I Kings 8

 

 

                        The Dedication of the Temple (vs. 1-66).

 

The stately and impressive service with which the Temple, the character and contents

of which have now been described, was dedicated, is related in this chapter, and

divides itself into four sections. We have:

 

  • The removal of the ark and Solomon’s ascription of praise on the

            occasion (vs. 1-22).

  • The prayer of consecration (vs. 23-54).
  • The benediction of the congregation (vs. 55-61), and
  • The festal sacrifices which followed on and completed the dedication

            (vs. 62-66).

 

The inaugural rites, it is clear, were on a scale corresponding with the magnitude

and renown of the undertaking (I Chronicles 22:5).

 

 

(The author of this web site, because of this chapter’s importance, is deviating

from usual practice and will attach, with a few exceptions, the full text of the Pulpit

Commentary on this chapter – CY – 2010)

 

 

                        The Removal of the Ark (vs. 1-22)

 

1  Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of

the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto

king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the

covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.”

Then [i.e., when the work of the house of the Lord was

practically ended, as stated in ch.7:51. But the precise date of the

dedication is a matter of dispute and uncertainty. We know that it took

place in the seventh month of the year, but of what year we cannot be so

sure. Was it the same year in the eighth month of which (ch. 6:38)

the house was finished (Ewald)? Was the dedication, that is to say, one

month anterior to the completion of the house and its appointments? Or are

we to understand “the seventh month” to mean the Ethanim of the

following year (Bahr)? Are we to assign the dedication, that is, to a date

eleven months after completion? Or, finally, are we to believe with the Vat.

LXX. meta< e]ikosi e]th (the LXX. text is here, however, in great

confusion), that the temple was not dedicated until the palaces were also

built (see ch. 9:1-9); are we to hold, i.e., that though finished and

ready for use, it remained unused for a period of thirteen years (Thenius,

Keil)? These are questions which we cannot perhaps answer with absolute

certainty, but, to my mind, every consideration is in favor of the date first

mentioned, i.e., the seventh month of the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign.

It is true Bahr says that this opinion “needs no refutation,” while Keil

pronounces it directly at variance with ch. 7:51.” But it is worth

while to inquire whether this is so? And, first, as to the bearing of the

passage just cited, “So was ended all the work which,” etc., taken in

connection with v.1 here, “Then Solomon assembled,” etc. To the

cursory reader it appears no doubt as it this “then” must refer to the

completion of the work of which we have just heard, and which was not

effected until the eighth month of the year (ch. 6:38). But

 

  • za; though probably a mark of time (=tune), is clearly a word of great

            latitude of meaning, and may apply as well to one month before completion

            (the time specified in ch. 7:51) as to eleven months after; and

 

  • it would be quite consistent with the usus loquendi (usage in speaking)

      of the sacred writers to describe the temple as finished, when in reality

      it was incomplete in a few minor particulars De minimis non curat

      scriptura (does not concern himself about trifles). Further more,

            if the temple was finished in every detail, and in all its furniture and

            appointments, in the eighth month, as we learn from ch. 6:38, we

            may be perfectly sure it would or could be practically finished - finished

            so as to be ready for consecration — by the seventh month. Indeed, it is

            not an unreasonable presumption, that it hardly would be perfect and

            complete on the day of dedication. Those who have built or restored

            churches, not to speak of cathedrals, which would perhaps afford a closer

            analogy to the temple, know how extremely difficult, if not impossible, it is

            to have every detail finished and arranged for the day of consecration.

            Some few accidental omissions will have to be supplied afterwards, or

            experience will suggest certain alterations and improvements which have to

            be made. There is no inherent improbability, therefore, that the temple

            should be dedicated in the seventh month, though it was not finished

       wyr;b;D] lk;l] until the eighth month, i.e., three or four weeks later. And

            there was a strong reason why the dedication should take place at the

            earliest possible date. There had been a long period of preparation,

            extending back into the preceding reign (1 Chronicles 28 and 29.); the

            dedication consequently had long been eagerly looked for; moreover the

            erection had evidently been hurried forward, a prodigious number of

            laborers having been employed in order to expedite the work. It is almost

            inconceivable, therefore, that, after these energetic measures had been

            taken, either the king or the nation should have been content to wait

            thirteen years — nearly twice the time it had taken to build the temple —

            until the palaces, which were entirely independent and secular buildings,

            were also completed. If the great national sanctuary, which was the glory

            of the land, was ready for use, as we know it was, we can hardly believe,

            considering the natural eagerness and impatience of men, that the tribes of

            Israel, or their ambitious monarch, would, of their own choice, defer the

            consecration for an indefinite number of years. It would appear

            consequently that it is the view that the dedication was postponed for

            thirteen years “hardly needs discussion” (see comment on ch. 9:1).

            And the same considerations apply, though perhaps with diminished force,

            to their waiting one year. For if it be said that the delay was occasioned by

            the desire to connect the dedication with the feast of tabernacles, which

            was par excellence the feast of the year (gj;h,) the answer is that it is more

            likely that the work would be hurried on by the employment of additional

            hands, if need be, or that the edifice would be consecrated, though not

            complete in all its details, at the feast of the eleventh year, than that, for the

            sake of one month, they should wait eleven months. And if the objection be

            raised that a feeling of religious awe would forbid the dedication of an

            imperfect building, or of a perfect building with imperfect arrangements, it

            is easy to reply that both building and furniture may have been practically

            complete, and may have been believed at the time to be perfect, but that

            he experience of the first few days suggested a few alterations or additions

            which threw the completion of the work in all its particulars into the eighth

            month. It is worthy of notice that Josephus distinctly states that the

            dedication was in the seventh month of the eighth year (Ant. 8:4. 1)

