But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you; how much less this house which I have built!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But will God in very deed.—Or, what? will God, &c.—The LXX. imitates the Hebrew ὅτι εἰ ἀληθῶς κατοικήσει; Vuig., “ergone credibile est ut habitet Deus?”
With men.—Not in Kings. Syriac, “with his people, Israel;” Arabic, “with his people.” (Comp. Revelation 21:3.)But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. dwell with men] The Peshitta (a Jewish work) limits the sense and translates, cause his Shekinah to dwell with (al. rest upon) his people Israel. The words, with men, are absent from the Heb. text of 1 Kings, but appears in LXX. (A and B).Verse 18. - Dwell with men (Psalm 132:14). Heaven and the heaven of heavens. Solomon's conception of the infinite God comes plainly to view here (2 Chronicles 2:6; Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 139:5-12; Psalm 148:4; Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:4-9; Acts 17:24). 1 Kings 8:22-53 till near the end (2 Chronicles 6:40-42), where it takes quite a different turn. Besides this, in the introduction (2 Chronicles 6:13) Solomon's position during the prayer is more accurately described, it being there stated that Solomon had caused a high stage (כּיּור, a basin-like elevation) to be erected, which he ascended, and kneeling, spoke the prayer which follows. This fact is not stated in 1 Kings 8:22, and Then. and Berth. conjecture that it has been dropped out of our text only by mistake. Perhaps so, but it may have been passed over by the author of the books of Kings as a point of subordinate importance. On the contents of the prayer, which begins with the joyful confession that the Lord had fulfilled His promise to David in reference to the building of the temple, and proceeds with a request for a further bestowment of the blessing promised to His people, and a supplication that all prayers made to the Lord in the temple may be heard, see the Com. on 1 Kings 8:22. The conclusion of the prayer in the Chronicle is different from that in 1 Kings 8. There the last supplication, that the prayers might be heard, is followed by the thought: for they (the Israelites) are Thy people and inheritance; and in the further amplification of this thought the prayer returns to the idea with which it commenced. In the narrative of the Chronicle, on the other hand, the supplications conclude with the general thought (2 Chronicles 6:40): "Now, my God, let, I beseech Thee, Thine eyes be open, and Thine ears attend unto the prayer of this place" (i.e., unto the prayer spoken in this place). There follows, then, the conclusion of the whole prayer - a summons to the Lord (2 Chronicles 6:41.): "And now, Lord God, arise into Thy rest, Thou and the ark of Thy strength; let Thy priests, Lord God, clothe themselves in salvation, and Thy saints rejoice in good! Lord God, turn not away the face of Thine anointed: remember the pious deeds of Thy servant David." הסדים as in 2 Chronicles 32:32; 2 Chronicles 35:26, and Nehemiah 13:14. On this Thenius remarks, to 1 Kings 8:53 : "This conclusion is probably authentic, for there is in the text of the prayer, 1 Kings 8, no special expression of dedication, and this the summons to enter into possession of the temple very fittingly supplies. The whole contents of the conclusion are in perfect correspondence with the situation, and, as to form, nothing better could be desired. It can scarcely be thought an arbitrary addition made by the chronicler for no other reason than that the summons spoken of, if taken literally, is irreconcilable with the entrance of the cloud into the temple, of which he has already given us an account." Berth. indeed thinks that it does not thence follow that our conclusion is authentic, and considers it more probable that it was introduced because it appeared more suitable, in place of the somewhat obscure words in 1 Kings 8:51-53, though not by the author of the Chronicle, and scarcely at an earlier time. The decision on this question can only be arrived at in connection with the question as to the origin of the statements peculiar to the Chronicle contained in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3.
If we consider, in the first place, our verses in themselves, they contain no thought which Solomon might not have spoken, and consequently nothing which would tend to show that they are not authentic. It is true that the phrase קשּׁבות אזניך occurs only here and in 2 Chronicles 7:15, and again in Psalm 130:2, and the noun נוּח instead of מנוּחה is found only in Esther 9:16-18 in the form נוח; but even if these two expressions be peculiar to the later time, no further conclusion can be drawn from that, than that the author of the Chronicle has here, as often elsewhere, given the thoughts of his authority in the language of his own time. Nor is the relation in which 2 Chronicles 6:41, 2 Chronicles 6:42 stand to Psalm 132:8-10 a valid proof of the later composition of the conclusion of our prayer. For (a) it is still a question whether our verses have been borrowed from Psalm 132, or the verses of the psalm from our passage; and (b) the period when Psalm 138:1-8 was written is so doubtful, that some regard it as a Solomonic psalm, while others place it in the post-exilic period. Neither the one nor the other of these questions can be determined on convincing grounds. The appeal to the fact that the chronicler has compounded the hymn in 1 Chronicles 15 also out of post-exilic psalms proves nothing, for even in that case it is at least doubtful if that be a correct account of the matter. But the further assertion, that the conclusion (2 Chronicles 6:42) resembles Isaiah 55:3, and that recollections of this passage may have had some effect also on the conclusion (2 Chronicles 6:41), is undoubtedly erroneous, for דויד חסדי in 2 Chronicles 6:42 has quite a different meaning from that which it has in Isaiah 55:3. There דּוד חסדי are the favours granted to David by the Lord; in 2 Chronicles 6:42, on the contrary, they are the pious deeds of David, - all that he had done for the raising and advancement of the public worship (see above). The phrase וגו קוּמה, "Arise, O Lord God, into Thy rest," is modelled on the formula which was spoken when the ark was lifted and when it was set down on the journey through the wilderness, which explains both קוּמה and the use of לנוּחך, which is formed after בּנוּחה, Numbers 10:36. The call to arise into rest is not inconsistent with the fact that the ark had already been brought into the most holy place, for קוּמה has merely the general signification, "to set oneself to anything." The idea is, that God would now take the rest to which the throne of His glory had attained, show Himself to His people from this His throne to be the God of salvation, endue His priests, the guardians of His sanctuary, with salvation, and cause the pious to rejoice in His goodness. בטּוב ישׂמחוּ is generalized in Psalm 132:9 into ירנּנוּ. פּני פ השׁב, to turn away the face of any one, i.e., to deny the request, cf. 1 Kings 2:16.
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