2 CHRONICLES 4 COMMENTARY
EDITED BY GLENN PEASE
The Temple’s Furnishings
1 He made a bronze altar twenty cubits long,
twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high.[a]
BARNES, "The supplementary character of Chronicles is here once more
apparent. The author of Kings had omitted to record the dimensions of the
brass altar. It stood in the great court 2Ch_6:12-13.
HENRY, "David often speaks with much affection both of the house of the
Lord and of the courts of our God. Both without doors and within there was
that which typified the grace of the gospel and shadowed out good things to
come, of which the substance is Christ.
I. There were those things in the open court, in the view of all the people,
which were very significant.
1. There was the brazen altar, 2Ch_4:1. The making of this was not
mentioned in the Kings. On this all the sacrifices were offered, and it
sanctified the gift. This altar was much larger than that which Moses made
in the tabernacle; that was five cubits square, this was twenty cubits square.
Now that Israel had become both numerous and more rich, and it was to be
hoped more devout (for every age should aim to be wiser and better than
that which went before it), it was expected that there would be a greater
abundance of offerings brought to God's altar than had been. It was
therefore made such a capacious scaffold that it might hold them all, and
none might excuse themselves from bringing those temptations of their
devotion by alleging that there was not room to receive them. God had
greatly enlarged their borders; it was therefore fit that they should enlarge
his altars. Our returns should bear some proportion to our receivings. It
was ten cubits high, so that the people who worshipped in the courts might
see the sacrifice burnt, and their eye might affect their heart with sorrow
for sin: “It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not thus consumed, and that
this is accepted as an expiation of my guilt.” They might thus be led to
consider the great sacrifice which should be offered in the fulness of time to
take away sin and abolish death, which the blood of bulls and goats could
not possibly do. And with the smoke of the sacrifices their hearts might
ascend to heaven in holy desires towards God and his favour. In all our
devotions we must keep the eye of faith fixed upon Christ, the great
propitiation. How they went up to this altar, and carried the sacrifices up to
it, we are not told; some think by a plain ascent like a hill: if by steps,
doubtless they were so contrived as that the end of the law (mentioned Exo_
20:26) might be answered.
JAMISON, "2Ch_4:1. Altar of brass.
he made an altar of brass — Steps must have been necessary for ascending
so elevated an altar, but the use of these could be no longer forbidden (Exo_
20:26) after the introduction of an official costume for the priests (Exo_
28:42). It measured thirty-five feet by thirty-five, and in height seventeen
and a half feet. The thickness of the metal used for this altar is nowhere
given; but supposing it to have been three inches, the whole weight of the
metal would not be under two hundred tons [Napier].
K&D, "2Ch_4:1-6. The copper furniture of the court. 2Ch_4:1. The altar of
burnt-offering. Its preparation is passed over in 1 Kings 6 and 7, so that
there it is only mentioned incidentally in connection with the consecration
of the temple, 1Ki_8:22, 1Ki_8:54, and 1Ki_9:25. It was twenty cubits
square (long and broad) and ten cubits high, and constructed on the model
of the Mosaic altar of burnt-offering, and probably of brass plates, which
enclosed the inner core, consisting of earth and unhewn stones; and if we
may judge from Ezekiel's description, Eze_43:13-17, it rose in steps, as it
were, so that at each step its extent was smaller; and the measurement of
twenty cubits refers only to the lowest scale, while the space at the top, with
the hearth, was only twelve cubits square; cf. my Bibl. Archaeol. i. S. 127,
with the figure, plate iii. fig. 2.
BENSON, "2 Chronicles 4:1-2. Ten cubits the height thereof — This was too high
for the priests to lay the victims on it, without going up some kind of ascent; but as it
was expressly commanded (Exodus 20:26) that they should not go up by steps unto
God’s altar; they doubtless ascended in some other way. Also he made a molten sea
of ten cubits — This and the following verses are explained 1 Kings 7:23, &c.
ELLICOTT, "THE BRAZEN ALTAR (2 Chronicles 4:1).
(l) An altar of brass.—The brazen altar, or altar of burnt offering, made by
Solomon, is not noticed in the parallel chapters of Kings (1 Kings 6, 7) which
describe the construction of the temple and its vessels of service, but it is incidentally
mentioned in another passage of the older work (1 Kings 9:25), and its existence
seems to be implied in 1 Kings 8:22; 1 Kings 8:64. This altar stood in the inner court
of the temple. It rose from a terraced platform. (Comp. Ezekiel 43:13-17.) The
Hebrew of this verse is such as to suggest that it must have existed in the original
document. The style is the same. (Comp. the construction of the numerals with the
noun, and note the word qômâh, “height,” now used for the first time by the
chronicler.) It would appear, therefore, that the verse has been accidentally omitted
from the text of Kings.
COFFMAN, ""He made an altar of brass ... the height thereof ten cubits" (2
Chronicles 4:1). What was wrong with this? Ten cubits was a height of something
like fifteen feet, which required that steps would have to be used by the priests in
making sacrifices upon it; and God had specifically commanded Israel, "Neither
shalt thou go up by steps unto my altar" (Exodus 20:26).
Not only did Solomon's temple and all that it contained violate many of God's
specific commandments, such as this one; but there were also countless concessions
to paganism, as seen in the images of the bulls (politely called oxen here) placed
under the laver. The bulls, calves, oxen, whatever they were called, were the usual
images under which the old Canaanite fertility god Baal was worshipped. Even the
Jewish historian Josephus condemned Solomon for what he did in this. It is an
unqualified mystery to us why "Christian" writers attempt to justify it! Besides
that, the Decalogue specifically forbade the making of images, or `likenesses' of
anything either in heaven or on earth, the sacred images of the cherubim
commanded by Moses, having been one exception to this.
"It ... held three thousand baths" (2 Chronicles 4:5). The bath was a Jewish
measure, being the equivalent of about 4,7/8 gallons. The very size of this laver
was a testimonial to the type of `washing' to which the priests submitted. It was by
immersion, being in that particular typical of Christian baptism. (For further
elaboration of this, see our Commentary on Exodus, pp. 404,405.)
TRAPP, " Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and
twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.
Ver. 1. Moreover, he made an altar of brass.] This altar was a type of the cross of
Christ, yea, of Christ himself. "We also have an altar," &c. [Hebrews 13:10]
And ten cubits the height thereof.] That all the people might see the burnt offerings,
and be reminded of their sins and of their Saviour; for the ceremonial law was their
POOLE, "The altar of brass, 2 Chronicles 4:1. The molten sea upon twelve oxen, 2
Chronicles 4:2-5. The ten lavers, candlesticks, and tables, 2 Chronicles 4:6-8. The
courts, and the instruments of brass, 2 Chronicles 4:9-18. The instruments of gold, 2
Quest. How could this be, when God had said, Thou shalt not go up by steps unto
mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon, Exodus 20:26, and steps
were necessary for so high an altar as this was?
Answ. 1. These steps were so made that there was no fear of this inconvenience.
2. That law was useful and fit when it was made; but afterwards, when the priests
were commanded to wear linen breeches in their holy ministrations to cover their
nakedness, Exodus 28:42, it was not necessary.
3. Howsoever God could undoubtedly dispense with his own law, as here he did; for
he it was that gave these dimensions for the altar.
PARKER, "Solomon"s Specifications
SURELY Solomon is doing something? There is a great rush of business, there is a
marvellous outline of a specification in this chapter. What a programme it Isaiah ,
taking it altogether, and in the contextual portions; something important must be
doing now, something indispensable: kings are busy, princes are bending their
necks, people of all statures and ages and faculties are on the alert. "Send me also
cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon... prepare me timber in
abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great."
What a host of men! Threescore and ten thousand of them bearers of burdens, and
fourscore thousand hewers in the mountain, and three thousand six hundred
overseers to set the people at work. Nothing was pinched, nothing was begrudged.
The porch was overlaid with pure gold, the greater house was ceiled with fir tree,
which was overlaid with fine gold, and thereon were set palm trees and chains; and
the house was garnished with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of
Parvaim. The house, the beams, the posts, the walls, the doors were overlaid with
gold, and on the walls cherubims were graved.
The question we have to ask after reading all this table of luxury Isaiah , What does
it amount to? That is the subject What is the use of it all? This is not a merely or
roughly utilitarian question; it is a high spiritual inquiry. Nor is the interrogation
limited to the house that Solomon built; it applies to the house which every man is
building. What is the use of your grandeur? What does it all come to when it is
added up and set down in plain utility like an arithmetical statement at the foot?
This is an admirable description of many men we know, or of whom we have heard
or read: they are all specification. Here is a man who has been five years at Oxford,
five years at Edinburgh, five years at Berlin, and he has brought with him
innumerable certificates and credentials and assurances that he has passed with
success and honour through almost illimitable courses of training. Let us hear him
speak. It is well we were told that he had studied at all these universities, for we
never should have gathered it from his conversation. Here is a student of aesthetics;
a false colour would kill him; he understands the relation of one hue to another; he
has been trained to distinguish one tinge from another as if his eye were a jealous
microscope. What does it come to outside of colour? What about his patience, his
civility, his chivalry, his courtesy, his sacrifice on behalf of others? What does it
amount to but a painter"s specification? We must have totals, results, positive and
beneficial consequences; else our schools are only helping to extend the veneer, and
not the real oak of the world. Here is a man of polish: he would not even call upon a
friend except within conventional hours; nothing would tempt him to pay a visit to
his oldest bosom friend without a proper supply of pasteboard and lithography:
what does it come to when he must sit up with a dying child, or pinch himself one
meal a day that a man in another street may have something for his hunger? These
are penetrating, these are decimating questions; they hurl down our little card-
houses, conventionalities, and aesthetics, and polishes, and certifications, and make
us poor indeed, if there be not at the heart of us a Christly polish, a Christly
education, a miracle of regeneration and comfort. Take care not to grind the knife
all away before you cut a piece of bread with it. What a long time some men have
been grinding their knives! There will be nothing but haft presently; the blade will
have disappeared into or out of the grindstone. What we ought to have from some
men when they do come forward! Should they not have pity upon us and reveal
themselves gradually? Ought they not to pity the gourd, and see that the flash of
such lightning as would be emitted by their genius might be dangerous to the frail
plant? What gifts we must have when some men begin to give! they are going to
About all grandeur, about all cedar, and fir and algum, about all gold of Parvaim,
and graved cherubim, and wondrous scholarship, and night and day preparation
extending through years, we ask, What is the use of it? Bring a million bricks into a
huge meadow, stack them up, add hundreds of tons of iron, add a mile or two of
plate glass, set down colours mixed by the skilled hands of artists: what does it all
come to? It all amounts to a nuisance; we used to walk through that field until that
pile was laid upon it. On the other hand, put the material together, let the architect
lay his mind to the question, and the builder put out his hands, and the glazier do
his work, and the artist come to distribute the colours properly, and then out of
what was a mere chaotic pile there is shaped a useful home or sacred temple. Get out
of your specification; build something: do something: better dry a child"s tear than
lie back half a century in order to get ready to deliver a speech which nobody can
understand. When does the decoration become life? When may we expect those
beauteous figures to speak? Never. The decoration does not make the temple; the
preparation does not make the workman; he must come out of that, utilising it all
and sanctifying it by the grace of God. A man might dress in the robes of the lord
chancellor, and actually sit down on the woolsack, and not be a lawyer. This is
extremely irritating, that a man cannot by putting on certain robes become learned
and influential and reputed as an authority. A fine house cannot make a fine tenant;
a first-class carriage cannot make a first-class traveller; a man might sit down on a
monarch"s throne, and not be a sovereign; he might even look like a king, and be
only a clown. Decoration is useless, if it does not express something beyond itself,
something spiritual, ideal, transcendental. The picture is nothing if it does not in
reality speak, not indeed to the ear of the body, but to the attention of the soul. It is
an amusing irony to see some people clothed in purple and fine linen, because there
is really no connection between them and their clothes; we expect them to speak
musically, and lo! their tones fill our mouths as with gravel-stones. We expect a man
to be at least as elegant as his clothes, and when he is not we do not blame the
garments; it is more their misfortune than their fault that they should be where they
are. So when we read the specification of temples and palaces we say, What does it
amount to? What is this grandeur worth in helping and blessing the world? What is
civilisation to end in?