            Solomon assembled [lheq]y".  the elders of Israel and

            all the heads of the tribes, the chief [Heb. princes] of the fathers of the

            children of Israel. [This great assembly (compare Daniel 3:2) can

            hardly be said to have been suggested to Solomon by the precedent

            afforded by David (Keil), when bringing up the ark (II Samuel 6:1), for

            it was only natural that he should summon the representatives of the people

            to witness an event of such profound importance in the national history, as

            the dedication, after years of waiting (II Samuel 7:6-13), of a national

            sanctuary intended to supersede the tabernacle, at which for five centuries

            their forefathers had worshipped. And the more so, as they had been called

            together by David to consult about the erection (I Chronicles 28:1),

            and had offered willingly of their treasures (Ibid. 29:6-9)

            towards its decoration. It is inconceivable, therefore, that the temple of the

            Jews could have been formally opened, except in the presence of the

            elders and heads of the tribes.” Nor can we (with Rawlinson) see a

            contrast between the more popular proceedings of David, who “gathered

            together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand (II Samuel 6:1),

            and the statelier, more aristocratic system of his son, who merely summons

            the chief men;” for Solomon’s “elders,” etc. (Deuteronomy 16:18;

                        I Samuel 16:4; 30:26-31), may well have equalled David’s “chosen

            men in number. It is quite likely that there was more formality and

            stateliness in this latter case, but it was practically the same class of

            persons, i.e., the leading men by birth, talents, or prowess, that were

            present on both occasions. In fact, it was the Jewish Church by

            representation] unto King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring

            up [Heb. to bring up] the ark of the covenant of the Lord [so called

            because it contained the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with

            the children of Israel (v. 9). The temple being really, or principally, a

            receptacle for the ark, the removal of this venerated relic to its place in the

            oracle is narrated first, as being of the first importance] out of the city of

            David, which is Zion. [Cf. II Samuel 6:12, 17.]

 

2  And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon

at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.”

And all the men of Israel [not all the heads of the tribes just mentioned (v. 1),

as Keil, but all who came to the feast, as every male Israelite was under

obligation to do (Deuteronomy 16:16) ] assembled themselves unto King

Solomon at the feast [the Heb. word gj;h, (with the article) always means

the feast of tabernacles. The same word is used of the feast of passover

(Exodus 23:15) and Pentecost (ib. v. 16), but“the feast” here can only mean

that of tabernacles. As the “feast of ingathering” (Ibid.), as

commemorating the deliverance from Egypt (Leviticus 23:43), and as

peculiarly a social festival (ibid. vs. 40-42; Numbers 29:12 sqq.), it was the

most joyous as well as the greatest  (Jos., Ant. 8:4. 1) gathering of the year.

(Compare the Jewish saying of a later date: “He who has never seen the

rejoicing at the pouring out of the water of Siloam, has never seen rejoicing

in his life.”) It was doubtless for this reason that tabernacles was selected

for the dedication. A special feast of dedication, however, was held for

seven days before the feast of tabernacles proper commenced (see on v. 65).

It did not displace that great feast, however (Stanley), but simply preceded it.

It is worthy of notice that Jeroboam selected the same feast (ch.12:32)

for the inauguration of his new cultus. The idea of Josephus, that the feast of

tabernacles “happened to coincide with the dedication” hardly seems

probable] in the month Ethanim [variously interpreted to mean gifts, i.e.,

fruits (Thenius), flowing streams (Gesenius) — it falls about the time of

the early rains — and equinox (Bottcher) ], which is the seventh month.

[This is added because the month was subsequently known as Tisri, or to

show that “the feast” was the feast of tabernacles.]

 

3  And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.”

And all the elders of Israel came [Not a mere repetition. The

men who were summoned to Jerusalem (v. 1) were all present, of their

own accord, to witness the removal], and the priests took up the ark. [In

the parallel account in II Chronicles 5:4, we read that “the Levites took

up the ark.” But there is no contradiction, as has been too readily

supposed. For v. 7 of the Chronicles,” the priests brought in the ark,”

etc., confirms the statement of the text. And the explanation is suggested in

v. 5 of the same chapter, “These did the priests, the Levites (so the Heb.)

bring up.” Same expression in Joshua 3:3. All the priests were Levites

Keil translates, “the Levitical priests” — and this somewhat singular

expression is no doubt used to remind us that such was the ease. Nor need

it cause us any surprise to find the priests employed in this service. It is

true that the ark was given into the charge of the Kohathite Levites

(Numbers 3:30-31); and it was their duty to bear it (Numbers 4:15;

7:9; 10:21; I Chronicles 15:2, 11-12). But the real care and

supervision of the ark always belonged to the sons of Aaron. It was their

office, e.g., to put on or take off the covering of the ark and of the vessels,

which the Levites were forbidden directly to touch (Numbers 4:5-15).

It was quite in accordance with the spirit of these provisions that Solomon

now entrusted the carriage of the ark to the superior order. But more than

that, Solomon was not without precedent to justify his choice, indeed, we

may see in his selection of the priests a minute mark of truth, amounting

almost to an undesigned coincidence. For we find that on occasions of

extraordinary solemnity — at the crossing of the Jordan, e.g. (Joshua

3:6, 15, 17), and at the siege of Jericho (Ibid. 6:6), the priests had

borne the ark (I Samuel 4:4; I Chronicles 15:11-12). It was no

doubt these familiar precedents guided Solomon, or the ecclesiastical

authorities, in their selection of the priests on this occasion. A “settled

place,” a “house of cedars” (II Samuel 7:7), “having now been found

for the ark” to abide in, after it had “dwelt in curtains” for 500 years, it was

taking its last journey, and in order to mark this journey as exceptional, in

order to show both the ark and the house the greater reverence, it was

determined that it should be borne for the last time by the priests. Keil

suggests that the ark may have been uncovered, but this is very improbable.

Why, we may ask, were coverings provided, and their use prescribed

(Numbers 4:5-15), if they were to be arbitrarily dispensed with? He

also adds that Levites were not allowed to enter the most holy place. But

neither, it may be added, was this lawful for the priests. Levites and priests

might enter that day, because the house was not then dedicated. The cloud

(v. 10) claimed it for God.

 

4  And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of

the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle,

even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.”  And they brought

 up the ark of the Lord [which had now been for nearly 40 years “in the

 tabernacle that David had pitched for it” on the Mount Zion (II Samuel 6:17)],

and the tabernacle of the congregation [Heb, “the tabernacle of meeting

(Exodus 29:42, 46)  This had been for many years at Gibeon. (ch. 3:4;

II Chronicles 1:3; I Chronicles 16:39. See note on ch. 3:4.) The tabernacle of

Mount Zion is never called “the tabernacle of the congregation” — indeed,

it is expressly distinguished from it, II Chronicles 1:3-4. The ark and the tabernacle

were now reunited in the temple of Solomon - and all the holy vessels that

were in the tabernacle [Perhaps the brazen altar. Certainly the altar of incense,

the table of shewbread, the candlestick, and also the brazen serpent (Stanley) ],

even those did the priests and Levites bring up. [We are hardly justified

n saying (as Keil, al.) that the Levites carried all but the ark. The text rather favors

the view that the priests assisted in bringing up the tabernacle and its furniture.

So II Chronicles 5:5. Neither the tabernacle nor its vessels were designed for

further use in the temple; the latter had been replaced by vessels better

suited to the enlarged sanctuary — they were simply preserved, so far as

we know, as relics of the past, in the treasury or side chambers.

 

5  And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were

assembled unto him, were with him before the ark,” - Prayers and

sacrifices alike were offered toward the mercy seat (Psalm 28:2; Exodus 25:22),

sacrificing sheep and oxen,”- apparently the ark festal en route (II Samuel 6:13)

whilst the sacrifices were offered. The object of the sacrifice was to testify the

grateful joy of the people at the proximate realization of their hopes. There may

have been also in the background the idea of averting the Divine anger, of making

a propitiation for possible errors and imperfections in their service. There were

tragedies connected with the removal of the ark in time past (I Samuel 4:17;

6:19; II Samuel 6:7) [I recommend – I Chronicles 13,15 – Spurgeon Sermon –

The Lesson of Uzza – this web site – CY – 2010] which, we may be sure,

were not altogether forgotten on this occasion - “that could not be told nor

numbered for multitude.” (II Samuel 6:13. But the sacrifices on that occasion

were on a much smaller scale (I Chronicles 15:26). Josephus adds (Ant. 8:4. 1),

that a vast quantity of incense was burnt, and that men preceded the ark, singing

and dancing, until it reached its destination.

 

6  And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD

unto his place,” - [i.e., its. But this word is never found in the A.V. It has come

into use since the date of our translation - “into the oracle of the house, to the

most holy place,” (Hebrew – holy of holies) “even under the wings of the

cherubims  (ch. 6:27). Whether the ark stood with its length east and west, or

north and south, it is somewhat difficult to decide, but see on v. 8.

 

7  For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of

the ark, and the cherubims covered” - Wksoy; from Ëk"s;, texit; hence,

hK;su, booth; LXX. perieka>lupton, i.e., overshadowed and concealed.

This word is of some importance as showing that the ark would thenceforward

and always be in complete darkness, under the outstretched wings of the cherubim –

a fact which suggests the true explanation of the following verse - “the ark and the

staves thereof above.”

 

8  And they drew out” - It is uncertain whether Wkria}y" is transitive, as our

Authorized Version renders it, and as in ch. 3:14 = lengthen, in which case,

however, it should almost be followed by tae, or intransitive, as in Exodus 20:12;

Deuteronomy 5:16; 25:15, when the meaning would be, “The staves were long,

but the latter rendering has the support of most scholars. As the oracle in the

tabernacle was a cube of ten cubits, they cannot have been more than eight or

nine cubits, and it is doubtful whether, the ark being only 2.5 cubits, they would

be so long. Their length is mentioned in order to account for the ends being seen.

It is immaterial to the meaning of the passage, however, which interpretation

we put upon this verb. If we adhere to the A.V. then we must understand that,

as it was forbidden to remove the staves from the rings at the corners of the ark

(Exodus 25:12-15), they drew the staves forward towards one end of the ark;

that they removed the staves altogether from the ark  is a view to which the text

lends no support – the staves, that the ends”- (Hebrew - heads. It is possible

the ends of the staves were fitted with knobs. This would prevent their removal)

of the staves were seen out in (from) the holy place” - [Margin - ark, the

word found in II Chronicles 5:9. It is questionable, however, whether vd,Qoh"

is ever used, by itself, of the ark.  It may be used of the most holy place (see on

v. 10), but here it would appear to designate the lk;yhe (ch. 6:17), the body or

temple of the house” (Exodus 26:33; Hebrews 9:2).  Its meaning appears to be

so defined by the next words]  “before the oracle, and they were not seen

without:” -  i.e., a person standing in the holy place, but at the west end, near the

entrance to the oracle (ch. 6:31), could see the ends of the staves.  Several

questions of considerable nicety suggest themselves here:

 

  • What was the position of the ark? Did it stand, that is to say, east and

            west, or north and south under the wings of the cherubim?

 

ü      The balance of evidence is in favor of the ark having stood north

      and south, in a line, that is, with the wings of the cherubim.

 

Ø      For only thus apparently could the cherubim have “covered

       the ark and the staves thereof.”

 

Ø      If it had been otherwise, the “cherubim overshadowing

      the mercy seat,” presuming that they were retained in the

      temple, would have had an unequal and one-sided position,

      for instead of being equally prominent, they would have stood,

      one with the back, the other with the face to the entrance

      and the holy place.

 

Ø      Had the ark stood east and west the projecting staves would

      surely have been in the high priest’s way in the performance

      of his solemn functions (Leviticus 16:12-15). That they served to

      guide him to the mercy seat is of course mere conjecture, and as

      such of no weight.

 

  • What was the position of the staves? Were they attached to the ends or

            to the sides of the ark?

 

ü      As to the staves, Josephus states (Ant. 3:7. 5) that they ran along the

                        sides of the ark, and this would appear to be the natural and proper

                        arrangement. It follows hence again that they cannot have been more

                        than eight or nine cubits long, inasmuch as they found a place between

                        the bodies of the cherubim, which cannot have been more than nine

                        cubits apart.

