|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-17 The building of the temple. - There is a more particular account of the building of the temple in #1Ki 6". It must be in the place David had prepared, not only which he had purchased, but which he had fixed on by Divine direction. Full instructions enable us to go about our work with certainty and to proceed therein with comfort. Blessed be God, the Scriptures are enough to render the man of God thoroughly furnished for every good work. Let us search the Scriptures daily, beseeching the Lord to enable us to understand, believe, and obey his word, that our work and our way may be made plain, and that all may be begun, continued, and ended in him. Beholding God, in Christ, his true Temple, more glorious than that of Solomon's, may we become a spiritual house, a habitation of God through the Spirit.
Verse 4. - The porch... an hundred and twenty. The "porch" (אוּלָם, Greek, ὁ πρόναος). It is out of the question that the porch should be of this height in itself. And almost as much out of the question that, if it could be so, this should be the only place to mention it by word or. description. There can be no doubt that the text is here slightly corrupt, and perhaps it is a further indication of this that, while the parallel contains nothing of the height, this place fails (but comp. our ver. 8) to give the breadth ("ten cubits"), which the parallel does give. The words for" hundred" and for "cubit" easily confuse with one another. And our present Hebrew text, מֵאָה וְעִשְׂרִים, read עְמות עְשֵׂרִים, will make good Hebrew syntax, and be in harmony with the Septuagint (Alexandrian), and with the Syriac and Arabic Versions. This gives the height of the porch as 20 cubits, which will be in harmony with the general height of the building, which was 30 cubits. Thus far, then, the plan of the temple is plain. The house is 60 cubits long, i.e. 20 for the holy of holies (דְּבִיר or קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים);40 for the holy place (הֵיכָל); and for breadth 20 cubits. The porch was in length the same as the breadth of the house, viz. 20 cubits, but in breadth it was 10 cubits (1 Kings 6:3) only, while its height was 20 cubits, against a height of 30 cubits for the "house" (1 Kings 6:2). Overlaid it within with pure gold; i.e. covered the planks with gold leaf, or sometimes with plates of gold (Ovid., 'L Epp. ex. Pont,' 1:37, 38, 41, 42; Herod., 1:98; Polyb., 10:27. § 10). The appreciation, as well as bare knowledge, of gold belonged to a very early date (Genesis 2:12). The days when it was used in ring or lump (though not in coin) for sign of wealth and for purposes of exchange, and also for ornament (Genesis 13:2; Genesis 24:22; Genesis 42:21), indicate how early were the beginnings of metallurgy as regards it, though much more developed afterwards (Judges 17:4; Proverbs 17:3; Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 46:9); and show it in the time of David and Solomon no rare art, even though foreign workmen, for obvious reasons, were the most skilful workers with it. There are four verbs used to express the idea of overlaying, viz.
(a) חָפָה, in hiph. This occurs only in this chapter, vers. 5, 7, 8, 9; but in niph. Psalm 68:13 may be compared.
(b) עָלָה in hiph. This occurs in the present sense, though not necessarily staying very closely by it; in 2 Chronicles 9:15, 16, and its parallel (1 Kings 10:16, 17); and perhaps in 2 Samuel 1:24. The meaning of the word, however, is evidently so generic that it scarcely postulates the rendering "overlay."
(c) צָפָה in piel. This occurs in our present verse, as also in a multitude of other places in Chronicles, Kings, Samuel, and Exodus. The radical idea of the verb (kal) is "to be bright."
(d) רָדַך in hiph. This occurs only once (1 Kings 6:32). No one of these verbs in itself bespeaks certainly of which or what kind the overlaying might be, unless it be the last, the analogy of which certainly points to the sense of a thin spreading.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. the porch—The breadth of the house, whose length ran from east to west, is here given as the measure of the length of the piazza. The portico would thus be from thirty to thirty-five feet long, and from fifteen to seventeen and a half feet broad.
the height was an hundred and twenty cubits—This, taking the cubit at eighteen inches, would be one hundred eighty feet; at twenty-one inches, two hundred ten feet; so that the porch would rise in the form of a tower, or two pyramidal towers, whose united height was one hundred twenty cubits, and each of them about ninety or one hundred five feet high [Stieglitz]. This porch would thus be like the propylæum or gateway of the palace of Khorsabad [Layard], or at the temple of Edfou.
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