II Chronicles 4
This chapter is occupied with some account of the contents of the house,
following naturally upon the account of the structure, dimensions, and
main features of the building given in the previous chapter. The parallel, so
far as it goes, is found in I Kings 7 and 8.
1 "Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and
twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof."
An altar of brass. This in worthier material superseded the
temporary altar of the tabernacle (Exodus 27:1-2), made of shittim
wood, and its dimensions five cubits long and broad and three cubits high.
Large as was the present altar of brass as compared with the altar that
preceded, it fell far short of the requirements of the grand day of dedication
(I Kings 8:64). No statement of the making of this altar occurs in the
parallel. The place of it would be between vs. 22 and 23 of 1 Kings 7.
But that Solomon made it is stated in I Kings 9:25, and other
references to its presence are found in ibid. ch. 8:22, 54, 64, etc. The
position given to the altar is referred to alike in ibid. v. 22 and here ch. 6:12-13,
as in the court of the temple. It may be well to note that the altar, sacrifice,
comes first, and is first spoken of.
2 "Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round
in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty
cubits did compass it round about." A molten sea. The Hebrew of this verse
and of I Kings 7:23 are facsimiles of one author, except that here קָו stands, where
the parallel shows קוה, probably the fruit merely of some error in
transcription. Verses like these point not to the derivation of Chronicles
from Kings, but rather of both from some older common source. This sea
of brass superseded the laver of the tabernacle (Exodus 30:18, 28;
31:9; 35:16; 39:39). It was called a sea on account of its size. We are told
in I Chronicles 18:8 whence David had drawn the supplies of metal
necessary for this work. The size of the diameter measured from upper rim
to rim (ten cubits) harmonizes, of course, to all practical purposes, with
that of the circumference (thirty cubits); it would assist questions
connected with the contents of this large vessel, however, if we had been
told whether the circumference were measured at the rim, or, as the form
of language here used might slightly favor, round the girth. (For these
questions, see v. 5 below.) This sea for the washing of the priests
significantly follows the altar. Beside the general suggestion of the need of
purification or sanctification, it here reminds of the fact that the earthly
priest and high priest must need the purification, which their great Antitype
would not need.
3 "And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it
round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two
rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast." The similitude of oxen. The parallel
gives simply “knops” (i.e. flower-buds) in the room of this expression, and no
word “similitude” at all, the characters spelling the word for “knops” being פְּקָעִים,
and those for "oxen" being בְּקָרִים. The presence of the word “similitude” strongly
suggests that the circles of decoration under description showed the
likenesses of oxen, not necessarily (as Patrick) “stamped” on the so-called
knops, but possibly constituting them. For the ambiguous under it of our
present verse the parallel says with definiteness, “under the brim of it.”
There is intelligibility, at all events, in the ornamentation being of these
miniature oxen, presumably three hundred in the circle of the thirty cubits.
The symbolism would harmonize with that which dictated the
superposition of the enormous vase on twelve probably life-size oxen.
There is a general preference, however, accorded to the opinion that the
present text has probably been the result of some copyist’s corruption, and
that the text of the parallel should be followed.
4 "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." The words of the Hebrew
text of this verse and the parallel (I Kings 7:25) are facsimiles.
5 "And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like
the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received
and held three thousand baths." An handbreadth. Not זֶרֶת, “a span”
(nevertheless tabled by Conder, ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ 2nd edit., p. 79, as a
handbreadth, and put at eight digits, two palms, or 5.33 inches), but טֶפַח,
“the palm of the open hand,” the breadth of the four fingers, which Thenius
puts at 3.1752 inches, but Conder’s table at 2.66 inches. It received and held
should be translated, it was able to hold. Three thousand baths. The parallel has
two thousand baths, and this latter is the likelier reading. It is, however,
conceivable that the statement of Kings may purport to give the quantity of
water used, and that of Chronicles the quantity which the vessel at its
fullest could accommodate. As to the real capacity of the bath, we are
hopelessly at sea. Josephus’s estimate of it is about eight gallons and a half,
that of the rabbinists about four gallons and a half (see Smith’s ‘Dictionary
of the Bible,’ 3:1742), and Conder, in the ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ p. 80, a
fractional quantity above six gallons. The largest bowls on the Assyrian
bas-reliefs, the silver bowl of Croesus, and
the bronze bowl in
(Herodotus, 1:51; 4:81), did not, under the lowest estimate of the bath,
hold as much as one-half of the contents of this vast sea of brass of
Solomon. The use of this vessel was, as we read in the next verse, for the
priests to wash in, or, as some would read, to wash at (Exodus 30:18-20).
6 "He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on
the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt
offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in."
This verse, with vs. 14-15, are all here that represent the lengthy account of bases
rather than layers, occupying in the parallel of I Kings 7:27-39, which,
however, omits to state the use of either sea or layers.
Acceptable Worship (vs. 1-6)
“He made an altar of brass.” This is a simple sentence enough, but it is one
which had a great significance to the people of God. For to that brazen
altar they came for many generations, and there:
Ø they either worshipped God and gained his Divine favor, or
Ø they failed to do the one and to secure the other.
It was the place of:
Ø sanctity or profanation,
Ø victory or defeat.
It, with the various regulations that applied to it and provisions that
were made for it, taught them, and it teaches us:
COMMUNION. God is not so far removed from us in His nature, nor are
we so separated from Him by our sin, but that He is willing to draw nigh to
us, is indeed desirous of meeting us. He is the Infinite and Eternal One,
imeasurably above us; but he is our heavenly Father, profoundly interested
in us and mindful of us. He is the Holy One, who hates all manner of
iniquity; but He is also the Merciful One, delighting to forgive and to
restore. He, therefore, not only permits His human children to meet Hhim
at His altar, in the sanctuary, but He positively enjoins this as a sacred
duty; He is displeased when we neglect to do so. But, apart from its
obligatoriness, it is “a good thing” for us, an exalted privilege and a most
valuable opportunity, “to draw nigh to God.” (Psalm 73:28)
brass was to receive sacrifices; and among these, sin offerings and trespass
offerings were to be conspicuous. We are to draw near to the God whom
we have grieved and wronged:
Ø with the language of confession on our lips, and
Ø pleading the Great Sacrifice as a propitiation for our sin.
HIMSELF TO HIS SERVICE. Burnt offerings (holocausts) and peace
offerings as well as sin offerings were presented at that brazen altar. In the
house of the Lord we are to consecrate our whole selves to HIM, and are to
recognize that all we have and are is HIS, to be spent in His fear and service.
