And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the king.—We are told in the book of Chronicles (2Chronicles 6:13) that the king stood on a “brasen scaffold” three cubits high, in the midst of the court before the altar of sacrifice, so that he could alternately turn towards the Temple and towards the people in the outer court.1 Kings 8:14. The king turned his face about — From the court of the priests and the sanctuary, to the body of the congregation who were in the court designed for the people. And blessed all the congregation — Probably in that form of words which God himself had prescribed, Numbers 6:23-25. All the congregation stood — In token of reverence to God, and respect to the king, and of their readiness to receive his blessing, and the blessing of God through his instrumentality.The king turned his face about, from the temple, towards which he was looking to observe that thick and extraordinary darkness, to the body of the congregation.
Blessed all the congregation of Israel, or, blessed (to wit, the Lord, which is easily understood from the following words; in which he only blesseth or praiseth God, but doth not bless the people at all) with (so the Hebrew eth is oft used, as hath been showed before) all the congregation. Although he might do both, first bless the congregation, which possibly he might do in that solemn and appointed form, Num 6; which therefore it was needless to repeat here; and then blessed God. And indeed he doth both here below, where these same words are used, 1 Kings 8:55,56, &c. The congregation of Israel stood; partly in way of devotion to God, whom they adored; and partly out of respect to the king. 1 Kings 8:22, with his face to that first, and looking towards the holy and the most holy place, filled with the cloud and glory; and now he turned himself and stood with the altar behind him, and looking to the court of the people:
and blessed all the congregation of Israel; either blessed the Lord before them, or prayed for blessings for them, or congratulated them upon the Lord's taking up his residence in the temple, which was so great an honour and favour to them:
and all the congregation of Israel stood: ready to receive the king's blessing, and in honour of him, and reverence to the divine Being. The Jews say, none might sit in the court but the kings of the house of David.And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. And the king turned his face about] He had spoken at first looking towards the Temple, and beholding the cloud which told that God was there.
and blessed all the congregation] The words which follow (15–21) are not words of benediction on the people, but thanksgiving to God. We must suppose the language of blessing to have been like the blessing which follows later on in the chapter (57–61) where the king does ask for guidance and help for Israel.Verse 14. - And the king turned his face about [He had been earnestly gazing toward the house where the cloud appeared. He now faced the congregation] and blessed [This word here, and in ver. 55, is used somewhat loosely. The blessing was in both cases addressed to God. The Hebrew king was not authorized to bless the people - that was the prerogative of the priests (Numbers 6:23; cf. Leviticus 9:22), and he is only said to bless here as felicitating, as wishing them a blessing. Dean Stanley ] "Jewish Ch.," vol. 2. p 218) characteristically asserts that Solomon "performed the highest sacerdotal act of solemn benediction." But the same word is used in ver. 66, of the people blessing the king. "Did the people," as Wordsworth pertinently asks, "also perform a priestly act?" The word is elsewhere used of saluting. See note on ver. 66, and Gesen. s.v.] all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood); [Heb. were standing (עֹמֵד); "stood" conveys the idea that the congregation rose as Solomon spoke, whereas they were standing already in the temple courts. 1 Kings 3:14; but האריך is used intransitively, "to be long," lit., to show length, as in Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16, etc. The remark to the effect that the poles were visible, indicates that the precept of the law in Exodus 25:15, according to which the poles were to be left in the ark, was observed in Solomon's temple also. Any one could convince himself of this, for the poles were there "to this day." The author of our books has retained this chronological allusion as he found it in his original sources; for when he composed his work, the temple was no longer standing. It is impossible, however, to ascertain from this statement how the heads of the poles could be seen in the Holy Place, - whether from the fact that they reached the curtain and formed elevations therein, if the poles ran from front to back; or whether, if, as is more probable, they ran from south to north, the front heads were to be seen, simply when the curtain was drawn back.
(Note: The proof which Thenius has endeavoured to give by means of a drawing of the correctness of the latter view, is founded upon untenable assumptions (see Bttcher, Aehrenl. ii. p. 69). It by no means follows from the expression דביר על־פּני that the heads of the poles were visible as far off as the door of the Holy Place, but simply that they could be seen in the Holy Place, though not outside.)
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