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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 4

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 4

2 Chronicles 4:1 “Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.”

This altar was 30 feet long by 30 feet wide, and it was 15 feet high. "Brass" symbolizes judgment. This altar of brass was the first thing a person saw when they came to the temple.

2 Chronicles 4:2 "Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."

This molten sea was 15 feet across. It was 7 1/2 feet high and 45 feet in circumference. This, also, was made of brass, and was filled with water. This was a place for the priests to wash. The priests symbolize all believers in Christ. We, too, must be washed, before we enter into fellowship with God.

2 Chronicles 4:3 "And under it [was] the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen [were] cast, when it was cast."

The rim of the sea was turned down to make a lip around the whole thing. On this lip, there were figures of oxen all the way around. There were, probably, about three hundred of these decorations around the rim of the sea.

2 Chronicles 4:4 "It stood upon twelve oxen, 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."

Oxen symbolize work, or service. The fact that there were 12 oxen with three of them facing north, south, east, and west shows us that the service the LORD had provided was for all the world. 12 is a number that represents the whole.

2 Chronicles 4:5 "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; [and] it received and held three thousand baths."

A "bath" is a little over 7 gallons. Even figuring a bath at 7 gallons shows us there would be 21,000 gallons of water in this sea. The decorations of lilies was representative of a true body of water where lilies grew. The thickness of the metal was about 4 inches.

2 Chronicles 4:6 "He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea [was] for the priests to wash in."

The lavers were to wash the animals in before sacrificing them. It is interesting that there were ten of them, since ten has to do with world government.

2 Chronicles 4:7 "And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set [them] in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left."

The candlesticks of gold represent the container for the Light which represents Jesus. Again, there are ten candlesticks. In the churches in Revelation, each church had its candlestick. Jesus is the Light in all Protestant churches. The fact that they are gold shows us that they are associated with God. "Gold" symbolizes the pureness of God.

2 Chronicles 4:8 "He made also ten tables, and placed [them] in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basins of gold."

The ten tables are the same as the ten candlesticks. There is sufficient room at the table for all of God’s people. The hundred basins of gold were to catch the blood in for the sprinkling of the blood.

2 Chronicles 4:9 "Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass."

These doors were far away from the most holy place. They were the doors of entrance. Brass was always at the entrance, or very near. Gold was used in the near presence of God.

2 Chronicles 4:10 "And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south."

This was for special access of the priests.

2 Chronicles 4:11 "And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God;"

Huram and Hiram are believed to be the same person. These pots, and shovels, and basins were used in the preparation of the offerings. This fancy artistic work was done by Hiram’s men, who had been hired for this purpose.

2 Chronicles 4:12 "[To wit], the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters [which were] on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which [were] on the top of the pillars;"

The pillars had engraving on them, as well as all of the chapiters. The "pommels" were balls that were used for decoration on top of the chapiters. Hiram and his men were skilled in wood carving, as well as engraving, and they were used for this purpose.

2 Chronicles 4:13 "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."

The pomegranates were decorations that symbolized the fruitfulness of Israel.

2 Chronicles 4:14 "He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases;"

2 Chronicles 4:15 "One sea, and twelve oxen under it."

Verse 15 is back, again, to the sea of brass which held over 21,000 gallons of water. This just explains that this is some more of the decorative work that Hiram and his men did.

2 Chronicles 4:16 "The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the LORD of bright brass."

The pots, shovels, and fleshhooks and all of their instruments made of brass were used away from the holy of holies. This brass, when shined, was almost as pretty as gold, but it stayed out in the outer court.

2 Chronicles 4:17 "In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah."

It appears, from this, that sand molding is very old. Many of these pieces were so large, that the seashore is needed for the open space to form them. They would be extremely hard to move, because of their great weight, but we must remember, there were thousands of burden bearers to carry this. This place they were cast would have been near the Jordan, but in the eastern part in the land of Gad.

2 Chronicles 4:18 "Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out."

The brass that David had taken in battle was said to be so much it would not have been reasonable to try to weigh it. This brass was used for the things of the temple.

2 Chronicles 4:19 "And Solomon made all the vessels that [were for] the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread [was set];"

This does not mean that Solomon personally did these things. It means that he had it done. There was a table of shewbread where there was always 12 loaves of bread. This bread symbolized the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Chronicles 4:20 "Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold;"

2 Chronicles 4:21 "And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, [made he of] gold, [and] that perfect gold;"

2 Chronicles 4:22 "And the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the censers, [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, [were of] gold."

Everything inside the holy of holies, the doors in the near vicinity, and even the walls inside the most holy place were pure gold. Everything in the near presence of God had to be pure gold, or 24 kt. gold plate. The candlesticks, and many other of the beautiful things in this most holy place, were pure gold that had been engraved for extra beauty.

