A large circular vessel, cast from the polished brass mirrors contributed by the Hebrew women, and placed between the door of the tabernacle and the altar of burnt-offering, with water for the necessary sacred ablutions, Ex 30:18-21; 28:8; 40:7; 30-32.
For the temple of Solomon, besides the vast brazen sea for the use of the priests, (see SEA,) ten lavers were made for cleansing the sacrifices, 2Ch 4:6. Each laver contained about three hundred gallons, and was supported above a highly elaborate and beautiful base, 1Ki 7:27-39. They were stationed within the court of the priests, in front of the temple, five on each side. See TEMPLE.
(Heb kiyor), a "basin" for boiling in, a "pan" for cooking (1Sa 2:14), a "fire-pan" or hearth (Zec 12:6), the sacred wash-bowl of the tabernacle and temple (30/18'>Ex 30:18,28; 31:9; 35:16; 38:8; 39:39; 40:7,11,30, etc.), a basin for the water used by the priests in their ablutions.
That which was originally used in the tabernacle was of brass (rather copper; Heb nihsheth), made from the metal mirrors the women brought out of Egypt (Ex 38:8). It contained water wherewith the priests washed their hands and feet when they entered the tabernacle (Ex 40:32). It stood in the court between the altar and the door of the tabernacle (Ex 30:19,21).
In the temple there were ten lavers used for the sacrifices, and the molten sea for the ablutions of the priests (2Ch 4:6). The position and uses of these are described 1Ki 7:23-39; 2Ch 4:6. The "molten sea" was made of copper, taken from Tibhath and Chun, cities of Hadarezer, king of Zobah (1Ch 18:8; 1Ki 7:23-26).
No lavers are mentioned in the second temple.
It and the altar stood in the court of the tabernacle. Consisting of the laver itself and a base, both of brass. In it the priests were bound to wash their hands and feet in approaching the altar and entering the tabernacle, on pain of death. Constructed of the polished metallic looking glasses which the devout women (assembling at the door of the tabernacle of God's meeting His people) offered, renouncing the instrument of personal vanity for the sake of the higher beauties of holiness. The word of God is at once a mirror wherein to see ourselves and God's image reflected, and the means of sanctifying or cleansing (2Co 3:18; Jas 1:23-25; Eph 5:26; Ex 30:18-19; 38:8). The women made a like sacrifice of ornaments ("tablets," rather armlets) for the Lord's honour (Ex 35:22). On solemn occasions the priest had to bathe his whole person (Ex 29:4; Le 16:4). The kiyor, "laver," was probably the reservoir; the base received and held water from it, and was the place for washing.
Thus, the water was kept pure until drawn off for use. In Solomon's temple there was one great brazen "sea" for the priests to wash in, and ten lavers on bases which could be wheeled about, for washing the animal victims for burnt offering, five on the N., five on the S. sides of the priests' courts; each contained 40 "baths" (1Ki 7:27,39; 2Ch 4:5-6). Ahaz mutilated the bases; and Nebuzaradan carried away the remainder (2Ki 16:17; 25:13). No lavers are mentioned in the second or Herod's temple. Solomon's "molten sea" was made of the copper captured from Tibhath and Chun, cities of Hadarezer king of Zobah (1Ch 18:8), five cubits high, ten diameter, 30 circumference; one hand-breadth thick; containing 3,000 baths according to Chronicles, but 2,000 in Kings; 2,000 is probably correct, Chronicles reading is a transcriber's error.
It is thought that it bulged out below, but contracted at the mouth to the dimensions in 1Ki 7:23-26. A double row of gourds ("knops"), 5 + 5 or 10 in each cubit, ran below the brim. The brim or lip was wrought curving outward like a lily or lotus flower. Layard describes similar vessels at Nineveh, of smaller size. The 12 oxen represent the 12 tribes of Israel the priestly nation, which cleansed itself here in the person of its priests to appear holy before the Lord. The sacrificial animals, the oxen, represent the priestly service.
The "oxen" in 2Ch 4:3 instead of "gourds" or "knops" in Kings is a transcriber's error. The "holy water" in the trial of jealousy (Nu 5:17), and in consecrating the Levites by purifying and sprinkling, was probably from the laver (Nu 8:7); type of the true and efficacious sprinkling of Christ's blood on the conscience (Heb 9:9-10; 10:22; Tit 3:5; Eph 5:26); not to be so washed entails eternal death. The hands and feet need daily cleansing, expressing those members in general most exposed to soils; but the whole body needs but once for all "bathing" (Greek louoo), just as once for all regeneration needs not repetition, but only the removal of partial daily "stains" (Greek niptoo). Joh 13:1-10, "he that is bathed has no need save to wash (the parts soiled, namely,) his feet."
This appertained to the tabernacle and the temple. It was placed between the tabernacle and the brazen altar, and the priests were required to wash their hands and their feet when they approached for any service. Ex 30:18-21. The priests were at first thoroughly washed, but that was a distinct thing from the continual cleansing of their hands and feet. Joh 13:4-14 is somewhat analogous to this, where the apostles, though declared to be clean (except Judas), needed that their feet should be washed, because of the defilements of the way, in order to have part with Christ when He went to the Father. In the tabernacle it was hands as well as feet that were to be washed, because there it was service, as well as the sphere of their walk. Ex 40:7,11,30.
The laver for the tabernacle was made of the brazen mirrors given by the women. Ex 38:8; its shape and size are not specified. The laver for the temple was circular, being ten cubits in diameter, and (in round numbers) thirty in circumference, and five cubits in height. 1Ki 7:26 states that it "contained 2000 baths," which probably refers to the quantity of water that was usually put into it; for 2Ch 4:5 says "it received and held 3000 baths," which may signify its full capacity. The above dimensions do not seem to agree with this capacity; but the definite shape of the laver is not given, it may have bulged out considerably in the middle.
The laver for the temple is called 'a molten sea,' and 'a brazen sea,' and was supported on twelve oxen. It was used for the same purpose as the laver of the tabernacle; but in the temple there were also ten smaller lavers at which the sacrifices were washed. 1Ki 7:23-43; 2Ki 16:17; 2Ch 4:6,14.
1. In the tabernacle, a vessel of brass containing water for the priests to wash their hands and feet before offering sacrifice. It stood in the fore offering sacrifice. It stood in the court between the altar and the door of the tabernacle.
It rested on a basis, i.e. a foot, which, was well as the laver itself, was made from the mirrors of the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle court.
The form of the laver is not specified, but may be assumed to have been circular. Like the other vessels belonging to the tabernacle, it was, together with its "foot," consecrated with oil.
2. In Solomon's temple, besides the great molten sea, there were ten lavers of brass, raised on bases,
five on the north and five on the south side of the court of the priests. They were used for washing the animals to be offered in burnt offerings.
LAVER. Between the altar and the tabernacle, a little to the south, stood a circular laver, which, together with its base, was made of the brazen ornaments which the women had presented for the use of the tabernacle, and was thence called ???? ????, Ex 30:18; 40:7. The priests, when about to perform their duties, washed their hands in this laver.