Did Solomon Have the Help of Demons to Build the Temple?

SOLOMON - JewishEncyclopedia.com

From SeedsMission.org

The short answer is no. Demons are destroyers, not builders. But there are some who think otherwise. Here’s a quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia:

 

The most important of Solomon’s acts was his building of the Temple, in which he was assisted by angels and demons. Indeed, the edifice was throughout miraculously constructed, the large, heavy stones rising to and settling in their respective places of themselves (Ex. R. lii. 3; Cant. R. l.c.). The general opinion of the Rabbis is that Solomon hewed the stones by means of the Shamir, a worm whose mere touch cleft rocks. According to Midrash Tehillim (in Yalḳ., I Kings, 182), the shamir was brought from paradise by the eagle; but most of the rabbis state that Solomon was informed of the worm’s haunts through the chief of the demons, who was captured by Benaiah, Solomon’s chief minister (see Asmodeus). The chief of the demons, Ashmedai or Asmodeus, told Solomon that theshamir had been entrusted by the prince of the sea to the mountain cock alone (the Hebrew equivalent in Lev. xi. 19 and Deut. xiv. 18 is rendered by A. V. “lapwing” and by R.V. “hoopoe”), and that the cock had sworn to guard it well. Solomon’s men searched for the nest of the bird and, having found it, covered it with glass. The bird returned, and, seeing the entrance to its nest closed by what it supposed to be a glass door, brought the shamir for the purpose of breaking the glass. Just then a shout was raised; and the bird, being frightened, dropped the shamir, which the men carried off to the king (Giṭ. 68b).

Solomon, in his prophetic capacity, realized that the Temple would be destroyed by the Babylonians, and therefore he caused an underground receptacle to be built in which the Ark was afterward hidden (Abravanel on I Kings vi. 19). For each of the ten candlesticks made by Solomon (I Kings vii. 49; II Chron. iv. 7) he used 1,000 talents of gold, which, being passed 1,000 times through the furnace, became reduced to one talent. There is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis as to whether Solomon’s candlesticks were lit or only the one made by Moses. A similar difference exists with regard to Solomon’s ten tables, five of which were on one side and five on the other side of the table made by Moses (Men. 29a, 99b). Solomon planted in the Temple different kinds of golden trees which bore fruit in their proper seasons. When the wind blew over them the fruit fell to the ground. Later, when the heathen entered the Temple to destroy it, these trees withered; but they will flourish again on the advent of the Messiah (Yoma 21b).

Even with regard to his noble act in building the Temple, however, Solomon did not escape the severe criticisms of the Tannaim. The construction of such a magnificent edifice, they said, filled Solomon with pride; consequently when he wished to introduce the Ark of the Covenant into the Sanctuary, the gates shrank to such an extent that it could not be brought in. Solomon then recited twenty-four hymns, but without avail. He then sang: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; . . . and the King of glory shall come in” (Ps. xxiv. 7). The gates, thinking that Solomon applied to himself the term “King of glory,” were about to fall on his head, when they asked him, “Who is this King of glory?” Solomon answered: “The Lord strong and mighty,” etc. (ib. verse 8). He then prayed: “O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed, remember the mercies of David thy servant” (II Chron. vi. 42); and the Ark was admitted (Shab. 30a; Num. R. xiv. 10; comp. Ex. R. viii. 1 and Tan., Wa’era, 6, where this haggadah is differently stated in the spirit of the Amoraim).

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