1 Kings 6:37
In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(37) Zif (the “brightness of flowers”) corresponds to about May;

1 Kings 6:37-38. In the fourth year, &c. — This was mentioned 1 Kings 6:1, and is here repeated to subjoin, in the next words, how long the house was in building. In the eleventh year, in the month Bul — As the second month was called Zif, for the reason before given, so the eighth month was called Bul, which signifies to wither, because then the leaves of the trees began to wither and fall off, and the whole vegetable creation to droop and die. So he was seven years in building — “That is,” says Mr. Locke, “speaking in a round number, for he was seven years and six months; neither is this mode of speaking unusual in Scripture.” It is not strange that this work took up so much time; for though the temple, properly so called, was but a small edifice, yet the many courts, offices, chambers, and other buildings about it, above ground and below, made the whole a vast pile; and the exquisiteness of the art, and fewness of the artists that could be employed, made a longer time requisite. Indeed, all things considered, it must be acknowledged Solomon made an extraordinary despatch; for, if the building of Diana’s temple at Ephesus employed all Asia for two hundred years; and no fewer than three hundred and sixty thousand men were occupied for twenty years together in erecting one pyramid, as Pliny affirms, lib. 36, chap. 12, no reasonable man can wonder that this temple was seven years and a half in building. See Calmet, and Univ. Hist., vol. 4. octavo. Now let us see what this temple typifies:

1. Christ himself is the true temple. He himself spoke of the temple of his body: and in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead. In him all the Israel of God meet, and through him have access with confidence to God.

2. Every believer is a living temple, in whom the Spirit of God dwelleth: we are wonderfully made by the divine providence, but more wonderfully made anew by the divine grace; and as Solomon’s temple was built on a rock, so are we built on Christ.

3. The church is a mystical temple, enriched and beautified, not with gold and precious stones, but with the gifts and graces of the Spirit. Angels are ministering spirits, attending the church, and all the members of it, on all sides.

4. Heaven is the everlasting temple; there the church will be fixed, and no longer moveable: the cherubim there always attend upon the throne of glory. In the temple there was no noise of axes or hammers: every thing is quiet and serene in heaven. All that shall be stones in that building, must here be fitted and made ready for it; must be hewed and squared by the divine grace, and so made meet for a place in that temple.

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.

1Ki 6:37, 38. The time Taken to Build It.

37. In the fourth year was the foundation laid—The building was begun in the second month of the fourth year and completed in the eighth month of the eleventh year of Solomon's reign, comprising a period of seven and a half years, which is reckoned here in round numbers. It was not a very large, but a very splendid building, requiring great care, and ingenuity, and division of labor. The immense number of workmen employed, together with the previous preparation of the materials, serves to account for the short time occupied in the process of building.

No text from Poole on this verse.

In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid,.... The fourth year of Solomon's reign:

in the month Zif; See Gill on 1 Kings 6:1.

In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
37–38. Completion of Solomon’s Temple (Not in Chronicles)

37. In the fourth year] i.e. Of king Solomon’s reign. See 1 Kings 6:1. The LXX. (both Vat. and Alex.) omits these two verses, adding at the end of 36 καὶ ᾠκοδόμησε τὸ καταπέτασμα τῆς αὐλῆς τοῦ αἰλὰμ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ κατὰ πρόσωπον τοῦ ναοῦ.

Verse 37. - In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif [see on ver. 1]. 1 Kings 6:37The time consumed in building. - The foundation was laid in the fourth year in the month Ziv (see 1 Kings 6:1), and it was finished in the eleventh year in the month Bul, i.e., the eighth month, so that it was built in seven years, or, more precisely, seven years and a half, "according to all its matters and all its due." בּוּל for יבוּל signifies proventus; בּוּל ירח is therefore the fruit month, the month of tree fruits. The name probably originated with the Phoenicians, with whom the fruit ripened later; and it is said to be found upon the great Sidonian inscription (compare Dietrich on Ges. Lex. s. v.). For the other explanations see Ges. Thes. p. 560. In comparison with other large buildings of antiquity,

(Note: According to Pliny (H. N. 36, c. 14), all Asia was building at the celebrated temple of Diana at Ephesus for 220 years.)

and also of modern times, the work was executed in a very short time. But we must bear in mind that the building was not a very large one, notwithstanding all its splendour; that an unusually large number of workmen were employed upon it; and that the preparation of the materials, more especially the hewing of the stones, took place at Lebanon, and for the most part preceded the laying of the foundation of the temple, so that this is not to be included in the seven years and a half.

Moreover, the period mentioned probably refers to the building of the temple-house and court of the priests only, and to the general arrangement of the outer court, and does not include the completion of the underground works which were necessary to prepare the space required for them, and of which only a portion may have been carried out by Solomon.

(Note: The account given by Josephus of these substructures does not show very clearly how much originated with Solomon, and how much belongs to the following centuries. At the close of his description of Solomon's temple (Ant. viii. 3, 9), he states that, in order to obtain the same level for the ἔξωθεν ἱερόν, i.e., the outer court of the temple, as that of the ναός, he had large valleys filled up, into which it was difficult to look down on account of their depth, by raising the ground to the height of 400 cubits, so as to make them level with the top of the mountain; and in the de Bell. Jud. v. 5, 1, after describing the temple-mountain as a mighty hill, the summit of which hardly sufficed for the temple-house and altar when the building was commenced, because it sloped off on all sides, he adds: "Solomon therefore caused a wall to be raised on the eastern side, and had a porch built upon the ground that was heaped up, and on the other sides the temple (ναός) was naked (γυμνός)." But in the description of the temple of Herod (Ant. xv. 11, 3) he says: "The temple was surrounded by enormous porticos (στοαί), which rested upon a large wall, and were the largest work of which men have ever heard. It was a steep rocky hill, rising gradually towards the eastern part of the city up to the highest point. This hill Solomon surrounded with a wall by very great works up to the very apex, and walled it round, commencing at the root, which is surrounded by a deep ravine, with stones which were fastened together with lead, ... and continuing to the top, so that the size and height of the building, which was completed as a square, were immense," etc. The flat obtained in this manner is then described by Josephus as a περίβολος of four stadia in circumference, namely, one stadium on each side. Now, although it was the outer court of the temple of Herod (the court of the Gentiles) which first had this circumference (see my bibl. Archol. i. pp. 143,144), and Josephus, de Bell. Jud. v. 5, 1, relates that subsequently (τοῖς ἑξῆς αἰῶσιν) the levelling of the hill was carried out to even a greater extent, as the people still continued to heap up earth, it is quite conceivable that Solomon may have planned the area of the temple with this circumference. And this conjecture acquires great probability from the fact that, according to the researches of Robinson (Pal. i. pp. 420ff.; Recent Investigations concerning the Topography of Jerusalem, pp. 68ff.; and Later Biblical Researches, pp. 173ff.), there are layers of enormous square stones in the lowest part of the south-western and south-eastern corners of the present Haram wall, the dimensions of which, apart from the fact that they are hewn with grooved edges, point to an early Israelitish origin, so that they might very well be relics of the Solomonian substructures of the temple-hill. There is also a remnant of the arch of a bridge of the same construction on the southern portion of the western wall of the Haram, which points to a bridge that led across from Moriah to Zion, and "appears to remove all the objections to the identity of this part of the enclosure of the mosque with that of the ancient temple" (Rob. Pal. i. p. 426). "Here then," adds Robinson (Pal. i. pp. 427,428), "we have indisputable remains of Jewish antiquity, consisting of an important portion of the western wall of the ancient temple area. They are probably to be referred to a period long antecedent to the days of Herod; for the labours of this splendour-loving tyrant appear to have been confined to the body of the temple and the porticos around the court. The magnitude of the stones also, and the workmanship, as compared with other remaining monuments of Herod, seem to point to an earlier origin. In the accounts we have of the destruction of the temple by the Chaldaeans, and its rebuilding by Zerubbabel under Darius, no mention is made of these exterior walls. The former temple was destroyed by fire, which would not affect these foundations; nor is it probable that a feeble colony of returning exiles could have accomplished works like these. There seems, therefore, little room for hesitation in referring them back to the days of Solomon, or rather of his successors, who, according to Josephus, built up here immense walls, 'immoveable for all time.' "

But however probable this assumption may be, the successors of Solomon cannot come into consideration at all, since Josephus says nothing of the kind, and the biblical accounts are not favourable to this conjecture. With the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon the might of the kings of Judah was broken; and the accounts of the new court which Jehoshaphat built, i.e., of the restoration of the inner court (2 Chronicles 20:5), and of the repairs of the temple by Joash (2 Kings 12:5.; 2 Chronicles 24:4.) and Josiah (2 Kings 22:5.; 2 Chronicles 34:8.), do not produce the impression that the walls so costly or so large could have been built at that time. The statement of Josephus (l.c. de Bell. Jud. v. 5, 1) concerning the gradual extension of the levelled hill, has reference to the enlargement of the temple area towards the north, inasmuch as he adds to the words already quoted: "and cutting through the north wall, they took in as much as was afterwards occupied by the circumference of the whole temple." - If, therefore, the remains of the ancient wall which have been mentioned, with their stones of grooved edges, are of early Israelitish origin, we must trace them to Solomon; and this is favoured still further by the fact, that when Solomon had a magnificent palace built for himself opposite to the temple (see 1 Kings 7:1-12), he would assuredly connect the temple-mountain with Zion by a bridge. - Even J. Berggren (Bibel u. Josephus ber Jerus. u. d. heil. Grab.) thinks it probable that "the so-called remains of an arch in the western Haram wall may be, as Robinson at first indicated, a relic of that ancient and marvellous xystus bridge, with which the Davidic steps on the two steep sides of the valley of the Tyropoeum, constructed for the purpose of going from Moriah to Zion or from Zion to Moriah, were connected.")

