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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Kings 7

Solomon’s buildings. (1-12) Furniture of the temple. (13-47) Vessels of gold. (48-51)

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Solomon’s buildings

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.

Furniture of the temple

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.

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:

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.

Vessels of gold

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Thirteen. He was only twelve years and a half; since he finished both the temple and the palace in 20 years. C. ix. 10. Salien observes that Solomon’s house was connected with the queen’s, as well as with that part which was styled of the forest of Libanus, for their mutual recreation. A.C. 1023. The Rom. Sept. places the 13 first verses at the end, v. 51. H.

Ver. 2. Libanus. So it was called, on account of the many cedar pillars brought from that mountain; or because many trees and shrubs were planted in the vicinity. C. — Libanus might also be seen from it, and refreshing breezes be felt. Ar. Mont. — The palace stood on the eastern part of Sion, and to the west of the temple. M. — The vale between them had been filled up, at a vast expense, and a sort of bridge erected, which was called Mello. Thus the palace of David, on the west of Sion, and this of Solomon, served to protect the temple, and to keep the citizens in awe. Salien. — Sanchez declines giving the dimensions of this palace, as they are not satisfactory. M. — Here Solomon resided, and was served in gold, (C.) adorning his palace with shields and targets of the same precious metal. C. x. 16. 21. — Cubits. The more sacred part of the temple was only 60, 20, and 30 cubits. C. vi. 2. But there were various other appendages and towers. This palace must have been very extensive. — And four. Heb. “upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.” H. — One row of these might be rather pilasters, against the wall; (v. 3,) so that there would be three covered galleries, before the apartments, each supported on 15 pillars. C.

Ver. 4. Set, &c. Heb. “and windows in three rows, over-against one another; (5) and all the doors and posts square with the windows: and light was against light, in three rows.” H. — The palace had three stories; but the galleries before it were of equal height with it.

Ver. 6. Porch. Sept. seem to retain the original word ulam, as they read ailam; whence our hall, and the Latin aula, may be derived. H. — It was a court surrounded by pillars and galleries, in from of the palace. C. — Another. Heb. “the porch before them, (pillars) and the pillars, and the thick beam before them.”

Ver. 7. Tob. Heb. “the other side.” H. — The eastern princes generally sit before their palace to give judgment; and hence that of the Ottoman emperors is styled the Porte, (C.) or “gate.”

Ver. 8. House. In the form of a recess or alcove, at the end of one of the aforesaid porches, and probably in that which was nearer the palace. Guards would be stationed in the other. H. — This is the idea which travellers have given us of the palaces in the East. They consisted of various apartments, galleries, and courts. Under the outward porch there are guards standing, in a double row; and hence there is a communication with other parts of the house, and with the apartments of the women, which are far removed, and inaccessible to strangers. The women still continue to have separate tents, or apartments; as they had in the days of Sara, Esther, Herodias, &c. Gen. xxiv. Est. i. 11. Mat. xiv. 8. C. — Pharao. Till it was finished, this lady had lodged in David’s palace; though as it was deemed in a manner sacred, on account of the presence of the ark, it was judged expedient to remove her. 2 Par. viii. 11. H. — Perhaps she had begun to manifest some signs of a relapse towards idolatry, into which she is supposed chiefly to have induced her husband. C. xi. 4. Salien.

Ver. 12. Cedar, in regular courses with the stones. C. vi. 36. Public places were often made in a circular form, and were thus rendered more beautiful. The palace of Solomon might have enclosed the court in this manner, or there were buildings on all the four sides, made of three courses of fine large stones, with the fourth of cedar beams, till the whole was completed. The ancients built for posterity, as we may perceive from the huge stones, well connected, which still reman in the ruins of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architecture.

Ver. 14. Nephthali: 2 Par. (ii. 14,) we read of Dan. But the king of Tyre might be under a mistake, (Sanctius) or he may only insinuate that she lived at the city of that name, in the tribe of Nephthali. M. — One of her husbands might be a Danite, (Grot.) though resident at Tyre. — Father, may also denote a master or officer; in which sense we read in Paral. My father, Hiram. H. S. Jer. Trad. M. — If the woman married an idolater, it was contrary to the law: (C.) though Grotius maintains the contrary, when the free exercise of religion was granted.

