|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-11 The bringing in the ark, is the end which must crown the work: this was done with great solemnity. The ark was fixed in the place appointed for its rest in the inner part of the house, whence they expected God to speak to them, even in the most holy place. The staves of the ark were drawn out, so as to direct the high priest to the mercy-seat over the ark, when he went in, once a year, to sprinkle the blood there; so that they continued of use, though there was no longer occasion to carry it by them. The glory of God appearing in a cloud may signify, 1. The darkness of that dispensation, in comparison with the light of the gospel, by which, with open face, we behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. 2. The darkness of our present state, in comparison with the sight of God, which will be the happiness of heaven, where the Divine glory is unveiled.
Verse 11. - So that the priests could not stand to rainwater because of the cloud [They were overpowered by the manifestation, precisely as Moses had been before (Exodus 40:35). It was at the moment when the singers and trumpeters, standing at the east end of the altar, began their service of praise - and the reappearance of the priests may well have been the signal for them to begin (2 Chronicles 5:13) - that "the house was filled with a cloud." Possibly the priests were about to burn incense. Evidently ministrations of some sort were intended and were interrupted. The exact correspondence with Exodus 40:35 (cf. Ezekiel 44:4) is not to be overlooked. The idea obviously is that the Divine approval vouchsafed to the tabernacle was now in turn granted to the temple], for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. [Is the "glory of the Lord" identical with the cloud, or is something additional intended by these words? It is certainly noticeable that what ver. 10 says of the cloud - that it "filled the house" - ver. 11 says of the glory. It is also true that there is no mention of any light or fire. And the "darkness" of ver. 12 might naturally seem to refer to the cloud, and therefore to exclude the idea of light. But surely the words כְּבוד יְיָ are to be interpreted here by their signification and use elsewhere, and we find "the glory of the Lord elsewhere mentioned as something distinct from the cloud. We must remember that what by day was a pillar of cloud, by night was a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21, 22). In Exodus 19:9, 16, the mention of the "thick cloud" is followed by the statement that "Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire" (ver. 18). Similarly, in Exodus 24, we are told that "the glory of the Lord appeared upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it (the glory?) six days; and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire " (vers. 16, 17). But perhaps the most decisive passage in this connexion is Exodus 40:34, where we are told that "the cloud abode upon" the tent of meeting, while "the glory of the Lord filled the (interior of the) tabernacle." Compare Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19, 42. It would appear, therefore, that "the glory of the Lord" was not the cloud, but, as the word almost seems to imply, a "light from heaven above the brightness of the sun" (Acts 26:13; cf. Revelation 1:14, 16). It is hardly necessary to add that the glory, though apparently resident in the cloud, was not always luminous; the cloud veiled it from the eyes of men.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So that the priests could not stand to minister, because of the cloud,.... Either through the darkness it first caused, or through the light that broke out of it, which was dazzling to them, or through the terror it struck their minds with; they could neither minister in the holy place, by offering incense there; and as for the most holy place, none but the high priest could minister there, and that on one day only; nor in the court of the priests, at the altar of burnt offerings:
for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord; a bright and glorious stream came forth from the cloud, and spread itself all over the house, and then took up its abode in the most holy place as in the tabernacle, Exodus 40:34.
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