1 Kings 6:29
And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
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(29) And he carved.—If we take this literally, we must suppose that this carving of the cherubim and the palm-trees, in addition to the general decoration of the “gourds and open flowers,” was spread over all the “walls of the house.” Otherwise we might have supposed it confined to the Oracle “within,” and to the partition “without,” which would seem more appropriate, as the cherubim belonged especially to the Oracle.

6:15-38 See what was typified by this temple. 1. Christ is the true Temple. In him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead; in him meet all God's spiritual Israel; through him we have access with confidence to God. 2. Every believer is a living temple, in whom the Spirit of God dwells, 1Co 3:16. This living temple is built upon Christ as its Foundation, and will be perfect in due time. 3. The gospel church is the mystical temple. It grows to a holy temple in the Lord, enriched and beautified with the gifts and graces of the Spirit. This temple is built firm, upon a Rock. 4. Heaven is the everlasting temple. There the church will be fixed. All that shall be stones in that building, must, in the present state of preparation, be fitted and made ready for it. Let sinners come to Jesus as the living Foundation, that they may be built on him, a part of this spiritual house, consecrated in body and soul to the glory of God.Palms, cherubs, and flowers - the main decorations of Solomon's temple - bear considerable resemblance to the ornamentation of the Assyrians, a circumstance which can scarcely be accidental.

Within and without - i. e., both in the inner chamber, or holy of holies, and in the outer one.

1Ki 6:15-22. The Ceiling and Adorning of It.

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.

Carved figures of cherubims, as signs of the presence and protection of the angels vouchsafed by God to that place.

Palm trees; emblems of that peace and victory over their enemies which the Israelites duly serving God in that place might expect.

Within and without; within the oracle and without it, in the holy place.

And he carved all the walls of the house about with carved figures of cherubim, and palm trees, and open flowers,.... That is, of palm trees, those in full blow: if the cherubim are an emblem of angels, the palm trees fitly enough represent just and upright men, who both appear in the church of God below, and in heaven above; in both which are to be seen the open and full-blown flowers of divine grace, especially in the latter state:

within and without; on the walls of the most holy place, both within and without; and so upon the walls of the holy place, in each of which were these sculptures, which were very ornamental, and were emblematical; see Ezekiel 41:17.

And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
29. within and without] Both here and in the next verse these words can only refer to the inner and outer rooms, the most holy place and the holy place.

Verse 29. - And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims [lit. openings, i.e., gravings or indentations of cherubim, פִּתּוּחִים is used of gravings in stone, Exodus 28:11; Exodus 39:6: in metal, 28:36; 39:30] and palm trees and open flowers [The open flowers may well have been lilies (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26). It is uncertain whether there were one or more rows of cherubim and palms. Keil, arguing from the analogy of Egyptian temples, contends for two or three rows, but it is doubtful how far the Israelites, notwithstanding their new and intimate relations with the country, would take Egypt and its idolatrous shrines for a model. Ezekiel 41:18 tends to show that the palm trees alternated with the cherubs. The cherubim may have had two faces, such as he describes (ver. 19), the face of a man on the one side, and the face of a young lion on the other side; but if so, they must have differed in form from those of the oracle. Possibly the open flowers formed a border, or were sculptured in festoons, above, and the gourds (or buds) formed a border below (as in the Kouyunjik slab). But as to this the text is silent. But while we are ignorant of the precise form and of the arrangement of these ornamental carvings, we are not wholly in the dark as to their symbolism. For everything in the temple, we may be sure, had a meaning. Let us inquire, then, into the significance of the cherubim, the palms and the flowers.

1. The Cherubim have been regarded by some as symbols of the invisible Godhead, by others as "representations of the heavenly spirits which surround the Lord of glory and set forth psychical life at its highest stage" (Keil); but it seems best to view them as symbols of all animal life, including the highest and perhaps not excluding the thought of Him who is the source and spring of life, the Anima animantium (cf. ch. 12:28). Hence they are spoken of as הַחַיּות (Ezekiel 1:5, 13, 15, etc.) "the living things" (compare τὰ ζῶα, Revelation 4:6, 8, 9), and even as הַחַיָּה "the life" (Ezekiel 10:14, 15, etc.) The cherubim consequently speak of the great animal kingdom before its Creator. "Creaturely being reaches its highest degree in those which have an anima, and among these, the lion, the bull, the eagle, and the man are the highest and most complete" (Bahr). These shapes, accordingly, were not inappropriate or unmeaning in a temple raised by the creature to the glory of the Creator.

2. Just as the cherubim speak of animal, so do the Palms of vegetable life. They are "the princes of the vegetable kingdom" (Linnaeus) "Amongst trees there is none so lofty and towering, none which has such a fair majestic growth, which is so evergreen, and which affords so grateful a shade and such noble fruits - fruits which are said to be the food of the blessed in paradise - as the palm" (Bahr), who also adds that it is said to have as many excellent properties as there are days in the year, and cites Humboldt as designating it the "noblest of plants forms to which the nations have always accorded the meed of beauty." Judaea, he further remarks, is the fatherland of the palm, so much so that the palm in later days became the symbol of Palestine (as on the well known coin with the legend Judaea capta). The palms, therefore, tell of the vegetable world, and of Him who fashioned its noble and graceful forms.

3. And very similar was the testimony of the Flowers. "Flowers and bloom have been, from ancient times to our own, the usual symbols of lifefulness .... So then by the flower work, as well as by the cherubim and the palm trees, was the dwelling of Jehovah, which was adorned therewith, designated as an abode of life" (Bahr). On the earthly dwelling place of the Eternal, that is to say, were everywhere pourtrayed the various tokens of His Almighty power and goodness. And the significance of each is the same. "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created." They were graved] within and without. [These words, here and in ver. 30, are generally taken to mean "in the oracle and in the house." But it is worthy of consideration whether they do not rather signify, "in the house and in the porch." The latter was overlaid with gold (2 Chronicles 3:4). It is doubtful whether לַחִיצון on the outside, can be applied to any part of the interior, and here its application would be to the oracle (Thenius)]. 1 Kings 6:29Ornaments of the walls; the floors and doors. - 1 Kings 6:29. All the walls of the house (the Holy Place and the Most Holy) round about (מסב, adverb) he made engraved work (carving) of cherubs, palms, and open flowers from within to the outside (i.e., in the Most Holy as well as in the Holy Place). ול...מן equals אל...מן; and לפנים as in 1 Kings 6:20. This completes the account of the nature of the covering of wood. In addition to the oval figures and open flowers (1 Kings 6:18), there were also figures of cherubim and palm-trees carved in the wooden panels. Nothing is said as to the distribution of these figures. But a comparison with Ezekiel 41:18 shows at any rate so much, that the palm-trees alternated with the cherubs, so that there was always one cherub standing between two palm-trees. The gourd-shaped figures and the open flowers probably formed the upper and lower setting of the rows of palms and cherubs, the flowers hanging in the form of garlands above the palms and cherubs, and the rows of gourds arranged in bars constituting the boundary lines both above and blow. It is a disputed question whether there was only one row of palms and cherubs running round the walls, or whether there were two, or possibly even three. There is more probability in the second or third of these assumptions than in the first, inasmuch as on the walls of the Egyptian temples there were often three or four rows of mythological characters in relief arranged one above another (compare my work on the Temple, pp. 70ff.).
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