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. The answer of King Hiram; cf. 1 Kings 5:7-11. - Hiram answered בּכתב, in a writing, a letter, which he sent to Solomon. In 1 Kings 5:7 Hiram first expresses his joy at Solomon's request, because it was of importance to him to be on a friendly footing with the king of Israel. In the Chronicle his writing begins with the congratulation: because Jahve loveth His people, hath He made thee king over them. Cf. for the expression, 2 Chronicles 9:8 and 1 Kings 10:9. He then, according to both narratives, praises God that He has given David so wise a son. ויּאמר, 2 Chronicles 2:12, means: then he said further. The praise of God is heightened in the Chronicle by Hiram's entering into Solomon's religious ideas, calling Jahve the Creator of heaven and earth. Then, further, חכם בּן is strengthened by וּבינה שׂכל יודע, having understanding and discernment; and this predicate is specially referred to Solomon's resolve to build a temple to the Lord. Then in 2 Chronicles 2:13. he promises to send Solomon the artificer Huram-Abi. On the title אבי, my father, i.e., minister, counsellor, and the descent of this man, cf. the commentary on 1 Kings 7:13-14. In 2 Chronicles 2:14 of the Chronicle his artistic skill is described in terms coinciding with Solomon's wish in 2 Chronicles 2:6, only heightened by small additions. To the metals as materials in which he could work, there are added stone and wood work, and to the woven fabrics בּוּץ (byssus), the later word for שׁשׁ; and finally, to exhaust the whole, he is said to be able כּל־מח ולחשׁב, to devise all manner of devices which shall be put to him, as in Exodus 31:4, he being thus raised to the level of Bezaleel, the chief artificer of the tabernacle. עם־חכמיך is dependent upon לעשׂות, as in 2 Chronicles 2:6. The promise to send cedars and cypresses is for the sake of brevity here omitted, and only indirectly indicated in 2 Chronicles 2:16. In 2 Chronicles 2:15, however, it is mentioned that Hiram accepted the promised supply of grain, wine, and oil for the labourers; and 2 Chronicles 2:16 closes with the promise to fell the wood required in Lebanon, and to cause it to be sent in floats to Joppa (Jaffa), whence Solomon could take it up to Jerusalem. The word צרך, "need," is a ἅπαξ λεγ. in the Old Testament, but is very common in Aramaic writings. רפסדות, "floats," too, occurs only here instead of דּבבות, 1 Kings 5:9, and its etymology is unknown. If we compare 1 Kings 5:13-16 with the parallel account in 1 Kings 5:8-11, we find that, besides Hiram's somewhat verbose promise to fell the desired quantity of cedars and cypresses on Lebanon, and to send them in floats by sea to the place appointed by Solomon, the latter contains a request from Hiram that Solomon would give him לחם, maintenance for his house, and a concluding remark that Hiram sent Solomon cedar wood, while Solomon gave Hiram, year by year, 20,000 kor of wheat as food for his house, i.e., the royal household, and twenty kor beaten oil, that is, of the finest oil. In the book of Kings, therefore, the promised wages of grain, wine, and oil, which were sent to the Tyrian woodcutters, is passed over, and only the quantity of wheat and finest oil which Solomon gave to the Tyrian king for his household, year by year, in return for the timber sent, is mentioned. In the Chronicle, on the contrary, only the wages or payment to the woodcutters is mentioned, and the return made for the building timber is not spoken of; but there is no reason for bringing these two passages, which treat of different things, into harmony by alterations of the text. For further discussion of this and of the measures, see on 1 Kings 5:11.
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