Today: [1 Kings Chapter Seven]: The Furnishing of the Temple. In this chapter we see a description of the outer court and it’s furnishings. The outer court utilized much brass – in fact the tally of brass was without number so much was used. Brass represents judgment which only belongs to the outer court. We also see a description of Solomon’s house which curiously is much more grand than the temple itself and took twice as long to build. Solomon for all his wisdom begins however early in his reign to reveal the weaknesses in his character.
[1Ki 7:1-51 KJV] 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.
In this chapter Solomon furnishes the temple of the Lord that took seven years to build. In the last line of chapter six it says that Solomon was seven years in building the house of the Lord and now we see that this is an unfinished sentence completed here – “but Solomon was 13 years in building his own house …” This is the third reference thus far in 1 Kings that is an indication of a developing problem in Solomon’s life:
- In 1 Kings 3 he marries Pharaoh’s daughter and the building of her house is mentioned before the building of the house of the Lord (1 Kings 3:1). The children of Israel are forbidden to marry outside their tribe but apparently Solomon decides this doesn’t apply to him.
Solomon also sacrificed in the high places which God specifically forbade (1 Kings 3:3).
Now we see Solomon’s taste for ostentation in that the house of the Lord was seven years in building but he takes 13 years to build his own house. As one commentator put it “the house of the Lord was glorious but apparently Solomon wanted a house more glorious that the Lord’s”.
Solomon also built another house, a second palace known as the “house of the forest of Lebanon” that apparently was designed to feel as though walking through it was like walking through a forest. In Isaiah’s time this house is still standing and was used as an armory.
At the end of the description of Solomon’s house and the house of the forest of Lebanon the passage goes on to describe some of the features of the house of the Lord. One must keep in mind that this wasn’t Solomon’s money derived by personal gain. Solomon’s house and the temple were paid for by tribute from the people. Likewise when we look at the great cathedrals of Europe we must remember that it was the taxation of the people that made the building of these edifices possible. So for all the gold and brass and artisans and labor force we keep in mind that it was made possible through the economy that was financing the projects. That tells us two things – the people were greatly blessed, but they were also heavily taxed. After Solomon’s death the people asked his successor Reoboam to lighten the taxes and when he refuses the ten tribes revolt – permanently dividing the kingdom of Israel.
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:
Solomon hired a half Gentile artisan from Tyre to work on the inner furnishings of the temple. Significantly he erects two great pillars named Boaz and Jachin. When one walked into the temple the pillars stood there as a representation of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that brought the people through the wilderness. Boaz means “the Lord is our Strength” and Jachin means “the Lord shall establish”. These pillars are of note because Jesus speaks of them to John the Revelator:
[Rev 3:12 KJV] 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.
In the New Covenant as Solomon Jesus said He would build – but not with stone and masonry. Jesus is the wise master-builder building with people. The lives God builds into us are not intended to be weak and insubstantial in character – but representative of the pillars of the temple, established in the strength of the Lord.
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.
Solomon also has Huram to construct a large laver of brass that the priest used to wash their feet. It was 15 feet across and held over 11,000 gallons of water. It may have been used as well to supply water to the ten standing basins used to wash the sacrifices that were made day by day. This large brass basin was crafted to stand upon 12 brass bulls that speak to us of the 12 apostles that Jesus told would sit in judgment over Israel in the last days. Brass is a type of brass. Verse 47 says that there was so much brass used that there was no full accounting of the weight of it. To this Paul agrees in Rom. 11:33 that God’s judgments are pure, and unsearchable and past finding out… thus making a direct quote from this passage in 1 Kings.
The table of showbread was mentioned which 1 Chronicles 4:8 specifically mentions was actually ten tables on which the holy bread was placed every seven days. Ten is also a number denoting judgment. We must remember that this is all “outer court religion”. This temple for all its glory serves the function of the law which cannot make men perfect but is merely our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
The last line of the chapter reveals that the gold for the carts and utensils and the silver was from that which David collected and stored up in his lifetime. While David was not allowed to build the house he nonetheless made preparation and contributed to his son Solomon’s task of doing what he could not.
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