1 Kings 8:40
That they may fear you all the days that they live in the land which you gave to our fathers.
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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.Know every man the plague of his own heart - i. e. perceive one's sinfulness, or recognize one's sufferings as divine chastisements, and sin as their cause. 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].

That they may fear thee; that when thou hast first smitten them, and then so eminently delivered them, and that in answer to their prayer, they may hereby be taught to fear thee, and thy justice, and thy goodness. That they may fear thee,.... For his goodness sake in hearing their prayer, removing their affliction, and bestowing his blessings on them, particularly in forgiving their sins, see Psalm 130:4.

all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers; not only for the present, while the mercy is fresh, but all the days of their lives; to which they were the more obliged by the good land they possessed as a divine gift, and which they held by the tenure of their obedience, Isaiah 1:19.

That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
40. that they may fear thee] i.e. Being instructed and warned by God’s judgements may cease to offend and in consequence need no more correction. Cf. Psalm 130:4. ‘There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.’Verse 40. - That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. [Solomon anticipates that a godly fear will be the result of forgiveness and restoration. We find the same thought in Psalm 130:4. The mercy and goodness of God should lead to repentance, but unhappily it not unseldom fails to do so.] The fifth petition contemplates the prayers which foreigners, attracted by the fame of Jerusalem, of its religion and sanctuary could offer towards the house. The Gentiles who should visit Jerusalem would assuredly, with their polytheistic ideas and their belief in local or tribal deities, invoke the aid and blessing of the mighty God of Jacob. This mention of aliens from the commonwealth of Israel in the prayer of dedication, especially when viewed in the light of the exclusiveness and bigotry which characterized the Jews of later days, is especially to be noticed. As Rawlinson (in loco) observes, "Nothing is more remarkable in the Mosaic law than its liberality with regard to strangers." He then quotes Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 25:35; Deuteronomy 10:19; Deuteronomy 31:12; Numbers 15:14-16; and adds: "It is quite in the spirit of these enactments that Solomon, having first prayed God on behalf of his fellow countrymen, should next go on to intercede for the strangers," etc. The intercourse of the Hebrews at this period with foreign nations, and the influence they exercised on the Jewish thought and manners (see Stanley, "Jewish Ch." 2. Leer. 26.), are also to be remembered. These new relations with the stranger would no doubt have widened Solomon's views. The second petition, - "If Thy people Israel are smitten by the enemy, because they have sinned against Thee, and they turn to Thee and confess Thy name, ... then hear ... and bring them back into the land," - refers to the threatenings in Leviticus 26:17 and Deuteronomy 28:25, where the nation is threatened with defeat and subjugation on the part of enemies, who shall invade the land, in which case prisoners of war are carried away into foreign lands, but the mass of the people remain in the land, so that they who are beaten can pray to the Lord in the temple, that He will forgive them their sin, save them out of the power of the enemy, and bring back the captives and fugitives into their fatherland.
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