 

  • How could the ends of the staves be seen, and by whom and when — on

            the occasion of the dedication only or in later years?

 

ü      The explanation of the Rabbins is that the ends of the staves were

      not really seen, but that they projected into the curtain and so made

      two visible protrusions or prominences. But this view hardly satisfies

      the requirements of the text, and it assumes that the ark stood east

      and west, which we have found good reason to doubt. But even if this

      were so, it is doubtful whether the staves, so long as they remained in

      the rings, could be made to reach to the door of the oracle, unless

      indeed they were lengthened for the purpose. How then were they

      seen? The following considerations may assist us to answer this question.

 

Ø      The oracle, of course, in its normal state was in perfect darkness

      (v. 12). Once a year, however, a gleam of light was admitted,

      when the curtain was drawn partially aside to permit of the high

      priest’s entrance.

 

Ø      When the curtain was drawn to one (probably the left) side,

      the light would fall, not on the ark, but on the ends of the staves

      projecting from the right or north end of the ark, which would

      thus be distinctly visible to the high priest.

 

Ø      But at this time the high priest was not alone in the holy place.

      It was not required that “there should be no man in the

       tabernacle of the congregation,” except when the high

      priest went in to make an atonement for the holy place

       (Leviticus 16:17). At an earlier stage of the service

                                    he would seem to have required assistance. According to

                                    the Mishna (Yoma), a priest held the basin of blood and

                                    stirred it to prevent coagulation, at the time of his first entry.

                              Moreover it is extremely doubtful whether the high priest can

                              have drawn aside the curtain himself. Whether he entered three

                              or four times on that day, at his first entry his hands were

                              certainly full. If he carried “a censer full of burning coals

                              of fire”..and his hands (wyn;p]j;, both fists) full of sweet

                              incense beaten small” (Leviticus 16:12), it is clear that some

                              other person must have drawn aside the veil for him. It is to

                              this person, I take it, the priest who was privileged to draw

                              aside the curtain, and possibly to others standing near —

                  certainly to the high priest — that the ends of the staves were

                  visible. Nor would a reverent look directed towards these

                  objects — made originally for the Levites to handle — involve

                  unhallowed curiosity.  And if this were so, it would help to

                  explain the mention of this circumstance by our author.

 

  • Why has our author recorded this circumstance?

 

ü      If it were a fact that year by year a gleam of light fell upon the staves,

      and if priest after priest testified of what he had seen, up to the time of

      writing (“unto this day;” see below), we can readily understand why

      a circumstance of so much interest should be recorded.  And we have

      not an adequate explanation of its mention here, if we are to understand

      that the staves were seen on the day of dedication, when of course they

      must have been visible, and never afterwards, or that the staves

                        were partially drawn out of their rings in order to show that the ark was

                        now at rest -  “and there they are unto this day.”  Same expression

                                                (ch. 9:21; 12:19; II Kings 8:22. At the date of the publication of this

                        book, the temple was of course destroyed (II Kings 25:9), so that at

                        that day the staves were not there. But the explanation is very simple.

                        Our historian has copied the words he found in the MS. he was using.

 

9  There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses

put there” – (Exodus 25:16; 40:20; Deuteronomy 10:5) - This statement appears

to be at variance with Hebrews 9:4, which mentions “the golden pot that had

 manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded,” as in the ark, along with “the tables

of the covenant.” And it is to be observed that, while our text excludes these relics

from the ark, no other scripture save that just cited expressly includes them.

In Exodus 16:34 and Numbers 17:10) they are commanded to be laid up “before

the testimony,” words which no doubt may mean, as they were long interpreted to

mean, “before the tables of testimony in the ark” — observe, the words are

before the testimony,” not “before the arkbut which are now generally

thought to import “in front of the ark which contained the testimony.” We know

the book of the law was put “at the side (dX"mi) of the ark” (Deuteronomy 31:26),

and hence it is held by some that the golden pot, etc., occupied a similar position.

It seems preferable, however, considering the distinct statement of St. Paul, or the

author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which, to say the least, embodies Jewish

tradition, to adhere to the ancient interpretation that the golden pot of manna and

Aaron’s rod were in the ark. And this in no wise conflicts with the statement of

the text, for these treasures might well have been removed by the Philistines,

whose first thought, we may be sure, would be to open their new acquisition.

It is not improbable, indeed, that the object of the men of Bethshemesh

(I Samuel 6:19) in looking into the ark was to see whether these treasures

were still there. For if the golden pot ever was in the ark, we can hardly suppose

it would escape the rapacity of the Philistines, who would leave the two tables

of stone as things of no value.  Indeed, it is just possible that the trespass offering,

the golden mice, etc., were designed as a return for the golden pot which had

been removed. And the statement of the text, “there was nothing,” etc., almost

implies that there had been something there at one time. It seems probable,

therefore, that the golden pot and Aaron’s rod were originally deposited

before the testimony” in the ark; that they were removed during its

captivity (I Samuel 5:6.); and that the sacrilege was discovered at Bethshemesh.

This last mentioned episode explains how it came to be known that “there

was nothing,” etc. It is hardly likely after that memorable visitation that Solomon

could have opened the ark and taken out the two relics – “at Horeb” -  (See

Exodus 3:1; 17:6; 33:6;  ch. 19:8). This name, which means dry ground, desert,

would appear to have belonged to two or three different places in the wilderness.

But as the name of the place where the law was given and the covenant with God

made (Deuteronomy 4:10, 13) it became subsequently a nomen generale for

the whole of the Sinaitic region.  Here the mount of the law is clearly meant –

 when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when

they came out of the land of Egypt.”

