|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:10-18 The temple was chiefly built by the riches and labour of Gentiles, which typified their being called into the church. Solomon commanded, and they brought costly stones for the foundation. Christ, who is laid for a Foundation, is a chosen and precious Stone. We should lay our foundation firm, and bestow most pains on that part of our religion which lies out of the sight of men. And happy those who, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, for a habitation of God through the Spirit. Who among us will build in the house of the Lord?
Verse 15. - And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains. [These 150,000, destined for the more laborious and menial works, were not Israelites, but Canaanites. We learn from 2 Chronicles 2:17, 18 that "all the strangers that were in the land of Israel" were subjected to forced labour by Solomon - there were, that is to say, but 150,000 of them remaining. They occupied a very different position from that of the 30,000 Hebrews. None of the latter were reduced to bondage (1 Kings 9:22), while the former had long been employed in servile work. The Gibeonites were reduced to serfdom by Joshua (Joshua 9:27), and the rest of the Canaanites as they were conquered (Joshua 6:10; Joshua 17:13; Judges 1:29, 30). In 1 Chronicles 22:2, we find some of them employed on public works by David. By the "hewers" many commentators have supposed that stonecutters alone are intended (so Jos., Ant., 8:02.9) partly because stone is mentioned presently, and partly because חָצַב is mostly used of the quarrying or cutting of stone, as in Deuteronomy 6:11; Deuteronomy 8:9; 2 Kings 12:12, etc. Gesenius understands the word both of stone and wood cutters. But is it not probable that the latter alone are indicated? That the word is sometimes used of woodcutting Isaiah 10:15 shows. And the words, "in the mountain" (בָּהָר) almost compel us so to understand it here. "The mountain" must be Lebanon. But surely the stone was not transported, to any great extent, like the wood, so great a distance over land and sea, especially when it abounded on the spot. (The tradition that the stone was quarried at Baalbek is quite unworthy of credence. It has no doubt sprung from the huge stones found there. "The temple was built of the beautiful white stone of the country, the hard missal" (Warren, p. 60.) It is true the number of wood cutters would thus appear to be very great, but it is to be remembered how few comparatively were the appliances or machines of those days: almost everything must be done by manual labour. And Pliny tells us that no less than 360,000 men were employed for twenty years on one of the pyramids. It is possible, however, that the huge foundations mentioned below (ver. 17) were brought from Lebanon.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens,.... Seventy thousand to carry the stones from the mountains out of which they were dug, and which were near Jerusalem, to the city; these were strangers in Israel, as were those that follow:
and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains: eighty thousand that dug the stones out of the quarries, and squared them; these, with the others, made 150,000, see 2 Chronicles 2:17; according to Jacob Leon (g), the number of workmen at the temple for seven years was 163,600, and some make them more.
(g) Relation of Memorable Things in the Temple, ch. 3. p. 14.
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