1 Kings 8:65
And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath to the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(65) The entering in of Hamath, is the significant name given to the great valley between Lebanon and Anti - Lebanon, which the Greeks called Cœle- Syria; for it was the main entrance to Palestine from the north, down which the hosts of Assyria and Babylon so constantly poured. Evidently it extended at this time beyond Damascus.

The river of Egypt is not, as might naturally be thought, the Nile, or any of its branches; for the word used signifies rather a “brook” or “torrent,” and the torrent, described in Numbers 34:5 and Joshua 15:4 as the border of Israel, is identified by all authorities with the torrent falling into the sea at El-Arish.

(65, 66) Seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. On the eighth day. . . .—The origin of this curious phrase is singularly illustrated by the account in 2Chronicles 7:9-10, for it tells us that the people were dismissed on “the three and twentieth day” of the month, which was the day after the close of the Feast of Tabernacles. Hence it is clear that the festival week of the Dedication preceded the regular feast; and the day of dismissal was the “eighth day,” regularly so-called, of the close of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Unto their tents.—The old memory of the wandering life of Israel still lingers in this expression, as in the well-known phrase “To your tents, O Israel!” (2Samuel 20:1; 1Kings 12:16.) It may have been suggested to the writer in this place by the ideas symbolised in the Feast of Tabernacles, of which he had just recorded the observance.

1 Kings 8:65-66. At that time Solomon held a feast — That is, kept a solemn festival. And all Israel from Hamath unto the river of Egypt — The usual and known bounds of the land, in the utmost length of it, Numbers 34:8; Joshua 13:5; Jdg 3:3. Before the Lord — Before the temple, as in God’s presence. Seven days and seven days — Seven for the dedication of the temple, or altar; and the other seven for the feast of tabernacles. And it seems to be expressed in this manner, to intimate, that these fourteen days of rejoicing were not all together, but that there was some interval between them, which indeed was necessary, because the day of atonement was on the tenth day of this month, Leviticus 23:27. And because these fourteen days ended on the twenty-second day, (2 Chronicles 7:10,) it may seem most probable, that the feast of the dedication was kept before the tenth day; and the feast of tabernacles some days after it. On the eighth day he sent the people away — Having joined with them in the solemn assembly, which was kept on the eighth day; in the close of that day he took his solemn farewell, and dismissed them with his blessing; and the next morning, when the heads and elders, with divers of the people, came to take their leave of the king, he sent them away. And they blessed the king — They applauded, admired, and returned him the thanks of the congregation for the great care and pains he had taken in building the temple and setting up God’s worship among them. Or, they prayed to God to bless him, according to their duty and custom. And went to their tents joyful and glad of heart — Easy in mind and pleased; rejoicing in all the goodness that the Lord had done for David — In giving him a sure house, and a wise and religious son, by whom he had now fulfilled the promise made to him about building the temple. And for Israel his people — They rejoiced in God’s blessings both on the royal family and on the kingdom. In this spirit should we go home from holy ordinances, and should rejoice for God’s goodness to our Lord Jesus, of whom David his servant was a type, in the advancement and establishment of his throne, pursuant to the covenant of redemption; and to all believers, his spiritual Israel, in their sanctification and consolation, pursuant to the covenant of grace. If we rejoice not herein always, it is our own fault; it is owing to the weakness of our faith and hope, and the coldness of our love. 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 GoodnessA feast necessarily accompanied such a sacrifice as Solomon was holding. Compare Leviticus 19:5. On the present occasion there was a double festival - first, the Feast of the Dedication, from the 8th to the 15th of the month Ethanim (or Tisri), and then the Feast of tabernacles, from the 15th to the 22nd 1 Kings 8:2. On the day after this, "the eighth day," counting from the commencement of the second seven, and the twenty-third day of the month (margin reference "m"), Solomon dismissed the people to their homes.

The entering in of Hamath - Compare Numbers 13:21, note andmargin reference. The phrase marks the extreme northern boundary of the holy land.

The river of Egypt - The Wady-el-Arish, the only large water-course on this coast (margin reference).

1Ki 8:65. The People Joyful.

65. from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt—that is, from one extremity of the kingdom to the other. The people flocked from all quarters.

seven days and seven days, even fourteen days—The first seven were occupied with the dedication, and the other seven devoted to the feast of tabernacles (2Ch 7:9). The particular form of expression indicates that the fourteen days were not continuous. Some interval occurred in consequence of the great day of atonement falling on the tenth of the seventh month (1Ki 8:2), and the last day of the feast of tabernacles was on the twenty-third (2Ch 7:10), when the people returned to their homes with feelings of the greatest joy and gratitude "for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people."

Held a feast, i.e. kept the solemnity. From the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt; the usual and known bounds of the land, in the utmost length of it; of which see Numbers 34:8 Joshua 13:5 Judges 3:3.

