And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord
The altar of the burnt offering in the court of the priests, where he prayed the following prayer; and which altar was typical of Christ, who is always to be in sight in prayer, and through whom all sacrifices of prayer and praise become acceptable to God. In ( 2 Chronicles 6:13 ) he is said to stand upon a scaffold of brass, five cubits long, five broad, and three high, which stood in the midst of the court; it was a sort of a pulpit, round, as a laver, for which the word is sometimes used, and on which he kneeled:
in the presence of all the congregation of Israel;
who stood in the great court before him, called the court of Israel:
and spread forth his hands toward heaven;
and hence it appears, that though Solomon stood before the altar, he did not lay hold on it with his hands, as the Heathens did when they prayed; for they say F25, that prayer alone does not appease the Deity, unless he that prays also lays hold on the altar with his hands; hence altars, at first, as we are told F26, were called "ansae"; and lifting up or spreading the hands towards heaven was a proper gesture with the Greeks and Romans F1.
F25 Macrob. Saturnal. l. 3. c. 2. Vid. Sperling. de Baptism. Ethiac, c. 6. p. 103.
F26 Varro Rer. Divin. l. 5. apud ib.
F1 Homer. Iliad. 3. ver. 275. & 6. ver. 301. Vid. Barth. Animadv. ad Claudian. in Rufin. l. 2. ver. 205.