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Solomon builds his own house, and completes it in thirteen years, 1 Kings 7:1. He builds another called the house of the forest of Lebanon; and a house for Pharaoh‚Äės daughter, 1 Kings 7:2-12. He brings Hiram, a coppersmith, out of Tyre, who makes much curious work for the temple, 1 Kings 7:13-20. He makes the two pillars Jachin and Boaz, 1 Kings 7:21, 1 Kings 7:22. The molten sea, and the twelve oxen that bare it, 1 Kings 7:23-26. And ten brazen bases, and the ten lavers with pots, shovels, and basons, all of which he cast in the plain of Jordan, vv. 27-46. The quantity of brass too great to be weighed; and the vessels of the temple were all of pure gold, 1 Kings 7:47-50. Solomon brings into the house the silver and gold which his father had dedicated, 1 Kings 7:51.
Building his own house - This house is said to have been situated in Jerusalem, and probably was, what some call it, his winter‚Äės residence. It is called the king‚Äės house, 1 Kings 9:10.
The house of the forest of Lebanon - It was not built in Lebanon, but is thought to have been on Mount Sion. And why it was called the house of the forest of Lebanon does not appear; probably it was because it was built almost entirely of materials brought from that place. See the following verses.
A porch for the throne - One porch appears to have been devoted to the purposes of administering judgment, which Solomon did in person.
A house for Pharaoh‚Äės daughter - This appears to have been a third house; probably the whole three made but one building, and were in the same place, but distinguished from each other; the first as Solomon‚Äės palace, the second as a house of judgment, a court-house; the third, the harem, or apartments for the women.
Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre - This was not the Tyrian king, mentioned before, but a very intelligent coppersmith, of Jewish extraction by his mother‚Äės side, who was probably married to a Tyrian. In 2 Chronicles 2:14, this woman is said to be of the daughters of Dan, but here of the tribe of Naphtali. The king of Tyre, who gives the account as we have it in Chronicles, might have made the mistake, and confounded the two tribes; or she might have been of Naphtali by her father, and of Dan by her mother, and so be indifferently called of the tribe of Naphtali or of the daughters of Dan. This appears to be the best solution of the difficulty. The versions and MSS. give no help here.
He cast two pillars - eighteen cubits high - That is, about thirty feet in English measure.
A line of twelve cubits - In circumference. It would be difficult even now to procure a founder who could cast such massive pillars, whether solid or hollow.
The right pillar - Jachin - That is, He shall establish. The left pillar - Boaz, that is, in strength. These were no doubt emblematical; for notwithstanding their names, they seem to have supported no part of the building.
He made ten bases - That is, pedestals, for the ten lavers to rest on.
Then made he ten lavers - These were set on the ten bases or pedestals, and were to hold water for the use of the priests in their sacred office, particularly to wash the victims that were to be offered as a burnt-offering, as we learn from 2 Chronicles 4:6; but the brazen sea was for the priests to wash in. The whole was a building of vast art, labor, and expense.
So Hiram made an end - It is truly surprising, that in so short a time one artist could design and execute works of such magnitude, taste, and variety, however numerous his assistants might be. The mere building of the house was a matter of little difficulty in comparison of these internal works.
Cast them, in the clay ground - In this place he found that particular kind of clay that was proper for his purpose. Some suppose that the place where Hiram had his foundry was on the other side, some on this side, of Jordan. Calmet supposes that it was near Bethshan.
Solomon brought in the things - It has been a question whether Solomon, in the structure of the temple, used any of the gold and silver which David had provided? And here it seems answered in the negative; for after the house was finished, with all its utensils and ornaments, with its immense profusion of gold, it is here said that Solomon brought in the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, which David his father had dedicated. It appears therefore that Solomon had employed four years to make preparation for the work before it was begun. During the whole time of the building, he was no doubt still appropriating a part of the public revenue for this purpose; and the provision made by his father he placed among the treasures of the house; but the temple was truly Solomon‚Äės, as he had provided all its materials, and borne every expense.
As the temple was built in some measure on the model of the tabernacle, and dedicated to the same use, I wish to refer the reader to the description of the former, in Exodus 25-27 (note) and Exodus 35-39 (note).