Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)(a) THE PRINCIPAL VESSELS OF THE TEMPLE (2Chronicles 4:1-10).
THE BRAZEN ALTAR (2Chronicles 4:1).
(l) An altar of brass.—The brazen altar, or altar of burnt offering, made by Solomon, is not noticed in the parallel chapters of Kings (1 Kings 6, 7) which describe the construction of the temple and its vessels of service, but it is incidentally mentioned in another passage of the older work (1Kings 9:25), and its existence seems to be implied in 1Kings 8:22; 1Kings 8:64. This altar stood in the inner court of the temple. It rose from a terraced platform. (Comp. Ezekiel 43:13-17.) The Hebrew of this verse is such as to suggest that it must have existed in the original document. The style is the same. (Comp. the construction of the numerals with the noun, and note the word qômāh, “height,” now used for the first time by the chronicler.) It would appear, therefore, that the verse has been accidentally omitted from the text of Kings.
THE BRAZEN SEA (2Chronicles 4:2-5).
(Comp. 1Kings 7:23-26.)
(2) Also he made a molten sea.—And he made the sea (i.e., the great basin) molten—i.e., of cast metal.
Of ten cubits . . . thereof.—Ten in the cubit from its lip to its lip, circular all round; and five in the cubit was its height. Word for word as in 1Kings 7:23, save that Kings has one different preposition (‘ad, “unto,” instead of ‘el, “to”). “Lip.” Comp. “lip of the sea,” Genesis 22:17; “lip of the Jordan,” 2Kings 2:13; a metaphor which is also used in Greek.
And a line of thirty cubits . . .—Line, i.e., measuring-line, as in Ezekiel 47:3. The Hebrew is qāw. In Kings we read a rare form, qāwèh. The rest of the clause is the same in both texts.
Did compass.—Would compass, or go round it.A.M. 2992. — B.C. 1012.
The brazen altar, sea, and lavers, 2 Chronicles 4:1-6. The golden candlesticks and tables, 2 Chronicles 4:7, 2 Chronicles 4:8. The doors overlaid with brass, the vessels of the altar, and other brass work, 2 Chronicles 4:9-18. The golden altar of incense, with its appurtenances, 2 Chronicles 4:19-22.
NOTES ON CHAPTER 4.
2 Chronicles 4:1-2. Ten cubits the height thereof — This was too high for the priests to lay the victims on it, without going up some kind of ascent; but as it was expressly commanded (Exodus 20:26) that they should not go up by steps unto God’s altar; they doubtless ascended in some other way. Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits — This and the following verses are explained 1 Kings 7:23, &c.
2 Chronicles 4:7. According to their form — The old form which God proscribed to Moses, Exodus 25:31, &c. And this seems to be mentioned here, because in many other things there was a great variation from the old form; as in the posture of the cherubim, the height of the altar, and divers other things.
2 Chronicles 4:8. He made also ten tables — Whereon the show-bread was set, 2 Chronicles 4:19. Perhaps each of these had twelve loaves on it. As the house was enlarged, so was the provision.
2 Chronicles 4:16. Huram his father — He is so called, because Solomon, it seems, usually called him by that name, out of that great respect which he bare to him for his excellent art, and the service which he did for him; it being usual to call great artists and inventors of things by this name. See Genesis 4:20-21.
2 Chronicles 4:20-22. That they should burn after the manner — According to the prescription of God to them by Moses. The doors of the house were of gold — To wit, in part. For they were not entirely of massy gold, but wood covered with plates of gold, 1 Kings 6:31-35, and 2 Kings 18:16. 2 Chronicles 6:12-13.
2Ch 4:1. Altar of Brass.
1. he made an altar of brass—Steps must have been necessary for ascending so elevated an altar, but the use of these could be no longer forbidden (Ex 20:26) after the introduction of an official costume for the priests (Ex 28:42). It measured thirty-five feet by thirty-five, and in height seventeen and a half feet. The thickness of the metal used for this altar is nowhere given; but supposing it to have been three inches, the whole weight of the metal would not be under two hundred tons [Napier].The altar of brass, 2 Chronicles 4:1. The molten sea upon twelve oxen, 2 Chronicles 4:2-5. The ten lavers, candlesticks, and tables, 2 Chronicles 4:6-8. The courts, and the instruments of brass, 2 Chronicles 4:9-18. The instruments of gold, 2 Chronicles 4:19-22.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Chronicles 4:1. The Altar of Brass
1. twenty cubits] The measurements of the altar belonging to Solomon’s Temple are not given in 1 Kings; but in Exodus 38:1 the altar made in the wilderness is described as measuring five cubits by five cubits, and in height three cubits. An altar three cubits high could perhaps be served from the ground, but one of ten cubits would require steps, which are forbidden in Exodus 20:26. In Ezekiel 43:17, however, it is assumed that the altar must have steps and a position is assigned them on the East, so that the priest ascending them faces the direction of the Holy of Holies which was on the West.Verse 1. - An altar of brass. This in worthier material superseded the temporary altar of the tabernacle (Exodus 27:1, 2), made of shittim wood, and its dimensions five cubits long and broad and three cubits high. Large as was the present altar of brass as compared with the altar that preceded, it fell far short of the requirements of the grand day of dedication (1 Kings 8:64). No statement of the making of this altar occurs in the parallel. The place of it would be between vers. 22 and 23 of 1 Kings 7. But that Solomon made it is stated in 1 Kings 9:25, and other references to its presence are found in 1 Kings 8:22, 54, 64, etc. The position given to the altar is referred to alike in 1 Kings 8:22 and 2 Chronicles 6:12, 13, as in the court of the temple. It may be well to note that the altar, sacrifice, comes first, and is first spoken of. 2 Chronicles 3:11, 2 Chronicles 3:12) has a distributive force: the top of one wing of each cherub reached the wall of the house, that of the other wing reached the wing of the other cherub standing by. In the repetition the masc. מגּיע alternates with the fem. מגּעת, being construed in a freer way as the principal gender with the fem. כּנף, and also with דּבקה, adhaerebat, in the last clause. - In 2 Chronicles 3:12 Bertheau would strike out the word כּנפי because it does not suit פּרשׂים, which occurs in 1 Chronicles 28:17; 2 Chronicles 5:8; 1 Kings 8:7, in the transitive signification, "to stretch out the wings." But nothing is gained by that, for we must then supply the erased word after פּרשׂים again. And, moreover, the succeeding clause is introduced by והם, just because in the first clause the wings, and not the cherubim, were the subject. We hold the text to be correct, and translate: "the wings of these cherubim were, for they stretched them out, twenty cubits." והם refers to הכּרוּבים. They stood upon their feet, consequently upright, and were, according to 1 Kings 6:26, ten cubits high. "And their faces towards the house," i.e., turned towards the holy place, not having their faces turned towards each other, as was the case with the cherubim upon the Capporeth (Exodus 25:20).
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