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SOLOMON'S TEMPLE.—The preparations for the building of the Temple having been related in the preceding chapter, the historian now proceeds to describe the edifice. He begins his narrative with a precise statement of the date of its erection (1 Kings 6:1); then follows
(1) a description of the shape, size, and arrangement of the exterior (1 Kings 6:2-10), and
(2) a detailed account of its internal fittings and adornments (1 Kings 6:15-35). The promise made to Solomon during its erection finds a place in 1 Kings 6:11-13; while the vessels, etc; used in the Temple service are described in 1 Kings 7:1-51. A parallel though briefer account, and one differing considerably in its arrangement, is found in 2 Chronicles 3:4.
The erection of this splendid sanctuary was no doubt the greatest event, both in Jewish and Gentile eyes, in the history of the Holy City. It made Jerusalem what it had not been till then, the religious capital. The stronghold of the Jebusites now became the shrine and centre of the Jewish system. We are not warranted, however, in believing that it shaped the name by which the city was known to the Greeks, Ἱεροσολυμὰ (Jos; B. J. 6. 10) and Ἱερὸν Σαλομῶνος, being probably mere attempts to "twist Jerushalaim into a shape which should be intelligible to Greek ears" (Dict. Bib. 1:983).
We find a sufficient indication, however, of the profound importance which this undertaking assumed in Jewish eyes in the fact that four chapters of our history—and three of them of considerable length—are occupied with an account of the materials, proportions, arrangements, and consecration of this great sanctuary. To the historiographers of Israel it seemed meet that every measurement of the holy and beautiful house should be recorded with the greatest exactness, while the very vessels of service, "the pots and the shovels and the basons," were judged worthy of a place in the sacred page.
But these careful and detailed dimensions are not only proofs of the tender veneration with which the Jew regarded the Temple and its appointments; they are also indications and expressions of the belief that this house, so "exceeding magnifical," was for the Lord, and not for man. These exact measurements, these precise and symbolic numbers all]point to a place for the Divine Presence; they are "the first requisite for every space and structure which has a higher and Divine destination, and they impart thereto the signature of the Divine" (Bähr). Indeed the very names templum and τέμενος (= a space measured off) are in themselves in some sort attestations to the ancient belief that the dignity of a temple of the Most High God required that the length and breadth and height, both of the whole and of its component parts, should be carefully recorded. It is this consideration explains a peculiarity of Scripture which would otherwise cause some difficulty; viz; the detailed and repeated measurements, and the almost rabbinical minuteness, not only of our author, but of Ezekiel and of the Apocalypse. When a "man with a measuring reed" (Ezekiel 40:8, Ezekiel 40:5; Revelation 11:1; Revelation 21:15) appears upon the scene, we are to understand at once that the place is sacred ground, and that we are in the precincts of the temple and shrine of Jehovah.
At the same time it must be added here that, exact and detailed as is the description of this edifice, it is nevertheless so partial, and the account is, perhaps necessarily, so obscure as to leave us in considerable doubt as to what Solomon's Temple was really like. In fact, though "more has been written regarding the temple at Jerusalem than in respect to any other building in the known world" (Fergusson), the authorities are not agreed as to its broad features, while as to matters of detail they are hopelessly divided. On one point, indeed, until recently, there was a pretty general agreement, viz; that the house was "rectilinear and of box form." But it is now contended that this primary and fundamental conception of its shape is entirely at fault, and that its sloping or ridged roof would give it a resemblance to the ark or to a tent. Nor have we the materials to decide between these conflicting views; in fact, nothing perhaps but drawings would enable us to restore the temple with any approach to accuracy. "It is just as easy to pourtray a living man from a tolerably well preserved skeleton as to reproduce a building in a way which shall correspond with reality when we have only a few uncertain remains of its style of architecture in our possession". And the difficulty is enhanced by the fact that the temple was sui generis. It was purely Jewish, so that no information as to its structure and arrangements can be derived from the contemporary architecture of Egyptians or Assyrians. In the absence of all analogies restoration is hopeless. It is well known that all the many and varied representations of different artists, based though they all were on the Scripture account (Exodus 25:31-37) of the seven-branched candlestick, were found to be exceedingly unlike the original, when the true shape of that original was disclosed to the world on the Arch of Titus. It is equally certain that, were s true representation of the temple ever to be placed in our hands, we should find that it differed just as widely from all attempted "restorations" of the edifice, based on the scanty and imperfect notices of our historian and Ezekiel.
The mention of Ezekiel suggests a brief reference to the temple, which he describes with so much precision and fulness in his fortieth and following chapters. What is its bearing on the description we have now to consider? Is it an account of the temple as it actually existed in or before his time; is it a plan or suggestion for its restoration (Grotius), or is it wholly ideal and imaginary? The first view, which long found favour with commentators, and which has still some advocates, is now pretty generally abandoned. For while many of Ezekiel's measurements, etc; correspond exactly with those of our historian, and while it may be conceded, therefore, that this delineation has a historical basis, there are features in the narrative which can never have been realized in any building, and which prove the account to be more or less ideal. For example. The outer court of his temple (Ezekiel 42:16-20) would cover not only the whole of Mount Moriah, but more than the whole space occupied by the entire city of Jerusalem, He speaks again of "waters issuing out from under the threshold" (Ezekiel 47:1), and flowing down eastward to heal the pestilent waters of the Dead Sea, where a literal interpretation is manifestly impossible. And it is to be remembered that the prophet himself speaks of his temple as seen in vision (Ezekiel 40:2; Ezekiel 43:2, Ezekiel 43:8). The true account of this portraiture would therefore seem to be that, while it borrowed largely from the plan and proportions of Solomon's Temple, it was designed to serve as "the beau ideal of what a Semitic temple should be"
Two other authorities, whose accounts have a direct bearing on the sacred narrative, must be mentioned here Josephus and the Talmudic tract on the temple, called Middoth (i.e; measures). Unfortunately, neither is of much avail for the illustration of the text we have now to consider. Josephus, too often unreliable, would seem to be especially so here. "Templum aedificat," says Clericus, "quale animo conceperat non quale legerat a Salomone conditum." "Inconsistency, inaccuracy, and exaggeration are plainly discoverable in the measurements given by Josephus". "Wherever the Mishna is not in accord with Josephus the measurements of the latter are untrustworthy". The writers of the Mishna, again, refer generally, as might be expected, to the temple of Herod, or confuse in their accounts the three temples of Solomon, Herod, and Ezekiel (Bähr). The student of temple architecture consequently derives but scant assistance in his work from the writings of uninspired historians.
Perhaps this is the proper place to remark on the close correspondence between temple and tabernacle.. In the first place, in plan and arrangement the two structures were identical. Each faced the east; each had three parts, viz; porch, holy place, and holy of holies, while the side chambers of the temple (verse 5) were analogous to the verandah formed by the projecting roof, or curtains, which ran round three sides of the tabernacle. Secondly, the measurements both of the whole edifice and of its component parts were exactly double those of the tabernacle, as the following table will show:—
Length of Holy Place
Length of Holy of Holies
Width of Porch
The only exception to this rule is that of the side chambers, which (on the lowest story) were but five cubits wide, i.e; they were identical in width with the verandah. It is held by some, however, that with the enclosing walls, they were ten cubits. If this were so, it follows that here again the same proportions are exactly preserved.
