The Altar, the Molten Sea, and the Lavers
v. 1. Moreover, he, Solomon, through the craftsmen engaged by him, made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof and twenty cubits the breadth thereof and ten cubits the height thereof, to which the priests probably ascended by an inclined pathway. The weight of this altar, if the thickness of its walls was only three inches, must have been at least two hundred tons.
v. 2. Also he made a molten sea, cast from bronze or brass, of ten cubits from brim to brim, that is, in diameter, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits, in a rough measurement, did compass it round about, the exact circumference being not quite 31 Â½ cubits. It was a large reservoir for the water used by the priests and Levites in the performance of their duties, especially for the many washings enjoined upon them.
v. 3. And under it, cast together with the flower-buds which were beneath its rim, 1Ki_7:24, was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about, serving for ornamentation. Two rows of oxen were cast when it was cast, the sea with its decorations was cast at the same time, in the same mold.
v. 4. It stood upon twelve oxen, which bore the great reservoir on their backs, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward, their heads looking out from under the brim.
v. 5. And the thickness of it was an handbreadth and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies, rather, like the blossom of a lily; and it received and held three thousand baths, that is, its full capacity, when used as a reservoir, was so much; when not in actual use, it held two thousand baths, 1Ki_7:26.
v. 6. He made also ten lavers, 1Ki_7:38, smaller receptacles for water, which could be moved about on wheels, as the washing of the sacrificial animals required it, and put five on the right hand and five on the left, to wash in them. Such things as they offered, that is, the flesh of the animals, for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in, the water probably being drawn out below by means of faucets.
v. 7. And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, in place of the one made by Moses for the Tabernacle, Exo_25:31-40, and set them in the Temple, that is, the Holy Place, not the court, as in the case of the lavers, five on the right hand and five on the left.
v. 8. He made also ten tables, stands for the ten candlesticks, and placed them in the Temple, five on the right side and five on the left. And he made an hundred basins of gold, bowls or tankards used for the drink-offerings. Note: All the washings of the Old Testament worship were typical of the time of the New Testament, where we have a lasting fountain for sin and for uncleanness in the blood of Christ.
The Vessels of Brass and of Gold
v. 9. Furthermore he made the court of the priests, the inner court, in which the altar of burnt offering was situated, and the Great Court, the Court of Israel, where the worshiping people assembled, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
v. 10. And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south, southeast of the altar of burnt offering.
v. 11. And Huram made the pots and the shovels and the basins, the pots for carrying away the ashes, the shovels for removing the ashes from the great altar, the bowls for receiving and sprinkling the blood of the sacrifices. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for King Solomon for the house of God, a catalog now following like 1Ki_7:40-47;
v. 12. to wit, the two pillars, and the pommels, the rounded part of the capitals or just beneath them, and the chapiters which were on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths, the network of garlands, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars;
v. 13. and four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of pomegranates on each wreath to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were upon the pillars.
v. 14. He made also bases, movable holders, and lavers, in the form of large caldrons, or kettles, made he upon the bases;
v. 15. one sea, and twelve oxen under it.
v. 16. The pots also, and the shovels, and the flesh-hooks, the large forks used in preparing the sacrificial meat, and all their instruments did Huram, his father, rather, the master, the chief artisan, make to King Solomon for the house of the Lord of bright brass.
v. 17. In the Plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground, which was particularly adapted for the molds used in casting, between Succoth and Zeredathah (or Zarthan), 1Ki_7:46.
v. 18. Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance, for the weight of the brass could not be found out.
v. 19. And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, the altar of incense which stood next to the veil of the Most Holy Place, and the tables whereon the showbread was set only one being in use at one time, however, 1Ki_7:48;
v. 20. moreover, the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner, as prescribed by the Law, Exo_27:20-21, before the Oracle, the Most Holy Place, of pure gold;
v. 21. and the flowers, the ornaments on the candlesticks in the shape of almond-blossoms, and the lamps, and the tongs, the snuffers used for these lamps, made he of gold, and that perfect gold;
v. 22. and the snuffers, the knives for cleaning the wicks, and the basins, probably those used on the Great Day of Atonement, and the spoons, trays or holders for the incense, and the censers, the pans for holding coals when offering incense, of pure gold; and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the Most Holy Place, and the doors of the house of the Temple, those leading into the Holy Place, were of gold. All this outward magnificence, however, cannot compare with the inward beauty of the Church of Christ, decorated, as she is, with the righteousness of her Savior.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany