And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz. (1 KINGS 7:21)
HIRAM THE ARTISAN FROM TYRE
I was working on a watercolour painting of the Temple of Solomon, putting finishing touches on the pillars, recalling the description of their incredible beauty with their rows of pomegranates, crowned with lilies. In meditating on this, I stood between those pillars, gazing up at them, the pomegranates and lilies towering over my head. How many times did the Israelites travel to Jerusalem, singing the Hallel, and walking through those majestic pillars, into the golden doors sculpted with palm trees and cherubim during the Temple in the 410 years that the Temple was in existence?
Before he died, King David had laid in store the accumulated wealth of 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver for the construction of the Temple which his son Solomon would build on Mt. Moriah. This is the ancient holy site where Abraham went in obedience to make the sacrifice to God and God provided the sacrifice for him, which fore-shadows the atoning work of Yeshua haMashiach Himself, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Solomon fetched Hiram from Tyre. This artisan bore the same name as the king in 2 Chron. 2:13. He was the son of an Israelite woman of the tribe of Naphtali and his father was Tyrian by birth. (Half Israeli and half Gentile) According to 2 Chron. 2:13, his mother was of the daughters of Dan, but married into the tribe of Naphtali. When her husband died, she remarried, becoming the wife of a Tyrian, to whom she bore the son named Hiram.
Hiram's skill is described in Exodus 31:3. His "being filled with the Spirit of God" is a description of the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord. Hiram was a worker in brass. According to 2 Chron. 2:14, brasswork was not his only skill, and he worked equally well in gold, silver, brass, iron, stone, wood and purple. There is nothing improbable in this extention of his skills to include weaving."
"...I have dispatched Huram-abi, a skilled artisan, endowed with understanding, 14) the son of one of the Danite women, his father a Tyrian. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your artisans, the artisans of my lord, your father David. (2 Chron. 2:13-15)
WORK IN THE ARTIST COOPERATIVE
Hiram was a foreman or leader in these arts, working with a team of artisans who carried out the different works under his superintendence. The ennumeration of his work commences with the pillars in the Temple hall. He formed two brass or brazen pillars in 2 Chron. 3:15-17. These two pillars were made for the porch of Solomon's Temple. (I Kings 7:21, 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3) Some see in these twin pillars an allusion to the two pillars at the time of the Exodus, the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
One thing is for sure. God made covenantal promises to both King David and to the son who reigned in his stead, King Solomon. Solomon asked for royal descendants. That God would keep one of David's descendants on the throne as the Lord had promised in 2 Chronicles 6:14-17. God answered this in 2 Chron 7:16-22.
Solomon also prayed that God would answer the prayers of His people when they cried to Him. God answered Solomon about this in 7:12-15. God's promises to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and later summarized in 1 Chron. 17:11-14 encompass these pertinent elements: 1) That Messiah would come from the lineage of David. 2) He would come from the tribe of Judah. 3) Messiah would establish a kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:10-13 a) A house b) A kingdom c) A throne.
The surety of this covenant with David as well as that of Solomon is echoed by the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33:19-26.
9) And the word of Jehovah came unto Jeremiah, saying, 20) Thus saith Jehovah: If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, so that there shall not be day and night in their season; 21) then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22) As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me. 23) And the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying, 24) Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which Jehovah did choose, he hath cast them off? thus do they despise my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. 25) Thus saith Jehovah: If my covenant of day and night stand not, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; 26) then will I also cast away the seed of Jacob, and of David my servant, so that I will not take of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and will have mercy on them.
Each pillar was 18 cubits high. There was a row of 12 cubits surrounding the pillars. The difference in the description of the size of these in scripture is probably because in one account the size is doubled to include the two, whereas in another it speaks of just one pillar.
Pillars are mentioned often in Genesis. For example when Jacob dreamed of the "gate of heaven" he "rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it." (Genesis 28:18) This type of pillar represented the gate of heaven, and a covenant. "Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar." (Genesis 31:44-45) It appears that the pillar was used to memorialize the covenant made between Jacob and Laban. It is not surprising that the tops of ancient pillars were often adorned by shems and yads. This is appropriate because they memorialized a covenant, and represented the gate of heaven. [find picture of an Egyptian obelisk for figure 2] The temple was a figure of the heavenly temple, and as such the entrance was guarded by the two pillars.
The Pillars used in the Temple of Solomon were placed so that both the altar of sacrifice and the lavier were between them. Because pillars memorialized covenants, this placement is especially significant.
The pillars made by Hiram were hollow, the brass being 4 finger-widthes in thickness (Jer. 52:21-22) and they were cast in the Jordan Valley. Hiram made two capitals to set them upon the heads of the pillars, cast in brass, and both measuring 5 cubits in height. Ornaments of plaited or braided work resembling chain-work were on the capitals, which were on the heads of the pillars. The decorations consisted of 7 twists arranged as festoons which were hung around the capitals of the pillars.
AND HE MADE POMEGRANATES & LILY WORK
..."And he made pomegranates." i.e. Carved or sculpted pomegranates on the two pillars. And indeed, 2 rows around about the one twist, to cover the capitals of the pillars. The number of the pomegranates is given as 400, with 200 on each capital. (2 Chron. 3:16-17, 2 Chron 13-17)
The Hebrew word in the Old Testament passages is "rimmôn". The consensus amongst scholars, historians, and botanists is that this word, translated, means pomegranate.
The Pomegranate tree, (punica granatum,) is a small tree reaching a height of 20 to 30 feet. The bell-like flowers are red, yellow, or white (see photo). The flowers of the pomegranate likely served as the design for both the "golden bells" and "open flowers" embroidered on the robes worn by the high priest. The fruit also adorned the sash of the high priest and was carved into the walls and pillars of the Solomon's temple. The pointed lobes of the fruit have served as the inspiration for Solomon's crown and for all crowns since then.Why is the pomegranate so special that the hem of the priest's robe was adorned with the shape of pomegranates made of blue, purple, and scarlet thread? Why were the two main pillars at the entrance to God’s House (King Solomon's Temple), named Jachin and Boaz, heavily decorated with pomegranates?
Symbolically, the pomegranate tree and its fruit represent the temple of God, fertility and fruitfulness.
In early times the pomegranate was a sacred plant and as a symbol of fertility or fruitfulness due to the large number of seeds. Early Christians believed that the pomegranate tree was the "tree of life" in the garden of Eden and later it became the symbol of eternal life in their art. The pomegranate was used as an ornament on the walls of the Jewish temple at Capernaum in which Jesus preached and, you still see pomegranate adornments in Christian Churches today as a symbol of the eternal life given to us through Jesus Christ.
17For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him - John 3:16,17
AND LILY WORK
Hiram made lily-work after the manner of the hall. This lily work was sculpture in the form of flowering lilies. In the words of the prophet Hosea, the lily became the flower symbol of Israel: "I will be like the dew for Israel; he shall blossom like the lily" (Hosea 14, 6); and the lily was also allegorically referred to in the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon 2:1.)
Lily - The Hebrew name shushan or shoshan, i.e., "whiteness", was used as the general name of several plants common to Syria, such as the tulip, iris, anemone, gladiolus, ranunculus, etc. Some interpret it, with much probability, as denoting in the Old Testament the water-lily ( ea lotus of Linn.), or lotus (Cant. 2:1, 2; 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). "Its flowers are large, and they are of a white colour, with streaks of pink. They supplied s for the ornaments of the pillars and the molten sea" (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chr. 4:5). In the Canticles its beauty and fragrance shadow forth the preciousness of Christ to the Church. Groser, however (Scrip. Nat. Hist.), strongly argues that the word, both in the Old and New Testaments, denotes liliaceous plants in general, or if one genus is to be selected, that it must be the genus Iris, which is "large, vigorous, elegant in form, and gorgeous in colouring.
A lily is a flower of the Liliaceae family or any flower that resembles a lily in shape. The lily is mentioned a total of 15 times in the Bible, 13 of those in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament.
The Hebrew word for lily is not as specific as we would use it today, and could mean a true lily (Lilium Candidum) or a variety of different flowers that grow in the Holy Land. This could include anemones, hyacinths, or lotus. Lilies are mentioned in the Old Testament as decorative carvings on pillars in palaces and temples (I Kings 7:19, 22, 26; II Chron. 4:5), but are mentioned mostly in the Song of Songs. In Song of Songs, the lily is used in describing a woman's beauty (2:12; 4:5) and the lips of the woman's lover (5:13), and love (2:16, 6:23). In Hosea, we are told that once Israel is restored "he will blossom like a lily" (Hos. 14:5).
Yeshua/Jesus used "the lilies of the field" as the object of one of his better known lessons (Matthew 6:28; Luke 12:27). The Greek word, "krinon," usually refers to Lilium Candidum, the white Madonna Lily. This flower is native to the Holy Land, typically growing in a woodland habitat, and not open fields. In light of this many scholars suggest that Jesus spoke of the many varieties of flowers that grace the Holy Land's hillsides and fields. "
The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament (Matt. 6:28; Luke 12:27) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract the attention of the hearers" (Balfour's Plants of the Bible).
The lily work covered the upper cubits of the capitals. He set up the pillars in the Holy Place. The right pillar was called Jachin and the left Boaz. In these names we recall God's promise to Solomon: "Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I have promised thy David thy father." (i Kings 9:5) These were in Solomon's Temple supporting the roof of the hall. Solomon desired that God would give the Temple both strength and endurance, and the pillars are symbolic of stability and strength. These two elements which are not found in the Temple as an outward structure alone, but the Kingdom of God in Israel as embodied in the Temple received from the Lord, who had chosen the Temple to be His dwelling place in the midst of His people.
"And King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze; and he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill, for making any work in bronze. He came Solomon, and did all his work." "He cast two pillars of bronze. Eighteen cubits was the height of one pillar, and a line of twelve cubits measured its circumference; it was hollow, and its thickness was four fingers; the second pillar was the same. He also made two capitals of molten bronze, to set upon the tops of the pillars; the height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits."
"Then he made two nets of checker work with wreaths of chain work for the capitals upon the tops of the pillars; a net for the one capital, and a net for the other capital. Likewise he made pomegranates; in two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the capital that was upon the top of the pillar; and he did the same with the other capital. Now the capitals that were upon the tops of the pillars in the vestibule were of lily-work, four cubits. The capitals were upon the two pillars and also above the rounded projection which was beside the network; there were two hundred pomegranates, in two rows round about; and so with the other capital. He set up the pillars at the vestibule of the Temple; he set up the pillar on the south and called its name Jachin; and he set up the pillar on the north and called its name Boaz. And upon the tops of the pillars was lily-work. Thus the work of the pillars was finished." (1 Kings 7:13-22)
The holy place was an emblem and figure of the invisible church of God; or such persons as are truly spiritual, believers in Christ, partakers of the grace of God in truth, who are a royal priesthood, and built up a spiritual house to offer up spiritual sacrifices unto God. Inward court worshippers, who are made light in the Lord signified by the golden candlesticks in that place, and whose light so shines before men, that those who behold their good works, may glorify their Father who is in heaven. The prayers of these are set before the Lord, as incense; and the lifting up of their hands as the evening sacrifice. These sit down at the table with their Lord, and sup with him, and he with them: or, in other words, they have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. These are they that worship God in the Spirit rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Tom & Alana Campbell 5214 South 2nd Avenue, Everett, Washington 98203-4113
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