1 Kings 6:36
And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
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(36) The inner court (probably the “higher court” of Jeremiah 35:10) is described as built round the Temple proper, evidently corresponding to the outer court of the Tabernacle. As this was (see Exodus 27:9-13) 50 cubits by 100, it may be inferred, that by a duplication similar to that of all dimensions of the Temple itself, Solomon’s Court was 100 cubits (or 150 feet) by 200 cubits (or 300 feet), covering a little more than an acre. The verse has been interpreted in two ways: either that the floor of the court was raised by three courses of stone, covered with a planking of cedar, or (as Josephus understands it) enclosed by a wall of three courses of stone, with a coping of cedar wood. The latter seems more probable. For in this court stood the altar of burnt offering and the laver, and all sacrifices went on, and this could hardly have been done on a wooden pavement; and besides this we observe that the whole arrangement is (1Kings 7:12) compared with that of the great outer court of the palace where the wooden pavement would be still more unsuitable. It was what was called afterwards the “Court of the Priests,” and in it (see Ezekiel 40:45) appear to have been chambers for the priests.

The mention of the “inner court” suggests that there was an outer court also. We have in 2Kings 21:5; 2Kings 23:12, a reference to the “two courts” of the Temple, and in Ezekiel 40:17; Ezekiel 42:1; Ezekiel 42:8, a mention of the “outward” or “utter court.” Josephus (Antt. viii. 3, § 3) declares that Solomon built beyond the inner court a great quadrangle, erected for it great and broad cloisters, and closed it with golden doors, into which all could enter, “being pure and observant of the laws.” Even beyond this he indicates, though in rather vague and rhetorical language, an extension of the Temple area, as made by Solomon’s great substructures, forming a court less perfectly enclosed, like the Court of the Gentiles in the later Temple. Of these outer courts and cloisters the tradition remained in the assignment of the title of “Solomon’s Porch” to the eastern cloister of the later Temple. It has been thought that in this outer court were planted trees (in spite of the prohibition of Deuteronomy 16:21); and this may have been the case, till the association of idol worship with them made these seem to be unfit for the House of the Lord. But the passages usually quoted to support this view are from the Psalms (Psalm 52:8; Psalm 92:13), of which the former certainly refers to the Tabernacle, and the latter may do so.

1 Kings 6:36. The inner court — That wherein the priests officiated, (2 Chronicles 4:9,) so called because it was next to the temple, which it encompassed. With three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams It is difficult to ascertain the precise meaning of the sacred historian here. He may be understood as speaking, either, 1st, Of the thickness of the wall, the three rows of stones being one within another, and the cedar innermost, as a lining to the wall. Or, 2d, Of the height of the wall, which was only three cubits high, that the people might see the priests sacrificing upon the altar, which was in their court; each row of stones being about a cubit, and, possibly, of a colour different from the rest, and all covered with cedar. Or, 3d, He is to be understood of so many galleries, one on each side of the temple, whereof the three first were stone, and the fourth of cedar, all supported with rows of pillars, upon which there were many chambers for the uses of the temple, and of the priests.

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.The inner court - An outer court is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 4:9. The inner court is probably identical with the "higher court" of Jeremiah Jer 36:10, being raised above the outer, as were sometimes the inner courts of Assyrian palaces. The court seems to have surrounded the temple. Its dimensions may be reasonably presumed to have been double those of the court of the tabernacle, i. e., 100 cubits on each side of the temple, and 200 cubits at the ends; or, about 720 feet long by 360 broad.

With three rows of hewed stone - Either a fence enclosing the court, or the area of the court, which was possibly formed by three layers of hewn stone placed one above the other, and was then boarded on the top with cedar planks. Such a construction would no doubt be elaborate; but if it was desired to elevate the inner court above the outer, this is the way in which it would be likely to have been done. The temple would be placed, like the Assyrian palaces, on an artificial platform; and the platform, being regarded as a part of the sacred building, would be constructed of the best material.

36. the inner court—was for the priests. Its wall, which had a coping of cedar, is said to have been so low that the people could see over it. The inner court, i.e. the priests’ court, 2 Chronicles 4:9; so called, because it was next to the temple, which it did encompass.

With three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams; which is understood either,

1. Of the thickness of the wall, the three rows of stones being one within another, and the cedar innermost, as a lining to the wall. Or,

2. Of the height of the wall, which was only three cubits high, that the people might see the priests sacrificing upon the altar, which was in their court; each row of stones being about a cubit, and possibly of a differing colour from the rest, and all covered with cedar. Or rather,

3. Of so many galleries, one on each side of the temple, whereof the three first were of stone, and the fourth of cedar, all supported with rows of pillars; upon which there were many chambers for the uses of the temple, and of the priests; for it is hard to think that only the making of a low wall about the court would be called a building of the court. And that a great number of buildings and rooms were necessary for the various offices and works which were to be done, and the treasures of all sorts which were to be laid up in the temple, largely so called, is sufficiently evident from the nature of the things, and divers passages in Scripture: see, among others, 1 Chronicles 28:11,12.

And he built the inner court,.... The court of the priests, 2 Chronicles 4:9; so called to distinguish it from the outer court, where the people assembled: this was built

with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams; the rows of stones were one upon another, topped with a row of cedar beams; or rather the cedar was a lining to the stones; and the whole is supposed to be about three cubits high, and was so low, that the people in the outward court might see priests ministering for them, and could converse with them; under the second temple, as Maimonides (h) says, the court of the priests was higher than that of the court of Israel two cubits and an half, called the great court, for which doors were made, and those overlaid with brass, 2 Chronicles 4:9.

(h) Hilchot Beth Habechirah, c. 6. sect. 3.

And he built the inner {o} court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.

(o) Where the priests were, and was thus called in respect to the great court, which is called the porch of Solomon in Ac 3:11 where the people used to pray.

36. And he built the inner court] This inner court is that which in Jeremiah 36:10 is called ‘the higher court’ and must be that intended (2 Chronicles 4:9) by the ‘court of the priests’ in contradistinction to ‘the great court,’ which must have enclosed the inner one. There is some doubt as to how the description in this verse is to be understood. It seems clear from the passage in Jeremiah that the inner was on a higher level than the outer court. Some have thought that this elevation was made by three layers of stone and then a wooden planking put over all. But to do this for the whole enclosure would have been very laborious work and seemingly for no purpose. It seems better to take it that the elevation was artificially made, and then to understand the three rows of hewn stone, covered by one row of cedar wood at the top, to have made a sort of sunk fence all round the inner court. The people standing in the outer court would need to see what the priests were doing. This they would all be able to do if the wall of stone and cedar work were very little, if at all, higher than the level of the inner court.

Verse 36. - The description of the buildings concludes with a brief reference to the enceinte or court. And he built the inner court [The mention of an inner court, called in 2 Chronicles 4:9 the "court of the priests," presupposes, of course, the existence of an outer court. Our author does not mention this, but the chronicler does, under the name of "the great court." In Jeremiah 36:10, the former is called the "higher court," because it occupied a higher level] with three rows of hewed stone and a row of cedar beams. [These, it is thought, formed the enclosing wall of the court (the LXX. adds κυκλόθεν). The cedar beams were instead of coping stones. It has been supposed, however (J.D. Michaelis), that these three rows of stone, boarded with cedar, formed the pavement of the court. But the question at once suggests itself, Why pile three rows of stones one upon another merely to form a pavement, and why hew and shape them if they were to be concealed beneath a stratum of wood? It is a fair inference from 2 Chronicles 7:3, that the wall was low enough to permit men to look over it. Fergusson, on the contrary, argues that it must have been twice the height of the enclosure of the tabernacle, which would give us an elevation of ten cubits (Exodus 27:18). It is worth suggesting, however, whether, the inner court being raised above the outer, which surrounded it, these stones may not have formed the retaining wall or sides of the platform. As the outer court had gates (2 Kings 11:6; 2 Kings 12:9; 2 Chronicles 4:9; 2 Chronicles 23:5; 2 Chronicles 24:8), it also must have had walls. From 2 Kings 23:11; Jeremiah 35:2; Jeremiah 36:10, we gather that there were various chambers in the forecourt. Such were certainly contemplated by David (1 Chronicles 28:12); but it is not recorded that Solomon built them. Nor have we any warrant, except the bare assertion of Josephus, for the belief that he built a colonnade or cloister on the east side, such as was known to later ages by the name of "Solomon's Porch" (John 10:23; Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12). As to the dimensions of these spaces, we are left to conjecture. If, as in everything else, the dimensions of the tabernacle were doubled, then the court of the priests would measure 200 cubits from east to west, and 100 cubits from north to south. It should be stated, however, that in the temple of Ezekiel, the proportions of which, in the present instance, may well he historical, both courts are represented as perfect squares. Rawlinson inadvertently puts down the length (along the side of temple) at 100 cubits, and the breadth (ends of temple) at 200. The outer court would probably be twice as large as the inner, i.e., 400 x 200 cubits. But all this is necessarily uncertain.] 1 Kings 6:36The courts. - "He built the inner court three rows of hewn stones and one row of hewn cedar beams." The epithet inner court applied to the "court of the priests" (2 Chronicles 4:9) presupposes an outer one, which is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 4:9, and called "the great court." The inner one is called the upper (higher) court in Jeremiah 36:10, from which it follows that it was situated on a higher level than the outer one, which surrounded it on all sides. It was enclosed by a low wall, consisting of three rows of hewn stones, or square stones, laid one upon another, and a row of hewn cedar beams, which were either laid horizontally upon the stones, after the analogy of the panelling of the temple walls on the inside, or placed upright so as to form a palisading, in order that the people might be able to see through into the court of the priests. According to 2 Chronicles 4:9, the outer court had gates lined with brass, so that it was also surrounded with a high wall. Around it there were chambers and cells (2 Kings 23:11; Jeremiah 35:4; Jeremiah 36:10) for the priests and Levites, the plans for which had already been made by David (1 Chronicles 28:12). The principal gate was the east gate (Ezekiel 11:1). Other gates are mentioned in 2 Kings 11:6; 2 Chronicles 23:5, Jeremiah 20:2 2 Kings 12:10; 2 Chronicles 24:8. The size of these courts is not given. At the same time, following the analogy of the tabernacle, and with the reduplication of the rooms of the tabernacle which is adopted in other cases in the temple, we may set down the length of the court of the priests from east to west at 200 cubits, and the breadth from south to north at 100 cubits; so that in front of the temple-building on the east there was a space of 100 cubits in length and breadth, or 10,000 square cubits, left free for the altar of burnt-offering and the other vessels, in other words, for the sacrificial worship. The outer or great court will therefore, no doubt, have been at least twice as large, namely, 400 cubits long and 200 cubits broad, i.e., in all, 80,000 square cubits; so that the front space before the court of the priests (on the eastern side) was 150 cubits long from east to west, and 200 cubits broad from south to north, and 50 cubits in breadth or depth still remained for the other three sides.
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