Ver. 15. Eighteen. Both together are said in Paral. to be 35, as if half a cubit too much had been here assigned, which is not unusual with regard to imperfect numbers, v. 1. But Jeremias (lii. 21,) agrees with this passage; and the book of Paral. may not have included a cubit of solid metal at the base or plinth. A. Lap. — The rest was hollow. The chapiters of five cubits, and the bases, which were perhaps as large, are not contained in the 18 cubits, which might otherwise appear to be disproportionate with the circumference of 12 cubits. The Egyptian pillars are sometimes very thick and low; and their temples bear a great resemblance with that of Solomon, than with those of the Greeks and Romans. C. — Both. Heb. “the second,” as if something similar had been observed of the first. C. — But Sheni, signifies also “both, either,” &c. M. — Prot. “did compass either of them about.” H. — Circles, at equal distances, adorned these pillars. Ex. xxvi. 32. Athen. v. 9.

Ver. 16. Five. Comprising all the ornaments. The body was only three cubits, 4 K. xxv. 17. If we include the circles, which joined it to the pillar, it would be four; v. 19, and with the rose, and ornaments at the top, five cubits high. Atheneus distinguishes three parts in the Egyptian chapiters; (1) next to the pillar, was seen a circle or wreath of flowers; (2) the stalk, out of which proceeded (3) a rose beginning to open. C. — In the passages, which seem to contradict this text, the omission of the cornice or architrave, may cause the difference. M.

Ver. 18. The pillars. This word may have changed places with pomegranates.

Ver. 19. Of lily-work, seems also transposed. Calmet would translate, Heb. “and he made pomegranates, two rows round each net, to cover the chapiter, which was at the top of the pillar, and in, &c. (19) and the chapiter, which was above the pillars of the court, (or porch) four cubits high. And he made rows of 200 pomegranates, all round, to cover one of the crowns of the pillars, and he did the like for the other crown; (20) and he also made a chapiter, like a rose, (or lily) at the top of the pillars, above, and over-against the body, which was beyond the nets.” The rose seemed to grow out of the pillar. The chapiters were not square, but of a circular form. Pelletier supposes that these pillars were of the ancient Doric order. It is certain that all the chapiter was not in the form of a lily, as the Heb. would now insinuate, but only the top part of it. C. v. 22. The long addition of one of the crowns, &c. may not be necessary, if the original signify either; (as v. 15) “to cover either crown.”

Ver. 20. Chapiter, (capitelli secundi.) H. — Villalpand thinks this “second chapiter,” is rather the cornice, round which the pomegranates hung. M. — Sept. “and of roses, five rows, all round, upon the second circle.” H.

Ver. 21. Temple. Against the wall, (Jer. lii. 23,) on each side of the door which leads to the holy place. The pillars might be 28 cubits high, v. 15. — Jachin intimated that God “will establish.” — Booz means, “strength is in him.” C. — Both together might foretel the stability of the temple. “He shall establish in strength.” We have already mentioned the conjecture of Houbigant, that these two pillars were erected in honour of some of Solomon’s progenitors, though the former be lost in his genealogy. Ruth iv. 22. H. — Jachin. That is, firmly established.Booz. That is, in its strength. By recording these names in holy writ, the Spirit of God would have us understand the invincible firmness and strength of the pillars on which the true temple of God, which is the Church, is established. Ch.

Ver. 22. Lily, or rose, as Susan means both. This ornament seems to have been detached from the rest of the chapiter, and one cubit high, v. 16. C.

Ver. 23. Brim, in diameter. The circumference was about 30 cubits; for it is not exactly three times as much as the diameter. C. — The latter is as 7 to 22, with respect to the circumference. But the Scripture takes no notice of trifles. M.

Ver. 24. Ten cubits. All was not therefore ornamented. Prot. “there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit…the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.” H. — The signification of Pekehim is not ascertained, whether it be “apples, balls,” &c. or perhaps a corrupt word for Bokrim, “oxen,” or “ox heads;” as 2 Paral. (iv. 3,) clearly explains it. C. — There also it is insinuated, that the carvings commenced only towards the bottom, where the circumference was reduced to 10 cubits. M.

Ver. 25. Oxen. Josephus and the Jews would condemn Solomon for making these figures; but it is clear that his present was acceptable to God, as well as his person. C. — Within. The oxen were of solid brass, to support such a weight. M. — Some think that the water was discharged through their mouths. But Pelletier believes that there were cocks placed between each of the four divisions of oxen, which let water into a basin below, in which the priests might purify themselves. He supposes also that the vessel was double; the cup would contain 2000 baths, and the foot or basin another 1000, by which means he would reconcile this book with that of Chronicles. Melanges, T. i. p. 115.

