2 Chronicles 3:4
And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
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(4) And the porch . . . twenty cubits.—Heb., and the porch that was before the length (i.e., that lay in front of the oblong main building), before the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits (i.e., the porch was as. long as the house was broad). This curious statement answers to what we read in 1Kings 6:3 : And the porch before the hall of the house, twenty cubits was its length, before the breadth of the house.” But the Hebrew is too singular to pass without challenge, and comparison of the versions suggests that we ought to read here: “And the porch which was before it (Syriac), or before the house (LXX.), its length before the breadth of the house was twenty cubits.” This would involve but slight alteration of the Hebrew text. (Comp. 2Chronicles 3:8.)

And the height was an hundred and twenty. This would make the porch four times the height of the main building, which was thirty cubits. The Alexandrine MS. of the LXX., and the Arabic version, read “twenty cubits;” the Syriac omits the whole clause,, which has no parallel in Kings, and is further suspicious as wanting the word “cubits,” usually expressed after the number (see 2Chronicles 3:3). The Hebrew may be a corruption of the clause, “and its breadth ten cubits.” (Comp. 1Kings 6:3.)

And he overlaid it within with pure gold.—See 1Kings 6:21.

3:1-17 The building of the temple. - There is a more particular account of the building of the temple in #1Ki 6". It must be in the place David had prepared, not only which he had purchased, but which he had fixed on by Divine direction. Full instructions enable us to go about our work with certainty and to proceed therein with comfort. Blessed be God, the Scriptures are enough to render the man of God thoroughly furnished for every good work. Let us search the Scriptures daily, beseeching the Lord to enable us to understand, believe, and obey his word, that our work and our way may be made plain, and that all may be begun, continued, and ended in him. Beholding God, in Christ, his true Temple, more glorious than that of Solomon's, may we become a spiritual house, a habitation of God through the Spirit.The height was an hundred and twenty cubits - This height, which so much exceeds that of the main building 1 Kings 6:2, is probably to be corrected by the reading of the Arabic Version and the Alexandrian Septuagint, "twenty cubits." But see 2 Chronicles 3:9. 4. the porch—The breadth of the house, whose length ran from east to west, is here given as the measure of the length of the piazza. The portico would thus be from thirty to thirty-five feet long, and from fifteen to seventeen and a half feet broad.

the height was an hundred and twenty cubits—This, taking the cubit at eighteen inches, would be one hundred eighty feet; at twenty-one inches, two hundred ten feet; so that the porch would rise in the form of a tower, or two pyramidal towers, whose united height was one hundred twenty cubits, and each of them about ninety or one hundred five feet high [Stieglitz]. This porch would thus be like the propylæum or gateway of the palace of Khorsabad [Layard], or at the temple of Edfou.

The height was an hundred and twenty; this being a kind of turret to the building. The breadth of it here omitted is expressed to be ten cubits, 1 Kings 6:3.

See Chapter Introduction And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the {c} breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an {d} hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.

(c) It contained as much as the breadth of the temple did, 1Ki 6:3.

(d) From the foundation to the top: for in the book of the kings mention is made from the foundation to the first stage.

4 (= 1 Kings 6:3). The Porch

4. And the porch that was in the front of the house] The Hebrew text is faulty, but the sense is probably correctly given in A.V.

the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits] R.V. the length of it, according to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits.

the height was an hundred and twenty] So LXX. If the measurement is correctly given, this building was rather a tower than a porch. In 1 Kings nothing is said about height.

Verse 4. - The porch... an hundred and twenty. The "porch" (אוּלָם, Greek, ὁ πρόναος). It is out of the question that the porch should be of this height in itself. And almost as much out of the question that, if it could be so, this should be the only place to mention it by word or. description. There can be no doubt that the text is here slightly corrupt, and perhaps it is a further indication of this that, while the parallel contains nothing of the height, this place fails (but comp. our ver. 8) to give the breadth ("ten cubits"), which the parallel does give. The words for" hundred" and for "cubit" easily confuse with one another. And our present Hebrew text, מֵאָה וְעִשְׂרִים, read עְמות עְשֵׂרִים, will make good Hebrew syntax, and be in harmony with the Septuagint (Alexandrian), and with the Syriac and Arabic Versions. This gives the height of the porch as 20 cubits, which will be in harmony with the general height of the building, which was 30 cubits. Thus far, then, the plan of the temple is plain. The house is 60 cubits long, i.e. 20 for the holy of holies (דְּבִיר or קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים);40 for the holy place (הֵיכָל); and for breadth 20 cubits. The porch was in length the same as the breadth of the house, viz. 20 cubits, but in breadth it was 10 cubits (1 Kings 6:3) only, while its height was 20 cubits, against a height of 30 cubits for the "house" (1 Kings 6:2). Overlaid it within with pure gold; i.e. covered the planks with gold leaf, or sometimes with plates of gold (Ovid., 'L Epp. ex. Pont,' 1:37, 38, 41, 42; Herod., 1:98; Polyb., 10:27. § 10). The appreciation, as well as bare knowledge, of gold belonged to a very early date (Genesis 2:12). The days when it was used in ring or lump (though not in coin) for sign of wealth and for purposes of exchange, and also for ornament (Genesis 13:2; Genesis 24:22; Genesis 42:21), indicate how early were the beginnings of metallurgy as regards it, though much more developed afterwards (Judges 17:4; Proverbs 17:3; Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 46:9); and show it in the time of David and Solomon no rare art, even though foreign workmen, for obvious reasons, were the most skilful workers with it. There are four verbs used to express the idea of overlaying, viz.

(a) חָפָה, in hiph. This occurs only in this chapter, vers. 5, 7, 8, 9; but in niph. Psalm 68:13 may be compared.

(b) עָלָה in hiph. This occurs in the present sense, though not necessarily staying very closely by it; in 2 Chronicles 9:15, 16, and its parallel (1 Kings 10:16, 17); and perhaps in 2 Samuel 1:24. The meaning of the word, however, is evidently so generic that it scarcely postulates the rendering "overlay."

(c) צָפָה in piel. This occurs in our present verse, as also in a multitude of other places in Chronicles, Kings, Samuel, and Exodus. The radical idea of the verb (kal) is "to be bright."

(d) רָדַך in hiph. This occurs only once (1 Kings 6:32). No one of these verbs in itself bespeaks certainly of which or what kind the overlaying might be, unless it be the last, the analogy of which certainly points to the sense of a thin spreading. 2 Chronicles 3:4The porch and the interior of the holy place. - 2 Chronicles 3:4. The porch which was before (i.e., in front of) the length (of the house), was twenty cubits before the breadth of the house, i.e., was as broad as the house. So understood, the words give an intelligible sense. הארך with the article refers back to הארך in 2 Chronicles 3:3 (the length of the house), and על־פּני in the two defining clauses means "in front;" but in the first clause it is "lying in front of the house," i.e., built in front; in the second it is "measured across the front of the breadth of the house."

(Note: There is consequently no need to alter the text according to 1 Kings 6:3, from which passage Berth. would interpolate the words פּניו על רחבּו בּאמּה ר עשׂר הבּית between על־פּני and הארך, and thereby get the signification: "and the porch which is before the house, ten cubits is its breadth before the same, and the length which is before the breadth twenty cubits." But this conjecture is neither necessary nor probable. It is not necessary, for (1) the present text gives an intelligible sense; (2) the assertion that the length and breadth of the porch must be stated cannot be justified, if for no other reason, for this, that even of the main buildings all three dimensions are not given, only two being stated, and that it was not the purpose of the author of the Chronicle to give an architecturally complete statement, his main anxiety being to supply a general idea of the splendour of the temple. It is not probable; because the chronicler, if he had followed 1 Kings 6:3, would not have written על־פּניו, but הבּית על־פּני, and instead of הארך would have written וערכּי, to correspond with רחבּו.)

There is certainly either a corruption of the text, or a wrong number in the statement of the height of the porch, 120 cubits; for a front 120 cubits high to a house only thirty cubits high could not be called אוּלם; it would have been a מגדּל, a tower. It cannot with certainty be determined whether we should read twenty or thirty cubits; see in 1 Kings 6:3. He overlaid it (the porch) with pure gold; cf. 1 Kings 6:21.

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