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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

1 Kings 6

 

 

Verse 1

CONTENTS

This chapter furnisheth a number of interesting particulars concerning the building of Solomon's temple. The time it took in building until it was finished. In the earlier part of this service the words of the Lord came unto Solomon with promises concerning it.

1 Kings 6:1

(1) ¶ And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

The Holy Ghost hath been pleased to have it recorded as to the exact time when this wonderful work of Solomon's temple was begun; even 480 years after the children of Israel came out of Egypt. And Solomon's reign was suffered to run on to the fourth year before he found time to set about it. Reader! it is really astonishing how rapid the wheels of time, and with them the wheels of human life, run on. How sweetly doth Jesus enforce the necessity of diligence in our spiritual concerns. I must work (saith Jesus) the works of him that sent we while it is day, the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4.


Verse 2

(2) And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.

It appears that the pattern was given to David before his death, how this temple should be built, See 1 Chronicles 28:11-12; 1Ch_28:19.


Verses 3-10

(3) And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house. (4) And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. (5) And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about: (6) The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house. (7) And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. (8) The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third. (9) So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. (10) And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.

The particularity of description given, no doubt in allusion to the gospel church, hath much spiritual significance. And many learned and pious men have conceived much of divine things are intended by it. We cannot err indeed in our general idea concerning Solomon's temple. That it was a type of Christ who is the true temple, and in whom dwelt all the fulness of the God-head bodily; this is most certain. But whether the several departments in this temple; the porch before it, the narrowness of the lights to the windows, the chambers round about, the different proportions of those chambers, the winding stairs, and the several compartments of middle, lower, and upper rooms, had peculiar references expressive of a spiritual meaning; I rather conceive this is difficult to say. Taken altogether, in one point of view, as typical of Jesus, no doubt can possibly remain. And this is enough to call up our attention to the contemplation of it.


Verses 11-13

(11) ¶ And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, (12) Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: (13) And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.

This message from the Lord forms a most interesting parenthesis in the midst of the work. The Lord was pleased to let Solomon know that his eye was upon him in what he was engaged; and his arm should support and direct him through it. Busy as the king was from day to day, and in the Lord's work; still he must find time to attend to the Lord himself. Personal communion with Jesus must never be lessened or interrupted by the most busy life. In ministers especially, the more the public duties of the sanctuary call them forth, the more need have they to be frequent in private waiting upon Jesus. That man can have but little real regard, whatever outward zeal he may seem to show, for the souls of others, who hath no sense of the worth of his own. Jesus took from the silence of the night to make up the want of leisure in the day. Dear Lord! how precious is thy example. Matthew 14:23.


Verse 14

(14) So Solomon built the house, and finished it.

Reader! it is a sweet thought this verse suggests, how happy as well as wise the soul who not only begins in Jesus, but ends in Jesus. Who makes him the Omega, as well as the Alpha, of his salvation. This is a wise master builder. Some shift the foundation of their faith, and as Paul says, begin in the spirit, but seek to be made perfect in the flesh. They begin, as it were, upon a free grace bottom, but soon stop short, and turn in to their own works. Reader! I would charge it upon you, and upon my own heart also; let Christ be all and in all; both the author and the finisher of faith. It is a precious thing to hold on and hold out to the end, and make Jesus what the Father hath made him, the whole of the covenant. Galatians 3:1-3.


Verses 15-36

(15) ¶ And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. (16) And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place. (17) And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long. (18) And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen. (19) And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. (20) And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar. (21) So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. (22) And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold. (23) And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high. (24) And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits. (25) And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size. (26) The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. (27) And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house. (28) And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. (29) And he carved all the walls of the house roundabout with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without. (30) And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without. (31) And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall. (32) The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees. (33) So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall. (34) And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. (35) And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work. (36) And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.

I include all these verses in one and the same point of view, for shortness sake. No doubt, many things here mentioned are highly significant of gospel mercies. As Solomon is elsewhere said to have built himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon; the pillars whereof were silver, the bottom thereof gold, the covering of it purple, and the midst thereof paved with love; (See Song of Solomon 3:9-10.) so here we find in the temple the walls of the house were of the cedar of Lebanon, the floor and chains pure gold, and the oracle overlaid with gold. Perhaps these things were intended as the similitude of the glorious things concerning Jesus. His human nature is the true temple, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man; for the body was prepared him. And nothing could be more expressive of the incorruptible nature of the body of the Lord Jesus than the wood of the mountain of Lebanon, which was always understood as possessing a soundness not liable to rot. The gold on the floor and the house, and all the parts of it, as strikingly referred to the God-head of Christ. And this was the bottom of all, and gives efficacy and validity to all. For the grand object of the Redeemer's mission, his blood, his sacrifice, and the merits of his righteousness, would never have been sufficient to have satisfied divine justice, and expiated the sins of our nature, had not the God-head of Jesus conferred an infinite value upon the whole, in being the blood, sacrifice, and righteousness of God. Hence Paul, in giving charge to the ministers of the church of Ephesus, dwells upon this feature as the distinguishing one to induce the utmost earnestness in their labours. Take heed (says he) unto yourselves, and to all the flock, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28.


Verse 37-38

(37) In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif: (38) And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

It is astonishing to conceive that so great a work could have been accomplished in so short a time. We find that Solomon was employed thirteen years in building his own house, but the house of God only seven. Not that his own bore any kind of proportion, in point of magnificence, I apprehend, but that Solomon was less eager, less earnest, for its accomplishment. Reader! it is a blessed sign of grace when divine things occupy our thoughts, and call up our affections more than human. It is a blessed precept of Jesus, and connected with a blessed promise in the performance, which I venture to believe hath never failed in a single instance in the experience of the faithful; Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things (lesser things which are needful) shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.


Verse 38

REFLECTIONS

PAUSE, Reader, over this chapter, and while beholding the vast design of Solomon's temple and the greatness of the work in the accomplishment of the building, behold that a greater than Solomon is here. Was it not, dearest Jesus, upon the foundation of infinite love that thou with the everlasting Father and the Holy Ghost, didst lay the foundation of the temple, which is thy body, and reared and completed the whole work of our redemption? Not indeed in temples made with hands; not in the limitation of time in seven years, or seventy times seven; but from everlasting. Yes! Lamb of God, who wast intentionally slain from before the foundation of the world: thou hast built the temple of the Lord, and thou hast borne, and must forever bear, all the glory. Everlasting praises to thy dear name for the unspeakable mercy.

While I behold the temple of Solomon, and figure to my view the piles of cedar and the wedges of pure gold! oh! lead my soul beyond these outward adornings, and these outward things, to the contemplation of all that inward glory which thou hast, by thy one glorious undertaking in redemption, wrought out and accomplished for all thy people. Thy person, thine offices, thy righteousness, thy gifts, thy graces; all precious Jesus which are thine, and of thee, and in thee; these are the true temple both of Jew and Gentile, both of bond and free; both of the church militant and the church triumphant. Here in thee may my soul find a temple eternally to dwell in, and do thou, dearest Jesus, from an union with thee by thy Spirit, make me a living temple in which Jesus may everlastingly dwell, until the building of this house shall be taken down, and my soul shall be called to the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. And oh! thou blessed, holy, gracious Jesus, when thou shalt have brought me home with all the church to fill thy courts above, and to surround thy throne, there shall I behold the streets of the city of the new Jerusalem of pure gold, infinitely surpassing all the splendour of the golden floor in Solomon's temple. There cherubims will not be of ornament, but of reality. And there the workmen will forever have ceased from their labours, and have entered into their rest, as our God hath done from his. But chiefly, and above all, Jesus himself will be there with God our Father, and the Holy Ghost; and no temple will be needed there; for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it. In the glorious expectation of this great day of God, do thou, blessed Jesus, give me daily to be beholding my sure foundation in thee, and my soul's complete resting upon thee, that as a lively stone in the spiritual building of thy church and people, I may be growing up unto an holy temple in the Lord, for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-6.html. 1828.

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