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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

2 Chronicles 3

 

 

Verses 1-17

THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE

(vv.1-17)

We are reminded that the site of the temple was Mount Moriah, on property bought by David from Oman the Jebusite, where his threshing floor had been (v.1). For we must observe that the suffering of tribulation, as pictured in the threshing floor, must precede the joy of the establishing of God's house. Suffering must always come before glory (1 Peter 4:13).

The date of beginning of building is carefully noted in verse 2, the second day of the second month in the fourth year of Solomon's reign. Thus, it was neither rushed at the beginning of his reign nor delayed for a long time. In God's ways there is always orderly preparation and orderly progression: He is never premature or late in whatever He does.

The foundation (v.3) speaks of the fact that what God builds is solid and enduring, as indicated in Hebrews 11:10, - "the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." The size, 60 by 20 cubits, was not great compared to many buildings of our present time, for this was only about 90 by 30 feet. But the magnificence of the temple was far beyond any present day building.

There was also a vestibule across the width of the house, that is, 20 cubits in width, though the depth of it is not mentioned. But the height (120 cubits) is immense, and seems out of proportion with the rest of the building. However, some Septuagint manuscripts evidently read 20 instead of 120. The inside of this was overlaid with pure gold, for the house was God's dwelling place, though in Chronicles the emphasis is placed upon the house as being the way of approach to God.

The larger room, that is, the outer sanctuary (its size 20 by 40 cubits), was panelled with cypress and overlaid with fine gold, with carved palm trees and chainwork. The palm trees speak of both the fruitfulness and the victory of the Lord Jesus. The chainwork reminds us of the words of the Lord to the shepherdess, "Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold" (Song of Solomon 1:10). Rather than having a stiff neck, her neck was submissive to the gracious authority of the Lord Jesus, that is, "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Thus the golden chain speaks of the gentle authority of the Lord Jesus in His ability to bring souls willingly to submit to Him. How different are the chains and fetters of iron spoken of in Psalms 49:8, which indicate the enforced bondage of those who refuse to be willingly subject to the Lord.

The house was decorated with precious stones, each of these reflecting some particular virtue of the Lord Jesus as is the case with every colour. All the woodwork was overlaid with gold, for the wood speaks of humanity in its various forms, and this was to be covered by that which speaks of God's glory. Cherubims were also carved on the walls. The cherubims picture the sovereign government of God, as is also witnessed in the two cherubim on the mercy seat.

The most holy place was half the size of the outer sanctuary, that is, 20x20x20 cubits. Thus, it formed a perfect cube. Since it is symbolical of the dwelling place of God, its three dimensions are identical, speaking of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit being equal. We could say that part of the sanctuary was length, part of it breadth and part of it height. Rather all of it is comprehended in each of these dimensions. Thus also the Father is not part of God: He is God absolutely and perfectly. The Son is God, and the Spirit is God. To emphasise this, all was overlaid with fine gold. Even the nails were of gold, their weight fifty shekels.

Inside the holy place there were also cherubim, two of them, carved in gold, their wings outstretched, each wing measuring 5 cubits, so that the two inside wings touched each other and thus the whole 20 cubits of the wall was included in their wing spans (vv.10-13). We are not to think of the cherubims as created beings, for no creature can share in the glory of God's presence, but they symbolise the principle of God's government in its perfect balance, both grace and truth united in maintaining God's authority.

As in the tabernacle, there was a veil separating the most holy place from the outer sanctuary. This was made of blue, purple, crimson and fine linen. All of these speak of the various beauties of the Manhood of the Lord Jesus, for the veil was to represent "His flesh" (Hebrews 10:20).

In front of the temple Solomon placed two pillars 35 cubits high with a capital at the top of each measuring five cubits. The pillars speak of that which is stable and outstanding (Galatians 2:9; Revelation 3:12). Wreaths of chainwork were put on top of the pillars and 100 graven pomegranates were put on the wreaths. As we have mentioned, the chainwork speaks of willing submission to the authority of the Lord Jesus. Pomegranates are noted for their profusion of seeds, thus indicating the promise of great fruit, which is the result of submission to the Lord. The pillars were named Jachin (meaning "He will establish"), and Boaz ("in him is strength"), indicating the solidity and power of the Lord Jesus.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 3:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-chronicles-3.html. 1897-1910.

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