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.
Verse 1. - Then [i.e., when the work of the house of the Lord was practically ended, as stated in 1 Kings 7:51. But the precise date of the dedication is a matter of dispute and uncertainty. We know that it took place in the seventh month of the year, but of what year we cannot be so sure. Was it the same year in the eighth month of which (1 Kings 6:38) the house was finished (Ewald)? Was the dedication, that is to say, one month anterior to the completion of the house and its appointments? Or are we to understand "the seventh month" to mean the Ethanim of the following year (Bahr)? are we to assign the dedication, that is, to a date eleven months after completion? Or, finally, are we to believe with the Vat. LXX. μετὰ ἔικοσι ἔτη (the LXX. text is here, however, in great confusion), that the temple was not dedicated until the palaces were also built (see 1 Kings 9:1-9); are we to hold, i.e., that though finished and ready for use, it remained unused for a period of thirteen years (Thenius, Keil)? These are questions which we cannot perhaps answer with absolute certainty, but, to my mind, every consideration is in favour of the date first mentioned, i.e., the seventh month of the eleventh year of Solomon's reign. It is true Bahr says that this opinion "needs no refutation," while Keil pronounces it directly at variance with 1 Kings 7:51." But it is worth while to inquire whether this is so? And, first, as to the bearing of the passage just cited, "So was ended all the work which," etc., taken in connexion with 1 Kings 8:1, "Then Solomon assembled," etc. To the cursory reader it appears no doubt as it this "then" must refer to the completion of the work of which we have just heard, and which was not effected until the eighth month of the year (1 Kings 6:38). But
(1) אָז though probably a mark of time ( = tune), is clearly a word of great latitude of meaning, and may apply as well to one month before completion (the time specified in 1 Kings 7:51) as to eleven months after; and
(2) it would be quite consistent with the usus loquendi of the sacred writers to describe the temple as finished, when in reality it was incomplete in a few minor particulars (De minimis non curat scriptura). Further more, if the temple was finished in every detail, and in all its furniture and appointments, in the eighth month, as we learn from 1 Kings 6:38, we may be perfectly sure it would or could be practically finished - finished so as to be ready for consecration - by the seventh month. Indeed, it is not an unreasonable presumption, that it hardly would be perfect and complete on the day of dedication. Those who have built or restored churches, not to speak of cathedrals, which would perhaps afford a closer analogy to the temple, know how extremely difficult, if not impossible, it is to have every detail finished and arranged for the day of consecration. Some few accidental omissions will have to be supplied afterwards, or experience will suggest certain alterations and improvements which have to be made. There is no inherent improbability, therefore, that the temple should be dedicated in the seventh month, though it was not finished לְכָל דְּבָרָיו until the eighth month, i.e., three or four weeks later. And there was a strong reason why the dedication should take place at the earliest possible date. There had been a long period of preparation, extending back into the preceding reign (1 Chronicles 28, 29.); the dedication consequently had long been eagerly looked for; moreover the erection had evidently been hurried forward, a prodigious number of labourers having been employed in order to expedite the work. It is almost inconceivable, therefore, that, after these energetic measures had been taken, either the king or the nation should have been content to wait thirteen years - nearly twice the time it had taken to build the temple - until the palaces, which were entirely independent and secular buildings, were also completed. If the great national sanctuary, which was the glory of the land, was ready for use, as we know it was, we can hardly believe, considering the natural eagerness and impatience of men, that the tribes of Israel, or their ambitious monarch, would, of their own choice, defer the consecration for an indefinite number of years. It would appear consequently that it is the view that the dedication was postponed for thirteen years "hardly needs discussion" (see below on 1 Kings 9:1). And the same considerations apply, though perhaps with diminished force, to their waiting one year. For if it be said that the delay was occasioned by the desire to connect the dedication with the feast of tabernacles, which was par excellence the feast of the year (הֶחָג) the answer is that it is more likely that the work would be hurried on by the employment of additional hands, if need be, or that the edifice would be consecrated, though not complete in all its details, at the feast of the eleventh year, than that, for the sake of one month, they should wait eleven months. And if the objection be raised that a feeling of religious awe would forbid the dedication of an imperfect building, or of a perfect building with imperfect arrangements, it is easy to reply that both building and furniture may have been practically complete, and may have been believed at the time to be perfect, but that the experience of the first few days suggested a few alterations or additions which threw the completion of the work in all its particulars into the eighth month. It is worthy of notice that Josephus distinctly states that the dedication was in the seventh month of the eighth year (Ant. 8:04. 1) ] Solomon assembled [יַקְהֵל. See Ewald, 233 b] the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief [Heb. princes] of the fathers of the children of Israel. [This great assembly (compare Daniel 3:2) can hardly be said to have been suggested to Solomon by the precedent afforded by David (Keil), when bringing up the ark (2 Samuel 6:1), for it was only natural that he should summon the representatives of the people to witness an event of such profound importance in the national history, as the dedication, after years of waiting (2 Samuel 7:6-13), of a national sanctuary intended to supersede the tabernacle, at which for five centuries their forefathers had worshipped. And the more so, as they had been called together by David to con-salt about the erection (1 Chronicles 28:1), and had offered willingly of their treasures (1 Chronicles 29:6-9) towards its decoration. It is inconceivable, therefore, that the temple of the Jews could have been formally opened, except in the presence of the "elders and heads of the tribes." Nor can we (with Rawlinson) see a contrast between the more popular proceedings of David, who "gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand (2 Samuel 6:1), and the statelier, more aristocratic system of his son, who merely summons the chief men;" for Solomon's "eiders," etc. (Deuteronomy 16:18; 1 Samuel 16:4; 1 Samuel 30:26-31), may well have equalled David's "chosen men" in number. It is quite likely that there was more formality and stateliness in this latter ease, but it was practically the same class of persons, i.e., the leading men by birth, talents, or prowess, that were present on both occasions. In fact, it was the Jewish Church by representation] unto King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up [Heb. to bring up] the ark of the covenant of the Lord [so called because it contained the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with the children of Israel (ver. 9). The temple being really, or principally, a receptacle for the ark, the removal of this venerated relic to its place in the oracle is narrated first, as being of the first importance] out of the city of David, which is Zion. [Cf. 2 Samuel 6:12, 17.]
And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
Verse 2. - And all the men of Israel [not all the heads of the tribes just mentioned (ver. 1), as Keil, but all who came to the feast, as every male Israelite was under obligation to do (Deuteronomy 16:16) ] assembled themselves unto King Solomon at the feast [the Heb. word הֶחָג (with the art.) always means the feast of tabernacles. The same word is used of the feast of passover (Exodus 23:15) and pentecost (ib. ver. 16), but "the feast" here can only mean that of tabernacles. As the "feast of ingathering" (Exodus 23:16), as commemorating the deliverance from Egypt (Leviticus 23:43), and as peculiarly a social festival (ib. vers. 40-42; Numbers 29:12 sqq.), it was the most joyous as well as the greatest (?Jos., Ant. 8:04. 1) gathering of the year. (Compare the Jewish saying of a later date: "He who has never seen the rejoicing at the pouring out of the water of Siloam, has never seen rejoicing in his life.") It was doubtless for this reason that tabernacles was selected for the dedication. A special feast of dedication, however, was held for seven days before the feast of tabernacles proper commenced (see on ver. 65). It did not displace that great feast, however (Stanley), but simply preceded it. It is worthy of notice that Jeroboam selected the same feast (1 Kings 12:32) for the inauguration of his new cultus. The idea of Josephus, that the feast of tabernacles "happened to coincide with the dedication" hardly seems probable] in the month Ethanim [variously interpreted to mean gifts, i.e., fruits (Thenius), flowing streams (Gesenius) - it falls about the time of the early rains - and equinox (Bottcher) ], which is the seventh month. [This is added because the month was subsequently known as Tisri (see on 1 Kings 6:1), or to show that "the feast" was the feast of tabernacles.]
And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
Verse 3. - And all the elders of Israel came [Not a mere repetition. The men who were summoned to Jerusalem (ver. 1) were all present, of their own accord, to witness the removal], and the priests took up the ark. tin the parallel account in 2 Chronicles 5:4, we read that "the Levites took up the ark." But there is no contradiction, as has been too readily supposed. For ver. 7 of the Chronicles," the priests brought in the ark," etc., confirms the statement of the text. And the explanation is suggested in ver. 5 of the same chapter, "These did the priests, the Levites (so the Heb.) bring up." Same expression in Joshua 3:3. All the priests were Levites - Keil translates, "the Levitical priests" - and this somewhat singular expression is no doubt used to remind us that such was the case. Nor need it cause us any surprise to find the priests employed in this service. It is true that the ark was given into the charge of the Kohathite Levites (Numbers 3:30, 31); and it was their duty to bear it (Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9; Numbers 10:21; cf. 1 Chronicles 15:2, 11, 12). But the real care and supervision of the ark always belonged to the sons of Aaron. It was their office, e.g., to put on or take off the covering of the ark and of the vessels, which the Levites were forbidden directly to touch (Numbers 4:5-15). It was quite in accordance with the spirit of these provisions that Solomon now entrusted the carriage of the ark to the superior order. But more than that, Solomon was not without precedent to justify his choice, indeed, we may see in his selection of the priests a minute mark of truth, amounting almost to an undo-signed coincidence. For we find that on occasions of extraordinary solemnity - at the crossing of the Jordan, e.g., (Joshua 3:6, 15, 17), and at the siege of Jericho (Joshua 6:6), the priests had borne the ark (cf. 1 Samuel 4:4; 1 Chronicles 15:11, 12). It was no doubt these familiar precedents guided Solomon, or the ecclesiastical authorities, in their selection of the priests on this occasion. A "settled place," a "house of cedars" (2 Samuel 7:7), "having now been found for the ark" to abide in, after it had "dwelt in curtains" for 500 years, it was taking its last journey, and in order to mark this journey as exceptional, in order to show both the ark and the house the greater reverence, it was determined that it should be borne for the last time by the priests. Keil suggests that the ark may have been uncovered, but this is very improbable. Why, we may ask, were coverings provided, and their use prescribed (Numbers 4:5-15), if they were to be arbitrarily dispensed with? He also adds that Levites were not allowed to enter the most holy place. But neither, it may be added, was this lawful for the priests. Levites and priests might enter that day, because the house was not then dedicated. The cloud (ver. 10) claimed it for God.
And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
Verse 4. - And they brought up the ark of the Lord [which had now been for nearly 40 years "in the tabernacle that David had pitched for it" on the Mount Zion (2 Samuel 6:17) ], and the tabernacle of the congregation [Heb, "the tabernacle of meeting" (Exodus 29:42, 46. See Dict. Bib. 2. p. 1414; Bahr, Symbolik, 1:80, 81). This had been for many years at Gibeon. (Cf. ch. 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:8; 1 Chronicles 16:39. See note on ch. 3:4.) The tabernacle of Mount Zion is never called "the tabernacle of the congregation" - indeed, it is expressly dis-tingnished from it, 2 Chronicles 1:3, 4. The ark and the tabernacle were now reunited in the temple of Solomon, thus "marking the identity and continuity of the life and ritual of the Hebrew Church" (Wordsworth) ], and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle [Perhaps the brazen altar. Certainly the altar of incense, the table of shewbread, the candlestick, and also the brazen serpent (Stanley) ], even those did the priests and Levites bring up. [We are hardly justified in saying (as Keil, al.) that the Levites carried all but the ark. The text rather favours the view that the priests assisted in bringing up the tabernacle and its furniture. So 2 Chronicles 5:5. Neither the tabernacle nor its vessels were designed for further use in the temple; the latter had been replaced by vessels better suited to the enlarged sanctuary - they were simply preserved, so far as we know, as relics of the past. in the treasury or side chambers.
And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
Verse 5. - And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him were with him; before the ark [Prayers and sacrifices alike were offered toward the mercy seat (Psalm 28:2; cf. Exodus 25:22) ], sacrificing sheep and oxen [apparently the ark festal en route (cf. 2 Samuel 6:18) whilst the sacrifices were offered. The object of the sacrifice was to testify the grateful joy of the people at the proximate realization of their hopes. There may have been also in the background the idea of averting the Divine anger, of making a propitiation for possible errors and imperfections in their service. There were tragedies connected with the removal of the ark in time past (1 Samuel 4:17; 1 Samuel 6:19; 2 Samuel 6:7) which, we may be sure, were not altogether forgotten on this occasion] that could not be told or numbered for multitude. [Cf. 2 Samuel 6:13. But the sacrifices on that occasion were on a much smaller scale (1 Chronicles 15:26). Josephus adds (Ant. 8:04. 1), that a vast quantity of incense was burnt, and that men preceded the ark, singing and dancing, until it reached its destination].
And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
Verse 6. - And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant unto his [i.e., its. But this word is never found in the A.V. It has come into use since the date of our translation] place [cf. 1 Kings 6:19] into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place [Heb. holy of holies], even under the wings of the cherubims [1 Kings 6:27. Whether the ark stood with its length east and west, or north and south, it is somewhat difficult to decide. But see on ver. 8]. Ver 7. - For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered [יָסֹכוּ from סָכַך texit; hence, סֻכָּה, booth; LXX. περιεκάλυπτον, i.e., overshadowed and concealed. This word is of some importance as showing that the ark would thenceforward and always be in complete darkness, under the outstretched wings of the cherubim - a fact which suggests the true explanation of the following verse] the ark and the staves thereof above [Heb. from above].
For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
Verse 8. - And they drew out [It is uncertain whether יַאֲרִכוּ is transitive, as our A.V. renders it, and as in 1 Kings 3:14 = lengthen, in which case, however, it should almost be followed by אֵת, or intransitive, as in Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Deuteronomy 25:15, when the meaning would be, "The staves were long," but the latter rendering has the support of most scholars. As the oracle in the tabernacle was a cube of ten cubits, they cannot have been more than eight or nine cubits, and it is doubtful whether, the ark being only 2.5 cubits, they would be so long. Their length is mentioned in order to account for the ends being seen. It is immaterial to the meaning of the passage, however, which interpretation we put upon this verb. If we adhere to the A.V. then we must understand that, as it was forbidden to remove the staves from the rings at the corners of the ark (Exodus 25:12-15), they drew the staves forward towards one end of the ark; that they removed the staves altogether from the ark (Stanley) is a view to which the text lends no support] the staves, that the ends [Heb. heads. It is possible the ends of the staves were fitted with knobs. This would prevent their removal] of the staves were seen out in [Heb. from] the holy place [Marg. ark, the word found in the Chronicles v.9. It is questionable, however, whether הַקֹּדֶשׁ is ever used, by itself, of the ark (Gesen., Thesaurus, s.v.) It may be used of the most holy place (see on ver. 10), but here it would appear to designate the הֵיכָל (1 Kings 6:17), the body or "temple of the house" (Exodus 26:33; Hebrews 9:2). Its meaning appears to be so defined by the next words] before the oracle [i.e., a person standing in the holy place, but at the west end, near the entrance to the oracle (1 Kings 6:31), could see the ends of the staves. Several questions of considerable nicety suggest themselves here.
1. What was the position of the ark? Did it stand, that is to say, east and west, or north and south under the wings of the cherubim?
2. What was the position of the staves? Were they attached to the ends or to the sides of the ark?
3. How could the ends of the staves be seen, and by whom and when - on the occasion of the dedication only or in later years?
4. Why has our author recorded this circumstance? As to
1. the balance of evidence is in favour of the ark having stood north and south, in a line, that is, with the wings of the cherubim. For
(1) only thus apparently could the cherubim have "covered the ark and the staves thereof."
(2) If it had been otherwise, the "cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat," presuming that they were retained in the temple, would have had an unequal and one-sided position, for instead of being equally prominent, they would have stood, one with the back, the other with the face to the entrance and the holy place.
(3) Had the ark stood east and west the projecting staves would surely have been in the high priest's way in the performance of his solemn functions (Leviticus 16:12-15). That they served to guide him to the mercy seat is of course mere conjecture, and as such of no weight.
2. As to the staves, Josephus states (Ant. 3:07. 5) that they ran along the sides of the ark, and this would appear to be the natural and proper arrangement. It follows hence again that they cannot have been more than eight or nine cubits long, inasmuch as they found a place between the bodies of the cherubim, which cannot have been more than nine cubits apart.
3. The explanation of the Rabbins is that the ends of the staves were not really seen, but that they projected into the curtain and so made two visible protrusions or prominences. But this view hardly satisfies the requirements of the text, and it assumes that the ark stood east and west, which we have found good reason to doubt. But even if this were so, it is doubtful whether the staves, so long as they remained in the rings, could be made to reach to the door of the oracle, unless indeed they were lengthened for the purpose. How then were they seen? The following considerations may assist us to answer this question.
(1) The oracle, of course, in its normal state was in perfect darkness (ver. 12). Once a year, however, a gleam of light was admitted, when the curtain was drawn partially aside to permit of the high priest's entrance.
(2) When the curtain was drawn to one (probably the left) side, the light would fall, not on the ark, but on the ends of the staves projecting from the right or north end of the ark, which would thus be distinctly visible to the high priest. But
(3) at this time the high priest was not alone in the holy place. It was not required that "there should be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation," except when the high priest went in to make an atonement for the holy place (Leviticus 16:17). At an earlier stage of the service he would seem to have required assistance. According to the Mishna (Yoma), a priest held the basin of blood and stirred it to prevent coagulation, at the time of his first entry. Moreover
(4) his extremely doubtful whether the high priest can have drawn aside the curtain himself. Whether he entered three or four times on that day, at his first entry his hands were certainly full. If he carried "a censer full of burning coals of fire".. "and his hands (חָפְנָיו, both fits) full of sweet incense beaten small" (ib. ver. 12), it is clear that some other person must have drawn aside the veil for him. It is to this person, I take it, the priest who was privileged to draw aside the curtain, and possibly to others standing near - certainly to the high priest - that the ends of the staves were visible. Nor would a reverent look directed towards these objects - made originally for the Levites to handle - involve unhallowed curiosity. And if this were so, it would help to explain (4) the mention of this circumstance by our author. If it were a fact that year by year a gleam of light fell upon the staves, and if priest after priest testified of what he had seen, up to the time of writing ("unto this day;" see below), we can readily understand why a circumstance of so much interest should be recorded. And we have not an adequate explanation of its mention here, if we are to understand that the staves were seen on the day of dedication, when of course they must have been visible, and never afterwards, or that the staves were partially drawn out of their rings in order to show that the ark was now at rest], and there they are unto this day. [Same expression 1 Kings 9:21; 1 Kings 12:19; 2 Kings 8:22. At the date of the publication of this book, the temple was of course destroyed (2 Kings 25:9), so that at that day the staves were not there. But the explanation is very simple. Our historian has copied the words he found in the MS. he was using.]
There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
Verse 9. - There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there [Exodus 25:16; Exodus 40:20; Deuteronomy 10:5. This statement appears to be at variance with Hebrews 9:4, which mentions "the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded," as in the ark, along with "the tables of the covenant." And it is to be observed that, while our text excludes these relics from the ark (temp. Solomon), no other scripture save that just cited expressly includes them. In Exodus 16:34 and Numbers 17:25 (Heb. A.V., Numbers 17:10) they are commanded to be laid up "before the testimony," words which no doubt may mean, as they were long interpreted to mean, "before the tables of testimony in the ark" - observe, the words are "before the testimony," not "before the ark" - but which are now generally thought to import "in front of the ark which con-rained the testimony." We know the book of the law was put "at the side (מִצַּד) of the ark" (Deuteronomy 31:26), and hence it is held by some that the golden pot, etc., occupied a similar position. It seems preferable, however, considering the distinct statement of St. Paul, or the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which, to say the least, embodies Jewish tradition, to adhere to the ancient interpretation that the golden pot of manna and Aaron's rod were in the ark. And this in no wise conflicts with the statement of the text, for these treasures might well have been removed by the Philistines, whose first thought, we may be sure, would be to open their new acquisition. It is not improbable, indeed, that the object of the men of Bethshemesh in looking into the ark was to see whether these treasures were still there. For if the golden pot ever was in the ark, we can hardly suppose it would escape the rapacity of the Philistines, who would leave the two tables of stone as things of no value. Indeed, it is just possible that the trespass offering, the golden mice, etc., were designed as a return for the golden pot which had been removed. And the statement of the text, "there was nothing," etc., almost implies that there had been something there at one time (see Alford on Hebrews 9:4). It seem probable, therefore, that the golden pot and Aaron's rod were originally deposited "before the testimony" in the ark; that they were removed during its captivity (1 Samuel 5:6.); and that the sacrilege was discovered at Bethshemesh (1 Samuel 6:19). This last mentioned episode explains how it came to be known that "there was nothing," etc. It is hardly likely after that memorable visitation that Solomon could have opened the ark and taken out the two relics, as Rawlinson suggests. Nor have we any warrant for the view that the mercy seat, with the cherubs, was removed to make way for a new lid without them, and so the interior of the ark was disclosed to view (Stanley) ] at Horeb [See Exodus 3:1; Exodus 17:6; Exodus 33:6; 1 Kings 19:8. This name, which means dry ground, desert, would appear to have belonged to two or three different places in the wilderness. But as the name of the place where the law was given and the covenant with God made (Deuteronomy 4:10, 13) it became subsequently a nomen generale for the whole of the Sinaitic region (Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1326). Here the mount of the law is clearly meant] when [Heb. which, אֲשֶׁר is occasionally found in the sense of quum, as in Deuteronomy 11:6; Psalm 139:15; 2 Chronicles 35:20; cf. 1 Kings 9:10 (Gesen., Thessalonians, s.v.) ] the Lord made a covenant [Heb. cut; see note on 1 Kings 5:12. בְּרִית is to be understood. Same ellipsis in 1 Samuel 20:16; 1 Samuel 22:8] with the children of Israel when they came [Heb. in their coming] out of the land of Egypt. [Exodus 34:27, 28; Deuteronomy 4:13.]
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
Verse 10. - And it came to pass, when the priests were come out [Rather, as the priests came out] of the holy place [It has been supposed that "the holy" (הַקֹּדֶשׁ) is here put for the most holy place, as in Ezekiel 41:23. But this is not by any means the necessary interpretation. The cloud may obviously have filled the entire building only as the priests left it. It would seem, however, from verse 11 as if the priests, having left the oracle, were about to min later in the holy place], that the cloud [Observe the article; the well known cloud which betokened the Divine presence. It had rested upon the tabernacle on the day that it was dedicated (Exodus 40:34), had ac companied it in its journeys (ib. ver. 38), and had apparently been specially displayed at certain junctures in the history of Israel (Numbers 12:5, 10; Numbers 16:42; Deuteronomy 31:15). ]t was thus the acknowledged symbol of God's presence, and as such was a visible sign that He now accepted the temple, as He had formerly accepted the tabernacle, as His shrine and dwelling place. It is hardly correct to identify the cloud with the Shechinah of the Targums (Rawlinson), for it is noticeable that the Targums never render "the cloud" or "the glory" by "the Shechinah." In fact, as regards the use of the word by Jewish writers, it would seem to be a periphrasis for God (Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1241). We may see in the cloud, however, the seat of the Shechinah (Kitto, Cyclopedia, 3. p. 821) filled the house of the Lord.
So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
Verse 11. - So that the priests could not stand to rainwater because of the cloud [They were overpowered by the manifestation, precisely as Moses had been before (Exodus 40:35). It was at the moment when the singers and trumpeters, standing at the east end of the altar, began their service of praise - and the reappearance of the priests may well have been the signal for them to begin (2 Chronicles 5:13) - that "the house was filled with a cloud." Possibly the priests were about to burn incense. Evidently ministrations of some sort were intended and were interrupted. The exact correspondence with Exodus 40:35 (cf. Ezekiel 44:4) is not to be overlooked. The idea obviously is that the Divine approval vouchsafed to the tabernacle was now in turn granted to the temple], for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. [Is the "glory of the Lord" identical with the cloud, or is something additional intended by these words? It is certainly noticeable that what ver. 10 says of the cloud - that it "filled the house" - ver. 11 says of the glory. It is also true that there is no mention of any light or fire. And the "darkness" of ver. 12 might naturally seem to refer to the cloud, and therefore to exclude the idea of light. But surely the words כְּבוד יְיָ are to be interpreted here by their signification and use elsewhere, and we find "the glory of the Lord elsewhere mentioned as something distinct from the cloud. We must remember that what by day was a pillar of cloud, by night was a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21, 22). In Exodus 19:9, 16, the mention of the "thick cloud" is followed by the statement that "Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire" (ver. 18). Similarly, in Exodus 24, we are told that "the glory of the Lord appeared upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it (the glory?) six days; and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire " (vers. 16, 17). But perhaps the most decisive passage in this connexion is Exodus 40:34, where we are told that "the cloud abode upon" the tent of meeting, while "the glory of the Lord filled the (interior of the) tabernacle." Compare Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19, 42. It would appear, therefore, that "the glory of the Lord" was not the cloud, but, as the word almost seems to imply, a "light from heaven above the brightness of the sun" (Acts 26:13; cf. Revelation 1:14, 16). It is hardly necessary to add that the glory, though apparently resident in the cloud, was not always luminous; the cloud veiled it from the eyes of men.
Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
Verse 12. - Then spake Solomon [in a transport of emotion at the sight. The cloud and the glory proved that his pious work was accepted. These blessed tokens assured him that "the Lord was there" (Ezekiel 48:35); that the incomprehensible Godhead had entered the earthly shrine he had prepared, and would dwell there], The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. [Heb. עֲרָפֶל, lit., darkness of clouds. When did God speak of dwelling in dark cloud? The reference, probably, is to Exodus 19:9; Exodus 20:21, Deuteronomy 4:11; Exodus 5:22 (note that, in the three last cited passages, this same word is used, and in the last two in connexion with cloud, which would appear to be a practically synonymous term), but especially to Leviticus 16:2, "I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." Solomon had thus every warrant for connecting a theophany with the thick dark cloud. Cf. Psalm 18:11; Psalm 97:2. The words cannot refer to "the holy of holies not lighted by windows" (Wordsworth).
I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
Verse 13. - I have surely built [Heb. to build, I have built] thee a house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in forever. [The temple was primarily, as already remarked, a shrine for the ark, between the cherubim of the mercy seat of which God dwelt. This was a מָכֹון (from כוּן, statuit), a settled place. The tabernacle was but a poor and transitory abode, partaking of the frailty of the shepherd's tent (Isaiah 38:12). For עולָמִים (αἰῶνες), cf. Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 51:9; Daniel 9:24; Psalm 145:13.
And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
Verse 14. - And the king turned his face about [He had been earnestly gazing toward the house where the cloud appeared. He now faced the congregation] and blessed [This word here, and in ver. 55, is used somewhat loosely. The blessing was in both cases addressed to God. The Hebrew king was not authorized to bless the people - that was the prerogative of the priests (Numbers 6:23; cf. Leviticus 9:22), and he is only said to bless here as felicitating, as wishing them a blessing. Dean Stanley ] "Jewish Ch.," vol. 2. p 218) characteristically asserts that Solomon "performed the highest sacerdotal act of solemn benediction." But the same word is used in ver. 66, of the people blessing the king. "Did the people," as Wordsworth pertinently asks, "also perform a priestly act?" The word is elsewhere used of saluting. See note on ver. 66, and Gesen. s.v.] all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood); [Heb. were standing (עֹמֵד); "stood" conveys the idea that the congregation rose as Solomon spoke, whereas they were standing already in the temple courts.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
Verse 15. - And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel [1 Kings 1:48], which spake with his mouth unto [or, concerning; אֵל after verbs of speaking has the force of de (Genesis 20:2; Jeremiah 40:16; Psalm 69:27). David my father [The words were really spoken to Nathan], and hath with his hand [i.e., power; cf. Job 34:20; Acts 4:28; Acts 13:11; Ezra 7:6] fulfilled it [the spoken word He has fulfilled in deed], saying, [The reference is to 2 Samuel 7, of which Solomon merely gives the substance. Much of what he says here is not recorded there.]
Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
Verse 16. - Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel, to build a house, that my name might be therein [The chronicler adds here, "Neither chose I any man to be ruler," etc. Probably our account comes nearer to the words actually spoken. The speech in the Chronicles looks as if it had been somewhat amplified, though it only completes the sense (Rawlinson)], but I chose David to be over my people Israel. [Cf. Psalm 78:70. This psalm pursues much the same line of thought as this address.]
And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
Verse 17. - And it was in the heart of David my father [2 Samuel 7:2; 1 Chronicles 17:1] to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
Verse 18. - And the Lord said unto David my father [Not, perhaps, totidem verbis. The Divine approval was implied in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, and it may have been expressed at the same time. The narratives of Scripture are necessarily greatly condensed], Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
Verse 19. - Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house [Wordsworth observes that it was filial reverence prevented Solomon's mentioning the cause of this prohibition which, however, is mentioned with appropriate humility by David himself (1 Chronicles 22:8) ]; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name. [2 Samuel 7:11, 12. The recurrence of "the name" of the Lord is to be noticed (see vers. 16, 17, 18, 29, 48, etc.) The name of God is the expression to man of Has nature, attributes, etc.]
And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on 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 the Lord hath performed [Same word as in 1 Kings 2:4. Lit., "hath raised up" (LXX. ἀνέστησε). Also same word as "risen up" (LXX. ἀνέστην) below, and as "set up" in 2 Samuel 7:12. We might translate "established" throughout] his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel [ch. 1:48], as the Lord promised [2 Samuel 7:12], and have built an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel [ib. ver. 13].
And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Verse 21. - And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord [Hence its name, "the ark of the covenant" (Exodus 34:28; cf. Deuteronomy 9:11)] which he made with our forefathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt [vers. 9, 16]. SECTION II. - The Prayer. The prayer of dedication, properly so called, now begins. This solemn and beautiful composition was probably copied by our author from the "Book of the Acts of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:41), possibly from the "Book of Nathan the prophet" (2 Chronicles 9:29). It was evidently committed to writing beforehand, and would, no doubt, as a matter of course, be religiously preserved. The later criticism objects to its authenticity that the many references to the Pentateuch (compare ver. 12 with Exodus 19:9; ver. 31 with Exodus 22:11, Leviticus 5:1; ver. 33 with Leviticus 26:17, Deuteronomy 28:25; ver. 36 with Leviticus 26:25; ver. 50 with Leviticus 26:40, 42; ver. 51 with Deuteronomy 4:20, etc.) prove it to be of a later date. Ewald assigns it to the seventh century B.C.; but this is simply to beg the question of the date of the Pentateuch. It is obviously open to reply that these references only prove that the king was acquainted, as he was bound to be (Deuteronomy 17:18), with the words of the law. It divides itself into three parts. The first (vers. 22-30) is general; the second (vers. 31-53) consists of seven special petitions; the last (vers. 50-53) consists of a general conclusion and appeal to God's covenant mercy.
And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
Verse 22. - And Solomon stood [i.e., took his stand (LXX. ἀνέστη). Not "was standing." It was but for a moment, however, for we find him presently kneeling (ver. 54; 2 Chronicles 6:13). The latter passage informs us that he both stood and knelt upon a "brazen scaffold," three cubits high] before the altar of the Lord [i.e., the brazen altar of sacrifice. The platform or scaffold was "set in the midst of the court" (2 Chronicles l.c.) All these rites took place in the open air. The king bad no place within the edifice] in the presence [the word is not to be pressed to mean "facing the people." It is hardly likely he would pray towards the people - he was their προφήτης, i.e., he spoke for them to God - or turn his back on the sacred Presence just manifested], and spread forth his hands towards heaven: [one attitude of earnest prayer thoughout the East, as may be seen at the present day amongst the Mohammedans. (See Lane's "Modern Egyptians," ch. 3, "Religion and Laws.") So completely was this posture identified with supplication that to "lift up the hands" came to be a synonym for prayer (Exodus 9:29, 33; Psalm 44:20; Psalm 143:6; Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 65:2.) ]
And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
Verse 23. - And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee [Similar words are found in Exodus 15:11; Psalm 86:8, etc. They do not at all imply the existence of other gods, but are explained by other passages (e.g., ver. 60; Deuteronomy 4:39, "the Lord He is God and none else;" 2 Samuel 7:22; 2 Samuel 22:32) as meaning that the God of Israel stands alone, and alone is God. It would be strange, indeed, if the people whose great peculium was the unity of the Godhead (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 42:8) recognized other deities. Observe: Solomon begins his prayer with an act of praise; with a recognition at once grateful and graceful of God's past mercies (cf. Psalm 65:1, 2; Philippians 4:6). Exandit Dominus invocantem, quem laudantem vidit" (Augustine) ], in heaven above, or on earth beneath [Joshua 2:11], who keepest covenant and mercy [same words in Deuteronomy 7:9] with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart. [cf. ch. 2:4.]
Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
Verse 24. - Who hast kept with thy servant David my father [Solomon sees in this a special pledge of God's faithfulness and truth] that thou promisedst [Heb. spakest, same word as below. The alteration in the A.V. obscures the connexion]: thou spakest also [Heb. and thou spakest, i.e., "yea," or "for thou spakest"] with thy mouth and hast fulfilled it with thine hand [ver. 15, and ch. 3:6. The completion of the house, following the establishment of Solomon upon the throne, was to him proof conclusive that the promise of 2 Samuel 7. had received its fulfilment], as it is this day.
Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
Verse 25. - Therefore now [Heb. And now. The promise has been but partially fulfilled. The house is built; he now prays that the succession may be continued in David's line] keep [cf. ver. 24, "thou hast kept"] with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst [Heb. spakest to, as above] him, saying [The reference is of course to the great promise of 2 Samuel 7:12-16], There shall not fall thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel [cf. 1 Kings 2:4], so that [marg., if only. As to the condition, see note on 1 Kings 2:4, and cf. 1 Kings 6:12, 13] thy children take heed to [Heb. keep. Same word as above. The repetition is suggestive. God's keeping His promise was contingent on their keeping His commandments] their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
Verse 26. - And now, O God [The LXX., Vulg., Syr., and Arab. read, O Lord God, as do many MSS. But the word is more likely to have been inserted (in conformity with vers. 23, 25) than to have been left out] let thy word [The Keri has thy words. Keil sees here a reference to "all the words" of 2 Samuel 7:17; but this, especially when the reading is doubtful, is somewhat too remote], I pray thee, be verified [יֵאָמֵן optative form. Gesen., Gram. 126. 2] which thou spakest [Psalm 132:14] unto thy servant David my father.
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
Verse 27. - But [כִּי. Bahr refers for this use of the word to 1 Samuel 29:8; 1 Kings 11:22; 2 Kings 8:13; Jeremiah 23:18] will God indeed [Web. verily; same root as that of preceding verb, "verified." The repetition shows the connexion of thought. "But can these words be verified? Will God verily," etc.] dwell on the earth? behold the heaven and heaven of heavens [Same expression Deuteronomy 10:14. Cf. Psalm 115:16; Psalm 148:4; Isaiah 66:1. The Jewish belief respecting the seven heavens (see Wetstein on 2 Corinthians 12:2; Stanley, "Corinthians," l.c.) is of much later date, and a reference to it, or to the belief of some Rabbins in two heavens (after Deuteronomy 10:14), is altogether out of the question. The "heaven of heavens" = "all the spaces of heaven, however vast and infinite" (Gesen., cf. Psalm 148:4). The analogy of "holy of holies" would, however, suggest that not all the heavens, but the highest heavens are intended] cannot contain thee; how much less [אַפ כִּי: Ewald, 354 c] this house that I have builded? [Two points are to be noticed here.
