1 Kings 8:64
The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 8:64. The same day — Or rather, at the same time. For it can scarcely be supposed that it could all be done the same day. Did the king hallow the middle of the court — Namely, the court of the priests in which the great altar was. This he consecrated as he did the great altar, by sacrifices; but with this difference, that he consecrated that for perpetual use, but this only for the present occasion, being warranted to do so both by the necessity of it for God’s service, and for the present solemn work, for which the brazen altar was not sufficient; and by the direction of God’s Spirit, wherewith Solomon was endowed, as being a prophet, as well as a king. Here therefore he suddenly reared up divers altars, which, after this solemnity, were demolished.

8:62-66 Solomon offered a great sacrifice. He kept the feast of tabernacles, as it seems, after the feast of dedication. Thus should we go home, rejoicing, from holy ordinances, thankful for God's GoodnessThe middle of the court - Or, "the whole area of the court " - all the "mid" space within the enclosing walls, which thus became one huge altar, on any part of which victims might be offered at one and the same time. 64. The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court—that is, the whole extent of the priests' court—the altar of burnt offerings, though large (2Ch 4:1), being totally inadequate for the vast number of sacrifices that distinguished this occasion. It was only a temporary erection to meet the demands of an extraordinary season, in aid of the established altar, and removed at the conclusion of the sacred festival. [See on [303]2Ch 7:7.] The middle of the court, to wit, of the priests’ court, in which the great altar was. This he consecrated as he did the great altar, to wit, by sacrifices; but with this difference, that he consecrated that for lasting and perpetual use, but this only for the present time and occasion, being warranted to do so both by the necessity of it for God’s service; and for the present solemn work, for which the brazen altar was not sufficient, as it here follows; and by the direction of God’s Spirit, wherewith Solomon was endowed, as being a prophet as well as a king. Here therefore he suddenly reared up divers altars, which after this solemnity were demolished.

The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord,.... The court of the priests that was before the holy place, adjoining to it, in which was the altar of burnt offering; this, or, however, the middle part of it, he sanctified for present use, to offer sacrifices on, for a reason hereafter given:

for there he offered burnt offerings and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings; which was the reason why the middle of the great court was for this time set apart for this service.

The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brazen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
64. meat offerings] These consisted (see Leviticus 2:4-7) of fine flour with oil and incense. In modern English the sense of ‘meat’ has become so restricted to flesh, that the R.V., to give a nearer idea of the true nature of the offering, has changed the word to meal-offering, though this does not quite adequately convey the meaning. In 2 Chronicles 7:6 we read that the Levites accompanied these sacrifices with music, on instruments which David had made for religious services, and the priests blew the trumpets before them.

