1 KINGS CHAPTER 7
The building of Solomon’s house: the house of Lebanon, 1 Kings 7:1-5. The porch of pillars, and of judgment: the house of Pharaoh’s daughter, 1 Kings 7:6-12. Hiram’s work of the two pillars of brass, 1 Kings 7:13-22. Of the molten, sea, 1 Kings 7:23-26. Of the ten bases of brass, 1 Kings 7:27-37. The ten brasen lavers: all the vessels of brass and gold, 1 Kings 7:38-50. The dedicated things are brought into the temple, 1 Kings 7:51.
His own house; the royal palace for himself, and for his successors. Or, his houses, the singular number being put for the plural. Thirteen years; almost double time to that in which the temple was built; because neither were the materials so far provided and prepared for this as they were for the temple; nor did either he or his people use the same alacrity and diligence in this as in the other work; nor had they the same obligations to this work as they had to that, to which they were quickened by God’s express command, and by the necessity of setting up God’s worship there, as the foundation of all the hopes and happiness both of king and people, whereas his building was only for Solomon’s greater conveniency, and he had already a palace of David’s building.
The house of the forest of Lebanon; a house so called, either, first, Because it was built in the mountain and forest of Lebanon, for his recreation there in summer time. But it is generally and more probably held, that it was in or near Jerusalem, both because there was
the throne of judgment, 1 Kings 7:7, which was fittest to be in the place of his constant and usual residence; and because there was the chief magazine of arms, Isaiah 22:8, and Solomon’s golden shields were put there, as is manifest from 1 Kings 10:17 14:25,26,28, which no wise prince would do in a place so remote from his royal city, and in the utmost borders of his kingdom, as this was. Or rather, secondly, From some resemblance it might have with that place, for the pleasant shades and groves which were about it; nothing being more frequent, both in sacred and other writers, than to transfer the names of Carmel, or Tempe, or the like, to other places of the same nature and quality with them.
The length thereof, to wit, of the principal mansion; to which doubtless other buildings were adjoined. Upon four rows of cedar pillars; upon which the house was built, and between which there were four stately walks.
With cedar beams upon the pillars; which were laid for the floor of the second story.
So in this second story were only three rows of pillars, which was sufficient for the ornament of the second, and for the support of the third story.
Light was against light; one directly opposite or answering to the other, as is usual in well-contrived buildings. In three ranks; one exactly under another.
He speaks either, first, of the same lights mentioned 1 Kings 7:4, it being the manner of the Hebrews to repeat the same things; or rather, of the smaller windows or lights, which were over the several doors, as the manner of many buildings is.
A porch of pillars, i.e. supported by divers pillars, for the more magnificent entrance into the house; upon which also it is thought there were other rooms built, as in the house.
The porch, now mentioned, which is said to be
before them, i.e. before the pillars on which the house of Lebanon stood, or before the doors and posts mentioned 1 Kings 7:5; or, a porch, i.e. another and a lesser porch, which was before them, i.e. before the pillars of the greater porch now mentioned.
And the other pillars, or, and pillars, i.e. fewer and lesser pillars for the support of the lesser porch.
The thick beam; which was laid upon these pillars, as the others were, 1 Kings 7:2.
He made a porch; another porch or distinct room without the house.
For the throne, described 1 Kings 10:18.
Where he might judge the people that brought their causes before him.
From one side of the floor to the other, i.e. the whole floor; or, from floor to floor, i.e. from the lower floor on the ground, to the upper floor which covered it.
Within the porch, i.e. between the porch and the house, called therefore the middle court, 2 Kings 20:4.
A house for Pharaoh’s daughter; of which see 1 Kings 3:1 2 Chronicles 8:11.
Like unto this porch; not for form or quantity, but for the materials and workmanship, the rooms being covered with cedar, and furnished with like ornaments.
All these buildings described here and in the former chapter.
According to the measures of hewed stones; either first, which were hewed in such measure and proportion, as exact workmen used to hew ordinary stones; or, secondly, as large as common hewed stones, which are oft very great.
Within and without; both on the inside of the buildings which were covered with cedar, and on the outside also.
From the foundation unto the coping; from the bottom to the top of the building.
On the outside toward the great court; not only on the outside of the front of the house, which being most visible, men are more careful to adorn; but also of the other side of the house, which looked towards the great court belonging to the king’s house.
Stones of ten cubits; not square, which would have been both unnecessary, and unportable, and unmanageable; but of solid measure, by which stones and timber are usually measured; and so they were only two cubits square, but there were twenty solid cubits contained in them. And so also the following
eight cubits are to be understood.
Above, i.e. in the roof or upper part; for this is opposed to the foundation. Costly stones and cedars, intermixed here the one, and there the other.
The great court, to wit, of Solomon’s dwelling-house, mentioned 1 Kings 7:8.
A row of cedar beams; of which See Poole "1 Kings 6:36".
Both for the inner court of the house of the Lord, or, as (Heb. and, which is oft used in that sense for a particle of comparison or similitude, as Proverbs 11:25 17:3 Proverbs 25:23) for the inner court, &c., i.e. as it was in that inner court, of which the very same thing is said 1 Kings 6:36. Otherwise it might seem very improper and impertinent to speak of the court of the Lord’s house here, where he is treating only of Solomon’s house.
