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2 Chronicles 3:1--4:22

The Building of the Temple

3:1 Solomon began building the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem 1  on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. This was the place that David prepared at the threshing floor of Ornan 2  the Jebusite. 3:2 He began building on the second day of the second month of the fourth year of his reign. 3 

3:3 Solomon laid the foundation for God’s temple; 4  its length (determined according to the old standard of measure) was 90 feet, and its width 30 feet. 5  3:4 The porch in front of the main hall was 30 feet long, corresponding to the width of the temple, 6  and its height was 30 feet. 7  He plated the inside with pure gold. 3:5 He paneled 8  the main hall 9  with boards made from evergreen trees 10  and plated it with fine gold, decorated with palm trees and chains. 11  3:6 He decorated the temple with precious stones; the gold he used came from Parvaim. 12  3:7 He overlaid the temple’s rafters, thresholds, walls and doors with gold; he carved decorative cherubim on the walls.

3:8 He made the most holy place; 13  its length was 30 feet, 14  corresponding to the width of the temple, and its width 30 feet. 15  He plated it with 600 talents 16  of fine gold. 3:9 The gold nails weighed 50 shekels; he also plated the upper areas with gold. 3:10 In the most holy place he made two images of cherubim and plated them with gold. 3:11 The combined wing span of the cherubs was 30 feet. 17  One of the first cherub’s wings was seven and one-half feet long and touched one wall of the temple; its other wing was also seven and one-half feet long and touched one of the second cherub’s wings. 18  3:12 Likewise one of the second cherub’s wings was seven and one-half feet long and touched the other wall of the temple; its other wing was also seven and one-half feet long and touched one of the first cherub’s wings. 19  3:13 The combined wingspan of these cherubim was 30 feet. 20  They stood upright, facing inward. 21  3:14 He made the curtain out of violet, purple, crimson, and white fabrics, and embroidered on it decorative cherubim.

3:15 In front of the temple he made two pillars which had a combined length 22  of 52½ feet, 23  with each having a plated capital seven and one-half feet high. 24  3:16 He made ornamental chains 25  and put them on top of the pillars. He also made one hundred pomegranate-shaped ornaments and arranged them within the chains. 3:17 He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the right side and the other on the left. 26  He named the one on the right Jachin, 27  and the one on the left Boaz. 28 

4:1 He made a bronze altar, 30 feet 29  long, 30 feet 30  wide, and 15 feet 31  high. 4:2 He also made the big bronze basin called “The Sea.” 32  It measured 15 feet 33  from rim to rim, was circular in shape, and stood seven and one-half feet 34  high. Its circumference was 45 feet. 35  4:3 Images of bulls were under it all the way around, ten every eighteen inches 36  all the way around. The bulls were in two rows and had been cast with “The Sea.” 4:4 “The Sea” stood on top of twelve bulls. Three faced northward, three westward, three southward, and three eastward. “The Sea” was placed on top of them, and they all faced outward. 37  4:5 It was four fingers thick and its rim was like that of a cup shaped like a lily blossom. It could hold 18,000 gallons. 38  4:6 He made ten washing basins; he put five on the south side and five on the north side. In them they rinsed the items used for burnt sacrifices; the priests washed in “The Sea.”

4:7 He made ten gold lampstands according to specifications and put them in the temple, five on the right and five on the left. 4:8 He made ten tables and set them in the temple, five on the right and five on the left. He also made one hundred gold bowls. 4:9 He made the courtyard of the priests and the large enclosure and its doors; 39  he plated their doors with bronze. 4:10 He put “The Sea” on the south side, in the southeast corner.

