Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

Home / New Testament | Old Testament | About This Commentary | Commentators | Transcriber's Notes | Free E-Books | Contact Us

3 KINGS - Chapter 7

          < Previous Chapter                    -----                    Next Chapter >         

3 Kings vii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Thirteen. He was only twelve years and a half; since he finished both the temple and the palace in 20 years, chap. ix. 10. Salien observes that Solomon's house was connected with the queen's, as well as with that part which was styled of the forest of Libanus, for their mutual recreation, the year before Christ 1023. The Roman Septuagint places the 13 first verses at the end, ver. 51. (Haydock)

Ver. 2. Libanus. So it was called, on account of the many cedar pillars brought from that mountain; or because many trees and shrubs were planted in the vicinity. (Calmet) --- Libanus might also be seen from it, and refreshing breezes be felt. (Ar.[Arbuthnot?] Mont.[Montanus?]) --- The palace stood on the eastern part of Sion, and to the west of the temple. (Menochius) --- The vale between them had been filled up, at a vast expense, and a sort of bridge erected, which was called Mello. Thus the palace of David, on the west of Sion, and this of Solomon, served to protect the temple, and to keep the citizens in awe. (Salien) --- Sanchez declines giving the dimensions of this palace, as they are not satisfactory. (Menochius) --- Here Solomon resided, and was served in gold, (Calmet) adorning his palace with shields and targets of the same precious metal, chap. x. 16, 21. --- Cubits. The more sacred part of the temple was only 60, 20, and 30 cubits, chap. vi. 2. But there were various other appendages and towers. This palace must have been very extensive. --- And four. Hebrew, "upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars." (Haydock) -- One row of these might be rather pilasters, against the wall; (ver. 3,) so that there would be three covered galleries, before the apartments, each supported on 15 pillars. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Set, &c. Hebrew, "and windows in three rows, over-against one another; (5) and all the doors and posts square with the windows: and light was against light, in three rows." (Haydock) --- The palace had three stories; but the galleries before it were of equal height with it.

Ver. 6. Porch. Septuagint seem to retain the original word ulam, as they read ailam; whence our hall, and the Latin aula, may be derived. (Haydock) --- It was a court surrounded by pillars and galleries, in front of the palace. (Calmet) --- Another. Hebrew, "the porch before them, (pillars) and the pillars, and the thick beam before them."

Ver. 7. Tob. Hebrew, "the other side." (Haydock) --- The eastern princes generally sit before their palace to give judgment; and hence that of the Ottoman emperors is styled the Porte, (Calmet) or "gate."

Ver. 8. House. In the form of a recess or alcove, at the end of one of the aforesaid porches, and probably in that which was nearer the palace. Guards would be stationed in the other. (Haydock) --- This is the idea which travellers have given us of the palaces in the East. They consist of various apartments, galleries, and courts. Under the outward porch there are guards standing, in a double row; and hence there is a communication with other parts of the house, and with the apartments of the women, which are far removed, and inaccessible to strangers. The women still continue to have separate tents, or apartments; as they had in the days of Sara, Esther, Herodias, &c., Genesis xxiv., Esther i. 11., and Matthew xiv. 8. (Calmet) --- Pharao. Till it was finished, this lady had lodged in David's palace; though as it was deemed in a manner sacred, on account of the presence of the ark, it was judged expedient to remove her, 2 Paralipomenon viii. 11. (Haydock) --- Perhaps she had begun to manifest some signs of a relapse towards idolatry, into which she is supposed chiefly to have induced her husband, chap. xi. 4. (Salien)

Ver. 12. Cedar, in regular courses with the stones, chap. vi. 36. Public places were often made in a circular form, and were thus rendered more beautiful. The palace of Solomon might have enclosed the court in this manner, or there were buildings on all the four sides, made of three courses of fine large stones, with the fourth of cedar beams, till the whole was completed. The ancients built for posterity, as we may perceive from the huge stones, well connected, which still reman in the ruins of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architecture.

Ver. 14. Nephthali: 2 Paralipomenon (ii. 14,) we read of Dan. But the king of Tyre might be under a mistake, (Sanctius) or he may only insinuate that she lived at the city of that name, in the tribe of Nephthali. (Menochius) --- One of her husbands might be a Danite, (Grotius) though resident at Tyre. --- Father, may also denote a master or officer; in which sense we read in Paralipomenon, My father, Hiram. (Haydock) (St. Jerome, Trad.) (Menochius) --- If the woman married an idolater, it was contrary to the law: (Calmet) though Grotius maintains the contrary, when the free exercise of religion was granted.

Ver. 15. Eighteen. Both together are said in Paralipomenon to be 35, as if half a cubit too much had been here assigned, which is not unusual with regard to imperfect numbers, ver. 1. But Jeremias (lii. 21,) agrees with this passage; and the book of Paralipomenon may not have included a cubit of solid metal at the base or plinth. (Cornelius a Lapide) --- The rest was hollow. The chapiters of five cubits, and the bases, which were perhaps as large, are not contained in the 18 cubits, which might otherwise appear to be disproportionate with the circumference of 12 cubits. The Egyptian pillars are sometimes very thick and low; and their temples bear a great resemblance with that of Solomon, than with those of the Greeks and Romans. (Calmet) --- Both. Hebrew, "the second," as if something similar had been observed of the first. (Calmet) --- But Sheni, signifies also "both, either," &c. (Menochius) --- Protestants, "did compass either of them about." (Haydock) --- Circles, at equal distances, adorned these pillars, Exodus xxvi. 32. (Atheneus v. 9.)

Ver. 16. Five. Comprising all the ornaments. The body was only three cubits, 4 Kings xxv. 17. If we include the circles, which join it to the pillar, it would be four; ver. 19, and with the rose, and ornaments at the top, five cubits high. Atheneus distinguishes three parts in the Egyptian chapiters; (1) next to the pillar, was seen a circle or wreath of flowers; (2) the stalk, out of which proceeded (3) a rose beginning to open. (Calmet) --- In the passages, which seem to contradict this text, the omission of the cornice or architrave, may cause the difference. (Menochius)

Ver. 18. The pillars. This word may have changed places with pomegranates.

Ver. 19. Of lily-work, seems also transposed. Calmet would translate, Hebrew, "and he made pomegranates, two rows round each net, to cover the chapiter, which was at the top of the pillar, and in, &c., (19) and the chapiter, which was above the pillars of the court, (or porch) four cubits high. And he made rows of 200 pomegranates, all round, to cover one of the crowns of the pillars, and he did the like for the other crown; (20) and he also made a chapiter, like a rose, (or lily) at the top of the pillars, above, and over-against the body, which was beyond the nets." The rose seemed to grow out of the pillar. The chapiters were not square, but of a circular form. Pelletier supposes that these pillars were of the ancient Doric order. It is certain that all the chapiter was not in the form of a lily, as the Hebrew would now insinuate, but only the top part of it, chap. v. 22. The long addition of one of the crowns, &c., may be unnecessary, if the original signify either; (as [in] ver. 15) "to cover either crown."

Ver. 20. Chapiter, (capitelli secundi.) (Haydock) --- Villalpand thinks this "second chapiter," is rather the cornice, round which the pomegranates hung. (Menochius) --- Septuagint, "and of roses, five rows, all round, upon the second circle." (Haydock)

Ver. 21. Temple. Against the wall, (Jeremias lii. 23,) on each side of the door which leads to the holy place. The pillars might be 28 cubits high, ver. 15. --- Jachin intimated that God "will establish." --- Booz means, "strength is in him." (Calmet) --- Both together might foretel the stability of the temple. "He shall establish in strength." We have already mentioned the conjecture of Houbigant, that these two pillars were erected in honour of some of Solomon's progenitors, though the former be lost in his genealogy, Ruth iv. 22. (Haydock) --- Jachin. That is, firmly established. --- Booz. That is, in its strength. By recording these names in holy writ, the Spirit of God would have us understand the invincible firmness and strength of the pillars on which the true temple of God, which is the Church, is established. (Challoner)

Ver. 22. Lily, or rose, as Susan means both. This ornament seems to have been detached from the rest of the chapiter, and one cubit high, ver. 16. (Calmet)

