And it was covered with cedar above on the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 7:3-5. Fifteen in a row — So in this second story there were only three rows of pillars, which were sufficient for the ornament of the second and for the support of the third story; and we may conjecture from hence that there were threescore pillars below. Light was against light — One directly opposite to another, as is usual in well-contrived buildings. In three ranks — One exactly under another in three rows. All the doors, &c., were square with the windows — That is, the figures of the doors and windows were one and the same, namely, square. And light was against light, &c. — This is meant of the smaller windows or lights which were over the door, and which were also square.1 Kings 7:1-2, 1 Kings 7:8, were three entirely distinct and separate buildings. But it is perhaps best to consider the "house" of 1 Kings 7:1 as the palace proper - Solomon's own dwelling-house (see 1 Kings 7:8); the house of 1 Kings 7:2, as the state apartments; and the house for Pharaoh's daughter as the hareem or zenana; and to regard these three groups of buildings as distinct, though interconnected, and as together constituting what is else-where termed "the king's house" 1 Kings 9:10.
The house of the forest of Lebanon - This name was probably given from the supposed resemblance of the mass of cedar pillars, which was its main feature, to the Lebanon cedar forest. Its length of "a hundred cubits," or 150 feet, was nearly twice as long as the entire temple without the porch. Some of the great halls in Assyrian palaces were occasionally as much as 180 feet.
The breadth "of fifty cubits," or 75 feet, is a breadth very much greater than is ever found in Assyria, and one indicative of the employment in the two countries of quite different methods of roofing. By their use of pillars the Jews, like the Persians, were able to cover in a very wide space.
Four rows - The Septuagint gives "three rows." If the pillars were forty-five 1 Kings 7:3, fifteen in a row, there should have been but three rows, as seems to have been the case in the old palace of Cyrus at Pasargadae. If there were four rows of fifteen, the number of pillars should have been sixty.
2. He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon—It is scarcely possible to determine whether this was a different edifice from the former, or whether his house, the house of the forest of Lebanon, and the one for Pharaoh's daughter, were not parts of one grand palace. As difficult is it to decide what was the origin of the name; some supposing it was so called because built on Lebanon; others, that it was in or near Jerusalem, but contained such a profuse supply of cedar columns as to have occasioned this peculiar designation. We have a similar peculiarity of name in the building called the East India house, though situated in London. The description is conformable to the arrangement of Eastern palaces. The building stood in the middle of a great oblong square, which was surrounded by an enclosing wall, against which the houses and offices of those attached to the court were built. The building itself was oblong, consisting of two square courts, flanking a large oblong hall which formed the center, and was one hundred cubits long, by fifty broad. This was properly the house of the forest of Lebanon, being the part where were the cedar pillars of this hall. In front was the porch of judgment, which was appropriated to the transaction of public business. On the one side of this great hall was the king's house; and on the other the harem or royal apartments for Pharaoh's daughter (Es 2:3, 9). This arrangement of the palace accords with the Oriental style of building, according to which a great mansion always consists of three divisions, or separate houses—all connected by doors and passages—the men dwelling at one extremity, the women of the family at the other, while public rooms occupy the central part of the building.And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams] The word here rendered ‘beams’ is the same which has been rendered ‘side-chambers’ in 1 Kings 6:5. In two descriptions which are so closely related as that chapter and this, it is difficult to suppose that the word has a different sense in the two places. And we have here an account of a series of side-chambers which ran all round the inside walls of this house of the forest of Lebanon, as the others did round the outside wall of the Temple. Taking the word as = ‘side-chambers,’ the text says that they were supported upon the pillars already mentioned in 1 Kings 7:2, and then adds that these chambers were forty-five in number, fifteen in a row. This seems to mean that the whole three tiers of rooms numbered forty-five, each of the three stories being divided into fifteen chambers. If we suppose that the chambers were only on three sides like those surrounding the Temple, then six on each side and three at each end would exactly make up the number, and would suit with the dimensions of the house, which was twice as long as it was broad. The whole verse then may be translated ‘And it was covered with cedar above, over the forty and five side-chambers, which were upon the pillars, fifteen in a row.’Verse 3. - And it was covered [or roofed] with cedar above [cf. 6:9, 15] upon the beams [צְלָעות lit., ribs, the word used in 1 Kings 6:5 of the side chambers, and in 1 Kings 6:34 (in the masculine) of the leaves of the doors], that lay on forty-five pillars, fifteen in a row. [Rawlinson, al. are much exercised to reconcile this statement with that of ver. 2, which speaks of four rows, But the explanation is very simple, viz., that the "forty-five, fifteen in a row" does not refer to the pillars but to the side chambers or compartments (A.V., "beams"). The description is so very loose and general that positive statements are out of place, but the meaning certainly appears to be this, that there was a roofing of cedar over the side chambers (which rested upon the pillars mentioned in ver. 2) forty-five in number, fifteen in a row. It is true the Masoretic punctuation is against this view. It is also clear that the LXX. understood the numbers forty-five and fifteen to refer to the pillars, for they have essayed to cut the knot by reading three rows instead of "four rows," in ver. 2. Similarly the Arab. in ver. 3 reads sixty instead of forty-five; obviously another desperate attempt to solve the difficulty by a corruption of the text. But the solution suggested above is so simple and natural that we can hardly be wrong in adopting it. Bahr says positively that forty-five pillars could not have supported a structure 100 cubits by 50 cubits, "nor could the building have been named ' forest of Lebanon' from forty-five scattered pillars." It would follow hence, that there were side chambers only on three sides of the building, as was the case in the temple. And if (as has been inferred from vers. 4, 5) a three-storied structure is here described; if, that is to say, the forty-five chambers were divided fifteen to a tier or story, it is highly probable that they would be distributed six to each long side and three to the rear (Bahr). This arrangement - a court surrounded by a colonnade and galleries - is still found in the East; as all travellers know. And in its favour it may be said that it is such as to have been suggested by the plan of the temple. The ground plan is the same, with this difference, that a courtyard occupies the place of the temple proper.] 2 Chronicles 3:9).
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