1 Kings 8:5
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.
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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]. 1 Kings 8:5"And king Solomon and the whole congregation, that had gathered round him, were with him before the ark sacrificing sheep and oxen in innumerable multitude." This took place while the ark of the covenant was carried up, no doubt when it was brought into the court of the temple, and was set down there for a time either within or in front of the hall. Then was this magnificent sacrifice "offered" there "in front of the ark" (הארון לפני).
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