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.
Verse 1. - 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 [This date has been the subject of much controversy, which cannot even now be considered (pace Keil: "The correctness of the number 480 is now pretty generally admitted") as closed. Grave doubts are entertained as to its genuineness. Lord A. Hervey (Dict. Bib. vol. 2. p. 22) says it is "manifestly erroneous." Rawlinson considers it to be "an interpolation into the sacred text" (p. 515). And it is to he observed,
1. that the LXX. reads 440 instead of 480 years - a discrepancy which is suspicious, and argues some amount of incertitude.
2. Origen quotes this verse without these words (Comm. in S. Johann 2:20).
3. They would seem to have been unknown to Josephus, Clem. Alex., and others.
4. It is not the manner of Old Testament writers thus to date events from an era, an idea which appears to have first occurred to the Greeks temp. Thucydides (Rawlinson). It is admitted that we have no other instance in the Old Testament where this is done.
5. It is difficult to reconcile this statement with other chronological notices both of the Old and New Testaments. For taking the numbers which we find in the Hebrew text of the books which refer to this period, they sum up to considerably more than 480 years. The time of the Judges alone comprises 410 years at the least. It should be stated, however, with regard to the chronology of the period last mentioned
(1) that it only pretends to furnish round numbers - 20, 40, and the like - and evidently does not aim at exactitude;
(2) that there is good ground for suspecting that the periods are not always consecutive; that in some cases, i.e., they overlap. We are not justified, therefore, because of the dates of the Judges in rejecting this statement. The question of New Testament chronology is somewhat more complicated. In Acts 13:20, St. Paul states the period between the division of Canaan, by Joshua (Joshua 14:1, 2), and the time of Samuel the prophet as 450 years (καί μετὰ ταῦτα ω}ς ἔτεσι τετρακοσίοις καὶ πεντήκοντα ἔδωκεν κριτὰς κ.τ.λ.) But Lachmann, on the authority of A, B, C (and we may add א), considers the received text to be corrupt, and would place καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα after πεντήκοντα. Alford, however, treats this reading as "an attempt at correcting the difficult chronology of the verse," and says that "all attempts to reconcile" it with 1 Kings 6:1 "are arbitrary and forced." If, then, the received text is to stand - and it is to be noticed that the reigns of the Judges, including Samuel, sum up exactly to the period mentioned by St. Paul, 450 years - the interval between the Exodus and the erection of the temple cannot well have been less than 99 or 100 years longer, i.e., 580 - Josephus makes it 592 - instead of 480 years.
6. The chronology of Josephus - to which by itself, perhaps, no great weight is to be attached, agrees with St. Paul's estimate, and of course contradicts that of the text.
7. Nor does it seem to be a valid argument for the retention of the suspected words, that "the precision of the statement is a voucher for its accuracy." (Bahr, who adds, "Not only is the whole number of the years given, but also the year of the reign of the king, and even the month itself," for the genuineness of the later date, "In the fourth year," etc., is not questioned.) The remark of Keil that the building of the temple marked a new and important epoch in the history of the chosen people, and so justified an exceptional reference to the birth or emancipation of the nation, though undoubtedly true, will hardly avail much against the considerations alleged above. On the whole, therefore, I confess to the belief that these words are the interpolation of a later hand (of which we shall find traces elsewhere), though it would, perhaps, be premature, with only the evidence now before us, to exclude them from the text. It is certainly noteworthy that such destructive critics as Ewald and Thenius are satisfied as to their genuineness], in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel [according to the chronology of Ussher, this was A.M. 3000], in the month Zif [i.e., May. The word signifies splendour. The month was probably so called because of the brilliancy of its flowers (Gesen., Keil, al.)], which is the second month [This explanation is added because before the captivity the months (with the exception of Abib) appear to have had no regular names, but were almost always designated by numbers. (See, e.g., Genesis 7:11; 2 Kings 25:1). Only four pre-captivity names are recorded, and of these three are mentioned in connexion with the building of the temple, viz., Zif here and in ver. 37, Bul in ver. 38, and Ethanim in 1 Kings 8:2. It has hence been inferred that these names were not in general use, but were restricted to public documents, etc. (Dict. Bib. if. 416), a supposition which, if correct, would account for the facility with which the old appellations were superseded by post-captivity names. The later name for this month was Iyar (Targum on 2 Chronicles 30:2)], that he began [not in Heb.] to build the house of [Heb. to] the Lord. [The chronicler mentions the site (2 Chronicles 3:1), "In Mount Moriah ....in the threshing floor of Ornan," etc. We know from the extensive foundations yet remaining that the preparation of the platform on which the temple should stand must have been a work of considerable time and labour, and see Jos., Ant. 8:03.9, and Bell. Jud. 5:05.1. We can hardly be wrong in identifying the remarkable rock known as the Sakrah, over which the mosque of Omar (Kubbet-es-Sakrah) is built - the "pierced rock" of the Jerusalem Itinerary - with the threshing floor of Ornan. The reader will find an interesting paper on the site of the temple in "Scribner's Monthly," vol. 11. pp. 257-272. According to Mr. Beswick, whose measurements and conclusions it gives, the porch stood on the Sakrah. Mr. Conder, however, urges strong reasons ("Tent Work," pp. 187-9) for placing the Holy of Holies on the rock. We should then "see the Holy House in its natural and traditional position on the top of the mountain; we see the courts descending on either side, according to the present slopes of the hill; we find the great rock galleries dropping naturally into their right places; and finally, we see the temple, by the immutability of Oriental custom, still a temple, and the site of the great altar still consecrated [?] by the beautiful little chapel of the chain." But see Porteri. p. 125; Pal. Explor. p. 4, also pp. 342, 343; "Our Work in Palestine," chs. 8. and 9; "Recovery of Jerusalem," ch. 12., etc. Quot viatores, tot sententiae.]
And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
Verse 2. - And the house [i.e., not the whole structure, but the main building, exclusive of porch (ver. 3) and side chambers (ver. 5)] which king Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits [But what was the length of the cubit? (אָמָהֹ) This unfortunately is by no means certain, as the Jews would seem to have had three different cubits. All the ancient measures, both Jewish and Gentile, were taken from parts of the body. Thus we find a "finger-breadth" (Jeremiah 52:21), "hand-breadth" (1 Kings 7:26), "span" (1 Samuel 17:24), and the Greeks had their δάκτυλος πούς and τῆχυς, and the Romans their cubitus, pes, digitus, etc. אָמָה is used in its proper sense (ulna) Deuteronomy 3:11. Probably at first it signified, like πῆχυς, the length from point of elbow to tip of little or middle finger. But it is obvious that this was an uncertain measure, and hence perhaps arose cubits of different length. According to Gesen. the cubit here mentioned, which was the older or sacred Mosaic cubit (2 Chronicles 3:3), was six palms, while that of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 43:13), the royal Babylonian cubit, was seven, but on this as well as other points the authorities are very far from agreed. "The length of the cubit is one of the most knotty points of Hebrew archaeology" (Dict. Bib. 3, p. 1736). There is a general consensus of opinion, however in favour of understanding the cubit here mentioned as measuring 18 inches. Fergusson (Dict. Bib. 3:1451) considers this to be beyond question. It is certainly noteworthy that the measurements of Kings and Chronicles, of Ezra and Ezekiel, of Josephus and the Talmud, all agree, and we know that Josephus always uses the Greek cubit of 18 inches. Mr. Conder, however, maintains that the Hebrew cubit amounts to no more than sixteen inches. He says, "Maimonides tells us that the temple cubit was of 48 barleycorns, and any one who will take the trouble to measure barleycorns, will find that three go to the inch" - which gives 16 inches for the cubit. To this argument, which is not perhaps of much weight, he adds, what is of much greater moment, that "the Galilean synagogues, measured by it, give round numbers" (pp. 187-8)] and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. [It thus appears that the temple was but a small - compared with many churches, a very small - building. But its purpose and object must be considered. It was not for assemblies of the people. The congregation never met within it, but the worship was offered towards it. It was a place for the Holy Presence, and for the priests who ministered before it.]
And 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.
Verse 3. - And the porch [אוּלָם, forepart, projection (Vorhalle, Gesenius). The porch was not a colonnade - that is called a "porch of pillars" (1 Kings 7:6), but was formed By simply prolonging the side walls, and possibly the roof (see below). Bahr holds that it had only side walls and cieling (sic), and was entirely open in front; and the fact that no mention is made of any door or opening, though the doors of the other parts of the edifies are all referred to (vers. 8, 31, 33), certainly favours this view, as also does the position of the pillars of 1 Kings 7:21] before the temple of the house [The house, or main building (ver. 2), had two parts.
(1) "The temple of the house" (הֵיכָל = "spacious," hence "magnificent building," "palace," as in Proverbs 30:28; Daniel 1:4. Gesen., Thes. 1:375). The same word is used of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 1:9), of the royal palace (1 Kings 21:1; 2 Kings 20:18; Psalm 45:8, 15), and of heaven (2 Samuel 22:7, etc.) This was the ναὸς par excellence, and is called "the great house," because of its superior size and height, in 2 Chronicles 3:5.
(2) The oracle (דְּבִיר) see on ver. 5. The two bore a rough resemblance to the nave and chancel of a Gothic church], twenty cubits was the length thereof according to the breadth of the house [The porch, i.e., extended across the entire front, or east end of the temple] and ten cubits was the breadth [i.e., depth] thereof before the house. [The height of the porch, of which no mention is made here, is stated in 2 Chronicles 3:4 as 120 cubits (say 180 feet), but there is surely some mistake in the figures. For
(1) This is "unlike anything we know of in ancient architecture" (Fergusson).
(2) A porch of such dimensions would surely have been called מִגְדָּל, not אוּלָם (Thenius, Keil).
(3) It is doubtful whether an erection of so great a height, with such a slender basis, would stand. It would certainly be out of all proportion. Towers are generally built about three times the height of the adjoining nave, but this would be six times as high, and moreover the porch did not taper to a point like a Gothic spire. It is much more probable, therefore, that there is a corruption of the text of Chronicles (see on 2 Chronicles 3:4) - errors in numbers are by no means infrequent - than that such a column could be erected to serve as a porch, or if erected - and this consideration appears to me to be decisive - could have been passed over by our author without notice. It is impossible, however, to say positively what the height of the porch was. Probably 30 cubits, the height of the house. Stanley characteristically puts it down as "more than 200 feet." It may be remarked here that Fergusson, following Josephus and the Talmud, contends that the temple had another building of the same height above it. See Dict. Bib. 3 p. 1456, and note on ver. 20.]
And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.
Verse 4. - And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. [There has been much disputation over these words. The older expositors generally follow (as does the marg.) the Chaldee and Rabbins: "windows broad within and narrow without;" windows, i.e. somewhat like the loopholes of ancient castles. The windows of the temple would then have resembled those of Egyptian sacred buildings. (It is not implied that there was any conscious imitation of Egypt, though Fergusson surely forgets the affinity with Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1), the trade with Egypt (1 Kings 10:28), and the favour with which some Egyptian fashions were regarded (Song of Solomon 1:9), when he contends that the chosen people would never take the buildings of their ancestral enemy for a model.) But this meaning is not supported by the original (שְׁקֻפִים אֲטֻמִים), the literal interpretation of which is "closed beams" (cf. chap. 7:4, 5), and which the most competent scholars now understand to mean "closed or fixed lattices, i.e., the lattices or the temple windows were not movable, as in domestic architecture (2 Kings 1:2; 2 Kings 13, 17; Daniel 6:10). So Gesenius, De Wette, Keil, Bahr, al.]
And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:
Verse 5. - And against [or upon, עַל; they rested on the wall] the wall of the house [here meaning both temple and oracle: see below] he built chambers [Marg. floors. The Orig. is יָצוּעַ (Keri, יָצִיעַ) singular = stratum (תךשׁארתס יָצַע, spread out). Symm. translates κατάστρωμα. Gesenius remarks that the word is used here and in ver. 10 in the masculine of the whole of the side structure, while in ver. 6 it is used in the feminine of the single stories. The floors bore this name, יָצוּע, because they were spread upon, not inserted into the walls. Rawlinson has evidently confounded this word with צֵלָע (see below) when he says, "The Hebrew word here used would be best translated a lean to." Both words are translated alike "chambers" in the Authorized Version, but the first means stories or floors; the second may, perhaps, signify lean tos] round about, against [It is doubtful whether אֶת is here, as commonly, merely the sign of the accusative, or is the preposition "with," meaning "in connexion with," cum parietibus (Seb. Schmidt), in which case its meaning would approach very closely to that of עַל above. Bahr remarks that עַל and אֶת are used elsewhere as almost synonymous, and refers to Psalm 4:7 in connexion with Psalm 67:2. Keil translates, "As for the walls" (Anlangend die Wande), but this gives us an unfinished sentence. It is probably an accusative, explicative of the preceding clause = "I mean the walls," etc., the singular, wall, having being used above. This additional clause] the walls of the house round about [would then mean that the term "house" is to be understood as including both temple and oracle (and excluding porch), as the next words define it], both of the temple and of the oracle [The floors, i.e., ran round the south, west, and north sides of the building. Stanley aptly compares them to the little shops which nestle under the continental cathedrals; though the side aisles of some Gothic churches, viewed externally, would perhaps better represent their proportions] and he made chambers [צְלָעעות, literally, ribs, beams, (Gesenius); Rippen (Bahr). The design of the word is clearly to convey that the floors were "divided by partitions into distinct compartments" (Merz). According to Ezekiel 41:6 (where, however, the reading is doubtful) there were thirty-three of these side chambers; according to Josephus (Ant. 8:08. 2) thirty. Thenius is probably not so far wrong when he sees in these chambers bedrooms. A sort of monastery would seem to have been attached to the temple. So many chambers could hardly have been required for the "preservation of temple stores and utensils" (Keil), or of offerings (Ewald). Whatever their use, we can hardly suppose that they were wholly without light, though nothing is said about windows. They may have had "fixed lattices." It is to be re. membered that the priests and Levites ministered "by night in the house of the Lord" (Psalm 134:1)] round about.
The 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.
Verse 6. - The nethermost chamber [Heb. floor; cf. Ezekiel 41:6] was five cubits broad [It must be remembered that all the measurements are those of the interior], and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for [Explanation how these differences of size arose] without [i.e., on the outside] in the wall of [Heb. omits] the house [main building - nave, and chancel] he made [Heb. put] narrowed rests [marg. "narrowings or rebatements," The word מִגְרָעות means lessenings, deductions; Absatze, Gesen. (Thesaurus, 1:804), Bahr.
PICTURE OF CHAMBER The outside of the temple wall took the shape of three (or four) steps, and presented three ledges for the beams to rest upon. See below] round about [same word as in ver. 5. The recesses in the wall ran round the north, west, and south sides of the building; they were co-extensive, i.e., with the flats or side chambers], that the beams should not be fastened [Heb. that no fastening] into the walls of the house. [The meaning is perfectly clear, viz., that the timbers should not be let into the walls, ("they had not hold in the wall of the house," Ezekiel 41:6); but why this was forbidden is not quite so certain. According to Bahr, it was in order to preserve the great and costly stones of the temple intact; but others, with greater probability, hold that it was because it appeared unseemly to have the side chambers, which were for semi-secular purposes (cubicles, perhaps), made an actual part of the sacred edifice. Anyhow, it is clear that the beams rested on ledges made in the walls; but whether in the temple wall only, or in the outer wall of the side structure also, is uncertain. The preceding sketch will not only illustrate the difference, but will help the reader to understand the description preceding. In drawing (1) rebatements are showed only in the temple or inner wall, In (2) they are showed in both walls. In (1) the edifice is represented with a fiat; in (2) with a span roof. Keil decides in favour of the first arrangement (1), and Bahr says somewhat positively, "The outer wall of the structure had no rests." In fact, he suggests that the whole of this side building may have been of wood. It must be admitted that we do know that there were rebatements in the wall A, whereas nothing is said as to the outer wall B. It may also be reasonably alleged that the considerations of fitness and sacredness which forbade the insertion of the beams into the sanctuary wall would not apply to the outer wall, which was a part of the side structure only. Against this view, however, may be urged the extreme thickness of wall which this method of building would necessitate. For unless we suppose that the floor of the ground story rested on the rock, and so was quite detached from the building, we must suppose four rebatements, so that if the wall at the top were two cubits wide, it would be no less than six cubits (or nine feet) at the bottom. It is true that the walls of ancient buildings were of extraordinary thickness, but it must also be remembered that the temple was not fifty feet high. However, Ezekiel 41:9 suggests that the outside wall (B) may have been five cubits in thickness, and, if so, the inner wall would hardly be less. Fergusson, therefore, has some justification for putting each wall down as five cubits wide; but on the whole, perhaps, the plan represented in (1) appears the more probable. The historian here digresses for a moment to speak of the remarkable and, indeed, unprecedented way in which the temple was built, The stories were shaped and prepared beforehand in the quarry, so that there was nothing to do on their arrival in the temple area but to fit them into their place in the building.]
And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
Verse 7. - And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready [Heb. perfect. This does not mean unhewn, though אֵבָנִים שְׁלְמות is undoubtedly used in Deuteronomy 27:6 (cf. Exodus 20:25) of unhewn or virgin stone; and Gesenius would so understand the expression here, But the context seems rather to convey the idea that the stones were not shaped on the spot. It was apparently the belief of the ancients that stones of proper shape and size were provided in their bed by God (so Theodoret and Procopius,) It is inconceivable, however, that no dressing or preparation of any kind would be required; an idea, moreover, which is contradicted by 1 Kings 5:18. When Gardiner (in Bahr, American edition) quotes Keil (in his earlier work) as understanding "all unviolated stones of the quarry," he hardly does justice to that author, who straightway adds, "that is, not altogether unhewn stones... but stones that were so hewn and wrought in the quarry that neither hammer," etc. (see below). Similarly Thehius and Bahr] before it was brought thither [so the Authorized Version renders מַסָּע but mistakenly. It means, the quarry (Gesenius, Keil. For the construction, see Ewald, 289a, and Gesenius, Gram. ed. Rodiger, p. 170.) The verb נָסַע is used of quarrying in 1 Kings 5:31 (Heb.) [1 Kings 5:17] Where was this quarry? The general idea is that it was in the Lebanon. And it is not to be denied that some of the massive substructions and cornerstones of the temple may have been brought from the mountain, along with the wood; but the bulk of the stone, there can be no doubt, was found much nearer home. Some of it, according to the Mishna (Middoth, 3:4), came from Bethlehem; but we can hardly be mistaken in believing that for the most part it was quarried in Jerusalem itself, under the very temple rock, and out of the vast caverns recovered some years ago by Dr. Barclay (see his "City of the Great King"), the "Royal Caverns" of Josephus. See "Quart. Journal," Pal. Explor. Fund (No. 7.), pp, 373, 374, and cf. p. 34. There are unmistakable evidences of these extensive caverns having served as a quarry. Not only are the walls cut straight, but rude masses are left here and there to support the roof, and, what is still more convincing, there are stones more or less cut out of the rock, and incisions are made where stones are to be quarried. There was no reason why the workmen should go far afield for stone when they had it, and of very excellent quality, at their own doors]: so that there was neither hammer [Heb. and hammers. Keil understands "finished stones of the quarry, and hammer, and axe." But the word "was built" (נִבְנֶה), coming as it does between "quarry" and "hammers," almost forbids this connexion] nor axe [Heb. the axe] nor any tool [Heb. every tool] of iron heard in the house, while it was building. [The historian remarks on this, not only because it was so unusual, but with the evident idea that it was a fulfilment of the spirit of the law (Deuteronomy 27:5, 6), which required the altar to be of virgin stones, untouched by tool of iron. If the quarries are to be identified with the "Royal Caverns," it is easy to understand how the temple rose up in silence.
The door for the middle 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.
Verse 8. - After recording this interesting and singular fact, the historian resumes his description of the side building. The door [or entrance, doorway, פֶתַח, as in ver. 31] for [Heb. of] the middle chamber [generally understood to mean "the middle side chamber of the lower story." But this is by no means necessary, for
(1) צֵלָע may signify the suite of rooms, i.e., the entire story or flat, as well as a single lean to or compartment, and
(2) הַתִּי כֹנָה is used in the next clause of the middle story. This has led Thenius, Keil, Ewald, Bahr, al. to substitute הַתַּחֲתּנָח (following the LXX. and Targum), which would give the sense of "lower story" (as in Ezekiel 41:7). Bahr says this "must necessarily be read." That this emendation has much in its favour must be allowed, but it seems also certain that we get a perfectly clear meaning from the text as it stands, viz., that "the door (leading to) the middle floor was (on the ground floor) on the right side," etc. It is hardly likely that all the compartments on the ground floor had only one approach, and the doors which communicated with them may well have been passed over as requiring no special notice. But the historian feels it necessary to state how the second and third stories were reached, and the staircase which led to them causes him to speak of the position of the door which opened upon it] was in the right side [Heb. shoulder. This word (כֶּתֶפ) almost implies that the door was in the external wall of the side structure, not in the wall of the holy place (as Bottcher, al.) The fact that the floor joists were not inserted into the temple walls, as being inconsistent with the dignity of the sanctuary, makes it almost a certainty that there was no direct communication between the building and its dependance. It is very improbable that the walls of the house were anywhere broken through. The "right side" was the south side (1 Kings 7:39), i.e., the right, not as one faced the oracle, but, like the building, faced east. What was the exact position of the door, whether in the centre, or at either angle, it is impossible to say] of the house: and they went up with winding stairs [לוּלִים is only found here and in 2 Chronicles
3. The staircase was obviously unlike those of most Eastern buildings, within the side structure. Even if the outer wall was five cubits thick, of which we have no proof, it is very doubtful whether the staircase would or could be constructed within it] into [Heb. upon] the middle Chamber [or story], and out of the middle into the third.
So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.
Verse 9. - So he built the house and finished it [i.e., the exterior (see on ver. 14)] and covered [i.e., roofed, same word Deuteronomy 33:21; Jeremiah 22:14; Haggai 1:4. There is no reference to the lining of cedar which was applied to the interior. That is described in ver. 15] the house with beams and boards [Heb. rows, ranks. The same word is used of soldiers 2 Kings 11:8, 15] of cedar. [It has been universally held till quite lately that the roof was either vaulted (Thenius) or flat (Bahr, Keil). But Mr. Fergussen has alleged some reasons for believing that it was a span or gable roof. It is true that Oriental buildings almost invariably have externally flat(internally arched) roofs. In Palestine, because of the scarcity of timber, no other form is possible. But the temple, as we have seen, was constructed after the model of the tabernacle, and the latter, as the name almost implies, and as necessity would require, had a ridged roof (see Dict. Bib. 3 p. 1453). It does not necessarily follow, however, as Fergusson assumes, that the temple followed the tabernacle in this respect. It is obvious that when a "house was built unto the name of the Lord," the form of the tent might be abandoned as inappropriate. It is true that this shape would be consecrated to them by many centuries of use, but it is also possible that in a house it would strike them as altogether bizarre.]
And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
Verse 10. - And then [Heb. omits] he built chambers [Heb. the floor (הַיָּצִועַ). The word (masculine) is here again used of the entire side structure] against all the house, five cubits high [i.e., each story was five cubits (7.5 feet). The three stories would altogether measure fifteen cubits, and of course something must be allowed for joists, floors, etc. The entire height of the side structure (exterior) would consequently be about 18 or 20 cubits. And as the house was internally 30 cubits high, the exterior measurement would probably be about 32 cubits. It has hence been inferred that between the side structure and the top of temple wall there would be a clear space of 12 or 14 cubits, in which the windows were inserted. But this is based on the assumption that the side structure had a flat roof, which is by no means certain. If the roof leaned against the walls of the house, with a low pitch, there would still be space amply sufficient for the clerestory windows. Rawlinson's diagram (p. 511), which gives 80 cubits as the height from basement to ridge of roof, and only allows 20 cubits for height of walls, practically makes the house 20 instead of 30 cubits high, for it is hardly likely that it had an open roof. In fact, we know that it had a cieling (ver. 14), which must have been at the height of 30 cubits (see the diagrams on p. 102. In
(1) house and side structure are represented with flat, in
(2) with ridged or sloping roofs),
unless there was an upper chamber above the house, as to which see ver. 20. Rawlinson's diagram has this further defect, that he allows nothing for thickness of joists, floors, and cielings. If we allow one cubit for each floor, then, on his plan, there would be little or no room left for the windows. This verse is hardly to be considered as a repetition of ver. 5, the side structure being here mentioned in connexion with its height and the materials used in its construction] and they rested on [the meaning of the Heb. וַיֶּאֶחֹז has been much disputed. It is uncertain what is the nominative, Solomon (as in וַיִּבֶן), or the "floor" (just referred to in קומָתו). Gesenius understands the former, and renders, "he covered the house," etc. Thenius, "he fastened the floor," etc. Keil adopts the latter alternative, "it held to the house with cedar beams." It may be urged against this rendering (as also against Thenius's) that beams which merely rested on the walls would hardly bind or hold the side structure to the main building. But it is almost impossible to decide between these interpretations. We may either render "he covered," etc. (with Chald., Vulg.) in which case ver. 10 would agree with ver. 9 (each, i.e., would refer to the roofing; ver. 9 to roof of temple; ver. 10 to roof of side structure and its stories); or we may take the words to mean "it laid hold of, i.e., rested on] the house with timber of cedar. At this point the historian interrupts his description of the building to record the gracious promise made to the king during its erection. It should, perhaps, be stated that this (vers. 11-14) is omitted in the Vat. LXX. But it has every mark of genuineness.]
And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying,
Verse 11. - And the word of the Lord came to Solomon [probably through the prophet Nathan. It cannot well have been a direct communication, for the second direct revelation is mentioned in 1 Kings 9:2 (cf. 1 Kings 3:5). The original promise was made by Nathan (2 Samuel 7:12). It seems exceedingly probable that the promise would be renewed through him if he were still alive] 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:
Verse 12. - Concerning [or, as to. There is nothing, however, in the Hebrew] this house which thou art in building [כֹּנֶה Cf. וַיִּבֶן, vers. 5, 9, 10] if thou wilt walk in my statutes [the connexion of ideas seems to be this, "Thou art doing well to build the house; thou art fulfilling my good pleasure (2 Samuel 7:13); if thou wilt go on and in other matters wilt keep," etc. It is to be observed that this promise contains a faint note of warning. Possibly Solomon had already betrayed some slight tokens of declension], and execute my Judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform [literally, confirm. Same word as in 1 Kings 2:3. The "word of the Lord" is the echo of the word of David] my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father [i.e., the word mentioned 1 Kings 2:4 and found 2 Samuel 7:12 sqq.].
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
Verse 13. - And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel [cf. Deuteronomy 31:6. A fresh element is here introduced into the promise, arising out of the erection of the temple. God had pledged His presence to the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45; cf. Leviticus 26:11). And the temple was reared to be His dwelling place (1 Kings 8:13; 2 Chronicles 6:2). He now assures the royal builder that he will occupy it. "Jehovah Shammah" (Ezekiel 48:35). The covenant relation shall be more firmly established.
So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
Verse 14. - So Solomon built the house and finished it [though these words are a repetition of ver. 9, yet they are not without significance. Encouraged by the promise just made, he proceeded with the interior, of which the narrative henceforth treats. Ver. 9 speaks of the finishing of the shell.
And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
Verse 15. - And he built [i.e., constructed, covered] the walls of the house within [but not without also, as Stanley affirms, "Its massive stonewalls were entirely cased in cedar, so as to give it the appearance of a rough log house"] with boards [or beams (צְלָעות): same word as in vers. 5-8] of cedar [Heb. cedars. The practice of covering stone walls with a lining of wood, which in turn was ornamented with gold or colour (Jeremiah 22:14), seems to have had its origin in Phoenicia (Bahr), and may have been suggested to Solomon by his Zidonian workmen (Cf. 2 Chronicles 2:14), both the floor of the house and the walls of the cieling [This gives no sense and is against the Hebrew, which is as the marg. - "from the floor... unto the walls," etc. The expression walls of the cieling," though it may be taken to mean "the walls where they join the cieling," is peculiar, and the suggestion that for קִירות walls, we should read קורות beams - the word of the parallel verse in 2 Chronicles - has everything in its favour. The LXX. reads εὥς τῶν δοκῶν]: and [omit] he covered them on the inside with wood [This is apparently a mere repetition. The A.V. would lead us to suppose that a fresh particular was stated. We learn from 2 Chronicles 3:6 that not only were the walls, or their wooden lining, covered with plates of gold, "gold of Parvaim," but they were likewise ornamented with precious stones], and he covered the floor of the house with planks of fir [see on 1 Kings 5:8].
And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
Verse 16. - And he built twenty cubits on [Heb. from] the sides of the house both the floor and the walls [Heb. as in ver. 15, "from the floor to the walls" (or beams). If קִירות is a copyist's error, it is repeated here] with boards of cedar [He is now speaking of the wooden partition which separated the oracle from the temple of the house. At a distance of 20 cubits, measured along the sides from the west end of the house, he erected a cedar wall which reached from the floor to the cieling] he even built them [i.e., the 20 cubits] for it [the house] within [The meaning is clear, though the construction is somewhat involved, viz., that he reared this partition inside the house to separate a portion for the oracle] even for the oracle [Heb. an oracle] even for the most holy place [Heb. for the holy of holies].
And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.
Verse 17. - And the house, that is, the temple before it [or, the anterior temple. The portion of the structure before the oracle is sometimes called, as here, "the house;" sometimes (as in ver, 5) "the temple; sometimes (as in ver. 4) "the temple of the house;" or, as here again, "the front temple," לִפְנַי is supposed to be an adjective formed from לִפְנֵי. Thenius, however, supposes that דְּבִיר (oracle) has fallen out of the text. Our author now describes the division of the building into holy and most holy place] was forty cubits long.
And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
Verse 18. - And the cedar of the house within [lit. cedar (wood) was placed against the house inside] was carved with knops [Heb. sculpture of gourds. The sculpture is in apposition to cedar. The authorities are divided as to the kind of sculpture intended. Keil thinks they were bassi relievi; Bahr contends that, like those of the Egyptian monuments, they were sunken, פְּקָעִים is generally assumed to be synonymous with פְּקֻעֹת "squirting cucumbers" (2 Kings 4:39, note). Bahr, however, justly observes that a deadly fruit, such as this is described to have been, was hardly likely to be employed in the decoration of the sanctuary, and he would render the word "buds." Keil thinks the gourds were oval ornaments, something like the wild gourd, which ran in rows along the walls. See the illustration, "Slab from Kouyunjik," Dict. Bib. 2 p. 49] and open flowers [lit. burstings of flowers. These words again are very variously interpreted. Thenius: festoons of flowers; Keil: open flower buds; Gesen.: expanded flowers]: all was cedar; there was no stone seen. [Really, the cedar was no more seen than the stone, for this in turn was overlaid with gold (ver. 22.)]
And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
Verse 19. - And the oracle [Heb. an oracle. Heb. דְּבִיר probably from דָּבַר speak. Sc Jerome,oraculum; and Aquila and Symm. χρηματιστήριον. Gesenius, Bahr, al., however, interpret the word to mean the hinder part, adytum] he prepared in the house within [lit. in the midst of the house within, i.e., between the Holy Place and the end structure] to set there [the principal purpose which the oracle served. תִתֵּן = תֵּת with repeated syllable. Cf. 1 Kings 17:14, Ken] the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
And 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.
Verse 20. - And the oracle in the forepart [or, the interior of the oracle. Keil, after Kimchi, maintains that לִפְנֵי is the construct of the noun לִפְנִים. See ver. 29, where it clearly means interior, as its opposition to "without" shows. The A.V. yields no sense] was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof [that is to say, it was a perfect cube. When we consider that the oracle of the tabernacle was a cube of ten cubits and the Holy City (Revelation 21:16; cf. Ezekiel 48:8-35, especially ver. 20) is a cube of 12,000 furlongs, we cannot but regard these measurements as significant. To the ancients the square seemed the most appropriate shape to express the idea of moral perfection. The idea of the cube consequently was that of entire completeness, of absolute perfection. A little light is thrown on this subject by the use of τετράγωνος among the Greeks. See the quotation from Simonides in Plat. Protag. 334 A; Arist. Rhet. 3:11; Eth. Nic. 1:10, 11, and compare the familiar "totus teres atque rotundus." The height of the oracle (internally) being only twenty cubits, while that of the house was thirty (ver. 2), several questions of some interest suggest themselves for consideration. It is perhaps impossible in the present state of our knowledge to arrive at any very positive conclusions, but it may be well, nevertheless, if only to show in how much uncertainty the architecture of the temple is involved, to state them. First among them is this: Was the roof of the temple flat or ridged? (See above on ver. 9).
(2) In either case, was the height of thirty cubits, or any uniform height, maintained throughout, or was the roof of the oracle some ten cubits lower than that of the house? The analogy of the tabernacle, of which the temple was a copy, would lead us to suppose that the ridge - if there was a ridge - of the entire building was level and unbroken, though the analogy of the Gothic church, which, we have already seen, is almost a reproduction of the temple, suggests that the oracle (like the chancel, and, it may be added, like the adytum of Egyptian temples) may possibly have had a lower roof. But
(3) supposing the same height was maintained from end to end, to what use, if any, was the vacant space of ten cubits (15 feet) between cieling and roof of oracle applied? It has been held by some that there was a chamber here, but that it was empty, being formed, in fact, not for use, but in order to procure the cubical shape of the oracle. Others contend that this upper room, or one which ran the entire length of the building, was designed to serve as a receptacle for the reliques of the tabernacle, and they would identify it with the עֲלִיות. (LXX, τὸ ὑπερῷον) of 2 Chronicles 3:9. And untrustworthy as Josephus is when not supported by independent evidence, it is worth mentioning here that beth he and the Talmud "persistently assert that there was a superstructure on the temple equal in height to the lower part" (Fergusson, who, consequently, is of opinion that there undoubtedly was some such superstructure, as in the tomb of Darius, near Persepolis (see Dict. Bib. 3. pp. 1456, 1-457), and that it was used for worship (2 Kings 23:12), where see note). Bahr, however, argues forcibly against this idea. He says, inter alia, that there was no approach provided to these chambers; but our account is so manifestly imperfect that this argument is at the best a precarious one. He sees in the "upper chambers" (the Hebrew word is plural) the upper stories of the side structure. He agrees, however, with Ewald that there was a chamber over the oracle, but thinks it was unoccupied. Keil identifies this space with the "upper chambers" of 2 Chronicles 3:9, and upon the whole this appears to be the most feasible view.
(4) How was the cieling, whether with or without this upper chamber, and whether at the height of twenty or thirty cubits - how was it supported? For "no cedar beam could be laid across a space of twenty cubits without sinking in the centre by its own weight." Fergusson hence argues that the roof must have been carried on pillars - four in the sanctuary and ten in the hall. He remarks that they were used in the house of the Forest of Lebanon, where they were less suitable than here]: and he overlaid it [lit. made it shine] with pure gold [marg. shut up (from סָגַר clausit). Cf. Job 28:15 (Heb.) The same gold is described as טָהור (Exodus 25:11) and טוב (2 Chronicles 3:8). It is called "shut up gold," not because it was concealed (κειμέλιον), but because of the exclusion of impure ingredients (Vulg. aurum purissimum). The lavish use of gold in the interior of the temple - its weight 600 talents (75,000 lbs.), its value almost incalculable - was not for mere display (for most of it was never seen except by the priests), but was symbolical of light and purity (Job 37:22, 23; Revelation 21:18), and stamped the place as the abode of Him who dwelleth in light (1 Timothy 6:16). See Bahr in loc. The palace of the Lord must be "exceeding magnifical." The overlaying was not gilding, but laminae of gold were attached to the woodwork with nails. This art was probably derived from Egypt (Exodus 25:11, 13). Egyptian figures ornamented with gold plates are found both in the Louvre and British Museum. See Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," 2. p. 233 sqq.) Rawlinson remarks that "such ornamentation was common in Babylon, in Assyria, and in Media." See Isaiah 46:6; Herod. 1:98; Layard, 2:264. In addition to the gold, the house was garnished with precious stones (2 Chronicles 3:6). Cf. 1 Chronicles 29:2, 8]; and so covered the [Heb. an] altar which was of cedar. [The italics in the A.V. lead us to suspect a mistranslation, and such it proves to be. What the writer means, supposing the present text to be retained, is, not that Solomon covered the cedar altar with gold, but that he overlaid the (stone?) altar with cedar. It is true the article is wanting, but this may perhaps be accounted for by the fact that the altar is now mentioned for the first time (Keil). It is much more probable, however, that the text has been slightly corrupted. The LXX. reads, καὶ ἐποίησε θυσιαστήριον (Cod. Alex. adds κέδρου), which proves that the Seventy had וַיַּעַשׂ instead of וַיְּצַפ in their text. If so, the absence of the article is at once explained, and an unmeaning repetition in ver. 22 avoided. The mention of the altar - of course it is the altar of incense that is meant: the altar of burnt sacrifice was outside the building - in connexion with the oracle is significant. In ver. 22 it is called the "altar that (belonged) to the oracle," because it stood just outside it. In the tabernacle it was placed "before the vail" (Exodus 30:6; Exodus 40:5, 26; Leviticus 16:12-18), and it occupied this position because the incense burned upon it was offered before the Invisible Presence within. It is an argument in favour of the textual emendation suggested above that the altar in the tabernacle was of wood (Exodus 30:1), and that Ezekiel speaks of the "altar of wood" (Ezekiel 41:22), the altar of sacrifice being of earth stones (Exodus 20:24, 25), or brass (2 Chronicles 4:1) If we retain the Received Text we are almost compelled to believe that this altar was also of stone, as they would hardly cover a wooden altar with wood.
So 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.
Verse 21. - So [Heb. And. The ornamentation of the holy place is next mentioned] Solomon overlaid the house [as well as the oracle] within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle [These words are extremely obscure. The prevailing view is that of Gesenius, al., that יַעֲבֵּר = "he bolted," etc. But, if so, what did the chains bolt? Bahr says, the boards of the cedar partition, just as the bars fastened together the boards of the tabornacle (Exodus 26:26-29). Gesen. himself (together with Keil, marg., al.) understands the doors, "he bolted the doors of the oracle," so as to keep them closed, except on the day of atonement. But the literal rendering is, "he carried over with chains of gold before the oracle," where nothing is said of either boards or doors. The more natural interpretation, therefore, would perhaps be: he carried on the gold plates of the house in chains of gold across the partition, and so fastened it to the side walls. Perhaps this was done to avoid any fracture of, or insertion into, the stonework]; and he overlaid it [What? Keil says, the cedar altar last mentioned at the end of ver. 20. But the altar has now dropped out of the reader's, and therefore presumably out of the writer's mind. It would be more natural to understand the words of the oracle just mentioned, but the adornment of the oracle has already been related (ver. 20), and it is hardly likely that having stated that it was covered with pure gold in one verse, he would mention that it was overlaid with gold in the next. It looks as if the cedar partition were referred to, the boards "before the oracle"] with gold.
And 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.
Verse 22. - And the whole house he overlaid with gold [This no mere repetition, more Hebraico, as Bahr and Keil would have us think. Something additional must surely be referred to, and 2 Chronicles 3:4 warrants us in understanding this statement to include the porch, the interior of which was gilded. Because the porch is elsewhere (ver. 3) distinguished from the "house," it does not follow that it can never be comprehended under that term] until he had finished all the house: also [Heb. and]. the altar that was by [Heb. to. See on ver. 20] the oracle he overlaid with gold.
And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.
Verse 23. - And within the oracle [The description now passes on to the mysterious symbolic figures which were placed in the holy of holies] he made two cherubims [As to the nature, composition, and significance of the cherubim, see notes on Exodus 25:19; 37:7. The only particulars which will require notice here are those in which the cherub of the temple differed from that of the tabernacle] of olive tree [Heb. trees or wood of oil. The oleaster (wild olive) is supposed to be intended, the proper name for the olive tree being זַיִת (Nehemiah 8:15). The wood of the oleaster, which is firm, fine grained, and durable, was used by the Greeks for the images of their gods (Winer). The cherubim of the tabernacle were of solid gold; those of the temple, on account of their great size (fifteen feet high) were necessarily of less costly material. But though of wood, yet the most durable and beautiful of wood, the olive, was employed in their construction. It is noticeable how olive wood is employed for the cherubim and doors of oracle, and for the posts of the temple doorway; the less precious cedar was used for lining the walls and for Beams, etc., while for the floor and doors of house, the commoner cypress sufficed], each ten cubits high. [Half the height of the oracle. They occupied its entire width (ver. 24).
And 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.
Verse 24. - And 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. [As the four wings alone covered the whole extent of the oracle, each pair must clearly have been in contact on the body of the cherub.]
And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.
Verse 25. - And the other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubims were of (me measure and one size [or shape].
The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.
Verse 26. - The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so it was of the other cherub. [The constant recurrence of the number ton, the symbol of completeness and perfection, is not to be overlooked.]
And 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 the midst of the house.
Verse 27. - And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims [The marg. reading, the cherubim stretched forth their wings, is altogether inadmissible], so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wan, and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house. [In 2 Chronicles 3:10 we are told that the cherubim were of "image work" (the meaning of the Hebrews word is unknown). We also learn that they "stood on their feet" and, unlike the cherubim of the tabernacle, which faced each other (Exodus 27:9), faced the throne, i.e., the cedar partition, and the east. The object of this arrangement probably was to enable the wings to be stretched out across the sanctuary. In the tabernacle the wings were "spread out on high" (Exodus 25:20; Exodus 27:9). In both cases the ark and mercy seat were placed under the overshadowing wings (ch. 8:6). There would be a clear space of eight or nine cubits between the bodies of the cherubim, and the ark only measured 2.5 cubits (Exodus 25:10) in length and 1.5 cubits in breadth. Unlike Ezekiel's cherubim (Ezekiel chs. 1, 10; cf. Revelation 4:7), these had apparently but one face. The cherub was not a simple, but a complex being, having no unalterable and fixed form. See Bahr, Symbolik, 1. pp. 313, 314; Dict. Bib. vol. 1. pp. 301-303.]
And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
Verse 28. - And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
Verse 29. - And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims [lit. openings, i.e., gravings or indentations of cherubim, פִּתּוּחִים is used of gravings in stone, Exodus 28:11; Exodus 39:6: in metal, 28:36; 39:30] and palm trees and open flowers [The open flowers may well have been lilies (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26). It is uncertain whether there were one or more rows of cherubim and palms. Keil, arguing from the analogy of Egyptian temples, contends for two or three rows, but it is doubtful how far the Israelites, notwithstanding their new and intimate relations with the country, would take Egypt and its idolatrous shrines for a model. Ezekiel 41:18 tends to show that the palm trees alternated with the cherubs. The cherubim may have had two faces, such as he describes (ver. 19), the face of a man on the one side, and the face of a young lion on the other side; but if so, they must have differed in form from those of the oracle. Possibly the open flowers formed a border, or were sculptured in festoons, above, and the gourds (or buds) formed a border below (as in the Kouyunjik slab). But as to this the text is silent. But while we are ignorant of the precise form and of the arrangement of these ornamental carvings, we are not wholly in the dark as to their symbolism. For everything in the temple, we may be sure, had a meaning. Let us inquire, then, into the significance of the cherubim, the palms and the flowers.
1. The Cherubim have been regarded by some as symbols of the invisible Godhead, by others as "representations of the heavenly spirits which surround the Lord of glory and set forth psychical life at its highest stage" (Keil); but it seems best to view them as symbols of all animal life, including the highest and perhaps not excluding the thought of Him who is the source and spring of life, the Anima animantium (cf. ch. 12:28). Hence they are spoken of as הַחַיּות (Ezekiel 1:5, 13, 15, etc.) "the living things" (compare τὰ ζῶα, Revelation 4:6, 8, 9), and even as הַחַיָּה "the life" (Ezekiel 10:14, 15, etc.) The cherubim consequently speak of the great animal kingdom before its Creator. "Creaturely being reaches its highest degree in those which have an anima, and among these, the lion, the bull, the eagle, and the man are the highest and most complete" (Bahr). These shapes, accordingly, were not inappropriate or unmeaning in a temple raised by the creature to the glory of the Creator.
2. Just as the cherubim speak of animal, so do the Palms of vegetable life. They are "the princes of the vegetable kingdom" (Linnaeus) "Amongst trees there is none so lofty and towering, none which has such a fair majestic growth, which is so evergreen, and which affords so grateful a shade and such noble fruits - fruits which are said to be the food of the blessed in paradise - as the palm" (Bahr), who also adds that it is said to have as many excellent properties as there are days in the year, and cites Humboldt as designating it the "noblest of plants forms to which the nations have always accorded the meed of beauty." Judaea, he further remarks, is the fatherland of the palm, so much so that the palm in later days became the symbol of Palestine (as on the well known coin with the legend Judaea capta). The palms, therefore, tell of the vegetable world, and of Him who fashioned its noble and graceful forms.
3. And very similar was the testimony of the Flowers. "Flowers and bloom have been, from ancient times to our own, the usual symbols of lifefulness .... So then by the flower work, as well as by the cherubim and the palm trees, was the dwelling of Jehovah, which was adorned therewith, designated as an abode of life" (Bahr). On the earthly dwelling place of the Eternal, that is to say, were everywhere pourtrayed the various tokens of His Almighty power and goodness. And the significance of each is the same. "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created." They were graved] within and without. [These words, here and in ver. 30, are generally taken to mean "in the oracle and in the house." But it is worthy of consideration whether they do not rather signify, "in the house and in the porch." The latter was overlaid with gold (2 Chronicles 3:4). It is doubtful whether לַחִיצון on the outside, can be applied to any part of the interior, and here its application would be to the oracle (Thenius)].
And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.
Verse 30. - And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.
And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
Verse 31. - And for the entering of the oracle, he made doors [which hung on golden hinges (1 Kings 7:50] of olive tree [see on ver. 23)], the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall. [The meaning of the Hebrew words has been much disputed. See Gesen. Thesaur, 1. pp. 43-45. Gesen. himself interprets as A.V.: crepido cum postibus erat quinta pars, i.e., quintam parietis partem occupabat. The Rabbins: the "entablature with side posts and threshold formed a pentagon." But a pentagonal doorway is without example in Eastern architecture. Thenius: "the strength (אַיִל is generally taken as an architectural term = crepido portae, or entablature) of the posts was a fifth." Rawlinson: "the lintel was one-fifth of wall, and each door post one-fifth of its height;" in which case the doorway would of course be a square of four cubits. But perhaps the rendering of A.V. (with which Keil and Bahr also agree) is more natural. The meaning, consequently, would be that the entrance to the oracle, inclusive of the side posts which helped to form it, occupied one-fifth of the extent of the cedar partition. The entrance to the house (ver. 33) was one-fourth of the wall of the house.]
The 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 trees.
Verse 32. - The two doors also wore [Rather, perhaps, "And he made" is to be supplied from ver. 31, as Keil. Rawlinson remarks that such doors as these are characteristic of Assyrian gateways] of olive tree: and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread [וַיָּרֶד Hiph. of רָדַד] gold [Heb. the gold] upon the cherubims and upon the palm trees [The writer means, not that the carving alone was gilded - as Thenius thinks, who remarks on the effective contrast which the dark red cedar and the bright gold would furnish) - but that the gilding did not conceal the character of the carvings. It is clear from ver. 22 that "all the house" blazed with gold in every part. If the floors were covered with gold, we may be sure both walls and doors would not be without their coating of the precious metal. Our author does not mention the curtain - it is clear that the doors would not dispense with the necessity for a vail - but the chronicler does (2 Chronicles 3:14). It was necessary in order to cover the ark (Exodus 40:3, 21); hence it was sometimes called "the vail of the covering." But for this, when the doors were opened on the day of atonement, the priest in the holy place might have gazed into the oracle. See on 1 Kings 8:8. The doors opened outwardly (into the house). The vail was suspended within the oracle.]
So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.
Verse 33. - So also [i.e., similarly] made he for the door [or entrance, doorway] of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth [Heb. from a fourth] part of the wall. It is uncertain whether we are to understand the "fourth part" of the height or of the breadth of the doorway, though the latter is probably meant. The height of the wall is variously estimated; generally at 30 (ver. 2), but by Rawlinson at 20 cubits. But the breadth is beyond dispute. It was 20 cubits. The doorway, consequently, would be five cubits wide. The effect of the preposition, "from a fourth," is probably this: The entrance with the side posts subtracted one-fourth from the space of the wall.
And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.
Verse 34. - And the two doors were [As in ver. 32, the verb is to be supplied from the verse preceding. And he made two doors, etc.] of fir tree [בְּרוש see note on 1 Kings 5:8]: the two leaves [lit. ribs, same word as in vers. 5, 8, 10] of the one door were folding [Heb. rolling], and the two leaves [קְלָעִים is probably - a clerical error for צְלָעִים arising out of the קָלַע, in vers. 32, 35] of the other [Heb. second] door were folding. [It seems more natural to suppose that the leaves were formed by a vertical than by a horizontal division. Indeed, it is doubtful whether the word גָּלִיל would be applied the latter arrangement. Keil objects to the former on the ground that the leaves would thus be only one cubit broad each, and the opening of one leaf, consequently, would be insufficient to admit of any person's passing through. But to this it may be replied
(1) that the opening of two leaves would in any case form a sufficiently wide entrance, and
(2) that it is not said that all the leaves were of uniform width. Besides, the other arrangement is without precedent in the public buildings of the East.]
And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.
Verse 35. - And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers [The constant recurrence of the same forms is in itself a proof that they must have been significant], and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work [Heb. made straight upon the engraved work. That is to say, the gold fitted closely to all the uneven and indented surface of the figures. Elsewhere, laminae were simply laid upon the level walls, etc.]
And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
Verse 36. - The description of the buildings concludes with a brief reference to the enceinte or court. And he built the inner court [The mention of an inner court, called in 2 Chronicles 4:9 the "court of the priests," presupposes, of course, the existence of an outer court. Our author does not mention this, but the chronicler does, under the name of "the great court." In Jeremiah 36:10, the former is called the "higher court," because it occupied a higher level] with three rows of hewed stone and a row of cedar beams. [These, it is thought, formed the enclosing wall of the court (the LXX. adds κυκλόθεν). The cedar beams were instead of coping stones. It has been supposed, however (J.D. Michaelis), that these three rows of stone, boarded with cedar, formed the pavement of the court. But the question at once suggests itself, Why pile three rows of stones one upon another merely to form a pavement, and why hew and shape them if they were to be concealed beneath a stratum of wood? It is a fair inference from 2 Chronicles 7:3, that the wall was low enough to permit men to look over it. Fergusson, on the contrary, argues that it must have been twice the height of the enclosure of the tabernacle, which would give us an elevation of ten cubits (Exodus 27:18). It is worth suggesting, however, whether, the inner court being raised above the outer, which surrounded it, these stones may not have formed the retaining wall or sides of the platform. As the outer court had gates (2 Kings 11:6; 2 Kings 12:9; 2 Chronicles 4:9; 2 Chronicles 23:5; 2 Chronicles 24:8), it also must have had walls. From 2 Kings 23:11; Jeremiah 35:2; Jeremiah 36:10, we gather that there were various chambers in the forecourt. Such were certainly contemplated by David (1 Chronicles 28:12); but it is not recorded that Solomon built them. Nor have we any warrant, except the bare assertion of Josephus, for the belief that he built a colonnade or cloister on the east side, such as was known to later ages by the name of "Solomon's Porch" (John 10:23; Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12). As to the dimensions of these spaces, we are left to conjecture. If, as in everything else, the dimensions of the tabernacle were doubled, then the court of the priests would measure 200 cubits from east to west, and 100 cubits from north to south. It should be stated, however, that in the temple of Ezekiel, the proportions of which, in the present instance, may well he historical, both courts are represented as perfect squares. Rawlinson inadvertently puts down the length (along the side of temple) at 100 cubits, and the breadth (ends of temple) at 200. The outer court would probably be twice as large as the inner, i.e., 400 x 200 cubits. But all this is necessarily uncertain.]
In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:
Verse 37. - In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif [see on ver. 1].
And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, 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.
Verse 38. - And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul [בּוּל = rain. Hence Bul would be the month of rain (Gesen.) Keil understands it to signify produce (prowntus), and sees in it the month of fruits. It extended from the November to the December full moon], which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof [Heb. דִּבָרָיו], and according to all the fashion of it [Heb. מִשְׁפָטָיו]. So was he seven years in building it. [As Bul was the eighth month, and Zif the second, the house was precisely seven and a half years in building - a short period, if we consider the magnitude of the undertaking, but long enough, if we remember the enormous number of hands employed upon it, the preparations made by David, and the modest dimensions of the edifice (ver. 2). The commentators all cite Pliny's statement that all Asia was building the temple of Diana at Ephesus 200 years, but the cases are not at all parallel. We learn from 2 Chronicles 3:2, that it was on the second day of the month that the building was commenced. Bishop Wordsworth, who assigns seven years and seven months as the time occupied in this work, sees in this hebdomatie period an analogy to the seven days of the creation.]