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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 5

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

1 Kings 5:1 . Tyre, situate on a strong island, was anciently called Zor or Zur, Thevenot supposes from Syria. The Arabs still call it Sor.

1 Kings 5:15 . Threescore and ten thousand. If we add the thirty thousand, and the eighty thousand, then the whole of the workmen were a hundred and ninety thousand. When a flourishing nation has little foreign trade, it is wise to employ the people in great and useful public works. Such was the wisdom of the Egyptians and the Greeks. The best writers on the structure of the temple are Villapandus, Ribberamus, Montanus, and our Dr. Lightfoot. The writing, that is, the drawing, or general plan of the temple, David affirms that he received it from the Lord. 1 Chronicles 28:19. The proportions however are analogous to those of the tabernacle; the main difference lies in the magnitude.

1 Kings 5:18 . They prepared timber and stones. Septuagint, “They were three years in preparing timber and stones.”


Solomon, divinely appointed to the throne, began his reign with all the ardour common to youths of extraordinary endowments. He proceeded with the improvements of his empire in every view; but his grand object was to finish the preparations for the temple, and then proceed with the work without delay. In this age the nations are employed in building shipping, and in the extension of commerce, sources of greater wealth than temples, which were regarded as permanent monuments of national genius, affluence, and industry. And when the darkness of gentile superstition was vanquished by the superior lustre and divine excellence of christianity, the spirit of the nations was turned to the erection of churches, not inferior in architectural magnificence to many of the temples.

Hiram sent an embassy to congratulate Solomon on his accession to the throne. This was dictated by the wisdom and politeness of early nations; and it tended to promote harmony, peace, and good understanding among them. But here, the good understanding and covenant between the two kings, tended also to supply Solomon with the best artists to build the temple, to fortify his cities, and elevate his magnificent palaces. So when God has a great work to do, he brings forth out of his treasures the requisite means and resources.

Tyre being the mart of the east, it had attracted the best artificers of Egypt and of Greece; and now they join with Israel and consecrate their skill in raising a temple to the Lord of hosts. This cannot but remind us of our blessed Lord, who after laying the foundation of his spiritual church, presently found among the converted gentiles some of the ablest ministers of his kingdom. One has remarked that the christian fathers came into the church loaded with Egyptian gold. So it was with Tertullian, Basil, Chrysostom, and a multitude more; and though many of them brought dross with the gold, it is really difficult for a man wholly to divest himself of early habits, and the prejudices of education. Solomon having received his plan from God, it could admit of no deviations, or imaginary improvements: so in the doctrine and discipline of Christ we must hold fast the form of sound words, and walk by the same rule. The foundation being laid, let every minister take heed how he builds thereon.

The massy stones and the cedar beams were all prepared before they arrived at Jerusalem, which saved much in the carriage, and avoided confusion in the place of the building. Let the christian world from hence learn, that whatever sweating it may cause to fell the proud cedar of Lebanon, or to dig the rude stone from the earth, the work must proceed. Difficulties must all be surmounted. The early work of conversion is indeed often noisy, and it costs many a hard stroke before the flinty stone will yield; but after awhile the sinner may receive a high polish of grace, and ultimately fill for ever a glorious place in the spiritual temple. If I may not be a pillar in the house of my God, nor a corner stone, nor a cedar beam, let me nevertheless be the humblest stone in that mansion, that I may dwell in thy presence for evermore.

If the workmen spent three years in preparing timber and stones according to the plan, it is high time for every sinner to think of his salvation; and not to delude himself with the idle dream that all this work can be done by a single sigh, or a deceitful prayer in the hour of death. That gross ignorance, that proud and seared conscience, those vicious habits must receive some of the hardest strokes of the Spirit, before a sinner so hardened and aged can see the kingdom of heaven.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-kings-5.html. 1835.
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