1 Kings 6:3
And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) The porch was thirty feet wide and fifteen feet deep. The height is not here given; but in the present text of 2Chronicles 3:4 (followed by some MSS. of the LXX., and by Josephus) it is made 120 cubits, or 180 feet. This height is hardly in accordance with anything else known on ancient architecture. It is, however, not at all unlike the western tower of a Gothic church.

1 Kings 6:3. The porch before the temple — That is, in the front of, or entrance into the house, (2 Chronicles 3:4,) being a portico, a walk, or gallery, at the east end of the building, (from side to side.) And the measures of this were harmonious also. For twenty to ten (the length of the portico to the breadth of it) is double, or as two to one. And if the height within were the same with that of the house, that is, thirty, it was to the length of it, as three to two; and to its breadth, as three to one. Or, if we take in the whole height, mentioned 2 Chronicles 3:4, which is one hundred and twenty, there is in this no disproportion; (being to its length as six to one, and to its breadth as twelve to one;) especially as this height was conveniently divided into several galleries, one over another, all of which had their due proportions.

6:1-10 The temple is called the house of the Lord, because it was directed and modelled by him, and was to be employed in his service. This gave it the beauty of holiness, that it was the house of the Lord, which was far beyond all other beauties. It was to be the temple of the God of peace, therefore no iron tool must be heard; quietness and silence suit and help religious exercises. God's work should be done with much care and little noise. Clamour and violence often hinder, but never further the work of God. Thus the kingdom of God in the heart of man grows up in silence, Mr 5:27.The size of Solomon's temple depends upon the true length of the ancient cubit, which is doubtful. It has been estimated as somewhat less than a foot, and again as between 19 and 20 inches, a difference of nearly 8 inches, which would produce a variation of nearly 40 feet in the length of the temple-chamber, and of 46 in that of the entire building. It is worthy of remark that, even according to the highest estimate, Solomon's temple was really a small building, less than 120 feet long, and less than 35 broad. Remark that the measures of the temple, both "house" and porch 1 Kings 6:3, were exactly double those of the older tabernacle (Exodus 26:18 note). This identity of proportion amounts to an undesigned coincidence, indicating the thoroughly historical character of both Kings and Exodus. 3. the porch—or portico, extended across the whole front (see on [296]2Ch 3:4). Before the temple of the house; in the front of or entrance into the house, 2 Chronicles 3:4; being a peristilium or portico, a walk or gallery, at one end of the building (from side to side). And the measures of this were harmonious also. For 20 to 10 (the length of the portico to the breadth of it) is double, or as 2 to 1. And if the height within be the same with that of the house, that is, 30; it will be to the length of it as 3 to 2, and to its breadth as 3 to 1. Or if we take in the whole height mentioned 2 Chronicles 3:4, which is 120; there is in this no disproportion, being to its length as 6 to 1, and to its breadth, as 12 to 1; especially when this height was conveniently divided into several galleries, one over another, each of which had their due proportions.

And the porch before the temple of the house,.... Which stood at the east end of it:

twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; which was from north to south, and of the same dimension, so that they exactly answered each other:

and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house; which being added to it, make the whole of the building, most holy place, holy place, and porch, seventy cubits; the height of the porch is not here given, but in 2 Chronicles 3:4; where it is said to be an hundred twenty cubits high, equal to the height of the house, with the chambers over it; but there the breadth of the porch is not given, as it is here; by these dimensions we may observe the difference between the tabernacle and the temple; the temple was twice as long, and as broad, and thrice as high as that, see Exodus 26:8. This fabric was an emblem of the church of God, sometimes called an holy temple, and the temple of the living God, 2 Corinthians 6:16.

And the {c} porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.

(c) Or the court where the people prayed which was before the place where the altar of burnt offerings stood.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the porch] This extended along the whole face of the building, and projected forward 10 cubits, thus making the whole length of the structure 70 cubits or 105 feet, without allowing for the thickness of outside or party walls. The height of this porch is said (2 Chronicles 3:4) to have been 120 cubits. This height = 180 ft. is out of proportion to the other dimensions, and Mr Robins suggests that, after his manner, the Chronicler has added together the 4 dimensions in height of the 4 sides of the porch, and that the true height was 30 cubits. That the Chronicler does put down his numbers in this strange fashion is shewn from 2 Chronicles 3:11, where he first writes ‘the wings of the cherubim were twenty cubits long.’ He afterwards explains that he means each of the 4 wings was 5 cubits long, but left alone the first statement would be misleading. In the same manner the pillars which in 1 Kings 7:15; Jeremiah 52:17 are said to be each 18 cubits high, are described in 2 Chronicles 3:15 as ‘two pillars of thirty and five cubits high’. Where it is suggested that the two heights given in Kings are added together.

the temple of the house] This means the holy place. Cf. below 1 Kings 6:17, where it is called ‘the temple before the oracle.’ The ‘oracle’ is the special name for the most holy place.

Verse 3. - And the porch [אוּלָם, forepart, projection (Vorhalle, Gesenius). The porch was not a colonnade - that is called a "porch of pillars" (1 Kings 7:6), but was formed By simply prolonging the side walls, and possibly the roof (see below). Bahr holds that it had only side walls and cieling (sic), and was entirely open in front; and the fact that no mention is made of any door or opening, though the doors of the other parts of the edifies are all referred to (vers. 8, 31, 33), certainly favours this view, as also does the position of the pillars of 1 Kings 7:21] before the temple of the house [The house, or main building (ver. 2), had two parts.

(1) "The temple of the house" (הֵיכָל = "spacious," hence "magnificent building," "palace," as in Proverbs 30:28; Daniel 1:4. Gesen., Thes. 1:375). The same word is used of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 1:9), of the royal palace (1 Kings 21:1; 2 Kings 20:18; Psalm 45:8, 15), and of heaven (2 Samuel 22:7, etc.) This was the ναὸς par excellence, and is called "the great house," because of its superior size and height, in 2 Chronicles 3:5.

(2) The oracle (דְּבִיר) see on ver. 5. The two bore a rough resemblance to the nave and chancel of a Gothic church], twenty cubits was the length thereof according to the breadth of the house [The porch, i.e., extended across the entire front, or east end of the temple] and ten cubits was the breadth [i.e., depth] thereof before the house. [The height of the porch, of which no mention is made here, is stated in 2 Chronicles 3:4 as 120 cubits (say 180 feet), but there is surely some mistake in the figures. For

(1) This is "unlike anything we know of in ancient architecture" (Fergusson).

(2) A porch of such dimensions would surely have been called מִגְדָּל, not אוּלָם (Thenius, Keil).

(3) It is doubtful whether an erection of so great a height, with such a slender basis, would stand. It would certainly be out of all proportion. Towers are generally built about three times the height of the adjoining nave, but this would be six times as high, and moreover the porch did not taper to a point like a Gothic spire. It is much more probable, therefore, that there is a corruption of the text of Chronicles (see on 2 Chronicles 3:4) - errors in numbers are by no means infrequent - than that such a column could be erected to serve as a porch, or if erected - and this consideration appears to me to be decisive - could have been passed over by our author without notice. It is impossible, however, to say positively what the height of the porch was. Probably 30 cubits, the height of the house. Stanley characteristically puts it down as "more than 200 feet." It may be remarked here that Fergusson, following Josephus and the Talmud, contends that the temple had another building of the same height above it. See Dict. Bib. 3 p. 1456, and note on ver. 20.] 1 Kings 6:3The porch (lit., hall) in the face of (על־פּני, i.e., before) the Holy Place of the house was twenty cubits long, before (על־פּני) the breadth of the house, i.e., it was just the same breadth as the house. The longer line, which ran parallel to the breadth of the house, is called here ארך, the length, though from our point of view we should call it the width. And ten cubits was its breadth, i.e., its depth in front of the house. The height of the court is not given in our text; but in 2 Chronicles 3:4 it is said to have been 120 cubits. This is certainly an error, although Ewald (Gesch. iii. p. 300) still joins with Stieglitz (Baukunst, p. 126, and Beitrr. zur Gesch. der Bauk. i. p. 70) in defending its correctness. For an erection of such a height as this could not possibly have been designated as אוּלם (a hall or porch), but would have been called מגדּל, a tower. But even a tower of 120 cubits in height in front of a temple which was only thirty cubits high, would have shown a greater disproportion than our loftiest church towers;

(Note: In the Strasburg cathedral and that at Freiburg in Breisgau the proportion between the height of the tower and that of the church, together with the roof, is about 3 1/4 to 1; it is only in the cathedral at Rouen that the proportion would have been almost 4 to 1 if it had been carried out to the very top. At the same time, in making this comparison it must be borne in mind that these Gothic towers taper off into slender points, whereas in the case of Solomon's temple we must assume that if the porch was carried up to the height supposed, it finished in a flat truncated tower; and it is this which would chiefly occasion the disproportion.)

and such a funnel-like erection with a base of only ten cubits in breadth or depth would hardly have possessed sufficient stability. We cannot certainly think of an intentional exaggeration of the height in the Chronicles, since the other measures agree with the account before us; but the assumption that there has been a corruption of the text is rendered natural enough by many other errors in the numerical statements. This still leaves it undecided whether the true height was twenty or thirty cubits; for whereas the Syriac, Arabic, and lxx (Cod. Al.) have twenty cubits, the height of thirty cubits is favoured partly by the omission of any statement of the height from our text, which is much easier to explain if the porch was of the same height as the temple-house than if the heights were different, and partly by the circumstance that the side building had an external height of twenty cubits, and therefore the porch would not have stood out with any especial prominence if its elevation had been just the same.

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