1 Kings 8:1-12 . THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE.
1 Kings 8:22-61 . HIS PRAYER.
22. Solomon stood before the altar--This position was in the court of the people, on a brazen scaffold erected for the occasion ( 2 Chronicles 6:13 ), fronting the altar of burnt offering, and surrounded by a mighty concourse of people. Assuming the attitude of a suppliant, kneeling ( 1 Kings 8:54 ; compare 2 Chronicles 6:24 ) and with uplifted hands, he performed the solemn act of consecration--an act remarkable, among other circumstances, for this, that it was done, not by the high priest or any member of the Aaronic family, but by the king in person, who might minister about, though not in, holy things. This sublime prayer [ 1 Kings 8:22-35 ], which breathes sentiments of the loftiest piety blended with the deepest humility, naturally bore a reference to the national blessing and curse contained in the law--and the burden of it--after an ascription of praise to the Lord for the bestowment of the former, was an earnest supplication for deliverance from the latter. He specifies seven cases in which the merciful interposition of God would be required; and he earnestly bespeaks it on the condition of people praying towards that holy place. The blessing addressed to the people at the close is substantially a brief recapitulation of the preceding prayer [ 1 Kings 8:56-61 ].
1 Kings 8:62-64 . HIS SACRIFICE OF PEACE OFFERING.
62. the king, and all Israel . . . offered sacrifice before the Lord--This was a burnt offering with its accompaniments, and being the first laid on the altar of the temple, was, as in the analogous case of the tabernacle, consumed by miraculous fire from heaven (see 2 Chronicles 7:1 ). On remarkable occasions, the heathens sacrificed hecatombs (a hundred animals), and even chiliombs (a thousand animals), but the public sacrifices offered by Solomon on this occasion surpassed all the other oblations on record, without taking into account those presented by private individuals, which, doubtless, amounted to a large additional number. The large proportion of the sacrifices were peace offerings, which afforded the people an opportunity of festive enjoyment.
63. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord--The dedication was not a ceremony ordained by the law, but it was done in accordance with the sentiments of reverence naturally associated with edifices appropriated to divine worship.
64. The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court--that is, the whole extent of the priests' court--the altar of burnt offerings, though large ( 2 Chronicles 4:1 ), being totally inadequate for the vast number of sacrifices that distinguished this occasion. It was only a temporary erection to meet the demands of an extraordinary season, in aid of the established altar, and removed at the conclusion of the sacred festival.
1 Kings 8:65 . THE PEOPLE JOYFUL.
65. from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt--that is, from one extremity of the kingdom to the other. The people flocked from all quarters.
seven days and seven days, even fourteen days--The first seven were occupied with the dedication, and the other seven devoted to the feast of tabernacles ( 2 Chronicles 7:9 ). The particular form of expression indicates that the fourteen days were not continuous. Some interval occurred in consequence of the great day of atonement falling on the tenth of the seventh month ( 1 Kings 8:2 ), and the last day of the feast of tabernacles was on the twenty-third ( 2 Chronicles 7:10 ), when the people returned to their homes with feelings of the greatest joy and gratitude "for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people."