Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 8:61. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord your God — Be sincere and serious in your purposes of new obedience. Let it be universal, without dividing; upright, without dissembling; and constant, without declining. Thus having spoken to God for them, he here speaks from God to them; and those only would be the better for his prayers, that were made better by his preaching.
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].Perfect, i.e. sincere and serious in your purposes of obedience; for sinless perfection he himself taught them was not to be expected here, Ecclesiastes 7:20.
to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day: as they did that day, neither king nor people having as yet fallen into idolatry, but showing by their then present appearance a zeal for God, his house, and worship.Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)61. perfect] i.e. ‘Entirely surrendered’ (shâläm). So in Arabic islam = religion as entire submission; moslem, the religious man as entirely devoted.Verse 61. - Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God [An instructive commentary on these words is found in 1 Kings 11:4, where it is said of this Solomon, "His heart was not perfect," etc. - same words. Similarly, ib. vers. 3, 9 are a comment on the prayer of ver. 58. Having preached to others, he himself became a castaway], to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, us at this day [That day the nation proved its piety by the dedication of the house. At the close of this prayer (omitted in Chronicles), according to 2 Chronicles 7:1, "fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house," but Bahr rejects these words as an interpolation. He maintains, indeed, that the chronicler contradicts himself, for we can hardly think that the glory which we are told (1 Kings 5:14) had already filled the house, left it and then returned. It is certainly suspicious, and a much stronger argument against the words in question, that no mention of the fire is made by our author, for, brief as this history is, it is difficult to believe that so signal an interposition could have remained unnoticed, if it really occurred. SECTION IV. - The Festal Sacrifices. The ceremonial of dedication was followed, as would naturally be the case, by sacrifices on a scale of unusual grandeur. Apart from their religious use and significance, the sacrifices testified to the devotion of the giver who on this of all days must not appear before the Lord empty, and they also afforded materials for the great and prolonged feast by which this auspicious event in the history of Israel must be commemorated. 1 Kings 8:54-61. Blessing the congregation. - After the conclusion of the prayer, Solomon rose up from his knees and blessed all the assembled congregation. פּרוּשׂות וכפּיו is a circumstantial clause, which must be connected with the previous words and rendered thus: "from lying upon his knees with his hands spread out towards heaven." "And he stood," i.e., he came from the altar and stood nearer to the assembled congregation. The blessing begins with praise to the Lord for the fulfilment of His promises (1 Kings 8:16), and consists in the petition that the Lord will always fulfil his (Solomon's) prayers, and grant His people the promised salvation.
(Note: This blessing is omitted from the Chronicles, because it is simply a recapitulation of the longer prayer; but instead of it we have a statement, in 2 Chronicles 7:1-4, to the effect that fire fell from heaven and consumed the burnt-offering upon the altar. This statement, which even Movers regards as a traditional, i.e., a legendary addition, according to his erroneous view of the sources of the Chronicles, is confirmed by the similar miracle which occurred at the dedication of the temple. It is omitted, like so many other things in the account before us, because all that was essential in this occurrence was contained implicite in the filling of the temple with the glory of the Lord. Just as at the consecration of the Mosaic sanctuary the Lord did not merely manifest His gracious presence through the cloud which filled the tent, but also kindled the first sacrifice with fire from heaven (Leviticus 9:24), to sanctify the altar as the legitimate place of sacrifice; so also at the temple the miraculous kindling of the first sacrifice with fire from heaven was the immediate and even necessary consequence of the filling of the temple with the cloud, in which the presence of Jehovah was embodied.)
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