1 Kings 7:21
And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.
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1 Kings 7:21. He set up the pillars in the porch — Where they were placed for mere ornament and magnificence, for they supported nothing. Called the name thereof Jachin — Which signifies, He, that is, God, shall establish, his temple, and church, and people: and Boaz signifies, in it, or rather, in him (to answer the he in the former name) is strength. So these pillars, being eminently strong and stable, were types of that strength which was in God, and would be put forth by God for the defending and establishing of his temple and people, if they were careful to observe the conditions required by him on their parts.

7:13-47 The two brazen pillars in the porch of the temple, some think, were to teach those that came to worship, to depend upon God only, for strength and establishment in all their religious exercises. Jachin, God will fix this roving mind. It is good that the heart be established with grace. Boaz, In him is our strength, who works in us both to will and to do. Spiritual strength and stability are found at the door of God's temple, where we must wait for the gifts of grace, in use of the means of grace. Spiritual priests and spiritual sacrifices must be washed in the laver of Christ's blood, and of regeneration. We must wash often, for we daily contract pollution. There are full means provided for our cleansing; so that if we have our lot for ever among the unclean it will be our own fault. Let us bless God for the fountain opened by the sacrifice of Christ for sin and for uncleanness.The Septuagint in the parallel passage (margin reference), translate Jachin and Boaz by Κατόρθωσις Katorthōsis and Ἰσχύς Ischus - "Direction" and "Strength." The literal meaning of the names is given in the margin. The meaning was probably "God will establish in strength" (i. e. firmly) the temple and the religion connected with it. 21. Jachin and … Boaz—These names were symbolical, and indicated the strength and stability—not so much of the material temple, for they were destroyed along with it (Jer 52:17), as of the spiritual kingdom of God, which was embodied in the temple. In the porch of the temple; where they were placed for mere ornament and magnificence, for they supported nothing.

Jachin signifies he, i.e. God, shall establish, to wit, his temple, and church, and people; and

Boaz signifies in it, or rather, in him, (to answer the he in the former name,) is strength. So these pillars being eminently strong and stable, were in a manner types or documents of that strength which was in God, and would be put forth by God for the defending and establishing of his temple and people, if they were careful to keep the conditions required by God on their parts.

And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple,.... Not at the door or entrance into the temple, as Jarchi, but at the entrance into the porch:

and he set up the right pillar; or the pillar on the right hand as you went in, which was on the north, the front being east:

and called the name thereof Jachin; which signifies "he will establish", i.e. the house to which here was an entrance, so long as the pure worship of God should continue in it:

and he set up the left pillar; or the pillar on the left hand, which was to the south, unless the position of them was as you come out:

and called the name thereof Boaz; which signifies "in him", or "it is strength", namely, in the Lord that dwelt there; for this has no respect to Boaz, a prince of the house of Judah, from whom all its kings sprung, as the Targum, in 2 Chronicles 3:17 suggests. These names were given them not by Hiram the artificer, but by Solomon, and which were very expressive; not so much of the nobility of the kingdom of the house of David, as the Targum intimates; or of the church of God, the pillar and ground of truth; as of Christ himself, and the two natures in him, and of his royal dignity, signified by the crowns or chapiters on them, decorated as they were, whose legs are as pillars of marble, and in whom are righteousness and strength; which is no small encouragement to those who are entering into the church of God the temple was a type of; who, should they fear, being feeble and weak, that they should totter and fall, here stands Jachin, to let them know the Lord will establish and settle them; or that they should never hold out to the end, here is Boaz to direct them to Christ, in whom their strength lies, see Sol 4:15. Allusion is had to these, Revelation 3:12.

And he set up the pillars in the {l} porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof {m} Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof {n} Boaz.

(l) Which was in the inner court between the temple and the oracle.

(m) That is, he will stablish, that is, his promise toward this house.

(n) That is, in strength: meaning the power of it will continue.

21. And he set up the pillars in the porch] The preposition is not the same as in 1 Kings 7:19. Render here ‘at the porch.’

Jachin … Boaz] These words are evidently given as proper names, and the LXX. transliterates them here, but translates them in the parallel passage of 2 Chronicles (1 Kings 3:17) by κατόρθωσις and ἰσχύς. Both words are significant. The first is a verb (see Job 27:17) signifying ‘he will prepare, or, establish,’ the second = ‘in him is strength.’ If they be interpreted they are both to be referred to God. Some have wished by a slight alteration of the Hebrew points in the latter word to combine the two into one sentence meaning ‘he will establish by strength.’ But it is not likely that a sentence would be thus split up to make two names.

Verse 21 - And he set up the pillars in the porch [We are now confronted by the much vexed questions,

(1) What was the position, and

(2) what the purpose, of these two columns?

Were they in the porch, or before it? And were they architectural or monumental? Did they support the roof of the porch, or were they isolated and detached, after the manner of obelisks? I incline to the opinion of Bahr, that they stood in the porch, but that they formed no part of the building, i.e., that they were not for any structural use, but simply for ornament. This appears to me, on the whole, to result from the following considerations:

(1) The language used favours a position within the porch. We have here לְאֻלָם ( = "at or in the porch," perhaps for the porch, as Bahr), and in ver. 19 (where see note) בָּאוּלָם. And with this agree the expression of the Chronicles "before (לִפְגֵי) the house," and "before (עַל־פְּנֵי) the temple" (2 Chronicles 3:15, 17). The pillars would, however, be "before the temple," whether they stood within or in front of the porch, and it may be safely allowed that the language of the historian is not decisive one way or the other. The prepositions of the text, however, seem to lend some support to Bahr's view.

(2) We know that the Phoenicians used isolated metal columns as sacred ornaments, so that Hiram would be familiar with such a mode of ornamentation" (Rawlinson). "Whenever in coins or histories we get a representation of a Phoenician temple, it always has a pillar or pillars standing within or before it" (Stanley).

(3) It is extremely doubtful whether these columns, twenty-three feet in height, were adapted to serve as supports to the roof of the porch. The height of the latter has been variously estimated at twenty, thirty, and sixty cubits, and whichever estimate is preferred, the columns would appear to be of an unsuitable altitude. Fergusson says they were "appropriate to support the roof of the porch," but then he conceives the columns to be in all twenty-seven cubits high (see on ver. 19), and allows the remaining three cubits for the slope of the roof). But, as we cannot be certain either of the height of the porch or of the column, this is an argument of which very little can be made.

(4) If the pillars were part of the building, they would almost certainly have been of the same material, i.e., wood or stone. Their metallic composition is certainly an argument for their monumental character. It can hardly be alleged in favour of this view, however, that they are mentioned amongst the vessels or articles of furniture, for the historian might fittingly describe the pillars here, as being the principal of the "works in brass" which Hiram wrought, even if they did form the supports of the roof of the porch. Nor are we justified, considering the extreme brevity and the partial character of the description of the temple, in affirming that they would have been mentioned in connexion with the building, had they formed part of the edifice.

(5) The remark of Stieglitz (cited by Bahr) that "it was their separate position alone which gave these pillars the impressive aspect they were designed to wear," lends some little support to this view. So also does

(6) The fact that these columns and these alone, received special names. "No architectural portion of the building received a name" (Keil). But this argument, again, is not too unduly pressed, for to some it may seem that the names they bore would have a special propriety and an enhanced significance, if the columns contributed to the strength and stability of the edifice. The question, therefore, is one of considerable complexity, the more so, as it is maintained that it would be almost impossible to construct a roof thirty feet in width without some such pillars to support the beam (Fergusson); but the balance of evidence appears to favour the view that Jachin and Boaz were monuments erected in the porch, to dignify the sanctuary, and to symbolize the power and eternity of the Being to whom it was dedicated]: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin [i.e., he shall establish, as marg. The name expressed the belief that God would preserve and protect the new lane. It is true that a Jachin is mentioned (1 Chronicles 9:10; 1 Chronicles 24:17), as head of the 21st course of priests in the reign of David, while a Boaz was one of Solomon's ancestors, but the columns could hardly be named after them, or an private persons. Ewald suggests that they were named after "some favourites of the time, perhaps young sons of Solon on." The idea of Thenius that these names were engraved upon the pillars is not wholly improbable, though of course it finds no support in the text] and he set up the left pillar [the left as one faced them from the house. The right hand is identified with the south in ver. 39], and called the name thereof Boaz. [Marg. in it is strength. Probably "in Him, i.e., God, is its strength" (cf. Isaiah 45:24). The thought of Jachin, "He will establish," is thus continued; and the two pillars pointed alike to the God of Israel as the true support and upholder of His sanctuary. The LXX. interpretation of these two names, Κατόρθωσις and Ἰσχός (2 Chronicles 3:17), success and strength, though very far from literal, preserves their fundamental ideas. 1 Kings 7:21"And he set up the pillars at the hall of the Holy Place, and set up the right pillar, and called its name Jachin, and ... the left...Boaz." Instead of ההיכל לאוּלם we have in 2 Chronicles 3:15 הבּית לפני, and in 2 Chronicles 3:17 ההיכל על־פּני, "before the house," "before the Holy Place." This unquestionably implies that the two brazen pillars stood unconnected in front of the hall, on the right and left sides of it, and not within the hall as supporters of the roof. Nevertheless many have decided in favour of the latter view. But of the four arguments used by Thenius in proof that this was the position of the pillars, there is no force whatever in the first, which is founded upon Amos 9:1, unless we assume, as Merz and others do, that the words of the prophet, "Smite the capital, that the thresholds may shake, and break them (the capitals of the pillars), that they may fall upon the head of all," refer to the temple at Jerusalem, and not, as Thenius and others suppose, to the temple erected at Bethel for the calf-worship. For even if the temple at Bethel had really had a portal supported by pillars, it would by no means follow that the pillars Jachin and Boaz in Solomon's temple supported the roof of the hall, as it is nowhere stated that the temple of Jeroboam at Bethel was an exact copy of that of Solomon. And even with the only correct interpretation, in which the words of Amos are made to refer to the temple at Jerusalem, the argument founded upon them in support of the position of the pillars as bearers of the hall rests upon the false idea, that the ספּים, which are shaken by the smiting of the capital, are the beams lying upon the top of the pillars, or the superliminaria of the hall. It is impossible to prove that סף has any such meaning. The beam over the entrance, or upon the doorposts, is called משׁקוף in Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:22-23, whereas סף denotes the threshold, i.e., the lower part of the framework of the door, as is evident from Judges 19:27. The words of the prophet are not to be interpreted architecturally, but to be taken in a rhetorical sense; "so that by the blow, which strikes the capital, and causes the thresholds to tremble, such a blow is intended as shakes the temple in all its joints" (Baur on Amos 9:1). "הכּפתּור, a kind of ornament at the top of the pillars, and הסּפּים, the thresholds, are opposed to one another, to express the thought that the building is to be shaken and destroyed a summo usque ad imum, a capite ad calcem" (Hengstenberg, Chrisol. i. p. 366 transl.). The other arguments derived from Ezekiel 40:48 and Ezekiel 40:49, and from Josephus, Ant. viii. 3, 4, prove nothing at all. From the words of Josephus, τούτων τῶν κιόνων τὸν μέν ἕτερον κατὰ τὴν δεξιὰν ἔστησε τοῦ προπυλαίου παραστάδα...τὸν δὲ ἕτερον κ.τ.λ., it would only follow "that the pillars (according to the view of Josephus) must have stood in the doorway," if it were the case that παραστάς had no other meaning than doorpost, and προπύλαιον could be understood as referring to the temple-hall generally. But this is conclusively disproved by the fact that Josephus always calls the temple-hall πρόναον (l.c., and viii. 3, 2 and 3), so that προπύλαιον can only denote the fore-court, and παραστάς a pillar standing by itself. Consequently Josephus regarded the pillars Jachin and Boaz as propylaea erected in front of the hall. We must therefore adhere to the view expressed by Bhr (d. Tempel, p. 35ff.), that these pillars did not support the roof of the temple-hall, but were set up in front of the hall on either side of the entrance. In addition to the words of the text, this conclusion is sustained (1) by the circumstance that the two pillars are not mentioned in connection with the building of the temple and the hall, but are referred to for the first time here in the enumeration of the sacred vessels of the court that were made of brass. "If the pillars had formed an essential part of the construction and had been supporters of the hall, they would certainly have been mentioned in the description of the building, and not have been placed among the articles of furniture" (Schnaase); and moreover they would not have been made of metal like the rest of the vessels, but would have been constructed of the same building materials as the hall and the house, namely, of stone or wood (Bhr). And to this we may add (2) the monumental character of the pillars, which is evident from the names given to them. No architectural portion of the building received a special name.

(Note: Stieglitz (Gesch. der Baukunst, p. 127) aptly observes in relation to this: "The architect cannot subscribe to Meyer's view (that the pillars were supporters of the hall), since it was only through their independent position that the pillars received the solemn character intended to be given to them, and by their dignity subserved the end designed, of exalting the whole building and calling attention to the real purpose of the whole.")

Jachin (יכין): "he establishes," stabiliet templum (Simonis Onom. p. 430); and Boaz (בּעז), ex עז בּו in illo, sc. Domino, robur (Sim. p. 460). Kimchi has correctly interpreted the first name thus: "Let this temple stand for ever;" and the second, "Solomon desired that God would give it strength and endurance." The pillars were symbols of the stability and strength, which not only the temple as an outward building, but the kingdom of God in Israel as embodied in the temple, received from the Lord, who had chosen the temple to be His dwelling-place in the midst of His people.

(Note: There is no necessity to refute the fanciful notion of Ewald, that these pillars, "when they were erected and consecrated, were certainly named after men who were held in estimation at that time, probably after the younger sons of Solomon," and that of Thenius, that בּעז יכין, "He (the Lord) establishes with strength," was engraved upon them as an inscription.)

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