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1 Kings 6:1. In the fourth year of Solomon's reign— If it be asked, why Solomon did not begin the building of the temple sooner, and even in the first year of his reign, since his father had left him a plan, and all things necessary for the undertaking, Abarbanel's answer is, that Solomon would not make use of what his father had prepared, but was resolved to build this temple all at his own cost and charge. He therefore put into the treasure of the Lord's house, all that David had dedicated to the work; and to collect as much gold and silver as was necessary to defray so vast an expence, four years can be accounted no unreasonable time. Nay, even supposing that he made use of the treasure which his father had amassed, yet if the materials provided by his father lay at a considerable distance, and were left rude and unfashioned, it would cost all this time to form them into the exact symmetry wherein the Scripture represents them, before they were brought together; especially considering that the very stones which made the foundation were probably vast blocks of marble or porphyry, (chap. 1 Kings 5:17.) and all polished in an exquisite manner. See Patrick and Poole.
1 Kings 6:7. So that there was neither hammer nor axe, &c.— The true reason why no noise was heard in the building of the temple was, that the stones and all other materials were hewn and squared and fitted at a distance; so that when brought to the place where the temple was to stand, there was nothing to do but to join them together; and this might be done not only for the ease and convenience of the carriage, but also for the magnificence of the work, and in commendation of the workmen's skill and ingenuity. See Exo 20:25 and Martin's Explication des Textes Difficiles, p. 186. We do not enter into any direct and full explanation of the building of the temple, as it would necessarily lead us into too great length, and not be clear, after all, without the assistance of plates. We therefore refer to those authors who have treated professedly on the subject; and particularly to Calmet, Scheuchzer, and Univ. Hist. vol. 1Ki 4:8 vo.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, Long had the Lord taken up his abode within the curtains of the tabernacle; but now a glorious building rises to his honour, planned by himself, and dedicated to his service.
1. The time when it was begun. In the fourth year of Solomon, when the materials were prepared, and four hundred and eighty years after their coming from Egypt, allowing forty to Moses, seventeen to Joshua, two hundred and ninety-nine to the Judges, forty to Eli, forty to Samuel and Saul, forty to David, and four to Solomon.
2. The silence observed in the building. No iron tool was heard; the materials were exactly fitted before they were brought to the spot, and nothing remained but to cement them together. Note; (1.) Those whom God honours as lively stones in his temple, he squares and fashions for their place. (2.) They who build the spiritual temple should be men of peace; clamour and fierce dispute disjoint the stones instead of cementing them.
3. The dimensions were just double those of the tabernacle in length and breadth, and treble in height; the windows narrow without and wide within; and chambers built round it, for the priests who were in waiting, three stories high. Note; (1.) When we look at others' faults, we cannot be too indulgent, nor when on our own too severe. (2.) The more enlarged our hearts are in divine graces, the nearer we shall rise to heaven.
2nd, 1. God sends a gracious message to encourage Solomon in the work, and to signify his pleasure in it; assuring him, that, if he continued faithful, he would secure to himself and his kingdom the perpetuity of his blessings. Note; (1.) Heart-obedience to God's law is more valuable than the most expensive donations to his church. (2.) They who go forth with a desire to God's glory, may confidently expect some tokens of his approbation.
1 Kings 6:23. He made two cherubims of olive-tree— See Exodus 25:18.
1 Kings 6:31. The lintel, &c.— The post which was the door cheeks, was at the fifth cubit. Lightf. vol. i. 1084.
1 Kings 6:38. So was he seven years in building it— That is, speaking in a round number; for he was, in fact, seven years and six months; nor is this mode of speaking unusual in Scripture. The temple itself, indeed, was but a small edifice; but the many courts and offices about it made the whole a vast pile; and the exquisiteness of the art, and fewness of the artists who could be employed, made a longer time requisite. It must be owned, however, that, considering all things, Solomon made extraordinary dispatch; for, if the building of Diana's temple at Ephesus employed all Asia minor for the space of two hundred years; and no less than 360,000 men were taken up for twenty years together in erecting one pyramid, as Pliny affirms, lib. 36: cap. 12 no reasonable man can wonder that this temple was seven years and a half in building. See Calmet, and Univ. Hist. vol. 1Ki 4:8 vo. n. H.
Note; This temple was typical, 1. Of the body of Jesus, in which the fulness of the Godhead dwelt, and by whom alone our services come before God with acceptance. 2. Of the Christian, who, by the power of divine grace prepared and sanctified, becomes an habitation for God, and more gloriously adorned with faith and holiness than this temple with wrought gold. 3. Of the gospel-church, in which every consecrated soul daily ministers as a priest before God, where cherubic spirits wait on the heirs of salvation, and God manifests his presence and power in a manner which those who are without it cannot conceive. 4. Of heaven, the eternal temple, where the service will be uninterrupted, the glory infinitely surpassing, the worshippers innumerable, and no vail any longer concealing from us the brightest beams of our divine Shechinah.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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