1 Kings 8:5
And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Sacrificing.—This inaugural sacrifice corresponded on a grand scale to the ceremonial of the day, when David brought up the ark to Zion. “When they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings,” “seven bullocks and seven rams” (2Samuel 6:13; 1Chronicles 15:26). It was offered “before the ark,” either as it left Mount Zion, or on arrival in the Temple, before it passed out of sight into the oracle.

1 Kings 8:5. King Solomon, and all the congregation with him before the ark — This ceremony of removing the ark from the tabernacle which David had erected for it, to the temple, and depositing it in the most holy place, was opened with a pompous procession. The king himself, accompanied by all his chief officers and the elders of Israel, marched before the ark; these were followed by a great number of priests and Levites, who sung some canticles proper to the occasion, and played upon various instruments. Next to the ark followed another number of singers and players, with other priests bearing the tabernacle and the sacred utensils of the sanctuary, which had been brought from Gibeon. While the priests were placing the ark in the most holy place, the air rung with the sound of a hundred and twenty trumpets, and with the voices of the Levites, who sang the praises of God, repeating these words at proper intervals; Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; and his mercy endureth for ever. It was then that God seemed to come down in a visible manner, to take possession, as it were, of his new temple, by filling it with a glorious cloud, as he had formerly done the tabernacle; insomuch that the priests could not stand to offer up the sacrifices which they had prepared upon that occasion. See Universal Hist. Sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be numbered — When the ark was seated in its place; for although they might in the way offer some sacrifices, as David did, yet that was not a proper season to offer so many sacrifices as could not be numbered. This is more particularly related below, (1 Kings 8:62-64,) and is here only mentioned by way of anticipation.8:1-11 The bringing in the ark, is the end which must crown the work: this was done with great solemnity. The ark was fixed in the place appointed for its rest in the inner part of the house, whence they expected God to speak to them, even in the most holy place. The staves of the ark were drawn out, so as to direct the high priest to the mercy-seat over the ark, when he went in, once a year, to sprinkle the blood there; so that they continued of use, though there was no longer occasion to carry it by them. The glory of God appearing in a cloud may signify, 1. The darkness of that dispensation, in comparison with the light of the gospel, by which, with open face, we behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. 2. The darkness of our present state, in comparison with the sight of God, which will be the happiness of heaven, where the Divine glory is unveiled.And the tabernacle of the congregation - Not the tented structure erected for the ark on Mount Zion 2 Samuel 6:17 by David, but the original tabernacle made by Moses, which had hitherto remained at Gibeon (margin reference). The tabernacle and its holy vessels were probably placed in the treasury. 2-6. at the feast in the month Ethanim—The public and formal inauguration of this national place of worship did not take place till eleven months after the completion of the edifice. The delay, most probably, originated in Solomon's wish to choose the most fitting opportunity when there should be a general rendezvous of the people in Jerusalem (1Ki 8:2); and that was not till the next year. That was a jubilee year, and he resolved on commencing the solemn ceremonial a few days before the feast of tabernacles, which was the most appropriate of all seasons. That annual festival had been instituted in commemoration of the Israelites dwelling in booths during their stay in the wilderness, as well as of the tabernacle, which was then erected, in which God promised to meet and dwell with His people, sanctifying it with His glory. As the tabernacle was to be superseded by the temple, there was admirable propriety in choosing the feast of tabernacles as the period for dedicating the new place of worship, and praying that the same distinguished privileges might be continued to it in the manifestation of the divine presence and glory. At the time appointed for the inauguration, the king issued orders for all the heads and representatives of the nation to repair to Jerusalem and take part in the august procession [1Ki 8:1]. The lead was taken by the king and elders of the people, whose march must have been slow, as priests were stationed to offer an immense number of sacrifices at various points in the line of road through which the procession was to go. Then came the priests bearing the ark and the tabernacle—the old Mosaic tabernacle which was brought from Gibeon. Lastly, the Levites followed, carrying the vessels and ornaments belonging to the old, for lodgment in the new, house of the Lord. There was a slight deviation in this procedure from the order of march established in the wilderness (Nu 3:31; 4:15); but the spirit of the arrangement was duly observed. The ark was deposited in the oracle; that is, the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubim—not the Mosaic cherubim, which were firmly attached to the ark (Ex 37:7, 8), but those made by Solomon, which were far larger and more expanded. Sacrificing sheep and oxen; either, first, In the way, David did upon the like occasion, 2 Samuel 6:13. Or, secondly, When the ark was come into the priests’ court, where the altar stood, whence it was speedily to be conveyed to that place where the people could never behold it more. Or rather, thirdly, When the ark was seated in its place; for although they might in the way or passage offer some sacrifices, as David did; yet that was not a proper season to offer so many sacrifices as could not be told nor numbered, as these are here said to be; which far better agrees with what is more particularly related below, 1 Kings 8:62-64, which is here signified in the general by way of anticipation, as is frequently done in the Scripture in like cases. And King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled together,.... On this solemn occasion:

were with him before the ark; while it was in the court of the priests, before it was carried into the most holy place:

sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude; the phrase seems to be hyperbolical, and designed to denote a great number.