4:11 Huram Abi 40  made the pots, shovels, and bowls. He finished all the work on God’s temple he had been assigned by King Solomon. 41  4:12 He made 42  the two pillars, the two bowl-shaped tops of the pillars, the latticework for the bowl-shaped tops of the two pillars, 4:13 the four hundred pomegranate-shaped ornaments for the latticework of the two pillars (each latticework had two rows of these ornaments at the bowl-shaped top of the pillar), 4:14 the ten 43  movable stands with their ten 44  basins, 4:15 the big bronze basin called “The Sea” with its twelve bulls underneath, 4:16 and the pots, shovels, and meat forks. 45  All the items King Solomon assigned Huram Abi to make for the Lord’s temple 46  were made from polished bronze. 4:17 The king had them cast in earthen foundries 47  in the region of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. 4:18 Solomon made so many of these items they did not weigh the bronze. 48 

4:19 Solomon also made these items for God’s temple: the gold altar, the tables on which the Bread of the Presence 49  was kept, 4:20 the pure gold lampstands and their lamps which burned as specified at the entrance to the inner sanctuary, 4:21 the pure gold flower-shaped ornaments, lamps, and tongs, 4:22 the pure gold trimming shears, basins, pans, and censers, and the gold door sockets for the inner sanctuary (the most holy place) and for the doors of the main hall of the temple.

1 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

2 tn In 2 Sam 24:16 this individual is called אֲרַוְנָא (“Aravna”; traditionally “Araunah”). The form of the name found here also occurs in 1 Chr 21:15; 18-28.

3 sn This would be April-May, 966 b.c. by modern reckoning.

4 tn Heb “and these are the founding of Solomon to build the house of God.”

5 tn Heb “the length [in] cubits by the former measure was sixty cubits, and a width of twenty cubits.” Assuming a length of 18 inches (45 cm) for the standard cubit, the length of the foundation would be 90 feet (27 m) and its width 30 feet (9 m).

6 tc Heb “and the porch which was in front of the length corresponding to the width of the house, twenty cubits.” The phrase הֵיכַל הַבַּיִת (heykhal habbayit, “the main hall of the temple,” which appears in the parallel account in 1 Kgs 6:3) has been accidentally omitted by homoioarcton after עַל־פְּנֵי (’al-pÿney, “in front of”). Note that the following form, הָאֹרֶךְ (haorekh, “the length”), also begins with the Hebrew letter he (ה). A scribe’s eye probably jumped from the initial he on הֵיכַל to the initial he on הָאֹרֶךְ, leaving out the intervening letters in the process.

7 tc The Hebrew text has “one hundred and twenty cubits,” i.e. (assuming a cubit of 18 inches) 180 feet (54 m). An ancient Greek witness and the Syriac version read “twenty cubits,” i.e., 30 feet (9 m). It is likely that מֵאָה (meah, “a hundred”), is a corruption of an original אַמּוֹת (’ammot, “cubits”).

8 tn Heb “covered.”

9 tn Heb “the large house.”

10 tn Heb “wood of evergreens.”

11 tn Heb “and he put up on it palm trees and chains.”

12 tn Heb “and he plated the house [with] precious stone for beauty, and the gold was the gold of Parvaim.”

sn The location of Parvaim, the source of the gold for Solomon’s temple, is uncertain. Some have identified it with modern Farwa in Yemen; others relate it to the Sanskrit parvam and understand it to be a general term for the regions east of Palestine.

13 tn Heb “the house of the holy place of holy places.”

14 tn Heb “twenty cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), this would give a length of 30 feet (9 m).

15 tc Heb “twenty cubits.” Some suggest adding, “and its height twenty cubits” (see 1 Kgs 6:20). The phrase could have been omitted by homoioteleuton.

16 tn The Hebrew word כִּכַּר (kikar, “circle”) refers generally to something that is round. When used of metals it can refer to a disk-shaped weight made of the metal or, by extension, to a standard unit of weight. According to the older (Babylonian) standard the “talent” weighed 130 lbs. (58.9 kg), but later this was lowered to 108.3 lbs. (49.1 kg). More recent research suggests the “light” standard talent was 67.3 lbs. (30.6 kg). Using this as the standard for calculation, the weight of the gold plating was 40,380 lbs. (18,360 kg).

17 tn Heb “and the wings of the cherubs, their length was twenty cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the wingspan of the cherubs would have been 30 feet (9 m).

