|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-18 Solomon's message to Huram respecting the temple, His treaty with Huram. - Solomon informs Huram of the particular services to be performed in the temple. The mysteries of the true religion, unlike those of the Gentile superstitions, sought not concealment. Solomon endeavoured to possess Huram with great and high thoughts of the God of Israel. We should not be afraid or ashamed to embrace every opportunity to speak of God, and to impress others with a deep sense of the importance of his favour and service. Now that the people of Israel kept close to the law and worship of God, the neighbouring nations were willing to be taught by them in the true religion, as the Israelites had been willing in the days of their apostacy, to be infected with the idolatries and superstitions of their neighbours. A wise and pious king is an evidence of the Lord's special love for his people. How great then was God's love to his believing people, in giving his only-begotten Son to be their Prince and their Saviour.
Verses 5, 6. - The contents of these verses beg some special observation, in the first place, as having been judged by the writer of Chronicles matter desirable to be retained and put in his work. To find a place for this subject amid his careful selection, and rejection in many cases, of the matter at his command, is certainly a decision in harmony with his general design in this work. Then, again, they may be remarked on as spoken to another king, who, whether it were to be expected or no, was, it is plain, a sympathizing hearer of the piety and religious resolution of Solomon (ver. 12). This is one of the touches of history that does not diminish our regret that we do not know more of Hiram. He was no "proselyte," but he had the sympathy of a convert to the religion of the Jew. Perhaps the simplest and most natural explanation may just be the truest, that Hiram for some long time had seen "the rising" kingdom, and alike in David and Solomon in turn, "the coming" men. He had been more calmly and deliberately impressed than the Queen of Sheba afterwards, but not less effectually and operatively impressed. And once more the passage is noteworthy for the utterances of Solomon in themselves. As parenthetically testifying to a powerful man, who could be a powerful helper of Solomon's enterprise, his outburst of explanation, and of ardent religious purpose, and of humble godly awe, is natural. But that he should call the temple he purposed to build "so great," as we cannot put it down either to intentional exaggeration or to sober historic fact, must the rather be honestly set down to such considerations as these, viz. that in point of fact, neither David nor Solomon were "travelled men," as Joseph and Moses, for instance. Their measures of greatness were largely dependent upon the existing material and furnishing of their own little country. And further, Solomon speaks of the temple as great very probably from the point of view of its simple religious uses (note end of ver. 6) as the place of sacrifice in especial rather than as a place, for instance, of vast congregations and vast processions. Then, too, as compared with the tabernacle, it would loom "great," whether for size or for its enduring material. Meantime, though Solomon does indeed use the words (ver. 5)," The house.., is great," yet, throwing on the words the light of the remaining clause of the verse, and of David's words in 1 Chronicles 29:1, it is not very certain that the main thing present to his mind was not the size, but rather the character of the house, and the solemn character of the enterprise itself (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 6:18). Who am I... save only to burn sacrifice before him? The drift of Solomon's thought is plain - that nothing would justify mortal man, if he purported to build really a palace of residence for him whom the heaven of heavens could not contain, but that he is justified all the more in "not giving sleep to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, until he had found out a place" (Psalm 132:4, 5) where man might acceptably, in God's appointed way, draw near to him. If "earth draw near to heaven," it may be confidently depended on that heaven will not be slow to bend down its glory, majesty, grace, to earth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the house which I build is great,.... Not so very large, though that, with all apartments and courts belonging to it, he intended to build, was so; but because magnificent in its structure and decorations:
for great is our God above all gods; and therefore ought to have a temple to exceed all others, as the temple at Jerusalem did.
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