I Chronicles 7



This chapter is occupied with three subjects.


  • First, the description of Heaven’s acceptance of the dedicated temple by fire

(vs. 1-3).


  • Secondly, the sacrifices and glad feasting of Solomon and all Israel for several

days (vs. 4-11).


  • Thirdly, the articulate answer of God to the offering and the prayer of Solomon

(vs. 12-22).


1 "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from

heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of

the LORD filled the house.  2 And the priests could not enter into the house

of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house."

When Solomon had made an end of praying. See the parallel, I Kings 8:54, which

verse, however, in a sense, disappoints us; for, beginning with these same words,

it does not go on at all to tell of this second occurrence of the fire and the cloud

and the glory. The fire came… and consumed the burnt offering and the

sacrifices.  So Leviticus 9:24, when the tabernacle was consecrated. The closing

verses of our ch. 5, compared with the first verse of ch. 6., and in

particular the first word of that verse, then, leave it quite open to

conjecture that the demonstration of the fire and the glory of the Lord had

not ceased, but was continued during the prayer of Solomon, though at its

close they may have been marked with added brightness, and then wrought

their sacrifice-consuming work. Such supposition may bring us nearest to

some tenable explanation of what otherwise seems the very unaccountable

omission in the parallel. The language of our v. 2 adds something to

countenance this theory, coinciding as it does with the language of the last

verses of ch. 5.


3 "And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down,

and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves

with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped,

and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy

endureth for ever." For He is good (so ch. 5:13; I Chronicles 16:34).



The Divine Approval (vs. 1-3)


The incident here recorded was one that must have lived for ever in the

memory of those who witnessed it. The occasion itself was of surpassing

interest; all the accessories were fitted to deepen the impression; and when

the miraculous fire came down from heaven upon the altar, there was an

event which every present Israelite must have delighted to describe in

after-days to those who did not witness it. Its significance was twofold. It was:



For that fire, and the “glory of the Lord” filling the house of the Lord,

spake of the present God and of His glory; and before it the priests retired

and the people bowed down in reverential worship, “with their faces to the

ground.” The scene carries with it a summons to constant reverence.


Ø      Reverence in all worship; for God is as truly, though not as

miraculously and manifestly, present in His sanctuary today as He was on

this “high day” at Jerusalem.


Ø      Reverence of spirit at all times and everywhere. For may we not say that

the whole earth is “the house of the Lord,” and that it is filled with His

presence and His glory? All the objects of nature that we are looking upon,

all the processes of nature that we are watching, all creature life and

gladness, attest His presence and His power. “The earth is full of the

goodness of the Lord,” and therefore of the glory of the Lord (Psalm

33:5 with Exodus 33:19). Reverently, therefore, should we walk

through the world, as those who feel that God is very near us, that we

stand before God,” that His hand is working for us in the air and on the

earth, that HE IS THE ONE “with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13)

always, in whom everywhere we live and move and have our being.



flame was the surest and strongest possible indication that all the work of

the past years had been approved, and that Jehovah accepted the house

which had been built as His own. It was right enough, therefore, for the

assembled multitude to be not only affected with awe, but to be filled with

thankfulness and sacred joy, as they sang, “The Lord is good; His mercy

endureth for ever.” The approval of God was everything to Israel. It was

much, very much indeed, for what it was in itself; it was much also as an

absolute assurance of national prosperity. Respecting the Divine approval,



Ø      Should be the first object of our heart’s desire. For if we do not possess

the favor of God, our heavenly Father, all other advantages are of little

worth, and should wholly fail to satisfy us; while, if we do possess His

favor, all difficulties, and even all distresses, may be patiently borne and

even cheerfully accepted. To be the children and the heirs of God

(Romans 8:17) is to be and to inherit that which is of transcendent worth.


Ø      Must be sought in the divinely appointed way; and that is, by the cordial



Ø      Will awaken our deepest joy and call forth our most fervent praise. We

too shall celebrate the “goodness” and the “mercy” of the Lord; His praise

will be continually upon our lips.  (Psalm 34:1)


Ø      Must be maintained by faithfulness unto the end. For it is only when we

abide in Him,” and continue to “keep His commandments,” that His love

and His joy “abide in us” (John 15:6-11).


4 "Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 

5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen,

and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people

dedicated the house of God."  These two verses bring us again into company

with the parallel in its vs. 62-63. Let it be noticed that in both these verses the

compiler of Chronicles avoids the words, “all Israel,” and “all the children

of Israel;” in favor of all the people. The parallel tells us that the

sacrifices in part were peace offerings, eatable, therefore, by priests and

people. Large as the numbers of the oxen and sheep sacrificed, yet

indications in the narrative round about do something to sustain them, as

e.g. the number of people who had come together; the fact that all the

people are said to offer sacrifices; the fact that Solomon, Because of the

press for room (v. 7), hallowed the middle of the court, i.e. probably

the court itself, in order to find place for the “burnt offerings, meat

offerings, and fat” (v. 7); further, the number of mouths of people that

certainly would need filling, not only on one day, but on days more than

one, while on the third day (Leviticus 19:6) any part of a peace offering

still left was to be destroyed by fire. Nevertheless, the thought of the scene

of butchery is, to our modern imagination, amazing to the last degree. An

assemblage of people in Jerusalem, all making also for its temple, of a

hundred and twenty thousand people, and a minimum of another twenty-two

thousand people, is startling; but add to these a sheep apiece for the

former number, and an ox apiece for the latter (a computation itself

necessarily under the mark), and allow several days to be covered by the killing

and sacrificing, and one feels that the key and explanation of the

present words of the Bible text in this very passage are scarcely in hand.

The interesting note in the ‘Speaker’s Commentary’ on I Kings 8:63

scarcely assists us. Its instances of the “profusion” of the “sacrifices of

antiquity” are altogether and immensely distanced by the narrative before

us, not only in the number of victims, but in respect of the time in which

the victims had to be dispatched and disposed of, and the place and space

within which, if not the slaughtering, yet certainly the offering, had to be




Sacred Overflow (vs. 4-5)


What meant this great slaughter of sheep and oxen? Why such a large, such

a lavish expenditure of creature life? With our modem ideas of the

sacredness of life, animal as well as human, we naturally inquire what

purpose was served by sacrifices on such a scale as this. Clearly it was:



precept of the Law applicable to the case; the matter was entirely

exceptional, and Solomon was cast on the resources of his own judgment

and feeling. A very large part of our service must be spontaneous. We are

continually placed in circumstances in which no biblical statute can be

quoted. We need to be possessed of such broad and deep religions

principles that these will serve us in any position in which we may be

placed. It is not a vast array of precepts, but a few inclusive and suggestive

principles, which prepare us for the eventualities of our life.



idea the heathen nations around may have had of their sacrifices as an

enrichment of their deities, the Israelites had no such vain thought (see

Psalm 50:8-13). We cannot enrich by our material presentations One

who claims and holds the entire earth as His possession. Yet is there that

which we can give to God which will, in a true sense, add to His



Ø      our hearts and our lives; our own true selves;

Ø      our trust,

Ø       our love,

Ø       our joy in Him.


May we not say that by the filial response of His children He is enriched?



enough that the priests of Baal should have recourse to all the arts and

devices of a passionate importunity in order to secure his attention and

enlist his aid (I Kings 18:26-29). But the Divine Father whom we

worship has not to be approached thus in order to be attentive to the voice

of our prayer, or in order to grant us His merciful regard. He may, indeed,

for a time withhold from us a sense of His favor in order to draw forth our

prayer and to deepen our faith, and thus to enlarge and bless us. But as He

did not require a vast multitude of beasts to be slain on His altar that His

anger might be appeased, so does He not require any multiplied devotions,

or incessant entreaties that His forgiving love may be extended to us. On

the other hand, He waits to be gracious, and is prepared to go forth to meet

the spirit that returns to Him. It was, then:





Ø      Solomon and those who were about him may have been powerfully

affected by the near presence of the Holy One of Israel; and they may

consequently have been disposed to offer these sacrifices which purified

them from all uncleanness and made them less unworthy to stand before

Him; thus regarded, these lavish offerings were the overflow of their

humility. We are in no danger of going too far in this direction. We may,

indeed, sometimes use language of shame and penitence which is in

advance of our inward thought and actual spiritual condition. That is a

great mistake. It is not acceptable to God, and it is misleading to ourselves.

But we are never in danger of having too deep a sense of our own

unworthiness; by all means let humility of spirit have free course, both in

fact and in expression. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the

kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)


Ø      Solomon and his attendants may have been keenly touched by a sense of

God’s great and special goodness to them, and they may, therefore, have

presented these offerings in gratitude and devotion. They were thus the

overflow of their zeal. It is right that our zeal in the worship and service of

God should be unbound by limits, should be free to utter itself in large and

even lavish contributions. We are not to be tied to the tenth of our produce

and our income; we may be free and eager to contribute a fifth, a half,

two-thirds of all that we possess “for the furtherance of the gospel.”

(Philippians 1:12)  We are not limited to one-seventh of our time for

devotion, or to any prescribed times in the day for communion with God;

we do well to let our hearts ascend in prayer and holy fellowship every

day and at all hours of the day. If we have the consciousness of:


o        God’s abounding kindness,

o        our Saviour’s surpassing love, and

o        the Holy Spirit’s grace and patience


which we should have, to which we may all of us attain, we shall let

there be a glad and generous overflow of offering unto God. We shall let:


o        our praise,

o        our contribution, and

o        our endeavor,


be multiplied. There will be no narrow regulation, but a broad and open

spontaneity in our service of Jesus Christ.


6 "And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of

musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD,

because His mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry;

and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.  7 Moreover

Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD:

for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because

the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt

offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat." This verse is not found in the

parallel (ch. 5:12-13; I Chronicles 15:16; 23:5).



The Acceptance of Solomon’s Prayer (vs. 1-7)


  • THE ANSWERING GOD. (vs. 1-2) By Himself set forth (Isaiah 65:24;

Jeremiah 33:3), by His people recognized (Psalm 65:2; 99:8; Isaiah 58:9),

and by Christ revealed (Matthew 7:7-11; 18:19; John 16:23) as a Hearer

of prayer, Jehovah responded to the intercession of Israel’s king by a

twofold sign.


Ø      By fire from heaven. “The God that answereth by fire,” said Elijah upon

Carmel, “let him be God” (I Kings 18:24); and in this case “the fire

came down from heaven and consumed” — not the people, as it did Nadab

and Abihu (Leviticus 10:2), and Azariah’s captains with their fifties

(II Kings 1:10, 12, 14), and as James and John wished it to do to the

Samaritans (Luke 9:54); but the sacrifices, as it did with:


o        Moses (Leviticus 9:24),

o        Gideon (Judges 6:21),

o        David (I Chronicles 21:26), and

o        Elijah (I Kings 18:38).


That this fire was that which symbolized Jehovah’s presence:


o        at the bush (Exodus 3:2),

o        on Mount Sinai (ibid. ch.19:18),

o        at Horeb (I Kings 19:12),

o        on the Chebar (Ezekiel 1:4),

o        in Babylon (Daniel 7:9), and now also,

o        in the temple.


That as a symbol this fire pointed to the holiness and judicial wrath of God against

sin seems plausible and indeed probable (see Delitzsch’s ‘Biblical Psychology,’

p. 225, Eng. trans.); if so it becomes apparent, without comment, why the

sacrifices and not the people were devoured. The victims on the altars were

the people’s substitutes, the bearers of the people’s sins; hence on them rather

than on the people the fire from heaven fell. The consumption of the sacrifices

was an intimation that the people were accepted. Or, if fire be taken as the

symbol of God’s refining and sanctifying power (Kurtz, ‘Sacrificial Worship

of the Old Testament,’ p. 155, Eng. trans.), the notion is hardly different,

since God refines and sanctifies by burning up and destroying (legally by His

judicial wrath, and spiritually by His gracious influences within the soul) all

that is sinful, and therefore obnoxious to His holiness and justice alike (compare

Hebrews 12:29). So God still accepts the inward spiritual sacrifices of

His people by sending down upon them fire from heaven, by annihilating

and destroying the sin that attaches to them, through the fire of Christ’s

Passion, and by refining the hearts that offer them through the fire of His

Spirit (Matthew 3:11).


Ø      By the glory-cloud. This, which appears to have taken possession of the

holy of holies, and indeed of the entire shrine immediately on the close of

the ceremony of the introduction of the ark (v. 14), is again said to have

filled the house, Not that it had withdrawn from the house and afterwards

returned when Solomon had ended his prayer; but merely that the two

things are now brought together — the fire upon the altar and the glory in

the house as parts of one and the same complex phenomenon, which

indicated the acceptance of Solomon’s temple and prayer. The heart which

God accepts He stills fills with His glory the glory of His presence as a

prayer-hearing, sin-forgiving, love-manifesting, holiness-working, glory-

preparing God (John 14:21, 23; Romans 5:5; II Corinthians 6:16;

Colossians 1:27; Revelation 3:20).


  • THE WORSHIPPING PEOPLE. (v. 3.) Overawed by the spectacle

they beheld, the people adored the presence of their covenant God and

condescending King, presenting before Him their supplications.


Ø      With reverent humility. “Bowing themselves with their faces to the

ground upon the pavement,” as they did in the wilderness when, on

Aaron’s first offerings being presented, “a fire came out from before the

Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat”

(Leviticus 9:24), and as Moses and Aaron did when the former

interceded for the people (Numbers 14:5), as the Israelites on Carmel

(I Kings 18:39), Christ’s disciples on the holy mount (Matthew 17:6),

and the four and twenty elders of the Apocalyptic vision did

(Revelation 11:16). Humility a foremost characteristic of all who would

approach God in prayer (Genesis 18:30), or with whom God would

dwell (Isaiah 57:15).


Ø      With fervent acclamation. Praising the Lord and saying;” for though

prayer and praise without audible speech are not impossible (I Samuel

1:13; Ephesians 5:19), when the heart is hot the tongue cannot well be

silent (Psalm 39:3). Men that are in earnest, like David, cry and weep in

their prayers (Psalm 6:8; 18:6), while in their praises they dance and

sing (II Samuel 6:14; Psalm 71:22).


Ø      With true faith, recognizing His Divine goodness and believing in the

unchangeableness of His mercy (see on vs. 13-14).


  • THE THANKSGIVING KING. (vs. 4-5) Besides the people,

Solomon was specially affected by the great sight. His heart swelled with

gratitude, which he expressed:


Ø      By sacrifices. Gratitude which overflows merely in lip-service may well

be suspected. The true index of a heart’s feeling of indebtedness is its

willingness to part with something belonging to itself for the sake of him

towards whom the feeling is cherished. Hence the emphasis laid by Old

Testament Scripture on the duty of offering the sacrifices of thanksgiving

(Psalm 50:14; 107:22).


Ø      By repeated sacrifices. Solomon and his subjects had already offered

victims on the altar (v. 6); but these were presented in addition because

new mercies had evoked new occasions of thanksgiving. As the saint’s

gratitude should not be a momentary feeling, cherished for a little season

and then dismissed till some more convenient opportunity shall arrive, but a

perennial emotion continually welling up within the breast; so should the

saint’s sacrifices not be occasional acts, but deeds that are constantly being

repeated and renewed.


Ø      By large sacrifices. Solomon offered 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep —

indeed, so abundant were the victims that the brazen altar was not spacious

enough, large as it was (ch. 4:1), to receive the burnt offerings and the meat

offerings and the fat; yet, rather than that any of them should not be presented

to the Lord, the pavement in the middle of the court was “hallowed,” i.e.

extemporized into an altar (v. 7), and the victims slaughtered and burnt

thereupon. Solomon had no notion of being stinted in his givings to Jehovah.

Neither should Christians in their offerings to the God of the Christian Church.

The Lord still loveth a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7), and never fails to

reward a liberal giver (v. 6).


Ø      By timely sacrifices. The king chose the right moment for his offerings

“then” (v. 4), when his eye was arrested and his heart affected by the

sight of the fire and the glory, and by the contemplation of Jehovah’s

goodness and grace. Had he delayed, the offerings might not have been so

numerous as they were, if indeed they had not been omitted altogether.

“Strike while the iron is hot” is a proverb applicable to all good

resolutions. Bis dat qui cito dat (he gives twice who gives promptly).

Evil purposes should be delayed till the passions exciting them

have cooled; good intentions should be carried through while the

spirit glows with the holy enthusiasm that has given them birth.


  • THE ASSISTING PRIESTS. (v. 6.) In addition to the king and commons,

the ministers of the sanctuary bore their part in the great act of worship.


Ø      The priests waited on their offices, or stood, in their stations — not

according to their divisions (Bertheau), but in their offices (Vulgate); i.e.

they preserved the ranks and functions which had been assigned them by

David (I Chronicles 24:7-19). They also sounded trumpets before them.


Ø      The Levites acted as instrumentalists and singers. They used the

instruments of the song of Jehovah which David had invented and

appointed, and with which David himself had praised God by their service,

i.e. by making use of their playing, as he did when fetching up the ark out

of Obed-edom’s house (I Chronicles 15:16-28).


8 "Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with

him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river

of Egypt." Also at the same time… the feast; i.e. the Feast of

Tabernacles, which occupied the seven days from the fifteenth to the

twenty-second of the month Tisri (Leviticus 23:33-34). Thus fourteen days

(I Kings 8:65) were occupied by the two feasts, that of the temple

consecration and that of Tabernacles, while on the fifteenth day of feasting,

viz. the twenty-third of the month Tisri, or Ethanim (the seventh month),

the people went home. The entering in of Hamath unto the river of

Egypt; i.e. from the extreme north to the extreme south of the land. The

town Hamath was on the Orontes, through the valley of the Lebanon

(Joshua 13:3, 5; also Numbers 13:21; 34:8; Judges 3:3; II Kings 14:25;

I Chronicles 13:5; Amos 6:2, 14). The river of Egypt; or, the river before Egypt

 (Joshua 13:3), was the Shihor, or Sihor, separating Egypt and Judaea.


9 "And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept

the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.

10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent

the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the

goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon,

and to Israel His people."  Solemn assembly. The word thus translated in the

Authorized Version occurs (including both its but very slightly differing forms)

eleven times. Five of these times the margin offers, probably unnecessarily, the

optional rendering of “restraint.” It may be that the root involves this idea,

and certainly the word is especially used for the seventh or closing day of

Passover, and eighth or closing day of Tabernacles; but other occasions of

its use seem to negate this as an essential element in the signification or

essential condition of the use of the word; e.g. “Proclaim a solemn

assembly (II Kings 10:20); “Call a solemn assembly” (Joel 1:14;



11 "Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s

house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house

of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected."

 (See now for the parallel I Kings 9:1-9.) The king’s house…

the house of the Lord… his own house. The expressions that

we have in this verse guide us amid some ambiguities to the correct date of

the consecration of the temple. The verse purports to speak of the final

completion the temple and the king’s house or palace, with all whatsoever

that was necessary to them in the matter of their furnishing. And, to say the

least, the impression naturally produced on the reader is that they are

spoken of as being thus completed simultaneously, although, beyond

doubt, there was a sense in which the temple was (not utterly finished but)

built long before the palace. Accordingly, when the next verse tells us of

God’s answer vouchsafed to the dedication prayer of Solomon, we are not

driven to the supposition that several years had elapsed since the final

completion of the temple and the dedication of it on the one hand, nor, on

the other hand, a similar interval lost between the dedication prayer and the

Divine acknowledgment of it. It may be again stated that the main structure

of the temple (not including courts, pillars, furnishing, vessels, etc.) was

built after seven years’ process, in the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign,

but the palace only after another complete twelve years (I Kings 7:1),

in Solomon’s twenty-fourth year. A liberal study of the parallel narrative of

Kings in its entirety strengthens considerably this view, inasmuch as there

the whole account of the palace-building finds its place previous to the

account of the dedicating of the temple. However, though there can be

little practical doubt as to how the facts of the case stood and stand, yet

this occasion must count one to be added to the chronological memorabilia

of Scripture, in that, while both the accounts to which we have access

leave very vague the very things we should naturally expect to have been

stated concisely, they also both seem entirely unconscious of it — a

directest outcome of the fact that both writers were but picking their own

way in the midst of borrowed material, neither of them the original




Sunshine (vs. 8-11)


A very happy time it was when the temple was opened at Jerusalem. It may

be said that the city of God and the people of God dwelt in the sunshine of

His presence and His favor. It was a protracted period of sacred joy and

glad prosperity.



“At the same time” i.e. in close conjunction with the solemn rites that were

observed within the temple, “Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all

Israel with him.” The slaying of the devoted animal on the altar and the

spreading of the table for a common feast, sacrificial worship and festive

delights, went hand in hand. This was quite in keeping with the provision

of the Law. And it is in perfect accord with the spirit, the institutions, and

the precepts of the gospel.


Ø      The spirit of the gospel enjoins humility before God, and then trust and

joy in God.


Ø      The principal institution of the gospel is a common participation at a

table — a table at which the living, loving Host meets His friends,

welcomes them with joy, and invites them to rejoice in Him.


3. The precept of the gospel is, “Humble yourselves before God,” and

“Rejoice in the Lord alway.” At our most solemn engagements and in our

most sacred hours the note of holy joy should never be absent long; indeed,

it should be the prevailing note in Christian service.



These men were glad at heart “for the goodness that the Lord had showed

unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel His people.” They were filled

with joy because their departed sovereign’s deepest desire was fulfilled,

and because (they thought) if he were present his heart would be enlarged;

they were gladdened because their present king was elated with an

honorable pride and a profound satisfaction, and they made his joy their

own. Moreover, their patriotism was stirred within them, and they rejoiced

because they felt that their nation was now in the sunshine of the Divine

favor. It is well to be able to say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow

me (Psalm 23:6); it is better to be able to sing, “Truly God is good to Israel.

(Psalm 73:1).  Our piety rises to a higher altitude when concern for ourselves

passes into solicitude for the welfare of our fellow-men, when gratitude for

personal favors is lost in thankfulness to God for His mercy to our race.


  • PIETY IS SURE TO FIND ITS WAY HOME. The people went back

to “their tents” with this abounding exultation. They:


Ø      carried it home;

Ø      shared it with those with whom they dwelt; and

Ø       communicated it to those who could not derive it from the

temple-scenes themselves.


This is a simple Christian obligation. All that we have from God we should

carry home with us; and particularly those inspirations and exaltations

which we gain in His house and from His worship we should impart to our

kindred and our friends. We are closely related to one another for the

express purpose that we may communicate to one another the best and

highest that is within us:


Ø      our purest thoughts,

Ø      our worthiest feelings,

Ø      our highest aspirations, and

Ø      our most sacred joys.



was very right that the building of the king’s house (v. 11) should follow

the erection of the house of the Lord; it was quite natural that the one

should lead to the other. We are not surprised to read that in all Solomon’s

undertakings he “prospered effectively.” He was living and laboring in the

fear and the love of God; he was walking in the light Of God’s

countenance. While the reward of piety is inward and spiritual rather than

outward and material — is in peace, hope, rectitude, Christ-likeness of

spirit and character rather than in “riches and honor,” yet is it true that

godliness has the promise of the life that now is” (I Timothy 4:8);

it tends constantly:


Ø      to virtue,

Ø      to prudence,

Ø      to thrift,

Ø      to comfort, and

Ø      to prosperity.



A Great Festival (vs. 8-11)




Ø      The dedication of the altar. Probably a part is here put for the whole.

The writer means by the dedication of the altar the dedication of the whole

temple. That this should have been followed by a feast was appropriate,



o        all labor carried to a successful termination, as the temple had been, is

fitted to occasion joy; and

o        the fact that sinful man is permitted to consecrate anything to Jehovah

ought ever to excite within the heart glad emotions.


Ø      The Feast of Tabernacles. It would seem that the solemnities connected

with the dedication were commenced seven days at least before the

fifteenth of Tisri, the date of the Feast of Tabernacles, and that on the

fifteenth this latter feast began, and was celebrated with unusual





Ø      Solomon the king. So is Christ Himself ever present at the banquets He

provides for His people, whether on earth within the Church militant, or in

heaven in the Church triumphant. With reference to the former Christ says,

“I will sup with him” (Revelation 3:20); as regards the latter it is

written, “The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall be their

Shepherd” (ibid. ch. 7:17); “I will drink it,” the fruit of the vine,

new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).


Ø      All Israel with him, from the entering in of Hamath, the northen

boundary of Palestine, to the river of Egypt, its southern limit. So will all

the followers of God, the spiritual children and subjects of the heavenly

King, be admitted to the banquet of salvation, both here and there — “he

with me” (Revelation 3:20).


  • THE DURATION. Seven days.


Ø      Preceded by a seven daysdedication service, during which the

multitudes of victims were slain by the king and the people — not by the

priests, who were merely employed in sprinkling the blood upon the altar.


Ø      Followed by a solemn assembly on the eighth day, the last and the great

day of the feast (John 7:37). On the twenty-third day of the seventh

month the assembly broke up, and the people returned to their homes.




Ø      Its character. The people’s joy was sincere, deep, and exhilarating. Not

only at the termination of the festal season, but throughout its continuance,

the celebrants were merry in their hearts.


Ø      Its cause. Different from the mirth which stirred the heart of Nabal

(I Samuel 25:36), theirs proceeded from a contemplation of Jehovah’s

goodness to David, who had been the originator of the temple-building

scheme, to Solomon, who had carried it out, and to them who were to

profit by it.


What a spectacle and witness it would be if  sovereigns and their subjects  still

would, at times, unite in public expressions of religious feeling.  (With the

modern national media covering it with the zeal they do with certain of their

agendas! – CY – 2016)


12 "And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I

have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an

house of sacrifice."  See I Kings 3:5; 9:2; Deuteronomy 12:2-3, 5-7, 11,

14; and, by turning to the last of these sets of references, the emphasis laid

here upon the house as the house of sacrifice will be amply accounted for

without supposing a rather premature aside as regards synagogues.

Meantime, what a feature, manifestly, the sacrifices were!


13 "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the

locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble

themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked

ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and

will heal their land.  15  Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent

unto the prayer that is made in this place."  These three verses (the counterparts

of ch. 6:26, 28, 40) are not in the parallel. Although we can scarcely trace the

principle of their selection from the seven parts of the prayer, they would

seem to have been selected from the original work, as samples of a reply

which presumably embraced reference to all the seven. When, in v. 14, it

is said, I will heal their land, the telling expression, according to the

Authorized Version, must be understood to refer to the removing of

drought by rain. On the other hand, the Authorized Version is, in v. 15,

unfortunate in the unnecessary and misleading insertion of the italics found

there, and in the use of the preposition “in” for of, the simple case

construct, which is manifestly what is wanted and intended. It was not

absolutely essential that prayer should be made in the place. How many

references there are to prayer being made from a distance toward the place!


16 "For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name

may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there

perpetually."  This verse glances, as an answer to the contents, or spirit of

the contents, of the second petition at ch. 6:18-21. The beautiful touching

condescension in the wording of the last clause, Mine eyes and mine heart

shall be there perpetually, will not escape notice.



The temple, the Temple, and the temples of the Lord (v. 16)


We are reminded in these words of successive manifestations of the Divine

to the children of men. We have first;


  • THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM. This was for many generations and

for many centuries the chosen place and method of Divine manifestation. It



Ø      The sacred place, “chosen and sanctified” of God, the recognized spot

where God was to be approached, where His presence was markedly and

peculiarly felt, where sacrifice and prayer were to be offered to Him, and

where pardon and grace were to be gained from Him.


Ø      The place of revelation, where the nature and the character of the

Supreme was to be known, and whence it was to be made known. God’s

“Name [was to be] there forever.” There He was to be known as the one

Divine Spirit, as the Holy One, the Just One, the Merciful One; there He

revealed Himself in such wise that His worshippers “knew the Lord;” knew

Him so that they could truly honor Him, obediently and acceptably serve

Him, attain towards His own character and spirit.


