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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 7

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

Verses 1-51

1 Kings 7:1 . Solomon was thirteen years in building his own palace in Jerusalem, because fewer workmen were employed, many of whom were still engaged on the exterior parts of the temple.

1 Kings 7:2 . He built also the house (the palace) of the forest of Lebanon. A forest adjacent to Jerusalem, called so, as having some resemblance to Lebanon.

1 Kings 7:7 . He made a porch for the throne. In England, our courts were open in porches, as the old court in Durham.

1 Kings 7:9 . Costly stones. The work made them costly, but the name of the stone, whether of oolite, of granite, or of marble, is not named; but Josephus has “marmor” or marble.

1 Kings 7:12 . A row of cedar-beams. This was a colonade, and essential as well in the palace and the mansion, as in the temple, for a shade under which the courtiers might walk.

1 Kings 7:18 . Net-work. The LXX have missed the sense here, and the versions have copied the error. The Hebrew word means the wreathings or platings of the branches gracefully round the chapiters of the pillars. It is sometimes rendered thicket. Genesis 22:13. Isaiah 10:34. Jeremiah 4:7.

1 Kings 7:23 . A molten sea ten cubits broad, and thirty round. It is wonderful how this inaccuracy should have escaped men that seem well skilled in mensuration. Allowing that decimals were not then understood, they could not surely be ignorant that a diameter of ten cubits will describe a circle of nearly thirty one and a half.

1 Kings 7:29 . Lions, oxen, and cherubims. Josephus reprimands Solomon for this, as an infringement on the second commandment. Yet they were not made as objects of idolatry: the hallowed emblems in the most holy place designated all creatures as worshipping God.

1 Kings 7:36 . Palm trees, to designate the beautiful and everflourishing state of the church, in which “the righteous shall flourish as the palm tree.” Psalms 92:12.


Solomon, animated by a true spirit of piety, would not take the admirable artists from the temple to build his splendid palaces, till the chief of their work was done; and this seems to be the reason of two palaces being mentioned here, before the utensils of the Lord’s house were finished. The palace in the forest of Lebanon was not far from Jerusalem, and probably so called because of its groves. This latter palace was distinguished by three piazzas, containing fifteen pillars in each row. Of its expense and splendour, we can now form no adequate idea. Suffice it to say, it surpassed all the palaces in the world, and equalled the temple in ornaments and architectural beauties. And if these were so glorious, what must heaven be? If they attracted strangers from every part of the earth, what enquiries should we not make concerning the city and temple of God?

The two brazen pillars were among the most distinguished ornaments of the temple. They were cast by Hiram, a Hebrew artist, who had perfected his studies in Tyre. The body of each pillar was thirty three feet in length, and the diameter seven feet. Therefore with the pedestals and the decorations, they would stand more than forty feet high, and form a most majestic entrance into the sacred mansion. They were hollow, of course; but it may be doubted whether there be now a furnace in Europe that would hold metal enough to cast a pillar so astonishingly large. And as the name of the first, Jachin, signifies establishment, or I will establish; and as the name of the other, Boaz, signifies strength, I think St. Paul alludes to them when he calls the gospel, “the pillar and ground of truth.” And the Lord by St. John, no doubt, had reference to these when he promised to make the victorious soul “a pillar in the temple of God, to go out no more for ever.”

The molten sea, placed upon twelve oxen and decorated like the pillars, with the chaste and pleasing devices of fruits and flowers, was another stupendous work. It was a pool of water, supplied from Etam by subterraneous pipes; for it was not lawful for the priests to bathe in any close vessel, because it would defile it; hence the water here always ran over.

To the molten sea we must join the ten lavers. The great throng of national sacrifices would now require that number. Here the sacrifices were washed; here the priests, and the people too, washed their hands before they approached the Lord. But a spiritual import is no doubt attached to all the sacred vessels of the sanctuary, as St. Paul has taught us in the epistle to the Hebrews. David himself also looked to a better washing when he said, “I will wash my hands in innocency, and so will I compass thine altar.” Learn then, oh my soul, daily to wash in the laver of regeneration, that thy devotion may be accepted of the Lord.

The golden candlesticks were now encreased also to the number of ten, and all the other vessels of gold were encreased in proportion. Now, notwithstanding all the exterior glory of the temple, in regard to its stones, its pillars, and its altar, the interior was the most rich and glorious. An immensity of brass displayed the artists’ skill, and decorated the outward courts; but an incalculable gradation of golden vessels, and the immense treasures of David enriched and adorned the interior. Thus it is with the outward church. The glory of a high morality is the ornament of the faithful soul in the eyes of men; but within are peace and joy, the glory of holiness, and all the fruits of the Spirit. There the sweet incense of prayer and praise burns before the Lord; there an answer of peace is according to the troubled mind, and there JEHOVAH dwells in all the sanctifying glory of his promised presence. Well: I will not grieve for the fall and ruin of Solomon’s temple, seeing the Lord now condescends to make the poor and the contrite heart his abode, and seeing also the temple of our Saviour’s glorified humanity is filled with all the fulness of the Godhead. No, I will not grieve, but wait for the more glorious temple in our Father’s house.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 7". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-kings-7.html. 1835.
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