1 Kings 9:25
And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar which he built to the LORD, and he burnt incense on the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) And three times in a year.—This verse seems by the last words to be a kind of note or postscript to the description of the completion and consecration of the Temple. To the record of the great inaugural sacrifice it adds a notice of the solemn renewal of the royal offering, both of victims and of incense, three times in a year—no doubt at the three great feasts, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. As has been already said (see Note on 1Kings 8:63), there is no reason to suppose that on these occasions, or on any others, Solomon personally usurped the priesťs office.

1 Kings 9:25. Three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings — That is, at least three times, namely, at the three solemn feasts which God had commanded to be observed by till the people. Then he offered sacrifices suitable to those great mercies which were at these seasons commemorated, and to the great blessings which God had bestowed on his family. But undoubtedly he also offered at all other appointed times. And he burned incense upon the altar — In the holy place, before the ark. The meaning is not that he burned it himself, but only that he gave it to the priests at his own charge, to be offered with a particular respect to him. This he probably did every morning and evening. So he finished the house — This, though said before, is now repeated, because, after he had kept the three great festivals there, the temple was not only consecrated, but all divine offices had been performed in it, and nothing more was to be added.9:15-28 Here is a further account of Solomon's greatness. He began at the right end, for he built God's house first, and finished that before he began his own; then God blessed him, and he prospered in all his other buildings. Let piety begin, and profit follow; leave pleasure to the last. Whatever pains we take for the glory of God, and to profit others, we are likely to have the advantage. Canaan, the holy land, the glory of all lands, had no gold in it; which shows that the best produce is that which is for the present support of life, our own and others; such things did Canaan produce. Solomon got much by his merchandise, and yet has directed us to a better trade, within reach of the poorest. Wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold, Pr 3:14.Three times - i. e., (see the marginal reference) the three solemn Feasts - the Feast of unleavened bread, the Feast of weeks, and the Feast of tabernacles.

Did Solomon offer ... and he burnt incense - Not with his own hand, but by his priests 1 Kings 8:6; 2 Chronicles 5:7-14. In sacred, as in ordinary, history, men are said to do that which they cause to be done.

1Ki 9:24-28. Solomon's Yearly Sacrifices.

24, 25. three times in a year—namely, at the passover, pentecost, and feast of tabernacles (2Ch 8:13; 31:3). The circumstances mentioned in these two verses form a proper conclusion to the record of his buildings and show that his design in erecting those at Jerusalem was to remedy defects existing at the commencement of his reign (see 1Ki 3:1-4).

Three times in a year, i.e. at the three solemn feasts, which is not said exclusively, as is evident both from 2 Chronicles 8:13, and from the express and oft-repeated commands of God to offer at other times, which it is absurd to think that Solomon, not yet fallen into sin, should so wickedly and scandalously neglect; but because then he did it more solemnly, and more costlily, and more publicly; whereby it might be presumed that he did so at all other appointed times.

So he finished the house, or, so he perfected the house, to wit, by applying it to the use for which it was made, in which the perfection of such things consists. Or the house may be put metonymically for the work or service of the house, as it is elsewhere commonly used for the things or persons in the house. Or the words may be and are rendered thus, After that (for so the Hebrew vau oft signifies, as Isaiah 37:9,36 Ho 1:11 Zechariah 12:2) he finished the house, i.e. from the time of the finishing of the house, until this time, he continued to do so. And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord,.... The brasen altar, the altar of burnt offering, which stood in the court of the priests, and by whom he offered. The three times were the feasts of passover, pentecost, and tabernacles, as explained in 2 Chronicles 8:13, not that these were the only offerings, or these the only times he offered; for he offered all other sacrifices, and at all other times commanded in the law of Moses, as on sabbaths and new moons, as expressed in the above place:

and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord; the altar of incense, which stood in the holy place, right beside the most holy, in which was the ark, the symbol of the divine Presence; not that Solomon burnt incense in person, but by the priests, whom he furnished with incense; for no king might offer incense, as the case of Uzziah shows:

so he finished the house; which respects not the building of it, that had been observed before, but the service of it; as he had provided all vessels and utensils for the furniture of it, and all things to be used in them; as sacrifices for the altar of burnt offering, incense for the altar of incense, bread for the shewbread table, and oil for the lamps; so he appointed the courses of the priests, Levites, and porters, to do their duty, who went through every part of service assigned them, and completed the whole; see 2 Chronicles 8:14.

And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. three times in a year did Solomon offer] Most likely this means at the three great feasts, the Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. This may be understood in the sense ‘qui facit per alium, facit per se’. But some have contended that Solomon himself performed these priestly acts and that consequently the privileges of the Levitical caste were of later origin.

and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord] The marginal note of A.V. ‘upon it’ for ‘upon the altar’ shews where the difficulty in this verse is. The R.V. prefers, instead of ‘upon it’ to render ‘with it,’ i.e. therewith, and this is supported by the Hebrew punctuation. The translation then becomes ‘And he burnt incense therewith, upon the altar that was before the Lord,’ the italics being added to complete the sense. But the text can hardly be correct to need such an addition.

So he finished the house] It is clear from the language of this verse that the account was not brought into its present form on the completion of the work, but at some later time, when Solomon’s offerings at the great feasts had grown into a custom. The 1 Kings 9:15-25 are omitted by the LXX (Vat.).Verse 25. - And three times in a year [i.e., no doubt at the three feasts, the times of greatest solemnity, and when there was the largest concourse of people. See 2 Chronicles 8:12. The design of this verse may be to show that there was no longer any offering on high places. It would thus refer to 1 Kings 3:2, as ver. 24 to 1 Kings 3:1] did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord [the chronicler adds, "before the porch"], and he burnt incense. [It has been supposed by some that Solomon sacrificed and burnt incense propria manu. According to Dean Stanley ("Jewish Ch." 2. pp. 220, 221), "he solemnly entered, not only the temple courts with sacrifices, but penetrated into the Holy Place itself, where in later years none but the priests were allowed to enter, and offered incense on the altar of incense." But this positive statement is absolutely destitute of all basis. For, in the first place, there is nothing in the text to support it. If Solomon ordered, or defrayed the cost of, the sacrifices, etc., as no doubt he did, the historian would properly and naturally describe him as offering burnt offerings. Qui facit per alium facit per se, and priests are expressly mentioned as present at these sacrifices (1 Kings 8:6; 2 Chronicles 5:7-14; 2 Chronicles 7:2, 5). We have just as much reason, and no more, for believing that the king built Mille (ver. 24) with his own hands, and with his own hands "made a navy of ships" (ver. 26), as that he sacrificed, etc., in propria persona. And, secondly, it is simply inconceivable, if he had so acted, that it should have attracted no more notice, and that our historian should have passed it over thus lightly. We know what is recorded by our author as having happened when, less than two centuries afterwards, King Uzziah presumed to intrude on the functions of the priests (2 Chronicles 26:17-20); cf. 1 Kings 13:1), and we know what had happened some five centuries before (Numbers 16:35), when men who were not of the seed of Aaron came near to offer incense before the Lord. It is impossible that Solomon could have disregarded that solemn warning without some protest, or without a syllable of blame on the part of our author. And the true account of these sacrifices is that they were offered by the king as the builder of the temple, and probably throughout his life, by the hands of the ministering priests (2 Chronicles 8:14). Thrice in the year he showed his piety by a great function, at which he offered liberally] upon the altar [Heb. upon that, sc. altar אתּו. See Gesen. Lex., p. 94; Ewald, Syntax, 332a (3) ] that was before the Lord. [The altar of incense stood before the entrance to the oracle, the place of the Divine presence. See on 1 Kings 6:22-3. So he finished the house. [Same word, but in the Kal form in 1 Kings 7:51. The Piel form, used here, may convey the deeper meaning, "he perfected," i.e., by devoting it to its proper use. It was to be "a house of sacrifice" (2 Chronicles 7:12). The "magazine-cities" (המּסכּנות ערי) were fortified cities, in which the produce of the land was collected, partly for provisioning the army, and partly for the support of the rural population in times of distress (2 Chronicles 17:12; 2 Chronicles 32:28), similar to those which Pharaoh had built in the land of Goshen (Exodus 1:11). If they were situated on the great commercial roads, they may also have served for storing provisions for the necessities of travellers and their beasts of burden. The cities for the war-chariots (הרכב) and cavalry (הפּרשׁים) were probably in part identical with the magazine-cities, and situated in different parts of the kingdom. There were no doubt some of these upon Lebanon, as we may on the one hand infer from the general importance of the northern frontier to the security of the whole kingdom, and still more from the fact that Solomon had an opponent at Damascus in the person of Rezin (1 Kings 11:24), who could easily stir up rebellion in the northern provinces, which had only just been incorporated by David into the kingdom; and as we may on the other hand clearly gather from 2 Chronicles 16:4, according to which there were magazine-cities in the land of Naphtali. Finally, the words "and what Solomon had a desire to build" embrace all the rest of his buildings, which it would have occupied too much space to enumerate singly. That the words חשׁק את are not to be so pressed as to be made to denote simply "the buildings undertaking for pure pleasure," like the works mentioned in Ecclesiastes 2:4., as Thenius and Bertheau suppose, is evident from a comparison of 1 Kings 9:1, where all Solomon's buildings except the temple and palace, and therefore the fortifications as well as others, are included in the expression "all his desire." - Fuller particulars concerning the tributary workmen are given in 1 Kings 9:20. The Canaanitish population that was left in the land were made use of for this purpose, - namely, the descendants of the Canaanites who had not been entirely exterminated by the Israelites. "Their children," etc., supplies a more precise definition of the expression "all the people," etc., in 1 Kings 9:20.
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