Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.The Moulding of the Vessels
2 Chronicles 4:17
I. In that temple of Solomon's we have a double type.
1. Those great and costly stones—those marble blocks which were squared and polished leagues away from Jerusalem, and not brought thither till actually needed: so that not one echo of the saw, not one stroke of the mallet, was heard over all the dedicated ground. Their adaptation was perfected at a distance, and then they were set in their glorious home.
2. The brass and silver and gold work, the capitals for the pillars, the rails for the cedar walls, the solid coverings for the doors. And these, too, were cast at a distance, in the clay ground by the Jordan.
The lesson? This—That by affliction, and only by that, were the Saints made meet for their place, and you must be made meet for yours, in the Kingdom of Heaven. How was this brass, how was this gold procured? How, but by the slow agony of the furnace?
II. Out of the smelting furnace the metal runs bright, pure, strong, fit for any use; but only fit for it. It has not yet received the shape in which it is to do service for the Master. Prepared it is to be made useful to Him, but it is not really useful as yet. And then comes in the text: 'In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground'. The moulds, then, that formed those glorious ornaments, that cast those shapes of beauty for the house which was to be 'exceeding magnificent,' which was to be 'wonderful great,' were made by the vilest and cheapest, and, in itself most impure of all materials, namely, clay.
And how is it that all of you are to be formed for being vessels unto honour, sanctified, meet for the Master's use, prepared unto every good work? Is it not by what the world calls the meanest, and poorest, and most despicable employments here?
III. Notice; they were not cast by chance; they did not come out by accident; it was not like Aaron's, 'Then I cast them into the fire, and there came out the calf. No; it was the king that did it; the King that continually does it; and not less the King, because not with His own hands, and not in His own immediate presence. We are not to suppose that Solomon went down into the clay ground, and there gave orders for the casting these temple vessels. No; he remained in his glory and peace at Jerusalem. And yet it is said, 'In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them'. And so it is with you. The King no more, as in former ages, walks the clay ground of this earth. But still, not the less, from that glorious Throne, He superintends, He appoints, He orders, for each of you the mould that is to stamp you for His service. Be it what it may, it comes from the wisdom that cannot be mistaken, it is approved by the love that cannot be quenched.
—J. M. Neale, Occasional Sermons, p. 116.
Reference.—IV. 21.—H. W. Webb-Peploe, Calls to Holiness, p. 215.
Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast.
It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.
He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.
And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basons of gold.
Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south.
And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God;
To wit, the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters which were on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars;
And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were upon the pillars.
He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases;
One sea, and twelve oxen under it.
The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the LORD of bright brass.
In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah.
Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.
And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set;
Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold;
And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, made he of gold, and that perfect gold;
And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold.