For you did separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be your inheritance, as you spoke by the hand of Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O LORD God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 8:53. For thou didst separate them to be thine inheritance — Thou hast begun a work of great and glorious mercy to them; do not give occasion to thine enemies to think thou wast unable to finish it; or that thou art inconstant in thy ways and purposes, or unkind to thy own children.
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].Thou didst separate them to be thine inheritance; thou hast begun to build a work of great and glorious mercy to them; do not give occasion to thine enemies to think thou wast unable to finish it; or that thou art unstable in thy ways and counsels, or unkind to thine own children.
as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord our God; it was he that spake this to Moses, and by him to the people, Exodus 19:5 and it was he that did it, namely, separate them from all nations, to be his people and peculiar treasure: in this and the two preceding verses Solomon makes use of arguments taken from what the people of Israel were to the Lord, and he had done for them, to engage him to hearken to their supplications, and here ends his long prayer; in 2 Chronicles 6:1 some things are added at the close of it, and some omitted.For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O LORD God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)53. As thou spakest by the hand of Moses] The reference is to Exodus 19:5-6, where God promises that Israel shall be to Him ‘a peculiar treasure.’ ‘By the hand of’ is a not uncommon Hebrew phrase for ‘by’ (see below 1 Kings 8:56), and it is so represented in A. V. Thus Isaiah 20:2, ‘the Lord spake by Isaiah,’ the original has ‘by the hand of.’ So in Malachi 1:1 ‘by Malachi’ is ‘by the hand of Malachi.’ At this point there occurs in 2 Chron. (2 Chronicles 6:40-42) a large addition thus: ‘Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness. O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.’ These words may have belonged to the original document and be the groundwork of Psalms 132, or the Chronicler may have given a free variation and borrowed from the Psalm.
In the LXX. there is also an addition of a different kind after 1 Kings 8:53. It purports to be something which was written ἐν βιβλίῳ τῆς ᾠδῆς, ‘in the book of song’ and is made up of allusions to 1 Kings 8:12-13 of this chapter, and, as it stands, is not very intelligible. The translation would be ‘The sun he made known in heaven, the Lord hath said that he will dwell in darkness. Build my house, a comely house for thyself to dwell in. Behold, is it not written in the book of song?’ Prof. Robertson Smith has discussed this passage in the notes (pp. 403, 404) to his ‘Old Testament in the Jewish Church,’ and by certain, not very startling corrections, he gives a restored version thus:
Jehovah created the sun in the heavens,
But he hath determined to dwell in darkness.
Build my house, an house of habitation for me,
A place to dwell in eternally.
Behold is it not written in the book of Jashar?Verse 53. - For thou didst separate them from [Leviticus 20:24, 26; cf. Exodus 19:5, 6] among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance [same expression, Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26, 29. This is no idle repetition of ver. 51. The idea of that verse is deliverance, of this election. Cf. Numbers 16:9; Numbers 8:14], as thou spakest by the hand [see note on ch. 2:25] of Moses thy servant [Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 9:26, 29; Deuteronomy 14:2], when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God. In Chronicles (ch. 6:41, 42) the prayer ends somewhat differently. "Now therefore arise, O Lord God," etc. - words which are found in substance in Psalm 132:8-10. These two verses look like an addition, and were probably inserted by the chronicler to form a connecting link with 1 Kings 7:1-3 (Bahr). The LXX. has an extremely curious addition, said to be taken from the "Book of the Song." Stanley sees in its very abruptness and obscurity an evidence of its genuineness ("Jewish Ch." 2:218). SECTION III. - The Concluding Blessing. The service of dedication concludes, as it commenced, with a benediction (ver. 14). Leviticus 26:33, Leviticus 26:44 in his eye, though he does not confine his prayer to the exile of the whole nation foretold in that passage and in Deuteronomy 28:45., Deuteronomy 28:64, and Deuteronomy 30:1-5, but extends it to every case of transportation to an enemy's land. לבּם אל והשׁיבוּ, "and they take it to heart," compare Deuteronomy 4:39, and without the object, Deuteronomy 30:1; not "they feel remorse," as Thenius supposes, because the Hiphil cannot have this reflective signification (Bttcher). The confession of sin in 1 Kings 8:47, רשׁענוּ והעוינוּ חטאנוּ, was adopted by the Jews when in captivity as the most exhaustive expression of their deep consciousness of guilt (Daniel 9:5; Psalm 106:6). חטא, to slip, labi, depicts sin as a wandering from right; העוה, to act perversely, as a conscious perversion of justice; and רשׁע as a passionate rebellion against God (cf. Isaiah 57:20).
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