Start Your 14-Day Free Trial of BibleStudyTools PLUS!

1 Kings 8

The Ark Brought to the Temple (8:1–21)

31–32 Here Solomon asks that God Himself render judgment in cases where there was insufficient evidence to determine one’s guilt or innocence. Previously in such cases, an oath was taken by the disputants (Exodus 22:11) and God was left to decide the verdict—perhaps by the priest’s use of the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30). Solomon was asking God to continue to use the temple as His judgment seat.”

33–40 In these verses, Solomon asks God for mercy for the Israelites in the event that various afflictions fall upon them as the result of sin. The afflictions listed here are similar to the punishments listed in Leviticus 26:14–39, which God said would be inflicted on the Israelites if they neglected His covenant requirements.

In verse 39, Solomon asks God: “Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does.” Solomon recognized that even though God has forgiven a person, it may still be necessary to discipline that person (see 2 Samuel 7:14; Hebrews 12:5–11). So Solomon asks God to deal with each sinner according to His wisdom; only God knows a person’s heart. Sin is not primarily a matter of “breaking a rule"; it is primarily a matter of sinning against God in one’s heart. God disciplines people so that they will fear39 Him (verse 40)—so that they will honor and obey Him, and learn to keep His covenant.

41–43 Here Solomon turns his attention to the foreigner who visits the temple because he has heard of God’s name (verse 41), because he has heard of God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm40 (verse 42)—that is, His mighty power. These “foreigners” were not the resident aliens who had chosen to live in Israel and worship Israel’s God; these were true foreigners, GENTILES, to whom God intended to reveal Himself through the faith and obedience of His covenant people Israel. Solomon was asking God to answer their prayers too, so that all the peoples of the earth would know the name of the Lord and come to fear Him (verse 43). God’s temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:6–7; Mark 11:17).

44–45 Here Solomon asks God to help His people when He sends them against their enemies. He asks God to hear their prayers for help when they pray toward the city . . . and the temple41 (verse 44). God had promised to deliver the enemies of the Israelites into their hands (Exodus 23:23,27,31; 34:10–11), but this did not mean they didn’t need to pray for His help!

46–53 In these verses, Solomon looks ahead and anticipates a time when the Israelites would be driven into exile—a time that actually came to pass four hundred years later. Indeed, the first readers of 1 Kings were already living in exile in Babylon,42 so these words would have had a powerful impact upon them.

In verse 46, Solomon acknowledges that all human beings sin (Romans 3:10–12; 1 John 1:8), and are thus deserving of punishment. Solomon imagines a time when the Israelites’ sin has become so great that God does indeed send them into exile. Given such an event, Solomon calls upon God to have mercy upon them. But mercy will be possible only if they have a change of heart and repent (verse 47) and turn back to [God] with all their heart and soul (verse 48). If they do confess their sins and repent, then Solomon asks God to forgive them (verse 50). Confession and repentance are the means by which sinful humans can find forgiveness from a gracious God and be restored to fellowship with Him (see Leviticus 5:5–6 and comment).

These verses, together with a similar passage in Leviticus 26:40–45, surely gave hope to the Israelite exiles living in Babylon. Solomon’s final argument on their behalf was that they were God’s people, God’s inheritance43 (verses 51,53)—God’s treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). God had already delivered them from a much worse situation—from the iron—smelting furnace of Egypt (see Deuteronomy 4:20 and comment). Surely the Israelites in exile could hope that He would deliver them again.

54–57 Here Solomon concludes his great prayer of dedication by praising God for having given rest to His people (verse 56), as He had promised to do (Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 12:10; 2 Samuel 7:1; 1 Kings 5:4). Solomon sees the completion of the temple and God’s cloud filling it (verse 10) as the climactic and final fulfillment of all God’s promises to Israel—including His promise of “rest” for the people. Of course, the rest that Israel experienced turned out to be neither final nor complete; only during Solomon’s reign did that “rest"—security, peace, prosperity, harmony—remain. God’s true “rest” for His people would not be realized until the coming of Christ; only through Christ do we experience lasting rest, lasting reconciliation with God and man. There remains, then, a Sabbath—rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).

People fail to enter God’s rest for one reason only: their disobedience, their sin44 (Psalm 95:7–11; Hebrews 3:7–12,18). When people harden their hearts and persist in sin, they cut themselves off from God’s rest, God’s SALVATION. Our active faith and obedience are required if we are to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1–2,11).

58 But how do sinful humans believe and obey? Paul says that all of us were once dead in [our] transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1); how can a dead” person obey? It is only possible if God, in His sovereign grace, revives us and animates us to turn our hearts to him so that we might walk in all his ways and keep his commands. In other words, we need a new heart (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 11:19), we need a “rebirth” (John 3:3; Ephesians 2:4–5), which only God can give us. Solomon knew that if the Israelites were ever going to lead consistently godly lives it would require God’s enabling; it would require God’s “turning of their hearts” (see Deuteronomy 30:6 and comment). Obeying God is always a matter of the heart.

59–61 In these final verses, Solomon calls himself God’s servant (verse 59); God was the true King of Israel, and Solomon was His earthly representative. Solomon asks God to uphold the cause of His people Israel, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God (verse 60). This was God’s larger purpose in raising up the nation of Israel in the first place (Genesis 12:3; Joshua 4:23–24).

In verse 61, Solomon reminds the people of their own responsibility: “. . . your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to . . . obey his commands.” God does not do everything for us. He gives us a new heart, a new life, but then we must respond to His grace by committing ourselves to Him. Our life with God is an everdeveloping creation, a journey—God working together with us to fulfill His purposes (Philippians 2:12–13) and to make His name known among all the peoples of the earth.

The Dedication of the Temple (8:62–66)

(2 Chronicles 7:1–10)

62–66 According to 2 Chronicles 7:1–3, when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifices that had already been offered; this was another sign that God had accepted the temple as His earthly dwelling. Then thousands of additional sacrifices were offered45 (verse 63); these were probably offered throughout the course of the twoweek celebration, to which people from all over Israel had come (verse 65). Through these offerings, Solomon and the people atoned for their sin and renewed their commitment to God’s covenant; thereby they were enabled to enter afresh into fellowship with God and with each other.

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice