|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-12 All Solomon's buildings, though beautiful, were intended for use. Solomon began with the temple; he built for God first, and then his other buildings. The surest foundations of lasting prosperity are laid in early piety. He was thirteen years building his house, yet he built the temple in little more than seven years; not that he was more exact, but less eager in building his own house, than in building God's. We ought to prefer God's honour before our own ease and satisfaction.
Verse 1. - But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years [There is no contrast implied between the time spent upon the temple and that occupied in the building of the palace, as the word "but" seems to suggest. The close connexion which exists in the original is interrupted by the division of chapters. In 1 Kings 6:38 we read, "So was he seven years in building it." 1 Kings 7:1 then proceeds, "And he was building his own house thirteen years." The much longer period occupied in the erection of the royal palace is easily accounted for. In the first place, the buildings were much larger, and the undertaking altogether was a much more extensive one (ver. 2). Then, though seven years only were consumed in the actual building of the temple, yet preparations for the work had been made, both by David and Solomon, for a long time beforehand. Lastly, a special force of labourers would appear to have been employed on the temple, while it is probable that they wrought at the palaces in greatly diminished numbers. So that the longer period spent over his own house does not argue selfishness or worldliness on Solomon's part. On the contrary, it speaks well for his piety that he built the temple first and urged on that sacred work with so much vigour. The thirteen years date from the completion of the seven years of 1 Kings 6:38. That is to say, the building of the temple and palace together occupied twenty years, as is expressly stated in 1 Kings 9:10. It is therefore one of Stanley's reckless statements that the palace "was commenced at the same time as the temple, but not finished till eight years afterwards"], and he finished all his house. [By Solomon's "house" we are not to understand his private palace, or residence proper, alone (see ver. 8), but a range of palaces, more or less connected including the "house of the forest of Lebanon" (ver. 2), "the porch of pillars" (ver. 6), the throne-room or judgment hall (ver. 7), his own house and the house of Pharaoh's daughter (ver. 8). That all these are comprehended under the term "house" is evident from 1 Kings 9:1, 10, 15; 1 Kings 10:12, where Solomon's buildings are always spoken of as two, viz., "the house of the Lord" and the "king's house." The situation of this string of palaces is by no means certain. Josephus says it stood over against (or opposite) the temple, which is highly probable; but this still leaves the question of site open, for the palace would be justly described as ἄντικρυς ἔχων ναὸν, whether it stood west or south of the sanctuary. Ewald places it on the opposite ridge of Ophel, i.e., on the south prolongation of the temple mount; while Fergusson, Bahr, etc., locate it on the northeast side of Zion, on the opposite side of the Tyropoean valley, and overlooking it and the whole city of David. Recent explorations seem to favour Ewald's view. See "Recovery of Jerusalem," pp. 319 sqq, and "Our Work in Palestine," p. 159 sqq. When we remember that the very site of Zion is disputed, it will not surprise the reader that questions of this kind should be involved in uncertainty. And when it is further considered that the accumulated debris of Jerusalem at one point reaches a depth of 120 feet, it will be readily understood what obstacles stand in the way of their settlement.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years,.... He made more haste with the house of God than with his own, for that was but seven years in building; which showed greater regard to the honour of God then to his own glory, or even convenience; nor was this built till after that:
and finished all his house; or houses he undertook to build, the singular for the plural; even the house of God, his own palace, and that for the daughter of Pharaoh, and that which is next mentioned, which were in all twenty years building, 1 Kings 9:10.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1Ki 7:1. Building of Solomon's House.
1. Solomon was building his own house thirteen years—The time occupied in building his palace was nearly double that spent in the erection of the temple [1Ki 6:38], because neither had there been the same previous preparations for it, nor was there the same urgency as in providing a place of worship, on which the national well-being so much depended.
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