1 Kings 7 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Kings 7)

Verse 1

[1] But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.

House — The royal palace for himself, and for his successors.

Thirteen years — Almost double the time to that in which the temple was built; because neither were the materials so far provided and prepared for this, as they were for the temple: nor did either he or his people use the same diligence in this, as in the other work; to which they were quickened by God's express command.

Verse 2

[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.

Of the forest of Lebanon — An house so called, because it was built in the forest of Lebanon, for a summer-seat, whither Solomon, having so many chariots and horses, might at any time retire with ease.

The length — Of the principal mansion; to which doubtless other buildings were adjoining.

Pillars — Upon which the house was built, and between which there were four stately walks.

Beams — Which were laid for the floor of the second story.

Verse 3

[3] And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.

Fifteen — So in this second story were only three rows of pillars, which was sufficient for the ornament of the second and for the support of the third story.

Verse 4

[4] And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.

Against light — One directly opposite to the other, as is usual in well-contrived buildings.

In ranks — One exactly under another.

Verse 5

[5] And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks.

Windows — He speaks, of smaller windows or lights, which were over the several doors.

Verse 6

[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.

A porch — Supported by divers pillars, for the more magnificent entrance into the house; upon which also it is thought there were other rooms built, as in the house.

The porch — Now mentioned which is said to be before them; before the pillars on which the house of Lebanon stood.

Pillars — Or, and pillars; That is, fewer and lesser pillars for the support of the lesser porch.

Beam — Which was laid upon these pillars, as the others were verse 2.

Verse 7

[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.

A porch — Another porch or distinct room without the house.

The other — The whole floor; or, from floor to floor, from the lower floor on the ground, to the upper floor which covered it.

Verse 8

[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.

Another court — That is, between the porch and the house, called therefore the middle court, chap. 2 Kings 20:4.

Like this — Not for form or quantity, but for the materials and workmanship, the rooms being covered with cedar, and furnished with like ornaments.

Verse 9

[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.

These — Buildings described here and in the former chapter.

The measures — Hewed in such measure and proportion as exact workmen use to hew ordinary stones.

Within, … — Both on the inside of the buildings which were covered with cedar, and on the outside also.

To the coping — From the bottom to the top of the building.

And so on — Not only on the outside of the front of the house, which being most visible, men are more careful to adorn; but also of the other side of the house, which looked towards the great court belonging to the king's house.

Verse 11

[11] And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewed stones, and cedars.

Above — That is, in the upper part; for this is opposed to the foundation.

Stones and cedars — Intermixed the one, and the other.

Verse 12

[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.

The court — Namely, of Solomon's dwelling-house mentioned, verse 8.

Verse 14

[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.

In brass — And Of gold, and stone, and purple, and blue, 2 Chronicles 2:14. But only his skill in brass is here mentioned, because he speaks only of the brasen things which he made.

Verse 16

[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:

Five cubits — The word chapiter is taken either more largely for the whole, so it is five cubits; Or, more strictly, either for the pommels, as they are called, 2 Chronicles 4:12, or for the cornice or crown, and so it was but three cubits, to which the pomegranates being added make it four cubits, as it is below, verse 19, and the other work upon it took up one cubit more, which in all made five cubits.

Verse 17

[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.

The chapiters — Which those nets and wreathes encompass, either covering, and as it were receiving and holding the pomegranates, or being mixed with them.

Verse 18

[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.

Two rows — Either of pomegranates, by comparing this with verse 20, or of some other curious work.

Verse 19

[19] And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.

Lilly work — Made like the leaves of lillies.

In the porch — Or, as in the porch; such work as there was in the porch of the temple, in which these pillars were set, verse 21, that so the work of the tops of these pillars might agree with that in the top of the porch.

Verse 20

[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.

The belly — So he calls the middle part of the chapiter, which jetted farthest out.

Two hundred — They are said to be ninety and six on a side of a pillar; in one row and in all an hundred, Jeremiah 52:23, four great pomegranates between the several checker-works being added to the first ninety six. And it must needs be granted, that there were as many on the other side of the pillar, or in the other row, which makes them two hundred upon a pillar, as is here said, and four hundred upon both pillars, as they are numbered, 2 Chronicles 4:13.

Verse 21

[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.

Jachin — Jachin signifies he; That is, God shall establish, his temple, and church, and people: and Boaz signifies, in it, or rather, in him (to answer the he in the former name) is strength. So these pillars being eminently strong and stable, were types of that strength which was in God, and would be put forth by God for the defending and establishing of his temple and people, if they were careful to keep the conditions required by God on their parts.

Verse 23

[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.

A Sea — He melted the brass, and cast it into the form of a great vessel, for its vastness called a sea, which name is given by the Hebrews to all great collections of waters. The use of it was for the priests to wash their hands and feet, or other things as occasion required, with the water which they drew out of it.

Verse 24

[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.

Knops — Carved or molten figures: for this word signifies figures or pictures of all sorts.

Ten, … — So there were three hundred in all.

Cast — Together with the sea; not carved.

Two rows — It seems doubtful whether the second row had ten in each cubit, and so there were three hundred more; or, whether the ten were distributed into five in each row.

Verse 25

[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.

Oxen — Of solid brass, which was necessary to bear so great a weight.

Verse 26

[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.

Baths — Which amounts to five hundred barrels, each bath containing about eight gallons; the bath being a measure of the same bigness with an ephah.

Verse 27

[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.

Bases — Upon which stood the ten lavers mentioned below, verse 38, in which they washed the parts of the sacrifices.

Verse 28

[28] And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:

Borders — Broad brims, possibly for the more secure holding of the lavers.

Verse 29

[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.

Base above — So he calls the upper-most part of the base: for though it was above, yet it was a base to the laver, which stood upon it.

Additions — Either as bases for the feet of the said lions and oxen: or, only as farther ornaments.

Verse 30

[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.

Wheels — Whereby the bases and lavers might be removed from place to place as need required.

Under-setters — Heb. shoulders; fitly so called, because they supported the lavers, that they should not fall from their bases, when the bases were removed together with the lavers.

Verse 31

[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.

The mouth — So he calls that part in the top of the base which was left hollow, that the foot of the laver might be let into it.

The chapiter — Within the little base, which he calls the chapiter, because it rose up from, and stood above the great base.

Above — Above the chapiter; for the mouth went up, and grew wider like a funnel.

A cubit — In height, verse 35, whereof half a cubit was above the chapiter or little base, and the other half below it.

A cubit and half — In compass.

Four square — So the innermost part, called the mouth, was round, but the outward part was square, as when a circle is made within a quadrangle.

Verse 33

[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.

Molten — And cast together with the bases.

Verse 34

[34] And there were four undersetters to the four corners of one base: and the undersetters were of the very base itself.

Of the base — Not only of the same matter, but of the same piece, being cast with it.

Verse 36

[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.

The proportion — Or, empty place, that is, according to the bigness of the spaces which were left empty for them, implying that they were smaller than those above mentioned.

Verse 39

[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.

Right side — In the south side, not within the house, but in the priests court, where they washed either their hands or feet, or the parts of the sacrifices.

Left side — On the north side.

The south — In the south-east part, where the offerings were prepared.

Verse 45

[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.

The pots — To boil those parts of the sacrifices which the priests, etc. were to eat.

Verse 48

[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,

Vessels — Such as Moses had made only these were larger, and richer, and more.

Table of gold — Under which, are comprehended both all the utensils belonging to it, and the other ten tables which he made together with it.

Verse 49

[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,

Candlesticks — Which were ten, according to the number of the tables, whereas Moses made but one: whereby might be signified the progress of the light of sacred truth, which was now grown clearer than it was in Moses's time, and should shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day of gospel light.

Pure gold — Of massy and fine gold.

The oracle — In the holy place.

Flowers — Wrought upon the candlesticks, as it had formerly been.

Verse 51

[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.

Silver and gold — So much of it as was left.

And vessels — Those which David had dedicated, and with them the altar of Moses, and some other of the old utensils which were now laid aside, far better being put in the room of them.