2 Chronicles 4

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 4

The Altar, “The Sea,” and Basins

      • He made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high. He also made the big bronze basin called “The Sea,” which was circular in shape, and measured 15 feet from rim to rim, 7 ½ feet high, with a circumference of 45 feet. It was encircled just below its rim by 2 rows of images of bulls. There were about 6 bulls per foot all the way around, and they had been cast with “The Sea.” “The Sea” stood on top of 12 bulls, all facing outward with their hindquarters toward the center- 3 facing north, 3 facing west, 3 facing south, and 3 facing east. It was 3 inches thick, and its rim was shaped like a cup, or like a lily blossom. It could hold about 18,000 gallons. He also made 10 basins for washing the things to be used for the burnt offerings, and he put 5 on the south side (right) and 5 on the north side (left). The priests washed in “The Sea.”

          • ESV Study Bible writes, “Solomon’s altar stood outside the temple. Perhaps it stood in front of the temple entrance, just as Moses’ altar had stood before the entrance of the tabernacle (Ex 40:6), though it may have stood in the northeast corner, opposite the bronze sea basin in the southeast corner…On various details of the temple, cf…1 Kings 7:23-47. The sea was a large, circular water tank, located outside the southeast corner of the temple (2 Chron 4:10) and used by the priests for their ceremonial cleansing before they entered the temple (v. 6). It corresponded to the bronze basin that had stood between the entrance to the tabernacle and the Mosaic altar (Ex. 30:18-21)…The twelve oxen probably signified the tribes of Israel, especially as the were encamped around the four sides of the tabernacle in the wilderness (see Num 2:1-31).”

        • There is a discrepancy in the Masoretic Text regarding what the decorative images were that encircled “The Sea” in two rows below the rim. Here in 2 Chronicles it says that the images were bulls. However, in the parallel text in 1 Kings 7:24, the Hebrew text reads ‘knops,’ which many translations render as ‘gourds.”

        • There is also a discrepancy in the Masoretic Text regarding the capacity that “The Sea” will hold. NET Bible notes, “Heb ‘3,000 baths’ (note that the capacity is given in 1 Kings 7:26 as ‘2,000 baths’). A bath was a liquid measure roughly equivalent to six gallons (about 22 liters), so 3,000 baths was a quantity of about 18,000 gallons (66,000 liters).”

The Lampstands, Tables, and Courts

      • He made 10 gold lampstands according to their specifications and put them in the temple- 5 on the south side (right) and 5 on the north side (left). He made 10 tables and put them in the temple- 5 on the south side (right) and 5 on the north side (left). He also made 100 gold bowls. He made the courtyard of the priests, and the large outer courtyard. He made the doors for the courtyards and plated them with bronze. He put “The Sea” on the south side (right), near the southeast corner.

        • ESV Study Bible says, “In contrast to the tabernacle, with its one seven-branched lampstand and table (Ex 25:31-36), Solomon’s temple had ten of each (but cf 1 Kings 7:48, which mentions only one table). The tables were apparently for the ‘bread of the Presence’ (2 Chron 4:19; see 1 Chron 9:32), a perpetual bread offering to Yahweh, through which Israel consecrated itself to God (Ex 25:30).”

        • The following commentaries offer short remarks on the difference in the number of tables between this 2 Chronicles account and the parallel in 1 Kings 7:

          • Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: “The ten tables are not mentioned in the parallel narrative, which speaks of one table only, viz., the table of shewbread (1Kings 7:48)…Perhaps the golden candelabra stood upon them. (Comp. 1Chronicles 28:16; and 2Chronicles 4:19, infra.)”

        • Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges: “In 2 Chronicles 4:19 ‘the tables (plural) whereon the shewbread was set’ are mentioned (cp. 1 Chronicles 28:16), but the parallel place (1 Kings 7:48) has ‘the table’ (sing.), and elsewhere both in Chronicles and in the rest of the O.T. one table only is assigned to the shewbread (2 Chronicles 13:11; 2 Chronicles 29:18). Probably therefore the ten tables here mentioned were not for the shewbread.”

        • HCSB notes, “This ‘courtyard of the priests’ was the ‘inner court’ of 1 Kg 6:36 and 7:12.”

Completion of the Bronze Furnishings

      • Huram-abi made the pots, shovels, and the bowls. So Huram-abi completed everything King Solomon had assigned to him for the house of God:

          • I have sided with the translations that read “Huram-abi” instead of “Huram” or “Hiram.” NET Bible explains, “Heb ‘Huram,’ but here this refers to Huram Abi (2 Chr 2:13). The complete name has been used in the translation to avoid possible confusion with King Huram of Tyre.”

        • the two pillars;

        • the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

        • the latticework for the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

        • the 400 pomegranates for the latticework of the two pillars (each latticework had two rows of pomegranates at the bowl-shaped top of the pillar);

        • the movable stands with their basins;

        • The Sea” and the 12 bulls underneath it;

        • the pots, shovels, forks, and all their utensils.

      • All the items that Huram-abi made for Solomon for Yahweh’s house were made of polished bronze. The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Sukkoth and Zarethan. Solomon made so many of these items they did not weigh the bronze.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “The bronze vessels and furnishings were located in the temple entrance and court, while those in the interior (the place of greater holiness) were made of gold…”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible adds, “The bronze objects for the temple were not made on site because smelting and casting required clay beds into which molten metal could be poured. Excavations at Edomite Feinan (Khirbet en-Nahas, ancient Punon; see Num 33:42), a region located south of the Dead Sea on the eastern edge of the Arabah, have uncovered numerous active copper mines dating from the eleventh to the ninth century BC. An Egyptian stone relief from the tomb of Meruka (6th Dynasty, late third millennium BC) at Saqqara depicts metalworkers forcing air through blowpipes to increase the fire’s temperature. In the New Kingdom, bellows made of bowls covered with animal hides were used for this purpose. A scene found in the tomb of Rekhmire from this era (18th Dynasty, mid-2nd millennium BC) depicts foundry workers carrying baskets full of copper mined in Syria-Palestine. The accompanying inscription reads, ‘Carrying Asiatic copper which his Majesty has brought after his victory over Retenu in order to cast the two doors of the temple of Amen at Luxor, to cover their surface with gold after the fashion of the horizon’ (‘Foundry Workers,’ reshafim.org).”

Completion of the Gold Furnishings

          • ESV Study Bible writes, “The golden altar was for the burning of incense (see Ex 30:1-10; 1 Chron 28:18). The Most Holy Place was separated from the nave (Holy Place) [rendered above ‘main hall’] by inner doors…of gold as well as the veil (2 Chron 3:14).”

      • Solomon also made all of the furnishings that were in the house of God:

        • the gold altar;

        • the tables for the Bread of the Presence;

        • the lampstands of pure gold with their lamps which burned as specified at the entrance to the inner sanctuary;

          • the flowers, lamps, and tongs- all of pure gold;

        • the wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, pans, and sensors- all of pure gold;

        • the gold door hinges for the inner sanctuary, and the doors to the Most Holy Place and the doors of the main hall of the temple were gold.

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