The Molten Sea (Daily Portion 10411)

Content Author: 
Reagan, David
Scripture Passage: 
2 Chronicles 4:1-10

This chapter continues the description of Solomon’s Temple and related items. In this passage, the molten sea is of special interest. There was nothing quite like it in the tabernacle of Moses. Notice also the great size of the items that do have parallels in the tabernacle.

What Does It Say?

  1. Solomon made an altar of brass, _________ cubits the length thereof, and _________ cubits the breadth thereof, and ______ cubits the height thereof.
  2. The molten sea was set upon twelve oxen and all their hinder parts were _________.
  3. The thickness of the molten sea was an ______________, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a ________.
  4. For the temple, Solomon made ________ candlesticks of _________.
  5. Furthermore he made the court of the _________ and the great _________.

What Does It Mean?

  1. This question is for those of you who like math. The molten sea is round (v.2). It measures ten cubits from brim to brim (v.2) and measures 30 cubits around (v.2). The brim is the thickness of a handbreadth (v.5). A cubit is usually said to be 18 inches, but it can be as long as 20 to 21 inches. A handbreadth is usually said to be about four inches (the width of four fingers pressed together). The formula for circumference (the distance around a circle) is the diameter (length across) times pi (generally 3.14). If the diameter of the molten sea is ten cubits, then the circumference should be about 31.4 cubits. Many have used this to prove the Bible wrong. But simple math will show the numbers to be quite true. Can you figure out how? Hint: consider the thickness of the brim. If this is too much math for you, try it on any numbers-wise person that you know.
  2.  The molten sea sits on 12 brazen oxen (v.3-4). What is the significance of the oxen? Read Psalm 144:14 and Proverbs 14:4. What do oxen seem to signify in scripture?
  3. The placement of the molten sea in the temple court is described in verse 10: “And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south.” Solomon’s Temple was built so that the opening pointed toward the east. The entire temple is three times as long (60 cubits) as it is wide (20 cubits). Draw a rectangle representing the temple. Now draw a circle representing the position of the molten sea according to the description above (10 cubits across).

What Does It Mean to Me?

  1. The brim of the molten sea had engraved work with “flowers of lilies” (v.5). Lily work was also used at the tops of some of the pillars in the temple (1Kings 7:16, 22). What is the significance of using the likenesses of lilies to adorn the temple? Read these verses: Song of Solomon 2:1-2; Song of Solomon 6:2-3; Hosea 14:5; Matthew 6:28-29. What do you think lilies refer to in the Bible? What can we learn from the scripture references to lilies?
  2. In verse six, we are told that “the sea [the molten sea] was for the priests to wash in.” The temple was representative of our entrance into the presence of God. In order to enter the temple, the priests had to wash themselves with water. In this sense, what is washing a picture of? What does the water picture? Consider John 13:3-11; John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26. What does this teach us about how we should approach the presence of God? How can we better draw close to Him?
David Reagan
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 19:10

Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.