Through the Bible Day by Day
But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.
OTHER SPLENDID STRUCTURES
Solomon’s house took nearly twice as long to build as did the Temple, because there was not the same urgency for it. His house and that for the queen were probably built around large open courts, and stood, after the manner of the East, on either side of the central hall where public business was transacted.
The royal hall in Jerusalem was called the “House of the Forest of Lebanon,” because its many pillars resembled a forest of cedar wood. In front of this building was a colonnade, and in front of this again, the King’s Gate.
It is more than likely that the area of Mount Zion was greatly enlarged by walls built up from the valley and filled in with earth. This furnished room for the many splendid buildings named in this paragraph. Traces of these cyclopean walls can still be seen. In order to estimate the real value of all this splendor we have only to turn to the earliest chapters of Ecclesiastes, where we read how little it satisfied the hunger of Solomon’s soul. He turned away from it all, as unsatisfied as the prodigal from the husks of the swine. We were made for God and only God can suffice.
BREAKING THREE COMMANDMENTS
1Ki_21:1-29; 1Ki_1:1-53; 1Ki_2:1-46; 1Ki_3:1-28; 1Ki_4:1-34; 1Ki_5:1-18; 1Ki_6:1-38; 1Ki_7:1-51; 1Ki_8:1-66; 1Ki_9:1-28; 1Ki_10:1-29; 1Ki_11:1-43; 1Ki_12:1-33; 1Ki_13:1-34; 1Ki_14:1-31; 1Ki_15:1-34; 1Ki_16:1-34
From a worldly point of view Naboth might have done a good stroke of business by selling his estate to. Ahab. A royal price and assured favor might have been his-but he had a conscience! Above the persuasive tones of the monarch’s offer sounded the voice of God: “The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine.” See Lev_25:23; Num_36:7; Eze_46:18.
Ahab knew perfectly well that Jezebel could not give him the property of another except by foul means, but he took pains not to inquire. Though the direct orders for Naboth’s death did not come from him, yet, by his silence, he was an accomplice and an accessory; and divine justice penetrates all such specious excuses. God holds us responsible for wrongs which we do not arrest, though we have the power. The crime was blacker because of the pretext of religion, as suggested by a fast. See also 2Ki_9:26. The blood of murdered innocence cries to God, and his requital, though delayed, is inevitable. See Rev_6:9-10.
And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.
PILLARS OF SECURITY AND STRENGTH
Hiram, the artificer, was remarkably gifted. From his father he had inherited all the genius of Tyre, while on his mother’s side he was of the tribe of Naphtali and thus inherited the religious genius of the Hebrew people. The twin pillars were made of the brass taken from the king of Zobah, 1Ch_18:8-9. Each would stand to a height of forty feet. Their names were symbolical, and indicated their strength and durability. Wreaths of golden chainwork hung from the capitals, while beautiful ornaments of lily-work adorned the heads of these noble columns. Jachin-“he shall establish”-and Boaz-“in him is strength”-combined with the beauty of the lily-work, remind us that strength and beauty are in God’s sanctuary and blend in the character of His people.
The molten sea was substituted for the ancient laver, Exo_30:18. It was an immense circular vase, holding 20,000 gallons of water. Its brim was in the form of a lily and it stood on twelve brazen oxen. Water in abundance was needed for the cleansing of the courts; and our Lord has taught us in Joh_13:1-38 the necessity for constant washing if we would walk with God.
And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.
VASES AND LAVERS
In addition to the great molten sea, described in the previous verses, there were ten portable vessels, or vases, that ran on wheels, so that they could be pushed across the level marble floor to any part of the court where fresh cleansing water was required. Five of these lavers were placed on the right, and ten on the left, of the great brazen altar. Such things as belonged to the burned-offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in, 2Ch_4:6.
We should carefully note the large provision made under the old Covenant for ceremonial washings. How precise is this account of these vessels! Does it not give weight to that injunction: “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord”? Isa_52:11. This passage reminds us of the infinite purity of God, who charges His angels with folly, Job_4:18, and in whose sight the heavens are not clean, Job_15:15. As our Lord said to His disciples: “He that is clean needs… to wash his feet,” Joh_13:10. Every act of ours, even though we are priests unto God, needs to be cleansed and sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, Act_6:4.
And Hiram made the lavers, and the shovels, and the basons. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he made king Solomon for the house of the LORD:
VESSELS OF BRASS AND OF GOLD
As we pass from the outward to the inward part of the sanctuary, brass gives place to gold. The nearer we come to God’s throne in the Holy of Holies, the more costly and magnificent everything must become. Even snuffers, hinges, and spoons must be of gold. God’s highest service calls for our best in the least things that pertain to it.
The enumeration of ornaments and utensils in brass and gold, leads to the announcement that Solomon gave up counting the weight, and that the weight of the brass could not be found out. The r.v. margin says, “was not searched out.” In this there is shadowed forth “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” Eph_3:8. You cannot weigh them up. They defy calculation. It is only when you get the accumulated experience of all the saints that you can comprehend the length and breadth and depth and height of the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, Eph_3:18. See to it that you grow in the grace and in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, 2Pe_3:18. Let there be a sensible advance into the deep things of God. For wood bring stones, for stones iron, for iron brass, and for brass gold, Isa_60:17. And may we all leave a finished building behind us when we pass on to see the King!