And your servant is in the middle of your people which you have chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Is in the midst of thy people, i.e. is set over them to rule and guide them; a metaphor from the overseer of divers workmen, who usually is in the midst of them, that he may the better observe how each of them dischargeth his office.
Which thou hast chosen; thy peculiar people, whom thou takest special care of, and therefore wilt expect a more punctual account of my government of them. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. a great people, &c.] The language is that of inexperience, which exaggerates the extent of duties and cares which it has not yet encountered, and which come upon it all at once.Verse 8. - And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen [see Deuteronomy 7:6], a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. [The promises of Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5, lived in the thoughts and language of the Jews, and were doubtless the original of this expression. Cf. also Numbers 23:10.] 1 Kings 2:46. The train of thought is the following: It is true that Solomon's authority was firmly established by the punishment of the rebels, so that he was able to ally himself by marriage with the king of Egypt; but just as he was obliged to bring his Egyptian wife into the city of David, because the building of his palace as not yet finished, so the people, and (according to 1 Kings 2:3) even Solomon himself, were only able to sacrifice to the Lord at that time upon altars on the high places, because the temple was not yet built. The participle מזבּחים denotes the continuation of this religious condition (see Ewald, 168, c.). The בּמות, or high places,
(Note: The opinion of Bttcher and Thenius, that בּמה signifies a "sacred coppice," is only based upon untenable etymological combinations, and cannot be proved. And Ewald's view is equally unfounded, viz., that "high places were an old Canaanaean species of sanctuary, which at that time had become common in Israel also, and consisted of a tall stone of a conical shape, as the symbol of the Holy One, and of the real high place, viz., an altar, a sacred tree or grove, or even an image of the one God as well" (Gesch. iii. p. 390). For, on the one hand, it cannot be shown that the tall stone of a conical shape existed even in the case of the Canaanitish bamoth, and, on the other hand, it is impossible to adduce a shadow of a proof that the Israelitish bamoth, which were dedicated to Jehovah, were constructed precisely after the pattern of the Baal's-bamoth of the Canaanites.)
were places of sacrifice and prayer, which were built upon eminences of hills, because men thought they were nearer the Deity there, and which consisted in some cases probably of an altar only, though as a rule there was an altar with a sanctuary built by the side (בּמות בּית, 1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29, 2 Kings 17:32; 2 Kings 23:19), so that בּמה frequently stands for בּמה בּית (e.g., 1 Kings 11:7; 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Kings 23:8), and the בּמה is also distinguished from the מזבּח (2 Kings 23:15; 2 Chronicles 14:2). These high places were consecrated to the worship of Jehovah, and essentially different from the high places of the Canaanites which were consecrated to Baal. Nevertheless sacrificing upon these high places was opposed to the law, according to which the place which the Lord Himself had chosen for the revelation of His name was the only place where sacrifices were to be offered (Leviticus 17:3.); and therefore it is excused here on the ground that no house (temple) had yet been built to the name of the Lord.
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