2Chronicles 4:1 ¶ Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.
This chapter continues from the last with the listing of things that Solomon made for the temple. It is obvious that though it reads as though Solomon makes these things, he is the one telling the people what to make and providing the detailed instructions.
He made an altar of brass that was 20 cubits (35 feet) long, 20 cubits wide and ten cubits (17.5 feet) tall.
Guzik notes: “The idea behind the Hebrew word for altar is essentially, killing-place. This was the place of sacrifice, the center for worship and service for the priests and the people.”
The NIV Commentary makes application: “Just as in the tabernacle, the altar was the first main object to be met as one entered the sanctuary court. It demonstrates that God may be approached only through sacrifices, i.e., through the substitutionary and testamentary death of Christ.”
2Chronicles 4:2 Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
2Chronicles 4:3 And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast.
2Chronicles 4:4 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
2Chronicles 4:5 And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.
Also made was a huge vessel of one piece of cast metal that was called the molten or brasen sea because it was made of brass.
2 Kings 25:16 “The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.”
The molten sea was circular and had a diameter of ten cubits, a depth of five cubits (8.75 feet) and a circumference of 30 cubits (52.5 feet). It sounds like the outside of the sea was embossed with two rows of figures of oxen; there were ten figures in every cubit (21”). Taken in conjunction with 1Kings 7:24…
“And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.”
…these figures were probably just the heads of the oxen.
The sea was supported by 12 brass oxen—3 facing north, 3 facing west, 3 facing south and 3 facing east. The sea was a handbreath (width of a person’s four fingers, approximately 3”) thick, its rim like a cup or a lily blossom (flared). It had a capacity of 3000 baths (16,500 gallons).
Note: There is a discrepancy with 1Kings that says that it holds 2000 baths. Clarke offers this explanation: “As this book was written after the Babylonish captivity, it is very possible that reference is here made to the Babylonish bath which might have been less than the Jewish. We have already seen that the cubit of Moses, or of the ancient Hebrews, was longer than the Babylonish by one palm….It might be the same with the measures of capacity; so that two thousand of the ancient Jewish baths might have been equal to three thousand of those used after the captivity.”
NIV Commentary application: “It was used by the priests for washing and taught the necessity for purity on the part of those approaching God. It pointed typically to the washing of regeneration and sanctification provided in Christ.”
2Chronicles 4:6 He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.
He also made ten washbowls, placing five on the right and five on the left to use in rinsing off the pieces of animal offered in the burnt offering. The priests used the sea to wash themselves.
2Chronicles 4:7 And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
2Chronicles 4:8 He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basons of gold.
He made 10 candlesticks of gold according to the pattern and placed them in the Holy Place—5 on the right side and 5 on the left.
He also made 10 tables for the Holy Place, placing 5 on the right and 5 on the left side of the room. He also made 100 golden bows,
2Chronicles 4:9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
2Chronicles 4:10 And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south.
He made a courtyard for the priests (inner court) and a great courtyard for the people (outer court) with doors for each; the doors were overlaid with brass. The sea was placed on the southeast side of the temple.
2Chronicles 4:11 ¶ And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God;
2Chronicles 4:12 To wit, the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters which were on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars;
2Chronicles 4:13 And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were upon the pillars.
2Chronicles 4:14 He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases;
2Chronicles 4:15 One sea, and twelve oxen under it.
2Chronicles 4:16 The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the LORD of bright brass.
This section basically summarizes all that Huram made.
2Chronicles 4:17 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah.
2Chronicles 4:18 Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.
It is noted that the casting of brass vessels was done in the plain of Jordan in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah, about 3 miles east of the Jordan River according to commentators. The amount of brass used was beyond measure.
2Chronicles 4:19 And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set;
2Chronicles 4:20 Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold;
2Chronicles 4:21 And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, made he of gold, and that perfect gold;
2Chronicles 4:22 And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold.
This section seems to be identifying all the vessels used in the temple that were made using pure gold.