Before the Lord, i.e. before the temple, and as in God’s presence.

Seven days and seven days; seven for the dedication of the temple or altar, and the other seven for the feast of tabernacles, as, nay be gathered from 2 Chronicles 7:9. And it seems to be expressed in this manner, to intimate that these fourteen days of rejoicing were not all together, but that there was some interval between them, which indeed was necessary, because the day of atonement was on the tenth day of this month, Leviticus 23:27. And because these fourteen days ended on the twenty-second day, 2 Chronicles 7:9, it may seem most probable that the feast of the dedication was kept before the tenth day, and the feast of tabernacles some days after it. And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him,.... Partaking of the parts of the peace offerings which belonged to him, and were offered by way of thanksgiving on the occasion, together with whatsoever he might as a liberal prince provide for this entertainment:

for it was for a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt; consisting of a number of people, gathered together from Hamath, which was on the northern border of the land of Israel, to the river of Egypt; either the Nile, or Rhinoculura, a branch of it, which lay on the southern border of the land: and this was kept

before the Lord; as in his presence, with thankfulness to him, and with a view to his glory:

seven days and seven days, even fourteen days; seven days for the dedication of the house, and seven days for the feast of tabernacles, as the Targum; which agrees with 2 Chronicles 7:9, the feast of dedication was first, and began perhaps on the seventh day of the month, as the feast of tabernacles did on the fifteenth: within this time, namely, on the tenth, was a fast day, the day of atonement; which was either observed between the two feasts, or was omitted, which is not likely; or they did not eat and drink until the evening of that day. The Septuagint version, according to the Vatican copy, reads "seven days" only once; see 2 Chronicles 7:8.

And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of {z} Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, {a} seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.

(z) That is, from North to South: meaning all the country.

(a) Seven days for the dedication, and seven for the feast.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
65. Solomon held a feast] Better ‘the feast.’ The special feast of Tabernacles (cf. 1 Kings 8:2), a very fitting occasion for the great multitude to make themselves an encampment in the open country around.

The part played by Solomon in all this dedication ceremony shews us that the ordinances of the Pentateuch had not yet come into observance. Israel had not advanced beyond the traditional religion contained in the ‘book of the covenant’. But the failure of the nation herein cannot of itself be held to establish the non-existence of the Levitical law.

from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt] Within these limits the whole land of Palestine was embraced. Hamath on the north was situated in the valley of the Orontes, and for a long time was the chief city of the northern part of Syria. On the south the river of Egypt (nahal Mizraim) is identified for us in the LXX. (Isaiah 27:12) by being translated ὁ ποταμὸς ἕως Ῥινοκορούρων. Rhinocoroura (i.e. Rhinocolura) is the modern El Arish, and so the nahal Mizraim was probably Wady el Arïsh, a desert stream on the border of Egypt.

before the Lord our God] The last two words have the appearance of an editorial addition. They would hardly appear in the original narrative.

seven days and seven days] As explained in 2 Chronicles 7:9 the dedication of the altar lasted seven days, and the feast (of Tabernacles proper) other seven days. This double observance accounts for the form of words here used.Verse 65. - And at that time Solomon held a feast [the necessary sequel to such number of peace offerings (cf. 1 Kings 3:15). All the flesh that could be, must be eaten (Leviticus 19:5, 6) ], and all Israel with him, a great congregation [see note on ver. 64. "All Israel" would hardly be an exaggeration], from the entering in of Hamath [the northern boundary of Palestine (Numbers 34:8; cf. 13:31; Joshua 13:5; Judges 3:3; Ezekiel 47:16; Stanley, S. and P. p. 407; Dict. Bib. 1. p. 644; Porter, pp. 620, 621] unto the river [Heb. נַחַל i.e., torrent bed, watercourse, wady (river is נָהָר). See Stanley, S. and P. pp. 14, 505, 506] of Egypt [i.e., the southern limit of the Holy Land. See Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4, 47; 2 Kings 24:7; Genesis 15:18, where the word is נָהָר refers to the Nile. The Wady el Arish must be intended (Dict. Bib. vol. 3. p. 1046, 1047, and Gesen., Thesaurus, vol. 2. p. 872, Porter, p. 267) ], before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days [The two periods are thus distinguished, because they were properly distinct, the first being the feast of dedication, the second the feast of tabernacles. This is more clearly explained in 2 Chronicles 7:9, 10.] May these my words, which I have prayed (vv. 25-43), be near to Jehovah our God day and night, that He may secure the right of His servant (the king) and of His people, as every day demands. בּיומו יום דּבר, as in Exodus 5:13; Exodus 16:4. - For 1 Kings 8:60 compare 1 Kings 8:43.
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