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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 7

Verses 1-51

1 Kings 7. Solomon’ s Palace (1 Kings 1-12). The Temple Implements (1Kings 13– 51).— Twenty years ( cf. 1 Kings 9:10 with 1 Kings 7:1) was Solomon engaged in building. After completing the Temple he built his own palace, with its courts and approaches. These, according to Stade, were erected on the Ophel hill, which lay S. of the Temple mountain, and were constructed so as to lead up to the sanctuary itself. The whole chapter, like most of the 6th, is from a source descriptive of the Temple.

First came what was called, probably from its rows of cedar pillars, “ the house of the forest of Lebanon” ( 1 Kings 7:2). Part of this was used as an armoury ( 1 Kings 10:17). It was by far the largest of all the buildings. Passing onward, one came to “ the porch of pillars” ( 1 Kings 7:6), the same word being employed for the porch before the Temple ( 1 Kings 6:3). Next was the hall of judgment or throne-room ( 1 Kings 7:7), again called “ a porch.” Beyond this was Solomon’ s palace and the harem, in which must have been the “ house for Pharaoh’ s daughter” ( 1 Kings 7:8). The whole, including the Temple, was surrounded by an outer wall, forming the “ great court” ( 1 Kings 7:12). The last clause of 1 Kings 7:12 is very obscure. The LXX reading has been amended into “ round about the inner court of the house of Yahweh and the court of the porch of the palace” (Burney, p. 83).

The account of Solomon’ s buildings is supplemented by a description of the implements fashioned by another Hiram, a worker in metals, who set up his foundry in the Jordan valley between Succoth and Zarethan ( 1 Kings 7:46). The chief works of this Hiram were: ( a) the great twin pillars, Jachin and Boaz ( 1 Kings 7:15-22); ( b) the molten “ sea,” supported by twelve oxen ( 1 Kings 7:23-26); ( c) the ten brasen bases ( 1 Kings 7:27-45). The remainder of 1 Kings 7 ( 1 Kings 7:48-51) is occupied by an account of the lesser vessels of the Temple.

Hiram ( 1 Kings 7:13) in 2 Chronicles 2:13 ff. is introduced in a letter written by the king of Tyre to Solomon. He is there called Huram-abi (RV Huram my father’ s). In Kings he is said to be the son of a widow of Naphtali, but the Chronicler changes this to Ban, the tribe of Aholiab, who assisted in the Tabernacle ( Exodus 31:6). It is not certain whether the pillars were set up to support the porch ( 1 Kings 7:21). Probably they were not, but were intended to represent the sacred stones or obelisks set up in nearly every Semitic sanctuary. The Hebrew word, however, is not the same as that usually employed ( maçç ebah) . Some scholars consider they were used as altars. The molten sea ( 1 Kings 7:23) was perhaps the same as the “ laver of brass” ( Exodus 30:18) in connexion with the Tabernacle for the priests’ ablutions. According to 1 Chronicles 18:8 ( cf. the parallel passage 2 Samuel 8:8), the brass was taken by David from two cities of Hadadezer, king of Syria. The measurements in 1 Kings 7:23 cannot be quite accurate, as the circumference is not three times the diameter. Burney accounts for this rough calculation by supposing that by ten cubits and thirty cubits is meant “ ten by the cubit, etc.”— so Heb. literally— and that the great basin was first measured across and then a line was drawn round and measured on the ground by a measuring rod, and that the result was given approximately. It has been suggested that this “ molten sea” had not a practical purpose, as is indicated in Exodus and also 2 Chronicles 4:6, but was intended to represent the world-wide ocean, the tehom of Genesis 1:2. The lavers ( 1 Kings 7:27 ff .) and bases were probably large bowls placed on wheeled carriages and used to convey water for purposes of ablution, so necessary in a sacrificial worship. Burney gives miniature specimens of such apparatus discovered at Larnaka in Cyprus.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 7". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.