Ver. 23. Brim, in diameter. The circumference was about 30 cubits; for it is not exactly three [but pi (3.14159...)] times as much as the diameter. (Calmet) --- The latter is [approximately] as 7 to 22, with respect to the circumference. But the Scripture takes no notice of trifles. (Menochius)

Ver. 24. Ten cubits. All was not therefore ornamented. Protestants, "there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit....the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast." (Haydock) --- The signification of Pekahim is not ascertained, whether it be "apples, balls," &c., or perhaps a corrupt word for Bokrim, "oxen," or "ox heads;" as 2 Paralipomenon (iv. 3,) clearly explains it. (Calmet) --- There also it is insinuated, that the carvings commenced only towards the bottom, where the circumference was reduced to 10 cubits. (Menochius)

Ver. 25. Oxen. Josephus and the Jews would condemn Solomon for making these figures; but it is clear that his present was acceptable to God, as well as his person. (Calmet) --- Within. The oxen were of solid brass, to support such a weight. (Menochius) --- Some think that the water was discharged through their mouths. But Pelletier believes that there were cocks placed between each of the four divisions of oxen, which let water into a basin below, in which the priests might purify themselves. He supposes also that the vessel was double; the cup would contain 2000 baths, and the foot or basin another 1000, by which means he would reconcile this book with that of Chronicles. (Melanges, T. i. p. 115.)

Ver. 26. Two thousand bates. That is, about ten thousand gallons. This was the quantity of water which was usually put into it: but it was capable, if brim-full, of holding three thousand. See 2 Paralipomenon iv. 5, 7. (Challoner) --- The batus contained about five gallons. (Worthington) --- Some imagine, without grounds, (Calmet) that the measure in Paralipomenon was of a less capacity. (Vallalpand) (Cornelius a Lapide) --- The smaller is called metreta, "measure," after the Greek, as it had no proper name. (Salien) --- Instead of a hand's breadth, it is literally, "three ounces," or the fourth part of a Roman foot; which is equivalent to four fingers' (Haydock) breadth, or a "hand's breadth," as the Hebrew tophach implies, or a little above three inches. --- Crisped, or "full-blown lily." The Chaldean supposes it was thus ornamented. Hebrew, "with flowers of lilies," (Calmet) or "roses," Shoshan. (Haydock)

Ver. 27. Bases. These were designed to wash the victims. (Pelletier)

Ver. 28. And. Hebrew is very obscure in this and the following verse. Indeed interpreters are so little agreed about the precise signification of some of the terms, that it is not necessary to repeat their sentiments.

Ver. 32. Joined. Yet not so as to be immovable. (Calmet)

Ver. 36. Palm-trees were not expressed, ver. 29. All was in relievo, and represented in its natural posture. (Calmet) --- About. One would have taken them to be alive, they were so well executed. Hebrew, "according to the proportion of every one, and added round about," (Haydock) projecting. (Menochius)

Ver. 39. Right side, to the south, between the temple and the altar of holocausts. --- Sea. It was the most towards the east, of the five basins, (Calmet) or near the eastern gate of the priests' court, standing to the south of the entrance, that they might purify themselves. (Menochius) --- St. Justin Martyr (apology ii.) observes that the pagans imitated this custom. But this ought not to hinder Christians from employing a thing which is innocent in itself, and calculated to make them aspire to the greatest purity, when they approach to God. (Haydock)

Spargit & ipse suos lauro rorante capillos

Incipit & solita fundere voce preces. (Ovid, Fast. v.)

Ver. 40. Shovels. Scutras may also signify "cauldrons," from their resemblance with a shield. These terms occur [in] Exodus xxvii. 3., (Calmet) and are there properly translated, shovels, &c. (Haydock) --- The Jews say there were always, at least, three things of the same species, that one might be ready in case another was defiled.

Ver. 41. Cords: no mention of these had been made before. The same terms are frequently expressed in a different manner, ver. 15, to 20. Hebrew, "the two pillars and the chapiters round, (Calmet) which were on the top of the pillars and the two nets to cover the two bowls of (or the two circular) chapiters," &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 45. Fine brass (aurichalco.) Some pretended that gold was mixed with this sort of brass. But Pliny ([Natural History?] xxxiv. 2.) informs us that it came out of the mines, without dross. --- Hebrew, "polished (or refined) brass." (Calmet) --- It might resemble the Corinthian brass. (Menochius)

Ver. 46. Sarthan. This place was on the west, and Socoth on the east of the Jordan, near Bethsan, chap. iv. 12. (Calmet) --- Josue iii. 16. (Haydock) --- Adrichomius places both on the east, in the tribe of Gad. (Menochius)

Ver. 47. Weighed. It was deemed unnecessary, and too troublesome. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "And Solomon would not have all the vessels weighed," on account of the too great number: "the weight of the brass was not discovered." (Vatable)

Ver. 48. Altar, not that on which the ark was placed, (chap. vi. 20.; Calmet) though some are of that opinion; (Menochius, &c.) but perhaps the altar of incense. The one which Moses had made was probably too small, (Calmet) and reposited in the treasury. (Rabbins) --- Table. In 1 Paralipomenon iv. 8., we find ten specified, one between each candlestick, in the holy place. Josephus ([Antiquities?] viii. 2.) mentions an incredible number of gold and silver utensils, which are not found in Scripture; and the Rabbins are not sparing in miracles, to promote a respect for the temple. No venomous creature, they say, was ever seen in Jerusalem; nor did man seek for lodgings in vain, &c. The priests were so numerous, that the same person had never to offer the perpetual sacrifice or incense twice in his life. No one durst spit in the temple, nor turn his back on the altar, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 51. Dedicated. Literally, "sanctified," (Haydock) or set apart. (Worthington) --- Gold, unwrought. (Menochius)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Solomon's palace, his house in the forest, and the queen's house: the work of the two pillars: the sea (or laver) and other vessels.

1 And Solomon built his own house in *thirteen years, and brought it to perfection.

2 He built also the house of the forest of Libanus; the length of it was a hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty cubits, and the height thirty cubits: and four galleries between pillars of cedar: for he had cut cedar-trees into pillars.

3 And he covered the whole vault with boards of cedar, and it was held up with five and forty pillars. And one row had fifteen pillars,

4 Set one against another,

5 And looking one upon another, with equal space between the pillars, and over the pillars were square beams in all things equal.

6 And he made a porch of pillars of fifty cubits in length, and thirty cubits in breadth: and another porch before the greater porch, and pillars, and chapiters upon the pillars.

7 He made also the porch of the throne wherein is the seat of judgment; and covered it with cedar-wood from the floor to the top.

8 And in the midst of the porch, was a small house, where he sat in judgment of the like work. He made also a house for the daughter of Pharao (*whom Solomon had taken to wife) of the same work, as this porch;

9 All of costly stones, which were sawed by a certain rule and measure, both within and without: from the foundation to the top of the walls, and without, unto the great court.

10 And the foundations were of costly stones, great stones of ten cubits or eight cubits.

11 And above there were costly stones of equal measure hewed, and in like manner planks of cedar.

12 And the greater court was made round with three rows of hewed stones, and one row of planks of cedar, which also was observed in the inner court of the house of the Lord, and in the porch of the house.

13 And king Solomon sent, and brought Hiram from Tyre,

14 The son of a widow woman, of the tribe of Nephthali, whose father was a Tyrian, an artificer in brass, and full of wisdom, and understanding, and skill to work all work in brass. And when he was come to king Solomon, he wrought all his work.

15 And he cast two pillars in brass, each pillar was eighteen cubits high: *and a line of twelve cubits compassed both the pillars.

16 He made also two chapiters of molten brass, to be set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:

17 And a kind of net-work, and chain-work wreathed together with wonderful art. Both the chapiters of the pillars were cast: seven rows of nets were on one chapiter, and seven nets on the other chapiter.

18 And he made the pillars, and two rows round about each net-work to cover the chapiters, that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and in like manner did he to the other chapiter.

19 And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars, were of lily-work, in the porch of four cubits.

20 And again there were other chapiters on the top of the pillars above, according to the measure of the pillar over-against the net-work: and of pomegranates there were two hundred, in rows round about the other chapiter.

21 And he set up the two pillars in the porch of the temple: and when he had set up the pillar on the right hand, he called the name thereof Jachin: in like manner he set up the second pillar, and called the name thereof Booz.

22 And upon the tops of the pillars he made lily-work: so the work of the pillars was finished.

23 *He made also a molten sea, of ten cubits, from brim to brim, round all about; the height of it was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits compassed it round about.

24 And a graven work, under the brim of it, compassed it for ten cubits going about the sea: there were two rows cast of chamfered sculptures.

25 And it stood upon twelve oxen, of which three looked towards the north, and three towards the west, and three towards the south, and three towards the east: and the sea was above upon them, and their hinder parts were all hid within.

26 And the laver was a handbreadth thick: and the brim thereof was like the brim of a cup, or the leaf of a crisped lily: it contained two thousand bates.

27 And he made ten bases of brass, every base was four cubits in length, and four cubits in breadth, and three cubits high.

28 And the work itself of the bases, was intergraven: and there were gravings between the joinings.

29 And between the little crowns and the ledges, were lions, and oxen, and cherubims: and in the joinings likewise above: and under the lions and oxen, as it were bands of brass hanging down.

30 And every base had four wheels, and axle-trees of brass: and at the four sides were undersetters, under the laver molten, looking one against another.

31 The mouth also of the laver within, was in the top of the chapiter: and that which appeared without, was of one cubit all round, and together it was one cubit and a half: and in the corners of the pillars were divers engravings: and the spaces between the pillars were square, not round.

32 And the four wheels, which were at the four corners of the base, were joined one to another under the base: the height of a wheel was a cubit and a half.

33 And they were such wheels as are used to be made in a chariot: and their axle-trees, and spokes, and strakes, and naves, were all cast.

34 And the four undersetters, that were at every corner of each base, were of the base itself, cast and joined together.

35 And in the top of the base, there was a round compass of half a cubit, so wrought that the laver might be set thereon, having its gravings, and divers sculptures of itself.

36 He engraved also in those plates, which were of brass, and in the corners, cherubims, and lions, and palm-trees, in likeness of a man standing, so that they seemed not to be engraven, but added round about.

37 After this manner, he made ten bases, of one casting and measure, and the like graving.

38 He made also ten lavers of brass: one laver contained four bates, and was of four cubits: and upon every base, in all ten, he put as many lavers.

39 And he set the ten bases, five on the right side of the temple, and five on the left: and the sea he put on the right side of the temple, over-against the east, southward.

40 And Hiram made cauldrons, and shovels, and basins, and finished all the work of king Solomon in the temple of the Lord.

41 The two pillars and the two cords of the chapiters, upon the chapiters of the pillars: and the two net-works, to cover the two cords, that were upon the top of the pillars.

42 And four hundred pomegranates for the two net-works: two rows of pomegranates for each net-work, to cover the cords of the chapiters, which were upon the tops of the pillars.

43 And the ten bases, and the ten lavers on the bases.

44 And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea.

45 And the cauldrons, and the shovels, and the basins. All the vessels that Hiram made for king Solomon, for the house of the Lord, were of fine brass.

46 In the plains of the Jordan, did the king cast them in a clay ground, between Socoth and Sarthan.

47 And Solomon placed all the vessels: but for exceeding great multitude the brass could not be weighed.

48 And Solomon made all the vessels for the house of the Lord: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, upon which the leaves of proposition should be set:

49 And the golden candlesticks, five on the right hand, and five on the left, over-against the oracle, of pure gold: and the flowers like lilies, and the lamps over them of gold: and golden snuffers,

50 And pots, and flesh-hooks, and bowls, and mortars, and censers, of most pure gold: and the hinges for the doors of the inner house of the holy of holies, and for the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold.

51 *And Solomon finished all the work that he made in the house of the Lord, and brought in the things that David, his father, had dedicated, the silver and the gold, and the vessels, and laid them up in the treasures of the house of the Lord.



1: Year of the World 3000, Year before Christ 1004.; 3 Kings vi. 38. and ix. 10.

8: 3 Kings iii. 1.

15: Jeremias lii.21.

23: 2 Paralipomenon iv. 2.

51: 2 Paralipomenon v. 1.