2 Chronicles 3
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
Ch. 2 Chronicles 3:1-2 (= 1 Kings 6:1). The Temple Begun

1. in mount Moriah] Genesis 22:2.

in the place that David had prepared] R.V. which he made ready in the place that David had appointed (following the Hebrew, whereas A.V. leaves the Hebrew and agrees with LXX.).

Ornan the Jebusite] See 1 Chronicles 21:15 ff.

And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
2. in the second day] The words are absent from 1 Kings and should probably be omitted here. The year according to 1 Kings was the four hundred and eightieth after the Exodus.

Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.
3 (= 1 Kings 6:2). The Measurements of the Temple

3. these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed] R.V. these are the foundations which Solomon laid.

cubits after the first measure] There were apparently two cubits in use, the ordinary earlier cubit of about 17½ inches (Deuteronomy 3:11 “the cubit of a man”) and another later cubit of about 21½ inches, longer than the first by a handbreadth (Ezekiel 40:5).

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.
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.

And the greater house he cieled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains.
5–7 (cp. 1 Kings 6:15; 1 Kings 6:21; 1 Kings 6:29-30). The Temple

5. the greater house] It was forty cubits long (1 Kings 6:17), whereas the shrine was twenty (1 Kings 6:16; 1 Kings 6:20).

he cieled] i.e. lined or boarded. The same Hebrew word is translated overlaid in this same verse.

set thereon] R.V. wrought thereon, perhaps in the form of reliefs.

palm trees and chains] The “chains” perhaps connected one palm tree with another. In 1 Kings 6:29, “cherubim and palm trees and open flowers.”

And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim.
6. precious stones] Not mentioned in the parallel account, but according to 1 Kings 5:17 costly stones (the same expression in Hebrew) were used for the foundations of the house. Probably here also costly rather than precious stones are meant.

Parvaim] Apparently the name of a place, but nothing certain is known about it.

He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls.
7. the posts] R.V. the thresholds.

cherubims] Under what form these mysterious beings were represented in the Temple is not known. It has been said that the winged bull of the Assyrian sculptures was sometimes called kirubu in Assyrian. If this be true, then cherub is perhaps a word borrowed from the Assyrian, and the cherubs in the Temple may have had the form of winged bulls. But nothing is certainly known on this subject.

The graving of the cherubim was not necessarily a breach of the Second Commandment, for they were not put up to “bow down to” or to “serve.”

And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
8, 9. The Holy of Holies

8. the most holy house] Called the oracle in 1 Kings 6:16; 1 Kings 6:19 etc., Hebrew děbîr, which means rather the hinder part. The Lord “dwells” in the inmost recess of the house.

amounting to six hundred talents] This detail is not found elsewhere. But cp. 1 Chronicles 29:4.

And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.
And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.
10–13. The Cherubim

10. of image work] Both the meaning of the phrase and the reading are doubtful; LXX. ἔργον ἐκ ξύλων; 1 Kings 6:23, of olive wood (R.V.).

and overlaid] R.V. and they overlaid; but the singular is probably right; LXX. ἐχρύσωσεν: 1 Kings 6:28, and he overlaid.

And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.
11. one wing] R.V. the wing.

And one wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub.
12. And one wing] R.V. And the wing.

The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.
13. twenty cubits] Extending across the width of the whole house.

on their feet] Not “couchant” nor “rampant” but standing as the winged bulls of Assyria stand.

inward] R.V. towards the house, as though to protect the Holiest Place from violation from anyone advancing through the house.

And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.
14 (cp. Exodus 26:31-32). The Vail

No vail for Solomon’s Temple is mentioned in 1 Kings, but (1 Kings 6:31-32) doors of olive wood with cherubim carved upon them stood at the entrance of the Holy of Holies. The vail here described seems to have been borrowed by the Chronicler from the account of the tabernacle given in Exodus.

Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits.
15–17 (= 1 Kings 7:15-22). The Pillars Jachin and Boaz

15. before the house two pillars] Cp. 1 Kings 7:21, he set up the pillars at the porch of the temple, and Jeremiah 52:17 (translate, the pillars … that belonged to the house). These pillars were immediately in front of the porch, but (it seems) detached from it. They were cast in brass (2 Chronicles 4:11-17), were hollow (Jeremiah 52:21), and were crowned with “chapiters” (capitals) in shape like bowls (1 Kings 7:41). The dimensions of the pillars (without the chapiters) are variously given thus:—

2 Chronicles 3:15  (Heb.)


  35 cubits.

2 Chronicles 3:15  (LXX.)

  height (ὕψος)

  35 cubits.

Jeremiah 52:21  (Heb.)

  height (ὕψος)

  18 cubits.

Jeremiah 52:21  (LXX.)

  height (ὕψος)

  35 cubits.

1 Kings 7:15  (Heb. and LXX.)

  height (ὕψος)

  18 cubits.

Jeremiah 52:21  (Heb. and LXX.)


  12 cubits.

1 Kings 7:15  (Heb.)


  12 cubits.

1 Kings 7:15  (LXX.)


  14 cubits.

The purpose for which the pillars were erected is not certainly known. The fact that names were given them (2 Chronicles 3:17) suggests that they were symbols, perhaps of the presence of Jehovah; cp. Isaiah 19:19, where a pillar, maçççbâh, is regarded (equally with an altar) as “a sign and witness unto the Lord.” Such a pillar might sometimes be used as an altar; cp. 1 Chronicles 11:22 (note) and Genesis 28:18; and the “bowls” of the chapiters of Solomon’s two pillars may have been meant to contain something to be burnt in sacrifice. See Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, p. 191, note 1, and Additional Note L, where there is an illustration of a coin shewing two detached pillars standing in front of the temple of Aphrodite at Paphos. The two pillars in the temple of Heracles at Tyre, of which Herodotus (2:44) speaks, were perhaps simply votive offerings.

And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
16. he made chains, as in the oracle] R.V. he made chains in the oracle. The words, in the oracle, though found in LXX., are probably a gloss introduced from 1 Kings 6:21 (chains … before the oracle). The Chronicler is here speaking of the outside of the Temple, having already described the “oracle,” i.e. the Holy of Holies, in 2 Chronicles 3:8-14. The Heb. word děbîr was translated “oracle” because it was supposed to be derived from a word meaning “to speak.” It means, however, simply “the hindmost part” of the house (cf. 2 Chronicles 4:20, 2 Chronicles 5:7; 2 Chronicles 5:9).

And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.
17. he reared up] R.V. he set up (as in 1 Kings 7:21).

Jachin … Boaz] R.V. mg. translates the two words; Jachin “he shall establish,” Boaz perhaps “In it is strength.” LXX. gives Κατόρθωσις (“setting up”) and Ἰσχύς (“strength”). The meaning of Boaz is quite uncertain.

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