1 Kings 6

The Book of 1 Kings
Chapter 6

Chapter Overview:

The time when the temple was built, ver. 1.
The dimensions of it, ver. 2, 3.
The windows, chambers, materials, doors, ver. 4 - 10.
God's message to Solomon, ver. 11 - 13.
The walls and flooring, ver. 14 - 18.
The oracle and cherubim, ver. 19 - 30.
The doors and inner court, ver. 31 - 36.
How long it was building, ver. 37 - 38.
6:1Four hundred and four score, &c. - Allowing forty years to Moses, seventeen to Joshua, two hundred ninety - nine to theJudges, forty to Eli, forty to Samuel and Saul, forty toDavid, and four to Solomon before he began the work, we have justthe sum of four hundred and eighty. So long it was before that holy housewas built, which in less than four hundred and thirty years was burnt byNebuchadnezzar. It was thus deferred, because Israel had by theirsins, made themselves unworthy of this honour: and because God would shewhow little he values external pomp and splendor in his service. And Godordered it now, chiefly to be a shadow of good things to come.
6:2The house - Properly so called, as distinct from all the walls and buildings which were adjoining to it; namely, the holy, and most holy place.Length - From east, to west. And this and the other measures may seem tobelong to the inside from wall to wall. Cubits - Cubits of thesanctuary. Height - Namely, of the house: for the porch was onehundred and twenty cubits high, 2 Chronicles 3:4 . So that all the measurescompared each with other were harmonious. For sixty to twenty (the length tothe breadth) is triple: or as three to one: and sixty to thirty (the lengthto the height) is double, or as two to one: and thirty to twenty (the heightto the breadth) is one and an half, as three to two. Which are theproportions answering to the three great concords in music, commonly called,a twelfth, an eighth, and a fifth. Which therefore must needs be a gracefulproportion to the eye, as that in music is graceful to the ear.
6:3The porch - In the front of, or entrance into the house, 2 Chronicles 3:4 ,being a portico, a walk or gallery, at one end of the building (fromside to side.) And the measures of this were harmonious also. For twentyto ten (the length of the portico to the breadth of it) is double, oras two to one. And, if the height within, be the same with that of thehouse, that is thirty; it will be to the length of it, as three to two;and to its breadth, as three to one. Or, if we take in the whole heightmentioned, 2 Chronicles 3:4 , which is one hundred and twenty; there isin this no disproportion: being to its length as six to one; and to itsbreadth as twelve to one; especially when this height was convenientlydivided into several galleries, one over another, each of which had theirdue proportions.
6:4Narrow - Narrow outward, to prevent the inconveniences of the weather; widening by degrees inward, that so the house might better receive,and more disperse the light.
6:5Against the wall - The beams of the chambers were not fastened into the wall, but leaned upon the buttresses of the wall. Chambers - Forthe laying the priests garments, and other utensils belonging to the temple,therein. Round about - On all the sides except the east, where the porchwas; and except some very small passages for the light. And yet theselights might be in the five uppermost cubits of the wall, which were aboveall these chambers, for these were only fifteen cubits high, and the wallwas twenty cubits high. Chambers - Galleries which encompassed all thechambers; and which were necessary for passage to them.
6:6Broad - On the inside, and besides the galleries mentioned above.Narrowed rests - Or, narrowings: as in our buildings the walls of anhouse are thicker, or broader at the bottom, and narrower towards the top:only these narrowings were in the outside of the wall, which at each ofthe three stories was a cubit narrower than that beneath it. And this ismentioned, as the reason of the differing breadth of the chambers; becausethe wall being narrower, allowed more space for the upper chambers.Not fastened - That there might be no holes made in the wall for fasteningthem; and that the chambers might be removed, if occasion were, without anyinconvenience to the house.
6:7Made ready - Hewed, and squared, and fitted exactly according to the direction of the architect. Neither hammer, &c. - So it wasordered, partly for the ease and conveniency of carriage: partly, for themagnificence of the work, and commendation of the workmen's skill anddiligence: and partly, for mystical signification. And as this temple wasa manifest type both of Christ's church upon earth, and of the heavenlyJerusalem: so this circumstance signified as to the former, that it isthe duty of the builders and members of the church, as far as in them lies,to take care that all things be transacted there with perfect peace andquietness; and that no noise of contention, or division, or violence, beheard in that sacred building: and for the latter, that no spiritual stone,no person, shall bear a part in that heavenly temple, unless he be firsthewed, and squared, and made meet for it in this life.
6:8The door - That is, by which they entered to go up to the middle chamber or chambers; such as were in the middle story. Right side - Thatis, in the south - side, called the right side; because when a man lookstowards the east, the south is on his right hand. There was another dooron the left, or the north - side, leading to the chambers on that side.Winding stairs - Without the wall, leading up to the gallery out of whichthey went into the several chambers. Middle chamber - Or rather, intothe middle story, or row of chambers; and so in the following words,out of the middle story: for these stair's could not lead up into eachof the chambers; nor was it needful, but only into the story, which wassufficient for the use of all the chambers.
6:10Built chambers - The Hebrew words may be properly rendered, He built a roof, a flat and plain roof, over all the house,according to the manner of the Israelitish buildings. The inner roofwas arched, ver. 9 , that it might be the more beautiful, but theoutward roof was flat. Five cubits - Above the walls of the temple: thatit might be a little higher than the arched roof, which it was designed tocover and secure. They rested - Heb. it rested, namely, the roof.Timber of cedar - Which rested upon the top of the wall, as the chambers,ver. 5 , rested upon the sides of the wall.
6:12If - God expresses the condition upon which his promise and favour is suspended; and by assuring him thereof in case of obedience, heplainly intimates the contrary upon his disobedience. Thus he was taught,that all the charge he and the people were at, in erecting this temple,would neither excuse them from obedience to the law of God, nor shelterthem from his judgments in case of disobedience.
6:15Walls - The name of a wall is not appropriated to stone or brick, because we read of a brazen wall, Jeremiah 15:20 , anda wall of iron, Ezekiel 4:3 .And that wall into which Saul smote his javelin, 19:10 ,seems more probably to be understood of wood, than of stone; especially,considering that it was the room where the king used to dine. By thisperiphrasis, from the floor of the house, unto the walls of the ceiling,he designs all the side - walls of the house. Them - The side - walls of thehouse. Wood - With other kind of wood, even with fir; as appears from 2 Chronicles 3:5 , wherewith the floor is here said to be covered.Floor - This is spoken only concerning the floor, because there wasnothing but planks of fir; whereas there was both cedar and fir in thesides of the house, the fir being either put above, or upon the cedar; orintermixed with, or put between the boards or ribs of cedar: as may begathered from, 2 Chronicles 3:5 .
6:16House - That is, the most holy place, which contained in length twenty cubits, which may be said to be on the sides Of the house,because this part took off twenty cubits in length from each side of thehouse, and was also twenty cubits from side to side, so it was twenty cubitsevery way. The oracle - the most holy place - The last words are added, toexplain what he means by the word oracle, which he had not used before.
6:17House - That is, the holy place. Temple - This is added, to restrain the signification of the word house, which otherwise notes thewhole building. It - The oracle.
6:18Cedar - Cedar is here named, not to exclude all other wood, but stone only; as the following words shew.
6:19Prepared - That is, adorned and fitted it for the receipt of the ark. Solomon made every thing new, but the ark. That with its mercyseat was still the same that Moses made. This was the token of God'spresence, which is with his people, whether they meet in tent or temple,and changes not with their condition.
6:20Forepart - Which was in the inner part of the house, called in Hebrew, the forepart; not because a man first enters there, butbecause when a man is entering, or newly entered into the house, it isstill before him. Covered - With gold, chap. 7:48 1ki 6: , 1 Chronicles 28:18 , .The altar - The altar of incense.
6:21House - Or, that house, the oracle. Partition - He made a veil, which was a farther partition between the holy, and the most holy;which veil did hang upon these golden chains. Before the oracle - In theoutward part of the wall, or partition, which was erected between the oracleand the holy place; which is properly said to be before the oracle, therethe veil was hung; and there the chains or bars, or whatsoever it was whichfastened the doors of the oracle, were placed. It - The partition; whichhe here distinguisheth from the house, or the main walls of the house,which he had in the former part of this verse told us were overlaid withgold; and now he affirms much as of the partition.
6:22Whole house - Not only the oracle, but all the holy place.The altar - the altar of incense, which was set in the holy place close bythe doors of the oracle. With gold - As before he overlaid it with cedar.
6:23Cherubim - Besides those two made by Moses, Exodus 25:18 , which were of gold, and far less than these. The Heathens set up imagesof their gods, and worshipped them. These were designed to represent theservants and attendants of the God of Israel, the holy angels, not tobe worshipped themselves, but to shew how great he is whom we worship.
6:29Cherubim - As signs of the presence and protection of the angels vouch - safed by God to that place. Palm - trees - Emblems of that peace andvictory over their enemies, which the Israelites duly serving God inthat place might expect. Within and without - Within the oracle andwithout it, in the holy place.
6:31Fifth part - That is, four cubits in height or breadth, whereas the wall was twenty cubits.
6:36Inner court - The priests court, 2 Chronicles 4:9 , so called, because it was next to the temple which it compassed. Cedar beams - Whichis understood, of so many galleries, one on each side of the temple, whereofthe three first were of stone, and the fourth of cedar, all supported withrows of pillars: upon which there were many chambers for the uses of thetemple, and of the priests.
6:38Seven years - It is not strange that this work took up so much time: for,
  1. The temple properly so called, was for quantity the least part of it, there being very many and great buildings both above ground in the several courts, (for though only the court of the priests be mentioned, yet it is thereby implied, that the same thing was proportionably done in the others) and under ground.
  2. The great art which was used here, and the small number of exquisite artists, required the longer time for the doing it. And if the building of Diana's temple employed all Asia for two hundred years; and the building of one pyramid employed three hundred and sixty thousand men, for twenty years together; both which, Pliny affirms: no reasonable man can wonder that this temple was seven years in building.
Now let us see what this temple typifies.
  1. Christ himself is the true temple. He himself spoke of the temple of his body: and in him dwelt all the fullness of the godhead. In him all the Israel of God meet, and thro' him have access with confidence to God.
  2. Every believer is a living temple, in whom the spirit of God dwelleth. We are wonderfully made by the Divine Providence, but more wonderfully made anew by the Divine grace. And as Solomon's temple was built on a rock, so are we built on Christ.
  3. The church is a mystical temple, enriched and beautified, not with gold and precious stones, but with the gifts and graces of the spirit. Angels are ministering spirits, attending the church and all the members of it on all sides.
  4. Heaven is the everlasting temple. There the church will be fixt, and no longer moveable. The cherubim there always attend upon the throne of glory. In the temple there was no noise of axes or hammers: every thing is quiet and serene in heaven. All that shall be stones in that building, must here be fitted and made ready for it; must be hewn and squared by the Divine grace, and so made meet for a place in that temple.