Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 6:7

The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hammer;   Iron;   Stones;   Temple;   Thompson Chain Reference - Hammers;   Solomon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Iron;   Temple, the First;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Craft workers;   Temple;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Axe;   Hammer;   Knop;   Temple, Solomon's;   Wall;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Temple;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Ax, Ax Head;   Chisel;   Hammer;   Quarry;   Stone;   Tools;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Arts and Crafts;   Israel;   Jerusalem;   Palm Tree;   Quarry;   Solomon;   Temple;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Axe;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jerusalem ;   Masons;   Oracle;   Temple, the;   37 Slow Slothful Idle;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Handicraft;   Temple;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Handicraft;   Temple;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Hammer;   Stone;   Tool;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ax (Axe);   Hammer;   Iron (1);   Temple;   Tools;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Axe;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Shamir;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The house - was built of stone - It appears that every stone was hewn and squared, and its place in the building ascertained, before it came to Jerusalem: the timbers were fitted in like manner. This greatly lessened the trouble and expense of carriage. On this account, that all was prepared at Mount Lebanon, there was neither hammer, axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the building; nothing except mallets to drive the tenons into the mortises, and drive in the pins to fasten them, was necessary: therefore there was no noise. But why is this so particularly marked? Is it not because the temple was a type of the kingdom of God; and the souls of men are to be prepared here for that place of blessedness? There, there is no preaching, exhortations, repentance, ears, cries, nor prayers; the stones must be all squared and fitted here for their place in the New Jerusalem, and, being living stones, must be built up a holy temple for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The spirit of the command (marginal references), was followed. Thus the fabric rose without noise.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-6.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 6:7

And the house . . . was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither.

Living stones made ready for the heavenly temple

In the New Testament the Church is termed “God’s building”--“the temple of God”--“the temple of the Holy Ghost”--“the temple of the living God”--“an habitation of God in the Spirit:” These terms denote, that as God by the bright symbol of His glory manifested. His presence in the movable tabernacle erected by Moses, and the stately temple built by Solomon.; so does He by His Spirit dwell in the hearts of Christians as individuals, and in the Church collectively.

I. The stones of which it is composed. St. Peter says of Christians, that “as lively stones they are built up a spiritual house.” A stone is a shapeless mass of rock. It is inert--lifeless: could never split itself from its native quarry; could never fashion itself into classic shape and beauty; and could never set itself up as a lintel or column in any edifice of mare And such by nature is the spiritual state of all men. But believers, having been hewn out from the quarry of humanity by the a, race of God, are termed “living stones”; not inert masses of rock, not senseless blocks of marble, but full of life, feeling, action; and they are thus designated because Christ, as “the tried corner-stone,” “the sure foundation,” is called “a living stone,” and diffuses His own life through all parts of the spiritual temple which rests on Him. So that every stone in it, from the foundation to the top stone, is made a precious, a glistering, a living stone, through the indwelling life of Jesus, the Prince of Life.

II. The way in which these living stones are prepared for the temple, furnishes a subject of interesting and profitable thought. The wood and stone used in Solomon’s temple were carefully prepared at a distance from the place where the edifice was to be built. The sacred house was planned out in minutest detail by David, under the direction of the Spirit of God. Each stone, column, lintel, architrave, capital, beam, rafter, had its special and appointed place; but as yet the wood was waving its branches in the forests of Lebanon, and the stone was unquarried in the mountains of Judea. Many an axe and sharp-edged tool passed over that tree before it became a stately pillar; and many a hammer and instrument of iron was used on that once unsightly block ere as a polished stone it was fitted for the temple s wall. Most beautifully does all this illustrate the way of God in building up His spiritual and living temple. Though at conversion the child of God is a marked man, though he is justified freely by the grace that is in Christ Jesus; yet how much spiritual trimming and dressing, how much hewing and squaring does he need to fashion him aright for the position which the Divine Architect intends he shall occupy hereafter! There are sharp angles of character to be rounded off; unsightly protuberances of conduct to be chipped away; many roughnesses of temper to be smoothed down; many flaws and cracks of mind and heart to be chiselled out; and then, when the general form of the stone is prepared, how much severe friction is required to give it the right polish, and bring out all its beauties, so that its smooth surface may fling back the rays of the Sun of Righteousness! Our earth is the place where this work is to be done; for, as there was no noise of any axe, or hammer, or tool of iron heard on Mount Moriah while the temple was building, so in the New Jerusalem above there will be heard no crushing strokes of conviction, no sharp hewings of an awakened conscience, no sound of preparatory discipline. The greater part of the preparation to which we are subjected as professing Christians, is of a disciplinary character, and hence is fitly represented by the axe, the hammer, and the tool of iron. Now the axe seems driven into the root of his happiness; now he is broken as a block of granite under the blows of the hammer of God’s word and now the iron of a sore adversity has entered into his soul, and he feels himself stricken, smitten, and afflicted. In these dispensations, however severe, he is being fitted by the hand of God Himself for a place in glory. God knows for what position in that heavenly temple He has designed us.

III. The end for which these living stones are designed. The real end, then, for which God hath chosen us in Christ Jesus before the world began, and fitted us on earth by His providential dispensations, is, “that in the dispensation of the fulness of time, He might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him.” And this recapitulation of all things in Christ, is to be effected by building all things on Christ as the sure foundation which God Himself has laid in Zion; and Christians, as living stones chosen of God and precious, are, in the language of St. Paul, built upon the foundation of the apostles. This spiritual temple God is now building up, and it progresses just as fast as the living stones arc prepared to take their places above. And this building process is going on every day, in our midst, under our own eyes. (Bishop Stevens.)

Hidden quarries

There is a hidden, withdrawn realm in every one of us, where life is getting itself chiefly shaped. Not e’en the truest heart, and next our own, Knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh. “Do noble things, not dream them all day long,” urges and sings Charles Kingsley; and it is a good music and a right urging. Yet it is still true that no one can do noble things except he first dream them. There was a voyage to the New World in the thought of Columbus before he left Spain, or there could have been no voyage by ship. There was the boat propelled by steam in the thought of Robert Fulton before the actual boat could go puffing up the Hudson, drawing in its wake the vast retinue of later steam navigation. There must be the hidden dreaming before the doing can be possible. Think of some of these withdrawn and hidden quarries, where the stones are chiefly shaped, which became builded in the temple of our lives--the hidden quarries of the imagination, the affections, the will (Homiletic Review.)

Grave prepares the stones for the spiritual temple

To this our New Testament temple answers. For those of the sons of Adam who are counted worthy to be laid in this building are not by nature, but by grace, made meet for it. No man will lay trees, as they come from the wood, for beams and rafters in his house; no stones, as digged, in the walls. No; the stones must be hewed and squared, and the trees sawn and made fit, and so be laid in the house. Yea, they must be so sawn, and so squared, that in coupling they may be joined exactly, else the building will not be good, nor the workman have credit of his doings. Hence our gospel church of which the temple was a type, is said to be fitly framed, and that there is a fit supply of every joint for the securing of the whole (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:20-21; Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 2:19). (John Bunyan.)

There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house.--

Building in silence

Incidental as the mention of this curious fact may be, we cannot well doubt that it was intended to have a spiritual significance. God’s house was built in silence. Those who watched it, as it rose in its beauty and majesty, must have felt a sense of awe stealing upon them as the great work proceeded without the din and clatter with which earthly buildings are raised. Much might be spoken in a general way of the eloquence of silence. If you have ever been alone on a mountain-top, lifted above the sounds of earth, you must have had a very solemnising sense of being brought nearer to God and to the awful world unseen. Shallow rivers are commonly noisy rivers, and, as has been well said, “the drum is loud because it is hollow.” The profoundest gratitude, the deepest love, the intensest anxiety, are mute. The inability to express them is itself expressive. But to speak more directly of the relation of silence to our spiritual life, observe--

1. Silence seems fittest when we first think of God. Surely the earliest consciousness of His presence and His nearness, if it be a real and a vivid consciousness, commands our silence! And then, close as we feel God to be to us, it is undeniable that there is much in His nature that must ever remain mysterious; much that, as far as logical statement goes, seems contradictory. Not mysterious, observe, in such a sense as that we should be justified in giving up thinking of God altogether; but mysterious as implying that when we have reached certain lines of limitation to our inquiries, there we must stop. We can know God; but there is much relating to God which we cannot know.

2. When our religion passes into personal conviction, then again we find the value of silence. “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.” When the sense of self-reproach is keen, when the conviction of guilt is fairly awakened, the sinner is dumb before his God. What can he say? Can he give utterance to the overwhelming sense of personal demerit, or express the depth of humiliation in the convicted soul? And then, when we go forth redeemed and disenthralled, how feebly can words indicate the sense of relief, of gratitude too profound for words! Let not noise, then, be the test of truth. Believe nothing merely because it is said by many, and said very loudly. The people of Ephesus cried with a loud voice for the space of two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” but I do not suppose that any truthful person at the end of the two hours was more impressed by her greatness than at the beginning, or more inclined to believe that her image had fallen down from Jupiter. As you value truth and fairness, as it is the sacred duty of every man to form his convictions without fear or favour, his duty for the sake of others as for his own, resolve never to be led by clamour.

3. But silence has its proper relation to spiritual worship. Certainly this truth is distinctly involved in all that Scripture says of the worth of silence, viz. that if we would commune with our own hearts we must be “still”; we must cease from the stir and fuss and superficial chatter of a superficial world; above all, from the wilfulness of our hearts and their clamorous devices and desires. We must say in the same spirit as the child-prophet of old: “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth”; and then, in self-forgetfulness, listen for the voice that is best heard in silence.

4. But silence has its proper place, its due relation, in regard to our intercourse with our fellow-men. Among the valuable things that some of us have learned from Thomas Carlyle, we shall not forget the value of silence. It seems that there is far too much talking in the world. After all, Carlyle only said what the wise man of old had wisely affirmed, that “in all labour there is profit, but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “there is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” We return, last of all, to our original thought. The temple of God is to be built in silence. In silent conviction the individual is built up a dwelling for God’s Spirit. In silence is His spiritual temple, His Church, built in its glory and beauty, “which temple ye are.” It is a silent work, because it is a spiritual work. “The kingdom of God,” to put this truth into New Testament language, “is not in word, but in power.” It depends upon the invisible touch of the Divine Master’s hand, “whereby all the building, fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord.” (J. A. Jacob, M. A.)

No sound of hammer or axe

1. A single soul under the action of God’s Spirit illustrates both the steady continuity with which great forces operate, and also what we may call the periodicity of exceptional and startling upheavals. None can tell how long it has taken to form a single geologic stratum; silently and slowly, and by a prearranged law, the processes take place by which what we call a rock, a stone, a formation is made; but, in some moment of violent interference, the aspect of a continent is changed. To those close and steadfast years of formation we attach too little importance. The currents of electric and other forces, so essential in various ways, are distinctly active, and may be tested, even where no violent action may be traced; but there comes a thunderstorm, the elements seem at war; and then we see the awfulness of this power for good or for devastation. The efflorescence of life, as one may call it, has the same moral meaning. The pre-ordained flower is in the seed, and grows into its organic beauty by a living vitality which has its preordained type. You look out upon the snow-mantled earth; one snowflake, with innumerable crystals, each exquisite in its beauty and perfect in its structure, is not a snowstorm. But it is essential to it, and has been separately framed so that each fits into each for the perfect whole. Do we not see how all these become as parables, equally with the blocks of quarried stone, which, fitly hewn, went to build the temple? When, for instance, we ask concerning the origin of spiritual life, we axe thrown back into the sphere of the hidden and incomprehensible. A good man always, however, refers all his goodness to the contemplated purpose of the Almighty. Hence he does not hesitate to use and apply to himself the word, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” The response of the soul to the words of the Saviour, “I have chosen you and ordained you,” is immediate and unfaltering. “Even so, Lord; the love that was before all my sin, my very existence, was the fountain of my life and love.” But I have called it hidden and incomprehensible. Yes; it is in the Divine secrecies that all the life to be revealed lies. These are the depths which are unsearchable, the mysteries which are inscrutable.

2. Let us now trace some of the methods by which, in practical experience, the setting of these spiritual stones takes place. That there are such upheavals as correspond with the periods of inorganic nature we have been reminded. Sometimes stormy religious experiences herald “the peace which passeth understanding”; and the transfer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light is most emphatic and marked. The world intrudes too much upon our notions of what a spiritual change is. We come to expect something startling and showy. We want a spectacle to see and to exhibit; but the kingdom of God cometh, a true kingdom too, “without observation.” Readers of the lives of Madame Guyon and Fenelon will at once have grasped my allusion. For “interior silence” was one of those qualities which made the mystics so devout, and still makes them so interesting study. But that “interior silence,” that submission of the will to God, that entire absence of self-dependence which has given to mysticism a peculiar charm for a certain order of minds, does it not afford us,--in these days of sensationalism, when everything must be tabulated, set down by name, and labelled with some distinctive sign,--some needful check and counteractive? Does it not suggest to us that the holiest, and therefore the best and safest, ways along which men may pass towards the highest life, are those along the Divine silences? But natures are different. Some need the stimulus of great external excitement. Let us not condemn them, even while we claim a place for those who find refreshment and nutriment both in the things that make no noise. Silence does not mean inaction; nay, has not silence been called the very “voice of God”? We may be touched to the very core of our being without any deeper, fuller pulsation than that which indicates a healthy, natural inward life. Let the goodman be encouraged to hold on his way in goodness, to cherish with a tender regard the quiet virtues which blossom for Heaven alone to look at; let him not be discouraged that he hears not the throb of his inward vitality. If the fruit of the Spirit be with him, let him not doubt that the Spirit is there. And it would be well to guard against those laboured substitutes for the Divine endeavour, which often accompany an outward show of religion. You are not stirred as once you were, let me suppose; this may be because your nature offers less resistance to the holier will. The noise of the babbling brook as it dashed against the pebbles or rocks in its onward course, has subsided because the flow is less impeded; but the deep stream flows with equal force. My busy, restless, eager friend, we have need of all your earnestness and energy; but settle it well that there are other natures with as true an earnestness which are not equally restless and busy. With an inward reserve force, they, while expending themselves in various ways, have yet something hidden away from human observation; great reservoir forces which will not dry up in summer heat, nor become useless in winter’s frost. It is of the first importance that our wills shall be confirmed to God’s; and that, without uneasy effort, we endeavour to walk in the light of God. Our outward life may make no noise, even as our inner life may work without friction, but both have their sure reward. We may, on the other hand, be so busy that-like one in ancient story, “As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (1 Kings 20:40)--the special charge with which we are entrusted may escape us. Let every man bring such gifts as he has, and always the best he can bring; but it may please God to set more honour upon those which are lightly esteemed among men and even by ourselves. All these things press home to us this conviction, that above all we are required to be simple and faithful, laying bare every energy we have to the eye of Infinite Love, and willing to have even our best labours passed by and our unconscious and unpretending efforts crowned with such blessing as the Lord may allow. (G. J. Proctor.)

Building in silence

St. Paul, in his Epistles, frequently alludes to the temple, and employs it as a figure or type or symbol to set forth some great Christian truth.

1. Sometimes he speaks of the individual Christian being the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).

2. Sometimes he speaks of the Church collectively as the temple of God (2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

3. Sometimes Paul speaks of the Church glorified under the figure of a temple, not yet completed, but progressing, continually growing unto a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:19). In some invisible realm, God is rearing a temple of sanctified souls gathered from this evil world.

I. The natural unfitness of the material. The house was built of stone made ready--made fit, implying natural unfitness. The stone when raised from the quarry is rough, shapeless, unsightly, totally unfit to occupy a place in the walls of a temple. It may serve to fill up a place in a mean and humble structure; but the builder of a temple requires it hewn, shaped, so as to fit with nicety into its appointed place, that the entire building may at last be symmetrical and beautiful, revealing the skill of architect and builder. We all need the mighty working of the Divine Artificer in order to fit us for the service of heaven. Our total unfitness is manifest, unfitness of nature, of character, of disposition, of taste. In what then does fitness consist?

1. You must be in harmony with your environment in heaven. You must be made ready before you are brought thither.

2. You must be in harmony with the employments of heaven. Heaven is not a place of inactivity. Ample scope will be given for the development and growth of both mind and spirit. Every employment there will, however, be of a highly sacred character, and will be joyful only to those who are in perfect sympathy with holiness.

3. Another qualification is sympathy with God. In heaven God will be the supreme joy of angels and all unfallen spirits; God in Christ will be the joy of all redeemed spirits for ever. There is only one will in heaven.

II. The material for building the temple was brought from a distance. The woodwork was wrought from Lebanon-Cedars, the stones also are supposed to have been brought chiefly from the sides of Lebanon; brass “without weight” from the foundries of Sue-doth and Zaretan; gold, silver, and precious stones from Ophir and Parvaim. This fact symbolises the distance, the moral distance, from God of the material with which He builds for Himself the heavenly temple. Strangers, foreigners, aliens, enemies, afar off are the expressions employed in the Scriptures to describe our condition when sought and found by a gracious God.

III. The means employed. Ordinary means only were used in the erection of Solomon’s temple. No miracle was wrought. To men hath God committed the ministry of reconciliation. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” Saved ourselves He sends us forth to save others. While the instruments are human the means are varied. In the quarry some blast the rock, some hew the stone, some may be seen sawing, others polishing, others removing it when finished. While holding fast the unchanging truth, that the Holy Spirit alone effects the great moral change in every regenerated soul, the means He employs are varied. “There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Stones differ materially in their character and nature. Some will break, others split, others crumble, others polish. As human beings we differ greatly in temperament,,disposition, tastes, qualities, and we require different treatment in order to bring out the best that is in us. The discipline that would be a blessing to one might prove a curse to another. God, who holds in His hand the weapon, knows perfectly the nature, the qualities, the character of the man He is working upon.

IV. Its gradual advancement. Solomon took seven years to build his temple, but it took David many more years to provide and prepare the materials. So the great spiritual temple in the heavenlies has been in process for about six thousand years, and even now it seems far from completion. The foundation may be considered laid when the first promise of a Saviour was proclaimed to fallen man. The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head. Throughout the centuries the building has been rising beautiful and fair under the superintendence of the Divine Architect. Fresh stones are gathered and piled on the sacred edifice. Every day reports progress.

V. The silence with which the temple rises. “There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building.” This world is the quarry where the souls of men are to be prepared for the kingdom of heaven. Whatever change your spirit requires in order to fit you for a place in the heavenly temple must be realised here. This world is the only one where renewal is possible. Probation is limited to our earthly life. (R. Roberts.)

Greatest works wrought in silence

I. The erection of the temple. The building of the temple at Jerusalem was a grand work. But this grand work, we are informed, was wrought in silence; and when we consider the nature and dimensions of the material used, this seems very extraordinary. Some of the blocks of stone were 80 feet long, 10 feet high, and 14 feet wide. Its pillars were socketed in solid masonry. Yet these ponderous masses were hewn, squared, fitted without the sound of a hammer, an axe, or any tool. This silence not only demonstrated that the work was Divine, but symbolised the mode in which the Eternal works out His vast designs.

II. The processes of nature. He who built all things is God. How did He rear this grand temple of the universe, compared to which the building on Mount Moriah is a mere atom? How did He round and burnish and set ageing the innumerable worlds and systems that roll throughout immensity? Without any sound of “hammer,” or “axe,” in infinite silence. How does He bring round the various seasons of the year, change the aspects of the landscape, draw up the herbs, the plants, and flowers, from the silent earth, and build up the majestic trees of unnumbered forests? It is all done in silence. “In solemn silence all” grow and all move, flourish, and decay.

III. The edification of Christly souls. All virtuous souls are His building, His temple to dwell in. But how does He build them up in true knowledge in unbounded confidence in the truth, and invincible love for all that is right, beneficent, and Divine? In the most silent way. How did He, the great Architect, begin this work in Christ? He did “not strive nor cry, neither did any man hear His voice in the streets.” Thus now He proceeds, He inbreathes a regenerating, holy thought silently into the soul, and there it works and works until it builds up the temple of a noble character. Conclusion.

1. Do not judge of the prosperity of any Church by its boisterous sounds. All Divine operations are in silence. In the working of human machinery, the grating noise and rattling din are often insufferable to the ear; but how noiselessly works the stupendous and complicated mechanism of the great universe! Scarcely a sound is heard where God’s hand is most manifest.

2. Do not endeavour to promote any Divine cause by noise and bluster°

In silence mighty things are wrought,

Silently builded thought on thought,

Truth’s temple greets the sky.

And like a citadel with towers,

The soul with her subservient powers

Is strengthened silently.

Soundless as chariots on the snow,

The saplings of the forest grow

To trees of mighty girth.

Each nightly star in silence burns,

And every day in silence turns

The axle of the earth.

The silent frost with mighty band

Fetters the river and the land

With universal chain,

And smitten by the silent sun,

The chain is loosed, the rivers run,

The lands are free again.

(Homilist.)

Quiet and order in the temple

I. It might be expressive of the character of the worship which would be acceptable to God in the temple.

1. Worship prepared for. The stones were cut and shaped beforehand. So should we go to the house of God in the spirit of devotion. Many go expecting there to get spiritual thoughts, who keep worldly thoughts in their heads until they reach the very doors of the sanctuary. To cultivate a spirit of prayerfulness and reverence before going to the house of God will warrant us to expect the acceptance of our worship, and a blessing on ourselves.

2. Worship quietly conducted. God is not delighted with loud and noisy declamation. A reverent tone will be subdued; but not hypocritically so.

3. Worship conducted in an orderly manner. Random, irregular, disorderly services cannot be such as God would approve. Late attendance, listlessness in God’s house, unseemly haste to leave, all these appear to be condemned.

4. Worship appropriately conducted. There should be regard paid to the fitness of things.

II. The circumstance mentioned in this narrative may be expressive of the character of the spiritual temple, of which the material temple was typical.

1. There must be a change in those who are made stones in the living temple.

2. Religion has to do with the externals of man’s life. An uncouth, rough, rugged Christian is an anomaly. The servant of God should be gentle, meek, patient, lovely, amiable

3. The work of preparation must be done outside the church. Men are not to be brought into Christ s church as members in order that they may be converted, but because they have been already converted.

4. All stones in the temple were serviceable. Christians in different spheres of life have greater or less responsibility according to circumstances; but all are “precious in the sight of the Lord.” (F. Wagstaff.)

The quiet world

One might often think that the great world-life is mostly characterised by strife and stress and storm. And true it is that these are facts. In business, competition; in politics, conflicting parties; in international relations, either war or rumours of war, or, at best, armed peace--the strain of jealousy and fear; in the church, sectarianism; in theology, endless controversy; in ethics, even, different schools with many unsolved problems. In such a world it would appear almost impossible to live a quiet, tranquil life--to enjoy anything like harmony of being. And this reflection is not without its danger. There is a temptation to catch the fever; to live in the storm; to think ourselves on to the rack; to be ever on the wave of excitement; and to regard life as mainly consisting in its more tumultuous elements. It is therefore of some value to reflect that behind all the tumult there is always a great body of life which is quiet and tranquil. The world is not as noisy as it sounds, nor as stormy as it appears. Paul was no doubt right when he said that there were many voices in the world, and that none of them was without signification. It is also true that there is a great deal of substantial life which is not loud; of solid sound building where the noise of tools is not heard; of weaving durable material after beautiful patterns without the din of machinery, on the silent looms of tranquil souls. The sea is in many ways a fit emblem of life. We have watched it when strong winds made it angry; how it rose in wrath; how the waters roared and were troubled; how the waves broke on rock and shore; it looked as if the whole volume of the ocean had been stirred to its depth. But it was not so. It is even so in the great human world. Even its most tremendous revolutions leave its largest part in the steady sway of orderly life, where feeling and thought and action are normal and peaceful. It is the same along the whole course of history, and we are apt to forget it. History as written is for the most part the history of what made a noise. The sound of warriors rushing to battle, the clashing of armour, the groans of the conquered, and the shouts of the conqueror fill our ears. And yet it is evident that these were at no time the whole of life. The vast body of life is always unhistoric; the quiet world is not reported because it is quiet. Drop into history at any one point that we may think it more concretely. Harold, the English king, hears of the coming of William of Normandy. Immediately he marshals the war forces, and soon you hear the tramp of soldiers on the march. They meet the enemies; the armies fight; there is tremendous excitement. Ask any historian what the great event of the year 1066 was in England, and he will say it was the battle of Hastings. And it looks indeed as if English life then was a battle and nothing else. Yet even when that battle was being fought, which undoubtedly was the great event of the year, and which had such important consequences for this country, it is certain that of the two million people then in England, the vast majority went calmly and regularly on with their life, many not knowing, and many not heeding the engagement of the soldiers. Thousands of yeomen and cottars, of freedmen and serfs went the daily round as if there was no Duke of Normandy on the south coast; hundreds of monks chanted the canticles divine, undisturbed by the noises of the warriors. And all these who lived in the quiet world contributed their share to the national advancement. What is life in Britain from the first coming of the English down to the establishment of their final supremacy? It is mostly made up of battles--battles with the old Britons; battles among the different kingdoms of the English themselves; battles with the Danes--terrible battles; battles with the Normans; and battles all the way. William of Normandy said on his death-bed, “I am stained with rivers of blood.” And in reading the history of this long period we seem to be walking on the bank of a river of blood all the way. English life then was one long battle. No, no; battles there were indeed, many and furious, but even then I think the quiet world was larger than the world of storm. And in the story of those old times, rude and rough as they were, we can afford to turn our eye from the battle-field to the hearth, where nature has already opened the fountains of tenderness; where the mother fondles her child with sweet delicious love; and we may be very sure that more than king or soldier, the mother builds the nation. If it be true that in noise and tumult the enemies are driven back and conquered, it is in silence for the most part that character is built. Japan surprised the world in her war with China. It has been said that her fighting power has made her a nation, but we might well ask, what made her fighting power? it was in the quiet world of mutual devotion, patriotic sentiment, and noble sacrifice, her strength was reared for battle. And in our day, in these times of national disquietude, one might sometimes think that the world is made up of governments and armies and speculators--they make such a noise. And depend upon it, the national well-being is more dependent upon the quality of the quiet world than upon noisy action. There must be noisy action, of course; there must be public service; we must have men whose speeches shall resound to the ends of the earth, and whose words shall be heard everywhere; but we are too liable to think of our national strength as consisting in these. Every nation has been asking itself recently how strong it is. And for an answer they have been counting their ironclads and their armies, and estimating their exchequers. England has been displaying her flying squadron to advertise her strength. Our American ambassador in London wisely reminded us that not in these things lie the real forces of a nation’s life. I would say indeed that the three great spheres in which a nation is built are the home, the school, and the church. In the sweetness and purity of its domestic life, in the character of its education, in the depth and reality of its religion, a nation’s life mostly consists. And the best work in these is quietly done. Now, it is very necessary for those who have to live much in the loud world, to keep in close touch with the world that goes quietly on its way. The hard serious student will find life full of problems. To the thinker, there is no doubt that it is so. And you can find a problem everywhere. The simplest objects when you examine them put you at the heart of mystery. The simplest statements if you analyse them throw you upon the profoundest problems. This sometimes becomes a source of great depression; men are weighed down by it into inaction. Out of this mood I know no better way than to reflect upon the quiet world. When you are debating what is duty, thousands are just quietly doing it, and they have peace and harmony of being because they do. When you cannot decide as to whether or not there is ground for theism, thousands quietly turn their souls in reverence to the Unknown and worship, and though they cannot theorise, they know they are helped, they feel the lift, and the problem is not there to them. Believe me, there is often an escape from the over-pressure of a problem in the contemplation of a fact. The life of quiet goodness, of unostentatious fidelity, of calm, resolute devotion, of aspiring prayer, is a life fed from eternal sources, and drawn onward and upward by the everlasting energy, ruling all finite movements from the mind of God; and it will survive the indignities of time, and live in immutable glory. (T. R. Williams.)

The fruits of silence

The gems of the world’s literature, the marvels of inventions of science and art, the great thoughts and words which live age after age, are the fruit of silence. From silent studies of a Raphael comes, at length, the work of art. The poet broods long in silence and then gives to the world his immortal song. Inventors with knit brows bend over models, and by and by produce a boon to toiling races. The orator shuts to the door, and then comes forth to sway great audiences and sweep away tyranny and wrong. The Christen lingers in the hush of prayer and meditation, and then appears with his face all aglow.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 6:7". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-6.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the house, when it was in building,.... And all the while it was building:

was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; being hewn or squared by the builders and stonesquarers of Solomon and Hiram, 1 Kings 5:18; wherefore the builders had nothing more to do than to lay them in their proper places in the building; it was built with these stones quite up to the ceiling, as Josephus saysF20Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect. 2. ; and these so admirably polished, and so artificially joined together, that not the least sign of an axe, or of any working tool, could be discerned in them:

so that there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house while it was in building; the first of these observations shows, that none are to be laid in the spiritual building of the church, but such as are first hewed and squared by the Spirit, grace, and word of God: or who have an experience of the grace of God, are sound in the faith, and of becoming lives and good conduct; and the other denotes, that such as are therein, whether ministers or members, should do all they do for the edification of the church in a quiet and peaceable manner, without clamour, contention, fights, and tumults.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-6.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building — A subterranean quarry has been very recently discovered near Jerusalem, where the temple stones are supposed to have been hewn. There is unequivocal evidence in this quarry that the stones were dressed there; for there are blocks very similar in size, as well as of the same kind of stone, as those found in the ancient remains. Thence, probably, they would be moved on rollers down the Tyropean valley to the very side of the temple [Porter, Tent and Kahn].

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-6.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

Made ready — Hewed, and squared, and fitted exactly according to the direction of the architect.

Neither hammer, … — So it was ordered, partly for the ease and conveniency of carriage: partly, for the magnificence of the work, and commendation of the workmen's skill and diligence: and partly, for mystical signification. And as this temple was a manifest type both of Christ's church upon earth, and of the heavenly Jerusalem: so this circumstance signified as to the former, that it is the duty of the builders and members of the church, as far as in them lies, to take care that all things be transacted there with perfect peace and quietness; and that no noise of contention, or division, or violence, be heard in that sacred building: and for the latter, that no spiritual stone, no person, shall bear a part in that heavenly temple, unless he be first hewed, and squared, and made meet for it in this life.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-6.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘LIKE SOME TALL PALM THE SILENT FABRIC SPRUNG’

‘The house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.’

1 Kings 6:7

The building of the Temple on Mount Moriah is a parable of the present world. St. Paul applies the simile of the text to the building of the Church of God when, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he says that this Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, and that it groweth with a noiseless growth into a holy temple for the Lord. The text is a revelation of the twofold condition of the life of the Church of Christ as it is to-day.

I. There are three conditions of the Church’s life: two present, one future.—The Church is militant on earth; the Church is expectant in Paradise; the Church shall be glorified in Jesus Christ when He comes and she passes into Paradise. However chequered may be the Church’s course on earth, within the veil Jesus is realising His thought of His Church, not in the transitory conditions of time, but under abiding conditions in eternity. Jesus is the Builder of His Church in Paradise, for He is the true Solomon.

II. When Solomon built his Church, the first thing he did was to dig deep, that his foundations might rest upon a rock.—Christ lays the foundations of His Church deep in His own wounded form. Upon the person of Jesus, as the crucified Redeemer, do the foundations of the Church rest.

III. Solomon laid the foundation stones of the Temple.—The Bible tells us that the foundation stones of the Church are the twelve Apostles. Their influence is a living power with us to-day.

IV. We are not as yet in Jerusalem; we are in Lebanon.—God’s great work is going on age after age; the purpose of the Church is to be the school of heaven, the place where men and women are made ready for eternity.

—Canon Body.

(SECOND OUTLINE)

What Lebanon was to Zion, this world is to heaven. This world is the quarry and the work-field, heaven the temple. Gradually in its calm magnificence, far out of sight, that temple in Zion is rising and stretching on, in its preordained proportions, to its vast circumference. Another and another stone is being added to it, but not one that has not been hewn and fitted here.

I. God sends His stone-squarers to His children; afflictions ply their hammers, and unkind men their sharp chisels, until the heart, measured as with a plumb-line, is set to the whole will of God, and we are conformed to the heavenly and made correspondent to the Divine.

II. Here on earth the stones lie disjointed and isolated; they are good stones, but they want union. There, in that great spiritual structure, all will be gathered into a perfect oneness, and each shall bear his own proper and necessary part in the temple.

—Rev. James Vaughan.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Building of character is the great work of life. This goes on best in the quiet. A man who had been himself occupied in business for a great while, with scarcely a day’s rest or pause, was stricken down with a partial paralysis. He was compelled to lie still for months. His mind was clear and active while his body was inactive. One day he said to his pastor, “I have grown more in these quiet months than I did in all my long years of rushing activity.” He was now really building up the temple of God in his own soul. We ought not to wait for idleness to compel us to be still, we should get the quiet into our life even in our busiest times. We must have a restful spirit if we would build up the inner temple. There should be “silent times” in every day’s life. The secret of Daniel’s noble character, while carrying a great part of the burden of the kingdom of Babylon, was that he never forsook the quiet place of prayer. Not even fear of the lions’ den could make him neglect the season of devotion. There is no other secret of a true and noble life amid the world’s strifes and trials. We must keep quiet within, that we may build up in our hearts the temple of God.’

(2) ‘Building with us is noisy work. But there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building. It went up as a tree grows—silently. Very beautiful and impressive that, for it was the silence of worship. As his servants moved about him silently, because of the reverence they had for him, so would he serve God silently, as knowing that God was a great King above all kings. Let us learn the lesson. Work should be worship. Do all in the Name.’

(3) ‘The silent building of the Temple suggests also that all truest and most beautiful work goes on silently. The greatest forces in nature operate without noise. The sun lifts billions of tons of water into the air, but there is no rattle of pumps. The force of gravitation holds worlds in their place, and yet there is no clatter of chains or machinery. Along telegraph and telephone wires flash messages all over the world, but no one hears even a whisper in the silent wires. The angels minister everywhere continually, and yet no one ever hears voice or footstep. The Holy Spirit works mightily in all the world, but His working is noiseless. Jesus was a quiet worker. His voice was not heard in the streets. The Christians who make the greatest impression upon the world are the quietest in their movements.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-6.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 6:7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe [nor] any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

Ver. 7. Was built of stone.] Tam artificiose non tantum sine deformi cicatrice vulneris, sed et sine subtilissimae suturae notis, ut imponerent oculo spectatoris … quasi tota moles in tantam magnitudinem ex unico ingenti lapide tam magnifice consurgeret: i.e., so artificially were the stones of the temple polished and cemented together, as if the whole fabric had been but one entire stone.

Made ready before it was brought thither; ] Hewn and hammered in the mount, not so taken out of quarry, - so God had ordered it, - that there needed no tool of iron to fit them, as Procopius and Glycas imagined, because it followeth,

So that there was neither hammer nor axe, &c.] In the house indeed no tool was heard, no noise was made, to show that there should be no contentions in the Church militant, and that there shall be no afflictions or sufferings in the Church triumphant. Haec vita est officina in qua lapides templi aeterni scalpantur ac dedolentur, ut recists aut resectis depravatae naturae vitiis, caelesti aedifico perficiendo cum honore ac decore adhiberi et aptari possint: Here the saints are hewed and squared by God’s word, [Hosea 6:5] and by his strokes, [Isaiah 27:9] that they may be fitted for the heavenly temple.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-6.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Kings 6:7

The building of the Temple on Mount Moriah is a parable of the present world. St. Paul applies the simile of the text to the building of the Church of God when, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he says that this Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, and that it groweth with a noiseless growth into a holy temple for the Lord. The text is a revelation of the twofold condition of the life of the Church of Christ as it is to-day.

I. There are three conditions of the Church's life: two present, one future. The Church is militant on earth; the Church is expectant in Paradise; the Church shall be glorified in Jesus Christ when He comes and she passes into Paradise. However chequered may be the Church's course on earth, within the veil Jesus is realising His thought of His Church, not in the transitory conditions of time, but under abiding conditions in eternity. Jesus is the Builder of His Church in Paradise, for He is the true Solomon.

II. When Solomon built his church, the first thing he did was to dig deep, that his foundations might rest upon a rock. Christ lays the foundations of His Church deep in His own wounded form. Upon the person of Jesus, as the crucified Redeemer, do the foundations of the Church rest.

III. Solomon laid the foundation stones of the Temple. The Bible tells us that the foundation stones of the Church are the twelve Apostles. Their influence is a living power with us today.

IV. We are not as yet in Jerusalem; we are in Lebanon. God's great work is going on age after age; the purpose of the Church is to be the school of heaven, the place where men and women are made ready for eternity.

G. Body, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 1.


What Lebanon was to Zion, this world is to heaven. This world is the quarry and the work-field, heaven the temple. Gradually in its calm magnificence, far out of sight, that temple in Zion is rising and stretching on, in its preordained proportions, to its vast circumference. Another and another stone is being added to it, but not one that has not been hewn and fitted here.

I. God sends His stone-squarers to His children; afflictions ply their hammers, and unkind men their sharp chisels, until the heart, measured as with a plumb-line, is set to the whole will of God, and we are conformed to the heavenly and made correspondent to the Divine.

II. Here on earth the stones lie disjointed and isolated; they are good stones, but they want union. There, in that great spiritual structure, all will be gathered into a perfect oneness, and each shall bear his own proper and necessary part in the temple.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 8th series, p. 201.


Taking the Temple as an emblem of the Christian, we say that it was (1) the place of mercy; (2) the place of law; (3) the place of worship.

I. In the Temple was erected the throne of mercy; there mercy was, as it were, localised. The Christian only has a clear idea of mercy as a living principle. He knows his need of it, and knows mercy as an attribute of God. The sense of our need of mercy produces humility and peace.

II. The Law was deposited in the ark, and remained there till the time of Titus. The law of God should dwell in every Christian heart.

III. In the soul of the Christian, as in the Temple, there is communion with the Divine presence, there is the true worship of God. Fellowship with ourselves and the indwelling Spirit of God is the essence of true religion and the true idea of a spiritual temple.

C. Morris, Preacher's Lantern, vol. iii., p. 563.


References: 1 Kings 6:7.—G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 187; Bishop Woodford, Sermons on Subjects from the Old Testament, p. 80; Sermons for the Christian Seasons, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 613; Dawson, Sermons on Daily Life and Duty, p. 242; New Manual of Sunday-school Addresses, p. 262; E. Thring, Uppingham Sermons, vol. i., p. 71; J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 86.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-kings-6.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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 Exodus 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. 1 Kings 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.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-6.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 331

THE STILLNESS WITH WHICH THE TEMPLE WAS BUILT

1 Kings 6:7. And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building.

NEVER was there upon the face of the globe a building, that in point of elegance or grandeur could be compared with the temple of Solomon. It had been the desire of David to erect it; but he was forbidden of God to do so, because he had been engaged in many wars, and had shed much blood. God however approved of his desire, and told him, that his son should have the honour which was denied to him. Nevertheless David began immediately to make preparations for the building; and Solomon in three years after he came to the throne was ready to begin the work; which in somewhat more than seven years he was enabled to complete. There is, in the structure of this edifice, one circumstance so remarkable as to deserve very particular attention: the wood and stones were all prepared at a distance, and brought to the place perfectly fitted for the situation in which they were to stand: and with such unerring skill were they all framed, that, during the whole time of building the temple, there was no occasion for an axe or hammer to be used; and the whole structure was completed without the smallest noise. Now whoever considers the figurative nature of the Jewish dispensation must see, that such an extraordinary circumstance as this could not have happened from mere chance, or have occurred at all without some very important meaning. We doubt not but that it was intended by God to shadow forth some truths for the instruction of his Church in all ages. What these were, we cannot declare with certainty, because no inspired writer has specified them: but we apprehend that, whatever else this circumstance might intimate, it was particularly calculated to represent,

I. The perfection of God’s designs—

[Every part of the edifice, and every vessel in it, was formed, as it were, in the mind of the Divine Architect, long before Solomon or David ever entertained the thought of executing such a work. Before Moses constructed the tabernacle, there was a model set before him by God, and he was ordered to make every thing according to the pattern shewn to him in the mount [Note: Exodus 25:40.]. A similar model was given by God to David, and shewn by him to Solomon, for the constructing of the temple [Note: 1 Chronicles 28:11-13; 1 Chronicles 28:19.]: so that, as existing in the divine mind, the work was perfect before it was begun.

Now this shews us what is really the case with respect to every thing in the whole creation. As the creation itself was all formed in the divine purpose, though it occupied six successive days to complete it, so all things to the very end of time are present in the mind of God, having been ordained of him before the foundation of the world.

We are aware that to many this appears “an bard saying:” but it is “a true saying:” for how could so many things have been foretold by prophets in different and distant ages, if they had not been previously fixed in the purposes of God? Had there been any thing left to chance, some of these prophecies must hare failed: but not even the minutest circumstance that has been predicted has ever failed: and this proves that God foresaw every thing that should ever come to pass; and that he foresaw it, not as probable, but as certain, and therefore certain, because he had ordained it. This is true respecting the vilest iniquities of men, no less than their greatest virtues. The whole treatment which our blessed Lord should meet with, was foreseen, and fore-ordained; though the agents were perfectly free in their actions, and were as much accountable to God as if nothing had been foreseen or fore-ordained [Note: Acts 2:23.]. Nor is it only unwittingly that men have accomplished the divine purposes, but against their will: for Joseph’s brethren were bent upon defeating the divine purposes, and yet actually accomplished them by the very means which they used to defeat them [Note: Genesis 45:5; Genesis 50:20.]. There does indeed appear on some occasions a change of the divine purpose, as in the sparing of Nineveh, and in the prolonging of Hezekiah’s life: but these were not changes in the divine purpose, but changes in the divine dispensations, agreeably to the purpose which had been previously formed in the mind of God.

If this doctrine were not true, God would not be a perfect Being. If any thing were left unfixed in the divine counsels, God could not be omniscient, but would become wiser by the events of every successive day. But can any one doubt whether God be omniscient or not? Surely, as St. James declares, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world [Note: Acts 15:18.].” To deny that God possesses the attribute of foreknowledge would be downright atheism: and to separate this attribute from his pre-ordination appears to me inconsistent and impracticable: nor do they who take refuge in this distinction find themselves at all better able to reconcile their doctrine with the freedom of man’s will, and his responsibility for his conduct, than those who consider every thing as fore-ordained: and if they get rid of some difficulties, they involve themselves in more and greater than they avoid. In truth the language of Scripture is so strong respecting the divine decrees, that it is not possible to explain away many passages which relate to them [Note: Isaiah 46:9-11; Ephesians 1:4-5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 3:11.]. We acknowledge that the subject is deep, and far beyond the comprehension of man: we would therefore never speak of it but with the deepest reverence; nor ever without reminding our hearers, that it is with the divine commands, and not the divine decrees, that they have to do: it is to those, and not to these, that they must look, as the rule of their actions. Still however we dare not deny that God is the Sovereign of the universe, who acts in all things “according to the counsel of his own will, and for the praise of the glory of his own grace [Note: Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 3:11.]:” and though we would by no means make this a prominent subject of our ministrations, yet we cannot but think that the occasional contemplation of this mystery is, as our Article expresses it, “full of pleasant, sweet, and unspeakable comfort.”]

Besides the perfection of God’s designs, we see prefigured in this account,

II. The mode in which they are accomplished—

[The stillness with which the work of the temple proceeded intimated the still and silent way in which God carries on all his works, in the world, in the Church, and in the souls of men.

In the world we behold men carrying on their designs with great noise and tumult: but God is secretly and silently effecting his own purposes in the midst of all. Each of the four great empires, the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, successively rose on the ruins of that which preceded it; but none of the conquerors imagined whose counsels they were fulfilling, or whose instruments they were. Sennacherib boasted what victories he had gained; but he was only an axe or saw in the hand of Omnipotence [Note: Isaiah 10:5-7; Isaiah 10:13-15; Isaiah 37:24-27.]. We shall have a perfect insight into this matter, if we look at the transactions which took place at the death of Christ: all parties followed the bent of their own hearts; but all accomplished with the utmost possible exactness the counsels of the Most High. God spake not to them by any audible voice to direct them; nor did he interpose in any visible way to guide their motions; but he presided in the storm, and overruled every disposition of their hearts for the accomplishment of his own eternal purpose [Note: Acts 4:27-28.]. And it is a most consolatory thought, that, in all the great events which are now taking place in the world, “the counsel of God shall stand, and he will do all his will.”

In the Church more especially does God carry on his work in this way. It was said of our Lord, that he should “not lift up his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street [Note: Isaiah 42:2.]:” he was to found his kingdom upon earth by a secret and invisible influence on the minds of men. His Apostles also were to go forth in dependence on that power, and, by their simple testimony, to convert the world unto him. In their attempts to subdue men to the obedience of faith, they were to use “no carnal weapons,” but only such as should derive their efficacy from the grace of Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.]; agreeably to that prophetic declaration, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts [Note: Zechariah 4:6.].” Accordingly it was in this way that they prevailed over all the power and policy of earth and hell: and in this way will Christ continue to extend his conquests, “till all his enemies be put under his feet.”

In the same way also does God accomplish his purposes in the souls of men. It is “not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, that God manifests himself to them, but in the still small voice [Note: 1 Kings 19:11-12.].” The “seed sown in their hearts, groweth up, they know not how:” changes occur, which threaten to destroy it; but still it survives, and springs up, and brings forth fruit in its season. This operation is compared by our Lord to leaven, which continues to spread, till it has diffused itself through the whole mass. Thus does the grace of God silently, but progressively, renew the whole man, till we are changed into the very image of our God.]

From this subject we may learn,

1. What ought to be the character of our religion—

[Nothing is more common, and nothing more delusive, than a noisy, talkative religion. True religion is a humble, silent, retired thing, not affecting public notice, but rather wishing to approve itself to God [Note: Psalms 131:2 with James 1:26.]. It is “not in saying, Lord, Lord, but in doing the will of our heavenly Father,” that we shall find acceptance in the last day. Happy would it be, if many, who place all their religion in running about, and hearing sermons, and talking of the qualifications of ministers, and disputing about religious opinions, would attend to this hint, and endeavour to acquire more of that wisdom which evinces its divine origin by the excellence of its fruits [Note: James 3:17.]!]

2. How we should judge of growth in grace—

[We would not undervalue the inward feelings of the heart: but, if not accompanied with more substantial evidences of piety, they are very deceitful. We should examine whether we are fitted for the duties of our respective stations. Of all the stones in the temple, there was not one which did not exactly suit its place: so will it be with us, if we have really been wrought upon by the Spirit of God: whether we be parents or children, masters or servants, magistrates or subjects, true grace will lead us to discharge our own duties aright. This is properly to act as members of a body, all fitly framed together, all performing their proper functions, and all contributing to the good of the whole [Note: Ephesians 4:15-16.]. That this idea is just, as arising from the present subject, is certain; for both St. Peter and St. Paul have placed the subject in this very point of view [Note: 1 Peter 2:4-5; Ephesians 2:20-22.]. Let us therefore particularly attend to it; and whilst we all profess to stand on the same foundation, and to be connected together by one Corner-stone, let us approve ourselves “living stones,” by contributing as much as possible to the union, the beauty, the stability, and advancement of the whole building.]

3. How the dispensations of God will appear in the last day—

[A person who should have seen the materials of the temple in their rough state, would have formed no conception of their appearance after they were all fashioned by the workmen, and placed in the order appointed by the Divine Architect: but when the whole building was completed, it was the wonder of the world. Thus at present we have a very imperfect conception of the beauty of God’s Church, or of his wisdom in all his various dispensations: but when his temple shall be complete in heaven, what a glorious edifice will it appear! How will each admire the way in which he was taken out of the quarry, and formed for the particular place that has been allotted him! Here men are apt to wonder, why they must have so many and so severe blows: but there none will think that he has had one stroke too much, or more than was absolutely necessary to fit him for his place: if by the most painful experiences he may have been formed for a more conspicuous station in the temple above, he will feel no regret at any thing he suffered in the body, but will adore the heavenly Workman, that condescended to use such means for his advancement. Let us then, if any thing perplex us now, remember that we see only in part; and be contented to wait till that day, when “God shall be glorified in all his saints, and be admired in all them that believe.”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/1-kings-6.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Made ready; hewed, and squared, and fitted exactly according to the direction of the architect. No

tool heard in the house, while it was in building: so it was ordered, partly, for the case and conveniency of carriage; partly, for the magnificence of the work, and commendation of the workmen’s skill and diligence; and partly, for mystical signification. And as this temple was a manifest type, both of Christ’s church upon earth, and of the heavenly Jerusalem; so this circumstance signified as to the former, that it is the duty of the builders and members of the church, as far as in them lies, to take care that all things be transacted there with perfect peace and quietness; and that no noise of contention, or division, or violence be heard in that sacred building; and for the latter, that no spiritual stone, no person, shall bear a part in that heavenly temple, unless he be first hewed, and squared, and made meet for it in this life.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-6.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Stone made ready before it was brought thither — Literally, Stone completed at the quarry; that is, hewn and shaped for the very spot it was known to be designed to occupy.

Neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard — This further attests the consummate skill of the Sidonian builders. But this fact, so noticeable in itself, is also deeply symbolical. It indicates the silent but sure and mighty growth of the kingdom of Christ. In his personal ministry he did not cry nor lift up his voice in the street; and his Church, like the silent increase of the mustard seed, rises and spreads, and thus goes on to its completion, every day disclosing more and more the consummate skill and infinite wisdom of the Great Architect, “in whom all the building fifty framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:21.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-6.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 6:7. The house — was built of stone made ready — Hewed and squared, and so fitted for their several uses and places, according to the direction of the architect, that they might be joined together without any other labour than the putting them one by or upon another. So that there was neither hammer nor axe, &c. — The stones were laid without any noise, there being nothing to be done but to join them together. Thus it was ordered, partly for the ease and convenience of carriage; partly for the magnificence of the work, and commendation of the workmen’s skill and diligence; and partly for mystical signification. And as this temple was a manifest type, both of Christ’s church upon earth, and of the heavenly Jerusalem; so this circumstance signified, as to the former, that it is the duty of the builders and members of the church, as far as in them lies, to take care that all things be transacted there with perfect peace and quietness; and that no noise of contention, or division, or violence, be heard in that sacred building; and for the latter, that no spiritual stone, no person, shall bear a part in that heavenly temple, unless he be first hewed, and squared, and made meet for it in this life.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-6.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Made ready, &c. So the stones for the building of God's eternal temple, in the heavenly Jerusalem, (who are the faithful) must first be hewn and polished here by many trials and sufferings, before they can be admitted to have a place in that celestial structure. (Challoner) --- Those who have the happiness to be chosen, will be no more disturbed with the noise or inconvenience of persecution, (Haydock) which they ought to bear in silence upon earth. (Worthington) --- Building. Screw nails were probably used. The ancient Romans wrought the mouldings, &c., of their pillars, after they were erected. The Rabbins pretend that a little worm, or stone schamir, which was brought from the earthly paradise by an eagle, or by the devil, Asmodeus, polished all the stones. Maimonides has even written a book on this famous worm. (Grotius) --- Theodoret (q. 23.) also asserts, without proof, that the stones were found ready cut, in the quarry, and that they had only to be polished. We may form a grand idea of the workmen employed by Solomon, when we consider that they were able to prepare all things, with such exactitude, at a distance. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

made ready = made perfect.

before: i.e. in the quarries afar off, or beneath the city.

heard. So in the spiritual house. Ephesians 2:20-22.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

There was neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron heard in the house. A subterranean quarry has been very recently discovered near Jerusalem, where the temple stones are supposed to have been hewn. There is unequivocal evidence to be found in this quarry that the stones were dressed there, because there are blocks exactly similar in size, as well as in the nature of the stone, to the ancient remains. Thence probably they would be moved on rollers down the Tyropean valley to the very side of the temple. The discovery of the great quarry under Bezetha has shown that these immense stones were excavated, hewn, and fully prepared on the spot, whence they were conveyed on trucks or on rollers down the gently-inclined plane to the site chosen for the temple. [See a full and graphic narrative of it in Barclay's, 'City of the Great King,' pp. 118, 458-468; Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 152, note; Dupin's 'Holy Places;' Porter's 'Handbook,' pp. 112-132, 265-267; 'Tent and Khan,' pp. 273, 274).]

`No workman's steel, no ponderous axes rang. Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) Neither hammer nor ax . . . heard.—This striking provision, involving much labour, and requiring no little skill, was one of reverence. It may have been suggested by the prohibition (see Exodus 20:25; Deuteronomy 27:5) of the use of tools on the altar of the Lord. But the idea implied in this prohibition was rather different—viz., the use for the altar of stones in their simple, matural condition, without “pollution” by the art of man. It has been chronicled in Heber’s well-known lines:—

“No workmen’s steel, no ponderous axes rung;

Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
built of stone
5:17,18; Deuteronomy 27:5,6; Proverbs 24:27; Romans 9:23; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 2:5
neither hammer
Isaiah 42:2; Acts 9:31; James 1:20; 3:17,18
Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 22:2 - masons;  2 Chronicles 8:16 - GeneralEphesians 2:21 - fitly

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-6.html.