SACRIFICE ARE PURE. In that “molten sea” (v. 2) the priests were to
wash, that they themselves might be unspotted when engaged in their
sacred work. And in the lavers (v. 6) they were to wash “such things as
they offered for the burnt offering,” the “gifts and sacrifices themselves.”
Both offerers and offerings were to be perfectly pure when the Holy One
we draw nigh to HIM now! It is only those who have “clean hands and a
pure heart” (Psalm 24:4), that can “see God” (Matthew 5:8), or that will
be accepted by Him. It is only those who worship “in spirit” who worship
Him at all (John 4:24). And as now we all — the whole Christian community
— are “priests unto God,” and are charged to present “spiritual sacrifices”
unto Him (I Peter 2:5), it becomes us to remember that both
Ø our own hearts and also
Ø our sacrifices, i.e. our thoughts, our feelings, our purposes, our
vows, our prayers, our praises, must be “clean” and pure!
We must be clean who “bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isaiah 52:11),
who speak His truth, who lead His people in prayer to Himself. And the
spiritual “gifts” of all who worship Him must be cleansed of all impurity,
of all selfishness and worldliness, of all insincerity, of all unholy rivalry
or envy, that they may “come up with acceptance” in the sight of God.
7 "And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and
set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left."
Ten candlesticks of gold. The only allusion to these in the parallel is found
later on in part of I Kings 7:49. According to their form. This expression,
though so vague, might point to the fact that the form of the old candlestick
of the tabernacle was adhered to (Exodus 25:31). But considering the recurrence
of the same words (v. 20), there can be no doubt that the phrase is identical in
its meaning with the use found in such passages as Leviticus 5:10; 9:16, and
means “according to the prescribed ordinance.”
Lights in the World (v. 7)
There are many difficulties and disagreements about the spiritual
significance of the temple furniture; but there is a general agreement as to
the meaning of the “candlestick,” or of these “ten candlesticks of gold” to
which the text refers. As in the “Divine compartment” of the “most holy
place” the Shechinah was the symbol of the Divine presence, and spoke of
the Lord God of
department of the “holy place’ these lights were the symbol of the Hebrew
Church, regarded as the center and source of light in the midst of
surrounding darkness. And such it was. We may well regard:
possessor than THE SOURCE, for communication between neighboring
countries was very much more limited then than it is now; and it was in its
later days that the Jew was such a traveler and such a propagandist. But
from the time that God made Himself and His will known to Moses, down
to the birth of Christ, Divine truth was known in
elsewhere, and “salvation was of the Jews” (John 4:22), as our Lord declared.
Comparing the theological and ethical ideas of the people of God with
those of contemporary peoples, we see how really enlightened they were.
And some of the most essential doctrines, on which all Divine wisdom, and
all moral excellency, and all national prosperity, and all individual well-
being (and to think
that the United States of
via the Judicial System has repudiated this, defies reason and imagination!!!
– CY – 2016) must always rest, were carried by the worshippers of Jehovah to
shone in the sanctuary went forth and illumined A LARGE SPACE!
great Teacher to His disciples, and through them to his Church for all time,
“Ye are the light of the world.” The Apostle Paul wrote to his converts at
2:15) And it becomes us to do two things:
Ø Manifest the great characteristic of light — purity. To “walk as children
of light,… in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:8-9);
as the servants of Him who Himself “is light, in whom is no darkness at
all” (I John 1:5); to be “holy as He is holy.” (I Peter 1:15)
Ø Discharge the great function of light — to reveal. To “make manifest”
(Ephesians 5:13) those great verities which renew and sustain and
ennoble us in heart and life. We are so to let our light shine that men may
see our good works, and glorify our Divine Father. (Matthew 5:16)
It does not take any prolonged study, or any range of experience, or any
remarkable talent, to cause men to know the redeeming truths which restore
them to God; which give them spiritual rest and abiding joy, and a hope
that will not make ashamed; which build them up in manly virtues and in
Christian graces; which prepare for the heavenly kingdom. Even the
humbler disciples, who claim no rank in the community, may render this
valuable service by:
Ø living a true, faithful, earnest life, day by day, in the love of Christ;
Ø speaking familiar Christian truth to those who are willing to hear it,
this good work can be wrought.
8 "He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the
right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basons of gold."
Ten tables. These tables also (the use of which is given in v. 19) are not
mentioned, so far as their making is concerned, in the parallel,
except in its summary (compare I Kings 7:48.), where furthermore only one
table, called “the table” (Exodus 25:23), is specified, with which agrees
our ch. 29:18. It is hard to explain this variation of statement.
It is at least an arbitrary and forced explanation to suppose that ten tables
constituted the furniture in question, while only one was used at a time.
Keil and Bertheau think that the analogy of the ten candlesticks points to
the existence of ten tables. The question, however, is, where is the call for,
or where are the indications of any analogy? An hundred basins of gold.
The Hebrew word employed here, and translated “basins,” is מִזְרְקֵי, as
also vs. 11, 22, infra; and I Kings 7:40, 45, 50; Exodus 27:3; 38:3;
Numbers 4:14; but it is represented as well by the English
translation “bowls” in I Chronicles 28:17; II Kings 25:15;
Numbers 7:13, 19, etc. The “pots,” however, of our vs. 11, 16 has
for its Hebrew הַסִּירות. It were well if, in names such as these, at any rate,
an absolute uniformity of version were observed in the translation, for the
benefit of the English reader, to say nothing of the saving of wasted time
for the student and scholar. These basins, or bowls, were to receive and
hold the blood of the slain victims, about to be sprinkled for purification
(see Exodus 24:6-8, where the word אַגָּן is used; ibid. ch. 29:12, 10, 20-21;
Leviticus 1:5, and passion; Hebrews 9:18-20; see also Exodus 38:3;
Numbers 4:14,) The Hebrew word מִזְרָק, whether appearing in
our version as "basin” or “bowl,” occurs thirty-two times, sixteen in
association exactly similar with the present (viz. Exodus 27:3; 38:3;
Numbers 4:14; I Kings 7:40, 45, 50; II Kings 12:13; 25:15;
I Chronicles 28:17; here ch. 4:8, 11, 22; Nehemiah 7:70;
Jeremiah 52:18-19; Zechariah 14:20), fourteen as silver bowls in
the time of the tabernacle for the meat offering of “fine flour mingled with
oil” (viz. Numbers 7:13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73, 79, 84-85),
and the remaining two in an entirely general application (Amos 6:6;
Zechariah 9:15). It is evident, therefore, that the מִזְרָק was not the
only vessel used for holding the blood of purification, nor was it
exclusively reserved to this use.
