|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 17. - And the king commanded and they brought [or cut out, quarried (Gesen.), as in Ecclesiastes 10:9; see also ch. 6:7 (Heb.) ] great stones, costly [precious, not heavy, as Thenius. Cf. Psalm 36:8; Psalm 45:9; Esther 1:4 in the Heb.], stones and [omit and. The hewed stones were the great and costly stones] hewed stones [or squared (Isaiah 9:10; cf. 1 Kings 6:36; 1 Kings 7:9; 1 Kings 11:12). We learn from 1 Kings 7:10 that the stones of the foundation of the palace were squared to 8 cubits and 10 cubits] to lay the foundation of the house. [Some of these great squared stones, we can hardly doubt, are found in situ at the present day. The stones at the south-east angle of the walls of the Haram (Mosque of Omar) are "unquestionably of Jewish masonry" (Porter, Handbook, p. 115). "One is 23 2:9 in. long; whilst others vary from 17 to 20 feet in length. Five courses of them are nearly entire" (ib.) As Herod, in rebuilding the edifice, would seem to have had nothing to do with the foundations, we may safely connect these huge blocks with the time of Solomon. It is also probable that some at least of the square pillars, ranged in fifteen rows, and measuring five feet each side, which form the foundations of the Mosque El Aksa, and the supports of the area of the Haram, are of the same date and origin (cf. Ewald, Hist. Israel, 3:233). Porter holds that they are "coeval with the oldest part of the external walls." Many of them, the writer observed, were monoliths. The extensive vaults which they enclose are unquestionably "the subterranean vaults of the temple area" mentioned by Josephus (B.J. 5:3. 1), and the "cavati sub terra montes" of Tacitus. It may be added here that the recent explorations in Jerusalem have brought to light many evidences of Phoenician handiwork.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the king commanded, and they brought great stones,.... Not in quality, but in quantity, large stones, fit to lay in the foundation; strong, and durable against all the injuries of time, as Josephus says (i):
costly stones; not what are commonly called precious stones, as gems, pearls, &c. but stones of value, as marble, porphyry, &c.
and hewed stones; not rough as they were taken out of the quarry, but hewed, and made smooth:
to lay the foundation of the house; which, though out of sight, was to be laid with goodly stones for the magnificence of the building; so the church of Christ, its foundation is said to be laid even with sapphires and other precious stones, see Isaiah 54:11.
(i) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. brought great stones—The stone of Lebanon is "hard, calcareous, whitish and sonorous, like free stone" [Shaw]. The same white and beautiful stone can be obtained in every part of Syria and Palestine.
hewed stones—or neatly polished, as the Hebrew word signifies (Ex 20:25). Both Jewish and Tyrian builders were employed in hewing these great stones.
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