1 Kings 9:8
And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
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(8) At this house, which is high.—The word “which” is not in the original Hebrew here (although found in the present Hebrew text of 2Chronicles 7:21). The true meaning is certainly “This house shall be high;” which is the reading of the LXX., while the Vulg. has a good explanatory gloss, “This house shall be for an example.” Various corrections have been proposed, but there seems no necessity for them. There is evidently an allusion to the lofty position of the Temple. Generally the exaltation of “the mountain of the Lord” is made a type of its glory (as in Micah 4:1-2; Psalm 68:15-16, &c.); here of its destruction. Its magnificence and its ruin are equally conspicuous: for “a city set on a hill cannot be hid.”

1 Kings 9:8-9. And at this house, which is high — Exalted in its privileges, and renowned for its riches and splendour, and the great resort of people to it. They gloried in the stateliness and magnificence of the structure; but God here lets them know it was not so high as to be out of the reach of his judgments, which should assuredly fall upon it and them, if they vilified it so as to exchange it for groves and idol-temples, and yet, at the same time, most inconsistently and absurdly magnified it, so as to suppose it would secure the favour of God to them, although they ever so much corrupted themselves. Every one that passeth by it shall be astonished — At its unexpected and wonderful ruin. As they who now pass by it are astonished at the bulk and beauty, the richness, contrivance, and workmanship of it, and call it a stupendous fabric; so, if you forsake God, its height will make its fall the more amazing, and they that pass by will be as much astonished at its ruins. And shall hiss — By way of contempt and derision; and shall say, Why hath the Lord, &c. — What is the reason that this famous place, which boasted so much of the favour and protection of God, is thus laid in ruins? And they shall answer, Because they forsook, &c. — The guilty, self-convicted, self-condemned Israelites will be forced to acknowledge with shame, that they themselves were the ruin of it. See Deuteronomy 29:24. Their sin will be read in their punishment. They deserted the temple, and therefore God deserted it; they profaned it with their sins, and laid it common; and therefore God profaned it with his judgments, and laid it waste. Of this God thus gave Solomon fair warning, now he had newly built and dedicated it, that he and his people might not be high-minded, but fear.

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.The Hebrew text runs - "And this house shall be high: every one," etc. The meaning appears to be, "This house shall be high" (i. e., conspicuous) "in its ruin as in its glory."

And shall hiss - In contempt. This expression first appears in the time of Hezekiah 2 Chronicles 29:8; Micah 6:16. It is especially familiar to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8, etc.).

8. this house, which is high—"high," either in point of situation, for it was built on a hill, and therefore conspicuous to every beholder; or "high" in respect to privilege, honor, and renown; or this "house of the Most High," notwithstanding all its beauty and magnificence, shall be destroyed, and remain in such a state of ruin and degradation as to be a striking monument of the just judgment of God. The record of this second vision, in which were rehearsed the conditions of God's covenant with Solomon and the consequences of breaking them, is inserted here as a proper introduction to the narrative about to be given of this king's commercial enterprises and ambitious desire for worldly glory; for this king, by encouraging an influx of foreign people and a taste for foreign luxuries, rapidly corrupted his own mind and that of this subjects, so that they turned from following God, they and their children (1Ki 9:6). Which is high, i.e. exalted in its privileges, glorious, and renowned. The particle which is oft understood, and is here fitly supplied out of 2 Chronicles 7:21, where it is expressed.

Shall be astonished at its unexpected and wonderful ruin.

Shall hiss, by way of contempt and derision. See Jeremiah 19:8 49:17 50:13.

And at this house which is high,.... The house of the most High, as some render it, and in high esteem, fame, and glory, as well as it was built on an high hill, and was itself one hundred and twenty cubits high, 2 Chronicles 3:4, the Targum is,

"and this house which was high shall be destroyed:''

everyone that passeth by it shall be astonished; at the ruins of the temple, and of the city of Jerusalem, which had been so magnificent:

and shall hiss; in scorn and derision of the people of Israel, rejoicing in their ruin:

and they shall say, why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house? or suffered it to be done, to lie thus in waste and ruins; a land in which it had been said he delighted, and looked unto from one end of the year to the other, and a house he had taken up his dwelling in; surely something more than ordinary, they suggest, must be the cause of all this.

And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
8. And at this house which is high] The connexion of these words is very difficult. The Hebrew text, standing alone, must be rendered ‘And this house shall be high.’ But in 2 Chron. the relative is expressed, and there can be little doubt that the text here is somehow faulty. The passage in 2 Chron. (1 Kings 7:21) reads ‘And this house which is high shall be an astonishment.’ To come as near to this sense as possible, while introducing no relative, R.V. gives ‘And though this house be high.’ Yet that rendering is somewhat doubtful. The text of the LXX. shows that they had our Hebrew before them: καὶ ὁ οἶκος οὖτος ἔσται ὁ ὑψηλός, πᾶς ὁ διαπορευόμενος κ.τ.λ.

