In this week's Parsha shiur, we discussed the difference between the Mikdash, a permanent sanctuary, and the Mishkan, a portable and more temporary structure. We posited that the Mishkan was only necessary for the time period of Bnei Yisrael's stay in the desert and their conquest of the Land. Afterward, once stability was achieved, it would have been more ideal for Bnei Yisrael to construct the permanent Mikdash. [See Devarim 12:5-13.]
This week's Haftara describes the actual construction of that permanent Mikdash, the Temple built by King Solomon. However, this only takes place some 480 years later (see 6:1). What took so long?
In Sefer Yehoshua (chapter 18), we are informed that after the first wave of conquest, the Mishkan was set up in the city of Shilo. Chazal tell us that this Mishkan was a semi-permanent structure, as it had stone walls (instead of the "krashim"), but its roof remained the same as in the original Mishkan. [See Rambam Hilchot Bet Ha'bchira 1:1-4.]
In Sefer Shoftim, it appears that the Mishkan in Shilo was quite neglected, for it is barely mentioned. At the beginning of Sefer Shmuel we find that Elkana and Chana visit Shilo quite often; however the priests who work there are corrupt (Shmuel I 2:11-17). Shilo is then destroyed. The aron is taken captive by the Plishtim and then returned to Bet Shemesh. From there it moves to Kiryat Yearim and finally (in the time of David) to Jerusalem. Even though the Mishkan moved from Shilo to Nov and later to Givon, the aron was never returned to the Mishkan until the first Bet HaMikdash was built!
[Our conclusion that the Mishkan had been neglected throughout this entire time period can be supported from Divrei Hayamim I 13:1-5; note "ki lo drashnuha b'ymei Shaul."]
David Ha'Melech is the first leader who actually desires (i.e. he asks God) to build the permanent Mikdash (see Shmuel II 7:1-8:15). God tells him yes and no. Yes - the Mikdash will be built by a king from the House of David, but no - it will not be built in his own lifetime, for only his son can build it.
Even though David desired to build the Mikdash, neither the country nor the monarchy had reached the state of stability necessary for the Bet Ha'Mikdash to be built. Despite his conquests, David's generation was one of war, both against its enemies and among itself. God told David that the Mikdash could only be built once a generation of peace was secured. [See Divrei Hayamim I 22:5-19; read carefully!] Only in the time of Shlomo was this level of peace and security finally achieved. Thus, God allowed him to build the Mikdash.
The first five chapters of Sefer Melachim describe how Shlomo secured the kingdom and established a military and economic empire. Am Yisrael had reached an unprecedented level of prosperity, security and fame.
With this background, let's take a closer look at some details in this week's Haftara.