1 Kings 8

The Book of 1 Kings
Chapter 8

Chapter Overview:

The chief men of Israel called together, ver. 1, 2.
The ark fixt in the most holy place, ver. 3 - 9.
God takes possession of it by a cloud, ver. 10 - 12.
Solomon tells the people the occasion of their meeting, ver. 13 - 21.
The prayer of dedication, ver. 22 - 53.
He dismisses the assembly with a blessing and an exhortation, ver. 54 - 61.
Offers abundance of sacrifices, ver. 62 - 66.
8:1Elders - The senators, and judges, and rulers. Heads - For each tribe had a peculiar governor. Chief - The chief persons of every greatfamily in each tribe. Jerusalem - Where the temple was built. Bringthe ark - To the top of Moriah, upon which it was built; whither theywere now to carry the ark in solemn pomp. City of David - Where Davidhad placed the ark, which is called Zion, because it was built upon thathill.
8:2All Israel - Not only the chief men, but a vast number of the common people. The feast - The feast of the dedication, to whichSolomon had invited them. Seventh month - Which time he chose withrespect to his peoples convenience, because now they had gathered in alltheir fruits, and were come up to Jerusalem, to celebrate the feast oftabernacles. But the temple was not finished till the eighth month,chap. 6:38 , how then could he invite them in the seventh month? Thiswas the seventh month of the next year. For although the house in allits parts was finished the year before, yet the utensils of it were notthen fully finished: and many preparations were to be made for this greatand extraordinary occasion.
8:3The priests - For although the Levites might do this, Numbers 4:15 , yet the priests did it at this time, for the greaterhonour of the solemnity; and because the Levites might not enter intothe holy - place, much less into the holy of holies, where it was to beplaced, into which the priests themselves might not have entered, if thehigh - priest alone could have done it.
8:4The tabernacle - That made by Moses, which doubtless before this time had been translated from Gibeon to Zion, and now togetherwith other things, was put into the treasuries of the Lord's house, toprevent all superstitious use of it, and to oblige the people to come upto Jerusalem, as the only place where God would now be worshipped.
8:5Sacrificing - When the ark was seated in its place: for although they might in the way offer some sacrifices, as David did; yet that wasnot a proper season to offer so many sacrifices as could not be numbered.This is more particularly related below, ver. 62 ,63,64, which is heresignified by way of anticipation.
8:6Cherubim - Of Solomon's new made cherubim, not of the Mosaic cherubim, which were far less, and unmovably fixed to the ark, Exodus 37:7 ,8, and therefore together with the ark, were put underthe wings of these cherubim.
8:8Drew out - Not wholly, which was expressly forbidden, Exodus 25:15 , Nu 4:6, but in part.Seen out - In the most holy place, which is oft called by way of eminency,the holy place, and the Hebrew words rendered before the oracle,may be as well rendered, within the oracle. And these staves were leftin this posture, that the high - priest might hereby be certainly guided tothat very place where he, was one day in a year to sprinkle blood, and tooffer incense before the ark, which otherwise he might mistake in thatdark place, where the ark was wholly covered with the wings of the greatcherubim, which stood between him and the ark when he entered in.
8:9Nothing - Strictly and properly: but in a more large sense, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod were also in it, Hebrews 9:4 ,that is, by it, in the most holy place, before the ark of thetestimony, where God commanded Moses to put them.
8:10The cloud - The usual token of God's glorious presence.Filled - In testimony of his gracious acceptance of this work, and theirservice; and to beget an awe and reverence in them, and in all others,when they approach to God.
8:12Then spake - Perceiving both priests and people struck with wonder at this darkness, he minds them, that this was no sign of God'sdisfavour, as some might possibly imagine; but a token of his approbation,and special presence among them. Said - He hath declared, that he wouldmanifest his presence with, and dwelling among his people, by a dark cloud,in which he would appear.
8:14Turned - From the temple to the body of the congregation.Stood - In token of reverence, and of their readiness to receive theblessing.
8:16Since, &c. - Until David's time; for then he did chuse Jerusalem. That my name - That my presence, and grace, and worship,and glory, might be there. Chose David - And in and with him the tribeof Judah, of which he was, and Jerusalem where he dwelt.
8:21The covenant - The tables of the covenant, wherein the conditions of God's covenant with Israel are written.
8:22Stood - Upon a scaffold set up for him in the court of the people, 2 Chronicles 6:13 .
8:24Hast kept - That branch of thy promise concerning the building of this house by David's son.
8:25Keep - Make good the other branch of thy promise.
8:27But will - Is it possible that the great, and high, and lofty God should stoop so low, as to take up his dwelling amongst men?The heaven - All this vast space of the visible heaven.And heaven, &c. - The third and highest, and therefore the largest heaven,called the heaven of heavens for its eminency and comprehensiveness.Contain - For thy essence reacheth far beyond them, being omnipresent.Much less - This house therefore was not built as if it wereproportionable to thy greatness, or could contain thee, but only thattherein we might serve and glorify thee.
8:28Yet - Tho' thou art not comprehended within this place, yet shew thyself to be graciously present here, by accepting and granting my presentrequests here tendered unto thee.
8:29Open - To behold with an eye of favour. My name - My presence, and glory and grace. This place - This temple, to which Solomon didnow look, and towards which, the godly Israelites directed their looksin their prayers.
8:30In heaven - Which he adds to direct them in their addresses to God in this temple, to lift up their eyes above it, even to heaven, whereGod's most true, and most glorious dwelling - place is. Forgive - The sinsof thy people, praying, and even of their prayers; which, if not pardoned,will certainly hinder the success of all their prayers, and the course ofall thy blessings.
8:31Trespass - If he be accused of a trespass.Laid on him - Either by the judge, or by the party accusing him, or bythe accused person himself: which was usual, when there were no witnesses.Thine altar - For here God, who was appealed to as witness, was especiallypresent. Hence the Heathens used to swear at their altars.
8:32His way - The just recompence of his wicked action.Give him, &c. - To vindicate him, and manifest his integrity.
8:33Confess - Give glory to thy name, by acknowledging their sins, and by justice; and by accepting the punishment of their iniquity; and bytrusting to thy power and goodness alone, for their deliverance.
8:35Heaven - The lower heaven in which the clouds are.Shut up - Heaven is compared to a great store - house in God's keeping,out of which nothing can be had, so long as it is close shut up.
8:36Good way - The way, of their duty, which is good in itself; and both delightful and profitable, to those that walk in it. Give rain - Theorder of Solomon's prayer is very observable; first and chiefly, heprays for their repentance and forgiveness, which is the chief blessing,and the only solid foundation of all other mercies: and then he prays fortemporal mercies; thereby teaching us what to desire principally in ourprayers; which also Christ hath taught us in his perfect prayer; whereinthere is but one petition for outward, and all the rest are for spiritualblessings.
8:38The plague - His sin, which may be called the plague of his heart, in opposition to the other plagues here mentioned; so the senseis, who, by their afflictions are brought to a true and serious sense oftheir worse and inward plague of their sins, which are most fitly calledthe plague of the heart, because that is both the principal seat of sin,and the fountain from whence all actual sins flow.
8:39Thou knowest - Not only the plagues of their hearts, their several wants and burdens, (these he knows! but he will know them from us,)but the desire and intent of the heart, the sincerity or hypocrisy of it.
8:41A stranger - A proselyte. But cometh - That he may worship, and glorify thy name.
8:43Calleth for - Agreeable to thy will and word. It is observable, that his prayer for the strangers is more large, and comprehensive, than forthe Israelites; that thereby he might both shew his public - spiritedness,and encourage strangers to the worship of the true God. Thus early were theindications of God's favour, toward the sinners of the Gentiles.As there was then one law for the native and for the stranger, so therewas one gospel for both.
8:44To battle - In a just cause, and by thy warrant or commission.Shall pray - Whereby he instructs them, that they should not trust, eitherto the strength or justice of their arms, but only to God's help andblessing. Chosen - For thy dwelling - place, and the seat of thy temple.Towards the house - For to it they were to turn their faces in prayer; toprofess themselves worshippers of the true God, in opposition to idols; andto strengthen their faith in God's promises and covenant, the tables whereofwere contained in that house. Soldiers in the field must not think itenough that others pray for them: they must pray for themselves. And theyare here encouraged to expect a gracious answer. Praying should always goalong with fighting.
8:48And return - Sincerely, universally, and steadfastly.
8:49Their course - Heb. their right, against their invaders and oppressors. For they had forfeited all their rights to God only, but not totheir enemies; whom tho' God used as scourges to chastise his peoples sins,yet they had no pretence of right to their land.
8:55He stood - He spoke this standing, that he might be the better heard, and because he blessed as one having authority. Never were wordsmore pertinently spoken: never was a congregation dismissed, with thatwhich was more likely to affect them, and to abide with them.
8:56Blessed, &c. - This discharge he gives in the name of all Israel, to the everlasting honour of the Divine faithfulness, and theeverlasting encouragement of all those that build upon the Divine promises.
8:58Incline - That he may not only bless us with outward prosperity, but especially, with spiritual blessings: and that as he hath given us hisword to teach and direct us, so he would by his holy Spirit, effectuallyincline us to obey it.
8:61Perfect - Let your obedience be universal, without dividing; upright, without dissembling; and constant, without declining.
8:63Offered - Not all in one day, but in the seven, or it may be in the fourteen days, mentioned ver. 65 .
8:64Middle of the court - Of the priests court, in which the great altar was. This he consecrated as he did the great altar, by sacrifices;but with this difference, that he consecrated that for perpetual use: butthis only for the present occasion, being warranted to do so both by thenecessity of it for God's service, and for the present solemn work, forwhich the brazen altar was not sufficient; and by the direction of God'sspirit, wherewith Solomon was endowed, as being a prophet, as well as aking. Here therefore he suddenly reared up divers altars, which, afterthis solemnity were demolished.
8:65Seven - Seven for the dedication of the temple, or altar; and the other seven for the feast of tabernacles. And it seems to be expressed inthis manner, to intimate, that these fourteen days of rejoicing, were notaltogether, but that there was some interval between them, which indeed wasnecessary, because the day of atonement was on the tenth day of this month, Leviticus 23:27 . And because these fourteen days ended on the twenty - secondday, 2 Chronicles 7:10 , it may seem most probable, that the feast of thededication was kept before the tenth day: and the feast of tabernacles somedays after it.
8:66He sent - Solomon having joined with the people in the solemn assembly, which was kept on the eighth day; in the close of that day tookhis solemn farewell, and dismissed them with his blessing; and the nextmorning when the heads and elders with divers of the people came to taketheir leave of the king, he sent them away.