Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 7

Verses 1-51

Solomon's Palace

This c, besides giving a description of Solomon's palace, contains an account of the principal utensils belonging to the Temple.

1. Thirteen years] The Temple was of small extent compared with the royal palace, so that the time spent on the latter exceeded that required for the former. The various buildings mentioned in 1 Kings 7:2-8 seem together to have constituted the house of 1 Kings 7:1.

2. He built also] RV 'for he built.' The house of the forest of Lebanon] so called from the quantity of cedar wood from Lebanon employed in its construction. It was a rectangular hall, 100 x 50 x 30 cubits, its roof being supported by cedar beams resting upon three rows (so LXX for four rows) of cedar pillars, numbering 45 in all; and was used as an armoury (Isaiah 22:8).

4. Light.. ranks] The external walls were pierced with three rows of windows, so arranged that those in each side corresponded in position to those in the opposite side.

5. were square, with the windows] RV 'were square in prospect': i.e. the doors were rectangular (not pointed or arched).

6. A porch of pillars] There was another building with numerous pillars, having a portico (the porch was before them), of which the thick beam was the threshold.

7. A porch for the throne] This was a third building which served as a court of justice. From one side.. other] better, 'from floor to cieling.'

8. Another court] i.e. behind the porch of judgment there was a court which enclosed the king's palace; this was probably the same as 'the middle court' of 2 Kings 20:4 (if that is the right reading).

9. According to.. stones] RV 'even hewn stone, according to measure': and so in 1 Kings 7:11. Within and without] i.e. both the outer and inner surfaces. The great court] This was perhaps a large court enclosing all the preceding structures, including the Temple. It contained (in order from S. to N.), 1. certain public buildings, (a) the house of the forest of Lebanon, (b) the porch of pillars, (c) the porch of the throne; 2. a second court, enclosing the royal residences, the king's house and the house of Pharaoh's daughter; 3. the 'inner court' (1 Kings 6:36), surrounding the Temple.

12. Both for.. and for] RV 'like as.. and.' The meaning is that the great court, the inner (or Temple) court, and the court of the house (or palace) each had a fence of similar construction: cp. 1 Kings 6:36.

13. Hiram] also spelt 'Huram' and 'Hirom.' The Tyrian king and the Tyrian architect both seem to have borne the same name.

14. A widow's son.. Naphtali] in 2 Chronicles 2:14 his mother is called a daughter of Dan, the Danite settlement within Naphtali being perhaps meant.

15. Two pillars] These pillars, though placed at the porch (1 Kings 7:21), probably did not support its roof but were detached from the building, and intended for symbolic purposes only. Two similar pillars are said to have stood in the temple of Melkarth at Tyre, one of gold and the other of emerald (or green glass); and the like are depicted on the coins of Paphos. Originally such pillars, whether natural obelisks or artificial columns, were regarded as the abode of the Deity, so that offerings were placed or poured upon them in order to be conveyed to the indwelling spirit (of which primitive notion the action of Jacob at Bethel shows a surviving trace, Genesis 28:18), but subsequently they became emblems merely, marking the spot where they stood as sacred: cp. Isaiah 19:19. The details of the pillars erected before the Temple are obscure (the text in places being defective or disordered), but their general appearance is easily intelligible. They were hollow (Jeremiah 52:21) columns of brass, 12 cubits in circumference and 18 cubits high, surmounted by capitals (chapiters) five (in Jeremiah 25:17 three) cubits high, globular in shape (1 Kings 7:42) and decorated with tracery (1 Kings 7:17). Around each capital ran two rows of pomegranates, and above each rose an ornament, 4 cubits high, shaped like the cup of a lily.

17. Seven.. seven] probably a mistake for 'a network.. a network,' there being only two networks in all (see 1 Kings 7:41).

21. Jachin.. Boaz] i.e. 'He (God) will establish,' and 'In Him (God) is strength.'

23. A molten sea] i.e. a large vessel containing water. For its use see 2 Chronicles 4:6.

26. An hand breadth] i.e. 3 inches. With flowers of lilies] RV 'like the flowers of a lily,' the rim curving outwards. Two thousand baths] A 'bath' was rather more than 8 gallons. To contain all this, the sides of the molten sea must have bulged considerably.

27. Bases] movable supports or carriages for the lavers of 1 Kings 7:38. The description is very obscure, but it has been in part elucidated by a bronze stand of Mycenaean workmanship recently found in Cyprus. Each base consisted of a hollow cube (4 x 4 x 3 cubits), the sides of which had panels (borders) between raised edges (ledges). At the lower corners there were legs (the undersetters of 1 Kings 7:30, 1 Kings 7:34), which rested on large wheels. Above rose a pedestal (the base of 1 Kings 7:29, 1 Kings 7:31) with a capital (the chapiter of 1 Kings 7:32) which had a hollow (mouth) to receive the laver, which was further supported by stays (the undersetters under the laver of 1 Kings 7:30).

29. Additions made of thin work] RV 'wreaths of hanging work,' i.e. festoons; so also in 1 Kings 7:30, 1 Kings 7:36.

34. Were of the very base itself] i.e. were cast with it and not subsequently attached.

36. According to the proportion] RV 'according to the space of each': i.e. so far as the space permitted.

38. Ten lavers] for the purpose of these see 2 Chronicles 4:6. Forty baths] about 320 gallons.

39. Eastward.. south] i.e. at the SE. corner.

40. Lavers] LXX has 'pots' as in 1 Kings 7:45.

41. The bowls] i.e. the globular portions of the two capitals.

46. The plain of Jordan] i.e. the Jordan valley. Succoth and Zarthan] Succoth was in Gad (Joshua 13:27). Zarthan is probably the Zaretan of Joshua 3:16.

48. The altar of gold] i.e. the altar of incense (1 Kings 6:22).

The table of gold] in 2 Chronicles 4:8 mention is made of ten tables, but cp. 2 Chronicles 3:11; 2 Chronicles 29:18. The Tabernacle had only one table for the shewbread (Exodus 25:23).

49. The candlesticks] better, 'lampstands.' In the Tabernacle there was only one (Exodus 25:31).

50. Censers] RV 'firepans.'

51. Which David.. had dedicated] see 2 Samuel 8:11.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 7". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.