The importance of the temple is clearly expressed in 1 Kings 8:13, 1 Kings 8:27; 1 Kings 9:3; 2 Chronicles 6:2, and other passages. It was to be a house built as the dwelling-place for Jehovah, a place for His seat for ever; not indeed in any such sense as that the house could contain God within its space, when the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27), but a house where the name of Jehovah is or dwells (1 Kings 8:16.; 2 Chronicles 6:5; cf. 2 Samuel 7:13, etc.), i.e., where God manifests His presence in a real manner to His people, and shows Himself to them as the covenant God, so that Israel may there worship Him and receive an answer to its prayers. The temple had therefore the same purpose as the tabernacle, whose place it took, and which it resembled in its fundamental form, its proportions, divisions, and furniture. As the glory of the Lord entered into the tabernacle in the cloud, so did it into the temple also at its dedication, to sanctify it as the place of the gracious presence of God (1 Kings 8:10; 2 Chronicles 5:14). The temple thereby became not only a visible pledge of the lasting duration of the covenant, by virtue of which God would dwell among His people, but also a copy of the kingdom of God, which received at its erection an embodiment answering to its existing condition at the time. As the tabernacle, with its resemblance to a nomad's tent, answered to the time when Israel had not yet found rest in the promised land of the Lord; so was the temple, regarded as an immoveable house, a pledge that Israel had not acquired its lasting inheritance in Canaan, and that the kingdom of God on earth had obtained a firm foundation in the midst of it. - This relation between the temple and the tabernacle will serve to explain all the points of difference which present themselves between these two sanctuaries, notwithstanding their agreement in fundamental forms and in all essential particulars. As a house or palace of Jehovah, the temple was not only built of solid and costly materials, with massive walls of square stones, and with floors, ceilings, walls, and doors of cedar, cypress, and olive woods - these almost imperishable kinds of wood - but was also provided with a hall like the palaces of earthly kings, and with side buildings in three stories in which to keep the utensils requisite for a magnificent ceremonial, though care was taken that there adjoining and side buildings were not attached directly to the main building so as to violate the indestructibility and perfectness of the house of God, but merely helped to exalt it and elevate its dignity. And the increased size of the inner rooms, whilst the significant forms and measures of the tabernacle were preserved, was also essentially connected with this. Whereas the length and breadth of the dwelling were doubled, and the height of the whole house tripled, the form of a cube was still retained for the Most Holy Place as the stamp of the perfected kingdom of God (see Comm. on Pent. p. 441), and the space was fixed at twenty cubits in length, breadth, and height. On the other hand, in the case of the Holy Place the sameness of height and breadth were sacrificed to the harmonious proportions of the house or palace, as points of inferior importance; and the measurements were thirty cubits in height, twenty cubits in breadth, and forty cubits in length; so that ten as the number of perfectness was preserved as the standard even here. And in order to exhibit still further the perfectness and glory of the house of God, the walls were not constructed of ordinary quarry-stone, but of large square stones prepared at the quarry, and the walls were panelled within with costly wood after the manner of the palaces of Hither Asia, the panelling being filled with carved work and overlaid with gold plate. And whereas the overlaying of the whole of the interior with gold shadowed forth the glory of the house as the residence of the heavenly King, the idea of this house of God was still more distinctly expressed in the carved work of the walls. In the tabernacle the walls were decorated with tapestries in costly colours and interwoven figures of cherubim; but in the temple they were ornamented with carved work of figures of cherubim, palms, and opening flowers. To the figures of cherubim, as representations of the heavenly spirits which surround the Lord of glory and set forth the psychical life at its highest stage, there are thus added flowers, and still more particularly palms, those "princes of the vegetable kingdom," which, with their fine majestic growth, and their large, fresh, evergreen leaves, unite within themselves the whole of the fulness and glory of the vegetable life; to set forth the sanctuary (probably with special reference to Canaan as the land of palms, and with an allusion to the glory of the King of peace, inasmuch as the palm is not only the sign of Palestine, but also the symbol of peace) "as a place that was ever verdant, abiding in all the freshness of strength, and enfolding within itself the fulness of life," and thereby to make it a scene of health and life, of peace and joy, a "paradise of God," where the righteous who are planted there flourish, and blossom, and bear fruit to old age (Psalm 92:13). And this idea of the house, as an immoveable dwelling-place of God, is in perfect harmony with the setting up of two colossal cherubim in the Most Holy Place, which filled the whole space with their outspread wings, and overshadowed the ark of the covenant, to show that the ark of the covenant with its small golden cherubim upon the Capporeth, which had journeyed with the people through the desert to Canaan, was henceforth to have there a permanent and unchangeable abode.

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