Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.Ch. 1 Kings 7:1-12. The building of Solomon’s own house, the house of the forest of Lebanon, and the house for Pharaoh’s daughter (Not in Chronicles)
1. his own house] This includes all the buildings described in 1 Kings 7:1-12. The LXX. transfers all this section 1–12 to the end of the chapter. In Chronicles, though Solomon’s own house is alluded to (2 Chronicles 7:11; 2 Chronicles 8:1), there is no description of it.
thirteen years] The longer time occupied by this building, in comparison with the seven years and a half spent on the Temple, is accounted for by the greater extent of this latter work. The Temple was comparatively a small edifice, and for it years of preparation had preceded the actual work of the building.
and he finished] i.e. At the end of twenty years and rather more. See 1 Kings 9:10.
He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.2. He built also] Better, For he built, as R.V. The verses that follow are not describing an addition to the work mentioned in 1 Kings 7:1, but only explaining the various parts thereof.
the house of the forest of Lebanon] This building which is mentioned again in 1 Kings 10:17 and 2 Chronicles 9:16 appears, from those passages, to have been Solomon’s armoury. The multitude of pillars, which was the marked feature of the lower floor, made it admirably suited for the hanging of shields and targets. Its name was probably given because the wood of its pillars came from Lebanon, and when these were in position they looked like the trunks of forest trees.
upon four rows of cedar pillars] The number of the pillars is not given, but they must have been both very numerous and very substantial to support the three tiers of building which stood above them. It appears that the house had an external wall, and then rows of cedar pillars, four deep, stood round about, within the enclosure, to support the cedar beams which made the first floor of the chambers that ran along the sides. The cedar beams were no doubt let into the external wall as well as supported on the pillars.
And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.3. And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams] The word here rendered ‘beams’ is the same which has been rendered ‘side-chambers’ in 1 Kings 6:5. In two descriptions which are so closely related as that chapter and this, it is difficult to suppose that the word has a different sense in the two places. And we have here an account of a series of side-chambers which ran all round the inside walls of this house of the forest of Lebanon, as the others did round the outside wall of the Temple. Taking the word as = ‘side-chambers,’ the text says that they were supported upon the pillars already mentioned in 1 Kings 7:2, and then adds that these chambers were forty-five in number, fifteen in a row. This seems to mean that the whole three tiers of rooms numbered forty-five, each of the three stories being divided into fifteen chambers. If we suppose that the chambers were only on three sides like those surrounding the Temple, then six on each side and three at each end would exactly make up the number, and would suit with the dimensions of the house, which was twice as long as it was broad. The whole verse then may be translated ‘And it was covered with cedar above, over the forty and five side-chambers, which were upon the pillars, fifteen in a row.’
And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.4. And there were windows in three rows] This is not the usual word for ‘windows,’ but is that which in 1 Kings 6:4 describes the sloping woodwork, or lattice, used in the windows of the Temple. From its use in the two descriptions it may be supposed to indicate the like work here as there, and so ‘windows’ is no inappropriate rendering, as it can be understood from the former passage. The R.V. gives prospects to avoid the commoner word, and puts ‘beams’ in the margin. ‘Window-spaces’ would perhaps give the best idea of what appears to be meant, which is some wooden framework fitted into those walls which looked into the interior court.
and light was against light in three ranks] This means that the windows in every one of the three stories were exactly over each other. There is a very slight difference in the Hebrew of the final clause of the next verse, but the sense is exactly the same.
And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks.5. And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows] It is not easy to say how the last word of the Hebrew should be rendered. It is akin to that rendered ‘windows’ by the A.V. in 1 Kings 7:4. Hence a like meaning has been assigned to it here. But there is nothing in the original to represent ‘with the.’ The R.V. used prospects in the previous verse, and so gives here were square in prospects, adding in the margin ‘were made square with beams.’ Taking these ‘beams’ to signify, as before, the ‘framework’ of the doorways, the sense would be ‘were set square in the framework,’ i.e. of the doorways.
And he made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof thirty cubits: and the porch was before them: and the other pillars and the thick beam were before them.6. And he made a (R.V. the) porch of pillars] This would seem to have been a separate building not connected with the house of the forest. In the same manner the porch for the throne in the next verse was unconnected with any other building. What was the purpose of the porch of pillars is not stated.
and the porch was before them] It is better to make this clause dependent on the first verb. Thus ‘he made the porch of pillars … and a porch before them,’ i.e. before the pillars.
and the other pillars and the thick beam were before them] The word translated ‘thick beam’ seems most likely to have been a threshold or step work by which the porch was entered. The twice repeated ‘before them’ must refer to the same thing, viz. to the pillars of the first named porch, of which they formed the striking feature. So the sense of the verse would be ‘he made the porch of pillars and in front of them also another porch with its pillars and a staircase or set of steps to approach it by.’
Then he made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other.7. Then he made a porch for the throne] Better (with R.V.) ‘And he made the porch of the throne.’ As the pillars were the distinction of the former porch, so was the throne of this. On kings sitting in public to hear causes and give judgment, cf. 1 Kings 22:10; Psalm 122:5.
and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other] Literally ‘from floor to floor.’ What is meant is that this was not an unenclosed porch like ‘the porch of pillars’ mentioned previously, but that it was enclosed with cedar wood walls all round from the floor to the ceiling. If this can be the sense of the word ‘floor’ in the second case, we must suppose the roof of the porch to be regarded as the floor of some upper room above it. But the word ‘floor’ קרקע is not very unlike קורות ‘beams’ and so some have suspected the scribe of having written the former instead of the latter in the second place. This would make all easy, but the other explanation is quite possible, and is accepted by Gesenius, though De Wette translates as in A.V.
And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch.8. And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work] It is better to leave out the italics of A V. and translate ‘And his house where he might dwell, the other court within the porch, was of the like work.’ The description has apparently been carrying us, from the front of the house of the forest, regularly more and more inward. Now we are brought to a court behind the previously mentioned porch, and in this court stood the king’s own dwelling house. It is noteworthy how little description is given to this or to the house for Pharaoh’s daughter. This probably comes to pass because the public were never admitted to these quarters.
Pharaoh’s daughter] Cf. 1 Kings 3:1. The house for her probably joined the king’s residence. Josephus (Ant. viii. 5. 2) tells us that it was united with the porch of the throne, but his description is so vague that little reliance can be placed on it, and little help derived from it. The women’s apartments, as usual in the East, were removed as far from public view as possible.
All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside toward the great court.9. All these] i.e. The whole of the buildings described in the previous verses.
according to the measures of hewed stones] Better not to be taken as in construction, but with R.V. even hewn stones according to measure. The word is literally ‘according to measures,’ and this the R.V. explains on the margin as ‘after divers measures.’ But this is what is meant by their text.
within and without] Though the inside face of the walls was to be covered with cedar, and so put out of sight, the same care was taken with the dressing of that part of the stone work, as with all that was to remain uncovered.
toward the great court] Better, unto. What appears to be meant in the verse is a strong expression of the excellency of the stone work. This is said to have been of the same character from the base to the coping of all the walls, and then is added, that it was the same from the front part of the buildings to the back. The front part, which was the house of the forest, is not mentioned, but it said that the good work extended unto the great court, which lay farthest back of all the buildings.
And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.10. And the foundation] Even that work which was to be buried out of sight was of the same quality.
ten cubits … eight cubits] Probably we have here the greatest dimension, the length. We are left to imagine the breadth and thickness which would be proportional in stones of 15 feet and 12 feet long.
And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewed stones, and cedars.11. And above] i.e. The courses which lay upon the foundations.
after the measures of hewed stones] Render (as in 9) hewn stone according to measure.
and cedars] The noun is singular. It refers not to any beams that formed part of the wall, but to the cedar facings with which the interior stone work in many places was covered. R.V. cedar-wood.
And the great court round about was with three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the LORD, and for the porch of the house.12. And the great court round about] The words are the same as in 1 Kings 6:36. The great court was the hindmost part of all the palace grounds, and was apparently higher than the level of the front part. The way in which it was enclosed was by a low wall (sunk fence) as was done for the inner-court of the Temple.
both for the inner court of the house of the Lord] The conjunction with which this sentence begins is the usual copulative. But the sense should be ‘like as the inner court, &c.’ (Cf. 1 Kings 6:34.) Hence some have conjectured כ = as, instead of ו = and or both. The R.V. has given the true sense in the text ‘like as the inner court of the house of the Lord, and the porch of the house,’ and has put the literal translation on the margin. There is no great difficulty in gathering the former sense from the latter. We have only to take the construction to be ‘and thus was it done for the inner court &c.… and for.’
the porch of the house] Probably the porch intended is that spoken of in 1 Kings 6:3. ‘The house’ without any defining words can only be taken of the Temple; so that we cannot understand any porch in Solomon’s own house.
And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.13–22. Hiram a Tyrian worker in brass casts the pillars Jachin and Boaz (2 Chronicles 2:4; 2 Chronicles 3:15-17)
13. sent and fet] ‘Fet’ is the old English past tense of the verb ‘fetch,’ and occurs several times in the version of 1611 (e.g. Genesis 18:7) but the more modern form has been introduced into our Bibles since 1750.
Hiram out of Tyre] The name of this workman is spelt Huram in 2 Chronicles 4:11. He was highly esteemed by the Tyrian king who in 2 Chronicles 2:13 calls him ‘Huram my father,’ and in a later verse (2 Chronicles 4:16) it is said ‘the vessels thereof did Huram his father make for king Solomon.’ So that he became as much treasured by the one king as by the other. For the expression cp. Genesis 45:8 where Joseph speaks of himself as a father to Pharaoh.
He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.14. He was a widow’s son] The Hebrew says the son of a widow woman and there is no reason why the literal expression should be relegated to the margin, as in A. V.
of the tribe of Naphtali] In 2 Chronicles 2:14 he is called ‘the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan.’ The two may be reconciled if we suppose the woman to have belonged to Dan, and her first husband to have been of the tribe of Naphtali.
a worker in brass] This had been the trade of the father, which his son followed and in which he gained such distinction. There seems to have been a fitness in the circumstance that Hiram, by birth half an Israelite, should be employed on the work of Solomon’s temple.
and he was filled with wisdom] Compare the similar language used (Exodus 31:3; Exodus 36:1) about Bezaleel and Aholiab. Only in that place there is added to the qualifications ‘the spirit of God.’
For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about.15. of eighteen cubits high apiece] The Hebrew says ‘eighteen cubits was the height of one pillar.’ There can be very little doubt that this should be followed by ‘and eighteen cubits was the height of the other pillar.’ But the similarity of the words has caused the scribe to overlook them. And there is a like defect in the other half of this verse. For instead of ‘did compass either of them about’ the original gives ‘did compass the second pillar.’ The whole of the latter passage was no doubt ‘a line of twelve cubits did compass about the one pillar, and a line of twelve cubits the second pillar.’ The A. V. gives the sense, and in a better fashion than by introducing italics to represent the missing words. The full form in similar phrases occurs immediately in 1 Kings 7:16-17, and then in 18 there is an omission of one-half the description, just as has happened here.
The first portion of these pillars was 18 cubits = 27 feet high by 12 cubits = 18 feet in circumference. This of itself would make a pillar of disproportionate dimensions, but on the top there were placed chapiters (capitals) of 5 cubits = 7½ feet high. Thus the whole height would be 23 cubits or 34½ feet. It is said (2 Chronicles 3:15) that the pillars were 35 cubits high. In that case we should have to suppose them raised on bases of 12 cubits, which is out of all proportion. The metal work may have had some stone base to rest on, but that would never have been 18 feet high. It is more reasonable to suppose that the numbers, marked in Hebrew letters, have been misread by the Chronicler. See however the note on 1 Kings 6:3 above, with reference to these dimensions.
These pillars were broken up and carried away along with other metal at the time of the Babylonian invasion, see 2 Kings 25:13; Jeremiah 52:17, in which latter passage the heights of the pillar and its capital are exactly as here, and in the former there is only a variation in the dimension of the capital, not of the pillar.
And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:
And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter.17. and nets of checker work] The two nouns are from the same root, and indicate some kind of interlaced metalwork with which the bellying parts of the capitals were overlaid. This, with the chains next mentioned, and the two rows of pomegranates (1 Kings 7:18) formed the ornamentation of the lower portion of the capitals for one cubit of their breadth.
As the conjunction ‘And’ has nothing to represent it in the Hebrew it is better to render, ‘There were nets &c.’ The LXX. in this verse begins ‘And he made two nets &c.… even a net for the one chapiter and a net for the other chapiter.’ Thus the ‘seven’ of the A.V. disappears and ‘net’ is substituted. There is a good deal of similarity between שׁבעה = seven, and שׂבכה= a net, so that there may have been a confusion, and certainly below in 1 Kings 7:41 mention is made of two networks, not seven.
And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter.18. upon the top, with pomegranates] The Hebrew text means ‘upon the top of the pomegranates.’ But some authorities give ‘upon the top of the pillars,’ which has been adopted by the R.V. The first words of the verse must however surely be wrong. ‘And he made the pillars’ is utterly out of place here. It had been noticed before; and the present verse is a description of the capitals. What appears to have happened is this. The words for ‘pillars’ and ‘pomegranates’ have changed places. The LXX. gives no help. But assuming this interchange of words we may render (nearly with R.V.) ‘So he made the pomegranates, and there were two rows about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars; and so made he for the other chapiter.’ The words ‘to cover … pillars’ explaining the purpose of the work, come in a little awkwardly, but a sense is made out of what before was incomprehensible.
And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.19. and the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars] This verse refers to the four cubits of lily work, which was higher than the bellying portion of the capital, and formed the topmost part of the ornament.
were of lily work in the porch] The R.V. transposes in the porch were of lily work, thus marking clearly that the pillars were within the porch. The language of 2 Chronicles 3:17 has induced some to think that they were outside, in the court. The words there are ‘he reared up the pillars before the temple,’ but the word rendered ‘temple’ is that which is constantly used (see below, 1 Kings 7:21) for the holy place, and the porch was in front of that. So that though standing within the porch the pillars would still be ‘before the temple.’
And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.20. And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above] The italics are without justification. The R.V. gives the sense; ‘And there were chapiters also above upon the two pillars.’ What is now being described is that portion of the capital which was below the lily work. But the writer uses ‘chapiter’ for the part, as well as for the whole capital.
over against the belly which was by the network] R.V. close by the belly which was beside the network.’ The prepositions make the difficulty here. The first has something of the idea of ‘all along’ and describes the way in which the pomegranates went close up to the bellying portion of the capital. Probably the two rows ran round the pillar, one just above, the other just below the enlarged part. Then the network appears to have been over the belly. The preposition intimates that if you could have looked from the woodwork, the metal nets and chains were just in front of you. So that in the ‘beside’ of the R.V. we must understand the notion of overlying.
two hundred, in rows] As we have taken 1 Kings 7:18 the rows were two for each capital, so that 100 pomegranates were in each row. Apparently in 2 Chronicles 3:16 the number specified is only for one single row. In the parallel passage of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 52:23) this appears more clearly. For the pomegranates are said to have been arranged one at each of the four cardinal points and the other 96 used to complete the circuit. This can only be a description of a single row.
round about upon the other chapiter] Here there is the same sort of omission, be it intentional or not, as in 1 Kings 7:15. What is meant, we should express by ‘round about (upon the one chapiter as) upon the other chapiter.’
And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.21. And he set up the pillars in the porch] The preposition is not the same as in 1 Kings 7:19. Render here ‘at the porch.’
Jachin … Boaz] These words are evidently given as proper names, and the LXX. transliterates them here, but translates them in the parallel passage of 2 Chronicles (1 Kings 3:17) by κατόρθωσις and ἰσχύς. Both words are significant. The first is a verb (see Job 27:17) signifying ‘he will prepare, or, establish,’ the second = ‘in him is strength.’ If they be interpreted they are both to be referred to God. Some have wished by a slight alteration of the Hebrew points in the latter word to combine the two into one sentence meaning ‘he will establish by strength.’ But it is not likely that a sentence would be thus split up to make two names.
And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.22. upon the top of the pillars] The lily work is mentioned again because it was the topmost part of the ornament, and the pillars have been described from the bottom upwards. Hence it was fit to speak of it here, where it is said the work of the pillars was finished.
We have already seen that it is not probable that these pillars stood out in the open space of the court, but on either side within the porch which was before the holy place. Their dimensions give the impression that they were only for ornament, and did not bear up any part of the structure. The height of the porch is not mentioned in 1 Kings 6:3. Therefore we might presume that it was the height of the rest of the building of the holy place, viz. 30 cubits. Even for such a porch these pillars of 23 cubits could hardly have been intended as supports. But in 2 Chronicles (1 Kings 3:4) the porch is said to have been 120 cubits high, and so in Josephus (Ant. viii. 3, 2), for which height pillars like those here described are quite out of proportion. Moreover, none of Hiram’s work seems to have been intended for the temple-building, but only for its decoration and furniture. It seems best therefore to consider these pillars as significant ornaments of the Temple porch. See also on this matter the note on 1 Kings 6:3 above.
And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.23–26. The Molten Sea which Hiram made (2 Chronicles 4:2-5)
23. And he made a (R.V. the) molten sea] The definite article is expressed in the original, and the vessel itself was unique. It is called a ‘sea’ because of its great capacity (see Josephus Ant. viii. 3, 5). The Hebrew word is not confined in use to the ocean, but is applied to the Nile (Isaiah 18:2), and to the Euphrates (Isaiah 27:1). So lacus is used by Vergil (Georg. 4:173) for a blacksmith’s trough. See also 1 Kings 18:32, note.
ten cubits from one brim to the other, &c.] The R.V. tries to be more literal, but with the same sense. Ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass.
a line of thirty cubits] This would in round numbers be the size of the circumference, with ten cubits as diameter.
And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.24. knops] The word is that which occurs in 1 Kings 6:18, and the knops were probably of a gourd-shape. See note there. The description in 2 Chronicles (1 Kings 4:3) says that oxen and not knops were the ornaments.
ten in a cubit] This would make the number of knops to be 300. But the R.V. renders for ten cubits. And so the words are rendered in 1 Kings 6:26. But the A. V. must give the true sense. Otherwise why is it said that the sea was encompassed by these knops?
when it was cast] i.e. They were of the same piece with the whole rim, and not attached afterwards like some of the ornaments of the pillars.
It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.25. the sea was set above upon them] i.e. The bottom rested on the backs of the oxen. Thus the height from the ground to the rim would be five cubits, and the height of the oxen besides. Nothing is said of such a thing, but it is not unlikely that the water was drawn out through the mouths of the oxen.
And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths.26. an handbreadth thick] i.e. The metal of which it was made.
with flowers of lilies] Rather (as R.V.) ‘like the flower of lily.’ This is to indicate that the brim bent outward and not that lily-flowers were all round it.
it contained two thousand baths] In 2 Chronicles 4:5 it is said ‘three thousand baths.’ Perhaps the smaller quantity was about what was usually kept in supply, the larger what it could contain if it were quite full.
The ‘bath’ was the largest Hebrew liquid measure, but it is not easy to discover what its size was. According to Josephus it held rather more than 8 gallons. Other data make it about half that size. A vessel that could contain 16,000 gallons must have been very enormous to be made in one casting. And the dimensions given, viz. a diameter of 10 cubits by a depth of 5 cubits if the cubit = 18 inches would not hold so much, unless the sides were bowed outward very considerably so as to make the diameter much greater in the inside than at the top. But the description of Josephus makes it to be hemispherical, so that the diameter would be largest at the top. A vessel of this shape however could not be made to rest on the backs of twelve oxen without a good deal of contrivance, while with a cylindrical vessel there is no difficulty. Now a cylinder of the dimensions given in 1 Kings 7:23, taking the cubit = 18 inches, would contain nearly 8260 gallons. It seems therefore that the Hebrew ‘bath’ should be taken as a measure of rather more than 4 gallons. The figures which Josephus gives are so frequently exaggerated, very often doubled, that it need not trouble us if they appear so in this case. The difference between Chronicles and Kings above mentioned may be due to the misreading of a letter in the Hebrew form of notation.
And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.27–39. Of the ten bases, and the lavers upon them (2 Chronicles 4:6)
27. ten bases of brass] These were stands for the ten lavers mentioned below. See 1 Kings 7:38.
And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:28. they had borders] From the description in the next verse, the word, which in its literal sense would apply to any surrounding or enclosure, must mean the side of the base, on which the figures mentioned in 29 were carved or cast. So that the panels of the R.V. (marg.) would be the most correct rendering. And so in 1 Kings 7:31-32; 1 Kings 7:35-36.
between the ledges] These seem to have been the perpendicular shafts, at the four corners of each base, which would be raised so as to form two sides of the framework enclosing the panels. A more strictly literal rendering of the final words would be ‘even borders between the ledges.’
And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.29. and upon the ledges there was a base above] The word here rendered ‘base’ differs from that in the two previous verses and so the R.V. has rendered a pedestal. It seems to denote some projection upward from the four shafts at the corners to act as a support for the lavers when they were put in position.
certain additions made of thin work] These words signify rather ‘festoons, work that hung down.’ So R.V. wreaths of hanging work.
And every base had four brasen wheels, and plates of brass: and the four corners thereof had undersetters: under the laver were undersetters molten, at the side of every addition.30. and plates of brass] For ‘plates’ read axles.
and the four corners thereof had undersetters] The last word is that usually rendered ‘shoulders,’ (see R.V. margin), and the word translated ‘corners’ means rather (1) a footstep, (2) a foot. It is used Exodus 25:12 for the corners (R.V. feet) of the ark, into which rings were to be fixed for the staves to pass through when it was carried about. This seems the more suitable rendering here also and it is a different word that is rendered ‘corners’ in 1 Kings 7:34. The sense would then be ‘the four feet thereof had shoulder pieces’ i.e. attached to them. The purpose of these shoulders appears to have been for the axles to pass through on which the wheels were fixed. The next clause would then run ‘underneath the laver were the shoulders molten.’ But because of that expression some have thought that the ‘shoulder pieces’ rose upward from the top of the four feet, and were meant as stays on which the laver should rest.
at the side of every addition] The last word is the same which in the previous verse has been rendered ‘wreaths.’ And here that sense must also be given to it. Literally, ‘at the side of each one (were) wreaths’ or more idiomatically, (as R.V.) with wreaths at the side of each.
And the mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round.31. And the mouth of it] Here the pronoun must, I think, be referred, as in ‘corners (feet) thereof’ of 1 Kings 7:30, to the base. The bases appear to have had a circular orifice in the top, which is here called the mouth. This opening was, as it seems, surmounted and surrounded by a capital, which itself had an opening to receive the lowest part of the laver. The height of the capital above the level surface of the top of the base appears not to be specified unless the half cubit of 1 Kings 7:35 be taken to refer to the capital. One cubit was the diameter of the orifice in the top of the base.
but the mouth thereof] Better, ‘And’ &c. The pronoun here by a difference of gender in the original is shewn to refer to a different noun. This can only be the ‘chapiter.’ That superstructure widened out towards the top, and the round opening in top of it, to receive the bottom of the laver, is what is meant by the second ‘mouth.’
after the work of the base] Better, as the word is the same which was so rendered in 1 Kings 7:29, after the work of a pedestal. It was in this way that the chapiter served as a support to the laver. This chapiter had graved work all round about its upper edge, which may be fitly called ‘mouth’ as it was meant to receive the laver.
with their borders, foursquare, not round] Better, And their borders were foursquare, not round. It is better to render as literally as possible for it is very doubtful whether these words have reference at all to the chapiter. They seem to be a recurrence to the description of those borders (or panels) spoken of in 1 Kings 7:28-29. In that case the pronoun ‘their’ in this clause would refer to the bases. This is the more probable because the ‘borders’ of the next verse are certainly those panels on the sides of the bases.
And under the borders were four wheels; and the axletrees of the wheels were joined to the base: and the height of a wheel was a cubit and half a cubit.32. And under the borders [panels] were four wheels] Better, ‘the four wheels.’ They were so fixed that they might not hide by their upper part any portion of the ornamental panels.
and the axletrees of the wheels were joined to the base] More literally, were in the base. That is they formed a portion of the casting. The Hebrew word here is different from that rendered ‘axles’ in 1 Kings 7:30. This word is literally ‘hands’ and no doubt signifies some kind of ‘holder’ or support by which the wheels were kept in place. If the ‘shoulders’ of 1 Kings 7:30 also belong to the wheels they must have been made doubly secure.
And the work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel: their axletrees, and their naves, and their felloes, and their spokes, were all molten.33. their axletrees] Literally, ‘hands’ as in the previous verse.
their naves] By etymology the original word must refer to some curved part of the wheel. It seems better therefore to render, with R.V., felloes here, and transfer the word ‘naves’ to translate the last of the four nouns, which by its derivation signifies ‘that to which all the parts converge.’ The third of the Hebrew words is akin to that which in Exodus 27:10-11 is used for the ‘pillars’ or ‘poles’ which supported the hangings of the tabernacle. Hence here most likely ‘the spokes’ of the wheels.
And there were four undersetters to the four corners of one base: and the undersetters were of the very base itself.34. And there were four undersetters to, &c.] Literally, ‘shoulders at &c.’ The mention of these ‘shoulder-pieces’ again immediately after the wheel seems, if we may rely on the correct order of the text, to shew that they belonged to the wheel-work.
of one base] That is, of each one.
of the very base itself] The ‘very’ is surplusage. Literally, it is ‘from (i.e. of) the base were its shoulders,’ i.e. they were of one piece with it.
And in the top of the base was there a round compass of half a cubit high: and on the top of the base the ledges thereof and the borders thereof were of the same.35. the ledges thereof] Literally, ‘the hands thereof.’ Probably some kind of prop or holder is intended. R.V. gives stays, both here and in the next verse.
For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about.36. according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about] The word rendered ‘proportion’ means rather any ‘bare space.’ Hence the sense is that the graving was such as the space admitted. So, and to harmonize the final words with the previous verse, we should render ‘according to the space in every one, and with wreaths round about.’
After this manner he made the ten bases: all of them had one casting, one measure, and one size.37. one size] Better, ‘one form.’ See on 1 Kings 6:25.
Then made he ten lavers of brass: one laver contained forty baths: and every laver was four cubits: and upon every one of the ten bases one laver.38. Then made he] It is only the simple copulative And.
And he put five bases on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house: and he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward over against the south.39. And he put] The verb is the same which later on in the verse is translated set. It is better to adhere to the same rendering in the same verse. It would also be more in accordance with the Hebrew to translate ‘And he set the bases, five on the right side (Heb. shoulder) of the house &c.’
eastward over against (better, towards) the south] The building looked north and south, so the sides would be east and west. The sea then stood at the south corner of the east side.
There is much uncertainty about the meaning of parts of the language in this description of the bases. They appear however to have been large box-shaped structures, set on four wheels. The wheels did not come up higher than the bottom of the box, and so needed shoulders and stays in which the axles might run and by which they might be kept in position. Above the box, which had a large hole in the top, rose a sort of capital on which was fixed the laver. The sides of the box and the capital as well as the stays were covered with figures. The purpose of these lavers as we are told 2 Chronicles 4:6, was for washing such things as were offered for the burnt offering. This was most likely the reason why they were needed of some considerable height and so were supported on the box-shaped bases. The laver would be of necessity as high as the altar of burnt offering, to the side of which it must have been brought at the time of any offering. That the altar stood higher than the level of the court seems evident from 1 Kings 8:22, where Solomon is described as standing before it in the sight of all the people.
And Hiram made the lavers, and the shovels, and the basons. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he made king Solomon for the house of the LORD:40–51. Summary of Hiram’s work. Completion of the Temple (2 Chronicles 4:11-22; 2 Chronicles 5:1)
40. And Hiram made the lavers] Many ancient authorities (see R.V. marg.) read pots instead of ‘lavers,’ and this is given in 2 Chronicles 4:11. The difference is so slight between כירות = lavers, and סירות = pots, that we need not be surprised at the variation in different mss.
that he made king Solomon] R.V. reads, with the same sense, ‘that he wrought for king Solomon.’ Perhaps it reads a little more easily. In some mss. and Versions the reading is ‘that king Solomon made,’ just as in 1 Kings 7:51 below, where the same phrase is used of the whole work.
The two pillars, and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on the top of the two pillars; and the two networks, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars;41. and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on the top of the two pillars] The numeral in the original belongs to ‘bowls’ and therefore should not be in italics in the first place, but should be omitted in the second.
And four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, even two rows of pomegranates for one network, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters that were upon the pillars;42. and four hundred pomegranates] The original is definite. Read, ‘and the four hundred.’ The italic ‘even’ can be omitted without detriment to the sense.
And the ten bases, and ten lavers on the bases;43. and ten lavers] The Hebrew has, ‘and the ten lavers,’ and this definiteness is natural in such an enumeration. So in the next verse we should have ‘the one sea and the twelve oxen.’
And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea;
And the pots, and the shovels, and the basons: and all these vessels, which Hiram made to king Solomon for the house of the LORD, were of bright brass.45. and all these vessels] Better, at the close of the list, ‘even all these.’ The Heb. text has consonants which would be rendered ‘the vessels of the Tent’ i.e. the tabernacle. But this is corrected by a marginal reading to ‘these vessels,’ which is most certainly the true text. The variation comes about by the transposition of two consonants אהל for אלה.
made to king Solomon] In modern English we should say ‘for,’ in spite of the following ‘for’ coming so close. But the R.V. has changed the phrase ‘for the house of the Lord’ both here and in 1 Kings 7:40 into in the house of the Lord. There is no preposition at all in the Hebrew, but the noun appears to be the accusative of place. So that the change of the R.V. is not without justification. The same construction is translated ‘in the house of the Lord’ 2 Kings 11:3; 2 Kings 11:15, and elsewhere.
bright brass] The R.V. gives furnished brass. The original word is a participle and not an adjective.
In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.46. in the clay ground] As the margin of A.V. explains, the literal rendering is ‘in the thickness of the ground.’ The Hebrews had a paucity of adjectives and were obliged to express in such wise what we mean by ‘stiff ground’ and which is excellently rendered by the English version.
between Succoth and Zarthan] The last word should be written Zarethan. See Joshua 3:16. That both Succoth and Zarethan were in the circle, or district, of Jordan we can see both from that passage and this, but their precise position is unknown. Succoth was allotted to the tribe of Gad (Joshua 13:27) which seems to prove that it was on the east side of the Jordan, so Zarethan from their connexion in this verse was probably on that side too. In 2 Chronicles 4:17 Zaredathah is the name given instead of Zarethan, and that name has been thought by some to be a modified form of Zeredah (1 Kings 11:26) the birthplace of Jeroboam son of Nebat. According to the Septuagint additions to the story of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:24-25) Zeredah was a strong place in Mt. Ephraim, but of this we cannot be sure. It would however in that case be on the west of Jordan, and it seems a singular manner of speech to describe the foundries of Hiram as between a place on the east of the Jordan and another on the west.
And Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many: neither was the weight of the brass found out.47. neither was the weight of the brass found out] The R.V. gives ‘could not be found out.’ The verb, which signifies literally ‘to investigate,’ ‘to search out,’ seems employed to indicate that no attempt was made to discover it.
And Solomon made all the vessels that pertained unto the house of the LORD: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, whereupon the shewbread was,48. that pertained unto the house of the Lord] The construction is like that in 1 Kings 7:45. Hence R.V. has ‘that were in the house of the Lord.’
the altar of gold] R.V. the golden altar, i.e. the altar of incense made of cedar wood and overlaid with gold.
And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold,49. pure gold] See on 1 Kings 6:21.
And the bowls, and the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple.50. and the bowls] This is the word which is usually rendered ‘basons.’ See 2 Samuel 17:28, &c. A different word is translated ‘bowl’ elsewhere, see Jdg 6:38. As ‘basons’ occurs later on in the verse, the R.V. has changed ‘bowls’ here to ‘cups,’ a rendering given for this word sometimes on the margin of A. V.
and the censers] This Hebrew word is frequently rendered ‘censer,’ but as in Exodus 27:3; Exodus 38:3 and other places, where it relates to the altar furniture and fittings, the plural is rendered ‘fire pans,’ the R.V. has introduced that rendering here. Cf. also 2 Kings 25:15 and Jeremiah 52:19. In the latter part of this verse the R.V. preserves the order of the Hebrew, and gives a little more explicitness, by removing ‘of gold’ after ‘hinges’ to the end of the verse. With the description here given should be compared the account of the vessels of the Mosaic tabernacle. Exodus 25-30.
So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD.51. So was ended, &c.] The changes of order and words in this verse made by R.V. (viz. Thus all the work that king Solomon wrought in the house of the Lord was finished.) are such as to bring as nearly as possible this passage and 2 Chronicles 5:1 into accord. Where the Hebrew words are the same there seems a gain in representing them in such a recital as the present by the same translation. On ‘in the house of the Lord,’ cf. above on 1 Kings 7:45.
among the treasures] R.V. ‘in the treasuries.’ The word is used rather of the place than of the things kept in it. Thus Joel 1:17, it is rendered ‘garners,’ and in 1 Chronicles 27:25 ‘storehouses,’ and two verses later in the same chapter ‘cellars’ for wine. It is noteworthy that in Kings nothing is said of the treasures amassed by David, while in Chronicles (1 Chronicles 29:1-8) they are dwelt on at some length.