Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, April 24th, 2024
the Fourth Week after Easter
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 6

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

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, 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.

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 statement involves a question of great chronological difficulty. As to the evidence for the authenticity of this opening clause, and the two systems of chronology, called the long and the short, that have been adopted for the events that preceded the great national undertaking of Solomon, the reader is referred to the Introduction, in which the subject is fully considered.

In the fourth year of Solomon ... in the month Zif, which is the second month ... he began to build the house of the Lord, [ yiben (H1129)] - literally, he built; rather, he laid the foundations of the house of the Lord (cf. 2 Chronicles 3:1). "Zif" - May.

Verse 2

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.

The house which king Solomon built for the Lord. The dimensions are given in cubits, which are to be reckoned according to the early standard (2 Chronicles 3:3), or holy cubit (Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 43:13), a handbreadth longer than the common or later one (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 3:4).

Verse 3

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.

The porch - or portico, extended across the whole front (see the note at 2 Chronicles 3:4). The design of the porch, which was four times the height of the temple, was chiefly to serve as an ornament to the edifice. The view from its elevated top is said to have been very extensive-to the Mediterranean on one side, and to the Dead Sea on another, up the course of the Jordan, and over Arabia.

Verse 4

And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.

Windows of narrow lights, [ chalowneey (H2474) shªqupiym (H8261)] - apertures with fixed bars, or closed lattices; i:e., the bars or lattices being inserted in the walls, or the beams could not be opened and shut at pleasure. They were necessary, partly to let out the vapour of the lamps, the smoke of the frankincense, and partly to give light. [The Septuagint has: kai epoieese too oikoo thuridas parakuptomenas kruptas, and he made concealed windows (holes), curved within - i:e., windows narrow without and wide within (Song of Solomon 2:9; made concealed windows (holes), curved within - i:e., windows narrow without and wide within (Song of Solomon 2:9; Ezekiel 40:16-26; Ezekiel 40:41)].

Verse 5

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:

Against the wall of the house he built chambers round about. The number of these chambers is not stated. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 41:6) in his visionary temple places thirty; and Jewish writers say this was the number in Solomon's temple. On three sides there were chambers - i:e., corridors or galleries, in three storeys, each storey wider than the one beneath it, as the walls were narrowed or made thinner as they ascended, by a rebate being made, on which the beams of the side floor rested, without penetrating the walls. Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 3:, sec. 2) says that each of these side rooms was 20 cubits in height; otherwise there must have been a long unoccupied space between the lower chamber and that above it, with double floors, the one 6 cubits distance from the floor beneath it. These chambers were approached from the righthand side, in the interior of the under storey, by a winding staircase of stone, which led to the middle and upper storeys.

Of the temple, [ heeykaal (H1964)] - the palace or temple of Yahweh, here used for that part of it which intervened between the entrance and the most holy place [Septuagint, too (G3588) naoo (G3485), the nave].

And of the oracle, [ wªladªbiyr (H1687)] - the adytum, or inner sanctuary; called "the oracle" from its being the place where, on the erection of the temple, divine-responses were given. [The Septuagint retains the original term, too dabir; Vulgate, oraculum (cf. 1 Kings 8:6; 2 Chronicles 4:20).] 'From the particular way in which it is mentioned in these passages, there appears to be no ground for the opinion of Hales ('Analysis of Sacred Chronology, 2:, p. 210) and others, that this mode of revelation absolutely ceased after the construction of Solomon's temple. The very fact of its being then first mentioned under the name "oracle" implies that supernatural responses still continued to be given; though, in consequence of the institution of the prophetical order which had recently taken place, they were in all probability employed only on extraordinary emergencies, such as the death or absence of any of these accredited messengers of God, on which occasions it was found necessary to consult His will in this particular way. It must be observed, however, that it was only to the high priest for the time being that the special honour was conceded of receiving these oracular communications' (Henderson, 'On Inspiration,' p. 73).

Verse 6

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. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 7

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.

There was neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron heard in the house. A subterranean quarry has been very recently discovered near Jerusalem, where the temple stones are supposed to have been hewn. There is unequivocal evidence to be found in this quarry that the stones were dressed there, because there are blocks exactly similar in size, as well as in the nature of the stone, to the ancient remains. Thence probably they would be moved on rollers down the Tyropean valley to the very side of the temple. The discovery of the great quarry under Bezetha has shown that these immense stones were excavated, hewn, and fully prepared on the spot, whence they were conveyed on trucks or on rollers down the gently-inclined plane to the site chosen for the temple. [See a full and graphic narrative of it in Barclay's, 'City of the Great King,' pp. 118, 458-468; Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 152, note; Dupin's 'Holy Places;' Porter's 'Handbook,' pp. 112-132, 265-267; 'Tent and Khan,' pp. 273, 274).]

`No workman's steel, no ponderous axes rang. Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang.'

Verse 8

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. Built the house. The temple is here distinguished from the wings or chambers attached to it, and its roofing was of cedar wood.

Verse 10

And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.

Chambers ... five cubits high. That was the height of the whole three storeys.

They rested on the house with timber of cedar - i:e., because the beams of the side stones rested on the ledges of the temple wall; the wing was attached to the house; it was connected with the temple, without, however, interfering injuriously with the sanctuary (Keil). [ hayaatsiya` (H3326), floor, or chamber, is feminine (1 Kings 6:6), where it is used in regard to single storeys; but in 1 Kings 6:5; 1 Kings 6:10, it is masculine, and is put collectively for the entire portion of the edifice.] Josephus, followed by many modern writers on the Temple, represents these storeys as of equal height with that of the temple; but that is at variance with the tenor of the sacred text (see Gesenius, 'Lexicon,' sub voce).

Verse 11

And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying,

The word of the Lord came to Solomon - probably by a prophet. It was very seasonable, being designed, first, To encourage him to go on with the building, by confirming anew the promise made to his father David (2 Samuel 7:1-29); and secondly, To warn him against the pride and presumption of supposing that, after the erection of so magnificent a temple, he and his people would always be sure of the presence and favour of God. The condition on which that blessing could alone be expected was expressly stated. The dwelling of God among the children of Israel refers to those symbols of His presence in the temple which were the visible tokens of His spiritual relation to that people.

Verses 12-14

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: No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 15

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.

He built the walls of the house within. It is probable that the walls were only wainscoted with cedar wood, the floor paved with cypress planks (see 'Nineveh and its Remains,' 2:, p. 264, note; also Wikinson's 'Ancient Egyptians,' 2:, p. 125); the interior was divided by a partition, consisting of folding doors, which were opened and shut with golden chains, into two apartments: the back, or inner room, i:e., the most holy place, was 20 cubits long and broad; the front, or outer room, i:e., the holy place, was forty cubits. The cedar wood was beautifully embellished with figures in relievo, representing clusters of foliage and open flowers, cherubim, and palm trees; and the whole interior was overlaid with gold, so that neither wood nor stone was seen; nothing met the eye but gold, either plain or richly chased.

Verse 16

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 17

And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.

The house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long - from east to west; i:e., from the porch to the oracle.

Verses 18-19

And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 20

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.

The oracle in the fore part was twenty cubits in length ... It was a perfect cube.

Verse 21

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.

He made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle - i:e., to hang the veil upon them.

Verse 22

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 23

And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.

Within the oracle he made two cherubim of olive tree. [The Septuagint (Alexandrine) has: xuloon kuparisinoon, cypress wood, overlaid with gold.] Josephus ('Antiquities.' b. 8:, ch. 3:, sec. 13) says they were of solid gold.

Each ten cubits high. [The Septuagint has: deka peecheoon megethos, the size of ten cubits.] Josephus represents the height of each of them as five cubits; probably, however, the error was not that of Josephus, but a transcriber. Layard ('Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 652) gives it as his opinion that what is called "gold" in these passages, as well as in the profane authors of antiquity, was really copper, alloyed with other metals-the aurichalcum, or orichalcum, of the Greeks-such as was used in the bowls and plates discovered at Nimroud.

Verses 24-30

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 31

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.

For the entering of the oracle. The door of the most holy place was made of solid olive tree, and adorned with figures; that of the holy place was made of cypress wood, the sides being of olive wood.

Verse 32

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.

He carved upon them carvings of cherubim and palm trees. The date palm seems to have had a certain typical significance, because it was profusely represented in the decorations of the temple, on the walls along with the cherubim, and also on the furniture and vessels (cf. 1 Kings 6:35; 1 Kings 7:36).

Verses 33-35

So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 36

And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.

The inner court - was for the priests; and its wall, which had a coping of cedar, is said to have been so low that the people could see over it.

Verse 37

In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:

In the fourth year was the foundation ... laid. Josephus says ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 4:, sec. 9) that the summit of the mount was leveled with incredible labour, in order that the lower parts might be raised 400 cubits, to the same height with the top of the hill upon which the temple was to stand. The building was begun in the second month of the fourth year, and completed in the eighth month of the eleventh year of Solomon's reign, comprising a period of seven and a half years, which is reckoned here in round numbers. It was not a very large, but a very splendid building, requiring great care, and ingenuity, and division of labour. The immense number of workmen employed, together with the previous preparation of the materials, serves to account for the short time occupied in the process of building.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-kings-6.html. 1871-8.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile