Erection of the royal palace . - 1 Kings 7:1 is closely connected in form with 1 Kings 6:38, and contains a summary account of the building, which is more minutely described in 1 Kings 7:2-12. “And Solomon built his house (his palace) in thirteen years, and finished (in that time) all his house.” The thirteen years are to be reckoned after the completion of the temple in seven years, so that the two buildings were executed in twenty years (1 Kings 9:10). The expression כּל־בּיתו is used, because the palace consisted of several buildings connected together; namely, (1) the house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2-5); (2) the pillar-hall with the porch (1 Kings 7:6); (3) the throne-room and judgment-hall (1 Kings 7:7); (4) the king's dwelling-house and the house of Pharaoh's daughter (1 Kings 7:8). That all these buildings were only different portions of the one royal palace, and the house of the forest of Lebanon was not a summer residence of Solomon erected on Lebanon itself, as many of the earlier commentators supposed, is indisputably evident, not only from the first verse when correctly interpreted, but also and still more clearly from the fact that when the buildings of Solomon are spoken of afterwards (see 1 Kings 9:1, 1 Kings 9:10, 1 Kings 9:15, and 1 Kings 10:12), we only read of the house of Jehovah and the house of the king, that is to say, of the temple and one palace. The description of the several portions of this palace is so very brief, that it is impossible to form a distinct idea of its character. The different divisions are given in 1 Kings 7:1-8 in their natural order, commencing at the back and terminating with the front (1 Kings 7:8), and there then follows in 1 Kings 7:9-12 the description of the stones that were used.
1 Kings 7:2-5
The house of the forest of Lebanon . - This building - so named because it was built, so to speak, of a forest of cedar pillars - is called in the Arabic the “house of his arms,” because, according to 1 Kings 10:17, it also served as a keeping-place for arms:” it is hardly to be regarded, however, as simply an arsenal, but was probably intended for other purposes also. He built it “a hundred cubits its length, fifty cubits its breadth, and thirty cubits its height, on four rows of cedar pillars, and hewn cedar beams (were) over the pillars.” As the building was not merely a hall of pillars, but, according to 1 Kings 7:3, had side-rooms ( צלעת, cf. 1 Kings 6:5) above the pillars, the construction of it can hardly be represented in any other way than this, that the rooms were built upon four rows of pillars, which ran round all four sides of the building, which was 100 cubits long and fifty cubits broad in the inside, and thus surrounded the inner courtyard on all sides. Of course the building could not rest merely upon pillars, but was surrounded on the outside with a strong wall of hewn square stones (1 Kings 7:9), so that the hewn beams which were laid upon the pillars had their outer ends built into the wall, and were supported by it, so as to give to the whole building the requisite strength.
(Note: Thenius therefore supposes that “ the lower part of the armoury formed a peristyle, a fourfold row of pillars running round inside its walls and enclosing a courtyard, so that the Vulgate alone gives the true sense, quatuor deambulacra inter columnas cedrinas ; ” and he points to the court of the palace of Luxor, which has a double row of pillars round it. The number of pillars is not given in the text, but Thenius in his drawing of this building sets it down at 400, which would certainly present a forest-like aspect to any one entering the building. Nevertheless we cannot regard this assumption as correct, because the pillars,which we cannot suppose to have been less than a cubit in thickness, would have been so close to one another that the four rows of pillars could not have formed four deambulacra . As the whole building was only fifty cubits broad, and this breadth included the inner courtyard, we cannot suppose that the sides of the building were more than ten cubits deep, which would leave a breadth of thirty cubits for the court. If then four pillars, each of a cubit in thickness, stood side by side or one behind the other in a space of ten cubits in depth, the distance between the pillars would be only a cubit and a half, that is to say, would be only just enough for one man and no more to walk conveniently through. And what could have been the object of crowding pillars together in this way, so as to render the entire space almost useless? It is on this ground, probably that Hermann Weiss assumes that each side of the oblong building, which was half as broad as it was long, was supported by one row, and therefore all the sides together by four rows of cedar pillars, and the beams of the same material which rested upon them. But this view is hardly a correct one; for it not only does not do justice to the words of the text, “ four rows of pillars, ” but it is insufficient in itself, for the simple reason that one row of pillars on each side would not have afforded the requisite strength and stability to the three stories built upon them, even if we should not suppose the rooms in these stories to be very broad, since the further three rows of pillars, which Weiss assumes in addition, according to 1 Kings 7:3, as the actual supporters of the upper building, have no foundation in the text. The words “ four rows of cedar pillars ” do not absolutely require the assumption that there were four rows side by side or one behind the other on every side of the building; for the assertion that טוּר does not denote a row in the sense of a straight line, but generally signifies a row surrounding and enclosing a space, is refuted by Exodus 28:17, where we read of the four טוּרים of precious stones upon the breastplate of the high priest. - Is it not likely that the truth lies midway between these two views, and that the following is the view most in accordance with the actual fact, namely, that there were four rows of pillars running along the full length of the building, but that they were distributed on the two sides, so that there were only two rows on each side? In this case a person entering from the front would see four rows of pillars running the whole length of the building. In any case the rows of pillars would of necessity be broken in front by the entrance itself.
The utter uncertainty as to the number and position of the four rows of pillars is sufficient in itself to render it quite impossible to draw any plan of the building that could in the slightest degree answer to the reality. Moreover, there is no allusion at all in the description given in the text to either entrance or exit, or to staircases and other things, and the other buildings are still more scantily described, so that nothing certain can be determined with regard to their relative position or their probable connection with one another. For this reason, after studying the matter again and again, I have been obliged to relinquish the intention to illustrate the description in the text by drawings.)
1 Kings 7:3-4
“And roofing in (of) cedar was above the over the side-rooms upon the pillars, five and forty; fifteen the row.” ספן is to be understood of the roofing, as in 1 Kings 6:15 (compare ספּן, 1 Kings 6:15). The numbers “forty-five and fifteen the row” cannot refer to העמּוּדים, but must refer, as Thenius assumes, to הצּלעת as the main idea, which is more precisely defined by העמּוּדים על . If we took it as referring to the pillars, as I myself have formerly done, we should have to assume that there were only galleries or pillar-halls above the lower rows of pillars, which is at variance with הצּלעת . There were forty-five side-rooms, therefore, built upon the lower rows of pillars, in ranges of fifteen each. This could only be done by the ranges of rooms being built, not side by side, but one over the other, in other words, by the forty-five side-rooms forming three stories, as in the side buildings of the temple, so that each story had a “row” of fifteen side-rooms round it. This view receives support from 1 Kings 7:4 : “and beam-layers ( שׁקפים, beams, as in 1 Kings 6:4) were three rows, and outlook against outlook three times;” i.e., the rows of side-rooms were built one over the other by means of layers of beams, so that the rooms had windows opposite to one another three times; that is to say, the windows looking out upon the court were so arranged in the three stories that those on the one side were vis à vis to those on the opposite side of the building. The expression in 1 Kings 7:5, אל־מחזה מחזה מוּל, “window over against window,” compels us to take אל־מחזה in the sense of “opposite to the window” ( אל, versus ), and not, as Thenius proposes, “outlook against outlook,” according to which אל is supposed to indicate that the windows were only separated from one another by slender piers. מחזה, which only occurs here, is different from חלּון, the ordinary window, and probably denotes a large opening affording a wide outlook.
1 Kings 7:5
“And all the doorways and mouldings were square of beams” ( שׁקף is an accusative of free subordination, denoting the material or the mode of execution; cf. Ewald, §284, a ., β ) . “Square with a straight upper beam” (Thenius) cannot be the correct rendering of שׁקף רבעים . Thenius proposes to read והמּחזת for והמּזוּזת, after the reading αἱ χῶραι of the Seventy, who have also rendered מחזה in 1 Kings 7:4 by χῶρα, a broad space. It may be pleaded in support of this, that רבעים taht, is less applicable to the doorposts or mouldings than to the doorways and outlooks (windows), inasmuch as, if the doorways were square, the square form of the moulding or framework would follow as a matter of course. הפּתחים are both the doors, through which the different rooms were connected with one another, and also those through which the building and its stories were reached, of course by stairs, probably winding staircases, as in the side stories of the temple. The stairs were placed, no doubt, at the front of the building. The height given is thirty cubits, corresponding to that of the whole building (1 Kings 7:2). If we reckon the height of the lower pillars at eight cubits, there were twenty-two cubits left for the stories; and assuming that the roofing of each was one cubit in thickness, there remained eighteen cubits in all for the rooms of the three stories; and this, if equally distributed, would give an internal height of six cubits for each story, or if arranged on a graduated scale, which would probably be more appropriate, a height of seven, six, and five cubits respectively.
