1 Kings 8:33
When your people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against you, and shall turn again to you, and confess your name, and pray, and make supplication to you in this house:
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(33, 34) When thy people.—From the individual, the prayer turns to those which touch the whole nation. It pictures various national calamities, and in each recognises not mere evils, but chastisements of God, who desires by them to teach, and is most ready to forgive. First it naturally dwells on disaster in battle, which, in the whole history of the Exodus, of the Conquest, of the troubled age of the Judges, and of the reigns of Saul and David, is acknowledged as a sign of unfaithfulness in Israel, either through sin or through idolatry, to the covenant of God, on which the victorious possession of the promised land depended. On that history the blessing and the curse of the Law (Leviticus 26:17; Leviticus 26:32-33; Deuteronomy 28:25) form a commentary of emphatic warning, and the Psalms again and again bring the same lesson home (Psalm 44:1-3; Psalm 44:9-17; Psalm 60:9-11; Psalm 89:42-46). With characteristic seriousness, Solomon looks back from his peaceful prosperity on the stormy past, and from it learns to pray for the future.

1 Kings 8:33-34. When thy people be smitten — This is the second case he puts. If the people of Israel were in general groaning under any national calamity, he desires that the prayers which they should make in or toward that house might be heard and answered. Shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name — Not only shall acknowledge thee to be God alone, renouncing all false gods; but shall give glory to thy name by acknowledging their sins and thy justice; by accepting the punishment of their iniquity; and by trusting to thy power and goodness alone for deliverance. And make supplication to thee in this house — Trusting in thee, and expecting help from thee alone. Then hear, and bring them again, &c. — Deliver them out of the captivity into which their enemies may have carried them, and restore them to their own country.8:22-53 In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. The sacrifices, the incense, and the whole service of the temple, were all typical of the Redeemer's offices, oblation, and intercession. The temple, therefore, was continually to be remembered. Under one word, forgive, Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. For, as all misery springs from sin, forgiveness of sin prepares the way for the removal of every evil, and the receiving of every good. Without it, no deliverance can prove a blessing. In addition to the teaching of the word of God, Solomon entreated the Lord himself to teach the people to profit by all, even by their chastisements. They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him; and shall spread their hands in prayer toward this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant. Sin is the plague of our own hearts; our in-dwelling corruptions are our spiritual diseases: every true Israelite endeavours to know these, that he may mortify them, and watch against the risings of them. These drive him to his knees; lamenting these, he spreads forth his hands in prayer. After many particulars, Solomon concludes with the general request, that God would hearken to his praying people. No place, now, under the gospel, can add to the prayers made in or towards it. The substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us. In this manner the Israel of God is established and sanctified, the backslider is recovered and healed. In this manner the stranger is brought nigh, the mourner is comforted, the name of God is glorified. Sin is the cause of all our troubles; repentance and forgiveness lead to all human happiness.The oath come before ... - "The oath" is equivalent to "the man who swears the oath." A slight alteration in the present Hebrew text gives the sense "and he (the accused) go and swear before thine altar," etc. The threats and the promises, the punishments and calamities of 1 Kings 8:31-38 were distinctly named in the Law. See the margin reference. 1Ki 8:22-61. His Prayer.

22. Solomon stood before the altar—This position was in the court of the people, on a brazen scaffold erected for the occasion (2Ch 6:13), fronting the altar of burnt offering, and surrounded by a mighty concourse of people. Assuming the attitude of a suppliant, kneeling (1Ki 8:54; compare 2Ch 6:24) and with uplifted hands, he performed the solemn act of consecration—an act remarkable, among other circumstances, for this, that it was done, not by the high priest or any member of the Aaronic family, but by the king in person, who might minister about, though not in, holy things. This sublime prayer [1Ki 8:22-35], which breathes sentiments of the loftiest piety blended with the deepest humility, naturally bore a reference to the national blessing and curse contained in the law—and the burden of it—after an ascription of praise to the Lord for the bestowment of the former, was an earnest supplication for deliverance from the latter. He specifies seven cases in which the merciful interposition of God would be required; and he earnestly bespeaks it on the condition of people praying towards that holy place. The blessing addressed to the people at the close is substantially a brief recapitulation of the preceding prayer [1Ki 8:56-61].

