1 Kings 9:1
And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
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(1) And it came to pass.—The obvious primâ facie meaning of this verse would land us in much difficulty. By 1Kings 6:38; 1Kings 7:1, we find that, while the Temple was built in seven years, the erection of the palace and the other buildings occupied thirteen years; and from 1Kings 5:10 and 2Chronicles 8:1 it appears that these works were successive, and therefore that the completion of the palace could not have taken place till thirteen years after the completion of the Temple. Hence we should have to conclude, either that the dedication was postponed for thirteen years, till all the buildings were finished—which is in itself infinitely improbable, and contradicts the express declaration of Josephus—or that a similar period intervened between Solomon’s prayer and the Divine answer to it, which is even more preposterous. The variation in 2Chronicles 7:11 probably suggests the true key to the difficulty: viz., that the notice in this verse is merely a summary of the history of 1 Kings 6-8, which records the whole of the building works of Solomon, and is not intended to fix the date of the vision of 1Kings 9:2-9.

1 Kings


1 Kings 9:1 - 1 Kings 9:9

The successful end of a great work is often the beginning of a great reaction. When the tension is slackened, the whole nature of the worker is relaxed, and the temptation to slothful self-indulgence is strong. God knows our frame, and mercifully times His manifestations to the moments of special need. So, when Solomon had finished his great task, ‘the Lord appeared the second time, as He had appeared at Gibeon.’ There had been no manifest token of approval during all the years of building the Temple, for none was needed; but now there was danger that the finished work might be followed by languor and indifference, and therefore once more God spoke words of stimulus, both promises and warnings.

A solemn alternative is set before the king, both parts of which are fitted to rouse his energy and inspire him to faithful obedience. The same alternatives are presented to each of us. In 1 Kings 9:3 - 1 Kings 9:5 God promises blessed results from clinging to Him and keeping His statutes; in 1 Kings 9:6 - 1 Kings 9:9 He mercifully threatens the tragic issues of departure. In applying these to ourselves we must remember that outward prosperity was attached to a devout life more closely in Israel than it is now. But, though the form of the blessings dependent on doing God’s will alters, the reality remains unaltered.

I. The promises to Solomon are preceded by the assurance that his prayer had been heard. The answer corresponds very beautifully to the petitions. God has ‘put His name’ in the Temple, as the descent of the Glory to rest between the cherubim visibly showed, and thus has fulfilled Solomon’s petition; but the answer surpasses the prayer in that the presence of ‘the Name’ is promised ‘for ever.’ Similarly, in Psalm 132:1 - Psalm 132:18, the answer to the petition ‘Arise into Thy rest’ transcends the petition which it answers, and adds the same promise of perpetuity, ‘This is My rest for ever.’ Again, Solomon had prayed, ‘that Thine eyes may be open towards this house,’ and God answers with the expanded promise that not His eyes only, but His heart shall be there perpetually. He is ‘able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,’ and He delights to surprise us with over-answers to our prayers. We cannot widen our desires so far but that His gifts will stretch beyond them on every side.

But the promise of perpetual dwelling in the Temple is conditional, as appears in the latter part of God’s answer, though no condition is stated at first. The promises to Solomon individually are all contingent. The all-important ‘if’ at the beginning of 1 Kings 9:4 governs the whole. The divine eulogium on David, which introduces these promises, suggests how mercifully God regards the imperfect lives of His servants. That merciful interpretation of conduct is removed by a whole universe from palliation of sin. It affords no ground for our thinking little of our inconsistencies. David’s crime was sternly rebuked and sorely punished, but still his life, in its main drift and outline, could be presented as a pattern, as being marked by integrity of heart and uprightness. The moon shines like a disc of silver, though its surface is pitted with extinct volcanoes.

We may note, too, the pregnant description in outline of the elements of a devout life, as here enjoined on Solomon. The first requisite is to walk before God; that is, to nourish a continual consciousness of His presence, and to regulate all actions and thoughts under the thrilling and purifying sense of being ‘ever in the great Taskmaster’s eye.’ Only we are not to think of Him as only a Taskmaster, but as a loving Friend and Helper. A child is happy in its little work or play when it knows that its father is looking on with sympathy. The sense of God’s eye being on us should ‘make a sunshine in a shady place,’ should lighten labour and sweeten care. It is at the root of practical obedience, as its place in this sequence shows; for there follow it, in 1 Kings 9:4, ‘integrity of heart and uprightness,’ on which again follow obedience to all God’s commandments.

First must come the clear recognition of God’s relation to us. That recognition will influence our relation to Him, bending hearts to love and wills to submit, and the whole inward being to cleave to Him. Thence, and only thence, will issue in the life the streams of practical obedience. It is vain to seek to produce righteous deeds unless our hearts are right, and it is as vain to labour at making our hearts right unless thoughts of what God is to us have purified them. Morality is rooted in religion. On the other hand, no knowledge of the truth about God is worth anything unless it touches the hidden man of the heart, and then passes outward to mould conduct. ‘Faith without works is dead.’ Correct theology and glowing emotions lack their consummation if they do not impel to holy and God-pleasing living.

The reward promised in 1 Kings 9:5 is for Solomon alone. His throne is to be ‘established for ever.’ The duration intended by that expression is therefore not absolutely unlimited, but equivalent to ‘during thy lifetime.’ Solomon could only affect himself by his obedience. The continuance of the kingdom after him depended on his successors. His possession of the throne during his life was the beginning of the fulfilment of the promise to David referred to in 1 Kings 9:5, but it was only the beginning, and, like all God’s promises, it was contingent on obedience. We receive no outward kingdom if we are servants of God; but, in deepest truth, the righteous man is a king, ‘lord of himself, though not of lands.’ All creatures serve the soul that serves God, and all Christ’s brethren share in His royalty.

II. The second part of this divine utterance is addressed to the whole nation, as is marked by the ‘ye’ there compared with the ‘thou’ in 1 Kings 9:4, and it lays down for succeeding generations the conditions on which the new Temple, that stood glittering in the bright Eastern sunshine, should retain its pristine beauty. While the address to Solomon incited to obedience by painting its blessed consequences, that to the nation reaches the same end by the opposite path of darkly portraying the ruin that would be caused by departure from God. God draws by holding out a hand full of good things, and He no less lovingly drives by stretching out a hand armed with lightnings.

A plain declaration of the evils that dog disobedience is as loving as a bright vision of the good that attends on submission. The sternest threatenings of Scripture are spoken that they may never need to be executed. There is no more foolish misconception of Christianity than that which calls it harsh because it reveals that ‘the wages of sin is death.’ Note that the threatenings come second, not first. God’s heart is averse to smite. To lavish blessing is His delight, and judgment is ‘His work, His strange work,’ forced on Him by sin.

The special sin against which Israel was warned was that to which it was specially prone and tempted by its circumstances. When all the nations ‘worshipped stocks and stones,’ it was hard to ‘keep thy faith so pure’ as to have no share in the universal bewitchment. So the whole history of the people is one of lapses into idolatry and of chastisements leading to temporary amendment, until the long, sharp lesson of the Captivity eradicated the disposition to be as the nations around. No doubt, idolatry in its crudest forms is outgrown now in Western lands, but sense still craves material embodiment of the unseen, and still feels the pressure of the material and palpable. Hence the earthward direction of so many lives. Asthmatical patients often breathe more easily in the slums of a city than in pure mountain air, and sense-bound men find difficulty in respiration on the heights of a religion which minimises the appeal to sense.

The penalty attached to departure from God was the loss of the land. Israel kept it on a tenure like that of some of our English nobility, who hold their estates on condition of doing some service to the sovereign. Of course, that connection between serving God and national prosperity involved continual supernatural intervention, and cannot be applied entirely to national prosperity now; but it still remains true that moral and religious corruption saps the foundations of a people’s well-being, and, when carried far enough, destroys a people’s existence. The solemn threat of becoming ‘a proverb and a byword’ among all peoples is quoted, apparently from Deuteronomy 28:37, and has been only too terribly fulfilled for weary centuries.

The promise in 1 Kings 9:3, that God’s eyes and heart should be perpetually on the Temple, has now the condition attached that Israel should cleave to the Lord. Otherwise it will be cast out of His sight, and be a mark for scorn and wonder. The vivid representation of a dialogue between passers-by is quoted from Deuteronomy 29:24 - Deuteronomy 29:26, where it is spoken in reference to the nation. It carries the solemn thought that God’s name is made known among the heathen by the punishment of His unfaithful people, not less really, and sometimes more strikingly, than by the blessings bestowed on the obedient. If we will not magnify Him by joyous service, by rewarding which, with good He can magnify Himself, He will magnify Himself on us by retribution, the more severe as our blessings have been the greater. The lightning-scathed tree, standing white in the forest, witnesses to the power of the flash, as its leafy sisters in their green beauty proclaim the energy of the sunshine. Israel has, perhaps, been a more convincing witness for God, in its homeless centuries, than ever it was when at rest in the good land. ‘If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.’

1 Kings 9:1-2. And it came to pass when Solomon had finished, &c. — Or rather, according to 2 Chronicles 7:11, Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, &c., and concluded all with the foregoing prayer, and the great festival which he kept. That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time — That is, the second time in a dream or vision; the divine message, mentioned 1 Kings 6:11, having been imparted unto him by some prophet or messenger sent from God on that errand. Accordingly this appearance, like the former at Gibeon, is said (2 Chronicles 7:10) to have been made by night, and in all probability the very night after he had finished the solemnities of his festival, as the other had been. God had given a real answer to Solomon’s prayer, and tokens of his acceptance of it, immediately, by the fire from heaven which consumed the sacrifice, (2 Chronicles 7:1,) but here we have a more express and distinct answer to it.

9:1-9 God warned Solomon, now he had newly built and dedicated the temple, that he and his people might not be high-minded, but fear. After all the services we can perform, we stand upon the same terms with the Lord as before. Nothing can purchase for us liberty to sin, nor would the true believer desire such a licence. He would rather be chastened of the Lord, than be allowed to go on with ease and prosperity in sin.Their tents - i. e. "their homes." The word "tents" was used for "houses" from an old habit of speech, which had come down from the time when the Israelites were a nomadic nation. CHAPTER 9

1Ki 9:1-9. God's Covenant in a Second Vision with Solomon.

1. And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house—This first verse is connected with 1Ki 9:11, all that is contained between 1Ki 9:2-10 being parenthetical.God’s covenant, in a second vision, with Solomon, 1 Kings 9:1-9. The mutual presents of Solomon and Hiram, 1 Kings 9:10-14. Strong holds built by Solomon, 1 Kings 9:15-19. The Gentiles are bondmen: the Israelites not so, 1 Kings 9:20-23. Pharaoh’s daughter removeth to her house, 1 Kings 9:24. Solomon’s yearly solemn sacrifices, 1 Kings 9:25. His navy fetcheth gold from Ophir, 1 Kings 9:26-28.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord,.... Which was done in seven years, 1 Kings 6:38.

and the king's house; his own palace, which was finished in thirteen years, 1 Kings 7:1,

and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do; all his other buildings, the house for Pharaoh's daughter, the house of the forest of Lebanon, and may include his vineyards, gardens, orchards, and pools of water, made for his pleasure, Ecclesiastes 2:4 in which he succeeded and prospered, 2 Chronicles 7:11.

And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
Ch. 1 Kings 9:1-9. God’s second appearance unto Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:11-22)

1. when Solomon had finished] We read (1 Kings 6:38) that Solomon was seven years in building the Temple, and in 1 Kings 7:1 that he was thirteen years building his own house. We find also below (in 1 Kings 9:9) that these periods were not reckoned concurrently, but that the whole period was twenty years. Hence arises a difficulty with regard to this second appearance of God to the king. From the words of God’s message “I have heard thy prayer &c.” (1 Kings 9:3) it is plain that this second vision was an answer to the dedication prayer. Was then the dedication of the Temple, though the structure was completed in seven years, delayed until all the rest of Solomon’s works were ended? Or was the answer of God delayed through the thirteen years that elapsed between the finishing of the Temple and the finishing of the king’s house? We can hardly accept the latter supposition as possible. It appears far more likely that the dedication was delayed. And this may have been necessary because of the amount of time which Hiram would need for casting the metal-work, the greater part of which was for things that were unconnected with the actual Temple-building. This work from its nature could be undertaken only by persons specially skilled, of whom the number would be limited, and in consequence of this the work might be spread over a long time.

all Solomon’s desire] The noun implies something by which special store was set, a special fancy. It seems to indicate that the king had gone to much nicety in his building schemes. The LXX. gives πραγματεία, perhaps in the sense of ‘careful carrying out of any plan’. In 2 Chronicles 7:11, it is said ‘he prosperously effected all that came into his heart to make.’

Verse 1. - And it came to pass when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king's house [1 Kings 7:1], and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do [By "desire" we are not to understand "pleasure buildings" (cf. vers. 10, 19). The chronicler gives the true meaning: "all that came into Solomon's heart." It is, however, somewhat doubtful what works are comprehended under this term. 2 Chronicles 7:11 limits it to the two great erections already described - "all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house." But it is by no means certain that our author intended the word to be thus restricted; it is quite possible, e.g., that some of the buildings mentioned below (vers. 15-19) are to be included. But another question of much greater importance presents itself here. In the Divine communication of vers. 3-9 there is constant and unmistakeable reference to the prayer of dedication (see especially ver. 3); in fact, this message is the answer to that prayer. It has been held, consequently, that the answer must have followed, if not immediately, yet soon after the petitions were uttered; if so, the dedication must clearly have taken place, not on the completion of the temple (1 Kings 6:38), but on the completion of the palace, etc.; in other words, the temple must have been finished fully thirteen years before it was consecrated and occupied. Rawlinson suggests that the delay was perhaps occasioned by the circumstance that the furniture of the temple was not till then ready; but 1 Kings 6:38, Hebrews, seems to state distinctly that all the vessels and appointments of the sanctuary were finished at the date there given. Reasons have been given elsewhere (see note on 1 Kings 8:1) in support of the position that the dedication possibly have been delayed for so long a period, especially after the strenuous efforts which had been made to hurry on the undertaking. Nor does the text, when carefully examined, really require this hypothesis; indeed, it suggests some reasons for thinking that a considerable period must have intervened between the prayer and the response. For the tone of this response is unmistakeably foreboding, if not minatory. Vers. 6-9 contain a stern warning. But there was nothing, so far as we know, in the attitude of Solomon or of Israel at the time of the dedication to call for any such denunciation. At that time, as the prayer surely proves, Solomon's heart was perfect with the Lord his God. But the response has unmistakeably the appearance of having been elicited by signs of defection. The wide difference, consequently, between the spirit of the prayer and the tone of the answer suggests that some time must have elapsed between them, and so far supports the view that the dedication was not delayed until the palace, etc., was completed. And it is also to be remembered that the prayer of dedication had not been without acknowledgment at the time. The excellent glory which filled and took possession of the house was itself a significant and sufficient response. No voice or vision could have said more plainly, "I have heard thy prayer, I have hallowed this house." But when, some thirteen years later - about the very time, that is, when he was at the height of his prosperity, and when, owing to the completion of his undertakings, we might fear lest his heart should be lifted up with pride - when Solomon and his court began to decline in piety and to go after other gods, then this merciful message opportunely refers him to the prayer which he was in danger of forgetting, and warns him of the consequences of the apostasy to which he was tending.] 1 Kings 9:1The Answer of the Lord to Solomon's Dedicatory Prayer (cf. 2 Chronicles 7:11-22). - 1 Kings 9:1, 1 Kings 9:2. When Solomon had finished the building of the temple, and of his palace, and of all that he had a desire to build, the Lord appeared to him the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon, i.e., by night in a dream (see 1 Kings 3:5), to promise him that his prayer should be answered. For the point of time, see at 1 Kings 8:1. כּל־חשׁק, all Solomon's desire or pleasures, is paraphrased thus in the Chronicles: לב על כּל־הבּא, "all that came into his mind," and, in accordance with the context, is very properly restricted to these two principal buildings by the clause, "in the house of Jehovah and in his own house."
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