1 Kings 7:23
And he made a molten sea…
A large vessel made of
molten brass, which, because of the great quantity of water it held,
is called a sea; as it was usual with the Jews to call a large
collection of waters a sea, as the sea of Tiberius and Galilee. This
was made by the man of Tyre, as the pillars, by the order of Solomon,
and answered to the brasen laver in the tabernacle, only larger than
that; and was not only for the priests to wash their hands and feet
in, but to dip upon occasion, and by the Jews F16 is expressly said
to be a dipping place for the priests, see (2 Chronicles 4:6) ,
ten cubits from the one brim to the other:
which was the diameter of
it: it was round all about; spherical or circular; not as an
hemisphere, as Josephus F17, and Procopius Gazaeus, but rather
and his height was five cubits;
from the bottom of it, not including
the pedestal of oxen on which it stood:
and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about;
this was the
circumference of it; which answers to the diameter of ten cubits, or
near it, a round number being given not strictly mathematical.
(Sceptics have ridiculed the Bible for saying that the mathematical
constant (p) is 3 instead of the more precise 3.14159. (This number
is an "irrational number" and needs an infinite number digits to
specify it exactly.) Two explanations for the apparent lack of
precision in the measurement are given.
1) The circumference given may be for the inside circumference and the
diameter may be the diameter including the thickness of the rim.
This would yield a very accurate mathematical result for the inside
circumference of thirty cubits. The outside circumference would be
about 31.4 cubits giving a rim thickness of four inches or an hand
breadth agreeing with (1 Kings 7:26) .
2) In (1 Kings 7:26) we read the vessel "was wrought like the brim of a
cup." That is the brim on the top of the vessel was wider than the
main part of the vessel. The diameter would be given for the brim.
If the brim or lip extended about four inches past the main body of
the vessel then the outside circumference of the main part of the
vessel would be exactly thirty cubits.
In each case the mathematical ratio for circumference of the circle is
(p) d, where "d" is the diameter and (p) is the number 3.14159 .....
For a more complete discussion on this see the article by Russel Grigg.
F16 T. Hieros, Yema, fol. 41. 1
F17 Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect 5.
F18 "Does the Bible say pi equals 3.0?", Russell Greg, page 24, "Ex
Nihil", March-May Issue, Vol. 17. No. 2., Creation Science
Foundation Ltd. Brisbane, Australia.