And he set the cherubim within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubim, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the middle of the house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 6:27. He set the cherubims within the inner house — With their faces toward the sanctuary, so that they looked upon him that entered the oracle. They stretched forth the wings of the cherubims — Or, rather, the cherubims stretched forth their wings. So that the wing of one touched one wall, &c. — That is, they touched the south and north walls of the house. Whereas the wings of those cherubim that Moses made, stretched themselves from east to west. For they looked one upon the other over the mercy-seat. Their wings touched one another in the midst of the house — Where they must needs meet, being five cubits long on each side, and the house twenty cubits wide.1 Kings 6:27, so that the four wings, each five cubits long 1 Kings 6:24, extended across the whole sanctuary, the width of which was twenty cubits 1 Kings 6:20. The former looked toward one another, and were bent downward toward the mercy-seat; the latter looked outward, toward the great chamber. (See 2 Chronicles 3:13, and note.)
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.
and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims; the carvers that framed them, they wrought them in that form; or impersonally, the wings of the cherubim were stretched out; this was the position of them, they overshadowed and covered the mercy seat and ark, and even the other two cherubim that were at the ends of the mercy seat:
so that the wing of the one touched the one wall; the southern wall:
and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; the northern wall; they reached from wall to wall, even the whole breadth of the house, which was twenty cubits, as their wings thus spread were, 1 Kings 6:24;
and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house; which was ten cubits, and that was the spread of the wings of each of them; so that the wing of the right side of the one, stretched out, touched the wing of the left side of the other fit the same position; in 2 Chronicles 3:13; their faces are said to be "inward", or "toward the house"; either toward the holy place, and so faced those that came into that and saw them; or towards the inner part of the holy of holies, their backs being to the holy place, or their faces were inward, and looked obliquely to each other.And he set the cherubim within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubim, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. And they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims] Which is the frequent Hebrew form of expressing the cherubim stretched forth their wings. So R.V. On the way in which these cherubim were placed see below on 1 Kings 8:6. It would seem as if in Solomon’s Temple the cherubim did not face one another, as they are expressly said to have done in the Mosaic tabernacle (Exodus 25:20).Verse 27. - And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims [The marg. reading, the cherubim stretched forth their wings, is altogether inadmissible], so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wan, and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house. [In 2 Chronicles 3:10 we are told that the cherubim were of "image work" (the meaning of the Hebrews word is unknown). We also learn that they "stood on their feet" and, unlike the cherubim of the tabernacle, which faced each other (Exodus 27:9), faced the throne, i.e., the cedar partition, and the east. The object of this arrangement probably was to enable the wings to be stretched out across the sanctuary. In the tabernacle the wings were "spread out on high" (Exodus 25:20; Exodus 27:9). In both cases the ark and mercy seat were placed under the overshadowing wings (ch. 8:6). There would be a clear space of eight or nine cubits between the bodies of the cherubim, and the ark only measured 2.5 cubits (Exodus 25:10) in length and 1.5 cubits in breadth. Unlike Ezekiel's cherubim (Ezekiel chs. 1, 10; cf. Revelation 4:7), these had apparently but one face. The cherub was not a simple, but a complex being, having no unalterable and fixed form. See Bahr, Symbolik, 1. pp. 313, 314; Dict. Bib. vol. 1. pp. 301-303.] 1 Kings 6:21 the gilding of the Holy Place. "Solomon overlaid the house from within with fine gold." מפּנימה הבּית cannot be the party wall between the Holy Place and the Most Holy, as I formerly supposed, but is the Holy Place as distinguished from the Most Holy. The following words וגו ויעבּר are very obscure. If we rendered them, "he caused to pass over in (with) golden chains before the hinder room," we could only think of an ornament consisting of golden chains, which ran along the wall in front of the hinder room and above the folding doors. But this would be very singularly expressed. We must therefore take עבּר, as Gesenius, de Wette, and many of the earlier commentators do, according to the Chaldaean usage in the sense of bolting or fastening: "he bolted (fastened) with golden chains before the hinder room;" and must assume with Merz and others that the doors into the Most Holy Place (except on the day of atonement) were closed and fastened with golden chains, which were stretched across the whole breadth of the door and stood out against the wall.
(Note: The conjecture of Thenius, that את־הפּרכת (the curtain) has dropped out of the text and should be restored ("he carried the curtain across with golden chains"), is very properly described by Merz as "certainly untenable," since, apart from the fact that not one of the older versions contains the missing words, chains would have impeded the moving of the curtain. It is true that, according to 2 Chronicles 3:14, there was a curtain before the Most Holy Place; but as it is not mentioned so early as this even in the Chronicles, this would not be its proper position in the account before us, but it would be most suitably mentioned either in connection with or after the reference to the doors of the Most Holy Place in 1 Kings 6:31, 1 Kings 6:32.)
- The following expression, זהב ויצפּהוּ, "and he overlaid it with gold," can only refer to the altar mentioned in the previous verse, the gilding of which has not yet been noticed, however surprising the separation of these words from 1 Kings 6:20 may be. - In 1 Kings 6:22 what has already been stated with regard to the gilding is repeated once more in a comprehensive manner, which brings this subject to a close. The whole house (כּל־הבּית) is the Holy Place and the Most Holy, but not the porch or hall, as this is expressly distinguished from the house. המּזבּח, the whole altar, not merely a portion of it.
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