Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
2 Chronicles 4:1
Ch2 4:1-6. The copper furniture of the court. Ch2 4:1. The altar of burnt-offering. Its preparation is passed over in 1 Kings 6 and 7, so that there it is only mentioned incidentally in connection with the consecration of the temple, Kg1 8:22, Kg1 8:54, and Kg1 9:25. It was twenty cubits square (long and broad) and ten cubits high, and constructed on the model of the Mosaic altar of burnt-offering, and probably of brass plates, which enclosed the inner core, consisting of earth and unhewn stones; and if we may judge from Ezekiel's description, Eze 43:13-17, it rose in steps, as it were, so that at each step its extent was smaller; and the measurement of twenty cubits refers only to the lowest scale, while the space at the top, with the hearth, was only twelve cubits square; cf. my Bibl. Archaeol. i. S. 127, with the figure, plate iii. fig. 2.
2 Chronicles 4:2
The brazen sea described as in Kg1 7:23-26. See the commentary on that passage, and the sketch in my Archaeol. i. plate iii. fig. 1. The differences in substance, such as the occurrence of בּקרים and הבּקר, Ch2 4:3, instead of פּקעים and הפּקים, and 3000 baths instead of 2000, are probably the result of orthographical errors in the Chronicle. יכיל in Ch2 4:5 appears superfluous after the preceding מחזיק, and Berth. considers it a gloss which has come from 1 Kings into our text by mistake. But the expression is only pleonastic: "receiving baths, 3000 it held;" and there is no sufficient reason to strike out the words.
2 Chronicles 4:6
The ten lavers which, according to Kg1 7:38, stood upon ten brazen stands, i.e., chests provided with carriage wheels. These stands, the artistic work on which is circumstantially described in Kg1 7:27-37, are omitted in the Chronicle, because they are merely subordinate parts of the lavers. The size or capacity of the lavers is not stated, only their position on both sides of the temple porch, and the purpose for which they were designed, "to wash therein, viz., the work of the burnt-offering (the flesh of the burnt-offering which was to be burnt upon the altar) they rinsed therein," being mentioned. For details, see in Kg1 7:38. and the figure in my Archaol. i. plate iii. fig. 4. Occasion is here taken to mention in a supplementary way the use of the brazen sea.
2 Chronicles 4:7
The golden furniture of the holy place and the courts. These three verses are not found in the parallel narrative 1 Kings 7, where in Kg1 7:39 the statement as to the position of the brazen sea (Ch2 4:10) follows immediately the statement of the position of the stands with the lavers. The candlesticks and the table of the shew-bread are indeed mentioned in the summary enumeration of the temple furniture, Kg1 7:48 and Kg1 7:49, as in the corresponding passage of the Chronicle (Ch2 4:19, Ch2 4:20) they again occur; and in Kg1 6:36 and Kg1 7:12, in the description of the temple building, the inner court is spoken of, but the outer court is not expressly mentioned. No reason can be given for the omission of these verses in 1 Kings 7; but that they have been omitted or have dropped out, may be concluded from the fact that not only do the whole contents of our fourth chapter correspond to the section 1 Kings 7:23-50, but both passages are rounded off by the same concluding verse (Ch2 5:1 and Kg1 7:51).
He made ten golden candlesticks כּמשׁפּטם, according to their right, i.e., as they should be according to the prescript, or corresponding to the prescript as to the golden candlesticks in the Mosaic sanctuary (Exo 25:31.). משׁפּט is the law established by the Mosaic legislation.
Ten golden tables, corresponding to the ten candlesticks, and, like these, placed five on the right and five on the left side of the holy place. The tables were not intended to bear the candlesticks (Berth.), but for the shew-bread; cf. on Ch2 4:19 and Ch1 28:16. And a hundred golden basins, not for the catching and sprinkling of the blood (Berth.), but, as their connection with the tables for the shew-bread shows, wine flagons, or sacrificial vessels for wine libations, probably corresponding to the מנקּיּות on the table of shew-bread in the tabernacle (Exo 25:29). The signification, wine flagons, for מזרקים, is placed beyond a doubt by Amo 6:6.
2 Chronicles 4:9
The two courts are not further described. For the court of the priests, see on Kg1 6:36 and Kg1 7:12. As to the great or outer court, the only remark made is that it had doors, and its doors, i.e., the folds or leaves of the doors, were overlaid with copper. In Ch2 4:10 we have a supplementary statement as to the position of the brazen sea, which coincides with Kg1 7:39; see on the passage. In Ch2 4:11 the heavier brazen (copper) utensils, belonging to the altar of burnt-offering, are mentioned: סידות, pots for the removal of the ashes; יעים, shovels, to take the ashes out from the altar; and מזרקות, basins to catch and sprinkle the sacrificial blood. This half verse belongs to the preceding, notwithstanding that Huram is mentioned as the maker. This is clear beyond doubt, from the fact that the same utensils are again introduced in the summary catalogue which follows (Ch2 4:16).
