James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
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.1 Kings 8:1-9:28
DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE
THE TIME (1 Kings 8:1-2)
Since the temple was completed in the eighth month of the previous year (1 Kings 6:38) and not dedicated until the seventh of the following, how shall we explain the interval? The reason usually assigned is that the king waited for the feast of tabernacles in the fall when one of the greatest assemblies took place, and for this purpose the most appropriate.
THE GRAND PROCESSION (1 Kings 8:3-9)
Observe who were the leading actors (1 Kings 8:3). Also what articles they carried (1 Kings 8:4). The “tabernacle” means the old tabernacle of the wilderness, which had been located at Gibeon and was now to be preserved in the temple at Jerusalem.
Notice the sacrificing on the march (1 Kings 8:5). Notice that it was the original ark of the covenant that was placed in the most holy place of the temple (1 Kings 8:6). “The wings of the cherubim” mean those that Solomon caused to be placed there, and larger than those of Moses’ time which were firmly attached to the ark itself (Exodus 37:7-8). The staves at the end of the ark were drawn out to be seen in the holy place, but not beyond it (1 Kings 8:8). This was to guide the high priest on the day of atonement, that he might be able to enter the most holy place in the thick darkness (Exodus 25:15).
Note what the ark contained (1 Kings 8:9), and compare Hebrews 9:4. This last Scripture should be understood as teaching that the things it names were placed by and not in the ark (see Exodus 16:33; Numbers 17:10).
THE DIVINE ACCEPTANCE OF THE WORK (1 Kings 8:10-11)
It is only necessary to compare these verses with Exodus 40:34, to see the significance of this act of Jehovah. He thus established Himself in Israel and took His seat on the throne of His glory. What satisfaction it must have brought to Solomon, and indeed all the faithful in Israel. What a reward for their endeavors! Oh, if they had only been faithful thereafter, that the Lord might never have departed from them! What a different story this world would have had to tell.
But how glad we should be that that glory is coming back to Israel, and the world is at length to be blessed thereby. Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love her (Psalm 122:6).
SOLOMON’S BLESSING (1 Kings 8:12-21)
Just what is meant by the “thick darkness” (1 Kings 8:12) is not easy to determine unless it is the cloud and pillar of fire of earlier days which indicated
.Jehovah’s presence. The rest of the words of Solomon’s blessing, however, are plain.
THE PRAYER AND BENEDICTION (1 Kings 8:22-61)
For the place where the king stood and knelt see 2 Chronicles 6:13. How strange that the king should have thus ministered and not the high priest? But it was lawful for him to minister about holy things though he might not minister in them.
After the ascription of praise to Jehovah (1 Kings 8:22-30), the prayer contains seven petitions or references to as many occasions when His interposing mercy might be required. Let the student discover them (1 Kings 8:31-53).
The chapter closes with an account of the surpassing number of sacrifices presented and the rejoicing of the people for the goodness of God.
JEHOVAH’S RESPONSE (1 Kings 9:1-9)
If the words of this vision are studied carefully they will be found to contain an answer to all Solomon’s petitions.
1 Kings 9:7-9, however, are a prophecy finding a sad fulfillment in our time because of Israel’s unfaithfulness. Their location in the record at this point leads up to the story of the king’s worldly ambitions which were the beginning of the nation’s decline.
THE COMPENSATION OF THE KING OF TYRE (1 Kings 9:10-14)
For the twenty years that Hiram the king aided Solomon (1 Kings 9:10), Solomon gave him twenty cities, a city a year. Doubtless they were adjacent to his territory and were those which never had been conquered by Israel and were still inhabited by Canaanites.
These cities being unacceptable to him (1 Kings 9:12-13), he was recompensed in some other way, and Solomon took control of them in his own hands and peopled them with Israelites (2 Chronicles 8:2).
THE LEVY (1 Kings 9:15-25)
The dedication of the temple seems to close at verse 25, which is why the preceding verses about the levy are included in this lesson, though their exact bearing upon it may not appear at first sight. Perhaps the connection is discovered by going back to 1 Kings 5:13 and the following verses.
However, the reason for the levy of both men and money is clear from the many great works Solomon undertook as indicated in this chapter. Observe that the people levied upon (1 Kings 9:20-22) were the Canaanites who had not been subdued or exterminated at the conquest. (See 2 Chronicles 2:18.) As prisoners of war they did the drudgery, while the men of Israel had the more honorable employment.
1. At what period of the year did this ceremony occur?
2. What evidence have we that the Mosaic tabernacle had been preserved all this time?
3. Have you read Hebrews 9:4, and if so, how would you explain it?
4. How did God indicate His acceptance of the work?
5. Memorize Psalms 122.
6. How would you explain the ministering of the king on this occasion?
7. Name the subjects of the seven petitions of Solomon’s prayer.
8. Why did Solomon make levies of men and money at this time?
9. Who were especially levied upon and why?
10. With what general statement of Solomon’s religious spirit does the lesson close?