This specification may be taken as a step in the history of civilisation, and according
to this outline civilisation probably never reached a higher pitch. Buying and selling
luxuries does no general good. That seems to be very singular, but science, reading
history, has put that down as a conclusion that cannot be challenged. Specifications
of this kind do no good to the people as a whole. The possession of luxury leads to
surfeit. It is on record that at the time of the great French Revolution never was
luxury so abundant, never was poverty so extreme. The feast of the great man had
no crumbs for the poor man"s hunger. The world would never be the richer were
half of it turned into ground for the growing of champagne, and were the other half
of the world peopled by a thousand men who could consume it all. You never touch
the poor through the medium of luxury. You must work upon another line, a line of
utility, actual beneficence: through wheat, not through grapes, will you touch the
whole world. This is the doctrine of the latest civilisation. Suppose that all over the
world men could read and write: what then? Has a man ever asked himself that
question seriously? Suppose that all over the world men could play a musical
instrument: what then? Suppose that all over the globe men could paint: what then?
Suppose that all over the world every man had ten millions of gold a-year: what
then? Suppose every man in the world should forget how to walk because he could
ride in a chariot of feathers and purple, and be drawn on by six cream-coloured
horses: what then? It would be a sad world to live in. There is nothing in civilisation,
except as it is controlled, inspired, used by a master"s hand for the good of the
whole world. I am not sure that every man would be perfectly happy if he could
paint a picture; I am not aware that unhappiness is confined to those who cannot
read and write. These chapters are parts of a developing civilisation, and we have a
right to ask as we pass through them, What is the use of this grandeur? To what
purpose will it be turned? What is our education to end in? An educated man who
does not turn his education to the benefit of others is an altogether undesirable
person. He kills the preacher, because he knows that the man is just educated
enough to be able to find fault, and is not sufficiently educated to be able to
appreciate. Some persons have been sufficiently trained to be annoyed by the
mistakes of other people, but not sufficiently developed to see even in those mistakes
the beginning of possible excellences. Herein is that saying true,—
What is true of a little learning is true of what may be termed the larger learning,
were it not in reality little by its very largeness, because it is not put out to use. You
will never know the talent you have until you begin to spend it. Talent grows by
expenditure; wealth increases by distribution. When a man keeps his talent and does
not use it, the act of unfaithfulness recoils upon himself and assures his position in
nothing but in outer darkness. To complete the material we must ascend into the
spiritual. All outward civilisation is mockery if it help not towards and if it do not
express an inward refinement. It is sad to think how some houses are greater than
their occupiers; it is shameful to see a man outshone by his own mahogany. A man
should always be greater than anything he has. The architect who draws out one
specification, should always be able to draw out a much larger one. The great
engineer Brunei was asked if there were not impossibilities to engineering, and he
said, "There is only one." What is that? "Want of money." Give Brunei money, and
he would make a way up to the moon, or try to do it. A man ought never to have a
book in his library that does not express a want of the soul. Yet some men order
their libraries by the square foot, and have them bound "uniformly." A book should
be part of its owner; he should feel himself half naked if any volume were taken
from its shelf.
Even Solomon"s temple was nothing until it was consecrated; then it became sacred,
a touchstone by which men might try their spiritual quality, an entrance gate into
heaven. It is the same with all other phases and aspects and uses of life. A man is
nothing until he is utilised. How many unfulfilled prophecies there are in human
life. A boy has taken all the prizes, he has brought them all home, shaken them out
of his lap, and you never hear any more of him. What are his prizes? Reproaches,
rebukes: by his prizes he shall be condemned. Another boy is of slower growth, and
all he has brought home from school is—himself. But you cannot look at that square
head without expecting that by-and-by you will ask, "Where are the nine that took
the prizes?" That boy you cannot keep down; he grows; when he is asleep he is
growing, and one day he will be king. We must be judged by the result. A man may
know many languages, and never say a word worth hearing in any of them.
What is the use of grandeur, what is the purpose of education, what is the outcome
of all this gathering of material? Oh Song of Solomon , oh Huram, say what
meaneth this accumulation of cedar, and fir, and algum, and gold, and colours? and
they reply, The meaning is a temple. The temple is built, God accepts it, and
therefore the civilisation is justified and crowned. What is the use of your gathered
gold? You will want a larger safe. What a glorious idea to have a house that is all
safe; the front door iron, and the windows iron, and the roof iron, so that everything
within it should be protected. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but
lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves do not break through nor steal." Have a hundred banks that
grant no passbooks and are utterly without cheque forms: have a hundred families
to whom you send a portion whenever you can; they cannot recompense thee, but
thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Drop thy silver fork as it
puts that last lump of luxury into thy gluttonous mouth; sell it, give it to the poor,
and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. Sacrifice is but a superstition until the
heavens accept it by fire. We should only gather that we may scatter. If any man
gather the wheat of the world and lock it up in garners and see men starve, his eyes
should be torn out.
GUZIK, "2 CHRONICLES 4 - FURNISHINGS FOR THE TEMPLE AND ITS
A. The furnishings of the temple.
1. (2 Chronicles 4:1) The bronze altar.
Moreover he made a bronze altar: twenty cubits was its length, twenty cubits its
width, and ten cubits its height.
a. He made a bronze altar: The idea behind the Hebrew word for altar is essentially,
“killing-place.” This was the place of sacrifice, the center for worship and service for
the priests and the people.
i. “Just as in the tabernacle, the altar was the first main object to be met as one
entered the sanctuary court. It demonstrates that God may be approached only
through sacrifices.” (Payne)
ii. We also have an altar: We have an altar from which those who serve the
tabernacle have no right to eat (Hebrews 13:10). Our altar - our “killing-place” - is
the cross, where Jesus died for our sins and we follow by dying unto self and living
b. Twenty cubits: Essentially, this altar was large (about 30 feet or 10 meters square)
and about twice as large as the altar originally built for the tabernacle (Exodus
c. Ten cubits its height: The altar was raised significantly. The altar was set up high,
“That all the people might see the burnt-offerings, and be imminded of their sins
and of their Saviour; for the ceremonial law was their gospel.” (Trapp)
PULPIT, "This chapter is occupied with some account of the contents of the house,
following naturally upon the account of the structure, dimensions, and main
features of the building given in the previous chapter. The parallel, so far as it goes,
is found in 1 Kings 7:1-51. and 8.
2 Chronicles 4:1
An altar of brass. This in worthier material superseded the temporary altar of the
tabernacle (Exodus 27:1, Exodus 27:2), made of shittim wood, and its dimensions
five cubits long and broad and three cubits high. Large as was the present altar of
brass as compared with the altar that preceded, it fell far short of the requirements
of the grand day of dedication (1 Kings 8:64). No statement of the making of this
altar occurs in the parallel. The place of it would be between 2 Chronicles 4:22 and
23 of 1 Kings 7:1-51. But that Solomon made it is stated in 1 Kings 9:25, and other
references to its presence are found in 1 Kings 8:22, 1 Kings 8:54, 1 Kings 8:64, etc.
The position given to the altar is referred to alike in 1 Kings 8:22 and 2 Chronicles
6:12, 2 Chronicles 6:13, as in the court of the temple. It may be well to note that the
altar, sacrifice, comes first, and is first spoken of.
BI 1-10, "Moreover he made an altar of brase
The furniture of the holy court
The altar of brass. Larger than that in tabernacle. When God enlarges
our borders and business we should increase our gifts.
2. The sea of brass. God requires sanctity in all that approach Him (Jas_
3. The ten layers. Not only the priests, but the sacrifices, must be
washed. We must purify our persons and performances. Iniquity cleaves
to our holy things.
4. The ten golden candlesticks. One in tabernacle. Light increases.
5. The ten tables.
6. The golden altar. Christ makes atonement and intercedes for ever in
virtue of that atonement. (J. Wolfendale.)
Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits.
The molten sea
I. Its use. Suggests purification for God’s service.
II. Its size. Suggests abundant provision for purification. A type of the
III. Its construction.
1. The material precious and durable.
2. The oxen, sacrifices of priests, emblems of strength and patience—
looking all ways. The blessings procured by a holy priesthood would be
universally diffused. (Homiletical Commentary.)
2 He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape,
measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five
cubits[b] high. It took a line of thirty cubits[c] to
measure around it.
HENRY, "2. There was the molten sea, a very large brass pan, in which
they put water for the priests to wash in, 2Ch_4:2, 2Ch_4:6. It was put just
at the entrance into the court of the priests, like the font at the church door.
If it were filled to the brim, it would hold 3000 baths (as here, 2Ch_4:5), but
ordinarily there were only 2000 baths in it, 1Ki_7:26. The Holy Ghost by
this signified, (1.) Our great gospel privilege, that the blood of Christ
cleanseth from all sin, 1Jo_1:7. To us there is a fountain opened for all
believers (who are spiritual priests, Rev_1:5, Rev_1:6), nay, for all the
inhabitants of Jerusalem to wash in, from sin, which is uncleanness. There
is a fulness of merit in Jesus Christ for all those that by faith apply to him
for the purifying of their consciences, that they might serve the living God,
Heb_9:14. (2.) Our great gospel duty, which is to cleanse ourselves by true
repentance from all the pollutions of the flesh and the corruption that is in
the world. Our hearts must be sanctified, or we cannot sanctify the name of
God. Those that draw nigh to God must cleanse their hands, and purify
their hearts, Jam_4:8. If I was thee not, thou hast no part with me; and he
that is washed still needs to wash his feet, to renew his repentance,
whenever he goes in to minister, Joh_13:10.
3. There were ten lavers of brass, in which they washed such things as
they offered for the burnt-offerings, 2Ch_4:6. As the priests must be
washed, so must the sacrifices. We must not only purify ourselves in
preparation for our religious performances, but carefully put away all those
vain thoughts and corrupt aims which cleave to our performances
themselves and pollute them.
JAMISON, "2Ch_4:2-5. Molten sea.
he made a molten sea — (See on 1Ki_7:23), as in that passage “knops”
occur instead of “oxen.” It is generally supposed that the rows of
ornamental knops were in the form of ox heads.
K&D 2-5, "The brazen sea described as in 1Ki_7:23-26. See the
commentary on that passage, and the sketch in my Archaeol. i. plate iii. fig.
1. The differences in substance, such as the occurrence of ים ִר ָק ְבּ and ר ָק ָבּ ַ,ה
2Ch_4:3, instead of ים ִע ָק ְפּ and םִי ָק ְפּ ַ,ה and 3000 baths instead of 2000, are
probably the result of orthographical errors in the Chronicle. יל ִָכי in 2Ch_
4:5 appears superfluous after the preceding יקִזֲח ַ,מ and Berth. considers it a
gloss which has come from 1 Kings into our text by mistake. But the
expression is only pleonastic: “receiving baths, 3000 it held;” and there is
no sufficient reason to strike out the words.
ELLICOTT, "THE BRAZEN SEA (2 Chronicles 4:2-5).
(Comp. 1 Kings 7:23-26.)
(2) Also he made a molten sea.—And he made the sea (i.e., the great basin) molten—
i.e., of cast metal.
Of ten cubits . . . thereof.—Ten in the cubit from its lip to its lip, circular all round;
and five in the cubit was its height. Word for word as in 1 Kings 7:23, save that
Kings has one different preposition (‘ad, “unto,” instead of ‘el, “to”). “Lip.” Comp.
“lip of the sea,” Genesis 22:17; “lip of the Jordan,” 2 Kings 2:13; a metaphor which
is also used in Greek.
And a line of thirty cubits . . .—Line, i.e., measuring-line, as in Ezekiel 47:3. The
Hebrew is qâw. In Kings we read a rare form, qâwèh. The rest of the clause is the
same in both texts.
Did compass.—Would compass, or go round it.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:2 Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to
brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty
cubits did compass it round about.
Ver. 2. Also he made a molten sea.] See on 1 Kings 7:23, &c.
GUZIK 2-6, "2. (2 Chronicles 4:2-6) The washing basins for the temple.
Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was
completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its
circumference. And under it was the likeness of oxen encircling it all around, ten to a
cubit, all the way around the Sea. The oxen were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
It stood on twelve oxen: three looking toward the north, three looking toward the
west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was
set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. It was a handbreadth thick;
and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained three
thousand baths. He also made ten lavers, and put five on the right side and five on
the left, to wash in them; such things as they offered for the burnt offering they
would wash in them, but the Sea was for the priests to wash in.
a. Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other: The
huge laver was more than 15 feet (5 meters) across, and was used for the ceremonial
washings connected with the priests themselves.
i. “Priests who did not wash to make themselves clean would die (Exodus 30:20).”
i. “It was used by priests for cleansing their hands and feet and perhaps also to
supply water to the standing basins for the rinsing of offerings (2 Chronicles 4:10).”
Poole believes that perhaps water came out of the bulls that formed the foundation
of the Sea.
b. It stood on twelve oxen: This large pool of water was set upon sculptured oxen.
“Prefiguring, say some, the twelve apostles, who carried the water of life all the
world over.” (Trapp)
i. It contained three thousand baths: “In 1 Kings 7:26, it is said to hold only two
thousand baths. Since this book was written after the Babylonian captivity, it is very
possible that reference is here made to the Babylonian bath, which might have been
less than the Jewish.” (Clarke)
c. He also made ten lavers: These additional basins were used for washing and
cleaning the animal parts in the rituals of sacrifice.
PULPIT, "A molten sea. The Hebrew of this verse and of 1 Kings 7:23 are facsimiles
of one author, except that here וָק stands, where the parallel shows ,קוֹה probably the
fruit merely of some error in transcription. Verses like these point not to the
derivation of Chronicles from Kings, but rather of both from some older common
source. This sea of brass superseded the laver of the tabernacle (Exodus 30:18,
Exodus 30:28 ; Exodus 31:9; Exodus 35:16; Exodus 39:39). It was called a sea on
account of its size. We are told in 1 Chronicles 18:8 whence David had drawn the
supplies of metal necessary for this work. The size of the diameter measured from
upper rim to rim (ten cubits) harmonizes, of course, to all practical purposes, with
that of the circumference (thirty cubits); it would assist questions connected with the
contents of this large vessel, however, if we had been told whether the circumference
were measured at the rim, or, as the form of language here used might slightly
favour, round the girth. (For these questions, see 1 Chronicles 18:5 below.) This sea
for the washing of the priests significantly follows the altar. Beside the general
suggestion of the need of purification or sanctification, it here reminds of the fact
that the earthly priest and high priest must need the purification, which their great
Antitype would not need.
3 Below the rim, figures of bulls encircled it—ten
to a cubit.[d] The bulls were cast in two rows in
one piece with the Sea.
BARNES, "For “oxen” we find in 1Ki_7:24, “knops” or “gourds.” An early
copyist, not comprehending the comparatively rare word here used for
“gourd,” and expecting to hear of oxen, as soon as the molten sea was
mentioned, changed the reading.
CLARKE, "Under it was the similitude of oxen - In 1Ki_7:24, instead of
oxen, בקרים bekarim, we have knops, פקעים pekaim; and this last is supposed
by able critics to be the reading which ought to be received here. What we
call knops may signify grapes, mushrooms, apples, or some such ornaments
placed round about under the turned over lip or brim of this caldron. It is
possible that בקרים bekarim, oxen, may be a corruption of פקעים pekaim,
grapes, as the פ pe might be mistaken for a ב beth, to which in ancient MSS.
it has often a great resemblance, the dot under the top being often faint and
indistinct; and the ע ain, on the same account might be mistaken for a ר resh.
Thus grapes might be turned into oxen. Houbigant contends that the words
in both places are right; but that בקר bakar does not signify ox here, but al
large kind of grape, according to its meaning in Arabic: and thus both places
will agree. But I do not find that bakar, or bakarat, has any such meaning in
Arabic. He was probably misled by the following, in the Arabic Lexicon,
Camus, inserted under bakara, both by Giggeius and Golius, aino albikri, ox-
eye, which is interpreted Genus uvae nigrae ac praeprandis, incredibilis
dulcedinis. In Palaestina autem pro prunis absolute usurpatur. “A species
of black grape, very large, and of incredible sweetness. It is used in
Palestine for prune or plum.” What is called the Damascene plum is
doubtless meant; but בקרים bekarim, in the text, can never have this
meaning, unless indeed we found it associated with עין ayin, eye, and then
בקרים עיני eyney bekarim might, according to the Arabic, be translated plums,
grapes, sloes, or such like, especially those of the largest kind, which in size
resemble the eye of an ox. But the criticism of this great man is not solid.
The likeliest method of reconciling the two places is supposing a change in
the letters, as specified above. The reader will at once see that what are
called the oxen, 2Ch_4:3, said to be round about the brim, are widely
different from those 2Ch_4:4, by which this molten sea was supported.
JAMISON, "Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast — The meaning
is, that the circular basin and the brazen oxen which supported it were all of
one piece, being cast in one and the same mold. There is a difference in the
accounts given of the capacity of this basin, for while in 1Ki_7:26 it is said
that two thousand baths of water could be contained in it, in this passage no
less than three thousand are stated. It has been suggested that there is here
a statement not merely of the quantity of water which the basin held, but
that also which was necessary to work it, to keep it flowing as a fountain;
that which was required to fill both it and its accompaniments. In support of
this view, it may be remarked that different words are employed: the one in
1Ki_7:26 rendered contained; the two here rendered, received and held.
There was a difference between receiving and holding. When the basin
played as a fountain, and all its parts were filled for that purpose, the latter,
together with the sea itself, received three thousand baths; but the sea
exclusively held only two thousand baths, when its contents were restricted
to those of the circular basin. It received and held three thousand baths
ELLICOTT, "(3) And under it was the similitude of oxen.—Literally, And a likeness
of oxen (figured oxen) under it around surrounding it, ten in the cubit encompassing
the sea around: two rows were the oxen, smelted in the smelting of it. In the parallel
passage (1 Kings 7:24) we read: And wild gourds underneath its lip around
surrounding it,” &c., as here; two of rows were the gourds, smelted in the smelting
thereof. The Hebrew words for “oxen” and “gourds” might easily be confused by a
transcriber, and accordingly it is assumed by most commentators that the text of the
chronicler has suffered corruption, and should be restored from that of Kings. But
there seems no reason—unless we suppose that each writer has given an exhaustive
description, which is clearly not the case—why the ornamental rows which ran
round the great basin should not have included both features, small figures of oxen,
as well as wild gourds. Reuss objects on the ground of the diminutive size of the
axon (“ten in a cubit”); but such work was by no means beyond the resources of
ancient art. (Comp. the reliefs on the bronze doors of Shalmaneser 11. (859-825
B.C. ); 1 Kings 7:29 actually gives an analogous instance.) The word pĕqâ’îm, “wild
gourds,” only occurs in one other place of Kings, viz., 1 Kings 6:18. (Comp.
paqqû‘ôth, 2 Kings 4:39.) A copyist of Kings might nave inadvertently repeated the
word from the former passage in 1 Kings 7:24. In any case it is sheer dogmatism to
assert that “the copyists (in the Chronicle) have absurdly changed the gourds into
oxen” (Reuss). The Syriac and Arabic omit this verse; but the LXX. and Vulg. have
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:3 And under it [was] the similitude of oxen, which did
compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows
of oxen [were] cast, when it was cast.
Ver. 3. The similitude of oxen.] Haply called knops. [1 Kings 7:24]
PULPIT, "The similitude of oxen. The parallel gives simply "knops" (i.e. flower-
buds) in the room of this expression, and no word "similitude" at all, the characters
spelling the word for "knops" being ים ִﬠָק ְ,פּ and those for "oxen" being ים ִרָק ְבּ . The
presence of the word "similitude" strongly suggests that the circles of decoration
under description showed the likenesses of oxen, not necessarily (as Patrick)
"stamped" on the so-called knops, but possibly constituting them. For the
ambiguous under it of our present verse the parallel says with definiteness, "under
the brim of it." There is intelligibility, at all events, in the ornamentation being of
these miniature oxen, presumably three hundred in the circle of the thirty cubits.
The symbolism would harmonize with that which dictated the superposition of the
enormous vase on twelve probably life-size oxen. There is a general preference,
however, accorded to the opinion that the present text has probably been the result
of some copyist's corruption, and that the text of the parallel should be followed.
4 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing
north, three facing west, three facing south and
three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them,
and their hindquarters were toward the center.
ELLICOTT, "(4) It stood.—The whole verse coincides verbally with 1 Kings 7:25,
with one slight exception: the common form of the numeral “twelve,” shnêm ‘âsâr, is
substituted for the rare shnê ‘âsâr.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:4 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.
Ver. 4. It stood upon twelve oxen.] Prefiguring, say some, the twelve apostles, who
carried the water of life all the world over. See 1 Kings 7:25.
5 It was a handbreadth[e] in thickness, and its rim
was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It
held three thousand baths.[f]
BARNES, "Three thousand baths - See 1Ki_7:23 note. It is quite possible
that either here or in Kings the text may have been accidentally corrupted.
CLARKE, "It - held three thousand baths - In 1Ki_7:26, it is said to hold
only two thousand baths. As this book was written after the Babylonish
captivity, it is very possible that reference is here made to the Babylonish
bath which might have been less than the Jewish. We have already seen that
the cubit of Moses, or of the ancient Hebrews, was longer than the
Babylonish by one palm; see on 2Ch_3:3 (note). It might be the same with
the measures of capacity; so that two thousand of the ancient Jewish baths
might have been equal to three thousand of those used after the captivity.
The Targum cuts the knot by saying, “It received three thousand baths of
dry measure, and held two thousand of liquid measure.
ELLICOTT, " (5) And the thickness . . . a cup.—Identical with 1 Kings 7:26.
With flowers of lilies.—See margin. “Lily” here is shôshannâh; in Kings, shôshân.
LXX., “graven with lily buds.” Syriac and Arabic, “and it was very beautiful.”
Vulg., “like the lip of a cup, or of an open lily.”
And it received and held three thousand baths.—Literally, holding (whole) baths:
three thousand would it contain. The bath was the largest of Hebrew liquid
measures. Perhaps the true reading is, “holding three thousand baths,” the last verb
being a gloss borrowed from Kings. So Vulg. Syriac and Arabic omit the clause. The
LXX. had the present reading. 1 Kings 7:26 reads, two thousand baths would it
contain. Most critics assume this to be correct. Some scribe may have read ’alâphîm,
“thousands,” instead of ‘alpayim, “two thousand,” and then have added “three”
(shĕlôsheth) under the influence of the last verse. But it is more likely that the
numeral “three” having been inadvertently omitted from the text of Kings, the
indefinite word “thousands” was made definite by turning it into the dual “two
thousand” Either mistake would be possible, because in the unpointed text ‘alâphîm
and ’alpayim are written alike. The Syriac has the curious addition, “And he made
ten poles, and put five on the right and five on the left, and bare with them the altar
of burnt offerings.” Similarly the Arabic version.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:5 And the thickness of it [was] an handbreadth, and the
brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; [and] it received
and held three thousand baths.
Ver. 5. Three thousand baths.] See on 1 Kings 7:26. There it is said "two thousand
baths": Dicendum hic addi, &c., salth Vatablus. This prophet addeth what is
wanting in the other; ea enim est mens autheris huius libri, for that is the design of
this our author.
PULPIT, "An handbreadth. Not ת ֶֶרז, "a span", but חַפ ֶ,ט "the palm of the open
hand," the breadth of the four fingers, which Thenius puts at 3.1752 inches, but
Conder's table at 2.66 inches. It received and held should be translated, it was able
to hold. Three thousand baths. The parallel has two thousand baths, and this latter
is the likelier reading. It is, however, conceivable that the statement of Kings may
purport to give the quantity of water used, and that of Chronicles the quantity
which the vessel at its fullest could accommodate. As to the real capacity of the bath,
we are hopelessly at sea. Josephus's estimate of it is about eight gallons and a half,
that of the rabbinists about four gallons and a half, and Conder, in the 'Handbook
to the Bible,' p. 80, a fractional quantity above six gallons. The largest bowls on the
Assyrian bas-reliefs, the silver bowl of Croesus, and the bronze bowl in Scythia
(Herodotus, 1.51; 4.81), did not, under the lowest estimate of the bath, hold as much
as one-half of the contents of this vast sea of brass of Solomon. The use of this vessel
was, as we read in the next verse, for the priests to wash in, or, as some would read,
to wash at (Exodus 20-30:18 ).
6 He then made ten basins for washing and placed
five on the south side and five on the north. In
them the things to be used for the burnt offerings
were rinsed, but the Sea was to be used by the
priests for washing.
CLARKE, "He made also ten lavers - The lavers served to wash the
different parts of the victims in; and the molten sea was for the use of the
priests. In this they bathed, or drew water from it for their personal
JAMISON, "2Ch_4:6-18. The ten lavers, candlesticks, and tables.
ten lavers — (See on 1Ki_7:27). The laver of the tabernacle had probably
been destroyed. The ten new ones were placed between the porch and the
altar, and while the molten sea was for the priests to cleanse their hands
and feet, these were intended for washing the sacrifices.
K&D, "The ten lavers which, according to 1Ki_7:38, stood upon ten
brazen stands, i.e., chests provided with carriage wheels. These stands, the
artistic work on which is circumstantially described in 1Ki_7:27-37, are
omitted in the Chronicle, because they are merely subordinate parts of the
lavers. The size or capacity of the lavers is not stated, only their position on
both sides of the temple porch, and the purpose for which they were
designed, “to wash therein, viz., the work of the burnt-offering (the flesh of
the burnt-offering which was to be burnt upon the altar) they rinsed
therein,” being mentioned. For details, see in 1Ki_7:38. and the figure in my
Archaol. i. plate iii. fig. 4. Occasion is here taken to mention in a
supplementary way the use of the brazen sea.
ELLICOTT, " THE TEN LAVERS: THEIR USE, AND THAT OF THE SEA
(2 Chronicles 4:6). (Comp. 1 Kings 7:27-39.)
(6) The chronicler now returns to his abbreviating style, and omits altogether the
description of the ten bases, or stands, upon which the lavers were placed, and
which are described in full and curious detail in 1 Kings 7:27-39. The unusual
difficulty of the passage may have determined the omission, but it seems more likely
that the sacred writer thought the bases of less importance than the objects
described in 2 Chronicles 4:7-9, the account of which he has interpolated between
the first and second half of 1 Kings 7:39.
He made also ten lavers.—And he made ten pans. The word kîyôr is used in 1
Samuel 2:14 as a pan for cooking, and in Zechariah 12:6 as a pan holding fire. Its
meaning here and in the parallel place is a pan for washing. (Comp. Exodus 30:18;
Exodus 30:28.) The LXX. renders λουτῆρας, “baths;” the Syriac, laqnê, “flagons”
To wash in them.—This statement, and, indeed, the rest of the verse is peculiar to
the chronicler. On the other hand, 1 Kings 7:38 specifies the size and capacity of the
lavers here omitted.
Such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them.—This gives
the meaning. Literally, the work (comp. Exodus 29:36, “to do” being equivalent to
“to offer”) of the burnt offering they used to rinse (strictly, thrust, plunge) in them.
But the sea was for the priests to wash in.—The Hebrew words have been
transposed apparently. The same infinitive (lĕrohçâh) occurs in Exodus 30:18;
Exodus 40:30, in a similar context. Instead of all this, the Syriac and Arabic versions
read: “put them five on the right hand and five on the left, that the priests might
wash in them their hands and their feet,” which appears to be derived from Exodus
30:19; Exodus 40:31.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:6 He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand,
and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt
offering they washed in them; but the sea [was] for the priests to wash in.
Ver. 6. He made also ten lavers.] See on 1 Kings 7:37.
PULPIT, "This verse, with 2 Chronicles 4:14, 2 Chronicles 4:15, are all here that
represent the lengthy account of bases rather than layers, occupying in the parallel
verses 27-39 of 1 Kings 7:1-51, which, however, omits to state the use of either sea or
7 He made ten gold lampstands according to the
specifications for them and placed them in the
temple, five on the south side and five on the
BARNES, "According to their form - Rather, “after their manner”
(compare 2Ch_4:20). There is no allusion to the shape of the candlesticks,
which were made, no doubt, after the pattern of the original candlestick of
JAMISON, "ten candlesticks — (See on 1Ki_7:49). The increased number
was not only in conformity with the characteristic splendor of the edifice,
but also a standing emblem to the Hebrews, that the growing light of the
word was necessary to counteract the growing darkness in the world
K&D, "The golden furniture of the holy place and the courts. These three
verses are not found in the parallel narrative 1 Kings 7, where in 1Ki_7:39
the statement as to the position of the brazen sea (2Ch_4:10) follows
immediately the statement of the position of the stands with the lavers. The
candlesticks and the table of the shew-bread are indeed mentioned in the
summary enumeration of the temple furniture, 1Ki_7:48 and 1Ki_7:49, as
in the corresponding passage of the Chronicle (2Ch_4:19, 2Ch_4:20) they
again occur; and in 1Ki_6:36 and 1Ki_7:12, in the description of the temple
building, the inner court is spoken of, but the outer court is not expressly
mentioned. No reason can be given for the omission of these verses in 1
Kings 7; but that they have been omitted or have dropped out, may be
concluded from the fact that not only do the whole contents of our fourth
chapter correspond to the section 1 Kings 7:23-50, but both passages are
rounded off by the same concluding verse (2Ch_5:1 and 1Ki_7:51).
He made ten golden candlesticks ם ָטָפּ ְשׁ ִמ ְ,כּ according to their right, i.e., as
they should be according to the prescript, or corresponding to the prescript
as to the golden candlesticks in the Mosaic sanctuary (Exo_25:31.). ט ָפּ ְשׁ ִמ is
the law established by the Mosaic legislation.
BENSON, "2 Chronicles 4:7. According to their form — The old form which God
proscribed to Moses, Exodus 25:31, &c. And this seems to be mentioned here,
because in many other things there was a great variation from the old form; as in
the posture of the cherubim, the height of the altar, and divers other things.
ELLICOTT, " THE TEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS, THE TEN TABLES, THE
HUNDRED GOLDEN BOWLS, AND THE COURTS (2 Chronicles 4:7-9).
This section is peculiar to Chronicles.
(7) And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form.—And he made the
golden lampstands ten, according to their rule, or, prescribed manner. (Comp. 1
Kings 7:49; and Exodus 25:31-40, where their type is described.) So the Vulg.,
“secundum speciem quâ jussa erant fieri.” Syriac and Arabic, “according to their
laws.” Others explain “as their use required,” which is less likely.
In the temple.—And before the chancel (1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chronicles 4:20, infra).
COFFMAN, "There was hardly anything that Solomon touched that he did not
corrupt it in one way or another. The candlestick he perverted from the divine
pattern of seven branches, and made it into ten. Instead of putting it on the south
side of the holy place, he put five on one side, and five on the other. The table of the
showbread was changed into ten tables with five on the north side and five on the
south (2 Chronicles 4:19).
He made the candlesticks of gold according to the ordinance concerning them (2
Chronicles 4:7). This should not mislead us. God had indeed required the
candlesticks to be of gold; and, in that alone did Solomon heed the divine ordinance.
That this is true is proved by the fact that when the second temple was constructed,
the golden candlestick was again conformed to the pattern in the tabernacle, as
proved by the bas relief depicting it upon the Arch of Titus in Rome, where it is
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:7 And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their
form, and set [them] in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
Ver. 7. And he made ten candlesticks of gold, according to their form.] According to
Five on the right hand.] See 1 Kings 7:49.
GUZIK, "3. (2 Chronicles 4:7) The lampstands, tables, and bowls.
And he made ten lampstands of gold according to their design, and set them in the
temple, five on the right side and five on the left. He also made ten tables, and placed
them in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left. And he made one
hundred bowls of gold.
a. And he made ten lampstands . . . He also made ten tables: The work of the temple
required lampstands for light and tables to hold the showbread, the bread that
represented the continual fellowship of Israel with God. Notably, the old tabernacle
had one lampstand and one table. The temple fittingly displayed a greater light and
a greater dynamic of fellowship.
b. And he made one hundred bowls of gold: “The ‘sprinkling bowls’ were not
particularly associated with the tables by seem rather to have been used for
collecting the blood of sacrifices, which was then sprinkled about the altar in the
temple services of atonement.” (Payne)
POOLE, " According to their form; either,
1. the form which was appointed for them by God, who signified it to David. Or
2. The old form which God prescribed to Moses, Exodus 25:31, &c., for so these
were made. And this clause seems to be added here, because in many things there
was a great variation from the old form, as in the posture of the cherubims, the
height of the altar, and divers other things.
PULPIT, "Ten candlesticks of gold. The only allusion to these in the parallel is
found later on in part of the forty-ninth verse of 1 Kings 7:1-51. According to their
form. This expression, though so vague, might point to the fact that the form of the
old candlestick of the tabernacle was adhered to (Exodus 25:31). But considering the
recurrence of the same words (1 Kings 7:20), there can be no doubt that the phrase
is identical in its meaning with the use found in such passages as Le 1 Kings 5:10; 1
Kings 9:16, and means "according to the prescribed ordinance,"
8 He made ten tables and placed them in the
temple, five on the south side and five on the
north. He also made a hundred gold sprinkling
BARNES, "The number of the tables (see 2Ch_4:19) and of the basins, is
additional to the information contained in Kings.
CLARKE, "A hundred basons of gold - These were doubtless a sort of
paterae or sacrificial spoons, with which they made libations.
BENSON, "2 Chronicles 4:8. He made also ten tables — Whereon the show-bread
was set, 2 Chronicles 4:19. Perhaps each of these had twelve loaves on it. As the
house was enlarged, so was the provision.
ELLICOTT, " (8) He made also ten tables.—Perhaps the golden candelabra stood
upon them. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 28:16; and 2 Chronicles 4:19, infra.)
Side.—Not in the Hebrew.
An hundred basons.—Bowls for pouring libations (Amos 6:6; same word,
mizrâqîm). The Syriac and Arabic make the number of these vessels a hundred and
The ten tables are not mentioned in the parallel narrative, which speaks of one table
only, viz., the table of shewbread (1 Kings 7:48).
“Basons,” or bowls, are spoken of in 1 Kings 7:45; 1 Kings 7:50 (mizrâqôth), but
their number is not given.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:8 He made also ten tables, and placed [them] in the temple,
five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basons of gold.
Ver. 8. He made also ten tables.] Lyra holdeth that all these were for shewbread,
each of them having twelve loaves weekly set thereon, one hundred thirty-two in all.
In our heavenly "Father’s house is bread enough."
He made a hundred basons of gold.] To receive the blood of the sacrifices. The blood
of Christ is most precious, and must not be trampled on.
PULPIT, "Ten tables. These tables also (the use of which is given in 2 Chronicles
4:19) are not mentioned, so far as their making is concerned, in the parallel, except
in its summary, verse 48 (cf. 1 Kings 7:1-51.), where furthermore only one table,
called "the table" (Exodus 25:23), is specified, with which agrees our 2 Chronicles
29:18. It is hard to explain this variation of statement. It is at least an arbitrary and
forced explanation to suppose that ten tables constituted the furniture in question,
while only one was used at a time. Keil and Bertheau think that the analogy of the
ten candlesticks points to the existence of ten tables. The question, however, is,
where is the call for, or where are the indications of any analogy? An hundred basins
of gold. The Hebrew word employed here, and translated "basins," is יֵק ְְרז ִ,מ as also 2
Chronicles 29:11, 2 Chronicles 29:22, infra; and 1 Kings 7:40, 1 Kings 7:45, 1 Kings
7:50 ; Exodus 27:3; Exodus 38:3; Numbers 4:14; but it is represented as well by the
English translation "bowls" in 1 Chronicles 28:17; 2 Kings 25:15; Numbers 7:13,
Numbers 7:19, etc. The "pots," however, of our Numbers 7:11, Numbers 7:16 has
for its Hebrew ירוֹת ִסַּה . It were well if, in names such as these, at any rate, an
absolute uniformity of version were observed in the translation, for the benefit of
the English reader, to say nothing of the saving of wasted time for the student and
scholar. These basins, or bowls, were to receive and hold the blood of the slain
victims, about to be sprinkled for purification (see Exodus 8-24:6 , where the word
ָןגּ ַא is used; Exodus 29:12, Exodus 29:10, Exodus 29:20, Exodus 29:21; Le Exodus
1:5, and passim; Hebrews 20-9:18 ; see also Exodus 38:3; Numbers 4:14,) The
Hebrew word ק ְָרז ִ,מ whether appearing in our version as" basin"' or "bowl," occurs
thirty-two times, sixteen in association exactly similar with the present (viz. Exodus
27:3 ; Exodus 38:3; Numbers 4:14; 1 Kings 7:40, 1 Kings 7:45, 1 Kings 7:50; 2 Kings
12:13; 2 Kings 25:15; 1 Chronicles 28:17; 2 Chronicles 4:8, 2 Chronicles 4:11, 2
Chronicles 4:22; Nehemiah 7:70; Jeremiah 52:18, Jeremiah 52:19; Zechariah 14:20),
fourteen as silver bowls in the time of the tabernacle for the meat offering of "fine
flour mingled with oil" (viz. Numbers 7:13, Numbers 7:19, Numbers 7:25, Numbers
7:31, Numbers 7:37, Numbers 7:43, Numbers 7:49, Numbers 7:55, Numbers 7:61,
Numbers 7:67, Numbers 7:73, Numbers 7:79, Numbers 7:84, Numbers 7:85), and
the remaining two in an entirely general application (Amos 6:6; Zechariah 9:15). It
is evident, therefore, that the ק ְָרז ִמ was not the only vessel used for holding the blood
of purification, nor was it exclusively reserved to this use.
9 He made the courtyard of the priests, and the
large court and the doors for the court, and
overlaid the doors with bronze.
CLARKE, "He made the court of the priests - This was the inner court.
And the great court - This was the outer court, or place for the assembling
of the people.
HENRY 9-10, "4. The doors of the court were overlaid with brass (2Ch_
4:9), both for strength and beauty, and that they might not be rotted with
the weather, to which they were exposed. Gates of brass we read of, Psa_
II. There were those things in the house of the Lord (into which the priests
alone went to minister) that were very significant. All was gold there. The
nearer we come to God the purer we must be, the purer we shall be. 1. There
were ten golden candlesticks, according to the form of that one which was
in the tabernacle, 2Ch_4:7. The written word is a lamp and a light, shining
in a dark place. In Moses's time they had but one candlestick, the
Pentateuch; but the additions which, in process of time, were to be made of
other books of scripture might be signified by this increase of the number of
the candlesticks. Light was growing. The candlesticks are the churches,
Rev_1:20. Moses set up but one, the church of the Jews; but, in the gospel
temple, not only believers, but churches, are multiplied. 2. There were ten
golden tables (2Ch_4:8), tables whereon the show-bread was set, 2Ch_
4:19. Perhaps every one of the tables had twelve loaves of show-bread on it.
As the house was enlarged, the house-keeping was. In my father's house
there is bread enough for the whole family. To those tables belonged 100
golden basins, or dishes; for God's table is well furnished. 3. There was a
golden altar (2Ch_4:19), on which they burnt incense. It is probable that
this was enlarged in proportion to the brazen altar. Christ, who once for all
made atonement for sin, ever lives, making intercession, in virtue of that
K&D 9-10, "The two courts are not further described. For the court of the
priests, see on 1Ki_6:36 and 1Ki_7:12. As to the great or outer court, the
only remark made is that it had doors, and its doors, i.e., the folds or leaves
of the doors, were overlaid with copper. In 2Ch_4:10 we have a
supplementary statement as to the position of the brazen sea, which
coincides with 1Ki_7:39; see on the passage. In 2Ch_4:11 the heavier brazen
(copper) utensils, belonging to the altar of burnt-offering, are mentioned:
ת יד ִ,ס pots for the removal of the ashes; ים ִָעי, shovels, to take the ashes out
from the altar; and ת ק ָרְז ִ,מ basins to catch and sprinkle the sacrificial blood.
This half verse belongs to the preceding, notwithstanding that Huram is
mentioned as the maker. This is clear beyond doubt, from the fact that the
same utensils are again introduced in the summary catalogue which follows
ELLICOTT, " (9) The court of the priests.—See 1 Kings 6:36; 1 Kings 7:12, “the
inner court;” Jeremiah 36:10, “the higher court.”
And the great court.—‘Azârâh, “court,” a late word, common in the Targums for
the classical hâqçr, which has just occurred. The ‘azârâh was the outer court of the
temple. It is not mentioned at all in the parallel narrative. The LXX. calls it “the
great court;” the Vulg., “the great basilica.” The Syriac renders the whole verse:
“And he made one great court for the priests and Levites, and covered the doors and
bolts with bronze.” (Comp. Note on 2 Chronicles 4:3 for this plating of the doors
with bronze.) The bronze plated doors of Shalmaneser’s palace at Balawat were
twenty-two feet high, and each leaf was six feet wide.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the
great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
Ver. 9. Furthermore he made the court.] See 1 Kings 6:30.
And the great court,] i.e., The people’s court, called here gnazarah: (a) haply
because here God helped the people, when he heard their prayers, or when here they
GUZIK, "4. (2 Chronicles 4:9-10) The court of the temple.
Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court and doors for the
court; and he overlaid these doors with bronze. He set the Sea on the right side,
toward the southeast.
a. He made the court of the priests: This was also known as the inner court, the
court of the temple open only to the priests.
b. And the great court: This was the outer court, the place in the temple precincts
open to the assembly of Israel as a whole.
i. “Yet this very division into two courts (2 Kings 23:12) gave concrete expression to
the fact that under the older testament there had not yet been achieved that
universal priesthood of the believers that would come about through Jesus Christ.
In him all the people of God have direct access to the Father.” (Payne)
PULPIT, "The court of the priests. The construction of this court of the priests,
withheld here, given there, leaves it ambiguous whether the "three rows of hewed
stones and one row of cedar beams "intends a description of fence, as the Septuagint
seems to have taken it, or of a higher floor with which the part in question was
dignified. The citation Jeremiah 36:10, though probably pointing to this same court,
can scarcely be adduced as any support of J. D. Michaelis' suggestion of this latter,
as its יוֹןְלֶﬠ (translated "higher") does not really carry the idea of the comparative
degree at all. For once that it is so translated (and even then probably incorrectly),
there are twenty occurrences of it as the superlative excellentiae. The introduction
just here of any statement of these courts at all, which seems at first inopportune, is
probably accounted for by the desire to speak in this connection of their doors and
the brass overlaying of them. It is worthy of note that the word employed in our
text, as also 2 Chronicles 6:13, is not the familiar word רֵצַח of all previous similar
occasions, but ַה ֲָזרﬠ, a word of the later Hebrew, occurring also several times in
Ezekiel, though not in exactly the same sense, and the elementary signification of the
verb-root of which is "to gird," or "surround."
10 He placed the Sea on the south side, at the
ELLICOTT, "(10) And he set the sea . . .—Literally, And he set the sea on the right
shoulder, eastward, in front of the southward; i.e., on the south-east side of the
house (1 Kings 7:39, b.). The LXX. and some MSS. add “of the house,” which
appears to have fallen out of the text.
PULPIT, "The right side of the east end, over against the south (so also 1 Kings
7:39; comp. Exodus 30:18). The sea found its position, therefore, in the place of the
tabernacle laver of old, between altar of brass and porch. It must be remembered
that the entrance was east, but it was counted to a person standing with the back to
the tabernacle or temple, as though he were, in fact, going out, not entering in, the
sacred enclosure; therefore on the right side will be southward, as written in this
11 And Huram also made the pots and shovels
and sprinkling bowls.
So Huram finished the work he had undertaken
for King Solomon in the temple of God:
HENRY, 11-22, "We have here such a summary both of the brass-work and
the gold-work of the temple as we had before (1Ki_7:13, etc.), in which we
have nothing more to observe than, 1. That Huram the workman was very
punctual: He finished all that he was to make (2Ch_4:11), and left no part of
his work undone. Huram, his father, he is called, 2Ch_4:16. Probably it was
a sort of nickname by which he was commonly known, Father Huram; for
the king of Tyre called him Huram Abi, my father, in compliance with
whom Solomon called him his, he being a great artist and father of the
artificers in brass and iron. He acquitted himself well both for ingenuity
and industry. 2. Solomon was very generous. He made all the vessels in
great abundance (2Ch_4:18), many of a sort, that many hands might be
employed, and so the work might go on with expedition, or that some might
be laid up for use when others were worn out. Freely he has received, and
he will freely give. When he had made vessels enough for the present he
could not convert the remainder of the brass to his own use; it is devoted to
God, and it shall be used for him.
JAMISON, "Huram made — (See on 1Ki_7:40).
K&D 11-18, "
Summary catalogue of the temple utensils and furniture. - 2Ch_4:11-18.
The brass work wrought by Huram.
ELLICOTT, " (b) HURAM’S WORKS IN BRASS (2 Chronicles 4:11-18)
Comp. 1 Kings 7:40-47.
Throughout this section the narrative almost textually coincides with the parallel
(11) And Huram made the pots.—1 Kings 7:40 has “lavers” (pans). Our reading,
“pots,” appears correct, supported as it is by many MSS. and the LXX. and Vulg. of
Kings. A single stroke makes the difference between the two words in Hebrew
writing. These “pots” were scuttles for carrying away the ashes of the altar.
Basons.—“Bowls” (mizrâqôth). Probably the same as the mizrâqîm of 2 Chronicles
4:8. So kîyôrôth (Kings) and kîyôrîm (Chron.).
Huram.—Hebrew text, Hiram, as in Kings. The LXX. renders: “And Hiram made
the fleshhooks ( κρεάγρας) and the firepans ( πυρεια), and the hearth of the altar
and all its vessels.”
The work.—Kings, “all the work,” and so some MSS., LXX., and Vulg. of Chron.
The Syriac and Arabic omit 2 Chronicles 4:11-17; 2 Chronicles 4:19-22.
He was to make.—Rather, he made.
For the house.—In the house. Chronicles supplies the preposition in, which is not
required according to ancient usage.
COFFMAN, ""Huram his father" (2 Chronicles 4:16). According to Payne,
Solomon had conferred the title `father' upon Huram in recognition of his skilled
craftsmanship; and the reference here means Solomon's Father Huram.
Before leaving this chapter, we should also point out that another interpretation of
Solomon's Ten Candlesticks views them as ten complete candlesticks (of seven
branches each). Either was a violation of the true pattern given by Moses. In
support of that view, it is dear enough that ten tables of the showbread were used,
but not, "one at a time" as Payne thought, for they were on opposite sides of the
holy place, five on each side.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:11 And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the
basons. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the
house of God;
Ver. 11. And Huram made the pots, and the shovels.] This diligent and exact
description of these vessels of the temple showeth that all things needful to salvation
are set down in the holy Scriptures, as Lavater well observeth.
GUZIK, "B. The work of Huram from Tyre.
1. (2 Chronicles 4:11-17) Huram’s furnishings for the temple.
Then Huram made the pots and the shovels and the bowls. So Huram finished doing
the work that he was to do for King Solomon for the house of God: the two pillars
and the bowl-shaped capitals that were on top of the two pillars; the two networks
covering the two bowl-shaped capitals which were on top of the pillars; four
hundred pomegranates for the two networks (two rows of pomegranates for each
network, to cover the two bowl-shaped capitals that were on the pillars); he also
made carts and the lavers on the carts; one Sea and twelve oxen under it; also the
pots, the shovels, the forks; and all their articles Huram his master craftsman made
of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the house of the LORD. In the plain of
Jordan the king had them cast in clay molds, between Succoth and Zeredah.
a. Then Huram made: Huram was half Israeli and half Gentile, and he was the best
craftsman around. Solomon hired him to do all his work - that is, the fine artistic
work of the temple.
b. The pots and the shovels and the bowls: These articles were of special note for the
Chronicler, because these were some of the only articles that were recovered and
used from the first temple period into the days of the Chronicler.
i. “The emphasis on the temple vessels, as well as the association between Tent and
temple, underlines the continuity represented by the temple. The return of the
temple vessels to the second temple was one of the chief signs that post-exilic Israel
remained a worshipping community of covenant people (cf. Ezra 1:7-11; Ezr_6:5;
PULPIT, "The pots. As stated above, the Hebrew word is ירוֹת ִסַּה . It occurs in the
Old Testament twenty-seven times; it is translated in our Authorized Version "pans"
once and "caldrons" four times. By a manifest copyist's error, the parallel (1 Kings
7:35) has ירוֹת ִ,כ "layers," by the use of caph for samech. The use of the יר ִס was to
boil the peace offerings, though some say they were hods in which to carry away the
ashes; and it certainly is remarkable that it is no one of the words employed in 1
Samuel 2:14. In addition to these twenty-seven times, it occurs also four times in
Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Hosed, Nahum, with the meaning of "thorns," and once in
Amos it is translated "fish-hooks." The passage in Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 7:6) is
additionally remarkable, in the fact that the root occurs twice in the same sentence
in its different significations, e.g. "the crackling of thorns under a pot." The shovels.
The Hebrew word is ים ִָﬠיַה . This word occurs in the Old Testament nine times—in
Exodus, Numbers, Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah. The use of the shovel was to
remove the ashes. The basins should very probably read flesh-hooks.
12 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-
shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
ELLICOTT, " (12) And the pommels, and the chapiters—i.e., the globes and the
capitals. Kings, Authorised Version has bowls, but in Hebrew the word is the same
(gullôth, globes). “The globes of the capitals” (Kings) is plainly incorrect.
Which were on the top of the two pillars.—Heb. (and the globes and the capitals), on
the top of the pillars, two; i.e., two globes and capitals. The word “two” (shtayim) is
feminine, agreeing with “globes and capitals,” which are also feminine; whereas
“pillars” is a masculine term.
Wreaths.—Heb., sĕbâkhôth, lattices. (Comp. 2 Kings 1:2.) The Authorised version of
1 Kings 7:41 gives “network,” but the Hebrew word is the same as here.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:12 [To wit], the two pillars, and the pommels, and the
chapiters [which were] on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover
the two pommels of the chapiters which [were] on the top of the pillars;
Ver. 12. And the chapiters.] Of these, see 1 Kings 7:16.
PULPIT, "The pommels. The Hebrew word is ת ֻג, translated in the parallel
"bowls." The word occurs in the Old Testament twelve times, and is translated six
times (in Judges and Joshua)" springs," four times "bowls," and twice "pommels."
It was an architectural ornament to the capital, in shape like a ball. The chapiters .
The Hebrew word is ת ֶר ֶתֹ,כּ occurring twenty-three times or more, and always
translated thus; in modern architecture, the head or capital of the pillar. The two
wreaths. The word is ת ֶר ֶתֹ,כּ occurring fifteen times, and translated seven times "net-
work," five times "wreath," or "wreathen-work," once a "snare," once "checker-
work," and once a "lattice." These wreaths were of some lace pattern plaiting and
festoons of fancy chain-work. The fuller expression of them is found in 1 Kings 7:17,
though in description not more distinct, certainly—"nets of checker-work, and
wreaths of chain-work."
13 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets
of network (two rows of pomegranates for each
network, decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on
top of the pillars);
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:13 And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths;
two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the
chapiters which [were] upon the pillars.
Ver. 13. See 1 Kings 7:18; 1 Kings 7:20.
PULPIT, "Four hundred pomegranates. This number of pomegranates substantially
agrees with the parallel (1 Kings 7:20), There were two hundred of them on each
wreath that encircled the chapiter. The pomegranate was a favourite ornament in
work as well as in more solid architectural forms (Exodus 28:33, Exodus 28:34). The
popularity of the fruit as food (Numbers 13:23; Numbers 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8;
Joshua 15:32; Joshua 21:25), its simple beauty to the eye (So 2 Chronicles 4:3,2
Chronicles 4:13), and its welcome homeliness, will quite account for this beside any
symbolic significance that may have become attached to it. The description of the
pomegranate as a fruit may be found in any Bible dictionary, but especially in
Tristram's 'Natural History of the Bible.'
14 the stands with their basins;
ELLICOTT, "(14) He made also bases.—And the bases he made; and the lavers he
made upon the bases. This repetition of the verb is suspicious; and the parallel text
shows the right reading to be and the bases ten (in number), and the lavers ten upon
the bases. “Ten” in Hebrew writing closely resembles “he made.” The LXX. renders,
“And the bases he made ten, and the lavers he made upon the bases;” which shows
that the corruption of the text is ancient.
PULPIT, "Bases. The first mention of these in Chronicles, on which so much is said
in the parallel (1 Kings 7:27-39). The Hebrew word is ָהנכוֹ ְ,מ occurring eighteen
times in Kings, twice in Chronicles, once in Ezra, and three times in Jeremiah. These
bases were, as may be learnt more fully in the parallel, pedestals of brass four cubits
square by three and a half high, supported by wheels a cubit and a half in diameter.
The pedestals were richly decorated with mouldings, and with the similitudes of
lions, oxen, and cherubim, and with other subordinate ornamental work, and were
designed to bear the layers, the use of which is given in verse 6. Verses 16-6 in our
chapter strongly suggest, in their repetitiousness, the writer's resort to different
sources and authorities for his matter.
15 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
ELLICOTT, "15) One sea.—Heb., the sea one. Kings, and the one sea.
And twelve oxen under it.—And the oxen, twelve, under it. Kings, And the oxen,
twelve, under the sea. The chronicler has abridged the expression.
16 the pots, shovels, meat forks and all related
All the objects that Huram-Abi made for King
Solomon for the temple of the Lord were of
BARNES, "Huram his father - Or, “Huram his master-workman” (2Ch_
CLARKE, "Huram his father - אב ab, father, is often used in Hebrew to
signify a master, inventor, chief operator, and is very probably used here in
the former sense by the Chaldee: All these Chiram his master made for King
Solomon; or Chiram Abi, or rather Hiram, made for the king.
BENSON , "2 Chronicles 4:16. Huram his father — He is so called, because
Solomon, it seems, usually called him by that name, out of that great respect which
he bare to him for his excellent art, and the service which he did for him; it being
usual to call great artists and inventors of things by this name. See Genesis 4:20-21.
ELLICOTT, " (16) The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks.—
“Fleshhooks” (mizlâgôth) should apparently be “bowls” (mizrâqôth). (Comp. 2
Chronicles 4:1, and 1 Kings 7:45.) But in Exodus 27:3, pots and shovels and bowls
and fleshhooks are mentioned in succession as utensils of the altar. Perhaps,
therefore, both words should be read here and in Kings. LXX., καὶ τοὺς ποδιστήρας
καὶ τοὺς ἀναλημπτῆρας καὶ τοὺς λέβητας καὶ τὰς κρεάγρας . The Vulg. merely
repeats 2 Chronicles 4:11 (et lebetes et creagras et phialas). A stop should follow the
last; “And all their instruments,” &c., being a new sentence.
And all their instruments.—1 Kings 7:45, and all these instruments, which appears
correct, though the LXX. supports our present reading ( πάντα τὰ σκέυη αὐ τῶν).
“Their instruments” could hardly mean the moulds in which they were cast, as
Zöckler suggests. The moulds would not be made in “polished brass.”
Huram his father.—See Note on 2 Chronicles 2:13.
Bright.—Polished. Jeremiah 46:4 (mârûq). Kings has the synonym mĕmôrât.
(Comp. Isaiah 18:2.)
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:16 The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and
all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of
the LORD of bright brass.
Ver. 16. Did Huram his father,] i.e., Whom Solomon called father for his age and
POOLE, "His father, i.e. Solomon’s father; the relative being put before the
antecedent, which is not unusual in the Hebrew tongue. And he is so called here,
because Solomon usually called him by that name, out of that great respect which he
bore to him for his excellent art and service which he did for him; it being usual to
call great artists and inventors of things by this name; of which see Genesis 4:20,21.
Or, Huram Abiu, or Abif, a man so called, or Huram Abi, as 2 Chronicles 2:18.
PULPIT, "Flesh-hooks. Hebrew, ָגוֹחלְז ִ,מ occurring twice in Exodus (Exodus 27:3 ;
Exodus 38:3), once in Numbers, and twice in Chronicles. Another form of the same
root, ֵגלְז ַמ occurs twice in Samuel, in the same sense of "flesh-hook" (1 Samuel 2:13,
1 Samuel 2:14), where also its use is made dramatically plain. Huram his father; i.e.
his chief artist.
17 The king had them cast in clay molds in the
plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and
BARNES, "Zeredathah - Or, Zarthan (marginal reference). The writer of
Chronicles probably uses the name which the place bore in his own day.
CLARKE, "In the clay ground - See on 1Ki_7:46 (note). Some suppose that
he did not actually cast those instruments at those places, but that he
brought the clay from that quarter, as being the most proper for making
moulds to cast in.
ELLICOTT, " (17) In the clay ground.—Heb., in the thickness of the ground—i.e.,
in the stiff or clayey soil. Vulg., “in argillosa terra.” For ‘ăbî, “thickness,” see Job
15:26. Kings has ma‘ăbeh, which occurs nowhere else.
Zeredathah.—Kings, Zârĕthân (Joshua 3:16). Zĕrçdâthâh means towards Zĕrĕthâh
(1 Kings 11:26). The two names denote the same place.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:17 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay
ground between Succoth and Zeredathah.
Ver. 17. In the clay ground.] In holes digged in the earth, without moulds did he cast
them, say some.
PULPIT, "In the plain … in the clay; i.e. in the Ciccar (or round, equivalent to the
New Testament "region round about ") of Jordan, a distinctive designation of the
Jordan valley. The region here intended lies east of the river, in what became the
division of Gad. Succoth lay a little to the north of the river Jabbok, which flows
almost east to west into the Jordan. Zeredathah; i.q. Zarthan of 1 Kings 7:46; and
this latter is in the Hebrew also the same in characters and all with the Zaretan of
Joshua 3:16. Very possibly the place is the same as Zererath ( 7:22). The exact sites
of these places are not known, though the range within which they all lay is clear.
The clay ground; that is," the clay of the ground "(Hebrew). The radical idea of the
word here translated "clay" is "thickness," which should not be rendered, as in
margin, "thicknesses." The word ( בָﬠ ) occurs in all thirty.five times, and is
rendered a large proportion of these times "clouds" or "thick clouds" (e.g. Exodus
19:9), clouds being presumably thicknesses in air; but if the subject-matter in
question be in wood, or growing timber, or the ground, the word is rendered
conformably "thick planks" (1 Kings 7:6; Ezekiel 41:25, Ezekiel 41:26), or
"thickets" (Jeremiah 4:29), or "clay" (as here), to distinguish from other lighter or
more friable soil.
18 All these things that Solomon made amounted
to so much that the weight of the bronze could not
ELLICOTT, " (18) Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance.—1
Kings 7:47, And Solomon left all the vessels (unweighed) from very great
abundance. Our text may be due to a copyist, whose eye wandered to the beginning
of the next verse; but it is possible that the chronicler missed the significance of the
verb used in Kings, and therefore substituted an easier term. The further changes—
“unto great abundance,” “for the weight,” &c.—suggest this account of the matter.
Could not be found out.—Was not ascertained.
GUZIK, "2. (2 Chronicles 4:18-22) Summary of the furnishings for the temple.
And Solomon had all these articles made in such great abundance that the weight of
the bronze was not determined. Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the
house of God: the altar of gold and the tables on which was the showbread; the
lampstands with their lamps of pure gold, to burn in the prescribed manner in front
of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of
gold, of purest gold; the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure
gold. As for the entry of the sanctuary, its inner doors to the Most Holy Place, and
the doors of the main hall of the temple, were gold.
a. Such great abundance that the weight of the bronze was not determined: “The
weight could not be found out. This was as it should be. There was no attempt to
keep an accurate account of what was given to the service of God. Even Solomon’s
left had did not know what his right hand did. There is a tendency in all of us to
keep a strict account of what we give to God . . . but the loftiest form of devotion
overleaps such calculation.” (Meyer)
b. With the flowers and the lamps: “The symbolism of flora and fauna in the temple
may either indicate God’s sovereignty over the created order to be another allusion
to the harmony of all created things in God’s presence as in the Garden of Eden.”
19 Solomon also made all the furnishings that
were in God’s temple:
the golden altar;
the tables on which was the bread of the Presence;
BARNES, "In the clay ground - See on 1Ki_7:46 (note). Some suppose that
he did not actually cast those instruments at those places, but that he
brought the clay from that quarter, as being the most proper for making
moulds to cast in.
