And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 6:16. He built twenty cubits on the sides of the house — He speaks here of the most holy place, which contained in length twenty cubits, and might be said to be on the sides of the house, because it took off twenty cubits in length from each side of the house, and was also twenty cubits from side to side, so it was twenty cubits every way. He built them for it within, even for the oracle, the most holy place — The last words are added to explain what he means by the word oracle, which he had not used before: this was the most important of all the parts of the house, because here the divine glory was present, and from hence God gave answers when he was consulted, on which account it is termed the oracle.
15-21. he built the walls of the house within—The walls were wainscotted with cedar-wood; the floor, paved with cypress planks; the interior was divided (by a partition consisting of folding doors, which were opened and shut with golden chains) into two apartments—the back or inner room, that is, the most holy place, was twenty cubits long and broad; the front, or outer room, that is, the holy place, was forty cubits. The cedar-wood was beautifully embellished with figures in relievo, representing clusters of foliage, open flowers, cherubims, and palm trees. The whole interior was overlaid with gold, so that neither wood nor stone was seen; nothing met the eye but pure gold, either plain or richly chased.Twenty cubits on the sides of the house, i.e. the most holy place, which contained in the length of the house twenty cubits, by comparing this with 1 Kings 6:2,17, which may be said to be on the sides of the house because this part took off twenty cubits in length from each side of the house, and was also twenty cubits from side to side; so it was twenty cubits every way. Or, on the sides (i.e. on all the sides, as indeed it was) of the house, or of that house, to wit, the most holy place, as it here follows. Or, from the sides of the house, i.e. from one side to the other. And so this is meant only of the partitionwall, which was between the holy and the most holy place.
Both the floor and the walls, or rather, as 1 Kings 6:15, from the floor to the wall, or ceiling, or roof. So it is not necessary, at least by virtue of these words, to understand this, as they generally do, that the floor itself was built with cedar; but only all the sides of it from the bottom twenty cubits upward. If it be said that the whole house, and consequently the most holy place, was thirty cubits high, 1 Kings 6:2, it may be replied, either that that is true only of the greater house, or the holy place, which is called the house, 1 Kings 6:17, and that the lesser, or the most holy place, was but twenty cubits high, as divers think; or that the ten cubits at the top were covered with some other wood or thing, or were left open, that it might thereby receive both light from the candlesticks, and smoke from the altar of incense.
For the oracle, even for the most holy place, i. e. that it might be the oracle, or the most holy place. Or, on the inner side (whereby he might imply that the outside of the partition-wall which looked towards the holy place was not so covered) of (for the Hebrew lamed is very oft a note of the genitive case) the oracle, even of the most holy place; which last words are added to explain what he means by the word oracle, which he had not used before.
both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar; or from the floor, including that, to the walls on each side, from wall to wall, and taking in them, they were all lined with cedar wood:And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house] This rendering does not make very clear what is intended. The word translated ‘sides’ is often used for the innermost part of anything, as of a cave (1 Samuel 24:4), and of the recesses of a forest, as Lebanon (Isaiah 37:24). So here it signifies the innermost part of the Temple building as you looked from the porch, i.e. toward the farthest wall of the most holy place. The sense then becomes more manifest. He built at twenty cubits from this extreme end something with boards of cedar. Thus he made a separation of the most holy place, which was twenty cubits long, from the holy place. The R.V. gives this more clearly: ‘He built twenty cubits on the hinder part of the house’ with boards of cedar from the floor unto the walls (‘beams’ LXX.), i.e. these twenty cubits were thus shut off and made into a separate room (cf. 2 Chronicles 3:8). There was a doorway for access in this cedarwood partition (see 1 Kings 6:31), and before this probably were put the ‘chains of gold’ spoken of in 1 Kings 6:21. From 2 Chronicles 3:14 it seems that there was a vail in front of the whole of this woodwork, though no mention of it is made here.
It is very difficult to come to a clear idea about the room here provided. It seems certain that it was enclosed on three sides by the chambers built round about, so that there could have been no windows in it, nor any mode of escape for the smoke of the incense, except by openings under the eaves. It appears not to have been as high as the roof of the ‘holy place’. We must remember that it was to be entered by one person only, and that but once a year.
he even built them for it within] i.e. He prepared this space of twenty cubits in the innermost part of the house, to be a separate room.
even for the oracle] The Hebrew says merely ‘for an oracle.’ This name for the most holy place is taken from the Vulgate ‘oraculum.’ The LXX. merely transliterates the Hebrew δαβίρ. The word is connected with the verb דבר (davar), usually rendered ‘to speak,’ and hence the notion of ‘oracle’ as the place where God revealed Himself. So Aquila and Symmachus rendered it sometimes by χρηματιστήριον, and Jerome gives λαλητήριον as an explanation. But the root, or its Arabic cognate, has a sense from which the meaning ‘hinder portion’ might come. Hence some consider the name merely as signifying the innermost part of the Temple building.
the most holy place] Described in the same words in the account of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:33-34; Numbers 4:4; Numbers 4:19).Verse 16. - And he built twenty cubits on [Heb. from] the sides of the house both the floor and the walls [Heb. as in ver. 15, "from the floor to the walls" (or beams). If קִירות is a copyist's error, it is repeated here] with boards of cedar [He is now speaking of the wooden partition which separated the oracle from the temple of the house. At a distance of 20 cubits, measured along the sides from the west end of the house, he erected a cedar wall which reached from the floor to the cieling] he even built them [i.e., the 20 cubits] for it [the house] within [The meaning is clear, though the construction is somewhat involved, viz., that he reared this partition inside the house to separate a portion for the oracle] even for the oracle [Heb. an oracle] even for the most holy place [Heb. for the holy of holies]. 1 Kings 6:5); five cubits was its height," i.e., the height of each story, the suffix in קומתו being made to agree with היּצוּע through an inaccuracy which has arisen from condensation, although, as in 1 Kings 6:5, it denotes the whole of the side buildings, which consisted of three stories. The height given must also be understood as referring to the height within. Consequently the side buildings had an internal height of 3 x 5 cubits, and reckoning the floorings and the roof of the whole building an external height of 18 or 20 cubits; so that the temple-house, which was thirty cubits high within and about thirty-two without, rose about twelve or fourteen cubits above the side building, and there was plenty of room for the windows in the side walls. וגו ויּאחז: "and it (the side building) held to the house with cedar beams." The meaning is, that the building was fastened to the house by the joists of the cedar beams belonging to the different stories, which rested upon rebates of the temple wall, so that it was firmly attached to the temple-house, without any injurious insertions into the sanctuary itself. This is apparently the only explanation, that can be grammatically sustained, of words that have received such different interpretations. For the translation given by Thenius, which coincides with this, - viz., "he fastened it (each separate story of the building) to the temple-house with cedar wood, namely, with the cedar beams which formed the flooring and roofing of the three stores," - is exposed to this grammatical objection, that the suffix is wanting in יעחז, and that אחז is never followed by את in the sense of with. All the other explanations are unsuitable. יעחז signifies neither "he covered the house" (Chald., Vulg., Luther), nor "he overlaid the house;" moreover, the roofing of the house has been already mentioned in 1 Kings 6:9, and there is no trace to be found of any overlaying or covering of the outside with cedar wood.
If, therefore, we reckon the thickness of the temple wall at six cubits, and that of the outer wall of the side building and the front wall of the porch at three cubits each, the whole building would be ninety-three cubits long (externally) and forty-eight cubits broad. The height of the temple-house was about thirty-two cubits externally, and that of the side stories from eighteen to twenty cubits, without the socle upon which the whole building rested. This is not mentioned indeed, as being a subordinate matter, but would certainly not be omitted.
(Note: Thenius, on the other hand, reckons the length of the whole building at a hundred cubits and its breadth at fifty-two, because, on the unfounded assumption that the temple in Ezekiel's vision was simply a copy of Solomon's temple, he sets down the thickness of the temple wall in front and along the two sides at six cubits, and that of the hinder wall at seven. Moreover, he not only reckons the internal length of the house at sixty-two cubits, in opposition to the statement in the text, that the length of the house (which was divided into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies) was sixty cubits; but in opposition to v. 16, according to which the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies were separated by boards of cedar, he assumes that there was a wall of two cubits in thickness between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, according to Ezekiel 41:3; and, lastly, for no other reason than the wish to get the round number 100, he takes for granted that the hinder wall of the temple was a cubit thicker than that on the other sides.)
The number of rooms in the side buildings is not given, but may be set down at thirty in each story, if their length corresponded to their breadth in the lower story. These rooms had of course windows, although they are not mentioned in the account, but each one would have only a small window sufficient to give it the requisite light. And as to the number of the temple windows also, we can simply make conjectures. We can hardly assume that there were more than six on each side, and there were probably none at the back.
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