And it was an hand breadth thick
Or four fingers, as in ( Jeremiah 52:21 )
and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup,
with flowers of lilies,
embroidered and engraven on it for ornament sake:
it contained 2,000 baths;
which is reckoned about five hundred barrels of water; it was filled by the Gibeonites; in ( 2 Chronicles 4:5 ) , it is said to receive and hold 3,000 baths, which the Jewish writers F19 thus reconcile; they suppose here it means so many baths of liquid, as the Targum expresses, there of dry measure, which might be heaped up, and so contain more; but as this was a vessel for water, and this distinction seems to answer no purpose, it may be better to observe, that in common, for the use of the priests, whether for washing their hands and feet, or dipping their bodies, it had no more than 2,000 baths in it, but, if filled up to the brim, it would hold 3,000. How a vessel of such dimensions should hold so much is difficult to account for; the Rabbins say F20, that in the two upper cubits of it it was circular, and in the three lower cubits square, by which they imagine it would hold more, and the position of it on the oxen seems to countenance this; but very probably it was wider, and bellied out in the lower part of it, and so more capacious; but of the contents of this, according to mathematical rules, see a treatise of Bishop Cumberland's F21. It is said F23 of a temple of Neptune's, in the fore part of it were two signs of him, and another of Amphitrite, and that was a brasen sea. This brasen sea of Solomon was typical of Christ, the fountain opened to wash in for uncleanness, by all that are made priests unto God; and this being larger than the laver in the tabernacle, may denote the greater efficacy of Christ's blood than in anything in the law of Moses to cleanse from sin; and the larger provision made for it, not only for Israel, but for all the people of God in the several nations of the world, in the four quarters of it; being published, and proclaimed, and directed to by the twelve apostles of Christ, and by all Gospel ministers since, signified by oxen for their laboriousness and strength. In the second temple there were no sea, nor bases, after mentioned, nor lavers, but one, which stood between the porch and the altar, which was for the priests to wash their hands and feet at F24.
F19 Shilte Hagibborim, c. 27. fol. 23. 4.
F20 T. Bab. Eruvin, fol. 14. 2.
F21 Of Scripture Weights and Measures, c. 3. p. 93
F23 Pausaniae Corinthiaca, sive, l. 2. p. 87.
F24 Shilte Hagibborim, c. 27. fol. 24. 2.