And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the second day of the second month.—Heb., in the second month in the second. The versions omit the repetition, which is probably a scribe’s error. “On the second day” would be expressed in Hebrew differently. Read simply, “And he began to build in the second month,” i.e., in Zif (or April—May). See 1Kings 6:1.2 Chronicles 3:2. He began to build in the second day, &c. — Concerning the contents of this verse, and the rest of the chapter, see notes on 1 Kings 6.2 Samuel 24:17-25; 1 Chronicles 21:16-26.
2Ch 3:1, 2. Place and Time of Building the Temple.
1. Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David—These words seem to intimate that the region where the temple was built was previously known by the name of Moriah (Ge 22:2), and do not afford sufficient evidence for affirming, as has been done [Stanley], that the name was first given to the mount, in consequence of the vision seen by David. Mount Moriah was one summit of a range of hills which went under the general name of Zion. The platform of the temple is now, and has long been, occupied by the haram, or sacred enclosure, within which stand the three mosques of Omar (the smallest), of El Aksa, which in early times was a Christian church, and of Kubbet el Sakhara, "The dome of the rock," so called from a huge block of limestone rock in the center of the floor, which, it is supposed, formed the elevated threshing-floor of Araunah, and on which the great brazen altar stood. The site of the temple, then, is so far established for an almost universal belief is entertained in the authenticity of the tradition regarding the rock El Sakhara; and it has also been conclusively proved that the area of the temple was identical on its western, eastern, and southern sides with the present enclosure of the haram [Robinson]. "That the temple was situated somewhere within the oblong enclosure on Mount Moriah, all topographers are agreed, although there is not the slightest vestige of the sacred fane now remaining; and the greatest diversity of sentiment prevails as to its exact position within that large area, whether in the center of the haram, or in its southwest corner" [Barclay]. Moreover, the full extent of the temple area is a problem that remains to be solved, for the platform of Mount Moriah being too narrow for the extensive buildings and courts attached to the sacred edifice, Solomon resorted to artificial means of enlarging and levelling it, by erecting vaults, which, as Josephus states, rested on immense earthen mounds raised from the slope of the hill. It should be borne in mind at the outset that the grandeur of the temple did not consist in its colossal structure so much as in its internal splendor, and the vast courts and buildings attached to it. It was not intended for the reception of a worshipping assembly, for the people always stood in the outer courts of the sanctuary.See Poole "1 Kings 6:1". And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. in the second day] The words are absent from 1 Kings and should probably be omitted here. The year according to 1 Kings was the four hundred and eightieth after the Exodus.Verse 2. - In the second day. The word "day" as italicized in our Authorized Version type is of course not found in the Hebrew text. Several manuscripts fail also to show the other words of this clause, viz. "In the second;" and that they are probably spurious derives confirmation from the fact that neither the Arabic nor Syriac Versions, nor the Septuagint nor Vulgate translations, produce them. In the second month, in the fourth year. Reading the verse, therefore, as though it began thus, the most interesting but doubtful question of fixing an exact chronology for what preceded Solomon's reign is opened. In our present text there is little sign of anything to satisfy the offers to do so, if only again to disappoint the more grievously. There we read of "four hundred and eighty years" from the Exodus to this beginning of the building of Solomon's temple. Now, this latter date can be determined with tolerable accuracy (viz. as some twenty years before B.C. 1000) by travelling backwards from the date (n.c. 536) of Cyrus taking Babylon, and the beginning of the return from the Captivity ( B.C. 535), making allowance for the seventy years of the Captivity, the duration of the line of separate Judah-kings, and the remanet, a large one, of the years of Solomon's reign. All this, however, helps nothing at all the period stretching from the Exodus to the beginning of the building of the temple. And the events of this period, strongly corroborated by other testimony (see Canon Rawlinson, 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. it. pp. 575, 576), seem to show convincingly that no faith can be reposed in the authenticity of the chronological statement of our parallel. 1 Kings 5:7-11. - Hiram answered בּכתב, in a writing, a letter, which he sent to Solomon. In 1 Kings 5:7 Hiram first expresses his joy at Solomon's request, because it was of importance to him to be on a friendly footing with the king of Israel. In the Chronicle his writing begins with the congratulation: because Jahve loveth His people, hath He made thee king over them. Cf. for the expression, 2 Chronicles 9:8 and 1 Kings 10:9. He then, according to both narratives, praises God that He has given David so wise a son. ויּאמר, 2 Chronicles 2:12, means: then he said further. The praise of God is heightened in the Chronicle by Hiram's entering into Solomon's religious ideas, calling Jahve the Creator of heaven and earth. Then, further, חכם בּן is strengthened by וּבינה שׂכל יודע, having understanding and discernment; and this predicate is specially referred to Solomon's resolve to build a temple to the Lord. Then in 2 Chronicles 2:13. he promises to send Solomon the artificer Huram-Abi. On the title אבי, my father, i.e., minister, counsellor, and the descent of this man, cf. the commentary on 1 Kings 7:13-14. In 2 Chronicles 2:14 of the Chronicle his artistic skill is described in terms coinciding with Solomon's wish in 2 Chronicles 2:6, only heightened by small additions. To the metals as materials in which he could work, there are added stone and wood work, and to the woven fabrics בּוּץ (byssus), the later word for שׁשׁ; and finally, to exhaust the whole, he is said to be able כּל־מח ולחשׁב, to devise all manner of devices which shall be put to him, as in Exodus 31:4, he being thus raised to the level of Bezaleel, the chief artificer of the tabernacle. עם־חכמיך is dependent upon לעשׂות, as in 2 Chronicles 2:6. The promise to send cedars and cypresses is for the sake of brevity here omitted, and only indirectly indicated in 2 Chronicles 2:16. In 2 Chronicles 2:15, however, it is mentioned that Hiram accepted the promised supply of grain, wine, and oil for the labourers; and 2 Chronicles 2:16 closes with the promise to fell the wood required in Lebanon, and to cause it to be sent in floats to Joppa (Jaffa), whence Solomon could take it up to Jerusalem. The word צרך, "need," is a ἅπαξ λεγ. in the Old Testament, but is very common in Aramaic writings. רפסדות, "floats," too, occurs only here instead of דּבבות, 1 Kings 5:9, and its etymology is unknown. If we compare 1 Kings 5:13-16 with the parallel account in 1 Kings 5:8-11, we find that, besides Hiram's somewhat verbose promise to fell the desired quantity of cedars and cypresses on Lebanon, and to send them in floats by sea to the place appointed by Solomon, the latter contains a request from Hiram that Solomon would give him לחם, maintenance for his house, and a concluding remark that Hiram sent Solomon cedar wood, while Solomon gave Hiram, year by year, 20,000 kor of wheat as food for his house, i.e., the royal household, and twenty kor beaten oil, that is, of the finest oil. In the book of Kings, therefore, the promised wages of grain, wine, and oil, which were sent to the Tyrian woodcutters, is passed over, and only the quantity of wheat and finest oil which Solomon gave to the Tyrian king for his household, year by year, in return for the timber sent, is mentioned. In the Chronicle, on the contrary, only the wages or payment to the woodcutters is mentioned, and the return made for the building timber is not spoken of; but there is no reason for bringing these two passages, which treat of different things, into harmony by alterations of the text. For further discussion of this and of the measures, see on 1 Kings 5:11.
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