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Holman Bible Dictionary

Molten Sea

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A large cast bronze basin that stood in the courtyard to the southeast of Solomon's Temple (1 Kings 7:23-26 ; 2 Chronicles 4:2-5 ). The basin was cast by Hiram of Tyre who was responsible for all the bronze work in the Temple (1 Kings 7:13-14 ). The bronze for the molten sea was supplied by the spoils from David's campaigns (1 Chronicles 18:8 ). The basin was over fourteen feet in diameter, over seven feet high, and over forty-three feet in circumference. It was about three inches thick. The estimated weight is about 30 tons, and the estimated volume is about 12,000 gallons (U.S.). The brim was turned outward resembling a lily, and below the brim were two rows of gourds (but compare 1 Kings 7:24 ; 2 Chronicles 4:3 ). The sea rested on the backs of twelve oxen. The oxen were arranged in groups of three, each group facing toward one of the four compass directions (1 Kings 7:25 ; 2 Chronicles 4:4 ). The oxen were later removed by Ahaz and replaced with a stone base (2 Kings 16:17 ; compare Jeremiah 52:20 ). After the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the basin was broken in pieces and taken to Babylon (2 Kings 25:13 ; Jeremiah 52:17 ). The basin was used for the purification of the priests (2 Chronicles 4:6 ). Some have suggested that the molten sea was also symbolic of the great sea present when God began to create the heavens and the earth thus making the sea symbolic of God's creative activity (Genesis 1:2 ).

Phil Logan

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Molten Sea'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
the Second Week after Epiphany
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Molten Sea
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