Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.CHAPTER 8The Dedication of the Temple
1. The great assembly (1Kings 8:1-2)
2. The transportation of the ark (1Kings 8:3-9)
3. The glory of the LORD filling the house (1Kings 8:10-11)
4. Solomon’s opening words (1Kings 8:12-21)
5. Solomon’s great prayer (1Kings 8:22-53)
6. Solomon’s benediction (1Kings 8:54-61)
7. The sacrifices and the feast (1Kings 8:62-66)
The ark of the covenant is now to be transported out of David’s city to be put into the most holy place, under the wings of the great cherubim. The ark was carried, according to the instructions in the law, by the priests. A great sacrificial ceremony also took place; so many sheep and oxen were sacrificed that “they could not be numbered for multitude.” The ark now had found a resting place (Psalm 132:8). The staves by which the ark had been carried were now drawn out. They were not to be removed (Exodus 25:15); but now they were pulled out, but remained there as a memorial of their journeys and the Lord’s faithfulness in bringing them into the promised rest. But in the ark nothing was found but the two tables of stone; Aaron’s rod and the pot of manna were missing. (Hebrews 9:4 has reference to the ark in the Tabernacle). The rod of Aaron was the emblem of the priestly grace which had accompanied them on their journey and the manna was their food in the wilderness. Both Aaron’s rod and the pot of manna were provisions for the wilderness; they would not have been in keeping with the reign of glory and peace, as well as the rest they now enjoyed. Thus when we are brought into glory we have no more need of priestly intercession and help, nor do we need the manna any longer. But the law was not missing, for as regards that earthly kingdom over which our Lord will yet reign, its foundation and administration will be the law of righteousness.
When the ark had been placed the glory-cloud filled the house. Jehovah had appeared in His glory to dwell in the house. And when that future temple will be on the earth as seen by Ezekiel in his great temple-vision, the glory will return and fill the house, and more than that, the whole earth will be filled with His glory (Ezekiel 43:1-5; Numbers 14:21).
Then Solomon spoke. A great and marvellous dedicatory and intercessory prayer follows. It must be noticed that in all, especially in the bringing of the sacrifices, Solomon assumes the full character of priest. He acts as the king-priest, another Melchizedek, King of Salem. And this he was, king of righteousness in his judgments and king of peace. In all this he foreshadows Him, who is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. “He shall be a priest upon His throne” (Zechariah 6:13) is the still unfulfilled prediction. Now He is upon the Father’s throne as the priest and advocate of His people. When He comes again He will have His own throne and be also a priest. We have therefore in Solomon’s functions in dedicating the temple and in the bringing of the sacrifices a prophetic type of our Lord in His future royal priesthood. First, Solomon turned towards the Most Holy filled with the glory of the Lord and said: “I have surely built Thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for Thee to abide in forever.” Then he blessed the congregation. He mentions once more David, his illustrious father, and the covenant-promise. “And the LORD hath performed His word that He spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit upon the throne of Israel as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel” (verse 20). And yet the covenant-promise had not seen its accomplishment; the failure of Solomon and the passing of the glory witnesses to that. Yet Solomon, his reign of peace and prosperity and especially his great work in the building of the temple foreshadows the great coming fulfillment of the Davidic covenant in the enthroned Christ upon the throne of his father David. A closer study of the great prayer we must leave with the reader. The different petitions are of deep interest and the kingdom characteristics are prominent. “The prayer sets the people under the form of a righteous government, abounding indeed in kindness and forgiveness, yet one which will not hold the guilty innocent; and it presents God as the people’s resource, when the consequences of their sin fall upon them according to the principles laid down by Moses in Deuteronomy and elsewhere” (Synopsis of the Bible). And in the prayer mention is made “that all people of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as do Thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by Thy name” (verse 43). This looks forward to the ingathering of the nations into the kingdom, when nations will be joined to a God-fearing Israel. (See Zechariah 2:11; Zechariah 8:23.) The feast mentioned which followed the dedication feast is the feast of tabernacles. And this is again highly typical, for the feast of tabernacles is as a type unfulfilled. While it pointed back to the time when they were in the wilderness, living in tents and journeying towards the land of promise, it also pointed to the future, when the name of Jehovah was to be known among all the nations of the earth, when the nations would come to worship the Lord of Hosts (Zech. 14). The conjunction of the dedication of the temple with the feast of tabernacles was more than significant, it was prophetic. It is only when the Lord Jesus Christ occupies the throne and He builds the Temple of glory, that the nations will seek after Him and be converted. (See our annotations on Leviticus 23.) And while the king prayed and blessed the people, the people full of happiness and joy blessed the king. Heaven and earth rejoiced. It is the climax of Israel’s history in the land.