God who is best should be served and honored with our best.
I Kings 1
1 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.
2 He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.
3 And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.
4 And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.
5 And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks.
6 ¶ And he made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof thirty cubits: and the porch was before them: and the other pillars and the thick beam were before them.
7 ¶ Then he made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other.
8 ¶ And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch.
9 All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside toward the great court.
10 And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.
11 And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewed stones, and cedars.
12 And the great court round about was with three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the LORD, and for the porch of the house.
13 ¶ And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.
14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.
15 For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about.
16 And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:
17 And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter.
18 And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter.
19 And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.
20 And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.
21 And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.
22 And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.
23 ¶ And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
26 And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths.
27 ¶ And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.
28 And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:
29 And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.
30 And every base had four brasen wheels, and plates of brass: and the four corners thereof had undersetters: under the laver were undersetters molten, at the side of every addition.
31 And the mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round.
32 And under the borders were four wheels; and the axletrees of the wheels were joined to the base: and the height of a wheel was a cubit and half a cubit.
33 And the work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel: their axletrees, and their naves, and their felloes, and their spokes, were all molten.
34 And there were four undersetters to the four corners of one base: and the undersetters were of the very base itself.
35 And in the top of the base was there a round compass of half a cubit high: and on the top of the base the ledges thereof and the borders thereof were of the same.
36 For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about.
37 After this manner he made the ten bases: all of them had one casting, one measure, and one size.
38 ¶ Then made he ten lavers of brass: one laver contained forty baths: and every laver was four cubits: and upon every one of the ten bases one laver.
39 And he put five bases on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house: and he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward over against the south.
40 ¶ And Hiram made the lavers, and the shovels, and the basons. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he made king Solomon for the house of the LORD:
41 The two pillars, and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on the top of the two pillars; and the two networks, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars;
42 And four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, even two rows of pomegranates for one network, to cover the two bowls of the chapiters that were upon the pillars;
43 And the ten bases, and ten lavers on the bases;
44 And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea;
45 And the pots, and the shovels, and the basons: and all these vessels, which Hiram made to king Solomon for the house of the LORD, were of bright brass.
46 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.
47 And Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many: neither was the weight of the brass found out.
48 And Solomon made all the vessels that pertained unto the house of the LORD: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, whereupon the shewbread was,
49 And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold,
50 And the bowls, and the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple.
51 So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD.
I Kings – J. Vernon McGee
1 Kings 7:1-12 – Other Splendid Structures
Solomon’s house took nearly twice as long to build as did the Temple, because there was not the same urgency for it. His house and that for the queen were probably built around large open courts, and stood, after the manner of the East, on either side of the central hall where public business was transacted.
The royal hall in Jerusalem was called the “house of the forest of Lebanon” (1 Kings 7:2), because its many pillars resembled a forest of cedar wood. In front of this building was a colonnade, and in front of this again, the King’s Gate.
It is more than likely that the area of Mount Zion was greatly enlarged by walls built up from the valley and filled in with earth. This furnished room for the many splendid buildings named in this paragraph. Traces of these cyclopean walls can still be seen. In order to estimate the real value of all this splendor we have only to turn to the earliest chapters of Ecclesiastes, where we read how little it satisfied the hunger of Solomon’s soul. He turned away from it all, as unsatisfied as the prodigal from the husks of the swine. We were made for God and only God can suffice.
1 Kings 7:13-26 – Pillars of Security and Strength
Hiram, the artificer, was remarkably gifted. From his father he had inherited all the genius of Tyre, while on his mother’s side he was of the tribe of Naphtali and thus inherited the religious genius of the Hebrew people. The twin pillars were made of the brass taken from the king of Zobah, I Chronicles 18:8-9. Each would stand to a height of forty feet. Their names were symbolical, and indicated their strength and durability. Wreaths of golden chainwork hung from the capitals, while beautiful ornaments of lily-work adorned the heads of these noble columns. Jachin—“he shall establish”—and Boaz—“in him is strength”—combined with the beauty of the lily-work, remind us that strength and beauty are in God’s sanctuary and blend in the character of His people.
The molten sea was substituted for the ancient laver, Exodus 30:18. It was an immense circular vase, holding 20,000 gallons of water. Its brim was in the form of a lily and it stood on twelve brazen oxen. Water in abundance was needed for the cleansing of the courts; and our Lord has taught us in John 13 the necessity for constant washing if we would walk with God.
1 Kings 7:27-39 – Vases and Lavers
In addition to the great molten sea, described in the previous verses, there were ten portable vessels, or vases, that ran on wheels, so that they could be pushed across the level marble floor to any part of the court where fresh cleansing water was required. Five of these lavers were placed on the right, and ten on the left, of the great brazen altar. Such things as belonged to the burned-offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in, II Chronicles 4:6.
We should carefully note the large provision made under the old Covenant for ceremonial washings. How precise is this account of these vessels! Does it not give weight to that injunction: “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD”? Isaiah 52:11. This passage reminds us of the infinite purity of God, who charges His angels with folly, Job 4:18, and in whose sight the heavens are not clean, Job 15:15. As our Lord said to His disciples: “He that is washed needeth… to wash his feet,” John 13:10. Every act of ours, even though we are priests unto God, needs to be cleansed and sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, Acts 6:4.
1 Kings 7:40-51 – Vessels of Brass and of Gold
As we pass from the outward to the inward part of the sanctuary, brass gives place to gold. The nearer we come to God’s throne in the Holy of Holies, the more costly and magnificent everything must become. Even snuffers, hinges, and spoons must be of gold. God’s highest service calls for our best in the least things that pertain to it.
The enumeration of ornaments and utensils in brass and gold, leads to the announcement that Solomon gave up counting the weight, and that the weight of the brass could not be found out. In this there is shadowed forth “the unsearchable riches of Christ”, Ephesians 3:8. You cannot weigh them up. They defy calculation. It is only when you get the accumulated experience of all the saints that you can comprehend the length and breadth and depth and height of the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, Ephesians 3:18. See to it that you grow in the grace and in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, II Peter 3:18. Let there be a sensible advance into the deep things of God. For wood bring stones, for stones iron, for iron brass, and for brass gold, Isaiah 60:17. And may we all leave a finished building behind us when we pass on to see the King!
1 Kings 7:46 – In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them.
The Apostle tells us to obey from the heart that mould or form of doctrine to which we were delivered (Romans 6:17). What a mould is to the metal which is wrought into various forms of utensils, that the form of sound doctrine is to believers who desire to resemble Christ. When our hearts, melted in contrition and penitence, are poured into the teaching of the Apostles, to ponder it in memory, and to carry it out in life, they are, so to speak, cast into the pattern of Jesus Christ, which they wear for evermore. Thus we are conformed to the image of his Son.
We differ as widely as the vessels named here. Some are lavers, and some bases; some shovels, and some basins. It matters little what shape we bear; so long as we are cleansed and meet for the Master’s use. Each vessel in Solomon’s temple filled its own niche. The machinery of the whole would have been hindered if one had been missing. Be content with the shape which the Great Designer hath intended for thee. Yield to it. Dare to pour thyself into the dark passages of the mould. Do not ask the intention of this or that. Obey from the heart, otherwise thou mayest have to be broken up, and put back again into the furnace to go through the process once more. This is the Plain of the Jordan for us, the place of death; but soon we shall be remitted to the Palace and Temple of God.
There is no clue to the understanding of the mysteries of our mortal life, save the hypothesis, that we are being prepared for the position which has been prepared for us in the eternal world. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).