1 Kings 7:46
In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.
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(46) In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them.—The casting was done in the Jordan valley. Succoth is on the east side of Jordan, in the territory of Gad (see Genesis 33:17; Joshua 13:27; Judges 8:5)—the place of the halt of Jacob on his way from Padan-aram, and of the insult offered to Gideon and his revenge. Zarthan, or Zaretan (Joshua 3:16), is on the western side, in the territory of Manasseh, not far from Bethshan, and nearly opposite Succoth.

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.Succoth and Zarthan - See Judges 7:22; Judges 8:5, note. 46. In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them—Zarthan, or Zaretan (Jos 3:16), or Zartanah (1Ki 4:12), or Zeredathah (2Ch 4:17), was on the bank of the Jordan in the territories of western Manasseh. Succoth was situated on the eastern side of Jordan, at the ford of the river near the mouth of the Jabbok. One reason assigned by commentators for the castings being made there is, that at such a distance from Jerusalem that city would not be annoyed by the smoke and noxious vapors necessarily occasioned by the process. [Note in Bagster's Bible.] But the true reason is to be found in the nature of the soil; Margin, "the thickness of the ground." That part of the Jordan valley abounds with marl. Clay and sand are the moulding material still used for bronze. Such large quantities of metal as one of these castings would contain could not be fused in one furnace, but would require a series of furnaces, especially for such a casting as the brazen sea—the whole series of furnaces being filled with metal, and fused at one time, and all tapped together, and the metal let run into the mould. Thus a national foundry was erected in the plain of Jordan [Napier]. In the clay ground, or, in thick clay; fat, and tough, and tenacious, and therefore fittest to make moulds of all sorts, into which the melted brass was to be poured.

In the plain of Jericho did the king cast them in the clay ground,.... Which being thick, as the word signifies, and stiff and close, was fit for such a purpose as casting brass; of such clay, furnaces of earth used to be made to melt metals in; but here were large things to be cast, as the two pillars, the sea, the ten lavers, &c. moulds were made in the ground, and so the melted brass was poured into them, which gave it its different forms; this, no doubt, was done by Hiram, though said to be done by the king, because done by his orders: the place where it was done was a part of the plain of Jericho, which lay

between Succoth and Zarthan; Succoth was in the tribe of Gad, on the other side Jordan; Zarthan was near it on this side, in the tribe of Manasseh, the same that is called Zartanah, 1 Kings 4:12 and Zaretan, Joshua 3:16 and Zeredathah, 2 Chronicles 4:17. The first casters of brass are said (h) to be Theodorus and Rhaecus, both Samians.

(h) Pausau. Arcadica, sive, l. 8. p. 479. & Boeotica, sive, l. 9. p. 607.

In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.
46. in the clay ground] As the margin of A.V. explains, the literal rendering is ‘in the thickness of the ground.’ The Hebrews had a paucity of adjectives and were obliged to express in such wise what we mean by ‘stiff ground’ and which is excellently rendered by the English version.

between Succoth and Zarthan] The last word should be written Zarethan. See Joshua 3:16. That both Succoth and Zarethan were in the circle, or district, of Jordan we can see both from that passage and this, but their precise position is unknown. Succoth was allotted to the tribe of Gad (Joshua 13:27) which seems to prove that it was on the east side of the Jordan, so Zarethan from their connexion in this verse was probably on that side too. In 2 Chronicles 4:17 Zaredathah is the name given instead of Zarethan, and that name has been thought by some to be a modified form of Zeredah (1 Kings 11:26) the birthplace of Jeroboam son of Nebat. According to the Septuagint additions to the story of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:24-25) Zeredah was a strong place in Mt. Ephraim, but of this we cannot be sure. It would however in that case be on the west of Jordan, and it seems a singular manner of speech to describe the foundries of Hiram as between a place on the east of the Jordan and another on the west.

Verse 46. - In the plain [Heb. Ciccar, i.e., circle or circuit, the word used only of the Ghor or Jordan valley. This tract is called "The Ciccar" Genesis 13:11, 19:17, etc. See Stanley, "Sinai and Palestine," App., § 12] of Jordan [in the Heb. this river ("the descender") always takes the art.] did the king cast them, in the clay ground [Heb. as marg. in the thickness of the ground. Whether the soil was made thick by stamping (Keil) it is impossible to say. It looks as if this site had been chosen because the soil was suitable] between Succoth [Genesis 33:17. It appears from Judges 8:5 that it lay east of the Jordan (cf. Joshua 13:27, where it allotted to the tribe of Gad); "and indeed it has been recovered, under its later name Tarala, at Tell Dar'ala, northeast of the Damieh ford" (Condor, p. 229). As Zarthan was almost certainly west of the Jordan, and as the casting - from the nature of the country - must as certainly have been done to the west of the river it is somewhat surprising to find a trans-Jordanie town mentioned as one of the landmarks defining the site. It is possible that there was a western Succoth - a place named Sakut was discovered by Robinson and Van de velde, a few miles south of Bethshean; but this name is radically different (Conder). It is, therefore, more probable that, being near the ford of the river this place was so well known that it would serve better than any of the less familiar western towns to identify the site of the foundry] and Zarthan. [See note on 1 Kings 4:12.] 1 Kings 7:46"In the Jordan valley he cast them - in thickened earth between Succoth and Zarthan," where the ground, according to Burckhardt, Syr. ii. p. 593, is marly throughout. האדמה בּמעבה, "by thickening of the earth," the forms being made in the ground by stamping together the clayey soil. Succoth was on the other side of the Jordan, - not, however, at the ford near Bethsean (Thenius), but on the south side of the Jabbok (see at Judges 8:5 and Genesis 33:17). Zarthan or Zereda was in the Jordan valley on this side, probably at Kurn Sartabeh (see at Judges 7:22 and Joshua 3:16). The casting-place must have been on this side of the Jordan, as the (eastern) bank on the other side has scarcely any level ground at all. The circumstance that a place on the other side is mentioned in connection with one on this side, may be explained from the fact that the two places were obliquely opposite to one another, and in the valley on this side there was no large place in the neighbourhood above Zarthan which could be appropriately introduced to define the site of the casting-place.
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