And confess thy name; give glory to thy name, by acknowledging their sins, and thy justice; and by accepting the punishment of their iniquity; and by trusting to thy power and goodness alone for their deliverance. When thy people Israel shall be smitten down before the enemy,.... Beaten and routed, many slain, and others carried captive; which had been their case, and might be again, and was, though now a time of peace:

because they have sinned against thee; which always was the reason of their being given up into the hands of their enemies:

and shall turn again to thee; to thy worship, as the Targum, having fallen into idolatry, which was generally the case when they fell before their enemies:

and confess thy name; own him to be the true God, acknowledge his justice in their punishment, confess their sin, repent of it, and give him glory:

and pray and make supplication unto thee in this house; not the captives, unless it should be rendered, as it may, "toward this house" (f); but those that escaped, or their brethren that went not out to battle, who should pray for them here.

(f) So Pool and Patrick.

When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and {m} confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:

(m) Acknowledge your just judgment and praise you.

33. When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy] Such an event is contemplated in the language of Leviticus (Leviticus 26:17) and Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 28:25) as well as the restoration and delivery of the people on their repentance (see Leviticus 26:40-42).

because they have sinned against thee] From what follows it seems as if idolatry, to which the people were so prone, were noted as the special sin. They have turned away from God, and so are to turn to Him again. The penalty constantly threatened for serving strange gods was that they should be made to serve strangers in a land which was not theirs. Cf. Deuteronomy 28:47 seqq.Verse 33. - When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy [cf. Leviticus 26:7, 17; Deuteronomy 28:25. There is a constant reference to these two chapters throughout this prayer, or, if no direct reference to them, there are unmistakeable reminiscences of them], because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess [or praise. Psalm 54:8 Hebr. [Psalm 54:7]; Psalms 106:47; 122:4] thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house. [The marg. towards is a mistaken attempt at avoiding the difficulty which lies on the surface of the text, viz., that persons in a foreign land could not pray in the temple. But the king obviously is speaking here, not of those taken captive, but of the nation at large ("thy people Israel") by its representatives (cf. Joel 2:17), supplicating after its defeat. The idea of captives does not come in until the next verse. Under the term house the courts are obviously included (Acts 2:46; Luke 18:10). Into the edifice the priests alone were admitted. 1 Kings 8:26 are closely connected in this sense: keep Thy words that were spoken to David; for although this temple cannot hold Thine infinite divine nature, I know that Thou wilt have respect to the prayer of Thy servant, to keep Thine eyes open over this temple, to hear every prayer which Thy people shall bring before Thee therein. וּפנית in 1 Kings 8:28 continues the optative נא יאמן in 1 Kings 8:26; and 1 Kings 8:27 contains an intermediate thought, with which Solomon meets certain contracted ideas of the gracious presence of God in the temple. כּי (1 Kings 8:27) signifies neither but, nevertheless, atque (Bttcher), nor "as" (Thenius, Bertheau); and the assertion that 1 Kings 8:27 is the commencement of a new section is overthrown by the inadmissible rendering of וּפנית, "but Thou turnest Thyself" (Thenius). - With the words, "Should God really dwell upon the earth! behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens (i.e., the heavens in their widest extent, cf. Deuteronomy 10:14) cannot contain Thee, to say nothing (כּי אף; cf. Ewald, 354, c.) of this house which I have built," in which the infinitude of God and His exaltation above the world are expressed as clearly and forcibly as possible, Solomon does not intend to guard against the delusion that God really dwells in temples (J. D. Mich.), but simply to meet the erroneous idea that He dwells in the temple as men dwell in a house, namely, shut up within it, and not also outside and above it, - a delusion which sometimes forced its way into the unspiritual nation but which was always attacked by the prophets (cf. Micah 3:11; Jeremiah 7:4, etc.). For it is evident that Solomon did combine with his clear perception of the infinite exaltation of God a firm belief in His real presence in the temple, and did not do homage to the abstract idealism of the rationalists, not merely from his declaration in 1 Kings 8:12. that he had built this temple as a dwelling-place for God, but also from the substance of all the following prayers, and primarily from the general prayer in 1 Kings 8:28, 1 Kings 8:29, that God would take this temple under His special protection, and hearken to every prayer directed towards it. The distinction between תּפלּה, תּחנּה, and רנּה is the following: תּפלּה denotes prayer in general, praise, supplication, and thanksgiving; תּחנּה, supplication or entreaty, prayer for help and mercy; and רנּה, jubilation, prayer as the joyous utterance of praise and thanksgiving.
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