1 Kings 8:6
And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
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(6-8) And the priests brought in the ark.—It is clear from this description that the ark was placed lengthways between the cherubim, so that the staves by which it was borne, when drawn out (though still partly attached to the ark) were seen—probably by projections visible through the veil—in the Holy Place; although, as the narrative remarks with characteristic minuteness of accuracy, “not without” from the porch. The reason why this detail is dwelt upon is obvious. Up to this time it had been forbidden to withdraw the staves (Exodus 25:13-15), so that the ark might always be ready for transference; now the withdrawal marked the entrance on a new period, during which it was to rest unmoved.

There they are unto this day.—This phrase—not unfrequently repeated in the narrative (see 1Kings 9:21; 1Kings 10:12; 1Kings 12:19, &c.)—is an interesting indication of quotation from older documents; for at the time of the compilation of the book the Temple and all that it contained had been destroyed or removed. It is remarkable that in the record of the successive spoilings of the Temple by the Chaldæans (2Kings 24:13; 2Kings 25:13-17), while the various vessels, the brazen pillars, and the sea are mentioned in detail, nothing is said of their carrying away the ark, which would have been the choicest, as most sacred, of all the spoils. (See Notes on these passages.) About the Jewish tradition, referred to above (see Note on 1Kings 8:4), setting aside the supposed miracle, there is no intrinsic improbability, considering the respect paid to Jeremiah by the Chaldæans. (See Jeremiah 39:11-14.)

1 Kings 8:6-8. Under the wings of the cherubim — Which Solomon had made. For the cherubim made by Moses were fixed to the mercy-seat and the ark, and were inseparable from it, and therefore, together with the ark, were placed under the wings of these cherubim. And they drew out the staves — Not wholly, which was expressly forbidden, (Exodus 25:15; Numbers 4:6,) but in part. That the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place — That is, the most holy, often called the holy place by way of eminence. And the next clause before the oracle, may be as well rendered, within the oracle. These staves were left in this posture, that the high-priest might thereby be certainly guided to that very place where he was, one day in a year, to sprinkle blood, and to offer incense before the ark, which otherwise he might have mistaken in that dark place, where the ark was wholly covered with the wings of the great cherubim, which stood between him and the ark when he entered in. They were not seen without — In the sanctuary. There they are unto this day — In that posture, namely, when this book was written.

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. Into the oracle of the house, i.e. to that part of the house which is called the oracle, 1 Kings 6:5,16,19,23; or, as it here follows,

the most holy place. Under the wings of the cherubims, to wit, of Solomon’s new-made cherubims, 1 Kings 6:23,24,27; not of the Mosaical cherubims, which were far less, and unmovably fixed to the ark, Exodus 37:7,8; and therefore, together with the ark, were put under the wings of these cherubims.

And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place,.... Destined for it, the like to which it had in the tabernacle:

into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place; that part of the house where the divine oracle was, the holy of holies; for though into it none but the high priest might enter, and he but once a year; yet in case of necessity, as for the repair of it, which the Jews (s) gather from hence, other priests might enter, as was the case now; an high priest could not carry in the ark himself, and therefore it was necessary to employ others; and besides, as yet the divine Majesty had not taken up his residence in it:

even under the wings of the cherubim; the large ones which Solomon had made, 1 Kings 6:23 not those of Moses.

(s) Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Beth Habechirah, c. 7. sect. 23.

And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim.
6. even under the wings of the cherubims] The outspread wings of the cherubim extended across the whole width of the oracle (1 Kings 6:27) and their wings touched one another in the middle of the house. Beneath these wings that touched, the ark was set down. As it was only a cubit and a half high (Exodus 25:10), and the figures of the cherubim were 10 cubits high (1 Kings 6:23) it is probable that some base or stand was provided, so that the ark might be raised a little from the ground, though this is not stated. Josephus tells us that the joined wings overshadowed the ark, covering it as though it were under a tent or a dome.

Verse 6. - And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant unto his [i.e., its. But this word is never found in the A.V. It has come into use since the date of our translation] place [cf. 1 Kings 6:19] into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place [Heb. holy of holies], even under the wings of the cherubims [1 Kings 6:27. Whether the ark stood with its length east and west, or north and south, it is somewhat difficult to decide. But see on ver. 8]. Ver 7. - For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered [יָסֹכוּ from סָכַך texit; hence, סֻכָּה, booth; LXX. περιεκάλυπτον, i.e., overshadowed and concealed. This word is of some importance as showing that the ark would thenceforward and always be in complete darkness, under the outstretched wings of the cherubim - a fact which suggests the true explanation of the following verse] the ark and the staves thereof above [Heb. from above]. 1 Kings 8:6After this sacrificing was ended, the priests carried the ark to its place, into the back-room of the house, into the Most Holy under the wings of the cherubim (already described in 1 Kings 6:23.). The latter statement is explained in 1 Kings 8:7. "For the cherubim were spreading out wings towards the place of the ark, and so covered (lit., threw a shade) over the ark and over its poles from above." If the outspread wings of the great cherubic figures threw a shade not only over the ark of the covenant, but also over its poles, the ark was probably so placed that the poles ran from north to south, and not from east to west, as they are sketched in my Archologie.
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