1 Kings 8:21
And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
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(21) Wherein is the covenant of the Lord—the Tables, that is, containing the “words of the covenant” (Exodus 34:28). This remarkable application of the word “covenant” illustrates strikingly the characteristics of the Divine covenants with man. Such covenants are not (like most human covenants) undertakings of reciprocal engagements between parties regarded as independent. For such a conception of the relation between God and man is monstrous. God’s covenants proceed simply from His will, expressed in His call to an individual or a nation. They begin in free grace and blessing from Him; they require simply that men should believe and accept His call, and act in obedience to that belief. Thus the Decalogue opens with the words, “I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,” describing the gift of salvation from the mercy of God, which constituted Israel afresh as His peculiar people. (See Exodus 3:7-15.) On the ground of this salvation, rather than of His Omnipotence as Creator and Sustainer of the world, He calls for their obedience to the commandments, which are thus “the words of the covenant.” Similarly St. Paul, when (Romans 12:1) he calls Christians to absolute self-devotion, appeals to them by “the mercies of God,” on which he had so fully dwelt—the larger and more spiritual covenant in Christ.

1 Kings 8:21. I have set there a place for the ark — The token of God’s presence with us; wherein is the covenant of the Lord — That is, the tables of the covenant, in which are written the conditions of God’s covenant with our fathers. When he brought them out of the land of Egypt — And declared to them that by the tenure of this covenant they were to hold the land of Canaan.

8:12-21 Solomon encouraged the priests, who were much astonished at the dark cloud. The dark dispensations of Providence should quicken us in fleeing for refuge to the hope of the gospel. Nothing can more reconcile us to them, than to consider what God has said, and to compare his word and works together. Whatever good we do, we must look on it as the performance of God's promise to us, not of our promises to him.The marginal reference completes the sense of this verse here. The passage is in accordance with archaic modes of speech, and is probably the more verbally accurate of the two. 14. the king turned his face about—From the temple, where he had been watching the movement of the mystic cloud, and while the people were standing, partly as the attitude of devotion, partly out of respect to royalty, the king gave a fervent expression of praise to God for the fulfilment of His promise (2Sa 7:6-16). The covenant of the Lord, i.e. the tables of the covenant, by a metonymy, wherein the conditions of God’s covenant with Israel are written.

And I have set there a place for the ark,.... The most holy place:

wherein is the covenant of the Lord; the two tables of stone, on which were the covenant of the Lord, as the Targum:

which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt; as in 1 Kings 8:9.

And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the {g} covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

(g) The two tables in which the articles of the covenant were written.

21. the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord] It has just been said (1 Kings 8:9) that only the two tables of stone were in the ark. They must then be meant by ‘the covenant of the Lord,’ and this is borne out by such passages as Deuteronomy 4:23; Deuteronomy 29:25, where the covenant alluded to forms a part of the ten commandments. But ‘the book of the covenant’ (Exodus 24:7) appears to have included all the laws contained in Exodus 20-23.

Verse 21. - And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord [Hence its name, "the ark of the covenant" (Exodus 34:28; cf. Deuteronomy 9:11)] which he made with our forefathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt [vers. 9, 16]. SECTION II. - The Prayer. The prayer of dedication, properly so called, now begins. This solemn and beautiful composition was probably copied by our author from the "Book of the Acts of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:41), possibly from the "Book of Nathan the prophet" (2 Chronicles 9:29). It was evidently committed to writing beforehand, and would, no doubt, as a matter of course, be religiously preserved. The later criticism objects to its authenticity that the many references to the Pentateuch (compare ver. 12 with Exodus 19:9; ver. 31 with Exodus 22:11, Leviticus 5:1; ver. 33 with Leviticus 26:17, Deuteronomy 28:25; ver. 36 with Leviticus 26:25; ver. 50 with Leviticus 26:40, 42; ver. 51 with Deuteronomy 4:20, etc.) prove it to be of a later date. Ewald assigns it to the seventh century B.C.; but this is simply to beg the question of the date of the Pentateuch. It is obviously open to reply that these references only prove that the king was acquainted, as he was bound to be (Deuteronomy 17:18), with the words of the law. It divides itself into three parts. The first (vers. 22-30) is general; the second (vers. 31-53) consists of seven special petitions; the last (vers. 50-53) consists of a general conclusion and appeal to God's covenant mercy. 1 Kings 8:21"And Jehovah has set up His word." וגו ויּקם supplies the explanation of בידו מלּא (hath fulfilled with his hand) in 1 Kings 8:15. God had caused Solomon to take possession of the throne of David; and Solomon had built the temple and prepared a place there for the ark of the covenant. The ark is thereby declared to be the kernel and star of the temple, because it was the throne of the glory of God.
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