1 Kings 7:6-8
The other buildings . - 1 Kings 7:6. “And he made the pillar-hall, fifty cubits its length, and thirty cubits its breadth, and a hall in front of them, and pillars and a threshold in front of them.” With regard to the situation of this hall in relation to the other parts of the building, which is not precisely defined, we may infer, from the fact that it is mentioned between the house of the forest of Lebanon and the throne and judgment halls, that it stood between these two. The length of this building (fifty cubits) corresponds to the breadth of the house of the forest of Lebanon; so that, according to the analogy of the temple-hall (1 Kings 6:3), we might picture to ourselves the length given here as running parallel to the breadth of the house of the forest of Lebanon, and might therefore assume that the pillar-hall was fifty cubits broad and thirty cubits deep. But the statement that there was a hall in front of the pillar-hall is irreconcilable with this assumption. We must therefore understand the length in the natural way, as signifying the measurement from back to front, and regard the pillar-hall as a portico fifty cubits long and thirty cubits broad, in front of which there was also a porch as an entrance. על־פּניהם, in front of them, i.e., in front of the pillars which formed this portico. The last words, “and pillars and threshold in front of them,” refer to the porch. This had also pillars, probably on both sides of the doorway, which carried the roof; and in front of them was עב, i.e., according to the Chaldee סקפתא, the moulding or framework of the threshold, a threshold-like entrance, with steps.
1 Kings 7:7
“And the throne-hall, where he judged, the judgment-hall, he made and (indeed) covered with cedar, from floor to floor.” The throne-hall and the judgment-hall are therefore one and the same hall, which was both a court of judgment and an audience-chamber, and in which, no doubt, there stood and splendid throne described in 1 Kings 10:18-20. But it is distinguished from the pillar-hall by the repetition of עשׂה . It probably followed immediately upon this, but was clearly distinguished from it by the fact that it was covered with cedar הקּרקע עד מהקּרקע . These words are very obscure. The rendering given by Thenius, “panelled from the floor to the beams of the roof,” is open to these objections: (1) that ספן generally does not mean to panel, but simply to cover, and that בּארז ספן is particular cannot possibly be taken in a different sense here from that which it bears in 1 Kings 7:3, where it denotes the roofing of the rooms built above the portico of pillars; and (2) that the alteration of the second הקרקע into הקּורות has no critical warrant in the rendering of the Syriac, a fundamento ad coelum ejus usque , or in that of the Vulgate, a pavimento usque ad summitatem , whereas the lxx and Chald. both read הקּרקע עד . But even if we were to read הקּורות, this would not of itself signify the roof beams, inasmuch as in 1 Kings 6:16 הקּירות or הקּורות receives its more precise definition from the expression הסּפּן noisserpx קירות ( קורות ) in 1 Kings 7:15. The words in question cannot have any other meaning than this: “from the one floor to the other,” i.e., either from the floor of the throne-hall to the floor of the pillar-hall (described in 1 Kings 7:6), or more probably from the lower floor to the upper, inasmuch as there were rooms built over the throne-room, just as in the case of the house of the forest of Lebanon; for קרקע may denote not only the lower floor, but also the floor of upper rooms, which served at the same time as the ceiling of the lower rooms. So much, at any rate, may be gathered from these words, with all their obscurity, that the throne-hall was not an open pillar-hall, but was only open in front, and was shut in by solid walls on the other three sides.
1 Kings 7:8
After (behind) the throne and judgment hall then followed the king's own palace, the principal entrance to which was probably through the throne-hall, so that the king really delivered judgment and granted audiences in the gate of his palace. “His house, where he dwelt, in the other court inwards from the (throne) hall was like this work,” i.e., was built like the throne-hall; “and a (dwelling) house he made for the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Solomon had taken, like this hall.” The construction of the dwelling-places of the king and queen cannot be ascertained from these words, because the hall with which its style is compared is not more minutely described. All that can be clearly inferred from the words, “in the other court inside the hall,” is, that the abode of the king and his Egyptian wife had a court of its own, and when looked at from the entrance, formed the hinder court of the whole palace. The house of Pharaoh's daughter was probably distinct from the dwelling-place of the king, so that the palace of the women formed a building by itself, most likely behind the dwelling-house of the king, since the women in the East generally occupy the inner portion of the house. The statement that the dwelling-place of the king and queen formed a court by itself within the complex of the palace, warrants the further inference, that the rest of the buildings (the house of the forest of Lebanon, the pillar-hall, and the throne-hall) were united together in one first or front court.
1 Kings 7:9-12
“All these (viz., the whole of the buildings described in 1 Kings 7:2-8) were costly stones, after the measure of that which is hewn, sawn with the saw within and without (i.e., on the inner and outer side of the halls and buildings), and from the foundation to the corbels, and from without to the great court,” הטּפחות, the corbels, upon which the beams of the roof rest. The lxx renders it ἕως τῶν γεισῶν . Thenius understands by this the battlements which protected the flat roofs, and therefore interprets טפחות as signifying the stone border of the roof of the palace. But γεῖσος, or γεῖσσος γεῖσον, merely signifies the projection of the roof, and, generally speaking, every projection in a building resembling a roof, but not the battlement-like protection or border of the flat roof, which is called מעקה in Deuteronomy 22:8. חוּץ, the outside in distinction from the great court, can only be the outer court; and as הגּדולה החצר is no doubt identical with האחרת חצר (1 Kings 7:8), and therefore refers to the court surrounding the king's dwelling-house, חוּץ is to be understood as relating to the court-yard or fore-court surrounding the front halls.
1 Kings 7:10-11
“And the foundation was laid with costly, large stones of ten and eight cubits (sc., in length, and of corresponding breadth and thickness). And above (the foundation, and therefore the visible walls, were) costly stones, after the measure of that which is hewn, and cedars.”
1 Kings 7:12
And (as for) the great court, there were found it three rows (i.e., it was formed of three rows) of hewn stones and a row of hewn cedar beams, as in the inner court of the house of Jehovah (see at 1 Kings 6:36) and the hall of the house. ולחצר signifies “and so with the court,” Vav serving as a comparison, as in Proverbs 25:20, and frequently in Proverbs (see Dietrich in Ges. Lex. x.v ., ו and Ewald, §340, b .), so that there is no necessity for the un-Hebraic conjecture of Thenius, כּלחצר . הבּית לאוּלם in all probability refers not to the temple-hall, but to the pillar-hall of the palace, the surrounding wall of which was of the same nature as the wall of the great, i.e., the other or hinder, court.
(Note: The situation of this palace in Jerusalem is not defined. Ewald supposes ( Gesch . iii. p. 317) that it was probably built on the southern continuation of the temple-mountain, commonly called Ophel, i.e., Hill. But “ nothing more is needed to convince us that it cannot have stood upon Ophel, than a single glance at any geographical outline of Ophel on one of the best of the modern maps, and a recollection of the fact that, according to Nehemiah 3:26, Nehemiah 3:31, it was upon Ophel, where the king ' s palace is said to have stood, that the temple-socagers and shopkeepers had their places of abode after the captivity ” (Thenius). The view held by earlier travellers and pilgrims to Zion, and defended by Berggren (p. 109ff.), namely, that the ancient Solomonian and Asmonaean palaces stood upon Moriah on the western side of the temple, is equally untenable. For the xystus, above which, according to Josephus, Bell. Jud . ii. 16, 3, the Asmonaean palace stood, was connected with the temple by a bridge, and therefore did not stand upon Moriah, but upon Zion or the ἄνω πόλις, since this bridge, according to Josephus, Bell. Jud . vi. 6, 2, connected the temple with the upper city. Moreover, it clearly follows from the passages of Josephus already noticed (pp. 61f.), in which he refers to the substructures of the temple area, that the temple occupied the whole of Moriah towards the west, and extended as far as the valley of the Tyropoeon, and consequently there was no room for a palace on that side. When Josephus affirms, therefore ( Ant . viii. 5, 2), that Solomon ' s palace stood opposite to the temple ( ἄντικρυς ἔχων ναόν ), it can only have been built on the north-east side of Zion, as most of the modern writers assume (see W. Krafft, Topographie Jerus . p. 114ff., and Berggr. p. 110). This is sustained not only by the probability that the Asmonaeans would hardly build their palace anywhere else than on the spot where the palace of the kings of Judah built by Solomon stood, but also by the account of the elevation of Joash to the throng in 2 Kings 11 and 2 Chron 23, from which it is perfectly obvious that the royal palace stood upon Zion opposite to the temple.)
The Metallic Vessels of the Temple (compare 2 Chronicles 2:13-14, and 3:15-5:1). - 1 Kings 7:13, 1 Kings 7:14. To make these vessels king Hiram had sent to Solomon, at his request (2 Chronicles 2:6), a workman named Hiram of Tyre. 1 Kings 7:13 contains a supplementary remark, in which ויּשׁלח must be rendered in the pluperfect (compare the remarks on Genesis 2:19). King Solomon had sent and fetched Hiram from Tyre. This artisan bore the same name as the king, חירם or חירום (1 Kings 7:40), in 2 Chronicles 2:13 חוּרם (Huram), with the epithet אבי, i.e., my father, אב being a title of honour equivalent to master or counsellor, as in Genesis 45:8. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was צרי אישׁ, i.e., a Tyrian by birth. According to 2 Chronicles 2:13, his mother was “of the daughters of Dan,” i.e., of the tribe of Dan. Both statements may easily be united thus: she was a Danite by birth, and married into the tribe of Naphtali. When her husband died, she was married again as the widow of a Naphtalite, and became the wife of a Tyrian, to whom she bore a son, Hiram . This explanation is also adopted by Bertheau (on the Chronicles); and the conjecture of Lundius, Thenius, and others, that the mother was an Israelitish widow of the city of Dan in the tribe of Naphtali, which was quite close to Tyre, is less in harmony with the expression “of the daughters of Dan.” נחשׁה חרשׁ, “a brass-worker,” refers to הוּא (he), i.e., Hiram, and not to his father (Thenius). The skill of Hiram is described in almost the same terms as that of Bezaleel in Exodus 31:3., with this exception, that Bezaleel's skill is attributed to his being filled with the Spirit of God, i.e., is described rather as a supernatural gift, whereas in the case of Hiram the more indefinite expression, “he was filled with wisdom, etc.,” is used, representing it rather as a natural endowment. In the account given here, Hiram is merely described as a worker in brass, because he is only mentioned at the commencement of the section which treats of the preparation of the brazen vessels of the temple. According to 2 Chronicles 2:14, he was able to work in gold, silver, brass, iron, stone, wood, purple, etc. There is nothing improbable in this extension of his skill to wood and to the art of weaving. Bezaleel also combined in himself all these talents. Of course Hiram was merely a foreman or leader of these different branches of art; and he certainly did not come alone, but brought several assistants with him, who carried out the different works under his superintendence. - The enumeration of them commences with the pillars of the temple-hall.
The brazen pillars of the porch (compare 2 Chronicles 3:15-17). - He formed the two brazen pillars, which were erected, according to 2 Chronicles 3:15, “before the (temple) house, i.e., in front of the hall of the temple. One was eighteen cubits high, and a thread of twelve cubits surrounded (spanned) the other pillar.” The statement of the height of the one pillar and that of the circumference of the other is to be understood as an abbreviated expression, signifying that the height and thickness mentioned applied to the one as well as to the other, or that they were alike in height and circumference. According to the Chronicles, they were thirty-five cubits long; which many expositors understand as signifying that the length of the two together was thirty-five cubits, so that each one was only 17 1/2 cubits long, for which the full number 18 is substituted in our text. But this mode of reconciling the discrepancy is very improbable, and is hardly in harmony with the words of the Chronicles. The number 35 evidently arose from confounding the numeral letters יח = 18 with לה = 35. The correctness of the number 18 is confirmed by 2 Kings 25:17 and Jeremiah 52:21. The pillars were hollow, the brass being four finger-breadths in thickness (Jeremiah 52:21); and they were cast in the Jordan valley (1 Kings 7:46).
1 Kings 7:16
“And he made two capitals ( כּתרות ), to set them on the heads of the pillars, cast in brass, five cubits the height of the one and of the other capital.” If, on the other hand, in 2 Kings 25:17 the height of the capital is said to have been three cubits, this discrepancy cannot be explained on the supposition that the capitals had been reduced two cubits in the course of time; but the statement rests, like the parallel passage in Jeremiah 52:22, upon an error of the text, i.e., upon the substitution of ג (3) for ה (5).
1 Kings 7:17
“Plait (i.e., ornaments of plait), plait-work and cords (twist, resembling) chain-work, were on the capitals, which were upon the heads of the pillars, seven on the one capital and seven on the other capital.” Consequently this decoration consisted of seven twists arranged as festoons, which were hung round the capitals of the pillars.
1 Kings 7:18
“And he made pomegranates, and indeed two rows round about the one twist, to cover the capitals which were upon the head of the pillars; and so he did with the other capital.” In the Masoretic text the words העמּוּדים and הרמּנים are confused together, and we must read, as some of the Codd. do, in the first clause את־הרמּנים for את־העמּוּדים, and in the middle clause העמּוּדים על־ראשׁ for הרמּנים על־ראשׁ . This is not only required by the sense, but sustained by a comparison with 1 Kings 7:19. The relation between the two rows of pomegranates and the plaited work is indeed not precisely defined; but it is generally and correctly assumed, that one row ran round the pillars below the plaited work and the other above, so that the plaited work, which was formed of seven cords plaited together in the form of festoons, was enclosed above and below by the rows of pomegranates. If we compare with this the further statements in 1 Kings 7:41, 1 Kings 7:42, 2 Chronicles 3:16 and 2 Chronicles 4:12-13, and Jeremiah 52:23, הכּתרת is there more precisely designated הכּתרת גּלות, “bowls of the capitals,” from which it is evident that the lower portion of the capitals, to which the braided work was fastened, was rounded in the form of a pitcher or caldron. the number of the pomegranates on the two festoons is given at 400, so that there were 200 on each capital, and consequently each row contained 100 (2 Chronicles 3:16); and according to Jer. ( l.c .) there were 96 רוּחה, “windwards,” and in all 100 on the braided work round about. רוּחה, “windwards,” can hardly be taken in any other sense than this: in the direction of the wine, i.e., facing the four quarters of the heavens. This meaning is indisputably sustained by the use of the word רוּח, to denote the quarters of the heavens, in statements of the aspect of buildings (Ezekiel 42:16-18), whereas there is no foundation whatever for such meanings as “airwards = uncovered” (Böttcher, Thenius), or hanging freely (Ewald).
(Note: It is hardly necessary to observe, that the expression רוּח שׁאף, to gasp for air, in Jeremiah 2:24; Jeremiah 14:6, does not warrant our giving to רוּחה the meaning open or uncovered, as Böttcher supposes. But when Thenius follows Böttcher ( Proben, p. 335) in adducing in support of this the fact “ that the tangent, which is drawn to any circle divided into a hundred parts, covers exactly four of these parts, ” the fact rests upon a simple error, inasmuch as any drawing will show that a tangent only touches one point of a circle divided into a hundred parts. And the remark of Böttcher, “ If you describe on the outside of a circle of twelve cubits in circumference a hundred small circles of twelve-hundredths of a cubit in diameter, a tangent drawn thereupon will cover to the eye exactly four small circles, although mathematically it touches only one of them in one point, ” is not correct according to any measurement. For if the tangent touches one of these smaller circles with mathematical exactness, to the eye there will be covered either three or five half circles, or even seven, but never four.)
1 Kings 7:19-20
In 1 Kings 7:19 and 1 Kings 7:20 a second decoration of the capitals of the pillars is mentioned, from which we may see that the rounding with the chain-like plaited work and the pomegranates enclosing it did not cover the capital to the very top, but only the lower portion of it. The decoration of the upper part is described in 1 Kings 7:19 : “And capitals, which were upon the top of the pillars, were (or, Hiram made) lily-work after the manner of the hall, four cubits.” The lily-work occupied, according to 1 Kings 7:20, the upper portion of the capitals, which is here called כּתרת, as a crown set upon the lower portion. It was lily-work, i.e., sculpture in the form of flowering lilies. The words אמּות ארבּע בּאוּלם are obscure. According to Böttcher and Thenius, בּאוּלם is intended to indicate the position of the pillars within the hall, so that their capitals sustained the lintel of the doorway. But even if בּאוּלם were rendered, within the hall, as it is by Böttcher, it is impossible to see how this meaning could be obtained from the words “capitals upon the head of the pillars lily-work within the hall.” In that case we must at least have “the pillars within the hall;” and בּאוּלם would be connected with העמּוּדים, instead of being separated from it by שׁוּשׁן מעשׂה . Even if we were to introduce a stop after שׁוּשׁן and take בּאוּלם by itself, the expression “in (or at) the hall” would not in itself indicate the position of the pillars in the doorway, to say nothing of the fact that it is only in 1 Kings 7:21 that anything is said concerning the position of the pillars. Again, the measurement “four cubits” cannot be understood, as it is by Thenius, as denoting the diameter of the capitals of the pillars; it must rather indicate the measure of the lily-work, that is to say, it affirms that there were four cubits of lily-work on the capitals, which were five cubits high, - in other words, the lily-work covered the four upper cubits of the capitals; from which it still further follows, that the plaited work which formed the decoration of the lower portion of the capitals was only one cubit broad or high. Consequently בּאוּלם cannot be understood in any other sense than “in the manner of or according to the hall,” and can only express the thought, that there was lily-work on the capitals of the pillars as there was on the hall. For the vindication of this use of בּ see Ges. Lex . by Dietrich, s.v. בּ .
(Note: This is the way in which the earlier translators appear to have understood it: e.g., lxx ἕργον κρίνου κατὰ τὸ αὐλὰμ τεσσάρων πηχῶν ( “ lily-work according to the hall four cubits ” ); Vulg. Capitella... quasi opere lilii fabricata erant in porticu quatuor cubitorum; Chald. ארבע אמּין עובד שׁושׁנתא לקיט בוּלמּא ( opus liliaceum collectum in porticu quatuor cubitorum ); Syr. opus liliaceum idem fecit (Syr . wa - ( e kad ke)set[a4wa4) ) in porticu quatuor cubitis . These readings appear to be based upon the view supported by Rashi ( בּאוּלם for כּאוּלם ): lily-work as it was in the hall.)
There is no valid objection to the inference to which this leads, namely, that on the frontispiece of the temple-hall there was a decoration of lily-work. For since the construction of the hall is not more minutely described, we cannot expect a description of its decorations. - In 1 Kings 7:20 a more precise account is given of the position in which the crowns consisting of lily-work were placed on the capitals of this columns, so that this verse is to be regarded as an explanation of 1 Kings 7:19 : namely, capitals upon the pillars (did he make) also above near the belly, which was on the other side of the plait-work.” הבּטן, the belly, i.e., the belly-shaped rounding, can only be the rounding of the lower portion of the capitals, which is called גּלה in 1 Kings 7:41, 1 Kings 7:42. Hence השּׂבכה לעבר ( Keri ), “on the other side of the plaited work,” can only mean behind or under the plait, since we cannot suppose that there was a belly-shaped rounding above the caldron-shaped rounding which was covered with plaited work, and between this and the lily-work. The belly-shaped rounding, above or upon which the plaited work lay round about, might, when looked at from without, be described as being on the other side of it, i.e., behind it. In the second half of the verse: “and the pomegranates two hundred in rows round about on the second capital,” the number of the pomegranates placed upon the capitals, which was omitted in 1 Kings 7:18, is introduced in a supplementary form.
(Note: Hermann Weiss ( Kostümkunde, i. p. 367) agrees in the main with the idea worked out in the text; but he assumes, on the ground of monumental views, that the decoration was of a much simpler kind, and one by no means out of harmony with the well-known monumental remains of the East. In his opinion, the pillars consisted of “ a shaft nineteen cubits in height, surrounded at the top, exactly after the fashion of the ornamentation of the Egyptian pillars, with seven bands decorated like plaited work, which unitedly covered a cubit, in addition to which there was the lily-work of five cubits in height, i.e., a slender capital rising up in the form of the calyx of a lily, ornamented with pomegranates. ” Our reasons for dissenting from this opinion are given in the exposition of the different verses.)
1 Kings 7:21
“And he set up the pillars at the hall of the Holy Place, and set up the right pillar, and called its name Jachin, and ... the left... Boaz .” Instead of ההיכל לאוּלם we have in 2 Chronicles 3:15 הבּית לפני, and in 2 Chronicles 3:17 ההיכל על־פּני, “before the house,” “before the Holy Place.” This unquestionably implies that the two brazen pillars stood unconnected in front of the hall, on the right and left sides of it, and not within the hall as supporters of the roof. Nevertheless many have decided in favour of the latter view. But of the four arguments used by Thenius in proof that this was the position of the pillars, there is no force whatever in the first, which is founded upon Amos 9:1, unless we assume, as Merz and others do, that the words of the prophet, “Smite the capital, that the thresholds may shake, and break them (the capitals of the pillars), that they may fall upon the head of all,” refer to the temple at Jerusalem, and not, as Thenius and others suppose, to the temple erected at Bethel for the calf-worship. For even if the temple at Bethel had really had a portal supported by pillars, it would by no means follow that the pillars Jachin and Boaz in Solomon's temple supported the roof of the hall, as it is nowhere stated that the temple of Jeroboam at Bethel was an exact copy of that of Solomon. And even with the only correct interpretation, in which the words of Amos are made to refer to the temple at Jerusalem, the argument founded upon them in support of the position of the pillars as bearers of the hall rests upon the false idea, that the ספּים, which are shaken by the smiting of the capital, are the beams lying upon the top of the pillars, or the superliminaria of the hall. It is impossible to prove that סף has any such meaning. The beam over the entrance, or upon the doorposts, is called משׁקוף in Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:22-23, whereas סף denotes the threshold, i.e., the lower part of the framework of the door, as is evident from Judges 19:27. The words of the prophet are not to be interpreted architecturally, but to be taken in a rhetorical sense; “so that by the blow, which strikes the capital, and causes the thresholds to tremble, such a blow is intended as shakes the temple in all its joints” (Baur on Amos 9:1). “ הכּפתּור, a kind of ornament at the top of the pillars, and הסּפּים, the thresholds, are opposed to one another, to express the thought that the building is to be shaken and destroyed a summo usque ad imum, a capite ad calcem ” (Hengstenberg, Chrisol . i. p. 366 transl.). The other arguments derived from Ezekiel 40:48 and Ezekiel 40:49, and from Josephus, Ant . viii. 3, 4, prove nothing at all. From the words of Josephus, τούτων τῶν κιόνων τὸν μέν ἕτερον κατὰ τὴν δεξιὰν ἔστησε τοῦ προπυλαίου παραστάδα ... τὸν δὲ ἕτερον κ.τ.λ., it would only follow “that the pillars (according to the view of Josephus) must have stood in the doorway,” if it were the case that παραστάς had no other meaning than doorpost, and προπύλαιον could be understood as referring to the temple-hall generally. But this is conclusively disproved by the fact that Josephus always calls the temple-hall πρόναον ( l.c ., and viii. 3, 2 and 3), so that προπύλαιον can only denote the fore-court, and παραστάς a pillar standing by itself. Consequently Josephus regarded the pillars Jachin and Boaz as propylaea erected in front of the hall. We must therefore adhere to the view expressed by Bähr ( d. Tempel, p. 35ff.), that these pillars did not support the roof of the temple-hall, but were set up in front of the hall on either side of the entrance. In addition to the words of the text, this conclusion is sustained (1) by the circumstance that the two pillars are not mentioned in connection with the building of the temple and the hall, but are referred to for the first time here in the enumeration of the sacred vessels of the court that were made of brass. “If the pillars had formed an essential part of the construction and had been supporters of the hall, they would certainly have been mentioned in the description of the building, and not have been placed among the articles of furniture” (Schnaase); and moreover they would not have been made of metal like the rest of the vessels, but would have been constructed of the same building materials as the hall and the house, namely, of stone or wood (Bähr). And to this we may add (2) the monumental character of the pillars, which is evident from the names given to them. No architectural portion of the building received a special name.
(Note: Stieglitz ( Gesch. der Baukunst, p. 127) aptly observes in relation to this: “ The architect cannot subscribe to Meyer ' s view (that the pillars were supporters of the hall), since it was only through their independent position that the pillars received the solemn character intended to be given to them, and by their dignity subserved the end designed, of exalting the whole building and calling attention to the real purpose of the whole. ” )
Jachin ( יכין ): “he establishes,” stabiliet templum (Simonis Onom . p. 430); and Boaz ( בּעז ), ex עז בּו in illo , sc. Domino, robur (Sim. p. 460). Kimchi has correctly interpreted the first name thus: “Let this temple stand for ever;” and the second, “Solomon desired that God would give it strength and endurance.” The pillars were symbols of the stability and strength, which not only the temple as an outward building, but the kingdom of God in Israel as embodied in the temple, received from the Lord, who had chosen the temple to be His dwelling-place in the midst of His people.
(Note: There is no necessity to refute the fanciful notion of Ewald, that these pillars, “ when they were erected and consecrated, were certainly named after men who were held in estimation at that time, probably after the younger sons of Solomon, ” and that of Thenius, that בּעז יכין, “ He (the Lord) establishes with strength, ” was engraved upon them as an inscription.)
1 Kings 7:22
In 1 Kings 7:22 it is stated again that there was lily-work upon the head of the pillars, - a repetition which may be explained from the significance of this emblem of the capitals of the pillars; and then the words, “So was the work of the capitals finished,” bring the account of this ornament of the temple to a close.
The brazen sea (cf. 2 Chronicles 4:2-5). - “He made the molten sea - a water-basin called ים ( mare ) on account of its size - ten cubits from the one upper rim to the other,” i.e., in diameter measured from the upper rim to the one opposite to it, “rounded all round, and five cubits its (external) height, and a line of thirty cubits encircled it round about,” i.e., it was thirty cubits in circumference. The Chethib קוה is to be read קוה here and in Zechariah 1:16 and Jeremiah 31:39, for which the Keri has קו in all these passages. קוה or קו means a line for measuring, which is expressed in 1 Kings 7:15 by חוּט . The relation of the diameter to the circumference is expressed in whole numbers which come very near to the mathematical proportions. The more exact proportions would be as 7 to 22, or 113 to 355.
1 Kings 7:24
Any colocynths (gourds) ran round it under its brim, ten to the cubit, surrounding the sea in two rows; the colocynths “cast in its casting,” i.e., cast at the same time as the vessel itself. Instead of פּקעים, gourds (see at 1 Kings 6:18), we find בּקרים דּמוּת, figures of oxen, in the corresponding text of the Chronicles, and in the last clause merely הבּקר, an evident error of the pen, בקרים being substituted by mistake for פקעים, and afterwards interpreted בקרים דמות . The assumption by which the early expositors removed the discrepancy, namely, that they were casts of bullocks' heads, is not to be thought of, for the simple reason that בקרים signifies oxen and not the heads of oxen. How far apart the two rows of gourd-like ornaments were, it is impossible to decide. Their size may be estimated, from the fact that there were ten within the space of a cubit, at a little over two inches in diameter.
1 Kings 7:25
This vessel stood (rested) upon twelve brazen oxen, three turning to the north, three to the west, three to the south, and three to the east, “and the sea above upon them, and all their backs (turned) inwards;” i.e., they were so placed that three of their heads were directed towards each quarter of the heavens. The size of the oxen is not given; but we must assume that it was in proportion to the size and height of the sea, and therefore about five cubits in height up to the back. These figures stood, no doubt, upon a metal plate, which gave them a fixed and immoveable position (see the engraving in my bibl. Archäol . Taf. iii. fig. 1).
1 Kings 7:26
“And its thickness (i.e., the thickness of the metal) was a handbreadth” = four finger-breadths, as in the case of the brazen pillars (see at 1 Kings 7:15), “and its upper rim like work of a goblet (or of a goblet-rim, i.e., bent outwards), lily-blossom,” i.e., ornamented with lily-flowers. It held 2000 baths; according to the Chronicles, 3000 baths. The latter statement has arisen from the confusion of ג (3) with ב (2); since, according to the calculation of Thenius, the capacity of the vessel, from the dimensions given, could not exceed 2000 baths. This vessel, which took the place of the laver in the tabernacle, was provided for the priests to wash themselves (2 Chronicles 4:6), that is to say, that a supply of water might be kept in readiness to enable the priests to wash their hands and feet when they approached the altar to officiate, or were about to enter the Holy Place (Exodus 30:18.). There were no doubt taps by which the water required for this purpose was drawn off from the sea.
(Note: For the different conjectures on this subject, see Lundius, jud. Heiligthümer, p. 356. Thenius supposes that there was also a provision for filling the vessel, since the height of it would have rendered it a work of great labour and time to fill it by hand, and that there was probably a pipe hidden behind the figures of the oxen, since, according to Aristeas, histor . lxx Interp ., Oxon. 1692, p. 32 (also Eusebii praep. evang . ix. 38), there were openings concealed at the foot of the altar, out of which water was allowed to run at certain seasons for the requisite cleansing of the pavement of the court from the blood of the sacrifices; and there is still a fountain just in the neighbourhood of the spot on which, according to 1 Kings 7:39, the brazen sea must have stood (see Schultz ' s plan); and in the time of the Crusaders there was a large basin, covered by a dome supported by columns (see Robinson, Pal . i. 446). But even if the later temple was supplied with the water required by means of artificial water-pipes, the Solomonian origin of these arrangements or designs is by no means raised even to the rank of probability.)
- The artistic form of the vessel corresponded to its sacred purpose. The rim of the basin, which rose upwards in the form of a lily, was intended to point to the holiness and loveliness of that life which issued from the sanctuary. The twelve oxen, on which it rested, pointed to the twelve tribes of Israel as a priestly nation, which cleansed itself here in the persons of its priests, to appear clean and holy before the Lord. Just as the number twelve unquestionably suggests the allusion to the twelve tribes of the covenant nation, so, in the choice of oxen or bullocks as supporters of the basin, it is impossible to overlook the significance of this selection of the first and highest of the sacrificial animals to represent the priestly service, especially if we compare the position of the lions on Solomon's throne (1 Kings 10:20).
The Brazen Stands and Their Basins.
(Note: The description which follows will be more easily understood by comparing it with the sketch given in my biblische Archäologie, Taf. iii. fig. 4.)
- He made ten stands of brass, each four cubits long, four cubits broad, and three cubits high. מכנות, stands or stools (Luther), is the name given to these vessels from their purpose, viz., to serve as supports to the basins which were used for washing the flesh of the sacrifices. They were square chests cast in brass, of the dimensions given.
1 Kings 7:28-29
Their work (their construction) was the following: they had מסגּרות, lit., surroundings, i.e., panels of flat sides, and that between שׁלבּים, commissurae, i.e., frames or borders, which enclosed the sides, and were connected together at the angles; and upon the panels within the borders (there were figures of) lions, oxen, and cherubim. The statement in Josephus, that each centre was divided into three compartments, has nothing to support it in the biblical text, nor is it at all probable in itself, inasmuch as a division of this kind would have rendered the figures placed upon them insignificantly small. “And upon the borders was a base above.” כּן is a noun, and has been rendered correctly by the Chaldee כנתא, basis . The meaning is, above, over the borders, there was a pedestal for the basin upon the chest, which is more fully described in 1 Kings 7:31. To take כּן as an adverb does not give a suitable sense. For if we adopt the rendering, and upon the corner borders (or ledges) likewise above (De Wette and Ewald), - i.e., there were also figures of lions, oxen, and cherubim upon the corner borders, - it is impossible to tell what the meaning of ממּעל can be, to say nothing of the fact that on the corner borders there could hardly be room for such figures as these. This last argument also tells against the rendering adopted by Thenius: “and upon the corner borders, above as well as below the lions and oxen, (there were) wreaths;” in which, moreover, it is impossible to attach any supportable meaning to the כּן . When, on the other hand, Thenius objects to our view that the pedestal in question is spoken of for the first time in 1 Kings 7:31, and that the expression “above the corner borders (ledges)” would be extremely unsuitable, since the pedestal in question was above the whole stand; the former remark is not quite correct, for 1 Kings 7:31 merely contains a more minute description of the character of the pedestal, and the latter is answered by the fact that the pedestal derived its strength from the corner borders or ledges. “And below the lions and oxen were wreaths, pendant work.” ליות, here and at 1 Kings 7:36, is to be explained from לויה in Proverbs 1:9 and Proverbs 4:9, and signifies twists or wreaths. מורד מעשׂה is not “work of sinking,” i.e., sunken work (Thenius), which never can be the meaning of מורד, but pendant work, festoons, by which, however, we cannot understand festoons hanging freely, or floating in the air.