2 Chronicles 4:11
Summary catalogue of the temple utensils and furniture. - Ch2 4:11-18. The brass work wrought by Huram.
2 Chronicles 4:19
The golden furniture of the holy place and the gilded doors of the temple. This section is found also in Kg1 7:40-50. The enumeration of the things wrought in brass coincides to a word, with the exception of trifling linguistic differences and some defects in the text, with Kg1 7:40-47. In Ch2 4:12 והכּתרות הגּלּות is the true reading, and we should so read in Kg1 7:41 also, since the גּלּות, circumvolutions, are to be distinguished from the כּתרות, crowns; see on Ch2 3:16. In Ch2 4:14 the first עשׂה is a mistake for עשׂר, the second for עשׂרה, Kg1 7:43; for the verb עשׂה is not required nor expected, as the accusative depends upon לעשׂות, Ch2 4:11, while the number cannot be omitted, since it is always given with the other things. In Ch2 4:16 מזלנות is an orthographic error for מזרקות; cf. Ch2 4:11 and Kg1 7:44. ואת־כּל־כּליחם is surprising, for there is no meaning in speaking of the utensils of the utensils enumerated in Ch2 4:12-16. According to Kg1 7:45, we should read האלּה כּל־הכּלים את. As to אביו, see on Ch2 2:12. מרוּק נחשׁת is accusative of the material, of polished brass; and so also ממרט נח, Kg1 7:45, with a similar signification. In reference to the rest, see the commentary on Kg1 7:40.
In the enumeration of the golden furniture of the holy place, our text diverges somewhat more from Kg1 7:48-50. On the difference in respect to the tables of the shew-bread, see on Kg1 7:48. In Ch2 4:20 the number and position of the candlesticks in the holy place are not stated as they are in Kg1 7:49, both having been already given in Ch2 4:7. Instead of that, their use is emphasized: to light them, according to the right, before the most holy place (כּמּשׁפּט as in Ch2 4:7). As to the decorations and subordinate utensils of the candlesticks, see on Kg1 7:49. To זהב, Ch2 4:21 (accus. of the material), is added זהב מכלות הוּא, "that is perfect gold." מכלה, which occurs only here, is synonymous with מכלל, perfection. This addition seems superfluous, because before and afterwards it is remarked of these vessels that they were of precious gold (סגוּר זהב), and it is consequently omitted by the lxx, perhaps also because מכלות was not intelligible to them. The words, probably, are meant to indicate that even the decorations and the subordinate utensils of the candlesticks (lamps, snuffers, etc.) were of solid gold, and not merely gilded.
מזמּרות, knives, probably used along with the snuffers for the cleansing and trimming of the candlesticks and lamps, are not met with among the utensils of the tabernacle, but are here mentioned (Chr. and Kings), and in Kg2 12:14 and Jer 52:18, among the temple utensils. Along with the מזרקות, sacrificial vessels (see on Ch2 4:8), in Ch1 28:17 מזלנות, forks of gold, are also mentioned, which are not elsewhere spoken of. Among the utensils of the tabernacle we find only מזלגות of brass, flesh-forks, as an appurtenance of the altar of burnt-offering (Exo 27:3; Exo 38:3; Num 4:14; cf. Sa1 2:13.), which, however, cannot be intended here, because all the utensils here enumerated belonged to the holy place. What purpose the golden forks served cannot be determined, but the mention of golden knives might lead us to presuppose that there would be golden forks as well. That the forks are not mentioned in our verse does not render their existence doubtful, for the enumeration is not complete: e.g., the ספּות, Kg1 7:50, are also omitted. כּפּות, vessels for the incense, and מחתּות, extinguishers, as in Kg1 7:50. Instead of דּלתותיו הבּית וּפּתח הבּית , "and as regards the opening (door) of the house, its door-leaves," in Kg1 7:50 we have הבּית לדלתות והפּתת, "and the hinges of the door-leaves of the house." This suggests that פתח is only an orthographical error for פּתת; but then if we take it to be so, we must alter דּלתותיו into לדלתותיו. And, moreover, the expression הבּית פּתת, door-hinges of the house, is strange, as פּות properly denotes a recess or space between, and which renders the above-mentioned conjecture improbable. The author of the Chronicle seems rather himself to have generalized the expression, and emphasizes merely the fact that even the leaves of the doors in the most holy place and on the holy place were of gold; - of course not of solid gold; but they were, as we learn from Ch2 3:7, overlaid with gold. This interpretation is favoured by the simple זהב being used without the predicate סגוּר. To the sing. פּתח no objection can be made, for the word in its fundamental signification, "opening," may easily be taken collectively.