1 Kings 7:31
And the mouth of it within the capital and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also on the mouth of it were engravings with their borders, foursquare, not round.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) And the mouth.—This is most obscure, and in our version unintelligible. Keil renders it: “And the mouth of it (the laver) was within the chapiter, and in a cubit above it; and the mouth of it (the chapiter) was round, after the manner of pedestal, a cubit and a half; and upon the mouth was carved work, and the panels of it (the mouth) were square, not round.” But the rendering of the word “mouth,” now for the laver, now for the chapiter, is arbitrary, and the whole is still obscure. As the circular stand (or chapiter) was half a cubit deep, it looks as if the lower surface of the laver was a cubit above the “mouth.” If the laver were emptied by a cock near the bottom, this circular stand may have received the drippings. And as the top of this base would be square on plan, and the stand circular, there would be, of course, spaces left at each corner, which may possibly be the engraved “panels” referred to.

1 Kings 7:31. The mouth of it — So he calls that part in the top of the base which was left hollow, that the foot of the laver might be let into it. Within the chapiter — Within the little base, which he calls the chapiter, because it rose up from, and stood above the great base. And above — Above the chapiter; for the mouth went up and grew wider like a funnel. Was a cubit — In height, (1 Kings 7:35,) whereof half a cubit was above the chapiter or little base, and the other half below it. A cubit and half — In compass. Four-square — So the innermost part, called the mouth, was round, but the outward part was square, as when a circle is made within a quadrangle.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.It seems impossible to determine what is meant by the "mouth" of the laver, or what by its "chapiter." 27-39. he made ten bases of brass—These were trucks or four-wheeled carriages, for the support and conveyance of the lavers. The description of their structure shows that they were elegantly fitted up and skilfully adapted to their purpose. They stood, not on the axles, but on four rests attached to the axles, so that the figured sides were considerably raised above the wheels. They were all exactly alike in form and size. The lavers which were borne upon them were vessels capable each of holding three hundred gallons of water, upwards of a ton weight. The whole, when full of water, would be no less than two tons [Napier]. The mouth of it; so he calls that part in the top of the base which was left hollow, that the foot of the laver might be let into it, and fastened in it.

Within the chapiter, i.e. within the little base, which he calls the chapiter, because it rose up from and stood above the great base, as the head doth above the rest of the body.

And above; above the chapiter; for the mouth went up and grew wider, like a funnel.

Was a cubit; either in breadth; or rather in height, 1 Kings 7:35; whereof half a cubit was above the chapiter or little base, as is said, 1 Kings 7:35, and the other half is here implied to be within it, and below it.

A cubit and a half, to wit, in compass.

Four-square, not round; so the innermost part, called the mouth, was round, but the outward part was square, as when a circle is made within a quadrangle. And the mouth of it within the chapiter, and above, was a cubit,.... On the lid of the base rose up a lesser base, called the chapiter, which was circular, like a coronet, as the word signifies, the inside of which was hollow, for the lower part of the layer to rest in; this ascended straight up half a cubit, and then widening, went up half a cubit more, and so in its whole height, as here a cubit; the circuit or circumference of which is called the mouth of the base, into which the feet of the layer were set, the measure of which is next given:

but the mouth thereof was round, after the work of the base, a cubit and an half; which was either the circumference or the diameter of it; one should think the latter:

and also upon the mouth of it were gravings, with their borders, four square, not round; though the mouth was round, the border of it was four square, which had figures engraved thereon, perhaps the same as on the other borders, lions, oxen, and cherubim.

And the {q} mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round.

(q) The mouth of the great base or frame entered into the chapiter, or pillar that bore up the cauldron.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. And the mouth of it] Here the pronoun must, I think, be referred, as in ‘corners (feet) thereof’ of 1 Kings 7:30, to the base. The bases appear to have had a circular orifice in the top, which is here called the mouth. This opening was, as it seems, surmounted and surrounded by a capital, which itself had an opening to receive the lowest part of the laver. The height of the capital above the level surface of the top of the base appears not to be specified unless the half cubit of 1 Kings 7:35 be taken to refer to the capital. One cubit was the diameter of the orifice in the top of the base.

but the mouth thereof] Better, ‘And’ &c. The pronoun here by a difference of gender in the original is shewn to refer to a different noun. This can only be the ‘chapiter.’ That superstructure widened out towards the top, and the round opening in top of it, to receive the bottom of the laver, is what is meant by the second ‘mouth.’

after the work of the base] Better, as the word is the same which was so rendered in 1 Kings 7:29, after the work of a pedestal. It was in this way that the chapiter served as a support to the laver. This chapiter had graved work all round about its upper edge, which may be fitly called ‘mouth’ as it was meant to receive the laver.

with their borders, foursquare, not round] Better, And their borders were foursquare, not round. It is better to render as literally as possible for it is very doubtful whether these words have reference at all to the chapiter. They seem to be a recurrence to the description of those borders (or panels) spoken of in 1 Kings 7:28-29. In that case the pronoun ‘their’ in this clause would refer to the bases. This is the more probable because the ‘borders’ of the next verse are certainly those panels on the sides of the bases.Verse 31. - And the mouth of it [Heb. his mouth. I incline, with Keil, to think the mouth of the laver just mentioned (כִּיֹר masc.) is referred to rather than the stand (Thenius), which would require a fern. suffix] within the chapiter [By this we are, perhaps, to understand a round ornament, resembling the capital of a pillar, which stood in the centre of the dome-shaped covering (see ver. 35) of the stand, and on which the laver rested (so Keil, Bahr). Rawlinson says, "No commentator has given a satisfactory explanation of this passage "]: and above [Heb. upwards] was a cubit [i.e., the neck or foot of the laver measured uniformly one cubit, in width apparently]: but the mouth [Heb. and her mouth, fern. This last mentioned mouth is probably the mouth of the capital (fern.) The neck or mouth of the laver would appear to have been fitted into the mouth of the crown-shaped pedestal] was round after the work of the base [Heb. stand work, כֵּן here fixes the meaning of the word in ver. 29, i.e., it decides it to be the substantive (Keil, after Chald.), not the adverb (as Thenius, Bahr, al.) a cubit and a half [so that the first mouth would fit easily into the second], and also upon the mouth of it [Heb. her mouth, that of the capital, which was external. The mouth of the laver was partially concealed] were gravings [Keil understands this of the carving of the stand already mentioned, ver. 29. But a mouth is mentioned, which the square stand lacked. Besides the word "also" points to additional carvings. I understand the chapiter which formed the mouth of the stand to be meant] with [Heb. and] their borders, foursquare, not round. [i.e., the capital had panels like the stand, and the former, like those of the latter, were square.] This vessel stood (rested) upon twelve brazen oxen, three turning to the north, three to the west, three to the south, and three to the east, "and the sea above upon them, and all their backs (turned) inwards;" i.e., they were so placed that three of their heads were directed towards each quarter of the heavens. The size of the oxen is not given; but we must assume that it was in proportion to the size and height of the sea, and therefore about five cubits in height up to the back. These figures stood, no doubt, upon a metal plate, which gave them a fixed and immoveable position (see the engraving in my bibl. Archol. Taf. iii. fig. 1).
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