of the sea being fashioned upside-down over the thoroughly dried core of the casting mold. . . . After this was completed, the foundrymen had to build up the outside mold over the wax model and let it dry. The final steps would be the melting out of the wax and pouring the liquid bronze into the cavity.”
The enormous size and weight of the molten sea required great skill in its construction. The inside core structure and the outside mold had to withstand the pressure of about 30 tons of molten copper, and the casting had to be done in one continuous operation to prevent cracks or flaws. This probably required a series of furnaces connected together for the pouring of the melted metal into the mold. A tremendous work!
In his prayer at the inauguration of the temple, King Solomon gave Jehovah God the credit for all the temple work, saying: “You made the promise with your own mouth, and with your own hand you have made the fulfillment.”—1 Kings 8:24.