God’s Bounty and Our Response (v. 8)
The significance of the table of shew-bread (of which Solomon, in his
desire for fullness and richness of provision, now made ten) depends on its
position and on the objects it was to sustain. The table stood in the “holy
place,” very near to the inner sanctuary, where the presence of God was
symbolized; and it bore upon it the shewbread, or “bread of presence;” this
was so called because it was “the shewbread before me always”
(Exodus 25:30), continually in the presence of God. There were also
some vessels (ibid. v. 29) which were probably intended to receive
wine (“to pour out withal”), which was the ordinary accompaniment of
bread, as the source of daily sustenance. The whole arrangement pointed to:
and wine which largely constituted and adequately represented the
provision for the nation’s need were placed in the near presence of God, as
the One from whom they came. It was well that the Israelites should be
continually acknowledging that the fruit of the field was of Divine origin.
They were very mindful and very proud of the great gift of the manna,
which was a palpable and very remarkable provision from above — a clear
produce of the power and goodness of God. They would be in danger of
thinking that there was less of the Divine in the annual harvest; for this
was, in part, the result of their own labor, and came gradually, by ordinary
and gradual processes of nature. But Divine goodness and power were as
truly in the latter as in the former. From God Himself came the soil, the
seed, the sunshine, the rain, the airs and winds of heaven; from Him came
the power that made all these work together for the germination, growth,
and ripening of the grain (Jesus said “the
should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day,
and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth
bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full
corn in the ear.” – Mark 4:26-28 – CY – 2016) from Him also came the
knowledge and the skill which enabled the farmer to cultivate his ground
and to secure his harvest; it was also of God’s goodness that He required
of His children the putting forth of these powers, both of body and mind,
on the exercise of which so largely depended their health and character.
The shewbread and the wine, standing where they stood, were a perpetual
acknowledgment that all things which sustained and strengthened the nation
came from THE LORD THEIR GOD!
SERVICE OF GOD. It was significant enough that “pure frankincense
[was to be placed] on each row” of the loaves or cakes (Leviticus 24:7).
“The offering of incense was embodied prayer, and the placing of a
vessel of incense upon this bread was like sending it up to God on the
wings of devotion” (Fairbairn’s ‘Typology’). It was, therefore, “a kind of
sacrifice,” and is spoken of (ibid.) as “an offering unto the Lord.”
To present to God those things which are the recognized sources of
sustenance and strength, is to acknowledge that our power and our
resources belong to Him and should be paid to Him; it is, indeed, solemnly
to dedicate them to His service in formal worship. We do the same thing
now in our harvest thanksgiving services, and when we sing in the
sanctuary hymns ascribing all our comforts and all our well-being to the
good hand of our God. We only “perform our vows” when we dedicate to
God, in daily life, the strength and the possessions with which He has
enriched us; when we live in grateful remembrance of His love, in cheerful
obedience to His will. in active and earnest endeavor to serve His children
and extend His kingdom.
9 "Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court,
and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass."
The court of the priests (compare I Kings 6:36, where this
court is denominated the inner court, and any other court an outer one, i.e.
the great court only implicated thereby). The construction of this court of
the priests, withheld here, given there, leaves it ambiguous whether the
“three rows of hewed stones and one row of cedar beams" intends a
description of fence, as the Septuagint seems to have taken it, or of a
higher floor with which the part in question was dignified. The citation
Jeremiah 36:10, though probably pointing to this same court, can
scarcely be adduced as any support of J. D. Michaelis’ suggestion of this
latter, as its עֶלְיון (translated “higher”) does not really carry the idea of
the comparative degree at all. For once that it is so translated (and even
then probably incorrectly), there are twenty occurrences of it as the
superlative excellentiae. The introduction just here of any statement of
these courts at all, which seems at first inopportune, is probably accounted
for by the desire to speak in this connection of their doors and the brass
overlaying of them (I Kings 7:12; II Kings 23:12; here ch. 20:5;
Ezekiel 40:28; Condor’s ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ p. 370). It is
worthy of note that the word employed in our text, as also here ch. 6:13,
is not the familiar word חַצֵר of all previous similar occasions, but
עֲזרָהַ, a word of the later Hebrew, occurring also several times in Ezekiel,
though not in exactly the same sense, and the elementary signification of
the verb-root of which is “to gird,” or “surround.”
10 "And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south."
The right side of the east end, over against the south (so also I Kings 7:39; compare
Exodus 30:18). The sea found its position, therefore, in the place of the tabernacle
laver of old, between altar of brass and porch. It must be remembered that the
entrance was east, but it was counted to a person standing with the back to the
tabernacle or temple, as though he were, in fact, going out, not entering in, the
sacred enclosure; therefore on the right side will be southward, as written in this
11 "And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And
Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for
the house of God;" The pots. As stated above, the Hebrew word is הַסִּירות. It
occurs in the Old Testament twenty-seven times; it is translated in our
Authorized Version “pans” once and “caldrons” four times. By a manifest
copyist’s error, the parallel (I Kings 7:35) has כִירות, “layers,” by the
use of caph for samech. The use of the סִיר was to boil the peace
offerings, though some say they were hods in which to carry away the
ashes; and it certainly is remarkable that it is no one of the words employed
in I Samuel 2:14. In addition to these twenty-seven times, it occurs
also four times in Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Hosea, Nahum, with the meaning of
“thorns,” and once in Amos it is translated “fish-hooks.” The passage in
Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 7:6) is additionally remarkable, in the fact
that the root occurs twice in the same sentence in its different
significations, e.g. “the crackling of thorns under a pot.” The shovels. The
Hebrew word is הַיָעִים. This word occurs in the Old Testament nine times
— in Exodus, Numbers, Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah. The use of the
shovel was to remove the ashes. The basins should very probably read
The Manufacture of the
Ø Their appearance. Colossal winged figures; but whether, like the
cherubim of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:6) and of John (Revelation 4:7),
possessed of four faces (of a man, of a lion, of an ox, of an eagle) and six
wings, cannot be decided. Probably they had only one face, resembling that
of a man. Unlike the cherubim in the tabernacle, which were “beaten out of
one piece of gold” (Exodus 37:7), these were made of olive wood
(I Kings 6:23), presumably on account of its durability and firmness,
qualities which induced the Greeks to select it as the best material out of
which to construct idols (see Riehm, ‘Handworterbuch,’ art. “Oelbaum”).
