|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 3. - And all the elders of Israel came [Not a mere repetition. The men who were summoned to Jerusalem (ver. 1) were all present, of their own accord, to witness the removal], and the priests took up the ark. tin the parallel account in 2 Chronicles 5:4, we read that "the Levites took up the ark." But there is no contradiction, as has been too readily supposed. For ver. 7 of the Chronicles," the priests brought in the ark," etc., confirms the statement of the text. And the explanation is suggested in ver. 5 of the same chapter, "These did the priests, the Levites (so the Heb.) bring up." Same expression in Joshua 3:3. All the priests were Levites - Keil translates, "the Levitical priests" - and this somewhat singular expression is no doubt used to remind us that such was the case. Nor need it cause us any surprise to find the priests employed in this service. It is true that the ark was given into the charge of the Kohathite Levites (Numbers 3:30, 31); and it was their duty to bear it (Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9; Numbers 10:21; cf. 1 Chronicles 15:2, 11, 12). But the real care and supervision of the ark always belonged to the sons of Aaron. It was their office, e.g., to put on or take off the covering of the ark and of the vessels, which the Levites were forbidden directly to touch (Numbers 4:5-15). It was quite in accordance with the spirit of these provisions that Solomon now entrusted the carriage of the ark to the superior order. But more than that, Solomon was not without precedent to justify his choice, indeed, we may see in his selection of the priests a minute mark of truth, amounting almost to an undo-signed coincidence. For we find that on occasions of extraordinary solemnity - at the crossing of the Jordan, e.g., (Joshua 3:6, 15, 17), and at the siege of Jericho (Joshua 6:6), the priests had borne the ark (cf. 1 Samuel 4:4; 1 Chronicles 15:11, 12). It was no doubt these familiar precedents guided Solomon, or the ecclesiastical authorities, in their selection of the priests on this occasion. A "settled place," a "house of cedars" (2 Samuel 7:7), "having now been found for the ark" to abide in, after it had "dwelt in curtains" for 500 years, it was taking its last journey, and in order to mark this journey as exceptional, in order to show both the ark and the house the greater reverence, it was determined that it should be borne for the last time by the priests. Keil suggests that the ark may have been uncovered, but this is very improbable. Why, we may ask, were coverings provided, and their use prescribed (Numbers 4:5-15), if they were to be arbitrarily dispensed with? He also adds that Levites were not allowed to enter the most holy place. But neither, it may be added, was this lawful for the priests. Levites and priests might enter that day, because the house was not then dedicated. The cloud (ver. 10) claimed it for God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And all the elders of Israel came,.... To Zion, the city of David:
and the priests took up the ark; from thence; in 2 Chronicles 5:4 it is said the Levites did it, whose business it was, Deuteronomy 31:25, and so the priests might be called; for every priest was a Levite, though every Levite was not a priest, and the priests did at all times bear the ark; see Joshua 3:15.
1 Kings 8:3 Parallel Commentaries
1 Kings 8:3 NIV
1 Kings 8:3 NLT
1 Kings 8:3 ESV
1 Kings 8:3 NASB
1 Kings 8:3 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible