The brazen altar, 1. Molten sea, and its supporters, 2-5. The ten lavers, 6. Ten golden candlesticks, 7. Ten tables, the hundred golden basons, and the priests' court, 8-10. The works which Huram performed, 11-17. Solomon finishes the temple, and its utensils, 18-22.
Notes on Chapter 4
Under it was the similitude of oxen
In 1 Kings 7:24, instead of oxen, bekarim, we have knops, 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 bekarim, oxen, may be a corruption of pekaim, grapes, as the pe might be mistaken for a beth, to which in ancient MSS. it has often a great resemblance, the dot under the top being often faint and indistinct; and the ain, on the same account might be mistaken for a resh. Thus grapes might be turned into oxen. Houbigant contends that the words in both places are right; but that 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 [Arabic] bakar, or [Arabic] bakarat, has any such meaning in Arabic. He was probably misled by the following, in the Arabic Lexicon, Camus, inserted under [Arabic] bakara, both by Giggeius and Golius, [Arabic] 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 bekarim, in the text, can never have this meaning, unless indeed we found it associated with ayin, eye, and then 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, 2 Chronicles 4:3, said to be round about the brim, are widely different from those 2 Chronicles 4:4, by which this molten sea was supported.
It-held three thousand baths.
In 1 Kings 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 2 Chronicles 3:3. 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."
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 purification.
A hundred basons of gold
These were doubtless a sort of paterae or sacrificial spoons, with which they made libations.
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.
Huram his father
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.
In the clay ground
See on 1 Kings 7:46. 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.
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.
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.