1 Kings 6 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of 1 Kings 6)
The two aspects of God's house

The house may be looked at in two ways—as a type of the Father's house, and as in fact the habitation of God on the earth when Jesus reigns. In the latter aspect I only look for the grand thoughts and character of the government revealed in it. In the former, as a typical house, two circumstances give it its character. It is, first of all, God's house, His dwelling; and then there are chambers all around it [1]. God surrounded Himself with dwellings, in the very place where He had fixed His habitation.

As the dwelling-place of God at that time in the midst of His people, the presence of God in the temple depended on the faithfulness of Solomon.

What characterized the house

That which characterised the house in general is that nothing except gold was to be seen in it. All was bright with the glory of divine righteousness that distinguished the throne of God which was placed there. But it is not transparent as glass. Beauty and holiness are not what characterise the earthly throne, but righteousness and judgment. Nor are there seraphim.

In the Revelation we have the seraphic character added to the cherubim, and the gold is transparent as glass. Emblems, as we have seen, of judicial power, the cherubim had a new position (those belonging to the ark remained the same); the wing of one of these new cherubim touched the wall of the house on one side, and on the other the wing of the other cherub. Their wings extended from one side of the house to the other. They looked not towards the ark, but outwards [2]. At this time, righteousness reigning and being established, these symbols of God's power can look outwards in blessing, instead of having their eyes fixed on the covenant alone. During the time that there was nothing but the covenant, they gazed upon it; but when God has established His throne in righteousness, He can turn towards the world to bless it according to that righteousness.

[1] It is to this, I doubt not, that the Lord alludes, when He says, "In my Father's house are many dwellings"—at any rate, to the fact that other priests besides the high priest dwell there.

[2] The word in Hebrew is "towards the house," which is used as a preposition for inwards; but here, being at the bottom of the most holy place, "towards the house "was outwards.

I anticipate the Chronicles here a little. This circumstance of their looking outwards, which is not brought in here by the Holy Ghost, refers to the aspect of this history given in the Chronicles, that is, to the glorious reign of the Son of David. Here, the typical character of the heavenly house and glory being the object, the veil is not seen, nor the circumstance as to the cherubim which gave its character to the governmental blessing of the earth. Both are in Chronicles. Here, while the veil is not mentioned, in its place are folding doors. I make this allusion to that which is written in the Chronicles, in order to give a general idea of the whole, and to link the two accounts together.

I will give here something more definite, as to the contents of chapters 6 and 7 of the book that occupies us.

There are three parts in this description: the temple itself; the different houses of cedar; and, lastly, the brazen vessels.

1. The temple. The idea which it presents has been already pointed out. It is the dwelling-place, the house of God: there are chambers all around; but it is the house of God. Within, all is gold. Nothing is said about the veil. Dwelling, not drawing near, is the idea. But there are folding doors which open.

2. After this comes the royal connection of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter with the world without, but with a view to the glory and elevation of this position. It is not the dwelling-place of God, but the royal position of the king, the judge, and of his bride. It is Christ in His glorious administration. All is solidity, magnificence, and grandeur, within and without.

3. Then comes the manifestation, according to the power of the Spirit of God, and in a glorious manner, of all that belonged to His reign here below. All was of brass, the pillars and the sea. Nothing is said of the altar, because drawing near to God is not the question; but the manifestation of God in Christ who reigns in sight of the world—divine righteousness in respect of man's responsibility, not of approach to God Himself.

Thus we behold the dwelling-place of God where all is gold, the glory of divine righteousness; the house as the dwelling of the king, and the porch of judgment: the house of his bride. It is the sovereign glory of Christ in manifestation according to the dispensation of glory; and then the development, in this world, by the power of the Spirit, of what Christ is, of what God Himself is. There is no mention of silver—the type of the immutable stedfastness of God's purposes and ways in the wilderness. It is gold; the house of cedar; brass.

In the description given by the Book of Chronicles there are an altar and a veil, because there the positive administration of the things and circumstances of the true Solomon's reign is much more the question; the state of things which will in fact exist upon earth, rather than the abstract idea, and the type of that which is manifested of God Himself, as well as of the king's glory; and this, whether in the dwelling-place of God, or on the earth, as the sphere where He will unfold that which He is according to the Spirit.