And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The cloud.—The bright Shechinah of the Divine Presence, at once cloud and fire—which had been the sign of the presence of God on Sinai (Exodus 24:15-18), and had hallowed the consecration of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35)—now similarly descended on the Temple, as a sign of its acceptance with God. In the visions of Ezekiel the same glory is seen, first filling the house of the Lord, and then departing from it, as polluted by manifold idolatry (Ezekiel 10:4; Ezekiel 10:18). Its return to the restored Temple is solemnly promised by Haggai (Haggai 2:7; Haggai 2:9) in distinct reference to the coming of the Messiah; and it is declared that it shall be even greater than in the magnificence of Solomon’s Temple. The symbol clearly implies a revelation of Divine glory, as it is seen, not in the unveiled brightness of heaven, but in the glorious cloud of mystery; through which it must always be seen on earth, and which, indeed, is all that the eye of man can bear to contemplate. Out of that glory comes the only revelation which can be distinct to man—the voice or the word of the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:12).
The record of the Chronicles (2Chronicles 5:11-13)—dwelling, as usual, on the musical and ritual service of the Levites—notes here that this descent of the glory of the Lord came, as it were, in answer to a solemn burst of worship from the Levites and the people, “praising the Lord, because He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever.”1 Kings 8:10-11. When the priests were come out of the holy place — That is, the most holy, where they had set down the ark. The cloud — The usual token of God’s glorious presence, Exodus 16:10; Exodus 24:15-16; Numbers 9:15; filled the house of the Lord — In testimony of his gracious acceptance of this work and their service; and to beget an awe and reverence in them and in all others when they approached to God. So that the priests could not stand to minister — By this it appears that the cloud filled the whole house, as well as the most holy place: for it was at the altar of incense in the sanctuary that the priests ministered. And it was either so bright that it dazzled their eyes; or rather, as the next verse seems to imply, so dark that it struck them with horror and amazement. Probably it was first excessively dark, and afterward broke out in overpowering light and splendour.Exodus 29:43, and had filled the tabernacle as soon as it was completed Exodus 40:34, and which had probably been seen from time to time during the long interval when we have no express mention of it, now once more appeared in full magnificence, and took, as it were, possession of the building which Solomon was dedicating. The presence of God in the temple henceforth was thus assured to the Jews, and His approval of all that Solomon had done was signified. Out of the holy place; either, first, The most holy place, into which the priests had now entered to carry in the ark. Or rather, secondly, The holy place, where they might have stood to minister, if the cloud had not hindered them, as may be gathered from the next verse.
The cloud; the usual token of God’s glorious presence. See Exodus 16:10 24:15,16 Num 9:15. Filled the house of the Lord; partly in testimony of his gracious acceptance of this work, and their service; and partly to beget an awe and reverence in them, and in all others, when they approach to God. 2 Chronicles 5:11, where in 2 Chronicles 5:12 it is said, that at this time, the Levites, who were singers of the families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, arrayed in fine linen, with their musical instruments in their hands, stood at the east end of the altar of burnt offering, and one hundred and twenty priests, blowing their trumpets, praised the Lord together with one sound, declaring his goodness and his mercy, which endure for ever: and then it was
that the cloud filled the house of the Lord; the whole temple, both the holy of holies and the holy place, and the court of the priests; so that it was visible to all, and was a token of the divine presence of God, of his taking possession of his house, and of his taking up his residence in it.And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. the cloud filled the house of the Lord] The cloud was the veil which hid the glory of the Lord. The article denotes that it was something well known and perhaps permanent. Cf. Exodus 40:34-35 where it is said ‘the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, and Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting because the cloud abode thereon.’ This was the token that God had taken up His abode there, and thus a standing lesson was before the eyes of the people concerning the fact of the Incarnation. Josephus says of this cloud that ‘it produced in the minds of all the notion and thought that God had come down into the Temple, and was gladly tabernacling therein.’ It was indeed the Shechinah, the dwellingplace of God.Verse 10. - And it came to pass, when the priests were come out [Rather, as the priests came out] of the holy place [It has been supposed that "the holy" (הַקֹּדֶשׁ) is here put for the most holy place, as in Ezekiel 41:23. But this is not by any means the necessary interpretation. The cloud may obviously have filled the entire building only as the priests left it. It would seem, however, from verse 11 as if the priests, having left the oracle, were about to min later in the holy place], that the cloud [Observe the article; the well known cloud which betokened the Divine presence. It had rested upon the tabernacle on the day that it was dedicated (Exodus 40:34), had ac companied it in its journeys (ib. ver. 38), and had apparently been specially displayed at certain junctures in the history of Israel (Numbers 12:5, 10; Numbers 16:42; Deuteronomy 31:15). ]t was thus the acknowledged symbol of God's presence, and as such was a visible sign that He now accepted the temple, as He had formerly accepted the tabernacle, as His shrine and dwelling place. It is hardly correct to identify the cloud with the Shechinah of the Targums (Rawlinson), for it is noticeable that the Targums never render "the cloud" or "the glory" by "the Shechinah." In fact, as regards the use of the word by Jewish writers, it would seem to be a periphrasis for God (Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1241). We may see in the cloud, however, the seat of the Shechinah (Kitto, Cyclopedia, 3. p. 821) filled the house of the Lord. 1 Kings 8:1), the priests carried the ark and brought it up (sc., into the temple), with the tabernacle and all the holy vessels in it. The expression אתם ויּעלוּ, which follows, introduces as a supplementary notice, according to the general diffuseness of the early Hebrew style of narrative, the more precise statement that the priests and Levites brought up these sacred vessels. מועד אהל is not the tent erected for the ark of the covenant upon Zion, which can be proved to have been never so designated, and which is expressly distinguished from the former in 2 Chronicles 1:4 as compared with 1 Kings 8:3, but is the Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon in front of which Solomon had offered sacrifice (1 Kings 3:4). The tabernacle with the vessels in it, to which, however, the ark of the covenant, that had long been separated from it, did not belong, was probably preserved as a sacred relic in the rooms above the Most Holy Place. The ark of the covenant was carried by priests on all solemn occasions, according to the spirit of the law, which enjoined, in Numbers 3:31 and Numbers 4:5., that the ark of the covenant and the rest of the sacred vessels should be carried by the Levites, after the priests had carefully wrapped them up; and the Levites were prohibited from directly touching them, on pain of death. When, therefore, the ark of the covenant was carried in solemn procession, as in the case before us, probably uncovered, this could only be done by the priests, more especially as the Levites were not allowed to enter the Most Holy Place. Consequently, by the statement in 1 Kings 8:3, that the priests and Levites carried them (אתם), viz., the objects mentioned before, we are to understand that the ark of the covenant was carried into the temple by the priests, and the tabernacle with its vessels by the Levites.
(Note: Instead of כּהנים in 1 Kings 8:3, we have הלּויּם in 2 Chronicles 5:4; and instead of והלּויּם הכּהנים in 1 Kings 8:4, we have הלּויּם הכּהנים, "the Levitical priests." These variations are to be attributed to inexactness in expression. For it is obvious that Thenius is wrong in his notion that the chronicler mentioned the Levites instead of the priests, from the simple fact that he states in 1 Kings 8:7 that "the priests carried the ark," etc., in exact agreement with our account.)
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