New Defender's Study Bible Notes
7:1 thirteen years. It is noteworthy that Solomon completed the temple before he began building his own palace complex, the entire sequence taking twenty years (I Kings 9:10).
7:2 house of the forest. The thirteen years were required to complete all the buildings associated with Solomon’s palace, including the “house of the forest of Lebanon,” the porch of pillars,” (I Kings 7:6), the “porch of judgment” (I Kings 7:7) and the “house for Pharaoh’s daughter” (I Kings 7:8), as well as the “great court” (I Kings 7:12) around the whole complex. These buildings were beautiful, no doubt, but not as much so as the temple itself. The house of the forest of Lebanon was largely an armory (I Kings 10:16-17; Isaiah 22:8) and was probably so named because of its cedar beams and pillars, giving it almost the appearance of a cedar forest.
7:13 Hiram out of Tyre. This skilled artisan had perhaps been named after the Phoenician king (I Kings 5:1). His mother had originally been from the tribe of Dan (II Chronicles 2:14) whose first husband was of the tribe of Naphtali. When she became a widow she then married a Phoenician from Tyre, and Hiram was their son. He is called Huram in the paralleled account in II Chronicles 2:13.
7:15 eighteen cubits high apiece. The parallel description in II Chronicles 3:15 says these pillars were thirty-five cubits high. The apparent contradiction has been attributed to a copyist error in the Chronicles reference. The eighteen-cubit dimension is confirmed in II Kings 25:17 and Jeremiah 52:21. These two pillars were evidently free standing; their names, Jachin and Boaz (I Kings 7:21), are believed to have meant “Established” and “Strong,” referring to God and His purpose as depicted in the temple and its ministry. It has also been suggested that the two pillars could have been first cast together in a thirty-five cubit mold, then later divided into the two pillars.
7:16 chapiter. The capital (top part) of a column.
7:23 thirty cubits. Critics who try to find scientific “mistakes” in Scripture nearly always settle on this verse as one of their prime examples. Solomon’s sea, ten cubits in diameter, had a circumference of thirty cubits, supposedly showing that the writer thought the value of p, or “pi,” (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter) was exactly 3.0, instead of 3.1416. The critics do not understand the principle—always applied in careful scientific calculations—of “significant figures.” The dimensions as given were not intended as precisely 10 or 30, but were obviously round numbers. To say the diameter was 10 means only that it was somewhere between 9.5 and 10.5. Similarly the circumference was somewhere between 29.5 and 30.5. Thus the implied value of p was somewhere between 29.5/10.5 and 30.5/9.5—that is, between 2.81 and 3.21. The precise value of p is clearly within this range, and it would have been incorrect to try to specify a more precise value.
7:26 two thousand baths. This volume would correspond to about 11,600 gallons, assuming the bath to be about 5.8 gallons (some authorities believe it was closer to eight gallons). This is the first mention in Scripture of this unit of liquid measure. It was equivalent to the dry measure of the ephah, one-tenth of a homer. See note on II Chronicles 4:5.
7:38 ten lavers. The large “molten sea,” with its ten accompanying small lavers, corresponded to the one “laver of brass...to wash withal” in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:18).
7:48 altar of gold. This golden altar and golden table answered to the altar of incense and the table of shewbread in the tabernacle, respectively (Exodus 30:1; 25:23,30).
7:49 candlesticks of pure gold. These ten golden candlesticks (or lampstands) replaced the one golden candlestick in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:31).