18 tn Heb “the wing of the one was five cubits from the touching of the wall of the house, and the other wing was five cubits from the touching of the wing of the other cherub.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), each wing would have been 7.5 feet (2.25 m) long.

19 tn Heb “and the wing of the one (הָאֶחָד, haekhad, “the one”; this should probably be emended to הָאַחֵר, haakher, “the other”) cherub was five cubits, touching the wall of the house, and the other wing was five cubits, clinging to the wing of the other cherub.”

20 tn Heb “the wings of these cherubs were spreading twenty cubits.”

21 tn Heb “and they were standing on their feet, with their faces to the house.” An alternative translation of the last clause would be, “with their faces to the main hall.”

22 sn The figure given here appears to refer to the combined length of both pillars (perhaps when laid end-to-end on the ground prior to being set up; cf. v. 17); the figure given for the height of the pillars in 1 Kgs 7:15, 2 Kgs 25:17, and Jer 52:21 is half this (i.e., eighteen cubits).

23 tc The Syriac reads “eighteen cubits” (twenty-seven feet). This apparently reflects an attempt at harmonization with 1 Kgs 7:15, 2 Kgs 25:17, and Jer 52:21.

24 tn Heb “and he made before the house two pillars, thirty-five cubits [in] length, and the plated capital which was on its top [was] five cubits.” The significance of the measure “thirty-five cubits” (52.5 feet or 15.75 m, assuming a cubit of 18 inches) for the “length” of the pillars is uncertain. According to 1 Kgs 7:15, each pillar was eighteen cubits (27 feet or 8.1 m) high. Perhaps the measurement given here was taken with the pillars lying end-to-end on the ground before they were set up.

25 tn The Hebrew text adds here, “in the inner sanctuary,” but the description at this point is of the pillars, not the inner sanctuary.

26 tn Or “one on the south and the other on the north.”

27 tn The name “Jachin” appears to be a verbal form and probably means, “he establishes.”

28 tn The meaning of the name “Boaz” is uncertain. For various proposals, see BDB 126-27 s.v. בֹּעַז. One attractive option is to revocalize the name asבְּעֹז (bÿoz, “in strength”) and to understand it as completing the verbal form on the first pillar. Taking the words together and reading from right to left, one can translate the sentence, “he establishes [it] in strength.”

29 tn Heb “twenty cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the length would have been 30 feet (9 m).

30 tn Heb “twenty cubits.”

31 tn Heb “ten cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the height would have been 15 feet (4.5 m).

32 tn Heb “He made the sea, cast.”

sn The large bronze basin known as “The Sea” was mounted on twelve bronze bulls and contained water for the priests to bathe themselves (see v. 6; cf. Exod 30:17-21).

33 tn Heb “ten cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the diameter would have been 15 feet (4.5 m).

34 tn Heb “five cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the height would have been 7.5 feet (2.25 m).

35 tn Heb “and a measuring line went around it thirty cubits all around.”

36 tn Heb “ten every cubit.”

37 tn Heb “all their hindquarters were toward the inside.”

38 tn 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).

39 tn Heb “and the doors for the enclosure.”

40 tn 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.

41 tn Heb “Huram finished doing all the work which he did for King Solomon [on] the house of God.”

42 tn The words “he made” are added for stylistic reasons.

43 tc The Hebrew text has עָשָׂה (’asah, “he made”), which is probably a corruption of עֶשֶׂר (’eser, “ten”; see 1 Kgs 7:43).

44 tc The Hebrew text has עָשָׂה (’asah, “he made”), which is probably a corruption of עֲשָׂרָה (’asarah, “ten”; see 1 Kgs 7:43).

45 tc Some prefer to read here “bowls,” see v. 11 and 1 Kgs 7:45.

46 tn Heb “Huram Abi made for King Solomon [for] the house of the Lord.”

47 tn Or perhaps, “molds.”

48 tn Heb “Solomon made all these items in great abundance; the weight of the bronze was not sought.”

49 tn Heb “the bread of the face/presence.”

sn This bread offered to God was viewed as a perpetual offering to God. See Lev 24:5-9.

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