Ø      The place where God manifested Himself in peculiar kindness. “Mine

eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” Not, indeed, that this is

not applicable, in a very true sense, everywhere. For “the eyes of the Lord

 are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3);

and there are none of His children or of His creatures in whom He is not

interested. But upon His people worshipping Him in His house He would

look down with peculiar kindness; and towards them, as they reverently and

obediently poured forth their praises or brought their grateful offerings,

His heart of love would lean.


  • THE ONE GREATER THAN THE TEMPLE, who yet was the

Temple of the Lord in His day. For JESUS CHRIST WAS HE in whom and

through whom God manifested Himself to mankind, in whom He dwelt and

from whom His glory shone.


Ø      Whoso approached Him drew nigh to God and stood in the Divine presence.


He made known “the Name” of God, for He revealed the Father unto the

human race; has caused us all to know and to feel that God is, above

everything else, the Divine Father, who cares for all His children, and who,

whatever their wanderings may be, earnestly remembers them still and is



Ø      He was the One toward whom “the eyes and the heart” of God were

peculiarly directed, the “beloved Son in whom He was well pleased,” and

for whose sake His eye of pity and His heart of love are directed to

mankind. Not the magnificent Herodian structure on Zion, but that Son of

man who often walked about its courts, was the Object in which, in whom,




ye are the temple of God?” (I Corinthians 3:16). What Christ was

when He was in the world, that we are to be now. He was the Light of the

world, and He said to us, “Ye are the light of the world;” so He was the

temple of God, the One in whom God dwelt, and through whom His Name

(His character and His purpose) was made known; and now He charges us to

be the “temples of the Holy Ghost;” as men regard us and our life they

should be reminded of the Divine, of the truth and the spirit and the

character that are of God. We should be living to make God known to all

whom we can anywise reach and teach. Upon us His eyes are fixed, and

toward us His heart is going in all Divine tenderness and love. We do not

fulfill the end of our Christian life except it be true of us that we are the

temples of the living God. Not to any sacred place or any consecrated

building need men go to find the truth and the Spirit of God; it is (or it

should be) enough that they approach the nearest Christian man; they will

find what they seek in his words, his bearing, his character, his life.


17 "And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father

walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and

shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;  18 Then will I stablish the

throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy

father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel."

These two verses glance at the first petition of Solomon’s prayer (ch. 6:15-17).

(See also ch. 3:12; II Samuel 7:12; I Chronicles 22:10.)


19 "But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my

commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and

serve other gods, and worship them;  20 Then will I pluck them up by

the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which

I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make

it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations."  And forsake. The parallel

(I Kings 9:6) puts it, according to the Authorized Version, “If ye shall at all turn

from following me,” etc., which rendering on the part of the Authorized Version

probably errs by excess. Much mercy, much forbearing, long-suffering, and

slowness to anger, were sure to mark the Divine rule; nor would condemnation

take effect, nor did it take effect, till the revolt of the people was a thorough

revolt, as finally testifying itself in the crucifixion of Christ (see also, as

comments on the expressions of these two verses, Leviticus 26:14;

Deuteronomy 4:26-27; 28:37, and generally 15-64). The same Hebrew

words for a proverb and a byword among all nations are found in v. 37,

as just quoted.


21 "And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every

one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done

thus unto this land, and unto this house?  22 And it shall be answered,

Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought

them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and

worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath He brought all this

evil upon them."  The Hebrew text of the first sentence of this verse differs here

from that in the parallel; but, in fact, neither text reads satisfactorily and

smoothly. The parallel (I Kings 9:8) inserts the little word “at,” though

without italics, and “which” in italic type. The “atis no doubt intended to

be condoned as supposed to belong to the word astonished; the following

verb hiss also permitting, though not requiring, the appendage. Not leaning

to the text of the parallel (which shows no אֲשֶׁר, and which shows the

substantive verb in the future tense יִהְיֶה), we need not find any particular

difficulty in rendering our present text, And this house, which is most

high (the word well favors this idea), shall be an astonishment to every

passer by. The Septuagint reads simply, “This lofty house.” Why hath the

Lord done this? (see Deuteronomy 29:24; Jeremiah 22:8-9). To

the “astonishment’’ prophesied here the parallel adds, “shall hiss” — in a

forcible expression found first in here in ch. 29:8, and afterwards in

Micah (Micah 6:16)and in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:16; 19:8; 25:9, etc.;

Lamentations 2:15-16).



The Testimony by Fire, and the Vouchsafed Glory of the Lord

 (vs. 1-22)


This chapter invites attention to four subjects, no one of which is entirely

fresh, but each one of which owns to fresh impressiveness by virtue of

position, particularity of description, and the more touching associations

which now surround it. Attention, then, may be called first of all and

chiefly to:



remarkable that the parallel (I Kings 8.) does not mention this great event,

and that a similar event is again carefully recorded by the writer of

Chronicles (I Chronicles 21:26). Such a descending, kindling, lambent,

and consuming fire — what a sign and token it was! What a startling

testimony — to give a moment’s directness of help to our own thought —

such a manifestation of the elder Church would be to some finished effort

of our later ecclesiastical life! It is not given, it is not to be given, to us.

But never must we allow ourselves to forget that its spiritual antitype is to

be believed in, sought by prayer, beheld in purest vision of the elevated

spiritual imagination, and to be regarded as indispensable. It meant and its

real and more spiritual fulfilment means:


Ø      The notice of heaven. What a genuine help to us, to have reason to

believe this, and therefore gratefully to cultivate the sense of it! The notice

of heaven means nothing, or it means the NOTICE OF GOD! As surely as

a deep present conviction of that notice is calculated to deter from sin, so

surely is it adapted to encourage us in worship, prayer, praise, meditation,

and reading of the Word of God, and to dignify to us the nature of every



Ø      The approval of heaven. There is much indeed that the eye of God

unfailingly notices, but as unfailingly disapproves. (See Psalm 34:15-16)

Descending fire more than once was the proof in the history of the people

of Israel of this also, but it was very different descent and of altogether

differing manifestation.


Ø      The actual participation and co-operation of heaven. The dedication of

the temple was one thing, but the consecration of it was another, and

though, indeed, it was not even such fire as this that by itself did the

consecration or was of the essence of it, yet it was the evidence of it, and

the visible sign and act of it. The fire of holy feeling, of devoutness, of

devotion, of love, of pure adoring worship, is not of nature, nor of the

ministry of man, nor of the ability of the high priest or any priest, to kindle.

The kindling must come from the throne itself, whither whatsoever it is

that we may have to offer is ascending. The sacrifices of prayer, of praise,

of a poor, broken, contrite heart, need all and each the inspiring

illumination and fire of and from the altar itself. What a thought, what a

truth, for us! Our worship and our works of devotion need to be pervaded

with this conviction, and if they were so, at how much higher a level would

they be found, and with how much steadier life would they show

themselves forth! Moments, and sometimes even hours, of our inner

consciousness would in no way fall short, for impression, conviction, and

surpassing joy and peace, of what were present actually now, in the rapt,

and again the impassioned, experience of all Israel. That moment was

indeed a moment worth a nation’s living for. Read the verses (1-3)

themselves. But the instance is but one of a thousand, that tell how soon

impression fades away, of what may be most grand, most significant of all,

when its source comes from without. The deeper things of our hearts may

last longer. Let us therefore seek, honor, prize, them rather!


  • The fact that, with THE FINISHING, DEDICATION, AND



particulars this is noted, viz. the unanimous effort of king and people to

accomplish the full number of sacrifices; the falling of the priests into their

places, and the filling of their regular offices; the same of the Levites with

their instruments of music; and lastly, the hallowing of the middle of the court

before the house, as an auxiliary place for the offering of burnt offerings and

of the fat of the peace offerings. This was by no means the one solitary time,

or the last time, that has illustrated the general principle of the utility of

having the outer form and the outer institutions of the Church order in their

place and in distinct prominence. While the Church is on earth, at least, the

things of the eye, the things of the ear, memories, associations, company,

and the stronger kinds and forces of anticipation — all help religious fidelity;

they are naturally fitted to do so, and, as thus naturally adapted to high use,

are not justifiably to be neglected, slighted, underrated, or presumptuously

regarded, as either optional in all cases, or quite dispensable in the case of

those who credit themselves with a larger measure of spiritual power and

principle than belongs to others. This very assumption is, per se, too generally

decisive of an opposite state of things. We have at present comparatively

little to do with what may prove to be the mode, the infinitely grander

mode, of worship and service up above. But here the form has its

importance; and if so, the righter form, or more perfect form, or more

beautiful form remains to be studied and sought. Have we not even here an

instance of the educative genius of sincere religion, however simple it may

be? It certainly insists on “cleanliness.” It certainly insists on order. And as

matter of fact, and lying in the whole course of the history of the Church

for twenty centuries, how unmistakably and undeniably it has nourished

all “things lovely,” sights of beauty and sounds of beauty, — postulating

and necessitating in turn what underlie these, viz. thoughts and feelings of

beauty and of truth!




FESTIVAL LASTED — some fourteen to fifteen days — AND THEIR


GROUNDS, as they returned and journeyed home. It was no doubt, in

countless instances, on countless occasions, true that there was a humble

rehearsal of the saying of the two disciples (who had journeyed to Emmaus

in the holiest of company, and in the most sacred of religious instruction,

and finally service of breaking of bread, “Did not our heart burn within

us?”  Luke 24:32)  The people now returned to tent and home, “glad and

merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had showed to David, and

to Solomon, and to Israel His people.” There is no higher joy than

religious, no better company, and no better cheer of good company.



was granted for the threefold purpose of assuring Solomon:


Ø      That his temple-prayer had been heard, and that it should be implicitly

and explicitly answered from time to time. The accepted and hallowed

house of prayer,” dedicate now and consecrate, should be a perpetual

living oratory. There was everything now about the house and in the house

to constitute it fitly such, and it is now written with authority and with

promise, “My house shall be called the house of prayer.” What a center of

life, of hope, of refuge, for that people unto all generations if they know

and remember the day of their merciful visitation!  (Luke 19:44)


Ø      That the Divine covenant with him should not fail, should never fail,

and the Divine promise to him should be established for ever, if he

remembered, and remembered to do his part involved in, the covenant.

Here ancestral memories were drawn upon, and brilliant promises of the

future were called in, to exercise their powerful influence, and both for the

service of offering:


o        direction

o        warning and

o        encouragement.


Ø      That exemplary and certain and most notable retribution would be the

portion of the nation if they turned away to idolatry. With simplest

grandeur and force is this dread reverse (in a possible, alas! too probable

future) announced, if haply the announcement may be an effectual

deterrent. The people shall be plucked up by the roots, like plants from the

land; the sanctified house shall be repudiated, made a by-word and a

proverb, and the very mark of astonishment to all by-passers. It shall excite

and awake the wondering questions of many a nation — those questions to

receive one simple, faithful, but dreadful answer: “Because they forsook

the Lord God… and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped and served




A Covenant Concerning the Church of God (12-22)




Ø      The Lord. Jehovah, the supreme and self-existent Deity (Exodus 3:14):


o        the God of nature, who can “shut up heaven,” “command the

locusts,” “send pestilence” (v. 13), as well as,

o        the God of grace, who can hear prayer, forgive sin, and heal not

only land, but souls (v. 14);

o        the God of providence, who can pluck up nations by the roots, and

scatter them abroad upon the face of the earth (v. 20);

o        the God of law and order, who issues statutes and commandments (v. 19);

o        the God of faithfulness and truth, who both maketh and keepeth covenant

with His people (v.18);

o        the God of believing families, who, as “the Lord God of their fathers,”

remembereth them the children for good (v. 22);

o        the God of justice, who is able to fulfill His threatenings as well as

promises (v. 20);

o        the one living and true God, who will not tolerate the rivalry of such

as are no gods (v. 22).