And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. were with him before the ark] This must refer to the time when the great procession had reached the Temple court. At that spot the ark was set down, and king and people joined in a solemn sacrifice, before the priests bore the ark into the most holy place.Verse 5. - And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him were with him; before the ark [Prayers and sacrifices alike were offered toward the mercy seat (Psalm 28:2; cf. Exodus 25:22) ], sacrificing sheep and oxen [apparently the ark festal en route (cf. 2 Samuel 6:18) whilst the sacrifices were offered. The object of the sacrifice was to testify the grateful joy of the people at the proximate realization of their hopes. There may have been also in the background the idea of averting the Divine anger, of making a propitiation for possible errors and imperfections in their service. There were tragedies connected with the removal of the ark in time past (1 Samuel 4:17; 1 Samuel 6:19; 2 Samuel 6:7) which, we may be sure, were not altogether forgotten on this occasion] that could not be told or numbered for multitude. [Cf. 2 Samuel 6:13. But the sacrifices on that occasion were on a much smaller scale (1 Chronicles 15:26). Josephus adds (Ant. 8:04. 1), that a vast quantity of incense was burnt, and that men preceded the ark, singing and dancing, until it reached its destination]. The פּתות were also of gold, possibly of inferior quality. These were either the hinges of the doors, or more probably the sockets, in which the pegs of the doors turned. They were provided for the doors of the inner temple, viz., the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. We must supply Vv before לדלתי.

All the vessels mentioned in 1 Kings 7:48, 1 Kings 7:49 belonged to the Holy Place of the temple, and were the same as those in the tabernacle; so that the remarks made in the Comm. on Exodus 25:30, Exodus 25:39, and Exodus 30:1-10, as to their purpose and signification, apply to them as well. Only the number of the tables and candlesticks was ten times greater. If a multiplication of the number of these two vessels appeared appropriate on account of the increases in the size of the room, the number was fixed at ten, to express the idea of completeness by that number. No new vessel was made for the Most Holy Place, because the Mosaic ark of the covenant was placed therein (1 Kings 8:4 : compare the remarks on this at Exodus 25:10-22). - The account of the vessels of the temple is brought to a close in 1 Kings 7:51 : "So was ended all the work that king Solomon made in the house of the Lord; and Solomon brought all that was consecrated by his father, (namely) the silver and the gold (which were not wrought), and the vessels he placed in the treasuries of the house of Jehovah." As so much gold and brass had already been expended upon the building, it might appear strange that Solomon should not have used up all the treasures collected by his father, but should still be able to bring a large portion of it into the treasuries of the temple. But according to 1 Chronicles 22:14, 1 Chronicles 22:16, and 1 Chronicles 29:2., David had collected together an almost incalculable amount of gold, silver, and brass, and had also added his own private treasure and the freewill offerings of the leading men of the nation (1 Chronicles 29:7-9). Solomon was also able to devote to the building of the temple a considerable portion of his own very large revenues (cf. 1 Kings 10:14), so that a respectable remnant might still be left of the treasure of the sanctuary, which was not first established by David, but had been commenced by Samuel and Saul, and in which David's generals, Joab and others, had deposited a portion of the gold and silver that they had taken as booty (1 Chronicles 26:20-28). For it is evident that not a little had found its way into this treasure through the successful wars of David, from the fact that golden shields were taken from the generals of Hadadezer, and that these were consecrated to the Lord along with the silver, golden, and brazen vessels offered as gifts of homage by king Toi of Hamath, in addition to the gold and silver which David had consecrated from the defeated Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, and Amalekites (2 Samuel 8:7, 2 Samuel 8:11-12; 1 Chronicles 18:7, 1 Chronicles 18:10-11).

(Note: The amazing extent to which this booty may possibly have reached, may be inferred from the accounts we have concerning the quantity of the precious metals in Syria in the Macedonian age. In the gaza regia of Damascus, Alexander found 2600 talents of gold and 600 talents of uncoined silver (Curt. iii. 13, 16, cf. Arrian, ii. 11, 10). In the temple of Jupiter at Antioch there was a statue of this god of solid silver fifteen cubits high (Justin, xxxix. 2, 5. 6); and in the temple at Hierapolis there was also a golden statue (Lucian, de Dea Syr. 31). According to Appian (Parth. 28, ed. Schweigh.), this temple was so full of wealth, that Crassus spent several days weighing the vessels of silver and gold. And from the unanimous testimony of the ancients, the treasures of the palaces and temples of Asia in the earlier times were greater still. Of the many accounts which Bhr (Symbolik, i. p. 258ff.) and Movers (Phnizier, ii. 3, p. 40ff.) have collected together on this subject, we will mention only a few here, the credibility of which cannot be disputed. According to Varro (in Plin. 33:15), Cyrus had taken 34,000 pounds of gold as booty after the conquest of Asia, beside the gold wrought into vessels and ornaments, and 500,000 talents of silver. In Susa, Alexander took 40,000, or, according to other accounts, 50,000, talents from the royal treasury; or, as it is still more definitely stated, 40,000 talents of uncoined gold and silver, and 9000 talents of coined dariks. Alexander had these brought to Ecbatana, where he accumulated 180,000 talents. Antigonus afterwards found in Susa 15,000 talents more in vessels and wrought gold and silver. In Persepolis, Alexander took 120,000 talents, and in Pasargada 6000 talents. For the proofs, see Movers, pp. 42, 43.)

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