Ver. 26. Two thousand bates. That is, about ten thousand gallons. This was the quantity of water which was usually put into it: but it was capable, if brim-full, of holding three thousand. See 2 Par. iv. 5. 7. Ch. — The batus contained about five gallons. W. — Some imagine, without grounds, (C.) that the measure in Par. was of a less capacity. Vallalp. A. Lapide. — The smaller is called metreta, “measure,” after the Greek, as it had no proper name. Salien. — Instead of a hand’s breadth, it is literally, “three ounces,” or the fourth part of a Roman foot; which is equivalent to four fingers’ (H.) breadth, or a “hand’s breadth,” as the Heb. tophach implies, or a little above three inches. — Crisped, or “full-blown lily.” The Chaldee supposes it was thus ornamented. Heb. “with flowers of lilies,” (C.) or “roses,” Shoshan. H.

Ver. 27. Bases. These were designed to wash the victims. Pelletier.

Ver. 28. And. Heb. is very obscure in this and the following verse. Indeed interpreters are so little agreed about the precise signification of some of the terms, that it is not necessary to repeat their sentiments.

Ver. 32. Joined. Yet not so as to be immovable. C.

Ver. 36. Palm-trees were not expressed, v. 29. All was in relievo, and represented in its natural posture. C. — About. One would have taken them to be alive, they were so well executed. Heb. “according to the proportion of every one, and added round about,” (H.) projecting. M.

Ver. 39. Right side, to the south, between the temple and the altar of holocausts. — Sea. It was the most towards the east, of the five basins, (C.) or near the eastern gate of the priests’ court, standing on the south of the entrance, that they might purify themselves. M. — S. Justin (ap. ii.) observes that the pagans imitated this custom. But this ought not to hinder Christians from employing a thing which is innocent in itself, and calculated to make them aspire to the greatest purity, when they approach to God. H.

Spargit & ipse suos lauro rorante capillos

Incipit & solitâ fundere voce preces. Fast. v.

Ver. 40. Shovels. Scutras may also signify “cauldrons,” from their resemblance with a shield. These terms occur Ex. xxvii. 3. (C.) and are there properly translated, shovels, &c. H. — The Jews say there were always , at least, three things of the same species, that one might be ready in case another was defiled.

Ver. 41. Cords: no mention of these had been made before. The same terms are frequently expressed in a different manner, v. 15, to 20. Heb. “the two pillars and the chapiters round, (C.) which were on the top of the pillars and the two nets to cover the two bowels of (or the two circular) chapiters,” &c. H.

Ver. 45. Fine brass (aurichalco.) Some pretended that gold was mixed with this sort of brass. But Pliny (xxxiv. 2.) informs us that it came out of the mines, without dross. — Heb. “polished (or refined) brass.” C. — It might resemble the Corinthian brass. M.

Ver. 46. Sarthan. This place was on the west, and Socoth on the east of the Jordan, near Bethsan. C. iv. 12. C. — Jos. iii. 16. H. — Adrichomius places both on the east, in the tribe of Gad. M.

Ver. 47. Weighed. It was deemed unnecessary, and too troublesome. H. — Heb. “And Solomon would not have all the vessels weighed,” on account of the too great number: “the weight of the brass was not discovered.” Vatable.

Ver. 48. Altar, not that on which the ark was placed, (C. vi. 20. C.) though some are of that opinion; (M. &c.) but perhaps the altar of incense. The one which Moses had made was probably too small, (C.) and reposited in the treasury. Rabbins. — Table. In 1 Par. iv. 8. we find ten specified, one between each candlestick, in the holy place. Josephus (viii. 2.) mentions an incredible number of gold and silver utensils, which are not found in Scripture; and the Rabbins are not sparing in miracles, to promote a respect for the temple. No venomous creature, they say, was ever seen in Jerusalem; nor did man seek for lodgings in vain, &c. The priests were so numerous, that the same person had never to offer the perpetual sacrifice or incense twice in his life. No one durst spit in the temple, nor turn his back on the altar, &c. C.

Ver. 51. Dedicated. Lit. “sanctified,” (H.) or set apart. W. — Gold, unwrought. M.