K&D, "The golden furniture of the holy place and the gilded doors of the
temple. This section is found also in 1Ki_7:40-50. The enumeration of the
things wrought in brass coincides to a word, with the exception of trifling
linguistic differences and some defects in the text, with 1Ki_7:40-47. In
2Ch_4:12 ת ר ָתֹכּ ַה ְו ת ֻלּגּ ַה is the true reading, and we should so read in 1Ki_
7:41 also, since the ת ֻלּגּ, circumvolutions, are to be distinguished from the
ת ר ָתֹכּ, crowns; see on 2Ch_3:16. In 2Ch_4:14 the first ה ָשָׂע is a mistake for
ר ֶשֶׂ,ע the second for ה ָרֲָשׂע, 1Ki_7:43; for the verb ה ָשָׂע is not required nor
expected, as the accusative depends upon ת ֲשׂעַ,ל 2Ch_4:11, while the
number cannot be omitted, since it is always given with the other things. In
2Ch_4:16 ת נָלְז ִמ is an orthographic error for ת ק ָרְז ִ;מ cf. 2Ch_4:11 and 1Ki_
7:44. ם ֶיח ֵל ְת־כּל־כּ ֶא ְו is surprising, for there is no meaning in speaking of the
utensils of the utensils enumerated in 2Ch_4:12-16. According to 1Ki_7:45,
we should read ה ֶלּ ֵא ָה ים ִל ֵכּ ַל־הָכּ ת ֵ.א As to יו ִב ָ,א see on 2Ch_2:12. רוּק ָמ ת ֶחשׁ ְנ is
accusative of the material, of polished brass; and so also ט ָרֹמ ְמ ,נח 1Ki_7:45,
with a similar signification. In reference to the rest, see the commentary on
In the enumeration of the golden furniture of the holy place, our text
diverges somewhat more from 1Ki_7:48-50. On the difference in respect to
the tables of the shew-bread, see on 1Ki_7:48. In 2Ch_4:20 the number and
position of the candlesticks in the holy place are not stated as they are in
1Ki_7:49, both having been already given in 2Ch_4:7. Instead of that, their
use is emphasized: to light them, according to the right, before the most
holy place (ט ָפּ ְשׁ ְמּ ַכּ as in 2Ch_4:7). As to the decorations and subordinate
utensils of the candlesticks, see on 1Ki_7:49. To ב ָָהז, 2Ch_4:21 (accus. of the
material), is added ב ָָהז ת ל ְכ ִמ ,הוּא “that is perfect gold.” ה ָל ְכ ִ,מ which occurs
only here, is synonymous with ל ָל ְכ ִ,מ perfection. This addition seems
superfluous, because before and afterwards it is remarked of these vessels
that they were of precious gold (גוּר ָס ב ָָהז), and it is consequently omitted by
the lxx, perhaps also because ת ל ְכ ִמ was not intelligible to them. The words,
probably, are meant to indicate that even the decorations and the
subordinate utensils of the candlesticks (lamps, snuffers, etc.) were of solid
gold, and not merely gilded.
ELLICOTT, " (c) CATALOGUE OF OBJECTS IN GOLD—CONCLUSION
(2 Chronicles 4:19 -2Ch_5:1). 1 Kings 7:48-50.
The narrative still coincides in the main with that of Kings, allowing for one or two
(19) For the house.—In the houses (without proposition, comp. 2 Chronicles 4:11).
The golden altar also.—Literally, both the golden altar and the tables, and upon
them the Presence bread. So LXX. and Vulg. The parallel passage, 1 Kings 7:48,
says, and the table on which (was) the Presence bread (in) gold. (See Note on 2
Chronicles 4:8, supr., and 1 Chronicles 28:16.) On the one hand, the chronicler in
these three passages consistently speaks of tables, although the book of Kings
mentions one table only; and, on the other hand, elsewhere he actually speaks
himself of “the Pure Table,” and “the Table of the Pile,” as if there were only one
such table (2 Chronicles 13:11; 2 Chronicles 29:18).
The difficulty cannot be solved with certainty; but it seems likely that, finding
mention of a number of tables in one of his sources, the chronicler has grouped them
all together with the Table of Shewbread. thus gaining brevity at the cost of
accuracy. In Ezekiel 40:39 eight tables of hewn stone are mentioned, whereon they
slew the sacrificial victims.
COFFMAN ""And Solomon made all these vessels" (2 Chronicles 4:19). Yet, it was
stated above that Huram made all these things. Thus we have another example of
the Biblical conception that a man does what he commands or employs another to
do. We have referred to this in our contention that David indeed built the temple
contrary to God's prohibition.
"As for the inner doors ... of the most holy place ... they were of gold" (2 Chronicles
4:22). Several commentators have stated that the olive-wood doors of the Holy of
Holies were not mentioned by the Chronicler, but here they are, the meaning being
that they were overlaid with gold. This is further evidence that the veil was omitted.
20 the lampstands of pure gold with their lamps,
to burn in front of the inner sanctuary as
BENSON, "2 Chronicles 4:20-22. That they should burn after the manner —
According to the prescription of God to them by Moses. The doors of the house were
of gold — To wit, in part. For they were not entirely of massy gold, but wood
covered with plates of gold, 1 Kings 6:31-35, and 2 Kings 18:16.
ELLICOTT, "(20) With (and) their lamps, that they should burn after the manner
(according to the legal rule—2 Chronicles 4:7). This is added by the chronicler, who
omits “five on the right and five on the left” (Kings). The rest is as in Kings.
PULPIT, "Candlesticks … lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the
oracle. Ten candlesticks, as we learn here and in 2 Chronicles 4:7, supersede in
Solomon's temple the one candlestick, with its central shaft lamp, and the three
branch lamps on either side of Moses and the tabernacle. This single candlestick was
restored in Zerubbabel's temple. The present ten candlesticks, or strictly
candelabra, of Solomon are said at one time to have been placed in a row like a rail
before the veil, and connected with a chain under which the high priest went on the
Day of Atonement into the inner sanctuary. The removal of these candelabra is
recorded Jeremiah 52:19. The expression, "after the manner," points to the various
and somewhat minute regulation for the lighting, trimming, and keeping alight of
the lamps, all or some, of the candelabra (Exodus 27:19-21; Le Exodus 24:1-3). The
use of the word for "lamp" ( ֵרנ ) in some passages (1 Samuel 3:3; 2 Samuel 21:17;
Proverbs 13:9; Proverbs 20:27; Psalms 18:29)suggests not the part as used for the
whole in speaking of the candelabrum, but more probably that the perpetual
burning was not of all seven lamps, but of one, the central shaft.
21 the gold floral work and lamps and tongs (they
were solid gold);
CLARKE, "And the flowers, and the lamps - Probably each branch of the
chandelier was made like a plant in flower, and the opening of the flower
was either the lamp, or served to support it.
ELLICOTT, "(21) And the flowers . . . gold.—See 1 Kings 7:49.
And that perfect gold.—It was perfection of gold. The word miklôth, “perfections”
(intensive plural) occurs nowhere else. It is derived from kâlâh, “to be finished,” not
kâlal (Bishop Wordsworth). The LXX. omits the clause; not so the Vulg., which
renders “all were made of purest gold.” This little touch, added to heighten the
effect, is quite in the manner of the chronicler, and is certainly not to be suspected,
as Zöckler asserts. Perhaps we should read miklôl, “perfection” (Ezekiel 23:12),
instead of the isolated miklôth.
And the snuffers.—Before this expression, and the basons (1 Kings 7:50) has
probably fallen out.
Snuffers.—Shears or scissors, for trimming the lamps.
The spoons, and the censers.—Or, trays and snuff-dishes.—See 1 Kings 7:50;
And the entry of the house.—Including both the doors of the nave or holy place, and
those of the chancel or holiest. The words are explained by those which follow: “viz.,
its inner doors to the holy of holies and the doors of the house—viz., to the nave
(hêhâl, great hall).” In 1 Kings 7:50 we read, “And the hinges to the doors of the
inner house—viz., the holy of holies, (and) to the doors of the house—viz., to the
nave, were of gold.” The word rendered hinges (pôthôth) resembles that rendered
entry (pethah); and some have supposed that the latter is a corruption of the former,
and would alter our text accordingly. Two reasons seem to be decisive against such a
change. (1) Pôthôth, “hinges,” occurs nowhere else in the Bible; and may not be
genuine. It is likely enough that the doors of the Temple were plated with gold (1
Kings 6:32; 1 Kings 6:35), but hardly that their hinges were made of gold.
PULPIT, "The flowers; Hebrew, ה ַרֶ,פ occurring sixteen times, of which number it is
translated" flowers "thirteen times, "buds" twice, and "blossom" once. The flower
was a part of the ornamentation of the branches of the candelabrum (Exodus 25:31,
Exodus 25:33 ). The tongs; Hebrew, םִיַחָקְל ֶ,מ occurring six times, of which number it
is translated five times "tongs," but once "snuffers" (Exodus 37:23 ). This latter is
the correcter translation, perhaps. The instrument, at any rate, was to trim the
lamp-wicks (Exodus 25:38).
22 the pure gold wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls,
dishes and censers; and the gold doors of the
temple: the inner doors to the Most Holy Place
and the doors of the main hall.
BARNES, "The entry of the house - The text is, by some, corrected by 1Ki_
7:50, “the hinges” of the doors of the house, etc.
CLARKE, "The doors - were of gold - That is, were overlaid with golden
plates, the thickness of which we do not know.
That every thing in the tabernacle and temple was typical or
representative of some excellence of the Gospel dispensation may be readily
credited, without going into all the detail produced by the pious author of
Solomon’s Temple Spiritualized. We can see the general reference and the
principles of the great design, though we may not be able to make a
particular application of the knops, the flowers, the pomegranates, the
tongs, and the snuffers, to some Gospel doctrines: such spiritualizing is in
most cases weak, silly, religious trifling; being ill calculated to produce
respect for Divine revelation.
TRAPP, "2 Chronicles 4:22 And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and
the censers, [of] pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for
the most holy [place], and the doors of the house of the temple, [were of] gold.
Ver. 22. And the snuffers, &c.] See on 2 Chronicles 4:11.
COKE, ". And the entry, &c.— And the hinges, and the doors of the inner house.
Houbigant. See 1 Kings 7:50.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, The making of all these vessels, except the brazen altar, we
had, 1 Kings 7. This was four times as wide, and more than thrice as high, as that of
Moses. Israel being increased, and their sacrifices now likely to be more numerous, a
larger altar was needful. According as God increases us, we must honour him with
our substance. The sea, and the lavers, were of brass. These stood in the open air
without, in the court of the priests; within all was gold:—the nearer we approach to
God, the purer we must grow. The golden altar, ten new candlesticks, and as many
tables of pure gold, were placed within the holy place, where lights continually