2 Chronicles 4 Questions

1. How large was the altar of brass he made?

2. What does "brass" symbolize?

3. How large was the molten sea?

4. The sea was made of _____________.

5. The sea was used for what?

6. Who do the priests symbolize?

7. We must be ___________, before we come into fellowship with God.

8. What was around the rim that was turned down of the molten sea?

9. Oxen symbolize _________, or __________.

10. What does the number of the oxen, and the way they were facing, tell us?

11. ________ is the number that represents the whole.

12. How thick was the metal in the sea?

13. What was it decorated with?

14. How much water would it hold?

15. How many lavers were made?

16. Where were they located?

17. The lavers were used for ___________the __________ for ________.

18. How many candlesticks of gold were there?

19. Who is the Light?

20. Which churches contain the Light of Jesus?

21. How do we know the doors, in verse 9, are far away from the most holy place?

22. Where was the sea located?

23. What were the items, in 2 Chronicles 4:11, used for?

24. What were "pommels"?

25. What did the decorations of pomegranates symbolize?

26. The fleshhooks were made of ___________.

27. What does verse 19 mean when it says, Solomon made it?

28. The candlestick in the most holy place was made of _________.

29. Name some of the other things made of gold.

30. Why were they made of gold?

Verses 1-6

2Ch 4:1-6

2 Chronicles 4:1-6

MORE OF SOLOMON’S SINFUL CHANGES;

THE SINFUL LAVER AND THE SINFUL IMAGES PLACED UNDER THE LAVER

"Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof. Also he made the molten sea often cubits from brim to brim, round in compass; and the height thereof was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits compassed it round about. And under it was the likeness of oxen, which did compass it round about, for ten cubits, compassing the sea round about. The oxen were in two rows, cast when it was cast. It stood upon twelve oxen, 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 upon them, above, and all their hinder parts were inward. And it was a handbreadth thick; and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily: it received and held three thousand baths. He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as belonged to the burnt-offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in."

"He made an altar of brass ... the height thereof ten cubits" (2 Chronicles 4:1). What was wrong with this? Ten cubits was a height of something like fifteen feet, which required that steps would have to be used by the priests in making sacrifices upon it; and God had specifically commanded Israel, "Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto my altar" (Exodus 20:26).

Not only did Solomon’s temple and all that it contained violate many of God’s specific commandments, such as this one; but there were also countless concessions to paganism, as seen in the images of the bulls (politely called oxen here) placed under the laver. The bulls, calves, oxen, whatever they were called, were the usual images under which the old Canaanite fertility god Baal was worshipped. Even the Jewish historian Josephus condemned Solomon for what he did in this. It is an unqualified mystery to us why "Christian" writers attempt to justify it! Besides that, the Decalogue specifically forbade the making of images, or `likenesses’ of anything either in heaven or on earth, the sacred images of the cherubim commanded by Moses, having been one exception to this.

"It ... held three thousand baths" (2 Chronicles 4:5). The bath was a Jewish measure, being the equivalent of about 4,7/8 gallons. The very size of this laver was a testimonial to the type of `washing’ to which the priests submitted. It was by immersion, being in that particular typical of Christian baptism.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 4:1. This altar of brass corresponds to the "brasen altar" of the tabernacle. We will not criticize the enlarged size of this one over the old. We have already learned that Solomon received divine instructions on the building of this house, therefore the work was right in the sight of God. We should keep in mind the fact that the nation was growing all the time, and the needs for service would grow with it.

2 Chronicles 4:2. In the place of the laver which Moses made, Solomon made a vessel that was so large that it was called a sea. It was 15 feet across and seven and a half high.

2 Chronicles 4:3. Under it, that is, under the brim of the sea, were two rows of work in the form of oxen. They were small for there were ten to every cubit. Cast, when it was cast, means the mould was formed with these ornamental oxen so that they were all cast together at the same time the sea was cast.

2 Chronicles 4:4. According to 1 Kings 7:45 these oxen were made of brass. They were large enough to serve as a base for the large sea or tank, and were arranged so that the faces of three of them could be seen from each of the four sides.

2 Chronicles 4:5. The walls of the sea were about three inches thick and the brim was ornamented with formations like lilies. All of this was cast with the sea in the same operation. Held 3,000 baths means its capacity was that--it could hold that much, but it did not need to be filled to capacity. It usually had in it only 2,000 baths. (1 Kings 7:26.) According to Moffatt the capacity of this tank was 24,000 gallons.

2 Chronicles 4:6. The law of Moses required that the beasts to be offered on the altar be washed. These ten lavers were for that use, leaving the sea or large tank for the use of the priests. They were required to wash their hands and feet every time they went into the house of the Lord. (Exodus 30:19-21.)

Verses 7-10

2Ch 4:7-10

2 Chronicles 4:7-10

SOLOMON’S CORRUPTED VERSION OF THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS

"And he made the candlesticks of gold according to the ordinance concerning them; and he set them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made a hundred basins of gold. Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass. And he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward, toward the south. And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins."

There was hardly anything that Solomon touched that he did not corrupt it in one way or another. The candlestick he perverted from the divine pattern of seven branches, and made it into ten. Instead of putting it on the south side of the holy place, he put five on one side, and five on the other. The table of the showbread was changed into ten tables with five on the north side and five on the south (2 Chronicles 4:19).

He made the candlesticks of gold according to the ordinance concerning them (2 Chronicles 4:7). This should not mislead us. God had indeed required the candlesticks to be of gold; and, in that alone did Solomon heed the divine ordinance. That this is true is proved by the fact that when the second temple was constructed, the golden candlestick was again conformed to the pattern in the tabernacle, as proved by the bas relief depicting it upon the Arch of Titus in Rome, where it is visible today.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 4:7-8. The only thing needful to mention about these is the fact that Solomon increased the number of the articles over what was in the tabernacle. It was all satisfactory to the Lord, for he blessed the whole institution when it was completed. The nation was growing in numbers and becoming more important in the eyes of the nation, and it was fitting that the institutions of its public service be enlarged.

2 Chronicles 4:9. A special court was made tor the priest, and the great court was for the people in general, hence its increased size.

2 Chronicles 4:10. The sea or large tank was placed before the east end of the building. It was set over at the right-hand side of the space and facing southward.

Verses 11-18

2Ch 4:11-18

2 Chronicles 4:11-18

THE CONCLUSION OF THE WORK OF HURAM OF TYRE

"So Huram made an end of doing the work that he wrought for king Solomon in the house of God: the two pillars, and the bowls, and the two capitals which were on the tops of the pillars, and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars, and the four hundred pomegranates for the two networks; two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were upon the pillars. He made also the bases, and the lavers made he upon the bases; one sea, and the twelve oxen under it. The pots also, and the shovels, and the flesh-hooks, and all the vessels thereof, did Huram his father make for king Solomon, for the house of Jehovah, of bright brass. In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah. Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance; for the weight of the brass could not be found out."

"Huram his father" (2 Chronicles 4:16). According to Payne, Solomon had conferred the title `father’ upon Huram in recognition of his skilled craftsmanship; and the reference here means Solomon’s Father Huram.

Before leaving this chapter, we should also point out that another interpretation of Solomon’s Ten Candlesticks views them as ten complete candlesticks (of seven branches each). Either was a violation of the true pattern given by Moses. In support of that view, it is dear enough that ten tables of the showbread were used, but not, "one at a time" as Payne thought, for they were on opposite sides of the holy place, five on each side.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 4:11-16. This paragraph is a summing up of the foundry work that Huram did for Solomon. There is no information other than has been already given and considered.

2 Chronicles 4:17. The size and number of castings that Solomon had made prohibited their being done in an established foundry. Strong describes this clay as thick loam. That would explain its usefulness in forming moulds for the casting of the brass.

2 Chronicles 4:18. Could not be found out does not mean it was physically impossible to weigh the material, but it was so great that no attempt was made to do so. 1 Kings 7:47 expresses the thought very well.

Verses 19-22

2Ch 4:19-22

2 Chronicles 4:19-22

AND KING SOLOMON DID ALL THIS

"And Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon was the showbread; and the candlesticks with their lamps, to burn according to the ordinance before the oracle, of pure gold; and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, of gold, and that perfect gold; and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the firepans, of pure gold. And as for the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple, were of gold."

"And Solomon made all these vessels" (2 Chronicles 4:19). Yet, it was stated above that Huram made all these things. Thus we have another example of the Biblical conception that a man does what he commands or employs another to do. We have referred to this in our contention that David indeed built the temple contrary to God’s prohibition.

"As for the inner doors ... of the most holy place ... they were of gold" (2 Chronicles 4:22). Several commentators have stated that the olive-wood doors of the Holy of Holies were not mentioned by the Chronicler, but here they are, the meaning being that they were overlaid with gold. This is further evidence that the veil was omitted.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 4:19-22. This is another summing up of some of the work of Solomon. He reproduced or duplicated all of the vessels that had been in the tabernacle except the ark of the covenant.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 4". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-4.html.
 
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