|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:22-53 In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. The sacrifices, the incense, and the whole service of the temple, were all typical of the Redeemer's offices, oblation, and intercession. The temple, therefore, was continually to be remembered. Under one word, forgive, Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. For, as all misery springs from sin, forgiveness of sin prepares the way for the removal of every evil, and the receiving of every good. Without it, no deliverance can prove a blessing. In addition to the teaching of the word of God, Solomon entreated the Lord himself to teach the people to profit by all, even by their chastisements. They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him; and shall spread their hands in prayer toward this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant. Sin is the plague of our own hearts; our in-dwelling corruptions are our spiritual diseases: every true Israelite endeavours to know these, that he may mortify them, and watch against the risings of them. These drive him to his knees; lamenting these, he spreads forth his hands in prayer. After many particulars, Solomon concludes with the general request, that God would hearken to his praying people. No place, now, under the gospel, can add to the prayers made in or towards it. The substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us. In this manner the Israel of God is established and sanctified, the backslider is recovered and healed. In this manner the stranger is brought nigh, the mourner is comforted, the name of God is glorified. Sin is the cause of all our troubles; repentance and forgiveness lead to all human happiness.
Verse 31. - If any man trespass [The force of the Hebrew (which begins somewhat abruptly) אֵת אֲשֶׁר (LXX. ὅσα α}ν ἁμάρτη) is probably, As for that which, or in all cases in which, i.e., when (as Ewald, 333 a). The chronicler, as usual, simplifies by reading אֵם] against his neighbour, and an oath be laid [Heb. and he (the neighbour) lay an oath, i.e., prescribe a form of adjuration, such as that in Deuteronomy 21:7] upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come [This translation cannot be maintained. For in the Heb. there is no def. art., as there would be if אָלָה were noun and nominative; and, moreover in that case the verb, to agree with the feminine noun, would be בָּאָה. And as no other meaning can be extracted from the words as they stand, we are driven to suspect a slight corruption of the text, either
(1) the omission of ו between the words, which in that case would have stood ובא ואלה, and would mean, "and he (the accused) come and swear" - a conjecture which is supported by the LXX., καὶ ἔλθῃ καὶ ἐξαγορεύση, or
(2) the omission of the preposition ב, which would yield ובא באלה = and he (the accused) enters into the oath, an expression found in Nehemiah 10:29 and Ezekiel 17:13] before thine altar in this house. [Despite the last words, the altar of sacrifice before the house is probably meant. This was the altar of the Jewish layman, and, moreover it was one visible sign of the covenant. Psalm 1:5; Exodus 24:6-8; cf. 20:24. The altar which afforded shelter to the manslayer, in the same way lent sanctity to the oath. The practice of swearing by the altar (Matthew 23:18) is of later date.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If any man trespass against his neighbour,.... By being unfaithful in a trust committed to him, or the like:
and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear; he denying that ever anything was committed to his trust, and there being no witnesses of it, the judge obliges him to take an oath he never had any:
and the oath come before thine altar in this house; where it was taken, as in the presence of God, and as appealing to him: hence in corrupt times they came to swear by the altar, Matthew 23:20 and so the Heathens used to take their oaths in the temples of their gods, and at their altars, as the instances of Callicrates (c) and Hannibal (d) show, and others Grotius refers to; yea, they also laid hold on the altar, at least touched it when they swore (e) to give the greater sanction to the oath.
(c) Cornel. Nep. Vit. Dion. l. 10. c. 8. (d) Ib. Hannibal. l. 23. c. 2.((e) Vid. Lydii Dissert de Jurament. c. 4. sect. 7.
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