The woodwork was overlaid with gold.
Ø Their dimensions. In height ten cubits (I Kings 6:23); their wings
were each five cubits long, or twenty cubits in all. They were thus twice as
broad as high, and probably altogether double in size to those on the
capporeth. (The English phrase mercy seat is a translation of the Hebrew
kapporeth (in the Masoretic text) and Greek ἱλαστήριον – hilasterion –
mercy seat - in the Septuagint) by William Tyndale influenced by the
German word Gnadenstuhl as in the Luther Bible; Gnadenstuhl,
literally meaning seat of grace - Wikipedia)
Ø Their position. In the holy of holies, their feet upon the ground, their
wings touching the walls on either side, and their faces directed towards
the interior of the building, i.e. towards the holy place, whence only an
intruder could enter the secret shrine. Underneath and between their
outstretched wings, the ark, with the mercy-seat and the lesser cherubim,
were subsequently placed (here ch. 5:8).
Ø Their meaning. That similar winged figures are met with in the
mythologies and religions of Oriental peoples, in particular of the
Egyptians and Assyrians, does not prove the cherubim of Jewish theology
to have been derived from those. That in those the beast-figure prevails,
while in these the human face predominates, marks an essential distinction
between the two. Hence the notion that among the Hebrews the cherubim
higher significance than such winged creatures had in
idea common to Oriental religions, that the life of nature is identical with
the life of God (Bahr) — is to be rejected. So also is the opinion that they
were purely mythical figures, like the Egyptian or Greek sphinxes (the
former half-man and half-lion, the latter half-woman and half-lion), or like
the colossal winged lions at the doors of Babylonian and Assyrian temples
Keilinschriften, p. 40). That they represented real beings is now generally
believed (Hofmann, Kurtz, Keil, Kliefoth, and others), and appears implied
in the passage where they are first mentioned (Genesis 3:24). That they
belonged to the same order of super-terrestrial existences as the angels and
the seraphim of Scripture seems a necessary inference, from the fact that all
three — angels (Psalm 68:17), seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), and cherubim
(II Samuel 22:11; Psalm 18:10) — are depicted as attending
Jehovah in His theophanies, or manifestations of Himself to men. That they
were different from angels may be inferred from the fact that these are
never exhibited as winged, and are usually represented as Jehovah’s
messengers (Psalm 104:4), which the cherubim never are. It is not so
certain that they were different from the seraphim, or shining ones
(Isaiah 6:2): who in appearance, situation, and function resembled
them, having six wings, appearing always in the vicinity of the self-revealing
Jehovah, and proclaiming aloud the presence of His glory. Yet
from the fact that they are commonly exhibited as bearers or upholders of
the Divine throne (Ezekiel 1:26), whereas the seraphim surround the
throne (Isaiah 6:2), it may be concluded that the two, though belonging
to the same order, were not the same species of being (cf. Delitzsch on
Isaiah to 6:2). At the same time, whilst holding the cherubim to have been
images intended to represent real existences, it need not be assumed that
the actual cherubim had really the four faces of a man, of a lion, of an ox,
and of an eagle. These belong to the department of symbology, in which
supersensuous ideas are set forth in sensuous images. Hence, inasmuch as
the human face represents the notion of intelligence, the leonine that of
strength, the bovine that of endurance, and the aquiline that of keenness of
vision, combined perhaps with the idea of swiftness of motion, the
ascription of these to the cherubim can only mean that these heavenly
beings were possessed of all the elements of a perfect life, and, as the
crown and summit of creation, stood nearest GOD.
Ø Their function. Comparing the Scriptures in which they are alluded to,
the following may be regarded as the complex function performed by the
o To proclaim the Divine pretence, so that, wherever they are or appear,
GOD IS (Psalm 18:10; Exodus 25:22; Ezekiel 1:26);
o to keep guard over places rendered holy by the Divine presence, so that
no unholy person might irreverently intrude therein (Genesis 3:24); and
o to symbolize that only beings themselves perfect could stand in the
presence of the glory of God (Revelation 4:8). All three functions may
be said to have been performed by the colossal figures in Solomon’s
temple as well as by the smaller cherubim on the capporeth in the
tabernacle (see Kurtz, in Herzog’s ‘Real Encyclopadie,’ art.
“Cherubim; “Riehm” in ‘Handworterbuch,’ art. “Cherubim;” Keil,
‘Die Biblische Arehaotogie,’ pp. 92, etc.).
Ø Its material. Like the other articles in the interior of the house, it was
made of cedar wood and overlaid with gold (I Kings 7:48). That in the
tabernacle was formed of shittim wood overlaid with gold; was two cubits
high, one long, and one broad; was furnished with a covering, and horns of
the same wood overlaid with gold (Exodus 37:25).
Ø Its position.
o In the holy place; and
o immediately in front of the entrance to the holy of holies, i.e. before
the curtain, or second veil.
o Its use. As in the tabernacle (Exodus 37:29), so in the temple, it was
intended for the burning of fragrant incense before the holy of holies
day and night, to symbolize the adoration of Jehovah’s worshipping
Ø Their number. Ten. This was demanded by the larger dimensions of the
temple in comparison with the tabernacle, which contained only one.
Ø Their form. Each seven-branched, as in the tabernacle, i.e. consisting of
a main stalk with three branches on either side, rising to the same height as
that, each of the six branches and the middle stalk being crowned with a
lamp (Exodus 25:31, etc.; 37:17, etc.).
Ø Their ornaments. Bowls, knops, and flowers, as in the tabernacle
candlestick, seeing that each in the temple was constructed “according to
Ø Their utensils. Snuffers and basins; the former to trim the wicks, the
latter to receive what was removed by the process.
Ø Their use. To keep a light continually burning in the holy place and
before the holy of holies (Exodus 25:37; 27:20).
Ø Their material. Of gold (v. 7), pure (v. 20), and perfect (v. 21). In this,
again, they resembled the candlestick in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:31).
Ø Their position. In the holy place, before the oracle, five on either side.
Ø Their significance. To symbolize either:
o the light of God’s favor which the worshippers or the sacred
community (represented by the priest who ministered in their name)
enjoyed, when their sins had been first covered by the blood shed
in the forecourt (Psalm 36:9; 89:15); or
illumination which the Spirit-enlightened
collectively and individually, should shed forth upon the world
(Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:15).
Ø Their number. Ten; in the tabernacle, one.
Ø Their position. Five on either side of the holy place. The one table in the
tabernacle stood upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the
veil (Exodus 40:22).
Ø Their material. Of gold (I Chronicles 28:16).
Ø Their purpose. To receive and set forth the shewbread, or the loaves of
unleavened bread, twelve on each table, which were commanded to be set
before the face of Jehovah continually (Exodus 25:30).
Ø Their significance. To symbolize religious truths which it concerned
the eating of them the sight of God’s face was associated, but because they
stood continually in God’s presence as emblematic:
the spiritual food
they should perform through Divine assistance, and
o of the spiritual nourishment pardoned worshippers should receive
from God (Exodus 24:11).
Ø Its position. In the interior of the fore court (I Kings 8:22, 64).
Ø Its dimensions. Twenty cubits long, twenty broad, and ten high.
Ø Its material. Brass.
Ø Its use. To offer thereupon the burnt offerings presented by the
worshippers who came to the temple.
Ø Its appearance. A huge metallic basin, supported on the backs of
twelve metallic oxen — “three looking toward the north, three looking
toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward
the east,” all having their hinder parts inward. The basin had the form of a
cup, decorated on the brim with flowers of lilies, underneath the brim with
two rows of “knops,” ten in a cubit, therefore with three hundred in all,
compassing the basin around (v. 4; compare I Kings 7:28).
Ø Its size. Ten cubits in diameter and thirty in circumference, five cubits
high and a handbreadth in thickness, with a capacity of three thousand, or,
according to a more accurate measurement (I Kings 7:26), two
thousand baths, i.e. upwards of twelve thousand gallons. With this may be
the basin borne by twelve lions in the
the two giant sandstone vases which were found by Muller at Amathus in
four handles, and rested on eight bulls, four in each half- round of the oval
(see in Herzog and in Riehm, art. “Meer ehernes”).
Ø Its situation. Between the brazen altar and the porch, on the right side of
the west end, over against the south of the court (v. 10).
Ø Its use. For the priests to wash in when they came to engage in the
sacrificial worship of the sanctuary (v. 6; compare Exodus 30:19-21).
Ø Its significance.
o The form and decorations of the vessel showed it was designed for
priestly service. “Its form, that of an open lily cup, corresponded to its
purpose. If all budding and blossoming signified holiness and
priesthood (Numbers 16:7; Psalm 92:14), the flower named the white,
i.e. the lily, must have been pre-eminently the priestly one” (Bahr).
o The twelve oxen on which it rested accorded with the same idea. Oxen
were the principal sacrificial animals, especially for the priests (Exodus
29:10, etc.; Leviticus 4:3, etc.; 16:11; Numbers 8:8). Twelve were
selected, hardly for the sake of symmetry (Thenius), or to represent the
twelve months of the year (Vatke), but, like the twelve loaves of
shewbread, and the twelve lions on Solomon’s throne (I Kings 10:20),
the twelve tribes of
were placed, like the oxen, three to each quarter of the heavens
o The washing of the priests was emblematic of that inward spiritual
purity without which none can approach a holy God, or render to
Him acceptable service (Isaiah 1:16; Hebrews 10:22).
Ø Its history. In after years it was taken down from off the brazen oxen by
Ahaz and set upon a pavement of stones (II Kings 16:17); it was
ultimately broken in pieces by the Chaldeans, and its brass conveyed to
transported as booty to the East (Jeremiah 52:20).
Ø Their material. Brass.
Ø Their number. Ten.
Ø Their position. Five on the right and five on the left of the brazen altar.
Ø Their appearance. Basins resting upon bases or pedestals with wheels
(v. 14), of which a minute description is given in I Kings 7:27-37.
Ø Their dimensions. Every laver or basin four cubits in diameter.
Ø Their contents. Forty baths, or two hundred and forty gallons.
Ø Their use. To wash the victims in when these were brought to the
priests to be offered upon the altar.
12 "To wit, the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters which
were on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the
two pommels of the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars;"
The pommels. The Hebrew word is גֻלֹת, translated in the
parallel “bowls.” The word occurs in the Old Testament twelve times, and
is translated six times (in Judges and Joshua) "springs,” four times “bowls,”
and twice “pommels.” It was an architectural ornament to the capital, in
shape like a ball. The chapiters. The Hebrew word כֹּתֶרֶת occurring
twenty-three times or more, and always translated thus; in modern
architecture, the head or capital of the pillar. The two wreaths. The word
is כֹּתֶרֶת, occurring fifteen times, and translated seven times “net-work,”
five times “wreath,” or “wreathen-work,” once a “snare,” once “checkerwork,”
and once a “lattice.” These wreaths were of some lace pattern
plaiting and festoons of fancy chain-work. The fuller expression of them is
found in I Kings 7:17, though in description not more distinct, certainly
— “nets of checker-work, and wreaths of chain-work.”
13 "And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of
pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters
which were upon the pillars." Four hundred pomegranates. This number of
pomegranates substantially agrees with the parallel (I Kings 7:20), There were two
hundred of them on each wreath that encircled the chapiter. The
pomegranate was a favorite ornament in work as well as in more solid
architectural forms (Exodus 28:33-34). The popularity of the fruit as
food (Numbers 13:23; 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8; Joshua 15:32; 21:25),
its simple beauty to the eye (Song of Solomon 4:3,13), and its
welcome homeliness, will quite account for this beside any symbolic
significance that may have become attached to it. The description of the
pomegranate as a fruit may be found in any Bible dictionary, but especially
in Tristram’s ‘Natural History of the Bible.’
14 "He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases;
15 One sea, and twelve oxen under it." Bases. The first mention of these in
Chronicles, on which so much is said in the parallel (I Kings 7:27-39). The
Hebrew word is מְכונָה, occurring eighteen times in Kings, twice in
Chronicles, once in Ezra, and three times in Jeremiah. These bases were,
as may be learned more fully in the parallel, pedestals of brass four cubits
square by three and a half high, supported by wheels a cubit and a half in
diameter. The pedestals were richly decorated with moldings, and with the
similitudes of lions, oxen, and cherubim, and with other subordinate
ornamental work, and were designed to bear the layers, the use of which
is given in v. 6. Vs. 6-16 in our chapter strongly suggest, in their
repetitiousness, the writer’s resort to different sources and authorities
for his matter.
16 "The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their
instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the
house of the LORD of bright brass." Flesh-hooks. Hebrew, מִזְלָגוח,
occurring twice in Exodus (Exodus 27:3; 38:3), once in Numbers, and twice
in Chronicles. Another form of the same root, מַזְלֵג occurs twice in
Samuel, in the same sense of “flesh-hook” (I Samuel 2:13-14), where also
its use is made dramatically plain. Huram his father; i.e. his chief artist.
17 "In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground
between Succoth and Zeredathah. 18 Thus Solomon made all these vessels
in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.
19 And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God,
the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set;"
In the plain… in the clay; i.e. in the Ciccar (or round,
equivalent to the New Testament “region round about “) of
distinctive designation of the
Bible,’ p. 213). The region here intended lies east of the river, in what
became the division of Gad. Succoth lay a little to the north of the river
Jabbok, which flows almost east to west into the
Zarthan of I Kings 7:46; and this latter is in the Hebrew also the same
in characters and all with the Zaretan of Joshua 3:16. Very possibly the
place is the same as Zererath (Judges 7:22). The exact sites of these
places are not known, though the range within which they all lay is clear
(see Grove’s article in Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 3:1817). The clay
ground; that is, "the clay of the ground" (Hebrew). The radical idea of the
word here translated “clay” is “thickness,” which should not be rendered,
as in margin, “thicknesses.” The word (עָב) occurs in all thirty-five times,
and is rendered a large proportion of these times “clouds” or “thick
clouds” (e.g. Exodus 19:9), clouds being presumably thicknesses in air;
but if the subject-matter in question be in wood, or growing timber, or the
ground, the word is rendered conformably “thick planks” (I Kings 7:6;
Ezekiel 41:25-26), or “thickets” (Jeremiah 4:29), or “clay” (as
here), to distinguish from other lighter or more friable soil.
20 "Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the
manner before the oracle, of pure gold;" Candlesticks... lamps, that they should
burn after the manner before the oracle. Ten candlesticks, as we learn here and in
v. 7, supersede in Solomon’s temple the one candlestick, with its central shaft
lamp, and the three branch lamps on either side of Moses and the
tabernacle (Exodus 25:31-37; 37:17-24; Leviticus 24:4; Josephus,
sanctuarii,” etc.). This single candlestick was restored in Zerubbabel’s
temple. The present ten candlesticks, or strictly candelabra, of Solomon
are said at one time to have been placed in a row like a rail before the veil,
and connected with a chain under which the high priest went on the Day of
Atonement into the inner sanctuary. The removal of these candelabra is
recorded Jeremiah 52:19. The expression, “after the manner,” points to
the various and somewhat minute regulation for the lighting, trimming, and
keeping alight of the lamps, all or some, of the candelabra (Exodus
27:19-21; Leviticus 24:1-3). The use of the word for “lamp” (נֵר) in
some passages (I Samuel 3:3; II Samuel 21:17; Proverbs 13:9; 20:27;
Psalm 18:28) suggests not the part as used for the whole in speaking
of the candelabrum, but more probably that the perpetual burning
was not of all seven lamps, but of one, the central shaft.
21 "And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, made he of gold,
and that perfect gold;" The flowers; Hebrew, פֶרַה, occurring sixteen times,
of which number it is translated "flowers" thirteen times, “buds” twice, and
“blossom” once. The flower was a part of the ornamentation of the
branches of the candelabrum (Exodus 25:31, 33). The tongs; Hebrew,
מֶלְקָחַיִם, occurring six times, of which number it is translated five times
“tongs,” but once “snuffers” (Exodus 37:23). This latter is the
correcter translation, perhaps. The instrument, at any rate, was to trim the
lamp-wicks (Exodus 25:38).
22 "And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers,
of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for
the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were
of gold." The snuffers; Hebrew, מְזַמְרות, occurring five times, and
always translated “snuffers.” A slightly different form of the word is
translated “pruning-hooks" four times in the Prophets Isaiah, Joel, and Micah.
No doubt these snuffers were something different from the tongs of the
preceding verse; the use of one may have been rather to cut the wicks, and
the other to trim them. The spoons; Hebrew, כַפ. This is the word used so
often for the “hand,” but the essential idea of which is the hollow of either
hand or foot or other thing, and among other things of a spoon shape. The
word is used of the frankincense-cups (Numbers 7:14, 20, 26) brought
to the dedication of the tabernacle by the several princes. The censers;
Hebrew, מַחְתּות. These were “snuff-dishes” (Exodus 25:38; 37:23;
Numbers 4:9). The entry of the house; Hebrew, פֶּתַח. Some think
this word refers to the door-frames, as distinct from the door-leaves or
doors themselves. But the parallel (I Kings 7:50) gives us what is
translated as “hinges” (Hebrew, פות), a word that occurs only here in any
such sense, as presumably (Gesenius, ‘ Lexicon ‘) “the hollowed part of a
hinge,” and Isaiah 3:17 for the pudenda muliebria. The mistaken
transcribing of a kheth for a tau will amply account for the difference.
The Preparation for the Building of the
These two chapters deal with temple, its site, its exact proportions and measurements,
its contents and furniture, vessels and instruments. Upon the first glance, and merely
superficial reading of these, it may seem that they bear little relation to us, address
no special messages to us, and proffer but little instruction adapted to our
light, our times, our confessedly more spiritual form of religion. A
little longer thought, more patient inquiry, and deeper consideration will go
far to correct, or, at any rate, to modify, an estimate of this kind. Perhaps
no devout mind, in a healthy state, unsophisticated and unvitiated by
special freak of education, will fail to feel, free of argument, that the
principles underlying the directions of minutest detail of outward work
once, find their use and application now within the domain of motive, of
purity of motive, and exactitude in judging, not the motives of others, but
our own; within the domain, again, of cheerful, ungrudging giving to
Christ and to His living Church; and within the domain of that exalted but
perfectly simple law of giving, not the lame, the blind, the blemished, and
the utter superfluity of our own possessions, but the first and the best, and
of what may call for some self-denial, some self-sacrifice. Add to these
considerations the hard fact that, in the name of Christianity, in the purer
name of Christ Himself, and for the love of Him, now for twenty centuries
(repudiating that narrowest of all things, a narrow construction of the
spirituality of the simplest and purest religion possible) the instinct of the
disciples and followers of Christ has expended on the art of ecclesiastical
architecture, the art of ecclesiastical painting, the art of ecclesiastical music
— all things of the outside, if so they must be called — an amount of care,
time, skill, devotion, exactness, and wealth of precious things, exceeding
millionfolds all devoted to the
and required for them, even by highest inspiration of the pattern showed on
the mount. It is, therefore, a great historic mistake, and a blinded or
oblivious reading of history, when any presume to suppose that the detail,
exactness, material grandeur, and contribution of all costly things
commanded for the temple of the ancient Jew are not paralleled by their
almost identical likes in the Church of the Christian! For such reasons as
these it is interesting, and it is useful, to review the injunctions and the
methods and the accomplished results of Solomon’s work as rehearsed in
these chapters. They contain the seminal principles which Christian work
still demands, and by which the Christian Church should be guided. Far,
then, from slighting and underrating the significance of the sacred
principles that underlay the religion of elder days, and of that chosen
people, to whom it was conveyed in all its outer detail by special
revelation, let us be encouraged to consider it attentively, now, in respect
of that holy house, the temple, which stood for so much in the minds of a
great and remarkable nation, and which was a manifestation of so much of
the mind and will of God to them first, and through them and after them to
the world. For we are here reminded of:
FOUNDATIONS OF THE
Ø Where sin had been sternly reminded of its just punishment
(I Chronicles 21:15-17), and had grievously felt it.
Ø Where the interposing angel of the Lord appeared, and spoke and stayed
the destruction and pestilence (ibid. v. 27), in answer to confession,
repentance, and sacrifice.
Ø Where that same sacrifice was offered on the new-builded altar, which
was paid for, and everything necessary to the sacrifice upon it paid for by
David, that it might as far as possible be the perfect offering of self. The
house and the altar were almost synonymous (I Chronicles 22:1). And
we are reminded of the greatest fact, the central fact, that there is no such
thing as a true Church without altar. The one, only true and ever-abiding
Church of the living God on earth is the sacred environment of the solemn
altar, is founded one with it, built up round about it, grows out of it,
as did the
Solomon, from it, and ever must have it for its center.
BUILDING OF THE
may be justly regarded as marking:
Ø The Divine estimate as to human need of revelation for all that pertains
to real religion. There is something that inevitably and invariably
differences natural religion from revealed religion. It lacks direction,
stability, and a real living connection between the worshipped and the
worshipper, the great Adorable and the humble sinful adorer. This is
supplied by revelation, which is by most deliberate preference not partial,
not fitful, not a thing to be taken or left, but uniform, spreading everywhere
and penetrating to each detail.
Ø The reverence towards all that affects our spiritual and eternal weal,
which Heaven would help us to feel and earnestly to believe in.
Ø The kind sympathetic interest with which the August Majesty Himself
would wish to help us assure ourselves that He tends even the human side
of religious institutions. He “dwells in light unapproachable” (I Timothy 6:16),
and yet Himself is not inaccessible, is not afar off, is nigh to us. What a
welcome thought, inspiring thought, that He helps us build our very place of
DIVINE INSTRUCTION MODELLED FOR OUR IMITATION. After
the tabernacle, in time indeed, but second to it in no other sense, nor
strictly separable from it, here was the beginning of corporate Church life
and institution and building. All things must be done “decently and in
order” (I Corinthians 14:40); “as to the Lord, and not to men” alone;
“not with eye-service.” (Ephesians 6:6-7) And as real religion is the only
real life, how sure were all the carefulness and exactitude now prescribed
and exemplified to draw up, and constantly to tend to draw up, lesser life,
home life, and individual life! The individual life (time and illustrations
without number have shown it) will grow more divinely ordered for that
man whose taste, whose knowledge, but, above all, whose deep principle
reverences, observes, and “observes to do” all the words of such
commandments, with those that correspond with them, and
are their heirs and successors, as are contained in these chapters.
CONTENTS OF THE
ALL SMALLEST DETAILS, BEAUTIFUL IN DESIGN AND MAKE,
GENUINE AND SOLID, AND COSTLY.
GREATER THAN IT. Beside the many lesser vessels and instruments,
each of which had its ancillary (and therefore not unimportant) relation to
the greater vessels, or to the worship, service, and sacrifices for which
those greater were ordained, there were some of special, marked, leading
importance; while the distinguishing importance of some others lay strictly
in their import. Call attention to just the things which arc said of:
Ø The greater house; its gold; its ceiling, with fine gold, palm-tree
figures and chains; its walls, with graven cherubim.
Ø The most holy house; its fine gold; its two symbolic cherubim;
its veil, with wrought cherubim.
Ø The two pillars; their height; their chapiters, with chains and
pomegranates; their names and respective positions.
[The general homiletics of ch. 3. and 4. combined close here, and the more
particular homiletics appropriate to ch. 4. separately, follow here].
The Altar, The Sea, The Light, and The Bread (vs. 1-22)
The homiletics of this chapter, viewed in certain general aspects, have been
already treated with those of ch. 3. But it remains to notice other
interesting and important aspects of the contents of this chapter. As soon
as these are exhibited in such a manner as to make their relative importance
apparent, they do indeed become of marked interest.
BRASS. The contents of the temple begin from this. The sacrifice is the
great feature; nay, the great fact of worship on the part of the Church on
earth. By this early forecast of prophecy; by the earlier of the tabernacle; by
the much earlier of the patriarchs’ house and family; by one earlier even
than that — by the earliest of all, just outside the garden of Eden, and
“eastward” of it, and in the presence of “cherubim” and “flaming sword”
there, — the sacrifice is what Scripture brings prominently to our view.
Take note also of the “golden altar” (v. 19). Well may it be that, though
in every corruptest form of religion, no heathen tribe that emerges to view
in our wide fields of missionary enterprise needs to be taught one thing,
viz. the place of “sacrifice and offering” in religion, the call for it, the
efficacy of it. Can we deny, all charity granted, that the lesson all this
teaches nothing short of blindness can fail to see and acknowledge!
BRASS, with its symbolic lily-flower ornamentation. The use of the
“molten sea” is expressly stated. That use reminds us primarily of the need
on the part of the priests of old, and of those of modern day, who in even a
more real sense take their place, of all cleanness of hand, of deed, of word,
of thought, of conscience; furthermore, of the perpetually recurring need of
the cleansing and renewing of their spirit; and of this most solemn thought,
that even in their holiest work impurity and defilement may be first
contracted, and most disastrously. (I just experienced a touch of this about
ten minutes ago. I read of Mr. Spurgeon, that he said he could have very
bad thoughts, even when praying! CY – 2016) And then, by all most just
and certain of inference, it reminds all believers, all servants of God and
our Lord Jesus Christ, all saints and faithful, of their perpetual need of such
purification as consists of self-examining and self-watching together
with the direct and only all-sufficing sanctification of the Holy Ghost.
of the victims and sacrificial offerings themselves, remind us what pure
offerings and genuine sacrifices all that we bring to God should be; broken
and contrite hearts, simplest motives, genuine affections, and the outward
objective gifts we bring, not merely ungrudged, but — best proof of the
same — OF OUR BEST of what may have cost us self-denial, some
preparation, some honest labor to make them a little less unworthy of the
Master’s work. To bring the blemished, to bring what we can so utterly
dispense with, that we either do not know it is gone, or are glad to know it,
is, in plain words, to bring POLLUTED OFFERINGS.
probably of sevenfold lamps. They were for actual light. They were typical
of that yet more actual SPIRITUAL LIGHT that must ever be present in the
true Church, must ever be witnessed to by it, and which must ever be shed
forth from the true Church. We are not to forget that these, too, were made
from the pattern shown in the mount. And the various and beautiful
Scripture references to them are most animating to think of (see, for
instance, Zechariah 4:1-3, 11-14; Revelation 1:12-13, 20; 2:1; 11:3-5).
shewbread, which lay there one week, and was after that to be eaten by the
priests alone. Though it is not distinctly revealed what the twelve loaves of
shewbread intended, the very mystery left hanging about it enhances our
interest in it, since high importance is repeatedly attached to the mention of
it. It must justly be regarded as an ordinance; it must surely typify
nourishment, and that not the mere nourishment of the body, but of very
spiritual life. It was the shewbread, i.e. of God; the presence-bread, i.e. of
God. Was it not one perpetual standing type of THE BREAD OF LIFE —
the Bread that was to come down from heaven for the life of the world?
And after these five leading declarations of the contents of the temple, and
the preparation of them, there follow descriptions of several lesser ones, all
beautiful, all pure and costly in their material, each with its distinct
tributary service and use. Distinct attention may be invited to the
seventeenth verse, specifying the place where King Hiram cast the precious
metal vessels, and the pillars, etc. It must not be said that this statement
may not be important, and may serve merely some perhaps evidential use
at some time or another, in corroborating the general contents of this holy
Yet, if it be so, the mere suggestions it inevitably excites are worth giving
some expression to. The moral suggestions of the clay ground and
thickened clay, by help of which and in which the finest vessels, and most
enduring monuments of metal were cast and fashioned, are fruitful. They
may recall to us the very mould original of that body into which the
Almighty breathed the breath of life, and countless instances in the history
of the individual and of the Church, when the Master-Potter has indeed
shown his sovereign power and unchallengeable right over the clay. Out of
it, what vessels of grace and beauty and enduringness has not He fashioned!
by aid of it, and all its humiliation, what grand results to character,
discipline, and sanctification, has not He brought about! and — not the least
encouragement to our faith and patience in trial, in affliction, in the horrible
pit and miry clay — how has the very contrast astonished and delighted the
beholding Church and world, between the methods used and the Divine
results obtained! But the humble sufferer himself has been not a mere
admiring beholder. His tears have been turned into smiles and joy; and even
on earth he has learned how the “suffering” has been outweighed beyond all
estimate by gain, advantage, and that which he best knows to be the
earnest of a certain “eternal weight of glory.” (II Corinthians 4:17)
Completeness in Christian Service (vs. 11-22)
Sacred service may be of two kinds: it may be feeble, slight, slovenly,
wholly incomplete and unsatisfactory; or, on the other hand, it may be
vigorous, effective, thorough, commanding the esteem of men and securing
the commendation of Christ. The way in which Solomon’s temple was built
brings before us the more excellent order of service. It was characterized by:
and of the gold, are suggestive of strength and solidity. Our work for
Christ should have no slightness about it; it should be good, solid, durable;
work that will resist the disintegrating forces about us; that may be “tried
by fire” and still endure (see I Corinthians 3:12-15). For such a result
we must not be content with stirring the emotions; we must convince the
judgment, must produce conviction in the soul, must reach and win the
whole spiritual nature.
wreaths, and pomegranates (vs. 12-13). Beauty as well as strength was
in the building of the temple, and should be in the sanctuary of God, in the
service of Jesus Christ (Psalm 96:6). We should introduce into the
work we do for our Master all the graces that we can bring — meekness of
spirit, unselfishness of purpose, conciliatoriness of tone and temper,
excellency of workmanship. On the top of the pillars should be
pomegranates; covering and adorning our service should be sweetness and
loveliness of manner and of spirit.
That was obviously a more fitting place for such an operation than the near
neighborhood of the site of the temple. Everything in its own time and
place. That which is wholly unfitted for the sanctuary may be quite right
and altogether suitable and desirable in the hall or in the home. The fitness
or unfitness of the surroundings of a work may make all the difference
between the excellent and the objectionable, between the useful and the
shovels, and the basins” (v. 11). “And the flowers, and the lamps, and the
tongs, made he of gold, and that perfect gold” (v. 21). Nothing was too
small or too trivial to be made by this skilled artificer, or to be made by him
with the best material. There is nothing we can do in the service of our
Lord that is not honorable and worthy of our manhood; nothing that we
should not do to the full height of our ability.
Christ’s vineyard in a spirit of perfunctoriness, as the workman who will do
no more than is imperatively demanded of him. Ours is not a slavery; nor
are we hirelings. We are the children of God; we are the friends of Jesus
Christ; we are co-workers with Him; His interests are ours also; we long
intensely for the coming of His kingdom. We shall not do stintingly or
grudgingly what we do for Him. We shall not count the hours, or the days,
or the weeks we spend in His service; we shall not measure the powers we
employ for His glory. We shall gladly pour forth all our faculties, shall give
in “great abundance” of our resources, that His Name may be extolled, and
that He may be made “very high.”
the flowers, etc., of gold, “and that perfect gold” (v. 21). The purest gold
that could be obtained was used. The thought, the feeling, the energy, that
is most perfectly refined of all dross of earthliness and selfishness, should
be brought to the service of THE DIVINE REDEEMER!
(v. 11). “The end crowns the work.” Well is it for the Christian workman
when, having endured all criticisms, having borne all rebuffs, having met
and mastered all difficulties, having submitted to all disappointments,
having cheerfully wrought all his labors and having struck his last stroke,
he can say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
(John 17:4) For him is a generous commendation and a large reward
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