It will be clear from this comparison that the temple was constructed, not after any Egyptian or Assyrian model, but that it preserved the features and arrangement of the consecrated structure, the pattern of which was showed to Moses in the Mount (Exodus 25:9, Exodus 25:40; cf. Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5), so that when "David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch," etc; "and the pattern of all that he had by the spirit" (1 Chronicles 28:11, 1 Chronicles 28:12), the same arrangement and similar proportions were consciously or unconsciously preserved. The temple differed from the tabernacle only so far as a large house necessarily differs from a small tent.
It is also to be observed that every dimension of the temple was either ten cubits—the holy of holies was a cube of ten cubits—or a multiple of ten, just as the dimensions of the tabernacle are either five cubits or multiples of five. Now this decimal arrangement can hardly have been accidental. Not only had the Jews ten fingers, but they had ten commandments, and a system of tenths or tithes, and this number, therefore, was to them, no doubt, the symbol of completeness, just as five was the sign of imperfection. The very dimensions, consequently, of the house are a testimony to the perfections of the Being to whose service it was dedicated.
Nor is the recurrence of the number three, though by no means so marked, to be altogether overlooked. Considering its Divine original—that it was made after the pattern of things in the heavens—it is not wholly unworthy of notice that the building "had three compartments.… Each of the three sides was flanked by an aisle formed of three stories, and the holy of holies was of three equal dimensions" (Wordsworth). And if we cannot follow him further and see any significance in the fact that the "length was 3 x 30 cubits, and the height 3 x 10," we may still remember that this house was built, though Solomon knew it not, to the glory of the Triune God. Bähr, however, who also shows at some length how "the number three is everywhere conspicuous in the building", accounts for it on the ground that "three is in the Old Testament the signature of every true and complete unit" (Was drei Mal geschieht ist das rechte Einmal; was in drei getheilt ist ist eine wahre Einheit), so that practically three would signify here much the same as ten—it would stand as "the signature of the perfect unit, and so also of the Divine Being."
One remark more may be made here, viz; that in the temple or tabernacle we have the archetype of the Christian Church. The correspondence is so obvious as to strike the most casual observer. Porch, or steeple, nave, chancel, altar, side aisles, these have succeeded to, as they were suggested by, porch, temple of the house, oracle, mercy seat, side structure, of the Jewish sanctuary. Just as Christianity is built on the foundations of Judaism (see Homiletics), so has the Jewish temple furnished a model for the Christian; for, considering how closely the early Church fashioned itself after the pattern of Judaism, the resemblance can hardly be accidental.
1 Kings 6:1
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 as closed. Grave doubts are entertained as to its genuineness. Lord A. Hervey says it is "manifestly erroneous." Rawlinson considers it to be "an interpolation into the sacred text". 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 1 Kings 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, Joshua 14:2), and the time of Samuel the prophet as 450 years (καί μετὰ ταῦτα ὢς ἔτεσι τετρακοσίοις καὶ πεντήκοντα ἔδωκεν κριτὰς κ.τ.λ.) But Lachmann, on the authority of A, B, C 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." (Bähr, 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 verse 37, Bul in verse 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., 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. 8.3. 9, and Bell. Jude 1:5.5.1. 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 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," Hebrews 12:1-29; etc. Quot viatores, tot sententiae.]
1 Kings 6:2
And the house [i.e; not the whole structure, but the main building, exclusive of porch (1 Kings 6:3) and side chambers (1 Kings 6:5)] 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". There is a general consensus of opinion, however in favour of understanding the cubit here mentioned as measuring 18 inches. Fergusson 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"] 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.]
1 Kings 6:3
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). Bähr 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 (1 Kings 6:8, 1 Kings 6:31, 1 Kings 6:33), 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 (1 Kings 7:2), 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; Psalms 45:8, Psalms 45:15), 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 2 Chronicles 3:5. 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, 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 verse 20.]
1 Kings 6:4
And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. [There has been much disputation over these words. The older expositors generally follow 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. 1 Kings 7:4, 1 Kings 7:5), 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 13:1-25, 2 Kings 17:1-41; Daniel 6:10). So Gesenius, De Wette, Keil, Bähr, al.]
1 Kings 6:5
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 (יָצַע stravit, spread out). Symm. translates κατάστρωμα. Gesenius remarks that the word is used here and in 1 Kings 6:10 in the masculine of the whole of the side structure, while in 1 Kings 6:6 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. Bähr remarks that עַל and אֶת are used elsewhere as almost synonymous, and refers to Psalms 4:7 in connexion with Psalms 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 [צְלָעעוֹת, literally, ribs, beams, (Gesenius); Rippen (Bähr). 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. 8.8. 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" (Psalms 134:1)] round about.
1 Kings 6:6
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), Bähr.
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 verse 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 Bähr, 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 Bähr 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.]
1 Kings 6:7
And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready [Heb. perfect. This does not mean unhewn, though אֵבָנִים שְׁלְמוֹת 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 Bähr, 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 Bähr] before it was brought thither [so the Authorized Version renders מַסָּע but mistakenly. It means, the quarry The verb נָסַע is used of quarrying in 1 Kings 5:1-31 (Heb.) 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, Deuteronomy 27:6), 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.
1 Kings 6:8
After recording this interesting and singular fact, the historian resumes his description of the side building. The door [or entrance, doorway, פֶתַח, as in 1 Kings 6:31] 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, Bähr, al. to substitute הַתַּחֲתּנָח (following the LXX. and Targum), which would give the sense of "lower story" (as in Ezekiel 41:7). Bähr 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 (כֶתֶף) 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 3:1-17. 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.
1 Kings 6:9
So he built the house and finished it [i.e; the exterior (see on 1 Kings 6:14)] 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 Haggai 1:15] the house with beams and boards [Heb. rows, ranks. The same word is used of soldiers 2 Kings 11:8, 2 Kings 11:15] of cedar. [It has been universally held till quite lately that the roof was either vaulted (Thenius) or flat (Bähr, 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. 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.]
1 Kings 6:10
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, 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 (verse 14), which must have been at the height of 30 cubits
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 verse 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 verse 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 קוֹמָתוֹ). 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 verse 10 would agree with verse 9; 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 (verses 11-14) is omitted in the Vat. LXX. But it has every mark of genuineness.]
1 Kings 6:11
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,
1 Kings 6:12
Concerning [or, as to. There is nothing, however, in the Hebrew] this house which thou art in building [כֹנֶה Cf. וַיִּבֶן, 1 Kings 6:5, 1 Kings 6:9, 1 Kings 6:10] 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.].
1 Kings 6:13
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. Le Exodus 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.
1 Kings 6:14
So Solomon built the house and finished it [though these words are a repetition of 1 Kings 6:9, yet they are not without significance. Encouraged by the promise just made, he proceeded with the interior, of which the narrative henceforth treats. 1 Kings 6:9 speaks of the finishing of the shell.
1 Kings 6:15
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 (צְלָעוֹת): same word as in 1 Kings 6:5-8] 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 (Bähr), 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 קִירוֹת 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].
1 Kings 6:16
And he built twenty cubits on [Heb. from] the sides of the house both the floor and the walls [Heb. as in verse 15, "from the floor to the walls" (or beams). If קִירוֹת 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].
1 Kings 6:17
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 1 Kings 6:4) "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.
1 Kings 6:18
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; Bähr 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). Bähr, 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 (verse 22.)]
1 Kings 6:19
And the oracle [Heb. an oracle. Heb. דְּבִיר probably from דָּבַר speak. Sc Jerome,oraculum; and Aquila and Symm. χρηματιστήριον. Gesenius, Bähr, 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.
1 Kings 6:20
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 1 Kings 6:29, 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 Ezekiel 48:20) 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. 1 Kings 3:11; Eth. Nic. 1Ki 1:10, 1 Kings 1:11, 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 (1 Kings 1:2), 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 1 Kings 1:9).
(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 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", and that it was used for worship (2 Kings 23:12), where see note). Bähr, 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 טָהוֹר (Exodus 25:11) and טוֹב (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, 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, Job 37:23; Revelation 21:18), and stamped the place as the abode of Him who dwelleth in light (1 Timothy 6:16). See Bähr 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, Exodus 25:13). 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, 1 Chronicles 29:8]; 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 וַיְּצַף in their text. If so, the absence of the article is at once explained, and an unmeaning repetition in verse 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 verse 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, Exodus 40:26; Le Exodus 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, Exodus 20:25), 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.
1 Kings 6:21
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? Bähr says, the boards of the cedar partition, just as the bars fastened together the boards of the tabornacle (Exodus 26:26-29). Gesen. himself 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 verse 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 (verse 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.
1 Kings 6:22
And the whole house he overlaid with gold [This no mere repetition, more Hebraico, as Bähr 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 (2 Chronicles 3:3) 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 verse 20] the oracle he overlaid with gold.
1 Kings 6:23
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; Exodus 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 (verse 24).
1 Kings 6:24
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.]
1 Kings 6:25
And the other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubims were of
. 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 (2 Chronicles 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 Ezekiel 1:1-28, Ezekiel 10:1-22; 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 Bähr, Symbolik, 1. pp. 313, 314; Dict. Bib. vol. 1. pp. 301-303.]
1 Kings 6:28
And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
1 Kings 6:29
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, Exodus 28:36; Exodus 39:30] and palm trees and open flowers [The open flowers may well have been lilies (1 Kings 7:19, 1 Kings 7:22, 1 Kings 7:26). 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 (Ezekiel 41:19), 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. Ezekiel 12:28). Hence they are spoken of as הַחַיּות (Ezekiel 1:5, Ezekiel 1:13, Ezekiel 1:15, etc.) "the living things" (compare τὰ ζῶα, Revelation 4:6, Revelation 4:8, Revelation 4:9), and even as הַחַיָּה "the life" (Ezekiel 10:14, Ezekiel 10:15, 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" (Bähr). 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" (Bähr), 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" (Bähr). 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 verse 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 לַחִיצוֹן on the outside, can be applied to any part of the interior, and here its application would be to the oracle (Thenius)].
1 Kings 6:30
And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.
1 Kings 6:31
And for the entering of the oracle, he made doors [which hung on golden hinges (1 Kings 7:50] of olive tree [see on 1 Kings 7:23)], 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 Bähr 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 (1 Kings 6:33) was one-fourth of the wall of the house.]
1 Kings 6:32
The two doors also wore [Rather, perhaps, "And he made" is to be supplied from 1 Kings 6:31, 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 verse 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, Exodus 40:21); 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.]
1 Kings 6:33
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 (verse 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.
1 Kings 6:34
And the two doors were [As in 1 Kings 6:32, the verb is to be supplied from the verse preceding. And he made two doors, etc.] of fir tree [בְּרוֹש see note on 1 Kings 5:8]: the two leaves [lit. ribs, same word as in 1 Kings 5:5, 1 Kings 5:8, 1 Kings 5:10] 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 verses 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.]
1 Kings 6:35
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.]
1 Kings 6:36
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.]
1 Kings 6:37
In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif [see on 1 Kings 6:1].
1 Kings 6:38
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 (verse 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.]
1 Kings 6:2, 1 Kings 6:8, 1 Kings 6:20
Christianity built on the Foundations of Judaism.
The Jewish temple in its resemblance to the Gothic church is a not inapt illustration of the relations of Christianity to Judaism. The temple of Solomon was not only architecturally the exact reproduction on a larger scale, and in a more permanent form, of the tabernacle of witness, it was also the model and archetype of the sacred buildings of the Christian faith. In appearance, no doubt, it was somewhat different—the purposes for which the two edifices were designed were different, but the ground-plan and general arrangement were the same. The porch, "temple of house," oracle, side chambers of the one, correspond with the porch (or tower), nave, chancel, and side aisles of the ether. Nor was this resemblance accidental. The architects of earlier times—times when men had not come to think that they most honoured Christianity by going as far as possible away from Judaism, times when the first dispensation was regarded as full of significance and guidance for the children of the second—the architects of those days thought they would best serve the God of Jews and Christians by adhering as closely as possible to the Divine "pattern which was shewed in the mount," the pattern which had served for tabernacle and temple alike.
Now this fact, that the place of Divine worship has been, in nearly all ages, built after one model, may suggest the thought that the principles of Divine worship, and indeed of religion, have been in all ages the same. And for the good reason that God and man, the worshipped and the worshipper, are in all ages the same. If the successive generations of men who "went up to the temple to pray" went up to an edifice something like ours, they also carried with them hearts, sins, sorrows, needs, infirmities, altogether like ours. The Gothic church, then, was modelled after the Jewish temple. Even so the Christian religion has been cast in the mould of Judaism. It is not a brand new religion, utterly diverse from the dispensation which preceded it, but it is built on the old foundations. Its proportions are much statelier, its uses are much nobler, but still the Christian Church is the copy of the Jewish, and Christianity is the child of Judaism. There are some of our cathedrals—York Minster, e.g.—which occupy the site, and parts of which follow the outlines, of the old Saxon church of wood—another illustration of the relations of our holy religion to the religion which it has replaced. And that Christianity was never designed to be destructive of Judaism, but was meant to be a development, an outgrowth and expansion of it, our Lord's words (Matthew 5:17) and His apostle's (Romans 3:31; Colossians 2:17) clearly show. The law, i.e; was the outline of which Christianity is the filling up and completion. But observe: the filling up, if it be true to its name, must keep within the lines of the sketch.
It is one of the tendencies of the age to throw over Judaism and its teaching. Men say they want "Christianity without Judaism." They speak of the latter as a dead letter. But surely it is an unworthy conception of the Supreme Wisdom—the idea that a faith which was adapted to the men of one age has absolutely no lessons or no guiding principles for the men of a later age, but must be cast aside as wholly antiquated and effete. A principle of continuity can be distinctly traced operating in the kingdom of nature; are we forbidden to believe that there is any such law in the kingdom of grace? Let us now consider, then, in what ways Christianity is built on the foundations of Judaism, and how the religion of the New Testament follows the lines laid down in the Old.
I. The fundamental idea of Judaism was that of a VISIBLE CHURCH. It was that God had "taken a nation from the midst of another nation" (Deuteronomy 4:32-34) to be a peculiar people to Himself, a "kingdom of priests, a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5, Exodus 19:6). His purposes of grace, i.e; were to be manifested to the world through a society. Here, then, was a κλῆσις and an ἐκκλησία. Precisely similar is the root idea of our religion. The Son of God came to found a Church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20), to regenerate humanity through a brotherhood. Behold the principle of continuity in this "great Church truth of God's word." The very words used of the Jewish people are transferred to the Christian Church (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10). The composition of the two societies was different (one nation, all nations), the rites of admission were different (circumcision, baptism), but the principle—a visible Church—was the same. Every Jew was a priest. Every Christian is the same.
II. The OFFICERS of the Jewish Church correspond with the officers of the Christian Church. "It is an apostolical tradition that what Aaron and his sons and the Levites were in the temple, that our bishops, priests, and deacons claim to be in the Church" (Jerome). No society can exist without at least
(1) laws, and
The Jewish Church had as its officers, high priest, priests, and Levites. The Christian Church has a great High Priest in the heavens (Hebrews 4:14), and its earthly officers are bishops, priests, and deacons. The analogy is not imperfect, for just as the high priest was of the order of the priests, so are bishops but superintending presbyters. The bishop is primus presbyter; the high priest was summus sacerdos. The Jewish Church had also its prophets (see Introduction, Sect. III; note), corresponding with the preachers of the Christian economy. A prophet need not be a priest; a preacher need not be a presbyter. Of course, the nature and functions of these officers of the two dispensations differ, as do the dispensations themselves, but the same outlines are preserved.
III. The SERVICES of the Christian Church are derived from the service of the Jewish synagogue. "Widely divergent as the two words and the things they represented afterwards became, the Ecclesia had its starting point in the Synagogue" (Plumptre). The earliest assemblies of Christians were composed of men who had worshipped in the synagogue (Acts 13:14; Acts 14:1; Acts 18:4, Acts 18:26; Acts 22:19. Cf. Luke 4:16; John 18:20, etc.), and who, in default of directions to the contrary, naturally preserved under the new dispensation the form of worship to which they had been accustomed under the old. St. James, indeed (1 Kings 2:1). speaks of the Christian assembly as a "synagogue." The use of fixed forms of prayer, the reading of the two lessons (Luke 4:18; Acts 13:15, Acts 13:27; Acts 15:21), and the cycle of lessons; the sermon or exposition (Acts 13:15; Luke 4:21); the chanting of the Psalms of David; the very prayers for the departed which "have found a place in every early liturgy in the world" (Ellicott), all these have come to us from the synagogues of the Jews. The Catholic Church has not disregarded the principle of continuity. She has not thought fit to devise a liturgy of her own heart, or to disregard liturgical forms altogether. She has simply perpetuated, or adapted to its new and more blessed conditions, the form of service delivered unto her by the Jew.
IV. The PRINCIPLES of Christian worship are the principles of Jewish worship. It has been said that the true idea of worship as a Divine service, as the self-forgetting adoration of the ever blessed God, was obscured, if not altogether lost, in the Church of England at least, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Men went to church—too often they go still—not for the service, but for the sermon; not for the glory of God, but for their own edification and instruction. It must not be supposed that it is here intended to depreciate edification. If men were perfect, the sermon might indeed be dispensed with. But so long as they are what they are, then those who have "any word of exhortation for the people" must "say on." But all the same, edification is not the primary reason for our assembling. The first Christians "came together to break bread" (Acts 20:7), to "show the Lord's death" upon the Lord's day (Revelation 1:10). And God surely should ever come before man. Praise must take precedence either of prayer or preaching. The true idea of worship is the glory of God, not the profit of men. And if this idea was lost, or was obscured, it was because men ignored or despised the lessons and principles of Judaism. The worship of the temple, its psalms and sacrifices, its holocausts and hecatombs, all were designed for the glory and honour and worship of Jehovah—all were primarily to exalt and magnify the Incommunicable Name. And such should be the aim of all Christian worship. Our holy religion was never meant to dethrone the Deity, nor can Christians owe Wire less, or less profound, adoration, than did Jews. Was their service solemn and stately? so should be ours. Did they never come before Him empty? neither should we. Was the altar, not the pulpit, the centre of their worship? the altar, not the pulpit, should be the centre of ours. The principles of Divine service know of no break. They are governed by the same law of continuity.
V. The SACRAMENTS of Christianity are founded upon the rites of Judaism. Baptism (practised among the Jews before our Lord's time) takes the place of circumcision; the Lord's Supper of the Paschal Supper. Just as the rite of circumcision brought the Jewish child into the bond of the covenant, into the visible Church, so does baptism the Christian child; otherwise our children would be worse off than the children of the Hebrews. And as for the Lord's Supper, it was instituted in the very midst of the Passover (Luke 22:1, Luke 22:7, Luke 22:15-20), and was clearly designed to take its place. The rites of Judaism warrant our belief in a sacramental religion; they help to explain how it was that our Lord incorporated into His new and spiritual dispensation two outward and visible signs. The Law was full of these: the Gospel could hardly discard them altogether.
VI. The PRECEPTS and COMMANDMENTS of Judaism, again, "the law and the prophets," are not abolished, but fulfilled (Matthew 5:17; Rom 3:1-31 :81) in Christianity. The Sermon on the Mount has given a new meaning to the covenant of Mount Sinai, even the ten commandments (Deuteronomy 4:13). Out of the law of the two tables has been developed the Christian law of love (Matthew 22:36-40; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8-10). The "new commandment" of Christ (John 13:34) is practically "the old commandment" which we had from the beginning (1 John 2:7, etc.)
VII. And—to descend to minor matters—we might show how even the FESTIVALS of Christendom follow the lines of the Jewish feasts. True, Christianity has one blessed festival peculiar to itself—Christmastide, the feast of the Holy Incarnation—but the rest—Easter, Whitsuntide, Harvest Festival—correspond severally with the Jewish Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The times themselves are, perhaps, of no great moment—though the synchronism is remarkable—but the principles on which they are based, the principle, e.g; of setting apart certain seasons for the commemoration of certain facts, or the acknowledgment of certain gifts, these are common to both dispensations. It is this principle which gave the Jew his sabbath: it is the same principle justifies, and indeed requires, the observance of the Lord's day. Christianity has not discarded the day of rest, though it observes the sabbath no longer. It has changed the day of rest into a day of worship, the seventh day into the first, the memorial of the creation into a memorial of the resurrection and redemption.
VIII. But it will be said, Surely Christianity is utterly unilike Judaism in one cardinal point, viz; it has no SACRIFICE. But is it so? Truly, we offer no longer either bullocks or goats. The Christian priest neither pours the blood nor burns the fat, but all the same he offers sacrifice (1 Peter 2:5), the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15), the sacrifice of alms and oblations (Philippians 4:18), the sacrifice of soul and body (Romans 12:1). Nor is that all. For observe: The Holy Supper in the Christian scheme, both as an offering, as a feast, and as a memorial, corresponds with the sacrifices of the law. For what, let us ask, was the meaning of all those sacrifices which the Jews "offered year by year continually"? They could not take away sin. They could not make the comers thereunto perfect. Why then were they offered? One reason was,that they might serve as memorials before God of the death of Christ. They were silent, but eloquent, reminders of Him who should put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Perhaps the Jew knew it not. Perhaps the high priest himself did not realize it, but we know that all those countless thousands of victims, offered year after year and century after century, were so many mute pleadings of the one priceless death. And as they spoke to the eternal Father of the Lamb who should die, precisely so do the bread and the wine of Christ's sacrament of love speak of the Lamb who has died. The fat and the blood were, the bread and the wine are, all ἀναμνήσεις (Numbers 10:10; cf. Le Numbers 24:7; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25; cf. Hebrews 10:8). Our Lord Himself calls the wine "my blood of the new covenant" (τὸ αῖμὰ μου τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης), and we are surely justified, with many divines—Jn Wesley among them—in calling the Holy Eucharist "the Christian sacrifice."
But sacrifice and sacrament have another point of contact. For some at least of the Jewish sacrifices, the peace offerings (see on 1 Kings 8:63-65) afforded a feast to the worshippers. In like manner, the sacramental species serve not only as a memorial of Christ's death (1 Corinthians 11:26), but they are also food to the faithful soul (1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 10:17; Hebrews 13:10; Matthew 26:26; John 6:54, John 6:55). If, therefore, the Holy Communion is not a sacrifice, properly so called (inasmuch as there is no death), it has these marks of a sacrifice, that it is an oblation, a memorial, and feast. And when we consider these remarkable analogies, we can hardly doubt that even the sacrifices of Judaism have their counterpart in the institutions of Christianity.
It was said by one of the Reformers that the man who can rightly distinguish between the Law and the Gospel should thank God and be assured that he is a true theologian. But theologians too often treat them as if they were antagonistic or irreconcilable, and one of the dangers to which the Reformed Churches are specially obnoxious is to forget the continuity of gospel and law: to forget that the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). If it is true that "Vetus Testamentum in Novo patet," it is also true "Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet."
1 Kings 6:19
The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.
This temple of Solomon, so "exceeding magnifical," this "holy and beautiful house," "of fame and glory throughout all lands"—why was it built? what its primary purpose? It was above everything else a home for the ark (1 Kings 8:1, 1 Kings 8:6), a place for the Divine Glory which hovered over it.
In this temple, unlike the shrines of Paganism, there was no statue, no similitude of God. Here was no "image which fell down from Jupiter," no Baal or Asherah, no Apis or Osiris. We may imagine how this would impress the Phoenician workmen. We know how it impressed Pompeius and the Romans. There is deep significance in those words of the Roman historian: Inania arcana, vacua sedes. Nothing but the ark. And this ark, what was it? It was a coffer, a chest. It was nothing in itself; but it was meant to contain something. It was the casket of a rare jewel. "There was nothing in the ark, save the two tables of stone," etc. (1 Kings 8:9). It was the "ark of the testimony." So that the temple was properly and primarily the shrine and depository of the tables of the law graven with the "ten words," "the words of the covenant" (Deuteronomy 4:13).
Now we have just seen that the temple was the archetype of the Church: we have seen, too, that everything in Judaism has its analogue in Christianity. What, then, let us ask, was the significance of the ark? To what does it correspond in the new dispensation?
In the Church, to nothing. The "words of the covenant" are no longer kept in the dark. No; we now inscribe them on our chancel walls. In the "sanctuary" of the Gothic church the ten commandments are "writ large*' for men to see.
But if Judaism was really the outline of Christianity, then there must be something in Christianity answering to that ark which was the core and centre of the Mosaic system. Certainly. But it is to be found, not in "temples made with hands," but in those other "temples" of the Christian faith, the bodies of believers, the temples of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19). The ark was the soul of Judaism. It may fittingly represent the souls which Christ has redeemed. Temple, ark, tables of the law—these severally correspond to the "body, soul, spirit" of the Christian man. Within the temple was the ark; within the ark the tables. Within the σῶμα is the ψυχή; within the ψυχή the πνεῦμα. Nor is this so fanciful as it seems. For are not our bodies the "temples of the Holy Ghost"? And are not our hearts—i.e; our inmost being, our spiritual part (1 Peter 3:4)—the fleshy tables on which He writes His law? Yes, in the "new covenant" God writes His law in the heart, and puts it in the inward parts (see Jeremiah 31:33; cf. Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 11:20; 2 Corinthians 3:8). In the face of these scriptures, who can deny that the ark and its tables have their analogues in the New Testament? Such, then, being the symbolism and significance of temple, ark, and tables of law, what are their lessons? Among others these:
1. That God dwells within us. No longer in temples made with hands, but "with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit" (Isaiah 57:15). Did the Shechinch brood over the mercy seat? Not less truly does God's Spirit dwell (Romans 8:9) and witness (verse 16) with our spirit. Men say the Shechinah has left the world. On the contrary, It has enshrined Itself in the soul. "Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27); God dwelling in us (1 John 4:2); this is the last best gospel of our religion. The Old Testament, Neander says, tells of a God who is for man. In the Gospels we hear of Emmanuel, God with man. But the Epistles speak to us of God in man.
2. That God writes His law upon us. We have seen that in the Church there is neither ark nor tables of stone. It is because there is no need of either. This is the age of that "new covenant" of which the prophet spoke, when the finger of God should write the law upon the spirit, and when the Bath Kol should speak within. The laws of our country are so voluminous that no man can hope to know or to remember them, and their "glorious uncertainty" is proverbial But God's law is but one (Romans 13:9, Romans 13:10; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16); and that sweet and blessed statute the Spirit graves within us. Now observe—
3. The ark, led by God, conducted Israel to victory, and rest. In the journeyings of Israel the ark went before them (Numbers 10:33). At the Jordan it opened a way for them (Joshua 3:14-17). Before Jericho it led them on to victory (Joshua 6:9-11). Even so the soul, guided and taught of God, passes safely through its pilgrimage, conquers its foes, and gains its heavenly rest. Let us yield ourselves to be "led by the Spirit of God" (Romans 8:14).
4. The ark, led by man, conducted Israel to disaster and defeat. When the Israelites, instead of following the ark, would lead it (1 Samuel 4:3), it landed them in a "very great slaughter." It proved to be no fetish, as they had hoped; it only led them to a shameful death. "It is one thing to want to have truth on our side; another to want to be on the side of truth" (Whately). It is of no avail to have the commandments of God, unless we keep them; to know His will, unless we do it. And if we lean to our own understandings, the soul will make shipwreck. Reason, it is true, is "the candle of the Lord;" but revelation is the "lamp to our feet and the light to our path" (Psalms 119:105; cf. Proverbs 3:5, Proverbs 3:6).
5. The ark, the pride of Israel, on two occasions became its plague. The men of Bethshemesh looked into it, and died. Uzzah put forth his hand to steady it, and was smitten for his error (2 Samuel 6:7). So the ark teaches the much needed lesson of reverence—reverence for God and the things of God. It also suggests that dishonour done to God, or disregard of His law, has a sure retribution. If we stifle our convictions or quench the Spirit's light, the law written within may hereafter become the "instrument to scourge us."
6. In the second temple there was no ark. A stone is said to have taken its place. The venerable relic of the wilderness life, the sacred chest, and its still more sacred contents, both perished in the sack of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:9 sqq.) May we not see here a lesson against impenitence? Over how many souls may "Ichabod" be written? The ark of God is taken! The soul is led captive of the devil The heart of flesh, the "fleshy tables" on which the Spirit loves to write, has given place to a heart of stone—a heart as cold, as hard, as senseless, as void of all grace and blessing as this stone which stood in the oracle in the room of the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
HOMILIES BY A. ROWLAND
1 Kings 6:1
The Purposes of the Temple.
The three chapters thus introduced describe the erection and dedication of Solomon's temple. Magnificent as the building was, architecturally and artistically, it deserves more consideration as that which was the divinely appointed centre of true worship. Its significance to Christians can hardly be overrated. This the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly shows. While it stood it was for all nations a witness for Jehovah; and now that in sub. stance it has passed away, the spiritual truths it embodied are a heritage for us. Essentially it was one with the tabernacle, the erection and ritual of which were directly revealed by God on Sinai. Neither in principle nor even in minute detail were the directions of Jehovah about its construction to be disobeyed. From the ark of the covenant down to the hooks for the curtains the command ran, "See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed thee in the mount." There are far reaching issues ever flowing from the smallest details of Divine law. Great meanings are wrapped by God in trifling things. (Give examples of this.) Solomon was right in superseding the tabernacle by the temple. The tent was suitable for the wandering life of an unformed nation, but the stately and stable temple for an organized people whose pilgrimage had ended. God's utterances both to David and Solomon, and the presence of the Shechinah on the day of consecration, prove that the erection of the temple was according to the will of God. The temple had meanings which no other building subsequently erected could have. It was "a shadow of good things to come." It symbollzed much that was revealed in the person of Christ (Hebrews 9:11, etc.), and much that is now existing, not on earth, but in heaven (Hebrews 9:24, etc.) But, though its symbolism is a thing of the past, some of its purposes and uses are things of the present, known in the places set apart by Christian men for the worship of God. To some of those we now refer.
I. THE TEMPLE WAS A PLACE OF SACRIFICE (2 Chronicles 7:12). The sin offering typified the atonement made by the Lamb of God, who once was offered for the sins of the world. This is the fact made known by the ministry of the Word and represented by the broken bread and outpoured wine of the Eucharistic feast. No time and no place can be more suitable than the sanctuary for the acknowledgment of sin, and the expression of faith. There each Christian sings—
"My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine."
II. THE TEMPLE WAS A PLACE FOR PRAYER AND PRAISE. Solomon used it thus (1 Kings 8:1-66) Incense typified it. In Isaiah 56:7 we read, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, for all people." The Lord Jesus referred to this when the temple was used for other purposes (Matthew 21:18). Describe the praise of the temple. Many there understood the words, "Praise ye the Lord; for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is comely." Show the advantages of united praise, the promises given to combination in prayer, e.g; sympathies enlarged, weak faith invigorated by contact with stronger faith, etc.
III. THE TEMPLE WAS A PLACE FOR THE CONSECRATION OF PERSONS AND THINGS. There priests were set apart; there sometimes prophets were called (Isaiah 6:1-13.); there dedicated things were laid before the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:1). Show how in modern days this is still true of the assembly of God's people. Men are there roused to a sense of responsibility, and there consecrate themselves to the service of God. Resolutions and vows are made there which carry with them the impress of Divine approval. The cares of life, its purposes, its companionships are there made to appear in their Godward aspect. Through the worship of the sanctuary heavenly light falls on daily toil, and men learn to call nothing that God has cleansed common or unclean.
IV. THE TEMPLE WAS A PLACE FOR REMEMBERING THE LAW OF THE LORD. The temple was incomplete until the ark of the covenant was brought in; and "there was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel" (1 Kings 8:9). Show the importance of organized Christian worship as a perpetual witness for the law of God. In the busy week there are temptations to forget it; to put expediency in the place of righteousness, etc. The whole tone of English society is raised by the faithful exhibition of God's requirements each sabbath day.
V. THE TEMPLE WAS A PLACE FOR THE UNION OF THE PEOPLE. The Psalms of the Ascents (Songs of Degrees) show this. The people overlooked their social distinctions and the tribes ignored their tribal jealousies when they ascended the sacred hill to unite as a nation in the worship of the one true God. Jeroboam was shrewd enough to see that it would be impossible for two separate kingdoms to exist while all the people met in the one temple. Hence the calves at Bethel and Dan, and hence in our Lord's day the temple on Gerizim. Show how in the Christian Church the rich and the poor meet together, and how essential Christian principle is to fuse together the various classes of society. There are many disintegrating forces at work—the capitalists and the working classes, for example, are seriously divided. Common meeting ground cannot be found in the home, but in the Church. The recognition of the one Fatherhood precedes the realization of the one brotherhood. Christians are, unhappily, divided amongst themselves. Sectarianism has increased the division of society. Relief is to be found not in form, but in spirit; not in union, but in unity. As we worship together and work together, the oneness of which we dream may become a reality.
VI. THE TEMPLE WAS A PLACE FOR THE REVELATION OF GOD (see verses 10, 11; 1 Chronicles 5:13; 1 Chronicles 7:2). His presence is not confined to any temple made with hands; but wherever His people meet, there He reveals Himself as he does not do unto the world. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name there am I in the midst of them." It was when the disciples were assembled with one accord for prayer that the Holy Spirit came. So may our assemblies be blessed; and sinners will find pardon, the careworn will find rest, the doubters will find faith, the weakly will find strength, and the despondent will find hope in the house of the Lord our God.—A.R.
1 Kings 6:7
Building in silence.
This was due partly to the reverential feelings of those engaged in so holy a work. "The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him." If we are upbuilding Christian character in ourselves, or in our children; if we are helping to rear the spiritual temple of God, such reverence, as opposed to thoughtlessness, flippancy, etc; should characterize us. The silence of the building was not only the outcome of devout feeling, but it was (like the temple itself) symbolical of spiritual truth; as we propose to show. A noble temple is being reared (1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Peter 2:5). This temple is imperishable and unassailable; that of Solomon's was pillaged (1 Kings 14:25; 2 Kings 12:17), polluted by the unworthy (2 Kings 21:4-7), burnt by the enemy (2 Kings 25:9). The erection described in our text teaches us something of the work which is still carried on by the builders of the true temple.
I. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE ARE OFTEN DOING A SECRET WORK. Picture the workmen in the quarries, the moulders in the clay, the artist with his graving tool, etc. Their names were unknown, they were unrecognized by the multitudes who would worship in the temple they were helping to build. Illustrate from this the work of mothers influencing their children; of visitors to haunts of sin and sorrow, whose ministry of love is not known to their nearest friends; of literary men in obscure rooms who are influencing the destinies of a people, etc. Draw encouragement from this, e.g; that we do not see all the good that is going on in England and abroad, in the Churches and outside them. So Elijah was cheered by the revelation that there were seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, when he thought he alone was left to witness for Jehovah. Refer to the Lord's teaching about the secret progress of His kingdom; the leaven hid in three measures of meal; the seed cast into the earth and left buried by the man who sleeps and rises, unconscious that it is springing and growing up he knows not how.
II. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE DO VARIED WORK. Enumerate some of the different kinds of labour and of skill which were required for the temple. Show that the work varied in dignity, in arduousness, in remunerativeness, etc. None of it, however, was without its value or final effect. Describe the multitudinous forms of Christian activity, and the advantages of such diversity. It demands self-abnegation, it calls forth all graces and gifts, it makes one Christian dependent on another, and so evokes sympathy and gives place for co-operation, etc. Let none despise his own work, nor envy another his.
III. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE DO THEIR WORK WITH CAREFUL COMPLETENESS. How exact the measurements, how perfect the finish of work, which only required to be brought together in order to make a complete whole. Piece joined piece in the woodwork, and every separate casting found its appropriate niche. Nothing but painstaking accuracy could have insured such a result. Yet probably no workman knew the whole design; he was only intent on finishing his own appointed work. Observe the carefulness of God in little things, whether in creation or in moral law. Small infringements of Divine ordinances bring lamentable results. Illustrate from the consequences of disobedience to natural law in pain, disease, etc. Argue from this to the higher in mental and moral spheres. Carelessness is not tolerated. How much less in concerns of the soul. Negligence is sin. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" There must be care in laying the foundations of heavenly hopes (see Matthew 7:24-27). Care also is required in doing work for our Lord. "But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon" (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
IV. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE ARE MORE ANXIOUS FOR THOROUGHNESS THAN FOR NOISE. No sound of hammer or axe was heard to call the attention of passers by to the noble work going on; but all the inhabitants of the kingdom saw the effects of the quiet labour. Quietude is hard to obtain in the activities of the present day, yet God's servants must have it. Christ saw His disciples were excited, and said, "Come ye yourselves apart into the desert and rest awhile." Moses needed the solitude of Midian and of Sinai; Elijah the loneliness of Horeb, etc. Great souls are fashioned in silence. Our lonely times are our growing times. Exemplify by reference to a man laid aside by illness, to a mother or wife who is for a time absorbed in ministry to some invalid. The busy workers need quiet most. They wait on the Lord, and so renew their strength. Some of the best work done for Christ is silent. It is not proclaimed by large organization, or applauding crowds, but lies in the whispered counsel, the interceding prayer, etc.
V. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE WILL SEE THEIR LABOUR ISSUE IN THE DIVINE IDEAL. The work was widely distributed, secretly done, etc; but all was tending to an appointed end—the temple. The building existed in the mind of the master builder before it had material existence. So with God's work. A Divine purpose is controlling all, appointing all; and out of what seems confusion and contradiction He will bring forth "the new heaven and the new earth." Faithfully doing each one what lies to his hand, we shall all find that what we have done has its place and results; that our "labour is not in vain in the Lord." Forgotten and obscure workers will have their reward from Him who noticed the widow's mite, and gratefully accepted Mary's offering. We shall do more than we expect, if we do what we can.
VI. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE FIND THEIR REWARD IN THE GLORY OF THEIR GOD. Describe the temple—complete at last—resounding with songs of praise, crowded with worshippers, overwhelmed by the Divine presence—and use it as a type of the temple not made with hands, where the redeemed serve God day and night. The wish of God's noblest servant is that God may be glorified whether by life or by death.
Apply the idea of silent working to what God is doing in each Christian heart by the discipline of life and the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is felt within, but it is not known or heard without.—A.R.
1 Kings 6:23
The Mystery of the Cherubim.
That the cherubim were symbolic no one denies. They are so often mentioned in Scripture that their meaning has been frequently discussed. Enumerate some of the opinions held. The view we accept is that they were symbolic representations of redeemed humanity. They were intended to inspire men with hope of redemption, from the day when the Lord placed them at the east of the garden of Eden, till the vision of Jn (Revelation 21:1-27.) is fulfilled in the "new heavens and new earth," wherein the cherubim are no longer seen, having vanished before the reality they symbolically represented. In the cherubim we are reminded of the following—
I. THE PERFECTING OF HUMANITY. Some obscurity lingers about the forms of these beings. They are introduced in Genesis without a word of description; and in Exodus (25 and 37.) little is said beyond this, that they had "wings and faces." Turning to their visionary appearances—to Ezekiel and to Jn—there is variety in form. But whatever latitude there may be in detail, the leading form was always that of a man—e.g; Ezekiel says (Ezekiel 1:5), "they had the likeness of a man." With this, other creature forms were combined, viz; the lion, the ox, and eagle. These were selected for special reasons. They belonged to the noblest kingdom, that of animal life, as distinguished from that which was vegetable or mineral.They were amongst the highest after man in the nature of their life; very different, for example, from sea anemones, etc. They had loftier attributes than those of other creatures; greater powers or wider usefulness. Hence, combined with the image of man to form the cherubim, they suggested the addition to him of the powers they specially represented. The lion, especially to the Hebrews, was a type of kingly majesty and glorious strength. Give quotations from Scripture. The eagle, with its keen vision and swift flight, was a type of rapidity of thought and movement (Deuteronomy 28:49; Job 9:26; Proverbs 23:5). The ox, used in ploughing, harrowing, carrying home the sheaves, and treading out the corn, represented patient and productive activity. In the cherubim all these were grafted on man—an ideal combination, to show that, though man was the highest creature of God (he alone having a moral and a rational nature), he could be, and would be, ennobled by having hereafter the powers bestowed, of which in creature life these animals were representatives. Show the Scripture evidence for expecting in heaven the faculties for knowing, for serving, for enjoying, which we have not here.
II. THE FULNESS OF LIFE. In Ezekiel and Revelation the cherubim are frequently spoken of as "the living ones" (animantia, ζωα). This expression is obscured in our translation by the unhappy rendering "beasts" (Revelation 4:6), etc. The expression denotes life in its highest and most active form. In harmony with this, Ezekiel speaks of their "running and returning." John says, "they rest not day nor night." Though the cherubim in the temple and tabernacle were of necessity stationary, the same idea was there expressed by the outspread wings. The cherubim pointed on to the plenitude of life, Divine and spiritual, over which weald. ness should have no power, and towards which death would never approach. "I give unto them eternal life," etc. "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," etc.
III. THE DWELLING WITH GOD. The cherubim were always associated with the Divine Presence. After man was driven from Eden, the cherubim was placed there to occupy the place he had forfeited; where life was full, and where holiness was a necessity. When the tabernacle was constructed, all the inner curtains were inwoven with cherubic figures, and images of cherubim appeared on the sacred ark, which was the throne of Jehovah. This was repeated in the temple, as the passage before us shows; for the magnificent cherubim, each ten cubits high, were stationed in the "oracle," the place where the Shechinah proclaimed God's presence. We must add, therefore, to the ideas we have dwelt on—this thought, that the life represented was life essentially connected with God Himself. Not only will the life of the future be full, but it will be holy. Holiness will be its essence. "The pure in heart shall see God." "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." "Neither shall there enter into it anything that defileth," etc.
IV. THE BLISS OF THE FUTURE. A careful reading of Genesis 3:24 shows that the "sword" and the "cherubim" were not only distinct, but had different functions. The sword "kept" the way to the tree of life, so that it was more accessible to fallen man. It was a symbol of repulsion and alarm. The cherubim "kept" the garden in a different sense. They did not defend it against man, but occupied it for man, and therefore gave to those who were shut out the hope of that which the promise of Jehovah had already announced. The presence of the cherubim said to fallen man: "This region of life is not destroyed, it is not given over to other creatures, but it is occupied and kept provisionally for you by a being in whom your nature predominates; and hereafter, you yourself changed, enriched with new powers, restored by redemptive love to holiness, shall share Paradise regained." The means of realizing this became more clear as the ages rolled by. The hope that ideal humanity would inherit bliss did not die out, but the method of its fulfilment was unfolded in the Mosaic institutions. Not only did the cherubim in the oracle witness, as the cherubim in Eden had done, but once a year the high priest, as the representative of the people, went in, and stood with the cherubim in the presence of Jehovah. He entered not "without blood," but after atonement had been made for the sins of the people. Apply this to the truth revealed in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Show how Christ, who has atoned for the world's sin, has entered as our High Priest into the holiest of all, and how He has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. No wonder that in the Revelation "the Lamb that was slain" is depicted as being the object of heaven's praise; the link between man's guilt and God's mercy.
[For justification of this use of the cherubim, see Fairbairn's "Typology of Scripture."]—A.R.
HOMILIES BY E. DE PRESSENSE
1 Kings 6:2
The temple is described as the house which King Solomon built for the Lord.
This idea of consecration ran through the whole plan of the building. Without having recourse to a minute and fanciful symbolism, we see clearly that everything is so disposed as to convey the idea of the holiness of God. IN THE CENTRE IS THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE. The holy of holies, hidden from gaze by its impenetrable veil, strikes with awe the man of unclean heart and lips, who hears the seraphim cry from beneath their shadowing wings, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" (Isaiah 6:3.) The temple of holiness is not the temple of nature of colossal proportions, as in the East, nor is it the temple of aesthetic beauty, as in Greece. It is the dwelling place of Him who is invisible, and of purer eyes than to behold evil (Habakkuk 1:13.) Hence its peculiar character. It answers thus to the true condition of religious art, which never sacrifices the idea and sense of the Divine to mere form, but makes the form instinct with the Divine idea. Let us freely recognize the claims of religious art. The extreme Puritanism which thinks it honours God by a contemptuous disregard of the aesthetic, is scarcely less mistaken than the idolatrous materialism which makes beauty of form the primary consideration. It was not for nothing that God made the earth so fair, the sky so glorious; and it was under Divine inspiration that the temple of Jerusalem was reared in such magnificence and majesty as to strike all beholders. Only let us never forget to seek the Divine idea beneath the beauty of the form. When we admire merely the beautiful, whether in a temple, as did the disciples, or in the great world of nature, the warning words of Christ fall upon upon our ear: "As for these things which ye behold, the days will come in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another" (Luke 21:6). "Tous les cieux et leur splendeur ne valent pas le soupir d'un seul coeur." Love is the crowning beauty. It is like the precious vase of ointment which Mary of Bethany broke over the feet of Christ. Beauty is the fit associate of worship, so long as it is kept subordinate, and does not distract our minds from the higher spiritual realities of which it is but symbolic. Let us seek in the temple of nature the high and holy God, of whom it is said, that "the invisible things of Him are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:19). Let us recognize His presence beneath the arches of the mediaeval cathedral, among the memorials of a worship which we ourselves have left behind. Let us seek Him in the great monuments of Christian art, whether reared by poet, musician, painter, or sculptor. Let it be our aim to glorify Him in the forms of our worship, while we sedulously guard against the worship of the form, which is sheer idolatry. Such are the principles of Christian aestheties, which are one branch of Christian morals. "The beautiful is the glory of the true," says Plato. When one corner of the veil which hides heaven from us is lifted, the Divine life shines forth in all its radiance of purity and beauty.—E. de P.
HOMILIES BY J. WAITE
1 Kings 6:37, 1 Kings 6:38
The Glorious House of the Lord.
In comparison with other sacred shrines of antiquity the temple of Solomon was small in its dimensions and brief in the time of its building. Nor will the mere fact of its material splendour account for the extraordinary interest with which it has ever been regarded—an interest in which Jew, Mohammedan, and Christian alike participate. The place it occupied, the part it performed in the religious history of the world, will alone account for this. If it is necessary to suppose any pre-existing model as suggesting the plan of its structure, it is to Assyria and not to Egypt, as some have thought, that we should look for such a type. But however this may be, it has a deep Divine meaning which raises it above comparison with any other temple that the hand of man has ever reared. Let us look on it now as the ancient symbol of the Church of the living God, that fellowship of newborn souls of whom St. Peter says, "Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house," etc. (1 Peter 2:5). Note certain points of special interest in this analogy—those features of the temple which are suggestive of similar features in the spiritual fabric of the redeemed Church.
I. THE FIRMNESS OF ITS FOUNDATION. The threshing floor of Araunah, the site of the temple, was part of the plateau on the top of Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1). Solomon, as we are told by Josephus, in order to enlarge the area, built massive walls on the sloping sides of the mountain, filling in the spaces with earth; and the foundations of these walls were composed of huge stones bedded and, as it were, mortised in the solid rock How forcibly are we reminded of the word of Christ to Peter, "Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Whatever the bearing of this word on the disciple himself may be, it is certain that it cannot refer to him apart from the grand confession he has just made—" Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." Peter may be one of the great foundation stones, but Christ Himself is the solid, primary, unhewn Rock on which the fabric rests. Not so much any truth about Him, but the personal Christ in the grandeur of His being, the integrity of His righteousness, the strength and fidelity of his wondrous love, is the Church's firm foundation.
II. THE SILENT PROCESS OF ITS STRUCTURE. "There was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building (1 Kings 6:7). This was probably in obedience to the prohibition recorded in Exodus 20:26 and Deuteronomy 27:5. It expressed the king's sense of the sanctity of the work. The tranquillity of the scene must not be broken by the clang of inharmonious sounds. "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric grew." The fact is suggestive. The building up of the Church of God is a silent, hidden process. Outward visible agencies must be employed, but the real constructive forces are out of sight. Truth works secretly and silently in the souls of men. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." Noise and show are out of harmony with the sanctity of it. Clamour and violence only hinder the work. Let us not mistake a restless, busy, fussy zeal for the externalities of Church life for true spiritual service. This is often in inverse ratio to the amount of real edification. The best machinery works with least friction and noise. The quiet, thoughtful workers, who move on steadily by the inspiration of their holy purpose, without much public recognition, may after all be the most efficient builders of the temple of God.
III. THE VARIETY OF THE AGENCIES BY WHICH THE WORE WAS DONE. Foreign power was enlisted in the service—Hiram and his artificers. Cedars from Lebanon, gold and silver and precious stones from Ophir and Parvaim, brass "without weight" from the foundries of Succoth and Zarethan—all were consecrated to it. So also with the spiritual fabric. The resources of the world are at the command of Him who rears it. "All things serve His might." All beings, with all their faculties, are at His disposal All streams of human interest, and thought, and speech, and activity may be made tributary to the great river of His purpose. Our faith rests in the assurance that it is so—that just as our physical life is nourished by all sorts of ministries, near and remote, so the kingdom of truth and righteousness in the world is being built up by a vast variety of agencies which it is beyond our power to trace. All human affairs are but as the scaffolding within which the structure of God's great house is slowly rising to its completion. To this structure it is that the prophetic word, in its deepest meaning, may be applied, "The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls" (Isaiah 60:10). And in its final consummation shall be fulfilled the apocalyptic picture, "The kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." (Revelation 21:22).
IV. THE MINGLED STRENGTH AND BEAUTY OF THE FABRIC. The blocks of stone were lined with cedar planks, and the cedar overlaid with plates of gold; the walls covered with carved "cherubims and palm trees and open flowers;" the brazen pillars crowned with "lily work." The building was not of large dimensions, but wonderful for its combination of solidity and adornment, partaking of the firmness of the rocky mount on which it stood, glittering in the sunlight, the crowning glory of the royal city. How much more truly may we say of the spiritual temple, "Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary." There is no strength like that of truth and righteousness; no beauty like that of holy character:—strength drawn from Christ, the living Foundation, the reflected beauty of that purer heaven which is the eternal home of God.
V. THE ORDERLY ARRANGEMENT OF ITS PARTS AND APPURTENANCES. The temple was framed apparently after the model of the tabernacle, but with doubled dimensions and more enduring materials, and that was "after the pattern shown to Moses in the mount"—all regulated with regard to the due administration of the service of God. Courts, chambers, galleries, altars, layers, utensils—all consecrated to some sacred use, or meant to enshrine some high symbolic meaning. The gathering up of a complex variety of parts in one grand structural unity. Such is the Church—an aggregate of various but harmonious and mutually helpful parts. "There are diversities of gifts and administrations and operations, but the same Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:4). "All the building fitly framed together," etc. (Ephesians 2:13). "The whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth," etc. (Ephesians 4:16). It would seem necessary that the social religious life should assume some visible organized form; and though there may be no such form or forms ecclesiastical that can claim to have the stamp of distinct Divine approval, yet all are Divine so far as they minister to the general edification and preserve "the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." They each and all have their place in the Divine order, if they help to fulfil the holy uses, and to heighten the glory of the great temple of the Lord.
VI. ITS SUBLIME DISTINCTION AS THE HABITATION OF GOD (see Deuteronomy 27:12, Deuteronomy 27:18, etc.) This was but the repetition of a more ancient promise (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45). And what are all these promises, with all the marvellous manifestations that verified them, but typical foreshadowings of the richer grace by virtue of which the Church becomes "the habitation of God through the Spirit"? "The Most High dwells not in temples made with hands;" His dwelling place is the fellowship of redeemed souls.—W.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6". The Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent