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Bible Commentaries

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

2 Chronicles 4

Verse 1

MORE OF SOLOMON'S SINFUL CHANGES;

THE SINFUL LAVER AND THE SINFUL IMAGES PLACED UNDER THE LAVER

"Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof. Also he made the molten sea often cubits from brim to brim, round in compass; and the height thereof was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits compassed it round about. And under it was the likeness of oxen, which did compass it round about, for ten cubits, compassing the sea round about. The oxen were in two rows, cast when it was cast. It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set upon them, above, and all their hinder parts were inward. And it was a handbreadth thick; and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily: it received and held three thousand baths. He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as belonged to the burnt-offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in."

"He made an altar of brass ... the height thereof ten cubits" (2 Chronicles 4:1). What was wrong with this? Ten cubits was a height of something like fifteen feet, which required that steps would have to be used by the priests in making sacrifices upon it; and God had specifically commanded Israel, "Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto my altar" (Exodus 20:26).

Not only did Solomon's temple and all that it contained violate many of God's specific commandments, such as this one; but there were also countless concessions to paganism, as seen in the images of the bulls (politely called oxen here) placed under the laver. The bulls, calves, oxen, whatever they were called, were the usual images under which the old Canaanite fertility god Baal was worshipped. Even the Jewish historian Josephus condemned Solomon for what he did in this.[1] It is an unqualified mystery to us why "Christian" writers attempt to justify it! Besides that, the Decalogue specifically forbade the making of images, or `likenesses' of anything either in heaven or on earth, the sacred images of the cherubim commanded by Moses, having been one exception to this.

"It ... held three thousand baths" (2 Chronicles 4:5). The bath was a Jewish measure, being the equivalent of about 4,7/8 gallons.[2] The very size of this laver was a testimonial to the type of `washing' to which the priests submitted. It was by immersion,[3] being in that particular typical of Christian baptism. (For further elaboration of this, see our Commentary on Exodus, pp. 404,405.)

Verse 7

SOLOMON'S CORRUPTED VERSION OF THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS

"And he made the candlesticks of gold according to the ordinance concerning them; and he set them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made a hundred basins of gold. Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass. And he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward, toward the south. And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins."

There was hardly anything that Solomon touched that he did not corrupt it in one way or another. The candlestick he perverted from the divine pattern of seven branches, and made it into ten. Instead of putting it on the south side of the holy place, he put five on one side, and five on the other. The table of the showbread was changed into ten tables with five on the north side and five on the south (2 Chronicles 4:19).

He made the candlesticks of gold according to the ordinance concerning them (2 Chronicles 4:7). This should not mislead us. God had indeed required the candlesticks to be of gold; and, in that alone did Solomon heed the divine ordinance. That this is true is proved by the fact that when the second temple was constructed, the golden candlestick was again conformed to the pattern in the tabernacle, as proved by the bas relief depicting it upon the Arch of Titus in Rome, where it is visible today.

Verse 11

THE CONCLUSION OF THE WORK OF HURAM OF TYRE

"So Huram made an end of doing the work that he wrought for king Solomon in the house of God: the two pillars, and the bowls, and the two capitals which were on the tops of the pillars, and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars, and the four hundred pomegranates for the two networks; two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were upon the pillars. He made also the bases, and the lavers made he upon the bases; one sea, and the twelve oxen under it. The pots also, and the shovels, and the flesh-hooks, and all the vessels thereof, did Huram his father make for king Solomon, for the house of Jehovah, of bright brass. In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah. Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance; for the weight of the brass could not be found out."

"Huram his father" (2 Chronicles 4:16). According to Payne, Solomon had conferred the title `father' upon Huram in recognition of his skilled craftsmanship; and the reference here means Solomon's Father Huram.[4]

Before leaving this chapter, we should also point out that another interpretation of Solomon's Ten Candlesticks views them as ten complete candlesticks (of seven branches each). Either was a violation of the true pattern given by Moses. In support of that view, it is dear enough that ten tables of the showbread were used, but not, "one at a time" as Payne thought, for they were on opposite sides of the holy place, five on each side.

Verse 19

AND KING SOLOMON DID ALL THIS

"And Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon was the showbread; and the candlesticks with their lamps, to burn according to the ordinance before the oracle, of pure gold; and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, of gold, and that perfect gold; and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the firepans, of pure gold. And as for the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple, were of gold."

"And Solomon made all these vessels" (2 Chronicles 4:19). Yet, it was stated above that Huram made all these things. Thus we have another example of the Biblical conception that a man does what he commands or employs another to do. We have referred to this in our contention that David indeed built the temple contrary to God's prohibition.

"As for the inner doors ... of the most holy place ... they were of gold" (2 Chronicles 4:22). Several commentators have stated that the olive-wood doors of the Holy of Holies were not mentioned by the Chronicler, but here they are, the meaning being that they were overlaid with gold. This is further evidence that the veil was omitted.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/2-chronicles-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.