Verse 8. - And at this house, which is high [Heb., And this house shall be high, עֶלְיון יִהְיֶה. Our translators were probably influenced by 2 Chronicles 7:21, the text of which is אֲשֶׁר הָיהָ עֶלְיון which would seem to be an emendation, designed to clear up the difficulty rather than an accidental variation of the text. But here the literal rendering is probably the truer, the meaning being "this house shall be conspicuous, as an example" - so the Vulg. domus haec erit in exemplum. The LXX. accords with the Hebrew text, ὁ οῖκος οῦτος ἔσται ὁ ὐψηλὸς, but the Syriac and Arabic read, "this house shall be destroyed." Keil sees in the words an allusion implicite to Deuteronomy 26:19, and Deuteronomy 28:1, where God promises to make Israel עֶלְיון, and says "the blessing will be turned into a curse." The temple should indeed be "high," should be what Israel would have been, but it shall be as a warning, etc.; but this connexion is somewhat far fetched and artificial. Thenius would read for, עִיִּין עֶלְיון. "ruins," after Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18; Psalm 79:1; but it is hardly right to resort to conjectures, unsupported by a single version or MS., so long as any sufficient meaning can be extracted from the words as they stand, and no one can deny that "high" may surely signify "conspicuous." Cf. Matthew 11:23], every one that passeth by it shall be astonished. [שָׁמֵם primarily means to be dumb with astonishment, Gesen., Thessalonians 3. p. 1435] and shall hiss [שָׁרַק, like "hiss," is an onomatopoetic word. It does not denote the hissing of terror (Bahr) but of derision; cf. Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 49:17; Job 27:23; Lamentations 2:15, 16. Rawlinson aptly remarks, as bearing on the authorship of the Kings, that this is a familiar word in Jeremiah (see 1 Kings 18:16; 25:9; 29:18; 50:13; 51:37, in addition to the passages cited above), and that the other prophets rarely use it. The fact that much of this charge is in Jeremiah's style, confirms the view taken above (note on ver. 4), that the ipsissima verba of the dream are not preserved to us. The author indeed could hardly do more than preserve its leading ideas, which he would naturally present in his own dress]; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land and to this house? [Similar words Deuteronomy 29:24, 25; Jeremiah 22:8.] 1 Kings 9:81 Kings 9:4, 1 Kings 9:5 contain the special answer to 1 Kings 8:25, 1 Kings 8:26. - 1 Kings 9:6-9 refer to the prayer for the turning away of the curse, to which the Lord replies: If ye and your children turn away from me, and do not keep my commandments, but worship other gods, this house will not protect you from the curses threatened in the law, but they will be fulfilled in all their terrible force upon you and upon this temple. This threat follows the Pentateuch exactly in the words in which it is expressed; 1 Kings 9:7 being founded upon Deuteronomy 28:37, Deuteronomy 28:45, Deuteronomy 28:63, and the curse pronounced upon Israel in Deuteronomy 29:23-26 being transferred to the temple in 1 Kings 9:8, 1 Kings 9:9. - פּני מעל שׁלּח, to dismiss, i.e., to reject from before my face. "This house will be עליון," i.e., will stand high, or through its rejection will be a lofty example for all that pass by. The temple stood upon a high mountain, so that its ruins could not fail to attract the attention of all who went past. The expression עליון is selected with an implied allusion to Deuteronomy 26:19 and Deuteronomy 28:1. God there promises to make Israel עליון, high, exalted above all nations. This blessing will be turned into a curse. The temple, which was high and widely renowned, shall continue to be high, but in the opposite sense, as an example of the rejection of Israel from the presence of God.

(Note: The conjecture of Bttcher, Thenius, and Bertheau, that עליון should be altered into עיּים, has no support in Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18, and Psalm 79:1, and has all the ancient versions against it; for they all contain the Masoretic text, either in a verbal translation (lxx), or in a paraphrase, as for example the Chaldee, "the house that was high shall be destroyed;" the Syriac and Arabic, "this house will be destroyed;" and the Vulgate, domus haec erit in exemplum. - In 2 Chronicles 7:21 the thought is somewhat varied by the alteration of יהיה into היה אשׁר. For it would never enter the mind of any sober critic to attribute this variation to a misinterpretation of our text. Still less can it be an unsuccessful attempt to explain or rectify our text, as Bttcher imagines, since the assertion of this critic, that עליון is only used to signify an exalted position, and never the exaltation of dignity or worth, is proved to be erroneous by Deuteronomy 26:19 and Deuteronomy 28:1.)

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