1 Kings 7:20
And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Over against (or rather, close to) the belly which was by the network.—The “belly” here (like the “bowls” or “globes” of the chapiters in 1Kings 7:41-42) seems to signify the rounded form of the capital, where it comes down to join the shaft. At this junction the bands of pomegranate ornament ran round the shaft. In this verse it is obvious that there is an omission in the text. It should be, “were two hundred in rows round about the one chapiter, and two hundred in rows round about the other chapiter.” Hence the “four hundred” of 1Kings 7:42 and 2Chronicles 4:13.

1 Kings 7:20. Over against the belly — So he calls the middle part of the chapiter, which jetted farthest out. The pomegranates were two hundred — They are said to be ninety and six on the side of a pillar, in one row, and in all a hundred, (Jeremiah 52:23,) four pomegranates between the several checker-works being added to the first ninety-six. And it must needs be granted that there were as many on the other side of the pillar, or in the other row, which makes them two hundred upon a pillar, as is here said, and four hundred upon both pillars, as they are numbered, 2 Chronicles 4:13.

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.In this verse also a portion of the original text is supposed to have fallen out in consequence of the repetition of words. The full phrase of the original has been retained in 1 Kings 7:16-17. It may be restored thus: "And the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the one chapiter, and two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter." The "four hundred" 1 Kings 7:42; 2 Chronicles 4:13, are obtained by counting the pomegranates of both pillars together. In Jeremiah 52:23, is an account of the arrangement of a single row of pomegranates, whereof each pillar had two. 19. lily work—beautiful ornaments, resembling the stalks, leaves, and blossoms of lilies—of large dimensions, as suited to the height of their position. Over against the belly; so he calls the middle part of the chapiter, and that which jetted furthest out.

The pomegranates were two hundred: these pomegranates are variously accounted in Scriptures. They are said to be ninety and six on a side of a pillar, i.e. in one row, and in all an hundred, Jeremiah 52:23; four great pomegranates between the several checker-works being added to the first ninety-six. And it must needs be granted that there were as many on the other side of the pillar, or in the other row, which makes them two hundred upon a pillar, as is here said, and four hundred upon both pillars, as they are numbered 2 Chronicles 4:13.

And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network,.... The supplement is needless, according to Dr. Lightfoot; the sense being only, that the chapiters were above the lily work, which wrought out as far as the belly of the chapiters, or the middle cubit of them, which the pomegranates filled up:

and the pomegranates were two hundred, in rows round about upon the other chapiter: there were so many in each, which in all made four hundred, as in 1 Kings 7:42. In Jeremiah 52:23, it is said there were ninety six on a side, and yet one hundred round about; the meaning of which is, either that there were twenty four to every wind, as the word there is, and four on the four angles, and so in all one hundred; or, as the above learned writer, when the pillars were set to the wall, only ninety six appeared in sight in a row, the other four being hid behind them.

And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above] The italics are without justification. The R.V. gives the sense; ‘And there were chapiters also above upon the two pillars.’ What is now being described is that portion of the capital which was below the lily work. But the writer uses ‘chapiter’ for the part, as well as for the whole capital.

over against the belly which was by the network] R.V. close by the belly which was beside the network.’ The prepositions make the difficulty here. The first has something of the idea of ‘all along’ and describes the way in which the pomegranates went close up to the bellying portion of the capital. Probably the two rows ran round the pillar, one just above, the other just below the enlarged part. Then the network appears to have been over the belly. The preposition intimates that if you could have looked from the woodwork, the metal nets and chains were just in front of you. So that in the ‘beside’ of the R.V. we must understand the notion of overlying.

two hundred, in rows] As we have taken 1 Kings 7:18 the rows were two for each capital, so that 100 pomegranates were in each row. Apparently in 2 Chronicles 3:16 the number specified is only for one single row. In the parallel passage of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 52:23) this appears more clearly. For the pomegranates are said to have been arranged one at each of the four cardinal points and the other 96 used to complete the circuit. This can only be a description of a single row.

round about upon the other chapiter] Here there is the same sort of omission, be it intentional or not, as in 1 Kings 7:15. What is meant, we should express by ‘round about (upon the one chapiter as) upon the other chapiter.’

Verse 20. And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates [Instead of the italics, Keil would supply Hiram made, but it is doubtful whether this is any improvement. We have already heard more than once that he made the chapiters. It is better to supply projected or were, as in the preceding verse. This verse is extremely obscure; but its design appears to be to explain how the bowl of the chapiter projected above its base] also above [i.e., above the neck, or lowest cubit, on which was the net and chain work], over against [מִלְּעֻמַּת with two prefixes is a rare form] the belly [or "bowl" (ver. 41)] which was by [Heb. beyond, on the other side of, i.e., as it appeared to a spectator standing below] the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows [This agrees with the total of four hundred, as given in ver. 42, and in 2 Chronicles, and with the "hundred round about" (i.e., the number in each row) mentioned in Jeremiah 52:23. We gather from this latter passage that ninety-six out of the hundred faced the four quarters, for this is apparently the meaning of רוּחָה, windwards; see Ezekiel 42:16-18, not that the pomegranates could be "set in motion by the play of the wind," as Ewald confidently affirms. The remaining four pomegranates, of course, occupied the four corners. The necessary inference from this statement, viz., that this part of the capital was foursquare, seems to have escaped the notice of the commentators] round about upon the other chapiter. [Some words have evidently dropped out of the Hebrew here, as in ver. 15. The text, no doubt, originally stood "two hundred in rows round about the one chapiter, and two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter." There has been no intentional compression that is not the genius of the Semitic languages - but an accidental omission, occasioned by the recurrence of almost identical words. 1 Kings 7:20In 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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