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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

2 Chronicles 3

Verse 1

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David. These words seem to intimate that the region where the temple was built was previously known by the name of Moriah (Genesis 22:2), and do not afford sufficient evidence for affirming, as has lately been done (Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 248), that the name was first given to the mount in consequence of the vision seen by David. The literal translation is, 'Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, on the mount of Moriah, where (the vision) was seen by David his father, in the place which David prepared (established).' Dean Stanley refers the origin of the name to the vision of David after the pestilence. 'Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in (on) the mount of the appearance of the Lord, where He appeared unto David his father.' [The words, bªhar (H2022) ha-Mowriyaah (H4179), on the hill of the region Moriah, are not susceptible of being rendered, on the mount of the appearance of the Lord; nor does Dean Stanley give this as the translation.

But he is of opinion that it brings out the allusion, which he supposes is contained in the passage to the introduction of the name, in the word, Mowriyaah (H4179) to nir'aah (H7200), was seen.] But there is undoubted evidence that the name Moriah was in existence centuries before the reign of Solomon, (see the notes at Genesis 22:1-24) In fact, this derivation forms the basis of that passage; and although he hints that the name was probably given in the patriarch's time from its being seen afar off, and he refers to the Samaritan version, which in that passage of Genesis reads Moreh, instead of Moriah, the testimony of that people is very suspicious, from the interest they had in fixing the scene of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac to Gerizim, and cannot be received in opposition to that of all manuscripts which have Moriah, 'the Lord shall see' (see Hengstenberg's 'Pentateuch,' 1:, pp 275-277. Mount Moriah was one summit of a range of hills which went by the general name of Zion. The platform of the temple is now, and has long been, occupied by the Haram, or sacred enclosure, within which stand the three mosques of Omar (the smallest), of El Aksa, which in early times was a Christian Church, and of Kubbet el-Sakhara, 'The dome of the rock,' so called from a huge block of limestone rock in the center of the floor, which it is supposed formed the elevated threshing-floor of Araunah, and on which the great brasen altar stood.

The site of the temple, then, is so far established; because an almost universal belief is entertained in the authenticity of the tradition regarding the rock el-Sakhara, and it has also been conclusively proved that the area of the temple was identical, on its western, eastern, and southern sides, with the present enclosure of the Haram. 'That the temple was situated somewhere within the oblong enclosure on mount Moriah, all Topographers are agreed, although there is not the slightest vestige of the sacred fane now remaining; and the greatest diversity of sentiment prevails as to its exact position within that large area, whether in the center of the Haram or in its southwest corner' (Barclay, p. 109; Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 1:, pp. 393, 413-416; 'Handbook of Syria and Palestine,' pp. 96, 97, 357).

Moreover, the full extent of the temple area is a problem that remains to be solved; for the platform of Mount Moriah being too narrow for the extensive buildings and courts attached to the sacred edifice, Solomon resorted to artificial means of enlarging and levelling it, by erecting vaults, which, as Josephus states, rested on immense earthen mounds raised from the slope of the hill. It should be borne in mind at the outset, that the grandeur of the temple did not consist in its colossal structure, so ranch as in its internal splendour and the vast courts and buildings attached to it. It was not intended for. the reception of a worshipping assembly, because the people always stood in the outer courts of the sanctuary.

Verse 2

And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign. And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.

These are the things wherein Solomon was instructed - by the written plan and specifications given him by his father. The measurements are reckoned by cubits, "after the first measure" - i:e., the old Mosaic standard. But there is great difference of opinion about this, some making the cubit 18, others 21 inches. The temple, which embodied in more solid and durable materials the ground-form of the tabernacle, only being twice as large, was a rectangular building, 70 cubits long from east to west, and 20 cubits wide from north to south.

Verse 4

And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.

The porch. The breadth of the house, whose length ran from east to west, is here given as the measure of the length of the piazza. The portico would thus be from 30 to 35 feet long, and from 15 to 17 1/2 feet broad.

The height was an hundred and twenty cubits. This, taking the cubit at 18 inches, would be 180 feet; at 21 inches, 210 feet; so that the porch would rise in the form of a tower, or two pyramidal towers, whose united height was 120 cubits, and each of them about 90 or 105 feet high (Stieglitz). This porch would thus be like the propylaeum or gateway of the palace of Khorsabad, or at the temple of Edfou; but the height, according to this, was 120 cubits-which would appear to be an error slipt into the text, although Josephus gives the same dimensions, adding an upper storey or structure (Layard's 'Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 642).

Verse 5

And the greater house he cieled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains. The greater house - i:e., the holy places, the front or outer chamber (see the note at 1 Kings 6:17).

Verse 6

And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim.

He garnished the house with precious stones for beauty -better, he paved the house with precious and beautiful marble (Kitto). It may be, after all, that these were stones with veins of different colours for decorating the walls. This was an ancient and thoroughly Oriental kind of embellishment. There was an under-pavement of marble, which was covered with planks of fir. The whole interior was lined with boards, richly decorated with carved work, clusters of foliage and flowers, among which the pomegranate and lotus, or water-lily, were conspicuous; and overlaid, excepting the floor, with gold, either by gilding or in plates, (1 Kings 6:1-38.)

Verse 7

He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 8

And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.

The most holy house. It was a perfect cube (cf. 1 Kings 6:20).

Overlaid it with ... gold, amounting to six hundred talents - at 4 British pounds per oz., equal 3,600,000 pounds sterling.

Verse 9

And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 10

And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.

Two cherubim. These figures in the tabernacle were of pure gold (Exodus 25:1-40), and over-shadowed the mercy-seat. The two placed in the temple were made of olive wood, overlaid with gold. They were of colossal size, like the Assyrian sculptures; for each, with expanded wings, covered a space of 10 cubits in height and length-two wings touched each other, while the other two reached the opposite walls; their fees were inward - i:e., toward the most holy house, conformably to their use, which was to veil the ark. [There is a special idiom observable in this passage. The construction alternates; for the one wing, kªnap (H3671) haa'echaad (H259), i:e., the right wing, is masculine, and the other wing, kªnap (H3671) haa'acheret (H312), i:e., the left, is feminine. The Orientals thought everything had its duplicate: hence, they considered those parts of the body of which there are two as male and female; and this sentiment pervaded not only the Hebrew, but the Syriac and Arabic languages, which in the cases alluded to point to both sexes.]

Verses 11-13

And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 14

And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.

And he made the veil, [ hapaaroket (H6532)] - the divider, the separater, between the Holy and the most Holy Place. [Septuagint, katapetasma, a thing spread over, a curtain or veil.] The united height of the pillars is here given; and though the exact dimensions would be 36 cubits, each column was only 17 1/2 cubits, a half cubit being taken up by the capital or the base. They are probably described as they were lying together in the mould before they were set up. They would be from 18 to 21 fast in circumference, and stand 40 feet in height. These pillars, or obelisks, as some call them, were highly ornamented, and formed an entrance in keeping with the splendid interior of the temple (see the notes at 1 Kings 7:15-16: cf. Napier's 'Workers in Ancient Metals,' p. 106).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-chronicles-3.html. 1871-8.