The uppermost section and crowning decoration of a building’s column. Other than a passing reference to Nineveh’s pillar capitals, the only ones mentioned in the Bible are the massive ones that topped Jachin and Boaz, the pillars that stood in front of Solomon’s temple. (Zeph. 2:13, 14; 2 Chron. 3:15-17) These capitals and the pillars upon which they rested were made by the craftsman Hiram at the time of the temple’s construction (1034-1027 B.C.E.) and survived over 400 years until Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E.—2 Chron. 4:11-13; Jer. 52:17, 22.
The pillars themselves were of cast copper, about five feet seven inches (1.7 meters) in diameter and eighteen cubits (26 feet 3 inches; 8 meters) high. In addition, the capitals were five cubits (7 feet 3 inches; 2.2 meters) high. (1 Ki. 7:15, 16) The account at 2 Kings 25:17 says that each capital was three cubits (4 feet 4 inches; 1.3 meters) high; but this figure apparently does not include the network of twisted ornamental chainwork, described separately in this account, and which must have been two cubits (2 feet 11 inches; 89 centimeters) high, making a total of five cubits (7 feet 3 inches; 2.2 meters). Since the pillars were hollow, with walls about three inches (7.6 centimeters) thick, it is reasonable to suppose that the capitals were of similar construction, and were also cast in clay molds “in the District of the Jordan.”—2 Chron. 4:17; Jer. 52:21.
From the limited description of these bowl-shaped capitals, it is impossible to describe their exact appearance or design. Around the bottom part of each there were seven nets of copper network, and from these hung two rows of one hundred copper pomegranates each, suspended on copper chains. These were arranged like necklaces around the capitals. (1 Ki. 7:17, 18, 20, 42; 2 Chron. 3:16) It appears that on the side of the capital next to the temple, four pomegranates in each chain of one hundred were rather obscured from view, for Jeremiah says there “came to be ninety-six, on the sides” (literally, “windward”; “on the outside,” AT; “being visible,” Mo). (Jer. 52:23) Above these pomegranate decorations there was “lily work” of four cubits (5 feet 10 inches; c. 1.8 meters).—1 Ki. 7:22.