1 Kings 7:30
“Every stool had four brazen wheels and brazen axles, and the four feet thereof had shoulder-pieces; below the basin were the shoulder-pieces cast, beyond each one (were) wreaths.” The meaning is that the square chests stood upon axles with wheels of brass, after the style of ordinary carriage wheels (1 Kings 7:33), so that they could be driven or easily moved from one place to another; and that they did not rest directly upon the axles, but stood upon four feet, which were fastened upon the axles. This raised the chest above the rim of the wheels, so that not only were the sides of the chest which were ornamented with figures left uncovered, but, according to 1 Kings 7:32, the wheels stood below the panels, and not, as in ordinary carriages, at the side of the chest. With regard to the connection between the axles and the wheels, Gesenius ( Thes . p. 972) and Thenius suppose that the axles were fastened to the wheels, as in the Roman plaustra and at the present day in Italy, so as to turn with them; and Thenius argues in support of this, that להם is to be connected not only with what immediately precedes, but also with נהשׁת סרני . But this latter is unfounded; and the idea is altogether irreconcilable with the fact that the wheels had naves ( חשּׁקים, 1 Kings 7:33), from which we must infer that they revolved upon the axles. The words להם כּתפת פעמתיו וארבּעה are ambiguous.They may either be rendered, “and its four feet had shoulder-pieces,” or, as Thenius supposes, “and its four feet served as shoulder-pieces.” פּעמת means stepping feet, feet bent out as if for stepping (Exodus 25:12). The suffix attached to פעמתיו refers to מכונה, the masculine being often used indefinitely instead of the feminine, as in להם in 1 Kings 7:28. Thenius compares these feet to the ἁμαξόποδες of the Greeks, and imagines that they were divided below, like fork-shaped upright contrivances, in which, as in forks, the wheels turned with the axles, so that the axle-peg, which projected outwards, had a special apparatus, instead of the usual pin, in the form of a stirrup-like and on the lower side hand-shaped holder ( יד ), which was fastened to the lower rim of the מכונה, and descended perpendicularly so as to cover the foot, and the general arrangement of the wheels themselves received greater strength in consequence. These feet, which were divided in the shape of forks, are supposed to be called כּתפת (shoulders), because they were not attached underneath at the edge of the stand, but being cast with the corner rims passed down in the inner angles, so that their uppermost portion was under the basin, and the lowest portion was under the stand, which we are to picture to ourselves as without a bottom, and projecting as a split foot, held the wheel, and so formed its shoulder-pieces. But we cannot regard this representation as either in accordance with the text, or as really correct. Even if להם כּתפת could in any case be grammatically rendered, “they served them (the wheels and axles) as shoulders,” although it would be a very questionable course to take להם in a different sense here from that which it bears in the perfectly similar construction in 1 Kings 7:28, the feet which carried the stand could not possibly be called the shoulders of the wheels and their axles, since they did not carry the wheels, but the מכונה . Moreover, this idea is irreconcilable with the following words: “below the basin were the shoulder-pieces cast.” If, for example, as Thenius assumes, the mechonah head a cover which was arched like a dome, and had a neck in the centre into which the basin was inserted by its lower rim, the shoulder-pieces, supposing that they were cast upon the inner borders of the chest, would not be below the basin, but simply below the corners of the lid of the chest, so that they would stand in no direct relation whatever to the basin. We must therefore give the preference to the rendering, which is grammatically the most natural one, “and its feet had shoulder-pieces,” and understand the words as signifying that from the feet, which descended of course from the four corner borders of the chest down to the axles, there ascended shoulder-pieces, which ran along the outside of the chest and reached to the lower part of the basin which was upon the lid of the chest, and as shoulders either supported or helped to support it. According to 1 Kings 7:34, these shoulder-pieces were so cast upon the four corners of the chest, that they sprang out of it as it were. ליות אישׁ מעבר, opposite to each one were wreaths. Where these festoons were attached, the various senses in which מעבר is used prevent our deciding with certainty. At any rate, we must reject the alternation proposed by Thenius, of ליות into לאחת, for the simple reason that לאחת אישׁ in the sense of “one to the other” would not be Hebraic.
1 Kings 7:31-34
In 1 Kings 7:31 we have a description of the upper portion of the mechonah, which formed the pedestal for the basin, and therewith an explanation of לכּיּר מתּחת . “And the mouth of it (the basin) was within the crown and upwards with a cubit, and the mouth of it (the crown) was rounded, stand-work, a cubit and a half (wide), and on its mouth also there was engraved work, and its panels were square, not round.” To understand this verse, we must observe that, according to 1 Kings 7:35, the mechonah chest was provided at the top with a dome-shaped covering, in the centre of which there was an elevation resembling the capital of a pillar ( הכּתרת, the crown), supporting the basin, which was inserted into it by its lower rim. The suffix in פּיהוּ (its mouth) is supposed by Thenius to refer to the mechonah chest, and he questions the allusion to the basin, on the ground that this was so flat that a mouth -like opening could not possibly be spoken of, and the basins were never within the mechonah . But however correct these two remarks may be in themselves, they by no means demonstrate the necessity of taking פּיהוּ as referring to the mechonah chest. For פּה (the mouth) is not necessarily to be understood as denoting a mouth-like opening to the basin; but just as ראשׁ פּי in Exodus 28:32 signifies the opening of the clothes for the head, i.e., for putting the head through when putting on the clothes, so may פּיהוּ (its mouth) be the opening or mouth for the basin, i.e., the opening into which the basin fitted and was emptied, the water in the basin being let off into the mechonah chest through the head-shaped neck by means of a tap or plug. The mouth was really the lower or contracted portion of the shell-shaped basin, which was about a cubit in height within the neck and upwards, that is to say, in all, inasmuch as it went partly into the neck and rose in part above it. The פּיה (the mouth thereof) which follows is the (upper) opening of the crown-like neck of the lid of the mechonah . This was rounded, מעשׂה־כן, stand-work, i.e., according to De Wette's correct paraphrase, formed after the style of the foot of a pillar, a cubit and a half in diameter. “And also upon the mouth of it (the mechonah ) was carved work.” The גּם (also) refers to the fact that the sides of the mechonah were already ornamented with carving. מסגּרתיהם, the panels of the crown-like neck ( כּתרת ) and its mouth ( פּיה ) were square, like the panels of the sides of the mechonah chest. The fact that panels are spoken of in connection with this neck, may be explained on the assumption that with its height of one cubit and its circumference of almost five cubits (which follows from its having a diameter of a cubit and a half) it had stronger borders of brass to strengthen its bearing power, while between them it consisted of thinner plates, which are called fillings or panels. - In 1 Kings 7:32, 1 Kings 7:33, the wheels are more minutely described. Every stool had four wheels under the panels, i.e., not against the sides of the chest, but under them, and ידות, hands or holders of the wheels, i.e., special contrivances for fastening the wheels to the axles, probably larger and more artistically worked than the linch-pins of ordinary carriages. These ידות were only required when the wheels turned upon the axles, and not when they were fastened to them. The height of the wheel was a cubit and a half, i.e., not half the height, but the whole. For with a half height of a cubit and a half the wheels would have been three cubits in diameter; and as the chest was only four cubits long, the hinder wheels and front wheels would almost have touched one another. The work (construction) of the wheels resembled that of (ordinary) carriage wheels; but everything about them (holders, felloes, spokes, and naves) was cast in brass. - In 1 Kings 7:34 the description passes to the upper portion of the mechonah . “And he made four shoulder-pieces at the four corners of one (i.e., of every) stand; out of the stand were its shoulder-pieces.” כּתפות are the shoulder-pieces already mentioned in 1 Kings 7:30, which were attached to the feet below, or which terminated in feet. They were fastened to the corners in such a way that they seemed to come out of them; and they rose above the corners with a slight inclination (curve) towards the middle of the neck or capital, till they came under the outer rim of the basin which rested upon the capital of the lid of the chest, so as to support the basin, which turned considerably outwards at the top.
1 Kings 7:35-36
“And on the upper part of the stand (the mechonah chest) half a cubit high was rounded all round, and on the upper part were its holders, and its panels out of it. המּכונה ראשׁ is the upper portion of the square chest. This was not flat, but rounded, i.e., arched, so that the arching rose half a cubit high above the height of the sides. This arched covering (or lid) had ידות, holders, and panels, which were therefore upon the upper part of the מכונה . The holders we take to be strong broad borders of brass, which gave the lid the necessary firmness; and the fillings or panels are the thinner plates of brass between them. They were both ממּנּה, “out of it,” out of the upper part of the mechonah, i.e., cast along with it. With regard to the decoration of it, 1 Kings 7:36 states that “he cut out (engraved) upon the plates of its holders, and upon its panels, cherubim, lions, and palms, according to the empty space of every one, and wreaths all round.” We cannot determine anything further with regard to the distribution of these figures.
1 Kings 7:37-38
“Thus he made the ten stools of one kind of casting, measure, and form, and also ten brazen basins ( כּיּרות ), each holding forty baths, and each basin four cubits.” In a round vessel this can only be understood of the diameter, not of the height or depth, as the basins were set upon ( על ) the stands. על־המּכונה אחד כּיּור is dependent upon ויּעשׂ : he made ten basins, ... one basin upon a stand for the ten stands, i.e., one basin for each stand. If then the basins were a cubit in diameter at the top, and therefore their size corresponded almost exactly to the length and breadth of the stand, whilst the crown-like neck, into which they were inserted, was only a cubit and a half in diameter (1 Kings 7:31), their shape must have resembled that of widespreading shells. And the form thus given to them required the shoulder-pieces described in 1 Kings 7:30 and 1 Kings 7:34 as supports beneath the outer rim of the basins, to prevent their upsetting when the carriage was wheeled about.
(Note: The description which Ewald has given of these stands in his Geschichte, iii. pp. 311,312, and still more elaborately in an article in the Göttingen Gelehrten Nachr . 1859, pp. 131-146, is not only obscure, but almost entirely erroneous, since he proposes in the most arbitrary way to make several alterations in the biblical text, on the assumption that the Solomonian stands were constructed just like the small bronze four-wheeled kettle-carriages (hardly a foot in size) which have been discovered in Mecklenburg, Steyermark, and other places of Europe. See on this subject G. C. F. Lisch, “ über die ehernen Wagenbecken der Bronzezeit, ” in the Jahrbb. des Vereinsf. Mecklenb. Geschichte, ix. pp. 373,374, where a sketch of a small carriage of this kind is given.)
1 Kings 7:39
And he put the stands five on the right side of the house and five on the left; and the (brazen) sea he put upon the right side eastwards, opposite to the south. The right side is the south side, and the left the north side. Consequently the stands were not placed on the right and left, i.e., on each side of the altar of burnt-offering, but on each side of the house, i.e., of the temple-hall; while the brazen sea stood farther forward between the hall and the altar, only more towards the south, i.e., to the south-east of the hall and the south-west of the altar of burnt-offering. The basins upon the stands were for washing (according to 2 Chronicles 4:6), namely, “the work of the burnt-offering,” that is to say, for cleansing the flesh and fat, which were to be consumed upon the altar of burnt-offering. By means of the stands on wheels they could not only easily bring the water required near to the priests who were engaged in preparing the sacrifices, but could also let down the dirty water into the chest of the stand by means of a special contrivance introduced for the purpose, and afterwards take it away. As the introduction of carriages for the basins arose from the necessities of the altar-service, so the preparation of ten such stands, and the size of the basins, was occasioned by the greater extension of the sacrificial worship, in which it often happened that a considerable number of sacrifices had to be made ready for the altar at the same time. The artistic work of these stands and their decoration with figures were intended to show that these vessels were set apart for the service of the sanctuary. The emblems are to some extent the same as those on the walls of the sanctuary, viz., cherubim, palms, and flowers, which had therefore naturally the same meaning here as they had there; the only difference being that they were executed there in gold, whereas here they were in brass, to correspond to the character of the court. Moreover, there were also figures of lions and oxen, pointing no doubt to the royal and priestly characters, which were combined, according to Exodus 19:6, in the nation worshipping the Lord in this place.
Summary enumeration of the other vessels of the temple . - In 1 Kings 7:40 the brazen vessels of the court are given. In 1 Kings 7:41-47 the several portions of the brazen pillars, the stands and basins, the brazen sea and the smaller vessels of brass, are mentioned once more, together with notices of the nature, casting, and quantity of the metal used for making them. An din 1 Kings 7:48-50 we have the golden vessels of the Holy Place. This section agrees almost word for word with 2 Chron 4:11-5:1, where, moreover, not only is the arrangement observed in the previous description of the temple-building a different one, but the making of the brazen altar of burnt-offering, of the golden candlesticks, and of the table of shew-bread, and the arrangement of the great court (2 Chronicles 4:7-9) are also described, to which there is no allusion whatever in the account before us; so that these notices in the Chronicles fill up an actual gap in the description of the building of the temple which is given here.
1 Kings 7:40
The smaller brazen vessels . - Hiram made the pots, shovels, and bowls. הכּיּרות is a slip of the pen for הסּירות, pots, as we may see by comparing it with 1 Kings 7:45 and the parallel passages 2 Chronicles 4:11 and 2 Kings 25:14. The pots were used for carrying away the ashes; היּעים, the shovels, for clearing the ashes from the altar; המּזרקות were the bowls used for catching the blood, when the sacrificial animals were slaughtered: compare Exodus 27:3 and Numbers 4:14, where forks and fire-basins or coal-pans are also mentioned.
1 Kings 7:40 introduces the recapitulation of all the vessels made by Hiram. יהוה בּית, in the house of the Lord (cf. Ewald, §300, b .); in 2 Chronicles 4:11 more clearly, יי בּבית ; we find it also in 1 Kings 7:45, for which we have in 2 Chronicles 4:16 יהוה לבית, for the house of Jehovah. The several objects enumerated in 1 Kings 7:41-45 are accusatives governed by לעשׂות .
1 Kings 7:41-42
1 Kings 7:41-44, the brazen pillars with the several portions of their capitals; see at 1 Kings 7:15-22. The inappropriate expression העמּדים על־פּני (upon the face of the pillars) in 1 Kings 7:42 is probably a mistake for הע על־שׁני, “upon the two pillars,” for it could not properly be said of the capitals that they were upon the surface of the pillars.
1 Kings 7:43-45
The ten stands and their basins: see at 1 Kings 7:27-37; 1 Kings 7:44, the brazen sea: vid., 1 Kings 7:23-26; lastly, 1 Kings 7:45, the pots, etc., as at 1 Kings 7:40. The Chethîb האהל is a mistake for האלּה ( Keri ).
(Note: After האלּה כּל־הלּלים ואת the lxx have the interpolation, καὶ οἱ στῦλοι τεσσαράκοντα καὶ ὀκτὼ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ τοῦ οἴκου Κυρίου, which is proved to be apocryphal by the marvellous combination of the king ' s house and the house of God, though it is nevertheless regarded by Thenius as genuine, and as an interesting notice respecting certain pillars in the enclosure of the inner court of the temple, and in the king ' s palace!)
ממרט נהשׁת, of polished brass - accusative of the material governed by עשׂה .
1 Kings 7:46
“In the Jordan valley he cast them - in thickened earth between Succoth and Zarthan,” where the ground, according to Burckhardt, Syr . ii. p. 593, is marly throughout. האדמה בּמעבה, “by thickening of the earth,” the forms being made in the ground by stamping together the clayey soil. Succoth was on the other side of the Jordan, - not, however, at the ford near Bethsean (Thenius), but on the south side of the Jabbok (see at Judges 8:5 and Genesis 33:17). Zarthan or Zereda was in the Jordan valley on this side, probably at Kurn Sartabeh (see at Judges 7:22 and Joshua 3:16). The casting-place must have been on this side of the Jordan, as the (eastern) bank on the other side has scarcely any level ground at all. The circumstance that a place on the other side is mentioned in connection with one on this side, may be explained from the fact that the two places were obliquely opposite to one another, and in the valley on this side there was no large place in the neighbourhood above Zarthan which could be appropriately introduced to define the site of the casting-place.
1 Kings 7:47
Solomon left all these vessels of excessive number unweighed. ויּנּח does not mean he laid them down (= set them up: Movers), but he let them lie, i.e., unweighed, as the additional clause, “the weight of the brass was not ascertained,” clearly shows. This large quantity of brass, according to 1 Chronicles 18:8, David had taken from the cities of Hadadezer, adding also the brass presented to him by Toi.
1 Kings 7:48-49
The golden vessels of the Holy Place (cf. 2 Chronicles 4:19-22). The vessels enumerated here are divided, by the repetition of סגוּר זהב in 1 Kings 7:49, 1 Kings 7:50, into two classes, which were made of fine gold; and to this a third class is added in 1 Kings 7:50 which was made of gold of inferior purity. As סגוּר זהב is governed in both instances by ויּעשׂ as an accusative of the material, the זהב (gold) attached to the separate vessels must be taken as an adjective. “Solomon made all the vessels in the house of Jehovah (i.e., had them made): the golden altar, and the golden table on which was the shew-bread, and the candlesticks ... of costly gold ( סגוּר : see at 1 Kings 6:20). The house of Jehovah is indeed here, as in 1 Kings 7:40, the temple with its courts, and not merely the Holy Place, or the temple-house in the stricter sense; but it by no means follows from this that כּל־הלּלים, “ all the vessels,” includes both the brazen vessels already enumerated and also the golden vessels mentioned afterwards. A decisive objection to our taking the כּל (all) as referring to those already enumerated as well as those which follow, is to be found in the circumstance that the sentence commencing with ויּעשׂ is only concluded with סגוּר זהב in 1 Kings 7:49. It is evident from this that כּל־הלּלים is particularized in the several vessels enumerated from סגוּר את onwards. These vessels no doubt belonged to the Holy Place or temple-house only; though this is not involved in the expression “the house of Jehovah,” but is apparent from the context, or from the fact that all the vessels of the court have already been enumerated in 1 Kings 7:40-46, and were made of brass, whereas the golden vessels follow here. That there were intended for the Holy Place is assumed as well known from the analogy of the tabernacle. יהוה בּית אשׁר merely affirms that the vessels mentioned afterwards belonged to the house of God, and were not prepared for the palace of Solomon or any other earthly purpose. We cannot infer from the expression “ Solomon made” that the golden vessels were not made by Hiram the artist, as the brazen ones were (Thenius). Solomon is simply named as the builder of the temple, and the introduction of his name was primarily occasioned by 1 Kings 7:47. The “golden altar” is the altar of incense in the Holy Place, which is called golden because it was overlaid with gold-plate; for, according to 1 Kings 6:20, its sides were covered with cedar wood, after the analogy of the golden altar in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:1-5). “And the table, upon which the shew-bread, of gold.” זהב belongs to השּׁלחן, to which it stands in free subjection (vid., Ewald, §287, h ), signifying “the golden table.” Instead of השּׁלחן we have השּׁלחנות in 2 Chronicles 4:19 (the tables), because there it has already been stated in 2 Chronicles 4:8 that ten tables were made, and put in the Holy Place. In our account that verse is omitted; and hence there is only a notice of the table upon which the loaves of shew-bread generally lay, just as in 2 Chronicles 29:18, in which the chronicler does not contradict himself, as Thenius fancies. The number ten, moreover, is required and proved to be correct in the case of the tables, by the occurrence of the same number in connection with the candlesticks. In no single passage of the Old Testament is it stated that there was only one table of shew-bread in the Holy Place of Solomon's temple.
(Note: Nothing can be learned from 2 Chronicles 29:18 concerning the number of the vessels in the Holy Place. If we were to conclude from this passage that there were no more vessels in the Holy Place than are mentioned there, we should also have to assume, if we would not fall into a most unscientific inconsistency, that there was neither a candlestick nor a golden altar of incense in the Holy Place. The correct meaning of this passage may be gathered from the words of King Abiam in 2 Chronicles 13:11 : “ We lay the shew-bread upon the pure table, and light the golden candlestick every evening; ” from which it is obvious that here and there only the table and the candlestick are mentioned, because usually only one table had shew-bread upon it, and only one candlestick was lighted.)
The tables were certainly made of wood, like the Mosaic table of shew-bread, probably of cedar wood, and only overlaid with gold (see at Exodus 25:23-30). “And the candlesticks, five on the right and five on the left, before the back-room.” These were also made in imitation of the Mosaic candlestick (see Exodus 25:31.), and were probably placed not near to the party wall in a straight line to the right and left of the door leading into the Most Holy Place, but along the two longer sides of the Holy Place; and the same with the tables, except that they stood nearer to the side walls with the candlesticks in front of them, so that the whole space might be lighted more brilliantly. The altar of burnt-offering, on the contrary, stood in front of and very near to the entrance into the Most Holy Place (see at 1 Kings 6:20).
In the following clause ( 1 Kings 7:49, 1 Kings 7:50 ) the ornaments of the candlesticks are mentioned first, and then the rest of the smaller golden vessels are enumerated. הפּרח, the flower-work, with which the candlesticks were ornamented (see Exodus 25:33). The word is evidently used collectively here, so that the גּביעים mentioned along with them in the book of Exodus ( l.c .) are included. הגּרת, the lamps, which were placed upon the shaft and arms of the candlestick (Exodus 25:37). המּלקחים, the snuffers (Exodus 25:38). ספּות, basins in Exodus 12:22, here probably deep dishes ( Schalen ). מזמּרות, knives. מזרקות, bowls ( Schalen ) or cans with spouts for the wine for the libations; according to 2 Chronicles 4:8, there were a hundred of these made. כּפּות, small flat vessels, probably for carrying the incense to the altar. מחתּות, extinguishers; see at Exodus 25:38.
1 Kings 7:50-51
The פּתות were also of gold, possibly of inferior quality. These were either the hinges of the doors, or more probably the sockets, in which the pegs of the doors turned. They were provided for the doors of the inner temple, viz., the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. We must supply Vâv before לדלתי .
All the vessels mentioned in 1 Kings 7:48, 1 Kings 7:49 belonged to the Holy Place of the temple, and were the same as those in the tabernacle; so that the remarks made in the Comm. on Exodus 25:30, Exodus 25:39, and Exodus 30:1-10, as to their purpose and signification, apply to them as well. Only the number of the tables and candlesticks was ten times greater. If a multiplication of the number of these two vessels appeared appropriate on account of the increases in the size of the room, the number was fixed at ten, to express the idea of completeness by that number. No new vessel was made for the Most Holy Place, because the Mosaic ark of the covenant was placed therein (1 Kings 8:4 : compare the remarks on this at Exodus 25:10-22). - The account of the vessels of the temple is brought to a close in 1 Kings 7:51 : “So was ended all the work that king Solomon made in the house of the Lord; and Solomon brought all that was consecrated by his father, (namely) the silver and the gold (which were not wrought), and the vessels he placed in the treasuries of the house of Jehovah.” As so much gold and brass had already been expended upon the building, it might appear strange that Solomon should not have used up all the treasures collected by his father, but should still be able to bring a large portion of it into the treasuries of the temple. But according to 1 Chronicles 22:14, 1 Chronicles 22:16, and 1 Chronicles 29:2., David had collected together an almost incalculable amount of gold, silver, and brass, and had also added his own private treasure and the freewill offerings of the leading men of the nation (1 Chronicles 29:7-9). Solomon was also able to devote to the building of the temple a considerable portion of his own very large revenues (cf. 1 Kings 10:14), so that a respectable remnant might still be left of the treasure of the sanctuary, which was not first established by David, but had been commenced by Samuel and Saul, and in which David's generals, Joab and others, had deposited a portion of the gold and silver that they had taken as booty (1 Chronicles 26:20-28). For it is evident that not a little had found its way into this treasure through the successful wars of David, from the fact that golden shields were taken from the generals of Hadadezer, and that these were consecrated to the Lord along with the silver, golden, and brazen vessels offered as gifts of homage by king Toi of Hamath, in addition to the gold and silver which David had consecrated from the defeated Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, and Amalekites (2 Samuel 8:7, 2 Samuel 8:11-12; 1 Chronicles 18:7, 1 Chronicles 18:10-11).
(Note: The amazing extent to which this booty may possibly have reached, may be inferred from the accounts we have concerning the quantity of the precious metals in Syria in the Macedonian age. In the gaza regia of Damascus, Alexander found 2600 talents of gold and 600 talents of uncoined silver (Curt. iii. 13, 16, cf. Arrian, ii. 11, 10). In the temple of Jupiter at Antioch there was a statue of this god of solid silver fifteen cubits high (Justin, xxxix. 2, 5. 6); and in the temple at Hierapolis there was also a golden statue (Lucian, de Dea Syr . §31). According to Appian ( Parth . 28, ed. Schweigh.), this temple was so full of wealth, that Crassus spent several days weighing the vessels of silver and gold. And from the unanimous testimony of the ancients, the treasures of the palaces and temples of Asia in the earlier times were greater still. Of the many accounts which Bähr ( Symbolik, i. p. 258ff.) and Movers ( Phönizier, ii. 3, p. 40ff.) have collected together on this subject, we will mention only a few here, the credibility of which cannot be disputed. According to Varro (in Plin. 33:15), Cyrus had taken 34,000 pounds of gold as booty after the conquest of Asia, beside the gold wrought into vessels and ornaments, and 500,000 talents of silver. In Susa, Alexander took 40,000, or, according to other accounts, 50,000, talents from the royal treasury; or, as it is still more definitely stated, 40,000 talents of uncoined gold and silver, and 9000 talents of coined dariks. Alexander had these brought to Ecbatana, where he accumulated 180,000 talents. Antigonus afterwards found in Susa 15,000 talents more in vessels and wrought gold and silver. In Persepolis, Alexander took 120,000 talents, and in Pasargada 6000 talents. For the proofs, see Movers, pp. 42, 43.)
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 1 Kings 7". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany