We have here a further account of the furniture of God's
house. I. Those things that were of brass. The altar for burnt-offerings (v. 1),
the sea and lavers to hold water (v. 2-6), the plates with which the doors of
the court were overlaid (v. 9), the vessels of the altar, and other things (v.
10-18). II. Those that were of gold. The candlesticks and tables (v. 7, 8),
the altar of incense (v. 19), and the appurtenances of each of these (v. 20-22).
All these, except the brazen altar (v. 1), were accounted for more largely, 1 Ki.
David often speaks with much affection both of the house of
the Lord and of the courts of our God. Both without doors and within
there was that which typified the grace of the gospel and shadowed out good
things to come, of which the substance is Christ.
I. There were those things in the open court, in the view of all
the people, which were very significant.
1. There was the brazen altar, v. 1. The making of this
was not mentioned in the Kings. On this all the sacrifices were offered, and it
sanctified the gift. This altar was much larger than that which Moses made in
the tabernacle; that was five cubits square, this was twenty cubits square. Now
that Israel had become both numerous and more rich, and it was to be hoped more
devout (for every age should aim to be wiser and better than that which went
before it), it was expected that there would be a greater abundance of offerings
brought to God's altar than had been. It was therefore made such a capacious
scaffold that it might hold them all, and none might excuse themselves from
bringing those temptations of their devotion by alleging that there was not room
to receive them. God had greatly enlarged their borders; it was therefore fit
that they should enlarge his altars. Our returns should bear some proportion to
our receivings. It was ten cubits high, so that the people who worshipped in the
courts might see the sacrifice burnt, and their eye might affect their heart
with sorrow for sin: "It is of the Lord's mercies that I am not thus
consumed, and that this is accepted as an expiation of my guilt." They
might thus be led to consider the great sacrifice which should be offered in the
fulness of time to take away sin and abolish death, which the blood of bulls and
goats could not possibly do. And with the smoke of the sacrifices their hearts
might ascend to heaven in holy desires towards God and his favour. In all our
devotions we must keep the eye of faith fixed upon Christ, the great
propitiation. How they went up to this altar, and carried the sacrifices up to
it, we are not told; some think by a plain ascent like a hill: if by steps,
doubtless they were so contrived as that the end of the law (mentioned Ex.
20:26) might be answered.
2. There was the molten sea, a very large brass pan, in which
they put water for the priests to wash in, v. 2, 6. It was put just at the
entrance into the court of the priests, like the font at the church door. If it
were filled to the brim, it would hold 3000 baths (as here, v. 5), but
ordinarily there were only 2000 baths in it, 1 Ki. 7:26. The Holy Ghost by this
signified, (1.) Our great gospel privilege, that the blood of Christ
cleanseth from all sin, 1 Jn. 1:7. To us there is a fountain opened
for all believers (who are spiritual priests, Rev. 1:5, 6), nay, for all the
inhabitants of Jerusalem to wash in, from sin, which is uncleanness. There
is a fulness of merit in Jesus Christ for all those that by faith apply to him
for the purifying of their consciences, that they might serve the living God,
Heb. 9:14. (2.) Our great gospel duty, which is to cleanse ourselves by true
repentance from all the pollutions of the flesh and the corruption that is in
the world. Our hearts must be sanctified, or we cannot sanctify the name of God.
Those that draw nigh to God must cleanse their hands, and purify their
hearts, Jam. 4:8. If I was thee not, thou hast no part with me; and
he that is washed still needs to wash his feet, to renew his
repentance, whenever he goes in to minister, Jn. 13:10.
3. There were ten lavers of brass, in which they
washed such things as they offered for the burnt-offerings, v. 6. As the
priests must be washed, so must the sacrifices. We must not only purify
ourselves in preparation for our religious performances, but carefully put away
all those vain thoughts and corrupt aims which cleave to our performances
themselves and pollute them.
4. The doors of the court were overlaid with brass (v. 9), both
for strength and beauty, and that they might not be rotted with the weather, to
which they were exposed. Gates of brass we read of, Ps. 107:16.
II. There were those things in the house of the Lord
(into which the priests alone went to minister) that were very significant. All
was gold there. The nearer we come to God the purer we must be, the purer we
shall be. 1. There were ten golden candlesticks, according to the form of
that one which was in the tabernacle, v. 7. The written word is a lamp and a
light, shining in a dark place. In Moses's time they had but one candlestick,
the Pentateuch; but the additions which, in process of time, were to be made of
other books of scripture might be signified by this increase of the number of
the candlesticks. Light was growing. The candlesticks are the churches, Rev.
1:20. Moses set up but one, the church of the Jews; but, in the gospel temple,
not only believers, but churches, are multiplied. 2. There were ten golden
tables (v. 8), tables whereon the show-bread was set, v. 19. Perhaps
every one of the tables had twelve loaves of show-bread on it. As the house was
enlarged, the house-keeping was. In my father's house there is bread enough
for the whole family. To those tables belonged 100 golden basins, or dishes;
for God's table is well furnished. 3. There was a golden altar (v. 19),
on which they burnt incense. It is probable that this was enlarged in proportion
to the brazen altar. Christ, who once for all made atonement for sin, ever
lives, making intercession, in virtue of that atonement.
We have here such a summary both of the brass-work and the
gold-work of the temple as we had before (1 Ki. 7:13, etc.), in which we have
nothing more to observe than, 1. That Huram the workman was very punctual: He
finished all that he was to make (v. 11), and left no part of his work
undone. Huram, his father, he is called, v. 16. Probably it was a sort of
nickname by which he was commonly known, Father Huram; for the king of
Tyre called him Huram Abi, my father, in compliance with whom Solomon
called him his, he being a great artist and father of the artificers in
brass and iron. He acquitted himself well both for ingenuity and industry. 2.
Solomon was very generous. He made all the vessels in great abundance (v.
18), many of a sort, that many hands might be employed, and so the work might go
on with expedition, or that some might be laid up for use when others were worn
out. Freely he has received, and he will freely give. When he had made vessels
enough for the present he could not convert the remainder of the brass to his
own use; it is devoted to God, and it shall be used for him.