Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. the house which king Solomon built for the Lord--The dimensions are
given in cubits, which are to be reckoned according to the early
or holy cubit
(Eze 40:5; 43:13),
a handbreadth longer than the common or later one. It is probable that
the internal elevation only is here stated.
3. the porch--or portico, extended across the whole front
4. windows of narrow lights--that is, windows with lattices, capable of
being shut and opened at pleasure, partly to let out the vapor of the
lamps, the smoke of the frankincense, and partly to give light
5. against the wall of the house he built chambers--On three sides,
there were chambers in three stories, each story wider than the one
beneath it, as the walls were narrowed or made thinner as they
ascended, by a rebate being made, on which the beams of the side floor
rested, without penetrating the wall. These chambers were approached
from the right-hand side, in the interior of the under story, by a
winding staircase of stone, which led to the middle and upper stories.
7. there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the
house while it was in building--A subterranean quarry has been very
recently discovered near Jerusalem, where the temple stones are
supposed to have been hewn. There is unequivocal evidence in this
quarry that the stones were dressed there; for there are blocks very
similar in size, as well as of the same kind of stone, as those found
in the ancient remains. Thence, probably, they would be moved on
rollers down the Tyropean valley to the very side of the temple
[PORTER, Tent and Kahn].
9, 10. built the house--The temple is here distinguished from the
wings or chambers attached to it--and its roofing was of cedar-wood.
10. chambers . . . five cubits high--The height of the whole three
stories was therefore about fifteen cubits.
they rested on the house with timber of cedar--that is, because
the beams of the side stones rested on the ledges of the temple wall.
The wing was attached to the house; it was connected with the temple,
without, however, interfering injuriously with the sanctuary
11-13. the word of the Lord came to Solomon--probably by a prophet.
It was very seasonable, being designed: first, to encourage him to go
on with the building, by confirming anew the promise made to his father
and secondly, to warn him against the pride and presumption of
supposing that after the erection of so magnificent a temple, he and
his people would always be sure of the presence and favor of God. The
condition on which that blessing could alone be expected was expressly
stated. The dwelling of God among the children of Israel refers to
those symbols of His presence in the temple, which were the visible
tokens of His spiritual relation to that people.
15-21. he built the walls of the house within--The walls were
wainscotted with cedar-wood; the floor, paved with cypress planks; the
interior was divided (by a partition consisting of folding doors, which
were opened and shut with golden chains) into two apartments--the back
or inner room, that is, the most holy place, was twenty cubits long and
broad; the front, or outer room, that is, the holy place, was forty
cubits. The cedar-wood was beautifully embellished with figures in
relievo, representing clusters of foliage, open flowers, cherubims, and
palm trees. The whole interior was overlaid with gold, so that neither
wood nor stone was seen; nothing met the eye but pure gold, either
plain or richly chased.
31-35. for the entering of the oracle--The door of the most holy place
was made of solid olive tree and adorned with figures. The door of the
holy place was made of cypress wood, the sides being of olive wood.
36. the inner court--was for the priests. Its wall, which had a
coping of cedar, is said to have been so low that the people could see
1Ki 6:37, 38.
37. In the fourth year was the foundation laid--The building was begun
in the second month of the fourth year and completed in the eighth
month of the eleventh year of Solomon's reign, comprising a period of
seven and a half years, which is reckoned here in round numbers. It was
not a very large, but a very splendid building, requiring great care,
and ingenuity, and division of labor. The immense number of workmen
employed, together with the previous preparation of the materials,
serves to account for the short time occupied in the process of