1 Kings 7:19
And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.
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7:13-47 The two brazen pillars in the porch of the temple, some think, were to teach those that came to worship, to depend upon God only, for strength and establishment in all their religious exercises. Jachin, God will fix this roving mind. It is good that the heart be established with grace. Boaz, In him is our strength, who works in us both to will and to do. Spiritual strength and stability are found at the door of God's temple, where we must wait for the gifts of grace, in use of the means of grace. Spiritual priests and spiritual sacrifices must be washed in the laver of Christ's blood, and of regeneration. We must wash often, for we daily contract pollution. There are full means provided for our cleansing; so that if we have our lot for ever among the unclean it will be our own fault. Let us bless God for the fountain opened by the sacrifice of Christ for sin and for uncleanness.There is a cornice of (so-called) lilywork at Persepolis, consisting of three ranges of broadish rounded leaves, one over the other. Lilies are also represented with much spirit on a bas-relief from Koyunjik. 19. lily work—beautiful ornaments, resembling the stalks, leaves, and blossoms of lilies—of large dimensions, as suited to the height of their position. Of lily work; made like the leaves of lilies, or such flowers.

In the porch; or, as in the porch, i.e. such work as there was in the porch of the temple, in which these pillars were set, 1 Kings 7:21, that so the work of the tops of these pillars might agree with that in the top of the porch. So there is only an ellipsis or defect of the particle as, which is frequent, as Genesis 49:9 Deu 33:22 Psalm 11:1 Isaiah 21:8.

Four cubits; of which See Poole "1 Kings 7:16".

And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch,.... Or such as was in the porch of the temple; the work was like that wrought in the form of the flower of lilies open:

four cubits; of the five cubits of which the chapiters consisted, four of them were of lily work, the two rows of pomegranates taking up the other; though Dr. Lightfoot (o) thinks, that at the head of the pillar was a border or circle of lily work, that stood out four cubits under the chapiter, into and along the porch; a four cubit circle, after the manner of a spread lily.

(o) Prospect of the Temple, c. 13. sect. 2. p. 1075.

And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of {k} lily work in the porch, four cubits.

(k) As was seen commonly wrought in costly porches.

19. and the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars] This verse refers to the four cubits of lily work, which was higher than the bellying portion of the capital, and formed the topmost part of the ornament.

were of lily work in the porch] The R.V. transposes in the porch were of lily work, thus marking clearly that the pillars were within the porch. The language of 2 Chronicles 3:17 has induced some to think that they were outside, in the court. The words there are ‘he reared up the pillars before the temple,’ but the word rendered ‘temple’ is that which is constantly used (see below, 1 Kings 7:21) for the holy place, and the porch was in front of that. So that though standing within the porch the pillars would still be ‘before the temple.’

Verse 19. - And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars [It is difficult to believe that these words, which are identical with those in vers. 16, 17,18, can refer to a different - a second and superposed capital (Rawlinson), or to the entablature (Fergusson)] were of lily work [i.e., bassirelievi in imitation of flowering lilies. Probably the bowl-shaped chapiter was treated as a fullblown lily, just as the capitals of Egyptian pillars took the form of the lotus. The molten sea was similarly treated (ver. 26). The lily (שׁוּשַׁן), from שׁוּשׁ), to be white), was undoubtedly an emblem of purity. Bahr observes that it may justly be named "the flower of the promised land," and that as the lotus was the religious flower of the Indian and Egyptian religions, so was the lily of the Jewish] in the porch [These words, בָּאוּלָם, are very obscure. Keil understands" as in the hall" (cf. κατὰ τὸ αὐλὰμ, LXX.) But that idea would have been expressed by כָּאוּלָם, and nothing is said elsewhere about any lily work in the porch (Bahr). Ewald, too, thinks the decoration of the porch is referred to, and holds that a description of this lily work must once have preceded this statement, though it is now wanting. Thenius, al. suppose them to refer to the position of the pillars within the porch, and the "four cubits" mentioned presently, they take to indicate the diameter of the capitals. Wordsworth would render "inside or toward the porch," and understands that the lily work was only on the inside of the pillars. It is, perhaps, impossible to arrive at any certain conclusion], four cubits. [This may either mean that of five cubits (which was the height of the entire capital), four, and these the upper four (ver. 22), were covered with lily work, while one cubit at the bottom of the capital was ornamented with chain-work or festeons - we can hardly believe that nets, chains, and lily work were all combined in the same space, or it may refer to the position of the pillars in the portico.] 1 Kings 7:19In 1 Kings 7:19 and 1 Kings 7:20 a second decoration of the capitals of the pillars is mentioned, from which we may see that the rounding with the chain-like plaited work and the pomegranates enclosing it did not cover the capital to the very top, but only the lower portion of it. The decoration of the upper part is described in 1 Kings 7:19 : "And capitals, which were upon the top of the pillars, were (or, Hiram made) lily-work after the manner of the hall, four cubits." The lily-work occupied, according to 1 Kings 7:20, the upper portion of the capitals, which is here called כּתרת, as a crown set upon the lower portion. It was lily-work, i.e., sculpture in the form of flowering lilies. The words אמּות ארבּע בּאוּלם are obscure. According to Bttcher and Thenius, בּאוּלם is intended to indicate the position of the pillars within the hall, so that their capitals sustained the lintel of the doorway. But even if בּאוּלם were rendered, within the hall, as it is by Bttcher, it is impossible to see how this meaning could be obtained from the words "capitals upon the head of the pillars lily-work within the hall." In that case we must at least have "the pillars within the hall;" and בּאוּלם would be connected with העמּוּדים, instead of being separated from it by שׁוּשׁן מעשׂה. Even if we were to introduce a stop after שׁוּשׁן and take בּאוּלם by itself, the expression "in (or at) the hall" would not in itself indicate the position of the pillars in the doorway, to say nothing of the fact that it is only in 1 Kings 7:21 that anything is said concerning the position of the pillars. Again, the measurement "four cubits" cannot be understood, as it is by Thenius, as denoting the diameter of the capitals of the pillars; it must rather indicate the measure of the lily-work, that is to say, it affirms that there were four cubits of lily-work on the capitals, which were five cubits high, - in other words, the lily-work covered the four upper cubits of the capitals; from which it still further follows, that the plaited work which formed the decoration of the lower portion of the capitals was only one cubit broad or high. Consequently בּאוּלם cannot be understood in any other sense than "in the manner of or according to the hall," and can only express the thought, that there was lily-work on the capitals of the pillars as there was on the hall. For the vindication of this use of בּ see Ges. Lex. by Dietrich, s.v. בּ.

(Note: This is the way in which the earlier translators appear to have understood it: e.g., lxx ἕργον κρίνου κατὰ τὸ αὐλὰμ τεσσάρων πηχῶν ("lily-work according to the hall four cubits"); Vulg. Capitella... quasi opere lilii fabricata erant in porticu quatuor cubitorum; Chald. ארבע אמּין עובד שׁושׁנתא לקיט בוּלמּא (opus liliaceum collectum in porticu quatuor cubitorum); Syr. opus liliaceum idem fecit (Syr. wa-(ekad ke)set[a4wa4)) in porticu quatuor cubitis. These readings appear to be based upon the view supported by Rashi (בּאוּלם for כּאוּלם): lily-work as it was in the hall.)

There is no valid objection to the inference to which this leads, namely, that on the frontispiece of the temple-hall there was a decoration of lily-work. For since the construction of the hall is not more minutely described, we cannot expect a description of its decorations. - In 1 Kings 7:20 a more precise account is given of the position in which the crowns consisting of lily-work were placed on the capitals of this columns, so that this verse is to be regarded as an explanation of 1 Kings 7:19 : namely, capitals upon the pillars (did he make) also above near the belly, which was on the other side of the plait-work." הבּטן, the belly, i.e., the belly-shaped rounding, can only be the rounding of the lower portion of the capitals, which is called גּלה in 1 Kings 7:41, 1 Kings 7:42. Hence השּׂבכה לעבר (Keri), "on the other side of the plaited work," can only mean behind or under the plait, since we cannot suppose that there was a belly-shaped rounding above the caldron-shaped rounding which was covered with plaited work, and between this and the lily-work. The belly-shaped rounding, above or upon which the plaited work lay round about, might, when looked at from without, be described as being on the other side of it, i.e., behind it. In the second half of the verse: "and the pomegranates two hundred in rows round about on the second capital," the number of the pomegranates placed upon the capitals, which was omitted in 1 Kings 7:18, is introduced in a supplementary form.

(Note: Hermann Weiss (Kostmkunde, i. p. 367) agrees in the main with the idea worked out in the text; but he assumes, on the ground of monumental views, that the decoration was of a much simpler kind, and one by no means out of harmony with the well-known monumental remains of the East. In his opinion, the pillars consisted of "a shaft nineteen cubits in height, surrounded at the top, exactly after the fashion of the ornamentation of the Egyptian pillars, with seven bands decorated like plaited work, which unitedly covered a cubit, in addition to which there was the lily-work of five cubits in height, i.e., a slender capital rising up in the form of the calyx of a lily, ornamented with pomegranates." Our reasons for dissenting from this opinion are given in the exposition of the different verses.)

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