 

10  And it came to pass, when the priests were come out (rather, as the

priests came out) of the holy place,” - It has been supposed that “the holy”

(vd,Qoh") is here put for the most holy place, as in Ezekiel 41:23. But this is

not by any means the necessary interpretation. The cloud may obviously have

filled the entire building only as the priests left it. It would seem, however, from

v. 11 as if the priests, having left the oracle, were about to minister in the holy place –

that the cloud” - Observe the article; the well known cloud which betokened

the Divine presence. It had rested upon the tabernacle on the day that it was

dedicated (Exodus 40:34), had accompanied it in its journeys (ib. v. 38), and had

apparently been specially displayed at certain junctures in the history of Israel

(Numbers 12:5, 10; 16:42; Deuteronomy 31:15). It was thus the acknowledged

symbol of God’s presence, and as such was a visible sign that He now accepted

the temple, as He had formerly accepted the tabernacle, as His shrine and dwelling

place - “filled the house of the LORD,”

 

11  So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud:”

They were overpowered by the manifestation, precisely as Moses had been

before (Exodus 40:35). It was at the moment when the singers and trumpeters,

standing at the east end of the altar, began their service of praise — and the

reappearance of the priests may well have been the signal for them to begin

(II Chronicles 5:13) — that “the house was filled with a cloud.” Possibly

the priests were about to burn incense.  Evidently ministrations of some sort

were intended and were interrupted.  The exact correspondence with Exodus

40:35 (cf. Ezekiel 44:4) is not to be overlooked. The idea obviously is that the

Divine approval vouchsafed to the tabernacle was now in turn granted to the temple,

for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.”  Is the “glory

 of the Lord” identical with the cloud, or is something additional intended by

these words? It is certainly noticeable that what v.10 says of the cloud

that it “filled the house” — v. 11 says of the glory. It is also true that

there is no mention of any light or fire. And the “darkness” of v. 12 might

naturally seem to refer to the cloud, and therefore to exclude the idea of

light. But surely the words y;y] dwObK] are to be interpreted here by their

signification and use elsewhere, and we find “the glory of the Lord”

elsewhere mentioned as something distinct from the cloud. We must

remember that what by day was a pillar of cloud, by night was a pillar of

fire (Exodus 13:21-22). In Exodus 19:9, 16, the mention of the

thick cloud” is followed by the statement that Mount Sinai was

altogether on a smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire (v. 18).

Similarly, in Exodus 24:15, we are told that “the glory of the Lord

appeared upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it (the glory?) six days;

and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire (vs. 16-17).

But perhaps the most decisive passage in this connection is Exodus 40:34,

where we are told that “the cloud abode upon the tent of meeting,

whilethe glory of the Lord filled the (interior of the) tabernacle.”

Compare Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 14:10; 16:19, 42.

It would appear, therefore, that “the glory of the Lord” was not

the cloud, but, as the word almost seems to imply, a “light from heaven

above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13; cf. Revelation 1:14, 16).

It is hardly necessary to add that the glory, though apparently resident

in the cloud, was not always luminous; the cloud veiled it from the eyes of

men.

 

12  Then spake Solomon,” - in a transport of emotion at the sight.

The cloud and the glory proved that his pious work was accepted. These

blessed tokens assured him that “the Lord was there” (Ezekiel 48:35);

that the incomprehensible Godhead had entered the earthly shrine he had

prepared, and would dwell there, “The Lord said that He would dwell in

the thick darkness.”  [Heb. lp,r;[}, lit., darkness of clouds. When did God

speak of dwelling in dark cloud? The reference, probably, is to Exodus 19:9;

20:21, Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:22 (note that, in the three last cited passages,

this same word is used, and in the last two in connection with cloud, which would

appear to be a practically synonymous term), but especially to Leviticus 16:2,

“I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” Solomon had thus every

warrant for connecting a theophany with the thick dark cloud. Cf. Psalm 18:11;

97:2.

 

13  I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee

to abide in for ever.  14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the

congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)  15  And he

said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with His mouth unto

David my father, and hath with His hand fulfilled it, saying,  - The reference

is to II Samuel 7, of which Solomon merely gives the substance.  Much of what he

says here is not recorded there.  16 Since the day that I brought forth my people

Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an

house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people

Israel.” – (Psalm 78:70) – this Psalm pursues much the same line of thought as here.

17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the

name of the LORD God of Israel.  18 And the LORD said unto David my

father,”  - The Divine approval was implied in II Samuel 7:11-16, and it may have

been expressed at the same time. The narratives of Scripture are necessarily greatly

condensed. “Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name,

thou didst well that it was in thine heart.”  19  Nevertheless thou shalt not

build the house;” – Perhaps it was filial reverence that prevented Solomon

mentioning the cause of the prohibition, but it is told with appropriate humility

by David himself in I Chronicles 22:8 -  “but thy son that shall come forth

out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.”  20 And the

LORD hath performed His word that He spake, and I am risen up in the

room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD

promised,” (II Samuel 7:12) – “and have built an house for the name of the

LORD God of Israel.  21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein

is the covenant of the LORD,” - Hence its name, “the ark of the covenant”

(Exodus 34:28; cf. Deuteronomy 9:11) -  “which He made with our fathers,

when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

 

 

            Solomon’s Prayer at the Dedication of the Temple (vs. 22-53)

 

The prayer of dedication, properly so called, now begins. This solemn and

beautiful composition was probably copied by our author from the “Book

of the Acts of Solomon” (ch.11:41), possibly from the “Book of Nathan the

 prophet  (II Chronicles 9:29). It was evidently committed to writing

beforehand, and would, no doubt, as a matter of course, be religiously

preserved.   It divides itself into three parts. The first (vs. 22-30) is

general; the second (vs. 31-53) consists of seven special petitions; the

last (vs. 50-53) consists of a general conclusion and appeal to God’s

covenant mercy.

 

 

22  And Solomon stood” - It was but for a moment, however, for we find him

presently kneeling (v. 54; II Chronicles 6:13). The latter passage informs us that

he both stood and knelt upon a “brazen scaffold,” three cubits high - “before

the altar of the LORD” - the brazen altar of sacrifice.  The platform or scaffold

wasset in the midst of the court” (Ibid.).  All these rites took place in the

open air. The king had no place within the edifice -  in the presence”  - the

word is not to be pressed to mean “facing the people.” It is hardly likely he

would pray towards the people — he was their profh>thv, (prophet)  i.e., he

spoke for them to God — or turn his back on the sacred Presence just manifested –

of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward

heaven:” - one attitude of earnest prayer though out the East, as may be seen

at the present day amongst the Muslims.  So completely was this posture

identified with supplication that to “lift up the hands” came to be a

synonym for prayer (Exodus 9:29,33; Psalm 44:20; 143:6; Isaiah 1:15)

 

23  And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee,” –

Similar words are found in Exodus 15:11; Psalm 86:8, etc. They do not at all

imply the existence of other gods, but are explained by other passages (e.g.,

v. 60; Deuteronomy 4:39, “the Lord He is God and none else;  II Samuel

7:22; 22:32) as meaning that the God of Israel stands alone, and alone is God.

It would be strange, indeed, if the people whose great peculium [Latin for peculiar]

was the unity of the Godhead (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 42:8) recognized other deities.

Observe: Solomon begins his prayer with an act of praise; with a recognition at once

grateful and graceful of God’s past mercies (Psalm 65:1-2; Philippians 4:6) - “in

heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with

thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

 

24 “Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst

him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand,”

See v. 15, and ch. 3:6. The completion of the house, following the establishment of

himself upon the throne, was to him proof conclusive that the promise of II Samuel

7:12-16, had received its fulfillment - “as it is this day.”

 

25   “Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David

my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man

in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to

their way,” – The repetition is suggestive.  God’s keeping His promise was

contigent on their keeping His commandments - “that they walk before me

as thou hast walked before me.” 26  And now, O God of Israel, let thy

word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David

my father.  27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven

and heaven of heavens (all the spaces of heaven, however vast and infinite –

Psalm 148:4) ) cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have

builded?  Two points are to be noticed here:

 

  • Solomon never denies for a moment that the temple was a real

            habitation of Jehovah, or that a real presence was manifested there. He

            only denies that the Deity is contained in earthly temples

 

  • He had no unworthy ideas — such as were prevalent in that age — of

            God as a local deity, limited to space. The words clearly prove his grasp of

            the omnipresence and infinity of God. With this passage compare

                        Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 66:1 (quoted in Acts 7:49), and Acts 17:24.

            [I recommend typing in “Fantastic Trip” in your browser and watching

            the short video of the universe to put things into perspective – CY – 2010]

 

28  Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant,” – the prayer I now

offer, which is that thou wilt hear all future prayers offered here, mine and my

 people’s -  “and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry

and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:” Three words

are used here hl;piT] hN;jiT], and hN;r:

 

  • The first (from ll"p;t]hi, precatus est;  see v. 29) is apparently a general term

      for prayer;

  • The second (from ˆn"j;, propitious fuit) is properly a cry for mercy; hence an

      earnest prayer or supplication; while:

  • The third signifies a joyful cry; hence a mournful cry or prayer]

 

29  That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even

toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there:”  There

is not specific scripture that says this, perhaps in so many words.  It is very probable

that a revelation was made to David respecting the sanctuary, the terms of which are

not preserved to us. This is almost implied by Psalm 78:68; 132:10; I Chronicles 22:1 –

passages which prove that David claimed to have Divine sanction for placing the temple

onMount Zion.” Psalm 132, is unmistakeably Davidic, and embodies some features

of the message of God (e.g., the condition, v. 12) not preserved in II Samuel 7 – “that

thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this

place.” Now that God had revealed His presence in the temple, the Jew, wherever

he might be, would, and as a matter of fact did, pray towards it (Daniel 6:10;

Psalm 5:7; Jonah 2:4).

 

30  And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people

Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy

dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.”

 

With the next verse the special or particular supplications begin. Like those of the

Lord’s prayer, they are seven in number, and no doubt for the same reason, viz.,

because seven was the number of covenant, the number which expressed the

relationship between the Lord and His people.  In fact, to the Jew the number

seven” was something like the sign of the cross to a large portion of Catholic

Christendom, for it spoke to him of God’s covenant of mercy and peace.

 

The first of the seven concerns oaths. The king implores the covenant-keeping

God to watch over the covenants of words made in the now consecrated

sanctuary, and to protect their sanctity by punishing the false swearer. There

were cases in which the Mosaic law provided that an oath should be administered

to suspected persons (Exodus 22:11; Leviticus 5:1, 4).  And there were other

cases in which men of their own accord, for “an end of all strife” (Hebrews

6:16), would make oath.  Now every oath, whatever its form (Matthew 23:16-22),

is in reality an affirmation “by the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16); it is an appeal to the

knowledge and power and justice of the Most High (Leviticus 19:12; Deuteronomy

6:13; 10:20; Isaiah 48:1; Jeremiah 12:16; 44:26). A false oath, consequently,

dishonored the Divine name, and polluted the sanctuary dedicated to that name,

and if it went unpunished, contradicted the principles and provisions of

the dispensation of temporal punishments, and so encouraged falsehood

 and impiety. God is here entreated, consequently, to take cognizance of the

oaths sworn before His altar (v. 31), and to be a swift witness against the false

swearers (Malachi 3:5). It is, perhaps, because of the direct dishonor which

perjury offers to the Divine name that this prayer stands first  among the seven,

thus corresponding to the “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9), in the

Lord’s prayer, and to the third among the ten commandments.

 

31  If any man trespass against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon

him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in

this house:  32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants,

condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the

righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.”  The second special

petition contemplates the case, which was morally certain to occur, of Hebrews

taken captive in war and carried to a foreign land. To be separated from the

commonwealth, the rites and the blessings of Israel, was one of the greatest

calamities which could befall a Jew (Deuteronomy 4:27-28; Leviticus 26:33;

Psalm 137), and as such Solomon gives it a prominent place in his prayer.

 

33 “When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy,” –

(Leviticus 26:17; Deuteronomy 28:25) -  There is a constant

reference to these two chapters throughout this prayer, or, if no direct

reference to them, there are unmistakeable reminiscences of them - “because

they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess

thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:”  The

king obviously is speaking here, not of those taken captive, but of the nation at

large (“thy people Israel”) by its representatives (Joel 2:17), supplicating after

its defeat. The idea of captives does not come in until the next verse.

 

34  Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel,

and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.”

-the captives of Israel, those carried off by the enemy. There is no thought here

of the captivity of the nation — that is referred to in vers. 46-50 — as the prayers

to be offered in the temple prove. This petition is in exact accordance with the

promises and threatenings of the law, for the promises,  see Leviticus 26:

40-44; Deuteronomy 30:1-5; for threatenings, see Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy

4:27; 28:64

 

35  When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have

sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy

name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:”  Humbling

should be the result of the affliction!  36  Then hear thou in heaven,

and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou

teach them” - The thought is, “Forgive, because they have learned the

lesson Thy discipline of drought was meant to teach;” because the

chastisement has fulfilled its purpose! -  the good way” – (I Samuel 12:23)

- “wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast

given to thy people for an inheritance.”

 

The fourth petition refers to the various plagues mentioned in the law

(Leviticus 26.; Deuteronomy 28.), as the punishment of apostasy or infidelity.

 

37 “If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew,

locust, or if there be caterpillar; if their enemy besiege them in the land of

their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;  38  “What

prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people

Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart,” - The plague

of the heart is the inner smart of the conscience corresponding with and perhaps

more painful than the smiting of the person. The meaning obviously is that the

prayers will vary according to the various mental and physical sufferings of men.

 and spread  forth his hands toward this house:  39 Then hear thou in

heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man

according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou

only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)” 40  “That they may

fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our

fathers.”  Solomon anticipates that a godly fear will be the result of forgiveness

and restoration. We find the same thought in Psalm 130:4. The mercy and

goodness of God should lead to repentance, (Romans 2:4) but unhappily it

 often fails to do.

 

The fifth petition contemplates the prayers which foreigners, attracted by

the fame of Jerusalem, of its religion and sanctuary could offer towards the

house. The Gentiles who should visit Jerusalem would assuredly, with their

polytheistic ideas and their belief in local or tribal deities, invoke the aid

and blessing of the mighty God of Jacob. This mention of aliens from the

commonwealth of Israel in the prayer of dedication, especially when

viewed in the light of the exclusiveness and bigotry which characterized the

Jews of later days, is especially to be noticed. As Rawlinson observes,

“Nothing is more remarkable in the Mosaic law than its liberality

with regard to strangers.” He then quotes Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 25:35;

Deuteronomy 10:19; 31:12; Numbers 15:14-16; and adds:  “It is quite in the

spirit of these enactments that Solomon, having first prayed God on behalf of

his fellow countrymen, should next go on to intercede for strangers,”

 

41  Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel,

but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;” - Solomon

takes it for granted that such will come, and not without good reason, for

the house was “exceeding magnifical and destined to be “of fame and

glory throughout all countries” (I Chronicles 22:5). And we can hardly

doubt that in the visit of the Queen of Sheba we are to see one fulfillment of

this anticipation. (Note the expression of ch. 10:1 “concerning the name of

the Lord.”) One who blessed God, as she did (v. 9), would certainly pray

towards the house. In the time of the second temple there were several

instances of strangers, Alexander the Great, Ptolemy Philadelphus,

and Seleucus;  worshipping the God of Jacob in Jerusalem.

 

42  (“For they shall hear of thy great name,”- (Psalm 76:1; 99:3) –

 and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) – [Exodus 6:6; 13:9;

Deuteronomy 7:19; 9:26, 29]. They had heard at a much earlier date (Exodus

15:14; 18:1; Joshua 5:1). The reference is not so much to the marvels of the Exodus

-  that was long past — as to the wondrous works which Solomon assumes will

hereafter be wrought, “when he shall come and pray toward this house;”

 

43  Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all

that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may

know thy name,” - It is interesting to notice this foreshadowing of the

inclusion of the Gentiles in the one fold. The same thought is found in

some of the Psalms and in Isaiah, as Paul witnesses (Romans 15:9-12,

Psalm 22:27; 72:11; 86:9; 98:3; 102:15; 117:1; Isaiah 49:6-12; 52:10)

 to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know

that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.” 

- That God has taken this house for His habitation: that He dwells

 there, works, hears, He answers there!

 

So far the royal suppliant has spoken of prayers offered in or at the temple.

He now mentions two cases where supplications will be offered by

penitents far distant from the holy city or even from the Holy Land. And

first, he speaks of the armies of Israel on a campaign.

 

44  If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever

thou shalt send them,” – These words clearly imply that the war, whether

defensive or offensive (i.e., for the chastisement of other nations), is one which

had God’s sanction, and indeed was waged by His appointment - “and shall

pray unto the LORD toward” - [Hebrew in the way of - Same expression

as above. The repetition is significant. “They have gone in God’s way. They may

therefore look the way of God’s house for help.” Executing God’s commission,

they might justly expect His blessing - “the city which thou hast chosen, and

toward the house that I have built for thy name:”  45  “Then hear thou in

heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.”

 

The last petition — the second of those which speak of prayers addressed

towards the temple, or the Holy Presence which dwelt there, from a

foreign land — contemplates as possible the captivity of the Hebrew

nation. It has hence been too readily inferred that this portion of the prayer,

at least, if not the preceding petition also, has been interpolated by a post-

captivity writer. But there is really no solid reason for doubting its genuineness.

Not only is it the seventh petition (see on v. 31), but the captivity of Israel had

been denounced as the punishment of persistent disobedience long before by

Moses, and in the chapters to which such constant reference is made (Leviticus 26:33,

44; Deuteronomy 4:27; 28:25, 36, 64) — a fact which is in itself an indirect proof

of genuineness, as showing that this petition is of a piece with the rest of the prayer.

And when to this we add that the carrying of a conquered and refractory race into

captivity was an established custom of the East, we shall be inclined to agree with

Bahr, that “it would have been more remarkable if Solomon had not mentioned it.”

 

46  If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and

thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they

carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;

47  Yet if they shall bethink themselves” – Hebrew as margin, bring

back to their heart. Same phrase, Deuteronomy 4:39; 30:1. The latter

passage, it should be noticed, treats of the captivity, so that Solomon,

consciously or unconsciously, employs some of the very words used by

Moses in contemplating this contingency - “in the land whither they were

carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the

land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned,

and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness.” - This verse is

full of paronomasia (play on words), wbyçh wbçn wbç. Words almost

identical with this confession were used (Daniel 9:5; Psalm 106:6) by the Jews in

their captivity at Babylon, from which it has been concluded that this part of the

prayer must belong to the time of the captivity. But surely it is, to say the

least, just as likely that the Jews, when the captivity of which Solomon

spoke befell them, borrowed the phrase in which their great king by

anticipation expressed their penitence. Seeing in the captivity a fulfillment

of his prediction, they would naturally see in this formula, which no doubt

had been preserved in the writings of the prophets, a confession specially

appropriate to their case, and indeed provided for their use.

 

48  And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul,

in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray

unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers,

the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built

for thy name:”  The play on words continues.  There is apparently a

climax here:  “land”, “city”, “house”.

 

49 “Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy

dwelling place, and maintain their cause,” – do their judgments.

 

50 “And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their

transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and

give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that

they may have compassion on them:”  For the fulfilment of this prayer,

see Ezra 1:3, 7; 6:13; Nehemiah 2:6. Compare Psalm 106:46.

 

In the three following verses we have a sort of general conclusion to the

dedication prayer. It is hardly correct to say that these last words apply to

all the preceding petitions — the plea “they are thy people” manifestly

cannot apply in the case of vs. 41-43. On the other hand, as little are they

to be limited to the persons last mentioned in vs. 46-50, though it is

highly probable they were suggested by the thought of the captives. They

are manifestly in close connection with the preceding verses.

 

51  For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou

broughtest forth out of Egypt,” - vs. 21, 53. There is a constant

recurrence throughout the Old Testament to this great deliverance, and with

good reason, for it was the real birthday of the nation, and was also a pledge

of future help and favor. God who had “wrought such great things for them

in Egypt could not well forsake them. Solomon’s constant plea is that

they are the elect and covenant race - “from the midst of the furnace of

iron:”  The same phrase is in Deuteronomy 4:20.  52  That thine eyes

may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the

supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they

call for unto thee.  53 For thou didst separate them from among all the

people of the earth, to be thine inheritance,” (I recommend - Deuteronomy

ch. 32 v. 9 – God’s Inheritance by Arthur Pink – this web site – CY – 2010)

as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest

our fathers out of Egypt, O LORD God.”

 

In II Chronicles 6:41-42,  the prayer ends somewhat differently. “Now

therefore arise, O Lord God,” etc. — words which are found in substance

in Psalm 132:8-10. These two verses look like an addition, and were

probably inserted by the chronicler to form a connecting link with I Kings 7:1-3.

 

 

                        The Concluding Blessing (vs. 54-61)

 

54  And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all

this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before

the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees” - This is the first mention

of kneeling in the sacred history.  The Jews usually stood in prayer (Luke 18:11,13)

- “with his hands spread up to heaven.”  55  And he stood, and blessed all

the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,  56  Blessed be the

LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that

He promised:” – a distinct reference to Deuteronomy 12:9-10 – “there hath

not failed one word of all His good promise, which he promised (Joshua

21:45) by the hand of Moses his servant.”  (Leviticus 26:3-13; Deuteronomy

28:1-14; which are the sources of this prayer).  57 The LORD our God be with

us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us:

58 That He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways,” –

The condition on which God’s blessing was insured was at this time printed

on Solomon’s mind – “and to keep His commandments, and His statutes,

and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers.  59 And let these

my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh

unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His

servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall

require:” – same phrase as in Exodus 5:13; 14:4.  60 That all the people of the

earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.”

Solomon hopes the house now dedicated will be fraught with blessing for the

world, and that the Gentiles will come to its light.  (Isaiah 2:2-3)  61 Let your

heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God,” - An instructive

commentary on these words is found in ch.11:4, where it is said of this Solomon,

His heart was not perfect, with the Lord his God,   same words. Similarly,

ibid.. vs. 3, 9 are a comment on the prayer of  v. 58.  Having preached to others,

he himself became a castaway (I Corinthians 9:27) -  “to walk in His statutes,

and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”  That day the nation

proved its piety by the dedication of the house. 

 

At the close of this prayer, according to II Chronicles 7:1-3, “fire came down

from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and

the glory of the Lord filled the house”.

 

 

                        THE FESTAL SACRIFICES (vs. 62-66)

 

The ceremonial of dedication was followed, as would naturally be the case,

by sacrifices on a scale of unusual grandeur. Apart from their religious use

and significance, the sacrifices testified to the devotion of the giver who on

this of all days must not appear before the Lord empty, and they also

afforded materials for the great and prolonged feast by which this

auspicious event in the history of Israel must be commemorated.

 

62  And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the

LORD.  63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings,” - This

was especially the sacrifice of praise — it is called “the sacrifice of

thanksgiving of his peace offerings,” (Leviticus 7:11,13,15) - In the peace

offering, the fat was burnt on the altar, but the flesh was eaten (Ibid. v. 15;  

Deuteronomy 12:7), so that this form of offering was, in every way, adapted

to a festival - “which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand

oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep.”  They were so

numerous that the next verse tells us  that the brazen altar was insufficient to

receive them. “So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the

house of the LORD.”  Every Israelite would offer his sacrifice of thanksgiving!

64  The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was

before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings,

and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the

brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the

burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.

The whole space may have been regarded as “one huge altar” or temporary

altars may have been erected all over the area.  65 “And at that time Solomon

held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the

entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God,

seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.”  The two periods are thus

distinguished, because they were properly distinct, the first being the Feast of

Dedication, the second the Feast of Tabernacles. This is more clearly explained

in II Chronicles 7:9-10.  66  On the eighth day he sent the people away:

and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart

for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for

Israel His people.”

 

 

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