Verse 64. - The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court [i.e., the entire area of the court of the priests (1 Kings 6:36). Ewald (287 g) translates "the inner court." The whole space may have been regarded as "one huge altar" (Rawlinson), or temporary altars may have been erected all over the area. As already observed, this fact alone points to an enormous number of victims] that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings [Heb. the burnt offerings, i.e., either the usual daily burnt offerings (Numbers 28:3), or more probably, those appropriate to such a special function (Numbers 29:13 sqq.; cf. 1 Kings 3:4) ], and meat offerings [Heb. the meat offering. Both this and the preceding word (הָעֹלָה) are singular (generic) in the original], and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brazen altar that was before the Lord [i.e., house of the Lord] was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings [and yet it was 20 cubits (30 feet) square, and so would offer a surface of 100 (Keil 144) square yards]. 1 Kings 8:64Sacrifices and feast. - 1 Kings 8:62, 1 Kings 8:63. The dedicatory prayer was followed by a magnificent sacrifice offered by the king and all Israel. The thank-offering (שׁלמים זבח) consisted, in accordance with the magnitude of the manifestation of divine grace, of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. This enormous number of sacrificial animals, in which J. D. Michaelis found serious difficulties, Thenius endeavours to set aside as too large, by calculating that as these sacrifices were offered in seven days, reckoning the sacrificial day at twelve full hours, there must have been about five oxen and about twenty-five sheep slaughtered and offered in sacrifice every minute for the king alone. This calculation would be conclusive, if there were any foundation for the three assumptions upon which it rests: namely, (1) that the number of sacrifices mentioned was offered for the king alone; (2) that the slaughtering and preparation of the sacrificial animals could only be performed by the priests and Levites; and (3) that the whole of the flesh of these sacrificial animals was to be consumed upon the altar. But these three assumptions are all erroneous. There is nothing in the account about their being "for the king alone." For it is obvious that the words "and Solomon offered a sacrifice" are not to be understood as signifying that the king had these sacrifices offered for himself alone, but that the words refer to the sacrifices offered by the king and all Israel for the consecration of the temple, from the simple fact that in 1 Kings 8:62 "Solomon and all Israel" are expressly mentioned as offering sacrifice, and that after the statement of the number of the sacrifices we find these words in 1 Kings 8:63 : "so the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of Jehovah." Moreover it is very evident from the law in Leviticus 1 and 3 that at the offering of sacrifice the slaughtering, flaying, and preparation of the sacrificial animals were performed by any Israelite, and that it was only the sprinkling of the blood against the altar and the burning of the sacrificial portions upon the altar which were the exclusive province of the priests. In order to form a correct idea of the enormous number of sacrifices which could be slaughtered on any one day we will refer again to the notice in Josephus (Bell. Jud. vi. 9, 3) already mentioned in the Comm. on the Pentateuch, p. 683 (translation), that in the reign of the emperor Nero the procurator Cestius directed the priests to count the number of the paschal lambs, and that they counted 250,000, which were slaughtered for the passover between the ninth and eleventh hours of the day, and of which the blood was sprinkled upon the altar. If then it was possible at that time to slaughter more than 250,000 lambs in three hours of the afternoon, and to sprinkle the blood upon the altar, there can have been no difficulty in slaughtering and sacrificing 3000 oxen and 18,000 sheep at the dedication of the temple on each of the seven days of the festival. As all Israel from Hamath to the brook of Egypt came to Jerusalem to this festival, we shall not be above the mark if we estimate the number of the heads of houses present at 100,000. And with very little trouble they could have slaughtered 3000 oxen and 18,000 sheep a day and prepared them for sacrificing. How many priests took an active part in this, we do not indeed know, in fact we have no information as to the number of the priests in Solomon's time; but we know that in the time of David the number of Levites qualified for service, reckoning from their thirtieth year, was 38,000, so that we may certainly assume that there were two or three thousand priests. Now if only the half of these Levites and priests had come to Jerusalem to the dedication of the temple, they alone could have slaughtered 3000 oxen and 18,000 sheep every day. And would not a thousand priests have been sufficient to sprinkle the blood of so many animals upon the altar and to turn the fat between the morning and evening sacrifice? If we divided these sacrifices among a thousand priests, each one would only have had to attend to the sprinkling of the blood and burning of the fat of three oxen and eighteen sheep each day. - But the brazen altar of burnt-offering might not have been large enough for the burning of so many sacrifices, notwithstanding the fact that only the fat portions of the thank-offerings were consumed, and they did not require much room; since the morning and evening burnt-offerings were added daily, and as festal offerings they would certainly not consist of a lamb only, but at least of one bullock, and they were burned whole, although the altar of burnt-offering with a surface of 144 square yards (see my bibl. Archol. i. p. 127) would hold a very large quantity of sacrificial flesh at once. In v. 64, however, it is expressly stated that Solomon sanctified the middle of the court, which was before the house of Jehovah, to burn the burnt-offering and meat-offering and the fat portions of the thank-offerings there, because the brazen altar was too small to hold these sacrifices. "The middle of the court" (החצר תּוך) is the whole of the inner portion of the court of the priests, which was in front of the temple-house and formed the centre of the court surrounding the temple. Of course we have not to imagine that the sacrifices were offered upon the stone pavement of the court, but must assume that there were auxiliary altars erected in the inner court around the brazen altar. By the burnt-offering and the meat-offering (belonging to it: ואת־המּנחה את־העולה) we are not to understand certain burnt-offerings, which were offered for a definite number of thank-offerings, as Thenius supposes. The singular and the definite article are both at variance with this. The reference is rather to the (well-known) daily morning and evening burnt-offerings with their meat-offering, and in this case, no doubt, to such a festal sacrifice as is prescribed in Numbers 28 for the great yearly feasts.
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