1 Kings 7:2 MEANING

1 Kings 7:2
Verse 2. - He built also [Heb. and he built. The A.V. rendering almost contradicts the view just advanced, viz., that the house of the forest of Lebanon was part of "all the house" (ver. 1)] the house of the forest of Lebanon [so called, not because it was a summer residence in Lebanon, as some have supposed, nor yet merely because it was built of Lebanon cedar, but because it displayed, a perfect thicket or forest (יַעַר) of cedar pillars]; the length thereof was one hundred cubits [the temple proper was 60], and the breadth thereof fifty cubits [The temple was but 20. It does not follow that this space of 100 x 50 cubits was all roofed in, for it would seem as if the house was built round a courtyard. Rawlinson remarks that a roof of 75 feet is "much greater than is ever found in Assyria." But it is by no means certain that there was any such roof here], and the height thereof thirty cubits [the same as the temple], upon four rows of cedar pillars [How these were disposed of, or what was their number, it is impossible to say. Thenius says they were 400, but this is pure conjecture. The description is so meagre and partial that it is impossible to form a correct idea of the building. The remark made above (ch. 6. Introd. Note) as to the temple applies with still greater force to the palaces. "There are few tasks more difficult or puzzling than the attempt to restore an ancient building of which we possess nothing but two verbal descriptions; and these difficulties are very much enhanced when one account is written in a language like Hebrew, the scientific terms in which are, from our ignorance, capable of the widest latitude of interpretation, and the other, though written in a language of which we have a more definite knowledge, was composed by a person who could never have seen the building he was describing" (Fergusson, Dict. Bib. 2. p. 658)], with cedar beams [כְּרֻתות cut or hewn beams] upon the pillars. [This palace, according to Fergusson, was "the great hall of state and audience" and the principal building of the range. But if it was this, which is very doubtful, for the throne was in the hall of judgment (1 Kings 5:7), it would seem to have served other purposes besides that of an audience-chamber. Among other things, it was certainly an armoury (1 Kings 10:17. cf. Isaiah 22:8). The Arab. Vers. calls it "the house of his arms." Possibly it was also the residence of the bodyguard (cf. 1 Kings 14:28 with 1 Kings 10:17). Bahr observes that the arrangement of the palaces accords with the Jewish conceptions of the kingly office. The first, the armoury, represents him in his militant character (1 Samuel 8:20), the second in his judicial function (1 Samuel 8:5, 6; 2 Samuel 15:4; 1 Kings 3:9), while the third shows him in his private capacity.]

7:1-12 All Solomon's buildings, though beautiful, were intended for use. Solomon began with the temple; he built for God first, and then his other buildings. The surest foundations of lasting prosperity are laid in early piety. He was thirteen years building his house, yet he built the temple in little more than seven years; not that he was more exact, but less eager in building his own house, than in building God's. We ought to prefer God's honour before our own ease and satisfaction.He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon,.... Besides the temple, his own palace, and the queen's; so called, not because it was built on Mount Lebanon, which lay at the northern border of the land, at a great distance from Jerusalem, whereas this was both a magazine of arms, and a court of judicature, 1 Kings 7:7; see 1 Kings 10:17; neither of which can be supposed to be far from Jerusalem; but because not only it was built of the cedars of Lebanon, but in a situation, and among groves of trees which resembled it; it seems to have been a summer house; and so the Targum calls it, a royal house of refreshment:

the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty and the height thereof thirty cubits; so that it was in every measure larger than the temple; and, there was good reason for it, since into that only the priests entered; whereas into this went not only Solomon's family but his courtiers and nobles, and all foreign ambassadors, and whoever had any business with him, which required various rooms to receive them in:

upon four rows of cedar pillars; or piazzas:

with cedar beams upon the pillars; which laid the floor for the second story.

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