Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
B.—The accomplishment of the building of the Temple
1 KINGS 6:1–38
1AND it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth1 year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that2 he began to build the house of the Lord [Jehovah]. 2And the house which king Solomon built for the Lord [Jehovah] the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits,3 and the height thereof thirty cubits. 3And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house. 4And for the house he made windows of narrow lights [with fixed lattices4].
5And against the wall of the house he built chambers5 round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about. 6The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house. 7And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither:6 so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. 8The door for the middle7 chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third. 9So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of 10cedar. And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
11,8 12And the word of the Lord [Jehovah] came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: 13And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
14So Solomon built the house, and finished it. 15And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both [from] the floor of the house, and [unto] the walls9 of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. 16And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both [from] the floor and [unto] the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place. 17And the house, that is, the temple before10 it, was forty cubits long. 18And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.11 19And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord [Jehovah]. 20And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar [overlaid the altar with cedar.12] 21So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. 22And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.13
23And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high. 24And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits. 25And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size [form]. 26The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. 27And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in 28the midst of the house. And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. 29And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.14 30And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.14
31And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side-posts were a fifth part of the wall. 32The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid. them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees15 33So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall. 34And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves16 of the other door were folding. 35And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered [overlaid] them with gold fitted upon the carved work.
36And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
37In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord [Jehovah] laid, in the month Zif: 38and in the eleventh year, in the month But, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.
The account of Solomon’s temple, before us, together with the continuation in 1 Kings 7:13–51, is the oldest, and, at the same time, the most complete in our possession. Hence all knowledge of this world-historical building must adhere to it and found itself upon it. Next to it is the parallel account in 2 Chron. 3, 4, which agrees with it in all essential particulars, and, as indeed the most recent criticism acknowledges, comes from an ancient source, perhaps from the same with our own here. Although significantly briefer, it gives, nevertheless, some supplementary details the accuracy of which is undoubted, and which deserve all consideration. In addition to these two historical accounts, there is also the delineation in “vision” of the prophet Ezekiel (chap. 40 sq.), which indeed is very explicit in respect of the ground-plan and its measurement. In an earlier period this delineation was regarded as an essential completion and explanation of the historical accounts; later this was abandoned, because the prophet himself repeatedly explains it as “a vision” (1 Kings 40:2; 43:2, 3); but most recently it has again been claimed that “it is a description which, upon the whole, differs only slightly and immaterially from the temple before the exile” (Thenius). And the reason assigned is twofold: the one is the style of the description, “thoroughly jejune, deficient in all taste, giving single measurements even to the width of the doors and the strength of the walls,”—the other is the object of it, which was, according to chap, 43:10, 11, that “the temple (then destroyed) should be rebuilt according to Ezekiel’s model.” To this, however, it must be objected, (a) That the statement of the numbers and the measure of the foundation, extending itself to the minutest particulars, instead of taking away from the description the character of a vision, rather confirms it. The exact measuring off and bounding according to definite numbers and measurements is, as has been fully shown in my Symbolik des Mosaischen Kultus (i. s. 127 sq.), the first requisite for every space and structure which has an higher, divine destination, and imparts thereto the impress of the divine. Hence, in the description of all holy places and buildings mentioned in Scripture, the measurement and numbers are so carefully given, and especially in the visions which concern the one divine edifice, ever first a heavenly being, a “man with a measuring-chain appears, who measures off everything” (Ezek. 40:3, 5; 47:3; Zech. 2:5; Rev. 11:1; 21:15). The more the measuring goes into detail, so much the more is the whole pronounced to be out and out divine. (b) In general it contradicts the being and nature of a vision to be nothing more than a pure building-description or an architectonic direction. But here, it must be added that it contains phases which do not admit of execution in reality, as, e.g., the great stream flowing from the temple emptying itself into the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:1–12). If the purpose of the entire delineation had been to serve as a building-direction for the reconstruction of the temple after the return from the captivity, it would be inexplicable that it should have been disregarded as well by Zerubbabel as later by Herod, (c) As little as the delineation is purely historical, just as little also is it, as many have supposed, a mere picture of the fancy. Rather, “as Ezekiel elsewhere loves the finishing out of long allegories (see 1 Kings 16:23), so also we have here a very extended symbolical representation prophetically delivered by him” (Hävernick, Commentar, s. 623; cf. Umbreit, Commentar, s. 257). Certainly it rests upon an historical basis, yet not upon the temple as originally built by Solomon, but upon it after many additions and alterations, as it existed just before the captivity. Yet it is and must remain a vision, and, as such, it has an ideal character, from which every effort to separate with certainty the historical basis is futile (comp. Winer, R.-W.-B., ii. s. 570). It is abundantly clear that in the inquiry upon the temple of Solomon, only the most cautious use of Ezekiel’s description should be made, and in no case is a votum decessivum due it.
Besides the biblical accounts, we have from antiquity only that of Josephus (Antiq. viii. 3), of which, however, Le Clerc properly says: templum œdificat, quale animo conceperat, non quale legerat a Salomone conditum. As he is not wholly trustworthy about the transactions of his own time, he is still less in matters of antiquity; particularly “when he enters upon special descriptions, and claims to communicate detailed incidents, and measurements of heights and size, we are fully justified in doubting the accuracy of his statements” (Robinson’s Palestine, vol. 1. p. 277). In no instance does he deserve confidence when he does not agree with the biblical accounts, and that which he adds, as, e.g., the levelling of Moriah and the surrounding it with a wall, he did not derive from good ancient sources. Just as untrustworthy are the statements of the later rabbins (comp. Talmudischen Traktat Middoth, i.e., Measure, Maimonides, Jak. Jehuda Leo, and others), since they almost exclusively refer to the temple of Herod, which was very different from that of Solomon, and mingle both together, as also with that of Ezekiel.
The Christian literature respecting our temple is not insignificant. The older essays, from the middle of the sixteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century, like those of Villalpando, Lundius, B. Lamy, and others, embrace the Ezekilian and Herodian temples, without distinguishing sharply what belongs to the one or to the other. From the designs adduced by them, executed in Greco-Roman style, it is clear that their results are totally untenable. While, up to a given time, men believed that they must represent the temple to have been as grand and splendid as possible, in the period of the “illumination” (Aufklärung), they fell into the opposite extreme, and made it as small, unsightly, and insignificant as possible (J. D. Michaelis, Jahn, and others). But subsequently there has been a return to the historical, biblical account, and a simple adherence to it (Warnekros, Bauer, and others). The treatise composed by Hirt, simply in the interests of archaeology and art-history (Der Tempel Salomo’s mit drei Kupfertafeln, Berlin, 1809), gave occasion to later and more exact researches, in pure archæological and historico-æsthetic interests. Hereupon followed the Inquiries by J. Fr. Von Meyer (Bibeldeutungen, 1812, and Blätter für höhere Wahrheit, IX. and XI.); Stieglitz (Geschichte der Baukunst. Nürnberg, 1827); Grüneisen (Revision d. jungsten Forschungen üb. den Salom. Tempel. Kunstbl. 1831); Kopp (Der Tempel Salomo’s, Stuttgart, 1839, mit Abbild.); Keil (Der Tempel Salomo’s. Dorpat, 1839); Kugler (Kunstgesch., Berlin, 1841); Schnaase (Antiq. Bemerk. über den Salom. Tempel in der Gesch. der bild. Künste I., Düsseld. 1843); Romberg and Steeger (Gesch. der Baukunst. Leipzig, 1844); Merz (Bemerk. über den Tempel Salomo’s. Kunstbl. 1844); my treatise: Der Salom. Tempel mit Berücksicht. seines Verhältn. zur heil. Architektur überhaupt. Karlsruhe, 1848); Thenius (das vorexilische Jerusalem u. dessen Tempel, mit Abbild., im Commentar zu den Büchern der Könige. Leipzig. 1849); Winer (R.-W.-B. Tempel zu Jerusalem. Leipzig, 1848); Ewald (die heiligen und königlichen Bauten Salomo’s in der Gesch. Israels 3. Göttingen, 1853); Unruh (das alte Jerusalem und seine Bauwerke. Langensalza, 1861); Merz (Tempel zu Jerusalem in Herzogs R. Encyclopädie 15. Gotha, 1862).
[For the archæology and topography of the subject, see also Robinson’s Palestine, vol. i. p. 280–300. Barclay, J. T., The City of the Great King. Philadelphia, 1858. Walter Merriam Editor, The Recovery of Jerusalem, &c. by Capt. Wilson, R. E. and Capt. Warren, R. E. New York, Appleton & Co., 1871. Part I. 3.–8. and 12, also Part II—E. H.]
Exegetical and Critical
1 Kings 6:1. And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year, &c. This chronological statement, the first which occurs in Scripture, for the determination of an entire period, has given much occupation to the older chronologists, be cause it does not agree with the statements of the book of the Judges and with Acts 13:20. The Septuagint also has 440 instead of 480. If one add together the chronological figures of the book of the Judges, the result is, for the period of the judges alone 410 years, to which must be added 65 for Moses and Joshua, 60 for Saul and David, and 4 for Solomon, so that there are 539 years in all. According to Acts 13, the period of the judges embraced about 450 years; 65 for Moses and Joshua, 40 for Saul (1 Kings 6:21), 40 for David, and 4 for Solomon reckoned in, would give in all 599 years. Still farther, Josephus, when he speaks of the building of the temple (Antiq.viii. 3, 1), instead of 480 gives 592 years; and in two other places (Antiq.xx. 10; Contra Apion.ii. 2) 612 years. Most recently Lepsius and Bunsen have used the Egyptian and Assyrian chronology against the number 480, and have sought to prove at length, that it is to be reduced to some three hundred and odd years. Finally, Bertheau and Böttcher maintain, with reference to 1 Chron. 6:35 sq., where the generations of the high-priests from Aaron to Ahimaz, a contemporary of David, are given, the number 480 is the sum-total of twelve generations, 40 years to the generation (40x12=480); consequently there is no chronologically exact, but rather a probable, round number. Uncertain and doubtful, all things considered, as the statement of the text may seem, we must nevertheless, with Ewald (Gesch. Israels, ii. s. 462 sq.), Winer (R.-W.-B. ii. s. 327), Thenius (Commentar, s. 56–58), and Rösch (das Datum des Tempelbaues im Ersten Buche der Könige. Studien u. Kritiken, 1863, iv. s. 712–742) adhere to it because, (a) the precision of the statement is a voucher for its accuracy. Not only is the whole number of the years given, but also the year of the reign of the king, even the mouth itself; and since after the captivity the months had other names, in order that the month itself might not be mistaken for any other, to the name Zif (זו) it is expressly added. “which is the second month.” In all Scripture there is no chronological statement more carefully prepared; and hence, if any one can claim authority, it is this. It is unnecessary, therefore, to correct it by others, more or less vaguely and generally acknowledged, but we are justified, on the contrary, in considering it as the standard for the rest. This holds especially (b) in reference to the chronological figures of the period of the judges, which are not critically and historically above all suspicion, and cannot be added together simply, but must be understood as contemporaneous in part, and standing side by side, even if it be not demonstrably clear in how far, and with what particular numbers, this must be done. Compare the different attempts at a proof by Keil (Dörptische Beiträge, ii. s. 303 sq., and on Judges 3:7), Tiele (Chronologie des A. T. s. 54), Werner (Rudelbach’s Zeitschrift, 1844, iii. and 1845, i.), and Cassel (Das Buch der Richter im Bibelwerk, Einl. s. xvi.). (c) The number 450 (Acts 13:20) is not given as chronologically precise, but only as approximate (ὡς), and nothing can be determined by it.17 The numbers of the period of the judges appear simply to be added together in it, and the 40 years of Eli also (1 Sam. 4:18) are computed with it. (d) The statements of Josephus can all the less be taken into account, since he contradicts himself, and gives at one time 592, and at the other 612. The first number, adopted also by the Chinese Jews, rests doubtless upon the rabbinic notion that in the 480 years those only are to be reckoned in which Israel was under Israelitish judges, and that those on the other hand are to be thrown out (amounting in all to 111), when the nation was subject to foreign heathen rulers—480 + 111 = 591. This conception of the matter is destitute of all proof. The reason for the number 612 is unknown, (e) The calling in question of the number 480 upon the ground of the Egyptian or of the Assyrian chronology, proceeds upon the assumption that this chronology is assured, which, it is known, is by no means the case, and which can only be restored through a series of combinations and of unproved hypotheses. How feebly the definite statement of our text can be attacked by it, has been thoroughly and completely shown by Rösch on the place. (f) The reading of the Sept. (440 instead of 480) is not supported by any ancient version or MS., and rests either upon the confounding of the sign פּ = 80 with מ = 40, or upon some peculiar and even arbitrary reckoning, (g) The view that 480 is the product of 12 x 40, is inadmissible, because in that event the four years of Solomon’s reign are not in the estimate, and must be added to the 480 years, while in fact they are included within them. Had the reckoning been made according to generations, the author would have written 484. Apart from this, twelve generations are supplied us from 1 Chron. 6 only when Aaron himself, who, according to Exod. 7:7; Numb. 33:38 sq., was eighty-three years old at the time of the departure from Egypt, is taken into the account. Besides, there is no proof that in the computation of long periods of time human age is regularly set down at forty years. As Moses was 120 years, Aaron 123, Joshua 110, Eli 98, &c., and generally, a great age was then usual, the average of human life must certainly be placed higher than at forty years. Comp. Thenius.
1 Kings 6:2. And the house which king Solomon, &c. The place where the temple was built, was, according to 2 Chron. 3:1, Mount Moriah (comp. 2 Sam. 24:18 sq.), which our author presupposes as sufficiently known. [The uneven rock of Moriah had to be levelled, and the inequalities filled by immense substructions of “great stones,” “costly stones,” “hewed stones.” Stanley, Jewish Church.—E. H.] In 1 Kings 6:2–10 the measurement and single portions of the structure are given. The measurements are determined according to the cubit, and indeed the older (2 Chron. 3:3), which Thenius reckons at one foot six inches Rhenish, and one foot four inches Paris, measure [= 1 foot six inches Eng. measure]. Here, and in all the subsequent statements, they refer to the interior spaces. The component parts of the structure are the house, the porch, and the “chambers round about” (Umbau). The first is the building proper, to which both others are attached as additional and subsidiary. The whole was situated according to the points of the compass. The front, or entrance-side, was towards the east, the rear wall was towards the west, the two sides towards the south and north (1 Kings 7:39; Ezek. 8:16), which also was the position of the tabernacle (Ex. 26:18 sq.;36:33 sq.). The main building, the house (הַבַּיִת), was built of thick stone walls (1 Kings 6:6, 7, and had within two compartments: the front is called in 1 Kings 6:3 “the temple of the house” (הֵיבַל הבַּיִת), and the rear, in 1 Kings 6:5, “the oracle” (חַדְּבִיר). The word הֵיכָל comes from the Arabic, to be large, high (2 Chron. 3:5), hence the front compartment was “the great house” (הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל) in contradistinction with the rear, which was the shorter half, and also lower. The Vulg., after Jerome, translates the word דְּבִיר by oraculum, i.e., oraculi sedes, and the Lex. Cyrilli explains the δαβὶρ of the Sept. by χρηματιστήριον. It is, however, not derived from דִּבֵר = to speak, but from דָּבַר in its primary signification = to adjoin, to follow after (comp. Dietrich in Gesen.), and signifies, also, simply the compartment in the rear, following upon the large room. The windows which the house had (1 Kings 6:4), were certainly placed high, where it overtopped the “chambers round about” (Umbau) with their three stories. How many windows there were, whether upon all the four sides of the house, or only upon three, or only upon the two length-walls, we do not gather from the text. The designs of Thenius and Keil place them all around the house, with the exception of the facade, where the porch was. Nor is the size of the windows given, but it is added שְׁקֻפִים אֲטֻמִים, i.e., “wide within, narrow without” (Luther, after the Chald.), but “windows with closed beams, i.e., windows the lattice of which could not he opened and shut at pleasure as in ordinary dwelling-houses, 2 Kings 13:17; Dan. 6:11” (Keil). The lattice consisted of strong cross-pieces, and not of wickerwork. The window-opening may have been, certainly, according to the account of the Chaldee and of the rabbins, inasmuch as the walls were very thick, wider on the inside than on the outside, as is the case in the windows of Egyptian buildings, and answers for the purposes of admitting light and air, and of letting off smoke, only there is nothing of it in the words of the text.
1 Kings 6:3–4. And the porch before the temple of the house, &c. As the word אוּלָם comes from אוּל, i.e., to go before, it signifies also a projection: but we are not, as in 1 Kings 7:6, where הָעַמּוּדִים (pillars) is expressly added, to represent it as a portico or a colonnade. It stretched across the entire facade of the house, and its length was equal to the breadth of the house, viz., 20 cubits. Its breadth, i.e., its depth, measured 10 cubits. The text does not mention the height, but 2 Chron. 3:4 gives it at 120 cubits, which is certainly incorrect; for, as Thenius properly remarks, (1) “a structure of this sort could not have been designated as an אוּלָם, but must have been called a מִנְדַּל (tower); (2) the chimney-like proportions: 20, 10, 120, are not only inconsistent with (the notion of) the pylon of a temple, but are also statically impossible. [If it were but 10 cubits (15 feet) deep, it seems impossible that it could have been 120 cubits (180 feet) high: and the theory of Mr. Ferguson that the height refers to a “superstructure on the temple,” would make the temple itself a very grotesque building. See the art., however, on the TEMPLE in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, vol. iv. New York, 1870.—E. H.] From these considerations we cannot, with justice, suppose the chronicler to be guilty of arbitrary exaggeration, but we must rather suspect the text of corruption, which is all the more probable, since the verse in question bears even elsewhere marks of corruption.” According to v. Meyer’s probable conjecture, instead of מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים, we should read: אמות עשרים, i.e., 20 cubits (in Ezek. 42:16 also, whether the reading be אמות or מאית is uncertain). The latter is adopted by the Syr., the Arab., and the Sept. (Cod. Alexand.). Thenius and Bertheau maintain, on the other hand, that as the house was 30 cubits high, the sign ל = 30 was originally in the text, but that through the obliteration of the upper portion of the letter it became כ = 20. And certainly, in behalf of the supposition that it was 30 cubits high, we may urge, in part, the absence of any statement of the height in our text, which is the more easily explicable if the height of the “porch” and of the temple were the same, and, in part, the circumstance that the side-building was 20 cubits high on the outside, consequently the “porch” would not have been especially distinctive or prominent had it been of the same height (Keil). That the “porch” had thick stone enclosure-walls with a wide entrance (Thenius), cannot be concluded from the obscure passage of Ezek. 41:26; still less is the view established that each side-wall had a window. To me it seems that the “porch” had only side-walls and a ceiling, but to have been entirely open in front, so that windows were unnecessary. The extremely inadequate description of the “porch,” contrasted with the very careful description of the house and of both its compartments, can only be founded in the fact that it did not belong especially, or as an integral part, to the sanctuary, but was only a subordinate addition thereto.
1 Kings 6:5. And against the wall of the house he built, &c. The word יָצוּעַ comes from יָצַעsternere, to spread or strew something for a bed, and means literally stratum, a bed (Ps. 63:6; Job 17:13). Symmachus renders it by κατάστρωμα. So this building was very properly called, because it spread itself out against the lower half of the house 30 cubits high, and, as it were, lay upon it. יָצוּעַ is gen. com. and stands as collective masculine in 1 Kings 6:5 and 10, of the whole of the side-structure (“chambers”), but it is feminine in 1 Kings 6:6, when the single, or three stories of the same, one over the other, are mentioned (see Gesen. on the word). The אֶת before קִירוֹת is scarcely the sign of the accus., “reaching to the walls” (Keil), but a preposition, and defines more particularly the preceding עַל—קִיר, as indeed both prepositions elsewhere are synonymous (comp. Ps. 4:7 with 67:2). If it can mean simply “in connection with the walls” (Thenius), then the statement is that (Umbau) “the chambers round about” were affixed to the walls. It went round the entire house, so that the two side-walls of the porch above stood free, and caused the latter to appear all the more distinctive. The three stories one above the other of this side-structure (1 Kings 6:5), had each צְלָעוֹת, i.e., literally “ribs” [joists, so Bp. Horsley on the place.—E. H.], which can mean nothing else than that they were “divided by partitions into distinct compartments” (Merz). It comes to the same thing when Keil, who rejects “ribs” as the meaning, translates nevertheless “side-chambers.” According to Ezek. 41:6, where, however, the reading is not entirely certain, the number of these chambers was 33: according to Josephus, with whom the moderns agree, there were 30—viz., 12 upon each side-wall of the house, and 6 upon the rear-wall.
1 Kings 6:6 states how the entire side-structure (“chambers round about”) were built into the chief-structure, the house itself. The wall of the latter had, upon the outside, rests (מִגְרָעוֹת, literally contractions, lessenings [“for he placed stays with retractions against the house.” Bp. Horsley.—E. H.]). It was thickest at the ground, and kept this thickness to the height of five cubits; then succeeded a rest (like a settle), which was one cubit broad. Then again, after an elevation of five cubits, there was another rest, one cubit broad; there was also another rest of like height and breadth. Upon these rests the ends of the beams, which served for the ceiling of each story, were laid, and had in them their support. The outer wall of the side-structure had no rests, but was built perpendicularly; hence, as our verse states, the uppermost story was one cubit broader (deeper) than the middle, and the middle again was one cubit broader than the lowermost. The wall also of the house must have been very thick below—at least four cubits, for its thickness above the side-structure, bearing in mind the rests, amounted certainly to one cubit. Thenius and Keil place the thickness at six cubits, but this seems unnecessary. The reason given for this mode of construction is, “ that the beams should not be fastened into the walls of the house” i.e., that the large, costly stones should remain whole and uninjured (שְׁלֵמָה), that no holes should be cut into them for the purpose of inserting the ends of the ceiling-beams. 1 Kings 6:7, which is a parenthesis, refers to this, and means that “all the stone-work had been so prepared in advance, that in the actual putting up of the building, stone-cutting was no longer necessary” (Thenius). According to 1 Kings 6:8, the entire side-structure had but one door, which was placed on the south side: whether in the middle (Thenius) or at the foremost apartment near the porch (Ewald, Merz) is uncertain; probably the latter. That a door within the house opened into the side-structure, has been erroneously concluded from Ezek. 41:5. The walls of the house were nowhere broken through, and certainly the historical account knows nothing of such a door. The winding stairway obviously was within the side-structure. The word צֵלָע in 1 Kings 6:8, and in Ezek. 41:5, 9, 11, is like יָצוּעַ in 1 Kings 6:5 and 10, in the singular, and stands collectively for the whole of the side-chambers.—The text says nothing of the perpendicular outside wall of the side-structure. Thenius appeals to Ezek. 41:9 for the supposition that this was a stone-wall five cubits thick. In that case it would have been as thick as the side-chambers of the lower story were broad (1 Kings 6:6): and why should the wall of these have been so thick? Then, too, the ceiling-beams of these chambers would, of necessity, have been inserted into these walls, which is inconsistent with 1 Kings 6:7. Hence it seems to me much more probable that this exterior wall, as indeed the entire side-structure, which was only subordinate in any event, was built of cedar.—The text does not state the purpose or design of these “chambers round about.” They served for the preservation of temple utensils and temple stores (Keil), perhaps also of consecrated gifts (Ewald); but they were scarcely “expensively furnished bedrooms” (Thenius).
1 Kings 6:9–10. And so he built the house, &c. In roofing, the building of the house was ended. But we must not, as many formerly, and even Hirt himself now, fancy a gable-roof. The silence of the text respecting its form allows us to presuppose that it was, as with all oriental buildings, a flat roof furnished with a parapet (comp. Deut. 22:8). וַיִּבְּפֹּן is not, with Merz, to be understood of the wainscoting, but, with Keil, of the roofing, for the account of the former begins first at 1 Kings 6:15. גֵּבִים are not planks, as the word for the most part is translated, but beams, as such were certainly indispensable for roofing. שְׂדֵרֹת are scarcely “hewn cedar-timbers” (Thenius), but boards which were laid upon the beams. The באָרֲזָיִם refer to both the preceding. Without doubt this cedar covering was overlaid with firm flooring, perhaps even with stone slabs. Thenius very unnecessarily wishes גַּבִּים to be read for גֵּבִים, and then suggests “a flat roof vaulting” but in the ancient Orient there were never any arched roofs. In 1 Kings 6:10הַיָּצוּעַ is again collective, for, according to it, not the whole side-structure, but each of its three stories, was five cubits high inside. The mention of the side-structure here is in reference to the roofing. While 1 Kings 6:9 speaks of the roofing of the house, 1 Kings 6:10 states how it is related to that of the side-structure. Therefore the height is again mentioned, with the observation, “and he fastened the house with timber of cedar.” If Solomon be the subject with the preceding וַיִּבֶן (Thenius), or יָצוּעַ (Keil), the sense is: the roofing of the three stories (five cubits high each) of the side-structure was done with cedar timbers, which, with their ends, lay upon the rests of the walls of the temple, and likewise united the side-structure with the house, thus making it a complete whole. Entirely false is the translation: he covered the house with cedar-wood (Gesenius), as if the stonewalls were overlaid, upon the inside, with cedar, of which there is nowhere the slightest trace. That the roof of the side-structure, moreover, was horizontal, level, like that of the house itself, scarcely requires mention.
1 Kings 6:11–19. And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, &c. The interruption of the description of the temple, by these verses, shows plainly that what is therein stated took place during the progress of the building. From 1 Kings 9:2, comp. with 3:5, it is clear that we have to think not of a revelation of Jehovah, but of a divine promise communicated through a prophet (perhaps Nathan), such as happened to David (2 Sam. 7:12 sq. and 1 Chron. 22:10), to which reference is made in 1 Kings 6:12. Solomon thereby obtained the promise that Jehovah, as He had formerly dwelt among the people in a “tabernacle,” for the sign and pledge of the covenant established with Israel, would dwell in the house about to be built, and that the covenant-relation also should continue, if the king upon his part should keep the covenant, and walk in the ordinances of Jehovah. Such a promise necessarily encouraged and strengthened Solomon in his great and difficult undertaking, as it reminded and urged him to the performance of his sacred obligations.
1 Kings 6:14–19. So Solomon built the house, &c. 1 Kings 6:14 resumes the description of the building, which had been interrupted by 1 Kings 6:11–13, and which from 1 Kings 6:15 is applied to its interior. The overlaying of walls with wood, which again was covered with metal, and gold in particular, is an old Oriental custom, extending from Phœnicia to Judea (comp. Müller, Archœology, translated by John Leitch, p. 214 sq.; Schnaase, Gesch. der bild. Künste, i. s. 160; Weiss, Kostümkunde, i. s. 365). The covering with gold was not mere gilding, but consisted of thin gold plates (Symb. des Mos. Kultus, i. s. 60). According to 2 Chron. 3:6, the walls also were adorned with precious stones, which is credible enough since these were expressly named amongst the objects which Solomon obtained in abundance from Ophir (1 Kings 10:11), and it was the custom in the Orient to make use of them in buildings and utensils (comp. the same, s. 280, 294, 297).
1 Kings 6:16 says explicitly and distinctly that the main space was separated from the Debir by a cedar wall; hence surely it is an error upon the part of Thenius when, by an appeal to Ezek. 41:3, he supposes, in place of this wall, a stone-wall two cubits thick covered with wood and gold. Even in the tabernacle of the covenant it was not a plank-wall (Ex. 26:15), but a curtain merely (1 Kings 6:33) which separated its two divisions from each other. Even the massively-constructed Herodian temple had no such wall, of which besides, the Rabbins, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud. i., 5, 5, 5), knew nothing (Lightfoot, Descrip. temp. Hieros., 1 Kings 15:1). The cedar wall, for the rest, since it reached from the ground to the beams of the ceiling, must have been thirty cubits high. The addition “לְקֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּ to לִדְבִיר shows the design of the latter, and proves that the דְּבִיר does not mean oraculum or locutorium, for had it this signification, its object would have been denoted by the word itself, and no explanatory addition would have been necessary.—According to 1 Kings 6:16–20 the two divisions of the house were of the following dimensions: the room at the farthest end took off from the entire length of the building (which was 60 cubits), twenty, and from its height (30 cubits), twenty. It was also, as is expressly stated in 1 Kings 6:20, twenty cubits long, broad, and high, and consequently was a complete cube in shape. The front compartment was forty cubits long, twenty broad, and thirty high. For since its breadth and height are not given here (1 Kings 6:17), it must have had the breadth and height of the house mentioned above (1 Kings 6:2), otherwise, as in the case of the rear compartment, it would have been expressly noticed. That the front compartment was not only longer, but higher also, larger generally than the rear, its name even proves הֵיכָל (see above on 1 Kings 6:2). It is hence decidedly incorrect when Kurtz and Merz suppose that the front compartment was only twenty cubits high, that over the entire house there was an upper room ten cubits high fitted up for the conservation of the reliques of the tabernacle of the covenant, and that this room is designated by what 2 Chron. 3:9 names הָעֲלִיות, and which the Sept. renders by τὸ ὑπερῷον. The following considerations make against this view: (1) How could one have reached this supposed upper chamber? Not from the side-structure, for the ceiling of its uppermost story did not reach to the floor of the supposed “upper room:” the thick walls of the house, moreover, had no door above the level of the side-structure. Just as little could one have reached it from the interior of the house, for in neither compartment was there a stairway which led thither: there was no opening in the ceiling. (2) The windows of the house (1 Kings 6:4) were above the side-structure, which (the ceilings of the three stories being taken into the account) was certainly eighteen cubits high: there remained, therefore, the house being thirty cubits high, but twelve cubits for the windows. If now from these twelve cubits, ten are allowed for the upper room, what space remains for the windows, which certainly were not very small, and which were necessary to admit light and air into the house? (3) From the extremely abrupt words of the Chronicles, “And the alioth he covered with gold,” it follows only that alioth (upper chambers) were somewhere, but not where they were; and since the Chronicles in its abbreviated description says nothing of the entire side-structure with its stories and chambers, we have at least as much right, with Grüneisen, to suppose the alioth to be the chambers of the side-structure, as an upper room extending the length of the whole building, and which is nowhere else mentioned. The reliques of the tabernacle could easily have been preserved in the several chambers of the side-structure. [For the other view, see Art. Temple, above cited. But our author seems to me to have fully disposed of this doubtful matter. It would seem impossible from our author’s reasoning that there should have been a large upper chamber over the “holy place.”—E. H.] If now we must, according to all the accounts, regard the front compartment as thirty cubits high, the question still remains respecting its relation to the rear, which was but twenty cubits high. Stieglitz and Grüneisen are of the opinion that the rear compartment, viewed externally, was ten cubits lower than the front, which was the case also with Egyptian temples [and like the chancel in the so-called Gothic church.—E. H.]. But 1 Kings 6:2 conflicts with this: it gives the height of the entire house at thirty cubits, and does not limit it to the front compartment. Apart from all other considerations, we cannot appeal to the adytum of the Egyptian temples, because it was not connected with the fore-temple, but was separated from it by chambers and passages, and was an independent structure (Müller, Archœology, p. 190 sq.; Leitch (German edit.) s. 258; Schnaase, Gesch. der bild. Künste, i. s. 392). We must certainly assume that there was a room over the rear compartment ten cubits high. Böttcher thinks this was open in front and only having chains hanging as its partition (1 Kings 6:21); in itself, “very improbable” this (Winer), and besides it is against 1 Kings 6:16, according to which the cedar wall before the holy of holies went from the floor to the beams of the ceiling. Besides, 1 Kings 6:20 does not say that the cedar wall was only twenty cubits high, but only brings into prominence the fact that on all its sides the holy of holies measured twenty cubits. As the room in question was inaccessible, Ewald rightly observes that it “had been left apparently entirely empty.” It had no especial design, and was what it was simply that the holy of holies might be a perfect cube. Upon this point more will be remarked farther on, in respect of the significance of the temple. For particular words on 1 Kings 6:17–20, see above, Textual and Gram.
1 Kings 6:20–22. And covered the altar, &c. And he overlaid the altar with cedar. Thus only should we translate the concluding words of the 20th verse, and not, with Le Clerc, J. D. Michaelis, and others—he overlaid the altar of cedar, namely, with gold like the rest. Apart from the fact that מִזְבֵּחַ is without the article, and not in the construct, the “gold” is first mentioned in the concluding words of the 22d verse. There the altar is more specifically referred to by אֲשֶׁר ־ לַדְּבִיר, which cannot mean “which belonged to the Debir,” in the sense that it stood within it; for the holy of holies was designed only as the receptacle of the ark of the covenant (1 Kings 6:19), and never had an altar. The altar of incense in the holy place is meant. Its position was “in front of the curtain” (לִפְנֵי) (Exod. 40:26), i.e., “before the ark of the testimony” (Exod. 40:5), and therewith also “before Jehovah” (Lev. 16:12, 18), enthroned above the ark. It stood also in special relation to the Debir. If now this altar were “overlaid” with cedar, we are shut up to the supposition that “the body of it was of stone” (Keil). But this was the peculiar, distinguishing feature of the altar of burnt-offering, which was required to be composed of earth or of stones (Exod. 20:24, 25), and the frame of which, consequently, was filled with the same material (comp. Symbol, des Mos. Kult., i. s. 481, 488). The much smaller altar of incense was a simple frame with a covering, which was wanting in the altar of burnt-offering (Exod. 30:1–3). In distinction with the latter, it is named in Ezek. 41:22, “the altar of wood.” The body of it could not have been of stone. These difficulties disappear only through the translation of the Sept.: καὶ ἐποίησε θυσιαστήριον κέδρου. It read also ויַּעַשׂ instead of וַיְצַף, which Thenius holds to be genuine. In that case the absence of the article in מִזְבֵּחַ is explained, as well also as the concluding observation in 1 Kings 6:22: And the whole altar [of cedar] before the Debir, he overlaid with gold.
The words in 1 Kings 6:21 are obscure and difficult: וַיְעַבֵּר(and he made a partition) by the chains of gold before the oracle (Debir). Thenius is of opinion that the subject here, viz., אֶת־הַפָּרֹכֶת is omitted, and then translates, “he hung the curtain before the Debir with gold chains.” This curtain was before the door of the latter, and was hung in such a manner that it could be moved this way and that, “by means of golden chainlets each provided with an end-ring, upon a round stick upon which these rings were made to slide.” But this mysterious chain-work, as Winer names it, is by no means “forever explained and done with,” by this suggestion. For, according to it, the chief thing in the text, the mention of the curtain, is wanting. But no MS. nor any ancient version names this supposed missing object. And if any one wish to insert it, then must the words “and he overlaid it with gold” refer to the curtain; and this is impossible. Besides, the text says only “with chains,” and does not know anything either of end-rings or of round sticks, both of which are essential, and far more necessary than the “chainlet” for the sliding, this way and that, of the curtain. With De Wette, Gesenius, Ewald, and Merz, יעבר is to be translated, he bolted, as in Chaldaic עברא means a bolt, and for בְרִיחִם, i.e., bolt (Exod. 26:26), the Chaldee has עברין. But then the question is, what was bolted? According to Calmet and others, it was only the, door of the Debir, which had two leaves. But in that case it would have been necessary to take away the chains on the day of Atonement—a thing nowhere hinted at, and in itself highly improbable. Obviously the bolting chains were not a movable but a fixed contrivance running across the entire wall. They held together the parts of the wall made of cedar, like the bolts on the planks of the tabernacle (Exod. 26:26), and likewise represented the Debir as a barred, closed room. A further argument for this: רתוקות comes from רתק, which means to bind, to chain together, and in Arabic to shut up, and the expression צָפוֹן the concealed, the closed, is used by Ezek. (7:22) of the holy of holies. The supposition of v. Meyer and Grüneisen, that there was in the cedar wall an opening above the door, which like the capitals of the two brazen columns was covered (1 Kings 7:15 sq.;2 Chron. 3:16) with a net or lattice-work, is just as untenable as that the chains served the purpose of decoration only (Jahn).—In 1 Kings 6:22 all that had been said hitherto about the gilding, [done with thin plates and not with gold-leaf.—E. H.] is again brought together and emphasized. It is by no means declared by the expression “the whole house,” that the interior of the porch was gilt (Thenius): it refers only to the holy place and to the holy of holies, since the porch is explicitly distinguished from the house (Keil).
1 Kings 6:23–28.—And within the oracle (Debir) he made two chambers, &c. The reason why olive-wood was used in the construction of these figures was owing to its firmness and durability. In Greece it was employed to make images of the gods (Winer, R.-W.-B., ii. s. 172). The etymology of the word כְּרוּב is to this day so variously stated, that nothing reliable can be gathered from it respecting the form and shape of the cherubim. From Exod. 25:18 sq. and 37:7 sq., we gather only thus much—that the cherubim over the ark had two wings, and that their faces were opposite each other and directed towards the ark. Nor do we learn anything more from our text and from 2 Chron. 3:10–13. It is only said that each was ten cubits high, and that each of the wings measured five cubits; that they stood upon their feet, and that their faces were turned towards the house, i.e., towards the large compartment, and also how that those upon the ark of the covenant could have had but one face.
Ezekiel, on the other hand, in his vision of the throne of God and of the temple, gives something more definite. According to the first and tenth chapters the cherubim were חַיוֹת, i.e.,ζῶα, living creatures (not θῆρες, wild beasts) with four wings and four faces. On the right side the faces were those of a man and of a lion, on the left those of a bull and of an eagle. The human element seems to have preponderated in their form (1 Kings 6:5). But according to 1 Kings 41:18, the cherubim represented upon the walls and doors of the temple, between palm-trees, had but two faces, the one of a man and the other of a lion. The former were on the right side and the latter on the left. The apocalyptic vision of the throne, Rev. 4:7, in which the four types of creatures composing the cherub are separated and stand round the throne, having six wings each, rests upon that of Ezekiel. From everything we have, it appears that the cherub was not a simple but a complex or collective being; and when he has now one, then two, then again four faces, or two, or four, or six wings; when, too, the four types of which he is composed are separated side by side, so we gather still farther that he had no unalterable, fixed form, but that one element or another was prominent or subordinate according to circumstances. In fact, one element might even disappear without any change in the fundamental idea attaching to the cherub. This has been questioned warmly by Riehm recently (De Natura et notione symbolica Cheruborum. Basil, 1864). He maintains that before the exile the cherub had a fixed form, viz., that of a man standing upright, with wings. The later description in Ezekiel’s vision is a departure from this characteristic and original form, and, for the sake of the “throne, chariot” moving towards the four quarters of the world, gives to the cherubim with it four faces, yet not four component parts. The three faces added to the original one human face by Ezekiel are borrowed from the grandest and strongest of creatures whether living on the earth or in the air. He was induced to do this probably by the Babylonian grouping together of animals which he had learned during the captivity. We remark against this: If any person, on the one hand, knew well enough the forms of the cherubim both in the tabernacle and in the temple, and would, on the other hand, adhere firmly to ancestral institutions and to priestly traditions, that person was Ezekiel, the son of a priest. How is it possible that this prophet, who was emphatically warned by the sight of the “images of the Chaldeans,” doubtless mythological (Ezek. 23:14), portrayed on the walls, should himself have been induced, by means of these, to alter completely the sacred cherub-form, and to have made to it arbitrary and self-appointed additions? Umbreit (Hesekiel, s. xii.) rightly says: “So far as the form of the cherubim is concerned, the prophet has certainly copied the original type of the temple, the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle floating in his imagination, with conscientious fidelity; but in particular instances he has enriched the idea by the addition of more complete features, without changing anything essentially.” The assertion that he gives to the cherub not a fourfold composition, but only four faces, is a mistake, take, for he gives to him the feet of a bull, the wings of an eagle, and the hands of a man (Ezek. 1:6–9); and in the passage 1 Kings 10:14, which, indeed, in a critical respect is not free from suspicion, the word כְרוּב stands for bull, so that many interpreters think that the bull is the prevailing element in the composition of the cherub. Besides, in every living creature the face is the chief thing, by which in fact it is recognized; and when Ezekiel gives to the cherub four faces, he signifies thereby that those four types of being unite therein. To delineate cherubim is consequently a hazardous business, because the form is not fixed; nor as yet is there anything perfectly satisfactory. The latest, by Thenius (tab. 3, fig. 7), is borrowed, almost painfully, from Egyptian sculptures. It is remarkable that the archæologists are forever finding the original of the cherub in Egypt, while neither the sphinx nor any other Egyptian complex creature presents the four types united in the cherub. On the other hand, Asiatic, and particularly Assyrian, images, exhibit all four together (comp. Neumann, die Stiftshütte, s. 68 sq.). Nevertheless the cherub is not a copy of these, but is the pure and specific product of Hebrew contemplation. Upon this, more, farther on.—The words of 1 Kings 6:24 state that the four horizontally outstretched wings took in the entire breadth of the Debir (twenty cubits); that they also touched on the right and left, the north and south wall, and each other in the centre, while it presupposes that they (i.e., the wings) stood close to each other at the shoulder-blades. Under the outspread wings the ark of the covenant was placed, as 1 Kings 8:6 plainly says; and it is hence an error when Ewald asserts that the cover of the ark was renewed, and in place of the old cherubim, those massive wooden and gilt were fastened upon it—a thing impossible, for they stood 10 cubits apart (1 Kings 6:27), while the ark was 3½ cubits long (Exod. 25:10).
1 Kings 6:29–30.—And he carved all the walls of the house, &c. Comp. 1 Kings 6:18. Keil and others understand by מִקְלַעַת “basso-relievo,” Vulgate cœlaturœ eminentes, which, however, cannot be established by the word itself. For although קָלַע means to set in motion, to sling (1 Sam. 17:40; 25:29; Jer. 10:18), this signification is not available here. But it becomes clear through the following פִּתּוּחֵי from פָּתַח to break open, to open, then to furrow, to plough (Is. 28:24); פִּתּוִּחים in Exod. 28:11; 39:6, is used for the work of the graver in stone, and in Exod. 28:36; 39:30 of engraving in metal. The figures, moreover, were not in basso relievo, but were sunken. 1 Kings 7:31 cannot avail, for with reference to the figures upon the flat surface of the “bases,” it is said in 1 Kings 6:36וַיְפַתַּח, and this agrees with קָלַע, which means in Arabic, loco dimovit. Most of the figurative representations upon the old Egyptian monuments were wrought after this fashion (Thenius). The forms of the cherubim upon the walls were different from the colossal figures under which the ark in the Debir rested. According to Ezek. 41:19, “a lion-face was towards a palm-tree upon one side, and a man’s face towards the palm-tree on the other side,” so that there was always a cherub between two palm-trees. These had not four faces, but assuredly the wings of the eagle and the feet of the bull were not wanting. We are not to think of palm-branches (Ewald), nor of palm-leaves (Luther), but of palm-trees, such as we see upon ancient coins, and such as Titus caused to be struck off, out of the booty from Jerusalem, with the inscription Judœa capta (Lamy, de Tabernaculo, p. 783; Winer, R.-W.-B., i. s. 252). We may, with the Arabic version, understand by “open flowers,” lilies, for these certainly belonged to the emblems of the sanctuary (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26). 1 Kings 6:18 names, besides the flowers, פְּקָעִים also, which is regarded generally as synonymous with פַקֻּעֹת, 2 Kings 4:39, and is translated “coloquinths” (i.e., wild or spring gerkins which burst at the touch). We should then understand by it: “egg-shaped decorations like that of our architectonics.” (Thenius, Keil). But the intimate connection with graven figures in the highest degree significant, such as cherubim, palm-trees, and lilies, makes against a wholly meaningless, empty decoration, a thing not known to oriental sacred architecture. Add to this that in another passage the פַּקֻּעֹת are described as deadly, a fruit so dangerous and unwholesome would have suggested just the opposite of that which was represented by the other symbolical figures. If it were employed simply on account of its egg-shape, why these “coloquinths,” since they were not alone round, why not eggs simply? The stem פָּקַע does not mean simply to burst, but also circumire, in hiphil conglomerare, circumagere, and פקעתinvolucrum, glomus, globus, so also פקיעאglomus, fasciculus convolutus vel colligatus (Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. et Talm., p. 1790). In its intimate connection with פְטוּרֵי צִצִים, will פְּקָעִים be taken to mean flower-bundles, i.e., buds; and so the translation is, budding and blown flowers (flower-work). Possibly this flower-work had the form of wreaths, only we can scarcely, with Thenius, translate פטורי = “festoons, garlands of flowers.” Whether the three kinds of graven figures were distributed in single panels, and such panels were in two or three rows, one over the other, after the analogy of Egyptian temples, must be left undecided, owing to the silence of the text.—Thenius wishes the “without” of 1 Kings 6:29 and 30 to be understood of the porch; but nothing has been said of the porch from 1 Kings 6:3, and it would have been necessary therefore to designate it by a word. According to 1 Kings 6:20מִלִּפְנִים can be referred only to the Debir, and not to the interior of the whole house, consequently by לַחִיצוֹן the large compartment must be meant.
1 Kings 6:31–35. And for the entering of the oracle, &c. The rabbins, whom many interpreters, even to v. Meyer and Stier, follow, translate the difficult words הָאַיִל מְזוּזוֹת חֲמִּשִּׁית: “the lintel (entablature) of the (or with the) posts, a pentagon.” The sense would then be: the lintel of the doors supported two posts abutting one against the other, at an angle which, with it, formed a triangle, and together with the door, a pentagon. [Thus: E. H.] But this is decisively contradicted by that which follows in 1 Kings 6:33 of the door of the larger compartment, the corresponding מֵאֵת רְבִעִית, which cannot possibly be translated “out or of a four-cornered, i.e., a square,” but only “out of a fourth.” Besides this, a pentagonal door is without an example in the ancient East. Böttcher and Thenius translate, “the entrance-wall with posts of a fifth thickness.” But this is founded upon the wholly erroneous supposition that the wall before the holy of holies was two cubits thick (see above, on 1 Kings 6:16); of which two cubits, then, the door-posts must have taken in a fifth. Suppose that אַיִל here means the entrance-wall, still חֲמִשִּׁית can never be translated “fifth thickness.” “It is in the highest degree surprising that when the thickness of the entrance-wall door-posts is stated, nothing is said of the size of the doors themselves” (Keil). Manifestly the text states just this, but still does not say that from each wall there were five cubits to the door: for the doors midway, there were ten cubits remaining (Lightfoot), but the entrance to the Debir took in, with the posts, a fifth of the wall, i.e., was four cubits broad.18 The entrance to the chief compartment, on the other hand (1 Kings 6:33), measured one fourth of the wall, was consequently five cubits broad, and larger than that which opened into the Debir, which was appropriate enough for the main entrance. The height of the two entrances is not given. According to 1 Kings 6:34 the two wings of the door of entrance into the holy place were folding leaves, i.e., either they were longitudinally like leaves bound together, which could be so folded that it would not be necessary always to open the whole door-wing (Thenius); or the two leaves were the upper and lower halves of each door-wing (Keil, Mertz, Ewald); probably the latter.—From the words of 1 Kings 6:32: “and spread gold upon the cherubim,” as well as “fitted upon the carved work” (1 Kings 6:35), Thenius concludes that the figures only, both upon the doors and also the walls of the temple, were overlaid, so that “they must have contrasted splendidly with the brown-red cedar.” But this contradicts 1 Kings 6:20, 30, and especially 1 Kings 6:22, where עַד־תֹּם is expressly added to the “whole house,” which does not say merely that such gold-overlaying was partial throughout the house, but that the interior was completely so overlaid. The very floor, upon which no figures were carved, was overlaid with gold; surely the walls and doors were not partially so only. The problematical addition in both verses renders conspicuous the fact that the overlaying with gold did not cover up the figures carved upon the wood, but that it was impressed upon all the elevations and the depressions alike, and that they could be distinctly seen (Keil).—The Chronicles mentions, besides the doors (2 Chron. 3:7), the veil also (3:14), the presence of which is not to be doubted (after Ewald), since the object of it was not to divide the two compartments, but rather to cover the ark with the throne (Exod. 40:3, 21), and was an essential feature of the sanctuary. If even the Herodian temple, which did not contain the ark of the covenant, had nevertheless “the veil of the covering” (Exod. 39:34; 35:12; Matt. 27:51), how much less would Solomon have dispensed with it. The non-mention of it in the account now before us has no more significance than when, in the following verses, the inner court alone is described, and the fact of the “outer” court is entirely passed by.
1 Kings 6:36–38. And he built the inner court, &c. This designation presupposes a larger court, which is mentioned expressly in the Chronicles (2 Chron. 4:9), and, in distinction from that of “the priests,” is described as “the great court.” The inner court is called, in Jer. 36:10, the “higher,” because it lay somewhat above the level of the court intended for the people. The statements about the structure of both are singularly meagre. No one doubts that they were square-shaped (comp. Exod. 27:9 sq.;Ez. 40:47). The words, “three rows of hewed stones,” &c., can refer only to the enclosing walls. There were three rows of squared stones, one over the other, and a layer of cedar. כְּרֻתֹת are certainly not beams properly, but planks, thick boards, for of what use would beams have been here? The opinion that upright cedar beams, resting upon the uppermost row of stones, formed a low palisade, is erroneous (Merz). The people in the outer court, by such an arrangement, would have been deprived of a view of the sanctuary and of the holy offices in the inner court. It was manifestly but a low enclosure, over which those outside of it could look (2 Chron. 7:3). The outer court doubtless had stone walls surrounding it because, according to 2 Chron. 4:9, doors overlaid with brass led into it. Our account mentions nothing of cells or chambers in the forecourt spoken of in 2 Kings 23:11; Jer. 35:2; 36:10. But perhaps Solomon built some of them; at least they were, according to 1 Chron. 28:12, originally intended.—We can but offer conjectures about the dimensions of the courts. “Following the analogy of the tabernacle, by doubling the spaces we may estimate the court of the priests at 200 cubits long from east to west, and 100 cubits wide from north to south… The outer or great court must have been at least as large” (Keil). In the temple of Ezekiel, whose measurements and definitions, especially in the matter of the courts, are to be regarded as least of all purely historical, both of them are perfect squares (Ezek. 42:15–20; Thenius).—The very carefully stated length of time for the building of the temple, given in 1 Kings 6:37, 38, was reasonably short, and shows with what zeal the work was carried on, especially when we consider that, according to Pliny (Hist. Nat., xxxvi. 12), all Asia was 200 years building the temple of Diana at Ephesus. As the month Zif was the second, and the month Bul the eighth, the time occupied in the building was about seven and a half years. Whether in this the time also is to be reckoned for the substructions19 which Josephus mentions, and also for the cutting of the wood, and the hewing of the stones, is an idle question. If now we cast a glance over the whole of the description of the temple, full and explicit as it is in details, it is not sufficient to enable us to delineate a complete, well-assured drawing of it, because, as Winer very properly remarks, many points which must be clear in a drawing are passed over without a word, and others remain more or less uncertain. This is especially true in respect of outward forms and architectural style, which, in a drawing, are matters of supreme importance. Upon this point scarcely anything more can be said than that the building on the whole was “rectilinear, and of box-form” (Merz). It is certain that the builders, artists, and workmen who executed it, were all Phœnicians (1 Kings 5:6; 7:14), whence it follows that the style of the building, in so far as the preserved ground-plan and design of the tabernacle was not required by Solomon, was Phœnician. But since all adequate descriptions of Phœnician buildings, and all memorials, such as are still extant in Egypt, are wanting, we know nothing of the distinguishing peculiarity of Phœnician architecture, which certainly, since the material employed was chiefly wood, must have differed essentially from the much later Græco-Roman, and especially from the Egyptian, which made use exclusively of hard stone (Schnaase, Gesch. der bild. Künste, i. s. 238, 249). The older drawings, therefore, in Græco-Roman style, by Villalpand, Lundy, &c., as also the later, in Egyptian style, by Hirt and Kopp, are wholly unsatisfactory. Had Solomon wished to build in the Egyptian style, he would not have summoned Phœnician workmen, but Egyptian, whom he could have easily procured from his royal father-in-law. The most recent drawings by Thenius and Keil (bibl. Archœologie) rest upon a careful study of the text, and are therefore much to be preferred to all the earlier ones; but even they, from the considerations already adduced, cannot lay claim in all respects to truth. Strong but not unfounded is the view of Romberg and Steger (Gesch. der Baukunst, i. s. 26): “It is just as easy to portray a living man from a tolerably well preserved skeleton, as to succeed in copying a building which shall correspond to its reality, when but few and uncertain remains of its style of architecture are in our possession.” Many as are the gaps of the biblical account in respect of architecture, it nevertheless contains all which can contribute to the knowledge of the religious ideas upon which the temple was founded; it serves also to our understanding of its significance, and this is the chief concern here.
The Soterio-historical Significance of the Temple
1. The unusually careful chronological date about the building of the temple (1 Kings 6:1 and 37, 38) manifestly places it high above the series of ordinary events, and proclaims it as an especially weighty, epoch-making occurrence in the theocratic history (Heilsgeschichte). Comp. Introd. § 3. This would not have been the case if an architectonic work, or a building giving evidence of power and wealth simply, were concerned. It is its thoroughly religious character which causes it to appear as such a momentous transaction, and for the sake of which it is so circumstantially described. The product of theocratic ideas, it is likewise the expression of them. If the entire cultus were no idle ceremony, still less could the structure, where this cultus became concentrated, be an empty, meaningless piece of architectural splendor. All the ancients so founded, arranged, and adorned their temples that they were the expression and the representation of their specific religious contemplation (comp. Symb. des Mos. Kult., i. s. 91 sq.). The temple of Solomon would have been an exception to all the sacred buildings of high antiquity, had it not been the expression of the specifically Israelitish, Old Testament ideas of religion. Weighty as an inquiry into its outward material may be, the need of investigation and information respecting its religious meaning is much greater.
2. The significance of the temple as a whole and in general is sufficiently stated by the builder himself in the discourse delivered at its solemn consecration, and in the longer prayer connected with it (1 Kings 8:10–53).
(a) Solomon begins the discourse with the words, “I have built thee an house to dwell in (זְבֻל), a settled place for thee to abide in forever” (1 Kings 8:13; 2 Chron. 6:2). The first and most general destination of the temple was, to be a dwelling-place of Jehovah. But that this dwelling was not in the remotest degree connected with the heathenish superstition, that God stood in need of a shelter, like a man, and could be confined within a given space, the words which soon follow demonstrate (1 Kings 6:27): “behold the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house that I have builded.” The dwelling of Jehovah with or in the midst of Israel is rather the immediate result of the choice of them to be His peculiar and covenant people, and in a measure coincides with it. As, according to the Hebrew use of speech in general, dwelling with any one is as much as to be bound to, to be in fellowship with (comp. e.g. Ps. 1:1; 5:5; 120:5), and even the marriage relation is expressed by “dwelling with” (Gen. 30:20; Ezra 10:2, 10; Neh. 13:23, 27), so also Jehovah’s dwelling with Israel denotes His connection and fellowship with this people, and stands in the closest relation to the “covenant.” Comp. Exod. 29:45, 46: “And they shall know that I am the Lord their God that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them.” Lev. 26:12 sq.: “And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” So also Ezek. 37:27. Immediately upon the “election,” and the conclusion of the covenant, follows the command, Exod. 25:8: “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” But inasmuch as the Old Testament covenant relation moves in the sphere of bodily, visible forms, so also is Jehovah’s dwelling local, visible, and requires consequently a dwelling-place, which can be a tent as well as a temple. As little as Jehovah, by the choice of Israel from among all peoples, has ceased to be the God of the whole earth (Exod. 19:5), just so little has He, by His dwelling-place in the midst of His people, ceased to be everywhere in heaven and upon earth. This dwelling-place does not contain Him; He is not banished to a particular place, but in the place where Israel dwells there He is, and dwells also in their midst, for “He has not chosen the people for the sake of the dwelling-place, but the dwelling-place for the sake of the people” (2 Maccab. 5:19). So His dwelling-place is the visible sign and pledge of the covenant relation. The “dwelling-house” is, as such, the house of the covenant. To this first signification of the house another immediately attaches itself. The dwelling of Jehovah in a specific place, includes within itself the conception of witnessing, and of revealing himself, in so far as God, where He makes and declares himself to be known, is and remains, and so dwells. Hence the conceptions of dwelling and of revealing himself coincide. Jacob named the place where a revelation was made to him the house of God, though there was no house or dwelling-place there. Subsequently he built an altar and called the place Beth-el, for “there had God revealed himself to him” (Gen. 28:12–19; 35:7). By שְׁכִינָה from שָׁכַן to dwell, the Rabbins, as is known, express the highest form of revelation. Christ says of him to whom He and the Father reveal themselves, we will “make our abode with him” (John 14:21–23). The place of the dwelling of Jehovah is eo ipso the place of divine attestation and revelation, the place where He will speak with Israel, and declare himself to him (Exod. 29:42 sq.): in the innermost portion of the dwelling, hence, is the testimonial of the covenant הָעֵדוּת, which means simply the witness, and the dwelling itself consequently is named “the dwelling (tent) of the testimony” (Numb. 9:15; 17:23; 18:2).
(b) Solomon repeatedly refers to the design of the house, according to the word of Jehovah Himself—“that my name might be therein,” &c., “my name shall be there” (1 Kings 8:16, 29; comp. 2 Chron. 6:5; 2 Kings 23:27). In other places it is expressed thus: “to put my name there forever” (1 Kings 9:3; 2 Kings 21:7; comp. 1 Kings 11:36; 14:21; 2 Kings 21:4), or “that my name may dwell there” (Deut. 12:11; 14:23; 16:11; 26:2; Neh. 1:9), or in an abbreviated form, “ to (for the) name of Jehovah” (1 Kings 8:17–20, 48; 3:2; 5:17, 19; 2 Sam. 7:13; 1 Chron. 22:7, 19; 28:3, &c.). That the “name of Jehovah” has the same sense here as in Exod. 23:21, “for my name is in him”—the angel who leads Israel, that the formula does not say simply that the house is built to the glory of God, or that here God will be called upon and honored, scarcely needs mention. The name of God is God himself in so far as He makes himself known, declares and reveals himself. But in His relation to Israel, Jehovah declares himself essentially as the One who is holy and who will make holy; that He may be known as such, is the aim and object of the covenant, the sign and pledge of which is His dwelling in the midst of Israel (Exod. 29:43–46; Liv. 11:45). The name of Jehovah is hence essentially the “name of His holiness” (Lev. 20:3; Ps. 33:21; 103:1; 105:3; 106:47; 145:21; Is. 57:15; Ezek. 39:7, 25), and that the house was to be built to this name, David announced solemnly before all Israel (1 Chron. 29:16), “to build to thee an house for thy holy name.” With this end in view, the house is called in the Psalms “the temple of thy holiness” (Ps. 5:8; 79:1; 138:2); its two divisions are named simply “holy” and “holy of holies” (Exod. 26:33; 1 Kings 8:6, 8), and the whole, usually, טִקְדָשׁ (Exod. 25:8; Lev. 12:4; Ps. 74:7; 1 Chron. 28:10; Isa. 63:18; Ezek. 8:6; 9:6, &c.)—all of which presupposes that He who is and dwells here, is before all things and essentially, holy. So then the house of the dwelling is not so much in general the dwelling-place of the divine witnessing and revelation, as of the divine holiness revealing itself in particular. It is an abode of holiness and of sanctification. Here will Jehovah be known and understood by Israel as the Holy One and as Sanctifier, and thereby will be hallowed (Exod. 29:43–46; Liv. 20:3, 7; Ezek. 37:26–28).
(c) In his prayer Solomon says, “hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant and of thy people Israel when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou” in heaven thy dwelling-place (1 Kings 8:30). So also in the following verses “heaven thy dwelling-place” is placed repeatedly over-against “this house” (comp. 1 Kings 6:34, 39, 43, 49). This parallelizing of the temple and of heaven extends through the whole Scripture. Both are named alike, so that often we can scarcely decide whether the temple or heaven be meant. זבול stands for the temple in 1 Kings 8:13; 2 Chron. 6:2: for heaven in Isai. 63:15. מכון שׁבת is applied to the temple in 1 Kings 8:13; Exod. 15:17, to heaven in 1 Kings 8:30, 39, 43, 49; 2 Chron. 6:30, 33; Ps. 33:14. מעון = temple in Ps. 76:9; = heaven in 2 Chron. 30:27; Deut. 26:15; Jer. 25:30; Ps. 68:6. קדשׁ היכל = temple in Ps. 5:8; 79:1; 138: 2: = heaven in Mich. 1:2 sq.; Hab. 2:20; Ps. 11:4; (102:20; 18:7; Isai. 57:15). The Epistle to the Hebrews (1 Kings 9:24) names the sanctuary “made with hands,” “ the figure (antitype) of the true,” viz., of heaven, and the whole comparison between the high-priesthood of Christ and the Levitical is based upon this antitypical relation between heaven and the earthly, Old Testament sanctuary (1 Kings 4:14; 6:19, 20; 8:1, 2; 10:21), so that v. Gerlach on the place says, with propriety, “the earthly sanctuary is also an image of heaven itself.” When Solomon also at first designates the house he had built as “a settled place” (for thee to abide in), and then declares heaven to be the peculiar “place of thy dwelling,” he regards the temple itself as a heavenly dwelling-place. As Jacob named the place where God had declared and revealed himself to him, “the house of God” and the “gates of heaven” (Gen. 28:17), so the place where Jehovah dwells and is enthroned must needs appear as a counterpart of heaven. Not, however, as if the temple were a copy of the visible heaven, it is rather a symbolical representation which, by its symbols, points to the peculiar and true dwelling-place of God, heaven itself. The Jewish theology takes cognizance of an upper and a lower dwelling (משבן) of God, and lays down this proposition: “The house of the sanctuary which is below (מטן) is built after the house of the sanctuary which is above (מעלן)” (comp. the places in Schöttgen, Hor. Hebr., p. 1213). The apocalyptic σκηνὴ τοῦ θεοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, which are His people and whose God He is, comes down from heaven, and has the cube form (four-square) of the holy of holies of the temple (Rev. 21:3, 16).
(d) The widely-spread notion that the temple (tabernacle) is on the whole and generally “a representation of the theocracy of the kingdom of God in Israel” (Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Keil, and others) is decidedly erroneous. The “house of dwelling for Jehovah” is like heaven, before all, a place (1 Kings 8:13, 29, 35); but the theocracy, the kingdom of God, is not a place, but a divine-human relation. The dwelling of Jehovah in a house, in the midst of Israel, is, indeed, the outward sign and pledge of this relation, but not a figurative representation of it, and the conception of “the dwelling of Jehovah,” which expresses the fundamental idea of the temple, is in itself in no way identical with the theocracy or the kingdom of God. While temple and heaven have the same names, which would not be possible were there no parallel relation between them, temple and kingdom of God, or theocracy, have no one name in common. The very definite expression in Heb. 9:24 comes especially into notice here: according to it the earthly sanctuary made by hands is by no means a “copy of the kingdom of God,” but is the antitype of the true sanctuary, i. e., of heaven. Just as little as Christ, the high-priest, by His ascension went into the New Testament kingdom of God, but into heaven itself, there to appear before God for us, even so little did the Levitical high-priest, on the day of atonement, go into the kingdom of God, the theocracy, but into the earthly sanctuary, which represented the dwelling-place of God in heaven. There is no propriety in the appeal to the pattern of the tabernacle which was shown to Moses “on the mount” (Exod. 25:9, 40), as if it were heavenly indeed, but not a figure of heaven itself. For this pattern was itself only תַּבְנִית( ὑπόδειγμα and σκιὰ τῶν ἐπουρανίων, Heb. 8:5), and showed to Moses how he must make and arrange the earthly sanctuary (τὸ ἅγιον κοσμικόν, Heb. 9:1) in order that it might be a figure of the σκηυὴ ἡ ἀληθηνὴ οὐ χειροποίητος, i.e., of heaven, Heb. 9:11, 24). Christ did not enter into the “pattern” of the tabernacle, but into that which this pattern itself represented (comp. Delitzsch, Comm. zum Hebr. Br., s. 327, 336–338).
3. The significance of the temple in detail depends necessarily upon its significance in general, which is more fully defined and carried out by means of it. Here especially, above everything else, the ground-plan, i.e., the formal arrangement, is brought into consideration. This is like that of the tabernacle, the place of which was occupied by the temple, yet in so far forth modified and enlarged as the difference between the “house” and the “tent” carried with it. The component parts singly are as follows.
(a) The house, by its strongly enclosed walls, is represented as a whole, complete and independent in itself: and this must be well considered. This whole in the interior is divided into a front and rear compartment, which are not separated by a stone wall equally strong, but only by a board partition, and they are thereby designated as divisions of the one “dwelling.” The object and meaning of these two divisions, as well as their relation to each other, are shown by their names. The whole house is called מִקְדָּשׁ, the front division “holy,” the rear division “holy of holies.” Consequently the one dwelling of Jehovah, which essentially is the place of revelation and attestation of the holy and sanctifying God of Israel, has, as such, two divisions, which, since each bears the impress of the whole, cannot be two diverse dwellings, one by the other; but only divisions distinct from each other by way of grade. Divine revelation, in its nature and being, is a matter of degree—it is gradual, progressive. God is everywhere and always, but He does not make himself known everywhere and always, in the same manner. The heaven is his throne and the earth his footstool (Matt. 5:34); He has revealed himself of old through His servants the prophets, but at last through His Son—the brightness of His glory (Heb. 1:1 sq.). But especially is the revelation and attestation of the divine holiness over-against human depravity, gradual, in so far as the greater spread and extension of sin demands a higher attestation and confirmation of divine holiness, i.e., of the sanctifying power of God atoning for sin. Since now the dwelling of Jehovah amongst His people was especially the dwelling-place of a self-revealing holiness, and the entire cultus which was there concentrated had for its object and aim the sanctification of the nation (see above, 2. b), so by means of its two distinct compartments did it present itself as a complete holy dwelling-place which was fitted to bring to and to keep in the consciousness of the people both the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God. The act of expiation and of purifying to be consummated in the front compartment, concerned the particular transgressions of individual persons; the act to be consummated in the rear and nobler compartment, on the other hand, concerned the entire nation, and the transgressions during the entire year. Ordinary priests could attend to the former, the high-priest alone could perform the latter (Lev. 1–5 and 16).—From all this it is clear to satisfaction how untenable the position of recent writers is when, with Hengstenberg, they understand the two compartments as two distinct dwelling-places, namely, the holy place as the “abode of the people,” and the holy of holies as “the dwelling-place of God,” and then explain this “combined dwelling-place” as a figurative representation of the communion and fellowship of God with His people, and so that the “entire sanctuary is a symbol of the kingdom of God under the old covenant.” Nothing can be more clearly and distinctly stated than that the whole house is one dwelling-place—the dwelling-place of Jehovah. Jehovah dwells indeed amongst His people, but of a dwelling, side by side, of God and the people under one roof, there is nowhere a syllable. As the whole house, so also each compartment, the holy place and the holy of holies, are called “the dwelling-place,” but not the former as the dwelling-place of the people and the latter the dwelling-place of God. Further, in 1 Kings 6:5, the holy place, in contradistinction with the holy of holies, is called הֵיכָל. If now the holy place were the abode of the people over-against the abode of God, the entire sanctuary, comprehending both compartments, could not be called חֵיכַל יְהֹיָה, or simply הֵיכָל, as in 1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3; 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Chron. 3:17; Ps. 5:8; still less could this expression be used of heaven, which is specially the abode of God and not of the people (Ps. 11:4; 18:7; 29:9; Mich. 1:2; Hab. 2:20).
(b) The porch and the side-structure (Umbau) with the stories are, as has been already shown, structures in front and by the sides of the house, which are recognized as such in that, unlike the house, they did not serve for the performance of any religious office. They do not therefore belong essentially to the ground-plan of the sanctuary, consequently are wanting in the tabernacle, and have no further religious significance than that they give to what was hitherto a “tent,” the character of a “house,” and indeed of a great, firm, and strong house, of a palace, in fact. Porches were never used for tents, but only in the case of large, conspicuous buildings like palaces, as, e.g., Solomon’s (1 Kings 7:6 sq.). If now the house of a human sovereign had its porch, much less should one be missing in the house of Jehovah, the God-King, to distinguish it rightly as an הֵיכַל, i. e., a king’s palace (Prov. 30:28; Is. 39: 7). We observe the same in respect of the side-structure, which, as is expressly remarked, was not to be included within the house, the main building, did not belong, as an integrating part, to the dwelling of Jehovah, but which served only for purely external purposes, the preservation of the vessels, &c. But like the porch in front, it served, around the sides of the house, which rose above it, to impart the appearance of a grand, richly surrounded, and lasting building—an הֵיכָל.
(c) The fore courts constituted the second essential element of the entire sanctuary. “The dwelling of Jehovah” is, as observed above, the place where He “meets” the people, attests himself unto them, speaks with them, has intercourse with them. It is called, consequently, also אֹהֶל־מוֹעֵד (Exod. 29:42, 44; 27:21; 40:22), or מוֹעֵד simply (Lam. 2:6; Ps. 74:3), i.e., the tent of assembly, the “tabernacle of the congregation” (not the time of assembling). The dwelling of Jehovah in a given place makes also a space necessary for the people to meet their Lord and God. Hence the command: “thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle” (Exod. 27:9; Sept.: καὶ ποιήσεις αὐλἢν τῇ σκηνῇ). The fore court moreover was not a dwelling-place of the people in contrast with that of Jehovah, but only a court, i.e., a fixed space around the dwelling, “an enclosed gathering-place for the people drawing nigh to their God” (Merz). As Jehovah had one dwelling-place only, the people could meet Him only here, and only here attend to the covenant relation with Him. All offices in connection with the covenant could be performed, hence, only here, not in other favorite spots, not upon the so-called “heights” (high places) (Numb. 17:1–9). And in order that this might be the case with the entire people, it was ordered that all Israelites, certainly three times in the year, should appear before the dwelling of Jehovah (Exod. 23:17; Deut. 16:16). This and nothing more is the object and significance of the fore court. Hengstenberg is altogether wrong in maintaining that “the house or dwelling of the people was properly the holy place,” that they occupied this, “their peculiar dwelling, only through the medium of their representatives and middle-men, the priests, and that some actual place of their own, over and above this ideal place, was necessary. This the fore court was.” Keil, too, is in error when he explains the fore court as “an image of the dwelling of Israel in the kingdom of their God.” The holy place was, as already noticed, a compartment in the dwelling-place of Jehovah, the forepart thereof, but not the dwelling of the people, and the fore court was not a dwelling-place at all, neither of the people nor of Jehovah, was never named such, but was only the assembling-place outside of Jehovah’s dwelling, a mere “court” by way of distinction, and in contrast with “the house.” In that the temple had two forecourts instead of one originally designed, is no proof of an alteration of the ground-plan, but is only an enlargement of it, which had its reason in this: that great buildings, especially royal palaces in the Orient, were distinguished from ordinary houses by more forecourts (comp. 1 Kings 7:1–12, and Symb. des Mos. Kult., i. s. 241 sq.). Thence it happened especially that, near the tabernacle of the testimony, which stood in the centre of the Israelitish camp, was appointed the place for the priestly tribe (Numb. 2 and 3). This continued a fixed custom when the “camp” ceased to exist; it was the tribe especially, which stood “nigh unto” Jehovah, which effected the intercourse between Him and the people (Exod. 19:22; Ezek. 42:13; Numb. 16:5). A fixed limit to the appointed space was judicions, and even necessary, since by the ordinances of David individual worship had greatly increased, and this greatly expanded worship was confined to this one place; by these means it became possible to observe correctly the ordinance, and duly to watch over the appointed performance of the holy services.
4. The significance of the form and measurements of the temple, which stand in the closest relation to the ground-plan, requires us to conclude therefrom that they can be explained neither upon the grounds of outward need and propriety, nor of architectonic beauty. If the portion which constitutes the core and centre of the entire structure, the peculiar dwelling of Jehovah, the holy of holies, have the form of a perfect cube, as 1 Kings 6:20 expressly states, a form characteristic not only of the tabernacle, but also of Ezekiel’s temple, and of the apocalyptic σκηνὴ τοῦ θεοῦ (Ezek. 41:4; Rev. 21:16), a form which appears neither necessary nor convenient, nor architecturally beautiful, while at the same time it was unmistakably intentional and not accidental, it must certainly have some meaning. And if the form of one and that the most important division of the building were significant, it is inconsequent and wilful to explain the equally striking forms and measurements of the remaining compartments as devoid of meaning. To this we must add that, although the forms and measurements of a house, especially of a palace, are not those of a tent, Solomon nevertheless adhered as far as possible to the forms and measurements of the tabernacle, not only in respect of the holy of holies, but also of the other portions of the temple; and he felt himself obliged thereto, while he simply doubled them—a sufficient proof that they were to him corresponding, necessary as well as significant for the sanctuary. Besides, in the description of nearly all buildings and spaces which, in a narrower or wider sense, were God’s dwelling-places, when apparently weightier matters are passed over, the measure and disposition, according to size and number, are presented, and oftentimes when one least expects it, as, e.g., in the visions of Ezekiel and of the apocalyptic seer, as we have already noticed. Vitringa rightly explains the measuring of a space or of a building as the γυώρισμα, that it is κατοικτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ. This especially follows from Rev. 11:1, 2, where the seer holds a measuring-rod, and is commanded: “measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein; but the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles,” &c. That which is not measured is ungodly and profane.—If we turn now to particular forms and measurements of the temple, we find them like those of the tabernacle and of the temple of Ezekiel.
(a) The form of the square, which is adhered to with palpable rigor, and dominates everything. It is the form of the forecourts, of the house in whole and in its parts, also of both altars. Nowhere is there the form of the triangle (pyramidal) or of the pentagon, nowhere the form of the circle or of the half-circle. Even the porch and the side-structure with its flat roof preserve this square form. In Ezekiel it is given even to the great circuit around the temple, and to the holy city and its domain (Ezek. 48:8–35); so also in John, in respect of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21.). From this it follows indisputably that the square was considered as the appropriate form of every dwelling-place of Jehovah, and generally of every sacred space and place, whether tent or house, altar or city. It is well to bear in mind, also, that this square appears always to have been adjusted (oriented) to the points of the compass, and thereby (inasmuch as this constant arrangement was neither necessary nor especially convenient), referred to the proper and original dwelling- and revelation-place of Jehovah, while the square shape of the earthly dwelling corresponded with “the four corners of heaven”—the upper dwelling (Jer. 49:36; Matt. 24:31; comp. Zech. 2:10; 6:5; Ps. 19:6; Job 9:9). In conformity with this view, the space which had the throne in the midst thereof and was the highest place of Jehovah—dwelling and self-revealing, the holy of holies—had the most complete form of the square; it was a cube. The holy place, on the other hand, was not a cube but an extended square, but its length was not wilfully or indefinitely arranged; it was double that of the holy of holies, since it served as vestibule to this latter and with it formed the entire dwelling. The square, as the ground-form of the temple, has often been explained as the symbol of regularity, and especially of firmness and immobility, appeal being made to Suidas, who says: τετράγωνος; εὐστοθὴς ἑδραῖος (Grotius, Vitringa, Hävernick). This is contradicted from the consideration that not only the temple, but the tabernacle also, the movable, wandering sanctuary, had a similar form. It is impossible that the latter, the direct opposite of the former, should set forth the distinguishing characteristics of the tabernacle over against those of the temple; the movable can never be the sign of immobility and permanence. Still less can we adopt the view of Kurtz and Keil, who regard the square as “the symbolical form or signature of the kingdom of God,” and its adjustment to the four points of the compass as an intimation that this kingdom was designed to comprehend and include within itself the entire world. The “dwelling of Jehovah,” which is square in its ground-form, is not the kingdom of God itself, but a plan to which the form is given which corresponds with heaven, the peculiar dwelling-place of God, with its “four corners.” Supposing, moreover, that the temple were “an image of the kingdom of God under the old covenant,” this covenant was designed only to embrace the people Israel and not the entire world. This is the scope of the new covenant. Witsius, to whom one appeals besides, rightly remarks that the atrium signifies separationem Israelitarum a reliquis gentibus. It is impossible that the same symbol should signify opposites—the separation of one nation from all others, and also the comprehending of all nations.
(b) In measurements the number ten dominates. It marks the entire building, as well as its parts, be it simply ten or its half, be it doubled or trebled. This was the case with the tabernacle; but since the temple, as house or palace, necessarily required larger dimensions than the tent, so in place of a simple ten the double-ten or twenty was employed, and this is the clearest proof of purpose in respect of the number ten. The dwelling instead of ten cubits is twenty wide, and instead of thrice ten cubits long is thrice twenty. The holy of holies measures twice ten cubits upon all sides, the holy place twice ten cubits doubled in length, and as the great apartment, three times ten cubits in height. The porch is twice ten cubits broad and ten deep. The side-structure, i.e., each of its three stories, is in height half ten, that is, five, and is thereby designated as something merely subordinate. The cherubim in the holy of holies are ten cubits high, each of the wings measures five cubits, “ so that there were ten cubits from the end of one wing to that of the other” (1 Kings 6:24). The high altar in the forecourt is ten cubits high, and twice ten cubits long and broad (2 Chron. 4:1): “the bases” [gestühle, seats] which belong to it are ten (1 Kings 7:27). The brazen sea is ten cubits wide and five high (1 Kings 7:23). In the holy place are ten candlesticks and also ten tables, five on the right hand and five on the left (2 Chron. 4:7, 8). In the holy of holies the “ten words” (Exod. 34:28; Deut. 4:13), which are named absolutely “the witness” and “the covenant,” and which form the root and heart of the sanctuary, are preserved in the ark (Exod. 25:16, 21; 34:28). Since the dwelling of Jehovah amongst His people is the result, as also the sign and pledge of the covenant (see above, 1, a) without doubt the number in the covenant [ten commandments] dominates the number of the dwelling-place. That the covenant consists of ten words has its reason, not, as Grotius supposes, in the ten fingers of the hands (to be able to count them more easily), but in the significance of the number ten, which comprises all the cardinal numbers and completes them, so that thereby the covenant is designated as a perfect whole, comprising all the chief words or commandments of God.—Besides ten, the number three is everywhere conspicuous in the building. It is divided into three sacred spaces (Heiligungs-stätte), which differ from each other by way of degree—forecourt, holy place, holy of holies, with three expiatory objects which are related to each other, the altar of burnt-offering, the altar of incense, and the kapporeth (mercy-seat). The dwelling itself is measured and divided according to the number three; three times the doubled ten, i.e., three times its width, is the measure of its length—the holy of holies being one-third, and the holy place two-thirds. The latter, as the large compartment, is three times ten cubits high, and has three articles of furniture—candlesticks, the altar of incense, and the table for shewbread. The forecourt also has three kinds of articles for use, viz., the altar of burnt-offering, the stools, and the brazen sea. The side-structure, finally, has three stories. The reason for this prominence of the number three is not to be sought for directly in the divine Trinity, for the revelation of the Trinity belongs to the New Testament. But in the Old Testament, the number three is the signature of every true unit complete in itself, and so, closely resembles ten, with which it is here frequently connected. What happens thrice is the genuine once: what is divided into three is a true unity. The one dwelling, by its division into three parts, is designated as one complete whole, and the three kinds of articles of use which are in the three parts, or in one of them, again form a complete whole, and belong under it to the one or the other relation. While the number ten gives the impress of finishing and completing to multiplicity, the number three is the signature of perfect unity, and thus also of the divine being. (Comp. Symb. des Mos. Kult., i. s. 175 sq.).
5. The significance of the building material, since the choice and use of it is determined by necessity, convenience, greater or lesser artistic skill, and other outward conditions, is not immediate and direct, but must be recognized in so far as the material employed in any structure imparts to it a certain definite character. In the tabernacle, wood was employed; its ceilings were of leather and hair, it had woven hangings such as the nature of a “tent” required. But when the period of the tent was passed, and in the place of a movable, wandering dwelling, a firm, immovable dwelling, a “house,” was to be built, in the construction of it everything must be excluded which could be a reminder of a mere tent. In the place of wooden walls consisting of planks arranged side by side, there were thick stone walls; in place of the ceilings and hangings and the like, there were beams, wainscotings, and doors. The stones which were used for the walls were not dried or burned, such as were used in ordinary houses, but large, sound, costly stones, cube-shaped (1 Kings 5:31), such as were used in palaces only (comp. Winer, R.- W.-B., i. s. 466)—and Jehovah’s dwelling should be a palace. The wood was in the highest degree durable, and not liable to decay and corruption, which with the Hebrews was a sign of impurity, and were, therefore, especially appropriate for the sanctuary, the pattern of the heavenly. The three kinds of wood, cedar, cypress, and olive, before others have the quality of durability and hardness (comp. Winer, i. s. 215, 238; ii. s. 172). Cypress, the least valuable (Ezek. 27:5, and Hävernick on the place), was used for the floor, the more valuable cedar was used for the beams and wainscotings, the olive, the noblest and firmest, was used for the entrances, and in such way that the entrance to the holy place had only door-posts, that into the holy of holies, in addition to such posts, doors also. In the gold, more than in stone and wood, there is a more direct reference to the significance of the building. It was used exclusively only in the interior of the dwelling. In the forecourt there was no gold: repeatedly and as emphatically as possible it is stated that “the whole house” was overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:21, 22). The vessels of the dwelling were wholly either of gold or covered with it, while those of the forecourt were all of brass. The interior of the dwelling also was golden. This was not for the sake of mere ostentatious parade, for this gilding could not be seen from the outside. The people were not allowed to enter within the dwelling, this was the prerogative of the priests; but into the darkened yet wholly golden holy of holies, the high-priest alone could enter once a year. That in the ancient East a symbolical use was made of the noble metals, and especially of gold, is a well-known fact (comp. Symbol. des Mos. Kult., i. s. 272, 282, 295). In the primitive documents of the persic light religion, “golden” stands for heavenly, divine. To the Hebrews, also, gold is the image of the highest light, of the light of the sun and the heavens (Job 37:21, 22). The apocalyptic σκηνὴ τοῦ θεοῦ which descends from heaven, is of “pure gold” (Rev. 21:18, 21). God “dwelleth in light” (1 Tim. 6:16; comp. Ps. 104:2) is equivalent in meaning to God dwelleth in heaven; and if now His earthly dwelling were all golden, it is thereby designated as a heaven- and light-dwelling. The conception of purity in the moral sense of the word is associated likewise with gold (Job 23:10; Mal. 3:3); the golden dwelling is hence also a pure, i.e., holy, sanctuary (Ps. 24:3, 4).
6. The significance of the carvings is explained at once by their form. Upon all the walls of the dwelling, and even upon the doors, there are three kinds of carved figures which are always associated together—cherubim, palms, and flowers. Diverse as they may seem, one and the same religious idea nevertheless lies at the bottom of them, namely, the idea of life, which is only expressed in them in differing ways.
(a) The cherubim are not actual, but, as is evident from their component parts, imaginary beings, and this requires no further proof that they are significant. A Jewish proverb says of their composition, “four are the highest things in the world: the lion amongst the wild beasts, the bull amongst cattle, the eagle amongst birds, the man is over all, but God is supreme.” (Comp. Spencer, De Leg. Hebr. Rit., ii. p. 242; Schöttgen, Hor. Hebr., p. 1108.) God, on the other hand, is common to these four, and the life uniting them, which they have not of themselves, but from Him who is the source of all life, the Creator, and hence stands and is enthroned above them all. Creaturely being reaches its highest stage in those which have an anima, and amongst these animated creatures with souls, the four above named again are the highest and most complete, the most living as it were. By their combination in the cherub, he appears as anima animantium, as the complex and representative of the highest creaturely life. Upon this account, and this alone, could Ezekiel name the cherubim absolutely הַחַיּוֹת, i.e., the living beings (Ezek. 1:5, 13, 15, 19, 22). He employs, in fact, the collective-singular הַחַיָּה, i.e., the living, to denote the unit-life of the four (1 Kings 10:14, 15, 17, 20. “This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel, by the river of Chebar;” comp. 1 Kings 1:20, 21.) So, also, John names the four τὰ ζῶα over-against God τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, to whom, as such, they ascribe praise, honor, and thanks, because He has made all things, and all things are and have been created by His will (Rev. 4:9–11). In so far as all creaturely life is individualized in them, they are the most direct, immediate evidences of the creative power and glory, the definite, highest praise thereof, and they surround the throne of God. In the fact that they are represented upon all the walls of the house, does it first rightly acquire the character of the dwelling of Jehovah, and especially that of a life-residence testifying to His power and glory. Hence it is apparent how unsatisfactory the view of Riehm is, that the cherubim are merely witnesses of the divine presence, and that they have no other purpose beyond that of overshadowing or covering holy places and things. Certainly this latter was not their design upon the walls of the dwelling, and if they did nothing more than bear witness to the presence of God, how could Ezekiel have ever named them simply “the living creatures?” The underlying idea of the cherub is specifically wholly Israelitish, and is rooted in the cardinal dogma of God, the creator of all things, which separates it sharply from all other pre-christian religions. This idea is completely destroyed, if, with Riehm, we tear apart the four types which together constitute the cherub, and make the cherub simply a man with wings, and regard the bull and the lion as an arbitrary addition upon the part of Ezekiel, occasioned by his observation of the Babylonian-heathen combinations of beasts.
(b) The palms to the right and left of the cherubim have a relation to vegetable life, like that of the cherubim to animal life. The palm-tree unites in itself whatsoever there is of great and glorious in the vegetable kingdom. The tree, first of all, surpasses all other plants; but amongst trees there is none so lofty and towering, none of such beautiful majestic growth, so constantly in its verdure, casting, by its luxuriant foliage, such deep shadows,—while its fruit is said to be the food of the blessed in Paradise,—as the palm. Its attributes are so manifold, that men used to number them by the days in the year. Linnæus named the palms “the princes of the vegetable kingdom,” and Humboldt “the noblest of plants to which the nations have accorded the meed of beauty.” The land, moreover, in which Jehovah had His dwelling, the land of promise, was the true and proper habitat of the palm. Hence, subsequently, the palm, as the symbol of Palestine, appears upon coins (comp. Celsius, Hierobotanicon, ii. p. 444–579; my treatise, Der Salom. Temp., s. 120 sq.). The law required that at the feast of tabernacles branches of palm-trees should be at the booths (Lev. 23:40). They are the known symbols of salvation, of joy, of peace after victory (Rev. 7: 9; 1 Maccab. 13:51; 2 Macc. 10:7; John 12:13).
(c) The flower-work finally, in its connection with the significant representations of cherubim and of palm-trees, can by no means be regarded as destitute of meaning, as a mere affair of ornamentation. High antiquity knows nothing in general of empty decorations, like our so-called egg fillets and arabesques. In the ancient temples in particular, there were no kinds of forms which had not a religious meaning. From that time down to our own, flowers and blossoms have been the usual symbols of life-fulness, and in all languages the age of the greatest life-fulness has been called its bloom. So then by the flower-work, as by the cherubim and the palm-trees, by which on all sides the dwelling of Jehovah was decorated, was it designated as an abode of life. It should not be left out of mind here, that the Israelitish religion did not conceive of “life,” after the heathen natural religions, as physical, but essentially as moral. The Creator of the world, who as such is the source of all life, and is the absolutely living, is to it also the all-holy (Is 43:15), who dwells in the midst of Israel to sanctify the people and by them to be hallowed (Exod. 29:43–46; Ezek. 37:26–28). All true divine life is in its nature an holy life, and hence the symbols of life in the sanctuary are eo ipso symbols of an holy life. The cherubim are not merely upon the walls of the dwelling, but above all in the holy of holies, they form the throne of the “holy One of Israel,” and they are inseparable from the kapporeth (Exod. 25:19), i.e., from the article of furniture where the highest and most embracing expiatory or sanctification rite is consummated. In the apocalyptic vision, the four living beings stand around the throne, and day and night they say, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:8), like the seraphim in Isai. 6:2 sq. As the righteous who lead an holy life are compared generally with trees which perpetually flourish and bring forth fruit (Ps. 1:3; Jer. 17:8; Isa. 61:3), so especially with palm-trees, with an unmistakable reference to the palms “which are planted in the house of the Lord” (Ps. 92:12–15; comp. Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 22:2; Ps. 52:8). So also are blossoms and flowers, especially lilies, symbols of righteousness and holiness (Eccl. 39:13). So also the plate worn upon the forehead of the high-priest, with the inscription, “Holiness unto the Lord,” was called simply צִיץ, i.e., flower (Exod. 28:36). The budding of Aaron’s rod was the sign of an holy estate (Numb. 17:10). The crown of life (Rev. 2:10) is likewise the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8). If now the three kinds of figures are represented upon the gold with which the dwelling was overlaid, the two conceptions of light and life, the correlatives of the conception of revelation (Ps. 36:9; John 1:4; 8:12), are symbolically united. But the conception of revelation recurs with that of the dwelling (see above, under 2. a). The seat of the dwelling and of revelation is necessarily, in its nature, a seat of light and life.
(d) The statues of the cherubim in the holy of holies were not in the tabernacle, and we are authorized to suppose that the reason of this is to be found in the relation of the temple to the tabernacle. Their design is stated in 1 Kings 8:6, 7: “And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.” It is also remarked in 2 Chron. 3:13: “and they stood on their feet,” which would have been in the highest degree superfluous, if it were not meant by this expression that they were firm and immovable, like עַמּוּדִים, i.e., pillars. The ark of the covenant with the kapporeth and the cherubim then placed there, like its “staves,”—the evidences of mobility and transport show,—was a movable, wandering throne, just as the entire dwelling was a transportable tent. As the peculiar original pledge of the covenant, it was not, when the house was built, made anew, but it was taken from the tent and lodged within the house, that it might forever have its abiding-place and cease to be transportable. To this end it was placed under the fixed, immovable cherubim, whose wings completely covered it, covering the “staves,” the very witnesses of its movableness, and with it one entire whole was formed. As the cherubim in general, in their being and meaning, belonged to the throne (see above), so the firm fixing of the throne was represented by means of the permanent, large cherubim-statues. It is entirely wide of the mark to explain, as Thenius does, on the pretended analogy of cherubim with the guardian griffins and dragons of heathen religions, our cherubim in the holy of holies, as the watchmen and guardians of the throne of Jehovah. For, apart from every other consideration, nothing is more contradictory to the Israelitish idea of God than that Jehovah stands in need of guardians of His throne. The cherubim indeed are the supporters and vehicle of His throne, but never as the watchmen thereof (comp. Ezek. 1 and 10); they belong rather to the throne itself, and are, as such, witnesses and representatives of the glory of God, but they do not guard Him. When in our text here, we think especially of their wings spread over the holy of holies (from wall to wall), and that with them they overshadow the ark, the reason for this is in the fact that He who is here enthroned in His glory (כָבוֹד) is invisible, or rather is unapproachable and removed, for He dwells in an unapproachable splendor; no man can “see” Him and live (1 Tim. 6:16; Lev. 16:2; Judg. 13:23). But it does not follow from this, as Riehm would have it, that the design of the cherubim consisted only in veiling and covering the present God, and that their significance was like that of the “enwrapping” clouds (Ps. 97:2; 18:11, 12; Exod. 19:9, 16; 24:16); for the cherubim upon the walls between the palm-trees had nothing to cover or veil. This was only their special duty in the holy of holies, by the throne. When it is expressly added that they did not turn their faces like those already upon the kapporeth, and towards it, but towards the house, i.e., towards the holy place, we can find a reason for it in their special functions: as the heralds, messengers of that which is not to be approached, they should direct their gaze towards the outer world
7. To show the significance of the temple in its relation to the history of redemption, the question presents itself finally: as to the manner in which it was related to the temples of heathen antiquity, whether it was more or less a copy, or an original. K. O. Müller (Archœologie der K., i. s. 372, Eng. trans, p. 276) remarks strikingly of the heathen temple that it was “at first nothing more than the place where an image, the object of worship, could be securely set up and protected.” Every place enclosing the image of a god, if only set off with stakes, was called a temple (Servius defines templum by locus, palis aut hastis clausus, modo sit sacer). Without the image of the divinity, heathen antiquity could not conceive of a temple. Half in wonder and half in derision, Tacitus exclaims over the temple at Jerusalem (Hist., 5. 9), Nulla intus Deum effigies, vacua sedes et inania arcana! and Spencer (De Leg. Hebr. Rit., iii. 5, 6) rightly says: Seculi fide receptum erat, templa ἀξόανα Numine et religione vacua et plane nulla esse. A temple was not first built, and then an image of the god made to erect within it, but a temple was built for the already existing image, which then became, in a proper sense, the house or dwelling of the represented deity. Forth from the image the heathen temple proceeds. This is its principle. And as the gods of heathenism are nothing more than cosmical powers, their temples in plan and contrivance refer only to cosmical relations (see examples in Der Salomonische Tempel, s. 276 sq. and Symb. des Mos. Kult., i. s. 97 sq.). But the principle of the Israelitish temple is the reverse, in so far as the chief and great commandment of the religion declares: “Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image,” &c. The erection of a “dwelling of Jehovah” did not proceed from any need of enclosing and preserving an image of God, but only from out the covenant of Jehovah with His chosen people (see above, under 2. a). The tables of the law, which are called simply “the covenant” (1 Kings 8:20), and as the proclamation of the covenant were preserved in the ark, represented, first of all, this invisible covenant relation. Hence this ark was the central point of the covenant. There was concentrated the indwelling of Jehovah; there, too, was His throne. But since Jehovah dwelt within Israel to sanctify the people and by them to be hallowed (Exod. 29:43 sq.; Ezek. 37:26 sq.), His dwelling-place was essentially a sanctuary, and forth from this its supreme and final design, its entire plan, division, and arrangement proceeded (see above, under 2, b, and 3, a). The entire temple rests, consequently, upon ethico-religious ideas, which are specifically Israelitish, and which do not recur in any other of the ancient religions. It is as unique as the Israelitish religion itself; its original is the tabernacle, from which it differs only because there is necessarily some difference between an house and a tent. Its originality outwardly is shown in the fact that no ancient people possessed a temple like it in plan, arrangement, and contrivance. Men still refer to the Egyptian temples, only these are “aggregates which admit of indefinite increase” (K. O. Müller, Archœ., s. 257, Eng. trans, p. 191), and the common feature of their arrangement was that “they were not completed, but were constantly undergoing enlargement,” and “they had no given measurements.” The “single portions are in themselves finished, and can last, but other portions can be added, and others yet again. The band which holds these single, different parts together is slight” (Schnaase, Gesch. der bild. Künste, i. s. 393, 424). Quite the reverse holds in respect of the dwelling of Jehovah, the plan of which is in the highest degree simple—an house consisting of two divisions surrounded by a court. An indefinite extension is just as impossible as a contraction, without the destruction of the whole, and precisely in this respect the Israelitish sanctuary is more like all other ancient temples than those of Egypt. Besides this, the style of architecture in the Egyptian temples, to which the truncated pyramidal form essentially belongs, is entirely diverse in that of Solomon, as also the stone ceilings and pillars, while on the other hand they do not have wooden wainscotings and overlaying of metals. As Solomon availed himself of Phœnician workmen, occasion has been found to institute a comparison with Phœnician temples (Schnaase, s. 238). But the accounts respecting these temples are so scanty and general, that the attempt has been made, upon the supposition that the temple of Solomon was a copy of the Phœnician, to fill out and complete the defective descriptions of them from the scriptural delineation of our temple (comp. Vatke, Relig. des Alt. Test. s. 323 sq.; Müller, Archœol., Eng. trans. p. 214). The little that we know of the Phœnician temples of a later date, does not exhibit the remotest likeness to that of Solomon (comp. my treatise, s. 250 sq.). In this matter modern criticism pursues a very partisan course. It is compelled to acknowledge that each ancient people had their own peculiar religious ideas, which were expressed in their sacred structures, but that the people Israel alone built their only temple, not according to what was peculiar to themselves, but according to foreign, heathenish ideas. Originality is conceded to all other temples rather than to the temple of Solomon.
[The justness of our author’s observations here is indisputable. We cannot reconstruct the temple as we can reconstruct any building, essential features of which are remaining. Doubtless as its architect was a Phœnician, it bore the impress of the Phœnician genius. The “originality” of the temple was in its arrangements and its design and its significance; but in its outward form, as it struck the eye of the beholder, we fancy it must have had Phœnician features. The Jews were singularly deficient in their conceptions of beauty of form. The cherubim may be cited in proof; and the temple, architecturally, probably was left to the Phœnician artist under the conditions which the exigencies of the building itself required. The reader may consult Dean Stanley, Jewish Church, second series, New York, Chas. Scribner & Co., 1870, p. 225–236. There is no evidence, however, that it suggested in the least degree an Egyptian temple.—E. H.]
8. The typical significance of the temple, which, like that of the tabernacle, is distinctly expressed in the New Testament, rests upon those symbolical features which they have in common. Both are “a dwelling of Jehovah,” and in this respect the place of the revelation and presence of the holy and sanctifying God, an abode of light and life, forth from which all well-being for Israel proceeds. But the entire Old Testament economy, especially its cultus, bears the impress of the bodily and of the outward, and consequently of the imperfect, and in this the dwelling of Jehovah necessarily participates. As the people Israel, the people of Jehovah, is limited by natural descent (’Ισραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα, 1 Cor. 10:18), so the dwelling of Jehovah therein is conditioned by the corporeal and outward, especially in the way of the local and the visible. But therefore, as imperfect, it looks forward to the perfect which is to come, and hence upon this account is called a σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων or τῶν ἐπουρανίων (Heb. 8:5; 10:1). The perfect first appeared, when the time was fulfilled, in Him who was the σῶμα in contrast with the σκιᾷ, i.e., in Christ (Col. 2:17). What the dwelling typifies, that He is, in reality and truth. In Him “dwells” the whole fulness of the Godhead, σωματικῶς (Col. 2:9). He is the λόγος, the true revelation of God, and in Him is life and light: He dwelt among us (ἐσκήνωσε), and we beheld His glory, (δόξα, i.e., כָבוֹד) full of grace and truth (John 1:1, 4, 14). He named himself the “temple” of God (John 2:19), and the chief complaint against Him was, that “He said, I can destroy the temple of God, and build it again in three days” (Matt. 26:61). With this real temple came consequently the end of the merely typical, outward, and local temple. With Him, the dwelling of God hitherto amongst the ’Ισραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα ceased, and proceeding from Him, who with one sacrifice “hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14), the true “abode” of God now is here (John 14:23). Through Him indeed God dwells now in the collective believers in Him, in the congregation, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:23; Col. 2:9, 10). Now is the declaration, “I will dwell in their midst,” realized, for the first time, in its full truth. The congregation which is filled by Him, is the true temple of the living God, the habitation of God in the spirit (2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21, 22; 1 Pet. 2:5). But if Christ appear also as the antitype of details even of the sanctuary, such as the veil before the holy of holies (Heb. 10:20), and the “throne of grace” (Rom. 3:25), the ground of this is not, as the old typology supposed, in the circumstance that these objects were immediate types of Christ, but in that through these, truths and divine-human relations were signified, which, like “the dwelling” itself, first in Christ and through Him reached its full realization (comp. my treatise: Der Salom. Tempel, s. 81 sq.). In so far now, in the New Testament economy, as the congregation of the faithful is itself the dwelling of God, it no more needs a temple; and if Christendom still build houses of God, it is not with the notion that God dwells within them. The Christian church-building is not a temple, but the congregation-house, and God’s house only in this respect. It is not, however, only that, protected from wind and weather, men can worship God undisturbed, but that the faithful may assemble as one body, and exercise their fellowship as members of the body of Christ, and build themselves up as individual stones into a spiritual house, in Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. Thence it follows that it is a great perversion to regard the temple of Solomon as the model for a Christian church, and to plan one like it. It was not the design of this temple to gather the congregation within itself. They stood in the forecourt. The church, on the other hand, embraces them in, and must have the arrangement and contrivance which corresponds with the being and the needs of the congregation as the communion of the faithful.
[If we keep in mind the various portions of the temple—porch, holy place, holy of holies, and the side-structure—it would seem that the vision of the completed so-called Gothic-Church, must have dawned upon the mind of some cloistered architect after he had familiarized his mind with the constituent parts and divisions of the temple. Each has a porch: the nave corresponds with the holy place, the aisles with the side-structure, the sanctuary and choir with the holy of holies. In the temple, partition walls separated these portions from each other; in the Christian church-building, all partition walls disappear, and the parts are connected by the use of the pointed arch, and other devices of architectural skill.—E. H.]
Homiletical and Practical
1 Kings 6:1 and 38. Why was the time for the building of the temple so exactly specified? (1) Because it was a most important event for Israel. It points to the final aim of the leading out of Egypt, the land of bondage. The time of the wandering, of unrest, and of battle, is over. Israel is in possession of the whole of the promised land; the time of the kingdom of peace is come. The temple is a memorial of the truth and mercy of God, who ever fulfils His promises, albeit after many long years (Ex. 3:17), supplies all wants, and governs all things excellently. The word of the Lord is sure. After long wandering, after many a cross, many a tribulation and trouble, comes the promised time of peace; the Lord helps His people, even as he preserves every single being unto his heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18). (2) Because it is a world-historical event. The temple of Solomon is the first and only one, in the whole ancient world, which was erected to the one, true, and living God. Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people (Is. 60:2). Heathendom had here and there greater temples, but they were the abodes of darkness; this temple is the abode of light and life; from it, light breaks forth over all nations (Is. 2:3; Jer. 3:17; Mic. 4:2). What avails the greatest, most glorious temple, if darkness instead of light proceeds from it, and, amid all the prayers and praises, the knowledge of the living God is wanting?
1 Kings 6:2. The exceeding glory and pomp of the temple. (1) The idea, to which it bore witness. No house, no palace in Israel compared, for splendor and glory, with the house of God. Everything in the shape of costly material and treasure which the age permitted, all toil and all art, were lavished upon it. To the Most High were given the noblest and dearest of men’s possessions. How many princes, how many nations, how many cities, build gorgeous palaces, and adorn with gold and all treasures the buildings designed to minister to the pride of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and to a haughty manner of life, but yet have no money, no sacrifice, for the temples which either are entirely wanting, or are poor and miserable in appearance! (2) The purpose which it served. Its magnificence was no empty, dead show, to dazzle and intoxicate the senses; everything was full of meaning, and referred to higher, divine things; it was not meant to render sensual man still more sensual, but to draw him nearer to the supersensuous, and thus to elevate him. Empty parade is unseemly for any house of God; rather must everything which wealth and art can accomplish serve to raise the heart and mind to God, so that each one shall say: This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven (Gen. 28:17)!—The temple of Solomon shows what the house of God should ever be: (a) a place of testimony: the testimony or word of God forms its heart and centre; (b) a sanctuary, where we hallow God, and he sanctifies us through Christ (Heb. 10:14; Sacrament); (c) an, heavenly place where, far from all worldly cares, peace and rest reign, and all are united in prayer, in the praise and glory of God (see Historical and Ethical).—(2) The dwelling of God in the midst of his people (a) in the old, (b) in the new covenant (2 Cor. 6:16).—The temple of God a prophecy of Christ and of His church (see Historical and Ethical), or, the typical and the true temple of God (1 Pet. 2:5). The former is built by men’s hands, the latter out of living stones, whose foundation and corner-stone is Christ; there were brought gifts and sacrifices, which could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience (Heb. 9:9, 10); here are offered spiritual sacrifices, pleasing to God through Christ; the former is an house of external sanctity and purity, the latter an indwelling of God in the soul, a temple of the Holy Ghost, who purifies the conscience from dead works; there God speaks through the law, here through the gospel.
1 Kings 6:11–13. OSIANDER: We ever need, especially in high affairs, divine consolation and help, so that thereby we may be animated to more activity in the performance of our duties. He who has begun and undertaken a work according to the will of God, and for His glory, may rest assured of divine support, may build upon God’s promises, and will not suffer himself to shrink from, or tire of, the obstacles which meet him by the way (Matt. 24:13).
1 Kings 6:13. I will not leave my people: a glorious word of consolation, but also a solemn word of warning.
1 Kings 6:14. STARKE: When the word of God is received with faith, it gives new strength to the heart, and urges us on to all goodness (Jas. 1:21).
1 Kings 6:15–22. All the adorning of the house was within; there was the light and the brightness of gold, there also the symbols of life. Ye are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:17). The adorning of the faithful shall not be outward, but inward; the “hidden man of the heart” is manifest only to the Lord, and not to the eyes of the world; the gold of faith, and the life hidden with Christ in God, is the glory of the man.
1 Kings 6:23–28. STARKE: To make and set up symbols is not, in itself, idolatry, nor against the first commandment, and images are also allowable in churches, if they are not made objects of worship. If, indeed, in the holy of holies, the greatest and noblest carvings are placed, we cannot, in the wish to see all works of art removed from the churches, and merely seats and benches remaining, appeal to Scripture, and least of all to the man to whom God gave a wise and understanding heart (1 Kings 3:12).
1 Kings 6:1.—[The Sept. here read fortieth instead of eightieth—for which there is no authority whatever. In the comparison of this date with Acts 13:20 it is to be remembered that the best critical editors, following the MSS. א, A, B, C, etc., adopt the reading which places the words καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα after, instead of before, the clause ὡς ἕτεσιν τετρακοσίοις καὶ πεντήκοντα, so that the passage has no longer any chronological bearing upon the statement of the text.
1 Kings 6:1.—[The Vat. Sept. here interposes the omitted verses 17, 18 of the last chapter, and immediately subjoins verses 37, 38 of the present chapter. In the former verses both recensions have transformed בֹנֵי, builders, into בְנֵי, sons.
1 Kings 6:2.—[The missing אַמָּה cubit is supplied in five MSS., the Sept., and Vulg. The Vat. Sept. changes the last dimension to 25 instead of 30 cubits. The Alex. follows the Heb., which must be right, since all the dimensions are exactly double those of the tabernacle, the proportions being carefully preserved.
1 Kings 6:4.—[חַלֹּנֵי שְׁקֻפִים אֲטֻמִים. The VV. have been much at a loss in translating this expression. The Chald., Vulg. (fenestras obliquas), and Syr., apparently intended to convey the idea of windows like those in the thick wall of a Gothic structure, or the loop-holes of a fortification, narrow on the outside and spreading within. Such may be the sense of the A. V. But the meaning given in the Exeg. Com. must be the true one. שְקֻפִים means only beams, cross-pieces; and אֲטֻמִים from, אָטַם, to shut close, means closed, and so fixed.
1 Kings 6:5.—For the k’tib יָצוּעַ the k’ri has in each case יָצִיַע, which is doubtless right, since the word has here another than the usual sense (Thenius).—Bähr. [Keil considers that the masc. form denotes the whole wing of these stories; the fœm. the single story of this wing.
1 Kings 6:7.—[אֶבֶן שְׁלֵמָה מַסָּע נִבְנָה was built of “all unviolated stones of the quarry.” Keil.
1 Kings 6:8.—In place of הַתִּיֹכנָח must necessarily be read (cf. 1 Kings 6:6) הַתַּחְתֹּנָה, as Ezek. 41:7 stands, and the Targum and the Sept. have read (Böttcher, Ewald, Merz., Thenius).—Bähr. [There is no various reading of the Heb. MSS., and the construction indicated by the text as it stands is sufficiently clear: the lower tier of chambers being easily provided for by doors, nothing is said of the entrance to them; but there was a winding stairway from the ground, with a door at its foot, leading to the middle chambers, and thence to the third story. Ezek. 41:7 can hardly be considered as bearing on the point in question.
1 Kings 6:11.—[The Vat. Sept. omits here verses 11–14.
1 Kings 6:15.—The true reading, according to 2 Chron. 3:7, is here as in 1 Kings 6:16 קוֹרוֹת [beams] not קִירוֹת [walls] (Thenius, Keil).—Bähr. [Accordingly our author translates by Balken, supported in this by the Sept. The emendation of the text (for which there is no manuscript authority) is required by the author’s conception of the construction of the הֵיכָל as 30 cubits high in the interior. Against this is the fact that the height of the cedar wainscoting in 1 Kings 6:16 is expressly said to have been 20 cubits, and yet no stone was been (1 Kings 6:18). If now a chamber above is supposed, no emendation is necessary here, and verses 16 and 18 become consistent. The wainscoting was carried up 20 cubits to where the ceiling met the walls, and above this the “walls of the ceiling” or of the room above were left bare. A space of two cubits is thus left for the windows, and access to the “upper room” may have been had from the porch. 2 Chron. 3:7 does not decide this point. In 1 Kings 6:16 the words “from the ceiling,” are to be supplied from the previous verse. In any case the A. V. is certainly wrong in covering the floor (which was of fir, 1 Kings 6:15) with cedar.
1 Kings 6:17.—The לפני at the end of 1 Kings 6:17 is to be understood either adverbially, before (De Wette), or adjectivially, anterior (Ewald, Keil), unless with Thenius, upon the authority of the Sept., we suppose that דְּבִיר has fallen out. “That is the (so-called) Heehal before the Debir.” Upon the figures upon the cedar, 1 Kings 6:18 sq., see on 1 Kings 6:29. In 1 Kings 6:19 בְתוֹךְ is hence to be understood that the Debir was between the Heehel and the side structure. The difficult words וְלִפְנֵי הַדְּבִיר, 1 Kings 6:20, Thenius will have removed from the text peremptorily, as a gloss placed here from 1 Kings 6:17, although they are in all MSS. and ancient VV. Keil explains לפני, with Kimchi, for the noun לפנים, occurring also in 1 Kings 6:29=the inner, inward. With סָגוּר, the same gold is designated which in Ex. 25:11 sq. is called טָהוֹר, and in 2 Chron. 3:8 טוֹב (Vulg.: purissimum).—Bähr.
1 Kings 6:18.—[The Vat. Sept. omits 1 Kings 6:18.
1 Kings 6:20.—[See Exeg. com.
1 Kings 6:22.—[The Sept. omit the last clause of this verse, and throughout this whole description omit many clauses and modify others.
1 Kings 6:29.—[That is in the Holy of Holies, and in the holy place, as the author notes in his translation.
1 Kings 6:32.—[The author, in his translation, adds: “and over the open flowers.” The Vulg. has et cœtera.—F. G.]
1 Kings 6:34.—Instead of קלעים must here necessarily be read, with the Sept., צלעים, which stands immediately before.—Bähr.
[See on this verse LACHMANN‘s text on the authority of A, B, C, which removes the chronological difficulty. cf Textual and Grammatical on 1 Kings 6:1.—E. H.]
[Mr. T O. Paine (Solomon’s Temple, &c, Boston, Geo. Phinney, 1861) makes the “posts, the door-posts,” to be meant, and says that they were one-fifth of twenty cubits, the width of the wall. Each door-post was, according to this author, six feet wide. Bp. Patrick says: “a fifth” … “may be understood to signify that they held the proportion of a fifth part of the doors” (on the place). But our author’s exposition is the better.—E. H.]
[Upon these substructions, see Robinson and “The Recovery of Jerusalem,” as above.—E. H.]
And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.