Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.1. Then said] R.V. Then spake (as 1 Kin.). Then refers to the moment when Solomon perceived that the cloud had filled the House.
that he would dwell in the thick darkness] No Divine declaration corresponding verbally with this occurs in the O.T., but cp. Exodus 20:21, Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was, and ib. Exodus 19:9, the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud. Solomon accepts the coming of the thick darkness as a sign of God’s entrance into the Temple.
Ch. 2 Chronicles 6:1-11 (= 1 Kings 8:12-21). Solomon’s Blessing
1, 2. These verses come from 1 Kings, the only important variation being, But I have built (Chron.), for I have surety built (1 Kin.). They seem to have been originally taken from some song.
But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,4. who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David] R.V. which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hands fulfilled it. The A.V. has needlessly changed the order of the Hebrew.
Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:5. neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel] The Chronicler regards Saul as rejected rather than chosen; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.
But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.7. in the heart of David] Cp. 1 Chronicles 17:1-2; 1 Chronicles 22:7.
But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:
Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.9. thou shalt not build] Cp. 1 Chronicles 22:8, note.
The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.11. with the children of Israel] In 1 Kings 8:21, with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:12–39 (= 1 Kings 8:22-50). Solomon’s Prayer
The prayer is reproduced from 1 Kings with a few verbal changes and with the omission of v. 50–53. it is chiefly to the effect that future prayers made “in” or “towards this house” may be heard. The subjects of the different parts of the prayer are as follows:—
2 Chronicles 6:14-17.
The promise made to David.
2 Chronicles 6:18-21.
Prayer made towards this place.
2 Chronicles 6:22-23.
The oath of ordeal taken in this place.
2 Chronicles 6:24-25.
Prayer under defeat.
2 Chronicles 6:26-27.
Prayer for rain.
2 Chronicles 6:28-31.
Prayer under diverse afflictions.
2 Chronicles 6:32-33.
The stranger’s prayer.
2 Chronicles 6:34-35.
The prayer of the army at war abroad.
2 Chronicles 6:36-39.
The prayer of Israel in captivity.
13. Solomon had made a brasen scaffold] This “scaffold” is not mentioned in 1 Kings. The word used (kiyyôr) properly means a “laver” (Song of Solomon 4:6).
For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:14. which keepest covenant and shewest mercy] R.V. who keepest covenant and mercy (so 1 Kings).
Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.16. yet so that] R.V. if only.
walk in my law] In 1 Kings 8:25, walk before me. The Chronicler characteristically introduces a reference to the Law of the Lord (the tôrah). In Samuel and Kings neither David nor Solomon ever mentions this.
Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
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!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).
Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:19. prayer … and … supplication] “Supplication” as distinguished from “prayer” is prayer for favour.
That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.20. which thy servant prayeth] R.V. which they servant shall pray. Solomon refers in this ver. to future prayers, not (as in 2 Chronicles 6:19) to the prayer he is now praying.
Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.21. from thy dwelling place, even from heaven] Here, as in 2 Chronicles 6:18, Solomon refuses to regard the Temple as Jehovah’s “dwelling place.” Cp. 2 Chronicles 2:6.
If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;22. and an oath be laid upon him] Cp. Exodus 22:11. The oath means a curse which a man imprecates upon himself under certain conditions.
and the oath come] R.V. and he come and swear.
Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.23. by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying tie righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness] R.V. requiting the wicked, to bring his way upon his own head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;24. be put to the worse] R.V. be smitten down (as in 1 Kings).
and shall return] R.V. and shall turn again (as in 1 Kings) i.e. repent.
Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.25. from the heavens] R.V. from heaven (as in 2 Chronicles 6:23).
When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;26. when thou dost afflict them] Render (with R.V. mg. and Peshitta), because thou answerest them. Israel “confesses God’s name” because God answers the prayer of penitence.
Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:28. dearth] R.V. famine (as in 1 Kings).
caterpillars] Rather some kind of locust; see Driver on Joel 1:4.
in the cities of their land] R.V. in the land of their cities (Heb. gates). The text is probably corrupt: read either, in any one of their cities (cp. LXX.), or, by making a breach in his gates (Heb. biphěrôç for b’ereç).
whatsoever sore] R.V. whatsoever plague. “Plague” is used here in the general sense of calamity, as in the phrase. The Ten Plagues of Egypt.
Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:29. his man sore and his own grief] R.V. his own plague and his own sorrow. Cp. last note.
in this house] R.V. toward this house.
Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)30. thou only] R.V. thou, even thou only.
That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;32. but is come] R.V. when he shall come.
if they come] R.V. when they shall come.
in this house] R.V. toward this house; cp. 2 Chronicles 6:29.
Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.33. all people] R.V. all the peoples. For this change see R.V. Preface, p. vi
If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;
Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.35. maintain their cause] Render with R.V. mg., maintain their right.
If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;36. there is no man which sinneth not] Cp. Ecclesiastes 7:20.
deliver them over before their enemies] R.V. deliver them to the enemy (as 1 Kings).
Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;37. turn and pray] R.V. turn again, and make supplication (cp. 1 Kings).
done amiss] R.V. done perversely (as 1 Kings). The stronger word represents tie Heb. word the better.
If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:38. If they return] Cp. Leviticus 26:39-41; Deuteronomy 30:1-2 (passages anticipating captivity and also repentance in captivity).
Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.39. their cause] Render with R.V. mg. their right (as in 2 Chronicles 6:35).
Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.40. attent] i.e. attentive. Cp. 2 Chronicles 7:15 (same English word for same Heb. word).
40–42. (No parallel in 1 Kings). The Invocation
The end of the prayer in 1 Kings 8:51-53 is quite different.
Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.41. Now therefore arise] This whole ver. corresponds (with some variation of reading) with 2 Chronicles 6:8-9 of Psalms 132.
the ark of thy strength] This appellation of the ark perhaps refers to its use in war; cp. 1 Samuel 4:3; 1 Samuel 4:6-7.
with salvation] i.e. with victory. In Psalm 132:9, with righteousness. The thought in Chron. and in Psalms 132. is the same, for through victory the human victor receives salvation (i.e. deliverance from the enemy), and the Divine Giver of victory asserts His righteousness (i.e. by giving victory to the right).
thy saints] i.e. thy people Israel; cp. Psalm 79:2; Psalm 149:5. So in the N.T. the Christians as a body are spoken of as “saints” and “sanctified.”
rejoice in goodness] Render (with R.V. mg.) rejoice in good, i.e. in prosperity. In Psalms 132. shout for joy.
O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.42. turn not away] Cp. Psalm 132:10.
remember the mercies of David] i.e. either shew David’s son the mercies thou didst shew to David himself (Isaiah 55:3), or (better), remember the good deeds (“mercies”; cp. 2 Chronicles 32:32) which David did, and reward his son.