The wings of these cherubim spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The wings of these cherubims.—Or, These wings of the cherubim.
Spread themselves forth.—Were outspreading (participle), 1Chronicles 28:18.
And they stood.—Were standing. They were ten cubits high (1Kings 6:26).
Inward.—See margin. Translate, toward the chamber. The cherubs did not face each other like the cherubim on the mercy seat (Exodus 25:20).Exodus 37:9, these of Solomon looked out from the sanctuary into the great chamber ("the house"). The cherubim thus stood upright on either side of the ark, like two sentinels guarding it. Heb. Towards the house, or rather, that house; not the holy house, as divers understand it; for then their backs must have been turned towards the ark, which was indecent, and directly contrary to the posture of Moses’s cherubims, which looked towards it; but the most holy house, which was last named, 1 Chronicles 3:8, and of which he continues yet to speak; this posture being most agreeable to their use, which was with their wings to close in the ark and cover it, as it is expressly affirmed below, 1 Chronicles 5:8. The wings of these cherubim spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. twenty cubits] Extending across the width of the whole house.
on their feet] Not “couchant” nor “rampant” but standing as the winged bulls of Assyria stand.
inward] R.V. towards the house, as though to protect the Holiest Place from violation from anyone advancing through the house.Verse 13. - Their faces were inward; Hebrew, "were to the house," viz. to the holy place. The position of these cherubim, both as to wings and faces, was clearly different from that of those for the tabernacle of Moses. There they "cover the mercy-seat with their wings, and their faces are one to another... toward the mercy-seat were the faces of the cherubim" (Exodus 25:20; Exodus 37:9). May this alteration in the time of Solomon indicate possibly one more advance in the developing outlook of Divine mercy to a whole world? Neither this place nor the parallel makes it certain whether the cherubim, that are here said to stand on their feet, stood on the ground, as some say they did. As regards those of the tabernacle, the prepositions used in Exodus 25:18, 19 and Exodus 37:7, 8 appear to lay stress on their position being a fixture at and on each extremity of the mercy-seat. 1 Chronicles 29:2, on which Bhr on 1 Kings 6:7 appositely remarks, that the ornamenting of the walls with precious stones is very easily credible, since among the things which Solomon brought in quantity from Ophir they are expressly mentioned (1 Kings 10:11), and it was a common custom in the East so to employ them in buildings and in vessels; cf. Symbolik des mos. Cult. i. S. 280, 294, 297. The gold was from פּרוים. This, the name of a place rich in gold, does not elsewhere occur, and has not as yet been satisfactorily explained. Gesen. with Wilson compares the Sanscrit parvam, the first, foremost, and takes it to be the name of the foremost, i.e., eastern regions; others hold the word to be the name of some city in southern or eastern Arabia, whence Indian gold was brought to Palestine. - In 2 Chronicles 3:7 the garnishing of the house with gold is more exactly and completely described. He garnished the house, the beams (of the roof), the thresholds (of the doors), and its walls and its doors with gold, and carved cherubs on the walls. For details as to the internal garnishing, decoration, and gilding of the house, see 1 Kings 6:18, 1 Kings 6:29, and 1 Kings 6:30, and for the doors, 1 Kings 6:32-35.
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