Ø      Solomon the King of Israel. The prince of peace, the head and

representative of his people, their intercessor and mediator, who by

sacrifices and supplications interposed between them and the all-glorious

Jehovah who dwelt between the cherubim; in this respect a type of Jesus

Christ, the heavenly Solomon:


o        the true Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6),

o        the King of Israel par excellence (John 1:49),

o        the Head and Representative of the Church of God (Ephesians 1:22),

o        the Advocate and Intercessor for His believing people (Hebrews 7:25;

I John 2:1).


  • THE BASIS. Two acts of grace on the part of Jehovah towards



Ø      The acceptance of his prayer on behalf of Israel. “I have heard thy

prayer (v. 12). On a similar basis Jehovah grounds His covenant with

Christ concerning the Church of the New Testament, via His acceptance of

Christ’s mediation and intercession — “Thou art [or, ‘this is’] my beloved

Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22);

“Father, I know that thou hearest me always” (John 11:42).


Ø      The choice of His temple as a place of sacrifice. (v. 12.) There can be

no covenant except on a sacrificial basis (Hebrews 9:16-20). For this

reason emphasis was laid upon the choice of the temple as a house of

sacrifice. The “house of sacrifice” in the new covenant was the temple of

Christ’s body (John 2:21; Hebrews 10:19-20).




Ø      For the people. That penitential prayer, accompanied with an earnest

seeking of the Divine favor, and a genuine work of reformation among

them, should be followed by forgiveness and its attendant signs (v. 14).


Ø      For the temple. That God’s heart should be there perpetually (v. 16),

that His eyes should be open towards it, and His ears attent unto whatever

prayer should in future years be made in it (v. 15). So God still engages

to observe every suppliant and hear every prayer made to Him in Christ’s

Name, or with an eye to His atoning sacrifice; because His eyes and His

heart are ever on the Son.


3. For the king. That God would establish His throne according to the

covenant made with David, that the throne of Israel should never want a

ruler (v. 18); always provided that he, the king, followed in the footsteps

of David, doing all God commanded him, and observing God’s statutes and



  • THE THREATENINGS. All covenants have penalties attached to

them to be inflicted as alternatives in case the covenanting party or parties

fail to implement the condition on which alone the promise or promises can

be bestowed (see Genesis 2:17). Here the penalties for disobedience

were explicit, if severe.


Ø      For the king. Failure of the royal line, which would terminate with

himself or with a near descendant. This a clear deduction from the terms of

the Davidic covenant.


Ø      For the people. Plucking up by the roots from the land of their

inheritance, and dispersion among the nations of the earth as a proverb and

a byword (v. 20).


Ø      For the temple. Destruction and desolation, which should make of its

lofty wails an astonishment to every one that passeth by.


  • LEARN:


Ø      That God’s promises of grace and salvation are all conditioned by the

faith and obedience of those who receive them.

Ø      That God’s threatenings are as certain of fulfillment as His promises.



The Divine Promise (vs. 17-22)


This is very large and generous, but it is always conditional. God never

makes a promise which is absolutely unconditional. We can readily see that

it is morally impossible for Him to do so; it would be unrighteous, unwise,

and, in the end, unkind so to do.  He must and does say, “If... then I will; if

not… then I will not.” So was it (or so is it) with:


  • THE ROYAL FAMILY. God’s promise to David and to Solomon that

the royal house should be established and should continue to reign was

conditional on their allegiance to Himself (I Chronicles 22:13; 28:7): “If

thou wilt walk before me,” etc. (v. 17). The melancholy issue proved

only too well that there was no possibility of the fulfillment of the hope

apart from obedience to THE WILL OF GOD!


  • THE NATION. God’s promises to Israel were great, but they, were

conditional on its fidelity. In this passage the possibility of forfeiture is very

fully stated (vs. 19-22). And in the long exile which the Jews suffered in

Babylon, and in the terrible dispersion after the destruction of Jerusalem

and the extinction of Israel as a nation, we find a fearful fulfillment of the

solemn warning of the text. God deals with families and with nations now

as He did with His own people. If they walk in truth, in wisdom, in

righteousness, in godliness, they are established; but if they depart from

faith and purity, THEY FALL!  History will furnish ample illustration of the

doctrine; the observation of one long life will supply strong corroboration

of its truth.


  • THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. God makes very great promises TO US ALL;

they are “exceeding great and precious” (II Peter 1:4). They include:


Ø      the forgiveness of sins,

Ø      restoration to perfect sonship,

Ø      guidance and provision through all our earthly course,

Ø      the preservation of our spiritual integrity in trial and temptation,

Ø      a full response to our prayer and our Christian effort,

Ø      peace in death, and

Ø      everlasting glory.


But not one of these is promised to us irrespective of our attitude or our action.

We must repent of our sin, and believe in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, if we

would be forgiven and restored; we must seek first the kingdom of God, and

ask honestly and sincerely for Divine help, if we would receive all needful

blessings for the life that now is; we must shun the spiritual peril which we

are not called upon to face, and strive against the enemy we have to encounter,

if we would prevail against our adversaries; we must abide IN CHRIST, if we

would bear the fruits of the Spirit of God; we must be prayerful and persevering

and devoted, if we would work a good work for our Lord and our race; we must

be faithful unto death, if we would wear and win “the crown of life.”

(Revelation 2:10)




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