2 Chronicles 4:1
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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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) molteni.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.


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.

4:1-22 The furniture of the temple. - Here is a further account of the furniture of God's house. Both without doors and within, there was that which typified the grace of the gospel, and shadowed out good things to come, of which the substance is Christ. There was the brazen altar. The making of this was not mentioned in the book of Kings. On this all the sacrifices were offered, and it sanctified the gift. The people who worshipped in the courts might see the sacrifices burned. They might thus be led to consider the great Sacrifice, to be offered in the fulness of time, to take away sin, and put an end to death, which the blood of bulls and goats could not possibly do. And, with the smoke of the sacrifices, their hearts might ascend to heaven, in holy desires towards God and his favour. In all our devotions we must keep the eye of faith fixed upon Christ. The furniture of the temple, compared with that of the tabernacle, showed that God's church would be enlarged, and his worshippers multiplied. Blessed be God, there is enough in Christ for all.The supplementary character of Chronicles is here once more apparent. The author of Kings had omitted to record the dimensions of the brass altar. It stood in the great court 2 Chronicles 6:12-13. CHAPTER 4

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.

Quest. How could this be, when God had said, Thou shalt not go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon, Exodus 20:26, and steps were necessary for so high an altar as this was?

Answ. 1. These steps were so made that there was no fear of this inconvenience.

2. That law was useful and fit when it was made; but afterwards, when the priests were commanded to wear linen breeches in their holy ministrations to cover their nakedness, Exodus 28:42, it was not necessary.

3. Howsoever God could undoubtedly dispense with his own law, as here he did; for he it was that gave these dimensions for the altar.

See Introduction to Chapter 4 Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.
Ch. 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 4:12 Chronicles 4:1-6. The copper furniture of the court. 2 Chronicles 4:1. The altar of burnt-offering. Its preparation is passed over in 1 Kings 6 and 7, so that there it is only mentioned incidentally in connection with the consecration of the temple, 1 Kings 8:22, 1 Kings 8:54, and 1 Kings 9:25. It was twenty cubits square (long and broad) and ten cubits high, and constructed on the model of the Mosaic altar of burnt-offering, and probably of brass plates, which enclosed the inner core, consisting of earth and unhewn stones; and if we may judge from Ezekiel's description, Ezekiel 43:13-17, it rose in steps, as it were, so that at each step its extent was smaller; and the measurement of twenty cubits refers only to the lowest scale, while the space at the top, with the hearth, was only twelve cubits square; cf. my Bibl. Archaeol. i. S. 127, with the figure, plate iii. fig. 2.
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