For the porch of the house, or, of this house, to wit, of which I am here speaking, i.e. of the king’s house, the porch where of had pillars, 1 Kings 7:6, and these both of stone and cedar, as may seem most probable, because the other pillars were such. And whereas the number and quality of the pillars of the porch was omitted, 1 Kings 7:6, that defect is here supplied, and we are implicitly acquainted with both of them. But this I speak with submission.
A widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali.
Object. She was one of the daughters of Dan, 2 Chronicles 2:14.
Answ. So indeed Hiram king of Tyre there affirms; but he might easily mistake or be misinformed, especially being no Israelite, nor a careful observer of the distinction of tribes. Or she might be of Dan by her father, and of Naphtali by her mother, or by her husband, who was of that tribe, and therefore she was truly
a widow of Naphtali. His father was a man of Tyre; either by his descent, being a Tyrian by birth; or by education and habitation, he or his father being given to the study of these arts, and having planted themselves at Tyre for their improvement therein. However that was, it was a singular providence of God, that there was at that time so excellent a workman fit for so great and glorious works.
All works in brass, and of gold, and stone, and purple, and blue, &c., as is affirmed, 2 Chronicles 2:14. But only his skill in brass is here mentioned, because he speaks only of the brazen things which he made.
He cast two pillars of brass; of which see 2 Kings 25:16,17 Jer 52:21.
Of eighteen cubits high apiece.
Object. They are said to be thirty-five cubits high, 2 Chronicles 3:15.
Answ. That place manifestly speaks of both the pillars; and this of each, or one pillar, as it is in the Hebrew.
Object. But then it should have been thirty-six cubits.
Answ. Either the odd half cubit is swallowed up either in the top of the chapiter, or in the bottom of the basis of each pillar; or it is neglected in the account, as commonly small measures or numbers are.
Line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about; so the diameter was four cubits, which, considering the chapiter of five cubits added to the height of each pillar, 2 Chronicles 3:14, was not unproportionable to the height.
The height of the one chapiter was five cubits.
Object. It is but three cubits in 2 Kings 25:17.
Answ. The word chapiter is taken diversely, as hundreds of other words are; either more largely for the whole, so it is five cubits; or more strictly, either for the pommels, as they are called, 2 Chronicles 4:12, or for the cornice or crown; and so it was but three cubits, to which the pomegranates being added make it four cubits, as it is below, 1 Kings 7:19; and the other work upon it took up one cubit more, which in all made five cubits.
For the chapiters, which those nets and wreaths did encompass, either covering, and as it were receiving and holding, the pomegranates, or being mixed with them.
And he made; or, so he made, or framed, or perfected.
Two rows; either of pomegranates, by comparing this with 1 Kings 7:20, or of some other curious work.
Of lily work; made like the leaves of lilies, or such flowers.
In the porch; or, as in the porch, i.e. such work as there was in the porch of the temple, in which these pillars were set, 1 Kings 7:21, that so the work of the tops of these pillars might agree with that in the top of the porch. So there is only an ellipsis or defect of the particle as, which is frequent, as Genesis 49:9 Deuteronomy 33:22 Psalms 11:1 Isaiah 21:8.
Four cubits; of which See Poole "1 Kings 7:16".
Over against the belly; so he calls the middle part of the chapiter, and that which jetted furthest out.
The pomegranates were two hundred: these pomegranates are variously accounted in Scriptures. They are said to be ninety and six on a side of a pillar, i.e. in one row, and in all an hundred, Jeremiah 52:23; four great pomegranates between the several checker-works being added to the first ninety-six. And it must needs be granted that there were as many on the other side of the pillar, or in the other row, which makes them two hundred upon a pillar, as is here said, and four hundred upon both pillars, as they are numbered 2 Chronicles 4:13.
In the porch of the temple; where they were placed for mere ornament and magnificence, for they supported nothing.
Jachin signifies he, i.e. God, shall establish, to wit, his temple, and church, and people; and
Boaz signifies in it, or rather, in him, (to answer the he in the former name,) is strength. So these pillars being eminently strong and stable, were in a manner types or documents of that strength which was in God, and would be put forth by God for the defending and establishing of his temple and people, if they were careful to keep the conditions required by God on their parts.
He made a molten sea; he melted the brass, and cast it into the form of a great vessel, for its vastness called a sea, which name is given by the Hebrews to all great collections of waters. The use of it was for the priests to wash their hands and feet, or other things as occasion required, with the water which they drew out of it. See 2 Chronicles 4:2. Compare Exodus 30:19,20.
Knops; or, carved or molten figures; for learned Hebricians note, that this word signifies the figures or pictures of all sorts, as flowers, beasts, &c. This general word is particularly explained of oxen, 2 Chronicles 4:3, unless there were so many figures, or sculptures of gourds, or other flowers; and in each of these a little ox’s head.
Ten in a cubit; so there were three hundred in all.
The knops were cast together with the sea, not carved.
In two rows: it seems doubtful whether the second row had ten in each cubit, and so there were three hundred more; or whether the ten were distributed into five in each row.
It stood upon twelve oxen, of solid brass, which was necessary to bear so great a weight. It is probably conceived that the water was by cocks drawn out of the mouths of these oxen. Three of these looked each way; partly for the more equal and convenient support of the vessel; and partly that divers persons might draw water out of it at the same time, which was frequently necessary, especially in great solemnities.
Which amounts to five hundred barrels, each bath containing about eight gallons; the bath being a measure of the same bigness with an ephah, Ezekiel 45:11.
Object. This sea is said to contain three thousand baths, 2 Chronicles 4:5.
Answ. Either there were two sorts of baths, as of cubits, the one common, the other sacred, and the sacred held half as much more as the common; or rather, he here speaks of what it did actually and usually contain, to wit, two thousand baths, which was sufficient for use; and in 2 Chronicles 4:5, he speaks of what it could contain if it were filled to the brim, as it is implied in the Hebrew words, which differ from these, and properly sound thus, strengthening itself, (to wit, to receive and hold as much as it could, or being filled to its utmost capacity,) it contained, or could contain, three thousand baths.
He made ten bases; upon which stood the ten lavers mentioned below, 1 Kings 7:38, in which they washed the parts of the sacrifices, 2 Chronicles 4:6.
They had borders; broad brims, possibly for the more secure holding of the lavers.
A base; so he calls the uppermost part of the base; for though it was above, yet it was a base to the laver, which stood upon it.
Certain additions; either as bases for the feet of the said lions and oxen, or only as further ornaments.
Four brazen wheels; whereby the bases and lavers might be carried from place to place, as need required.
Undersetters, Heb. shoulders; fitly so called, because they strongly supported the lavers, that they should not fall from their bases when the bases were removed together with the lavers.
The mouth of it; so he calls that part in the top of the base which was left hollow, that the foot of the laver might be let into it, and fastened in it.
Within the chapiter, i.e. within the little base, which he calls the chapiter, because it rose up from and stood above the great base, as the head doth above the rest of the body.
And above; above the chapiter; for the mouth went up and grew wider, like a funnel.
Was a cubit; either in breadth; or rather in height, 1 Kings 7:35; whereof half a cubit was above the chapiter or little base, as is said, 1 Kings 7:35, and the other half is here implied to be within it, and below it.
A cubit and a half, to wit, in compass.
Four-square, not round; so the innermost part, called the mouth, was round, but the outward part was square, as when a circle is made within a quadrangle.
And cast together with the bases.
Not only of the same matter, but of the same piece, being cast with it.
According to the proportion, or, empty place, i.e. according to the bigness of the spaces which were left empty for them, implying that they were smaller than those above mentioned.
Forty baths; ten barrels; of which See Poole "1 Kings 7:26".
On the right side, i.e. in the south side, as is expressed in the end of the verse, and as the right side is used above, 1 Kings 6:8 Psalms 89:12.
On the right side of the house; not within the house, but in the priests’ court, where they washed either their hands or feet, or the parts of the sacrifices. On the left side of the house, i.e. on the north side; for this is here opposed to the right or south side.
Over against the south, i.e. in the south-east part, where the offerings were prepared.
The pots, to seethe those parts of the sacrifices which the priests or officers were to eat. To these flesh-hooks are added, 2 Chronicles 4:16.
In the clay ground, or, in thick clay; fat, and tough, and tenacious, and therefore fittest to make moulds of all sorts, into which the melted brass was to be poured.
Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because the weighing of them was very troublesome, and to no purpose.
All the vessels that pertained unto the house of the Lord; such as God by the mouth of Moses had commanded to be made for his house and service, and such as Moses had made; only these were larger, and richer, and more, according to the difference of the temple and tabernacle, and Solomon’s vast riches, and the poverty of Moses and the Israelites at that time.
The altar of gold, to wit, of incense, as appears from 1 Chronicles 28:18, where this is mentioned amongst the things for which David left gold, and Solomon is here said to build it; and therefore this cannot be that altar made by Moses, Exodus 25:23,24 Exo 30:1,3, which also was of shittim wood, whereas this was made of cedar, and covered with gold, 1 Kings 6:20.
The table of gold, whereupon the shewbread was; under which, by a synecdoche, are comprehended both all the utensils belonging to it, and the other ten tables which he made together with it, 2 Chronicles 4:7,8.
The candlesticks; which were ten, according to the number of the tables; whereas Moses made but one; whereby might be signified the. progress of the light of sacred truth, which was now grown clearer than it was in Moses’s time, and should shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day of gospel light.
Of pure gold; of massy and fine gold.
Before the oracle, in the holy place. The flowers wrought upon the candlesticks, as it had formerly been. See Poole "Exodus 25:31".
The silver and the gold; either, first, all of it; and so Solomon built it wholly at his own charge; or, secondly, so much of it its was left.
The vessels; those which David had dedicated, and with them the altar of Moses, and some other of the old utensils which were now laid aside, far better being put in the room of them.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany