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One Kings Seven

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

1 Kings 7:1 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.

thirteen years. It is noteworthy that Solomon completed the temple before he began building his own palace complex, the entire sequence taking twenty years (1 Kings 9:10).

1 Kings 7:2 He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.

house of the forest. The thirteen years were required to complete all the buildings associated with Solomon's palace, including the “house of the forest of Lebanon,” the porch of pillars,” (1 Kings 7:6), the “porch of judgment” (1 Kings 7:7) and the “house for Pharaoh's daughter” (1 Kings 7:8), as well as the “great court” (1 Kings 7:12) around the whole complex. These buildings were beautiful, no doubt, but not as much so as the temple itself. The house of the forest of Lebanon was largely an armory (1 Kings 10:16-17; Isaiah 22:8) and was probably so named because of its cedar beams and pillars, giving it almost the appearance of a cedar forest.

1 Kings 7:3 And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.

1 Kings 7:4 And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.

1 Kings 7:5 And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks.

1 Kings 7:6 And he made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof thirty cubits: and the porch was before them: and the other pillars and the thick beam were before them.

1 Kings 7:7 Then he made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other.

1 Kings 7:8 And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch.

1 Kings 7:9 All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside toward the great court.

1 Kings 7:10 And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.

1 Kings 7:11 And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewed stones, and cedars.

1 Kings 7:12 And the great court round about was with three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the LORD, and for the porch of the house.

1 Kings 7:13 And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.

Hiram out of Tyre. This skilled artisan had perhaps been named after the Phoenician king (1 Kings 5:1). His mother had originally been from the tribe of Dan (2 Chronicles 2:14) whose first husband was of the tribe of Naphtali. When she became a widow she then married a Phoenician from Tyre, and Hiram was their son. He is called Huram in the paralleled account in 2 Chronicles 2:13.

1 Kings 7:14 He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.

1 Kings 7:15 For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about.

eighteen cubits high apiece. The parallel description in 2 Chronicles 3:15 says these pillars were thirty-five cubits high. The apparent contradiction has been attributed to a copyist error in the Chronicles reference. The eighteen-cubit dimension is confirmed in 2 Kings 25:17 and Jeremiah 52:21. These two pillars were evidently free standing; their names, Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21), are believed to have meant “Established” and “Strong,” referring to God and His purpose as depicted in the temple and its ministry. It has also been suggested that the two pillars could have been first cast together in a thirty-five cubit mold, then later divided into the two pillars.

1 Kings 7:16 And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:

chapiter. The capital (top part) of a column.

1 Kings 7:17 And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter.

1 Kings 7:18 And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter.

1 Kings 7:19 And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.

1 Kings 7:20 And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.

1 Kings 7:21 And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz

.

1 Kings 7:22 And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

1 Kings 7:23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

thirty cubits. Critics who try to find scientific “mistakes” in Scripture nearly always settle on this verse as one of their prime examples. Solomon's sea, ten cubits in diameter, had a circumference of thirty cubits, supposedly showing that the writer thought the value of π, or “pi,” (the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter) was exactly 3.0, instead of 3.1416. The critics do not understand the principle—always applied in careful scientific calculations—of “significant figures.” The dimensions as given were not intended as precisely 10 or 30, but were obviously round numbers. To say the diameter was 10 means only that it was somewhere between 9.5 and 10.5. Similarly the circumference was somewhere between 29.5 and 30.5. Thus the implied value of π was somewhere between 29.5/10.5 and 30.5/9.5—that is, between 2.81 and 3.21. The precise value of π is clearly within this range, and it would have been incorrect to try to specify a more precise value.

1 Kings 7:24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.

1 Kings 7:25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.

1 Kings 7:26 And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths.

two thousand baths. This volume would correspond to about 11, 600 gallons, assuming the bath to be about 5.8 gallons (some authorities believe it was closer to eight gallons). This is the first mention in Scripture of this unit of liquid measure. It was equivalent to the dry measure of the ephah, one-tenth of a homer. See note on 2 Chronicles 4:5.

1 Kings 7:27 And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.

1 Kings 7:28 And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:

1 Kings 7:29 And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.

1 Kings 7:30 And every base had four brazen wheels, and plates of brass: and the four corners thereof had undersetters: under the laver were undersetters molten, at the side of every addition.

1 Kings 7:31 And the mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round.

1 Kings 7:32 And under the borders were four wheels; and the axletrees of the wheels were joined to the base: and the height of a wheel was a cubit and half a cubit.

1 Kings 7:33 And the work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel: their axletrees, and their naves, and their felloes, and their spokes, were all molten.

1 Kings 7:34 And there were four undersetters to the four corners of one base: and the undersetters were of the very base itself.

1 Kings 7:35 And in the top of the base was there a round compass of half a cubit high: and on the top of the base the ledges thereof and the borders thereof were of the same.

1 Kings 7:36 For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about.

1 Kings 7:37 After this manner he made the ten bases: all of them had one casting, one measure, and one size.

1 Kings 7:38 Then made he ten lavers of brass: one laver contained forty baths: and every laver was four cubits: and upon every one of the ten bases one laver.

ten lavers. The large “molten sea,” with its ten accompanying small lavers, corresponded to the one “laver of brass ... to wash withal” in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:18).

1 Kings 7:39 And he put five bases on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house: and he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward over against the south.

1 Kings 7:40 And Hiram made the lavers, and the shovels, and the basins. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he made king Solomon for the house of the LORD:

1 Kings 7:41 The two pillars, and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on the top of the two pillars; and the two networks, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars;

1 Kings 7:42 And four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, even two rows of pomegranates for one network, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters that were upon the pillars;

1 Kings 7:43 And the ten bases, and ten lavers on the bases;

1 Kings 7:44 And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea;

1 Kings 7:45 And the pots, and the shovels, and the basins: and all these vessels, which Hiram made to king Solomon for the house of the LORD, were of bright brass.

1 Kings 7:46 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.

1 Kings 7:47 And Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many: neither was the weight of the brass found out.

1 Kings 7:48 And Solomon made all the vessels that pertained unto the house of the LORD: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, whereupon the showbread was,

altar of gold. This golden altar and golden table answered to the altar of incense and the table of shewbread in the tabernacle, respectively (Exodus 30:1; 25:23, 30).

1 Kings 7:49 And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold,

candlesticks of pure gold. These ten golden candlesticks (or lampstands) replaced the one golden candlestick in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:31).

1 Kings 7:50 And the bowls, and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple.

1 Kings 7:51 So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD.