Jeremiah 52:23
And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates on the network were an hundred round about.
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52:12-23 The Chaldean army made woful havoc. But nothing is so particularly related here, as the carrying away of the articles in the temple. The remembrance of their beauty and value shows us the more the evil of sin.On a side - The 96 were toward the four winds, 24 toward the north, 24 toward the east, and so on. Add one at each corner, and the whole 100 is made up. 23. on a side—literally, (on the side) towards the air or wind, that is, the outside of the capitals of the pillars conspicuous to the eye, opposed to the four remaining pomegranates which were not seen from the outside. The pomegranates here are ninety-six; but in 1Ki 7:20 they are two hundred on each chapiter, and four hundred on the two (2Ch 4:13). It seems there were two rows of them, one above the other, and in each row a hundred. They are here said to be ninety-six, but immediately following one hundred, and so in 1Ki 7:20. Four seem to have been unseen to one looking from one point; and the ninety-six are only those that could be seen [Vatablus]; or, the four omitted here are those separating the four sides, one pomegranate at each point of separation (or at the four corners) between the four sides [Grotius]. There are some differences as to the measure of these chapiters betwixt 2 Kings 25:17 and this text; here the height of them is made to be five cubits, there it is said to be three cubits: that which is said to resolve this difficulty is, that there were three parts in the chapiter, the square, the belly, and the crown, and that this text gives an account of the whole; but that text, 2 Kings 25:17, gives an account only of the belly and the crown, which were no more than three cubits. The like difference there is betwixt this text and 1 Kings 7:20, and 2 Chronicles 4:13, about the number of the pomegranates. In the Book of Kings it is said the pomegranates were in number two hundred; 2 Chronicles 4:13, they are said to have been four hundred. The meaning is, there were a hundred in a row, in the two rows two hundred, in the four rows (two upon each pillar) four hundred. Some other difference also there is about the particular number of pomegranates on a side, which are here said to be but ninety-six, which make on the two sides but one hundred and ninety-two, on the four sides but three hundred and eighty-four, and comes up neither to the two hundred mentioned in the Book of Kings, nor to the number of four hundred mentioned in the Book of Chronicles. See the English Annotations, where the learned author hath observed that in the Hebrew, what we translate of a side, is word for word windward, that is, toward the four winds, so as the table was square, and there were twenty-four on each side, which made ninety-six in all, to which four being added. one at each corner, this made a hundred. But these are niceties, a satisfaction in which is of no great concernment to us, unless to satisfy such as would make use of these little things to question the authority of the Scriptures because of these seeming contradictions, of how little concernment soever they be as to our faith and holiness. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side,.... Or, "to the wind" (e); to the four winds; towards every corner or wind twenty four, which make up ninety six:

and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about; four, standing upon the four angles, made the ninety six a hundred; in 1 Kings 7:20; they are said to be two hundred; and in 2 Chronicles 4:13; are said to be four hundred upon the two wreaths; which may be accounted for thus, there were two rows of them on each pillar, in every row were a hundred, which made two hundred in one pillar, and four hundred in both. These were the things in the temple carried away in the last captivity.

(e) "ad ventum", Montanus; "ad omnem ventum", Tigurine version; so Ben Melech; "versus ventos", Schmidt; "ventum versus", Piscator; "in ventum", Cocceius.

And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an {i} hundred on all sides.

(i) But because of the roundness, no more could be seen but ninety-six.

23. In 1 Kings 7:20; 1 Kings 7:42 each pillar is said to have had two rows of pomegranates, a hundred in each, the one above and the other below the ornamental network of the chapiters. It is possible that the account here may not be inconsistent with the existence of such a double row upon each chapiter, though it certainly does not suggest it, or again, one of the rows may have been removed before this period, leaving one hundred on each chapiter.

on the sides] The other renderings in mg. shew that the meaning of the expression is obscure. Suggestions are (a) visible outwards, i.e. four of the hundred in each row were hidden owing to the nearness of the pillar to the wall of the porch, or (b) hanging loosely, i.e. four of the pomegranates were fixed to the network on the capitals, while the rest hung in festoons between them.Verse 23. - On a side; rather, towards the outside. The carrying away of the vessels of the temple is more fully stated than in 2 Kings 25:13-17. The large brazen articles, the two pillars at the porch (cf. 1 Kings 7:15.), the bases (1 Kings 7:27.), and the brazen sea (1 Kings 7:23.), which were too vast in their proportions to be easily carried away to Babylon, were broken to pieces by the Chaldeans, who carried off the brass of which they were made. אשׁר לבּית is more correct than אשׁר (Kings), and "all their brass" is more precise than simply "their brass" (Kings). In the enumeration of the smaller brazen vessels used for the temple service, Jeremiah 52:18, there is omitted, in 2 Kings, ואת־המּזרקות, "and the bowls" (used in sacrifice); this omission is perhaps due merely to an error in transcription. The enumeration of the gold and silver vessels in Jeremiah 52:19 has been much more abbreviated in 2 Kings 25:15, where only "the fire-pans and the bowls" are mentioned, while in the text here, besides these there are named "the basons," then "the pots (Eng. vers. caldrons), and the candlesticks, and the pans (Eng. vers. spoons), and the cups." For particulars regarding these different vessels, see on 1 Kings 7:40, 1 Kings 7:45, 1 Kings 7:50. In Jeremiah 52:20, reference is made to the fact that the mass of metal in the vessels that were carried away was without weight. The same is stated in 2 Kings 25:16, where, however, there is no mention of the twelve brazen bulls; while in the text of Jeremiah, אשׁר תּחת המּכנות is faulty, and we must read instead, אשׁר תּחתּיו והמּכנות. The assertion of Graf, in his commentary on this verse, and of Thenius on 2 Kings 25:16, - that the notice regarding the twelve brazen bulls is incorrect, because these were then no longer in Jerusalem (27:19), but had previously been removed by Ahaz from under the brazen sea for Tiglath-pileser, - we have already, under 2 Kings 16:17, shown to be erroneous. The apposition of כּל־הכּלים to לנחשׁתּם explains the reference of the suffix. In Jeremiah 52:21-23, the narrator, in order to call attention to the amount of art exhibited on the vessels destroyed by the Chaldeans, gives a brief description of the brazen pillars with their capitals. This description is much shortened in 2 Kings 25:17, and contains notices completing that which is given of these works of art in 1 Kings 7. For details, see the passage referred to.
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