(1) Solomon never denies for a moment that the temple was a real habitation of Jehovah, or that a real presence was manifested there. He only denies that the Deity is contained in earthly temples
(2) He had no unworthy ideas - such as were prevalent in that age - of God as a local deity, limited to space. The words clearly prove his grasp of the omnipresence and infinity of God. With this passage compare Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 66:1 (quoted in Acts 7:49), and Acts 17:24.] Ver 28. - Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant [ = the prayer I now offer, which is that thou wilt hear all future prayers offered here, mine and my people's] and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer [Three words are used here, תְּחִנָּה תְּפִלָה, and רנָּה. The first (from הִתְפָלַל, precatus est; see ver. 29) is apparently a general term for prayer; the second (from חָנַן, propitius fuit) is properly a cry for mercy; hence an earnest prayer or supplication; while the third signifies a joyful cry; hence a mournful cry or prayer] which thy servant prayeth before thee today.
Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
Verse 29. - That thine eyes may be open [This anthropomorphism does not conflict with what was said under ver. 27] toward this house night and day [not so much to watch over it as to see the worship and prayer offered there], even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there [cf. Ezekiel 48:35, and vers. 18. 19, 20, etc. When had God said this? Never perhaps, in so many words. Keil says the reference is to 2 Samuel 7:13 implicite ("He shall build an house for my name"), while Rawlinson thinks the "reference is not to any single text, but to the many passages in Deuteronomy where God speaks of a place which He will choose to 'set his name' there (Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 18, etc.; Deuteronomy 14:23; 15:20; 16:2, etc.) " But it is very probable that a revelation was made to David respecting the sanctuary, the terms of which are not preserved to us. This is almost implied by Psalm 78:68; Psalm 132:10; 1 Chronicles 22:1 - passages which prove that David claimed to have Divine sanction for placing the temple on "Mount Zion." Psalm 132, is unmistakeably Davidic, and embodies some features of the message of God (e.g., the condition, ver. 12) not preserved in 2 Samuel 7.]: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward [Marg. in, but Heb. אֵל. supports the A.V. rendering. Now that God had revealed His presence in the temple, the Jew, wherever he might be, would, and as a matter of fact did, pray towards it (Daniel 6:10; Psalm 5:7; Jonah 2:4), just as the Mohammedan has his Kibleh in Mecca] this place.
And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.
Verse 30. - And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven [Heb. unto heaven, אֶל־הַשָּׁמַיִם a pregnant censtruction hear the prayer that ascends unto heaven. The chronicler here, as elsewhere, simplifies the meaning by reading "from heaven," מִן־הַשּׁ] thy dwelling place [Here, and in vers. 39, 43, and 49, heaven is described as the true dwelling place of Deity. Confidently as Solomon believes that he has built a habitation for the Lord, he never dreams that the "Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48; Acts 17:4) ]: and when thou hearest, forgive. [There is possibly a play of words here - שָׁמַיִם שָׁמַעְתָּ]. With the next verse the special or particular supplications begin. Like those of the Lord's prayer, they are seven in number, and no doubt for the same reason, viz., because seven was the number of covenant, the number which expressed the relationship between the Lord and His people ("die Signatur der Verbindung Gottes und der Welt" - Bahr, Symbolik, 1:187 sqq.) In fact, to the Jew the number "seven" was something like the sign of the cross to a large portion of Catholic Christendom, for it spoke to him of God's covenant of mercy and peace. And the first of the seven concerns oaths. The king implores the covenant-keeping God to watch over the covenants of words made in the now consecrated sanctuary, and to protect their sanctity by punishing the false swearer. There were cases in which the Mosaic law provided that an oath should be administered to suspected persons (Exodus 22:11; Leviticus 5:1, 4, etc.) And there were other cases in which men of their own accord, for "an end of all strife," would make oath. Now every oath, whatever its form (Matthew 23:16-22), is in reality an affirmation" by the God of truth" (Isaiah 65:16); it is an appeal to the knowledge and power and justice of the Most High (Leviticus 19:12; Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:20; Isaiah 48:1; Jeremiah 12:16; Jeremiah 44:26). A false oath, consequently, dishonoured the Divine name, and polluted the sanctuary dedicated to that name, and if it went unpunished, contradicted the principles and provisions of the dispensation Of temporal punishments, and so encouraged falsehood and impiety. God is here entreated, consequently, to take cognizance of the oaths sworn before His altar (ver. 31), and to be a swift witness against the false swearers (Malachi 3:5). It is, perhaps, because of the direct dishonour which perjury offers to the Divine name that, as Bahr suggests, this prayer stands first among the seven, thus corresponding to the "Hallowed be Thy name" in the Lord's prayer, and to the third among the ten commandments.
If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:
Verse 31. - If any man trespass [The force of the Hebrew (which begins somewhat abruptly) אֵת אֲשֶׁר (LXX. ὅσα α}ν ἁμάρτη) is probably, As for that which, or in all cases in which, i.e., when (as Ewald, 333 a). The chronicler, as usual, simplifies by reading אֵם] against his neighbour, and an oath be laid [Heb. and he (the neighbour) lay an oath, i.e., prescribe a form of adjuration, such as that in Deuteronomy 21:7] upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come [This translation cannot be maintained. For in the Heb. there is no def. art., as there would be if אָלָה were noun and nominative; and, moreover in that case the verb, to agree with the feminine noun, would be בָּאָה. And as no other meaning can be extracted from the words as they stand, we are driven to suspect a slight corruption of the text, either
(1) the omission of ו between the words, which in that case would have stood ובא ואלה, and would mean, "and he (the accused) come and swear" - a conjecture which is supported by the LXX., καὶ ἔλθῃ καὶ ἐξαγορεύση, or
(2) the omission of the preposition ב, which would yield ובא באלה = and he (the accused) enters into the oath, an expression found in Nehemiah 10:29 and Ezekiel 17:13] before thine altar in this house. [Despite the last words, the altar of sacrifice before the house is probably meant. This was the altar of the Jewish layman, and, moreover it was one visible sign of the covenant. Psalm 1:5; Exodus 24:6-8; cf. 20:24. The altar which afforded shelter to the manslayer, in the same way lent sanctity to the oath. The practice of swearing by the altar (Matthew 23:18) is of later date.
Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
Verse 32. - Then hear thou in heaven [Heb. and thou, thou wilt hear the heavens. The same expression, תּשְׁמַע הַשָּׁמַיִם, is found in vers. 34, 36, 39. See Ewald, 300 a. Keil sees in it the adverbial use of the accusative. Most of the versions read "from heaven," as does the Chronicles and one MS.], and do [i.e., act] and judge thy servants, condemning [Heb. to make (i.e., prove) wicked] the wicked, to bring [Heb. give, same word as below] his way [i.e., works, fruits] upon his head [cf. Ezekiel 9:10; Ezekiel 11:21; same expression] and justifying [Heb. to make righteous. Cf. δικαιοῦν ιν Ν.T. and justum facere] the righteous [cognate words are used in both cases], to give him according to his righteousness. The second special petition contemplates the case, which was morally certain to occur, of Hebrews taken captive in war and carried to a foreign land. To be separated from the commonwealth, the rites and the blessings of Israel, was one of the greatest calamities which could befal a Jew (Deuteronomy 4:27, 28; Leviticus 26:33; Psalm 137.), and as such Solomon gives it a prominent place in his prayer. The connexion, how. ever which some have imagined to exist between this prayer and the preceding, viz., that that referred to internal, this to external dangers, is too artificial to have found a place in Solomon's thoughts.
When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
Verse 33. - When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy [cf. Leviticus 26:7, 17; Deuteronomy 28:25. There is a constant reference to these two chapters throughout this prayer, or, if no direct reference to them, there are unmistakeable reminiscences of them], because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess [or praise. Psalm 54:8 Hebr. [Psalm 54:7]; Psalms 106:47; 122:4] thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house. [The marg. towards is a mistaken attempt at avoiding the difficulty which lies on the surface of the text, viz., that persons in a foreign land could not pray in the temple. But the king obviously is speaking here, not of those taken captive, but of the nation at large ("thy people Israel") by its representatives (cf. Joel 2:17), supplicating after its defeat. The idea of captives does not come in until the next verse. Under the term house the courts are obviously included (Acts 2:46; Luke 18:10). Into the edifice the priests alone were admitted.
Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.
Verse 34. - Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them [i.e., the captives of Israel, those carried off by the enemy. There is no thought here of the captivity of the nation - that is referred to in vers. 46-50 - as the prayers to be offered in the temple prove. This petition is in exact accordance with the promises and threatenings of the law, for the former of which see Leviticus 26:40-44; Deuteronomy 30:1-5; for the latter, Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 28:64 sqq.] again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. The third petition concerns the plague of drought. Just as rain, in the thirsty and sunburnt East, has ever been accounted one of the best gifts of God (Leviticus 26:4; Deuteronomy 11:11; Job 5:10, and passim; Psalm 68:9; Psalm 147:8; Acts 14:17), so was drought denounced as one of His severest scourges (Leviticus 26:19; Deuteronomy 11:17; Deuteronomy 28:23, 24, etc.) This petition finds an illustration in the public supplications which are still offered in the East, and by men of all creeds, for rain.
When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
Verse 35. - When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place [toward, because the inhabitants of the land everywhere would direct their prayers toward the holy oracle in Jerusalem (Psalm 28:2) ], and confess [praise] thy name, and turn from their sin, when [or because, כִּי] thou afflictest them. [LXX. ὅταν ταπεινώσης αὐτοὺς ( Humbling should be the result of affliction.]
Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.
Verse 36. - Then hear thou in heaven [see on ver. 32], and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel that thou teach them [rather, because thou art teaching them, etc. The thought is, "Forgive, because they have learned the lessen Thy discipline of drought was meant to teach;" because the chastisement has fulfilled its purpose] the good way [1 Samuel 12:23] wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. The fourth petition refers to the various plagues mentioned in the law (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28.), as the punishment of apostasy or infidelity.
If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
Verse 37. - If there be in the land famine [Heb. Famine should there be, etc. The word is emphatic by position. Famine is denounced, Leviticus 26:20, 26; Deuteronomy 28:33], if there be pestilence [Leviticus 26:25; Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 24:10; Amos 4:10; Ezekiel 6:12, etc.], blasting [same word Genesis 41:6; Amos 4:9; Deuteronomy 28:22], mildew [lit. paleness, χλωρότης, Deuteronomy l.c.], locust, or if there be caterpillar [It is uncertain whether חָסִיל, lit., devourer, here rendered "caterpillar," is not an adjective and an appellation of the locust = devouring locust. Deuteronomy 28:38 (יַאֲסְלֶנוּ חָאַרְבֶּה "the locust shall consume it") certainly favours this view. But the Chronicles and the Verss. distinguish it here (by the introduction of "and" between the two words) as a separate plague. It is also similarly distinguished, Joel 1:4; Psalm 78:46. Gesen. considers it to be a species of locust]; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities [Heb. his gates, but "the land of his gates" hardly yields sense. It is noteworthy that the LXX. (with most of the Verss.) reads ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων αὐτοῦ. Thenius, consequently, to bring the Hebrew text into harmony, would substitute באחת עיריו for בארץ שעריו. Another suggested emendation is בארץ בשעריו, "in the land, even in their gates." But it is doubtful whether any alteration is really required. "The land of their gates" (cf. "land of their captivity," 2 Chronicles 6:37; Jeremiah 30:10, etc.) may perhaps be interpreted the land where their gates (i.e., fortified cities) are. The marg. "Jurisdiction" - the gate being the place of judgment (Ruth 4:11; Proverbs 22:22; 2 Samuel 15:2) - is altogether out of the question]; whatsoever plague, whatsoever [Heb. every plague, etc.] sickness there be.
What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
Verse 38. - What prayer and supplication soever [There is here a studied reference to the preceding words. Lit., every prayer, etc. We might render in ver. 37, "Whatsoever the plague," etc., and here, "Whatsoever the prayer," etc.] be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart [Here again there is an unmistakeable reference to the "plague" (same word) of ver. 37. The plague of the heart is the inner smart of the conscience corresponding with and perhaps more painful than the smiting of the person. The meaning obviously is that the prayers will vary. according to the various mental and physical sufferings of men], and spread forth his hands [see on ver. 22] toward this house.
Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
Verse 39. - Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) [Jeremiah 17:10. Cf. ὁ παρδιογνώστης θεὸς (Acts 15:8; also ib. 1:24).
That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
Verse 40. - That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. [Solomon anticipates that a godly fear will be the result of forgiveness and restoration. We find the same thought in Psalm 130:4. The mercy and goodness of God should lead to repentance, but unhappily it not unseldom fails to do so.] The fifth petition contemplates the prayers which foreigners, attracted by the fame of Jerusalem, of its religion and sanctuary could offer towards the house. The Gentiles who should visit Jerusalem would assuredly, with their polytheistic ideas and their belief in local or tribal deities, invoke the aid and blessing of the mighty God of Jacob. This mention of aliens from the commonwealth of Israel in the prayer of dedication, especially when viewed in the light of the exclusiveness and bigotry which characterized the Jews of later days, is especially to be noticed. As Rawlinson (in loco) observes, "Nothing is more remarkable in the Mosaic law than its liberality with regard to strangers." He then quotes Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 25:35; Deuteronomy 10:19; Deuteronomy 31:12; Numbers 15:14-16; and adds: "It is quite in the spirit of these enactments that Solomon, having first prayed God on behalf of his fellow countrymen, should next go on to intercede for the strangers," etc. The intercourse of the Hebrews at this period with foreign nations, and the influence they exercised on the Jewish thought and manners (see Stanley, "Jewish Ch." 2. Leer. 26.), are also to be remembered. These new relations with the stranger would no doubt have widened Solomon's views.
Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;
Verse 41. - Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; [Solomon takes it for granted that such will come, and not without good reason, for the house was "exceeding magnifical" and destined to be "of fame and glory throughout all countries" (1 Chronicles 22:5). And we can hardly doubt that in the visit of the Queen of Sheba we are to see one fulfilment of this anticipation. (Note the expression of ch. 10:1 "concerning the name of the Lord.") One who blessed God, as she did (ver. 9), would certainly pray towards the house. In the time of the second temple there were several instances of strangers (e.g., Alexander the Great, Ptolemy Philadelphus, and Seleucus; see Keil in loc.) worshipping the God of Jacob in Jerusalem.
(For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
Verse 42. - (For they shall hear of thy great name [Cf. Joshua 7:9; Psalm 76:1; Psalm 99:3], and of thy strong hand [cf. Exodus 6:6; Exodus 13:9; Deuteronomy 9:26, 29; cf. 7:19. They had heard at a much earlier date (Exodus 15:14; Exodus 18:1; Joshua 5:1). The reference is not so much to the marvels of the Exodus - that was long past - as to the wondrous works which Solomon assumes will hereafter be wrought], and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house.
Hear thou in heaven 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, 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. - Hear thou in heaven thy dwell-lug place, and do according to an that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name [It is interesting to notice this foreshadowing of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the one fold. The same thought is found in some of the Psalms and in Isaiah, as St. Paul witnesses (Romans 15:9 sqq.) Cf. Psalm 22:27; Psalm 72:11; Psalm 86:9; Psalm 98:3; Psalm 102:15; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 52:10] 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. [Heb. that thy name is called (or, has been called, נִקְרָא. LXX. ἐπικέκληται) upon this house, i.e., that God has taken this house for His habitation: that He dwells there, works, hears, answers there. Same expression, Jeremiah 7:10, 11, 14; Jeremiah 25:29; Deuteronomy 28:10; Isaiah 4:1. In Numbers 6:27 we have, "they shall put my name upon the children of Israel." In Deuteronomy 12:5, and Deuteronomy 16:6 (cf. 1 Kings 11:36), we read of the place God has "chosen to put his name there." So far the royal suppliant has spoken of prayers offered in or at the temple. He now mentions two cases where supplications will be offered by penitents far distant from the holy city or even from the Holy Land. And first, he speaks of the armies of Israel on a campaign.
If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
Verse 44. - If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever [Heb. in the way which] thou shalt send them [These words clearly imply that the war, whether defensive or offensive (i.e., for the chastisement of other nations), is one which had God's sanction, and indeed was waged by His appointment], and shall pray unto the Lord toward [Heb. in the way of. Same expression as above. The repetition is significant. "They have gone in God's way. They may therefore look the way of God's house for help." Executing God's commission, they might justly expect His blessing] the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name.
Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
Verse 45. - Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. [Heb. do their judgments, i.e., secure them justice, defend the right. Same words, Deuteronomy 10:18; cf. Psalm 9:5, Heb.] The last petition - the second of those which speak of prayers addressed towards the temple, or the Holy Presence which dwelt there, from a foreign land - contemplates as possible the captivity of the Hebrew nation. It has hence been too readily inferred that this portion of the prayer, at least, if not the preceding petition also, has been interpolated by a post-captivity writer. But there is really no solid reason for doubting its genuineness. Not only is it the seventh petition (see on ver. 31), but the captivity of Israel had been denounced as the punishment of persistent disobedience long before by Moses, and in the chapters to which such constant reference is made (Leviticus 26:33, 44; Deuteronomy 28:25, 36, 64; cf. 4:27) - a fact which is in itself an indirect proof of genuineness, as showing that this petition is of a piece with the rest of the prayer. And when to this we add that the carrying of a conquered and refractory race into captivity was an established custom of the East, we shall be inclined to agree with Bahr, that "it would have been more remarkable if Solomon had not mentioned it."
If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
Verse 46. - If they sin against thee (for there is no man that sinneth not), and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy [Heb. give them before an enemy], so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, fax or near;
Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
Verse 47. - Yet if they shall bethink themselves [Heb. as marg., bring back to their heart. Same phrase, Deuteronomy 4:39; Deuteronomy 30:1. The latter passage, it should be noticed, treats of the captivity, so that Solomon, consciously or unconsciously, employs some of the very words used by Moses in contemplating this contingency. These repeated coincidences lead to the belief that the prayer was based upon and compiled from the Pentateuch] in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have Committed wickedness. [This verse is full of paronomasia, שבו נשבו השיבו, etc. Words almost identical with this confession were used (Daniel 9:5; Psalm 106:6) by the Jews in their captivity at Babylon, from which it has been concluded that this part of the prayer must belong to the time of the captivity. But surely it is, to say the least, just as likely that the Jews, when the captivity of which Solomon spoke befel them, borrowed the phrase in which their great king by anticipation expressed their penitence. Seeing in the captivity a fulfilment of his prediction, they would naturally see in this formula, which no doubt had been preserved in the writings of the prophets, a confession specially appropriate to their case, and indeed provided for their use.
And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
Verse 48. - And so return unto thee with all their heart [almost the words of Deuteronomy 30. ver. 2, as those in ver. 47 are of ver. 1], and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, Which led them away captive [observe the paronomasia - שבו is here used in two senses], and pray unto thee toward [Heb. the way of] their land [see Daniel 6:10] which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name. [There is apparently a climax here, "land," "city," "house."]
Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
Verse 49. - Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause. [Heb. do their judgments, as in ver. 45.]
And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
Verse 50. - And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion [Heb. to compassion or bowels רַחֲמִים = τὰ σπλάγχνα, 2 Corinthians 6:12; Philippians 1:8; Philippians 2:1, etc. before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them. [For the fulfilment of this prayer, see Ezra 1:3, 7; Ezra 6:13; Nehemiah 2:6. Compare Psalm 106:46.] In the three following verses we have a sort of general conclusion to the dedication prayer. It is hardly correct to say that these last words apply to all the preceding petitions - the plea "they are thy people" manifestly cannot apply in the case of vers. 41-43. On the other hand, as little are they to be limited to the persons last mentioned in vers. 46-50, though it is highly probable they were suggested by the thought of the captives. They are manifestly in close connection with the preceding verses.
For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:
Verse 51. - For they be thy people [a citation or reminiscence of Deuteronomy 4:10], and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt [cf. vers. 21, 53. There is a constant recurrence throughout the Old Testament to this great deliverance, and with good reason, for it was the real birthday of the nation, and was also a pledge of future help and favour. God who had "wrought such great things for them in Egypt "could not well forsake them. Solomon's constant plea is that they are the elect and covenant race] from the midst of the furnace of iron [i.e., a furnace for iron, heated and fierce as for smelting. Same phrase, Deuteronomy 4:20].
That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
Verse 52. - That thine eyes may be open [cf. ver. 29] unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel [of. vers. 28, 30], to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.
Verse 53. - For thou didst separate them from [Leviticus 20:24, 26; cf. Exodus 19:5, 6] among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance [same expression, Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26, 29. This is no idle repetition of ver. 51. The idea of that verse is deliverance, of this election. Cf. Numbers 16:9; Numbers 8:14], as thou spakest by the hand [see note on ch. 2:25] of Moses thy servant [Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 9:26, 29; Deuteronomy 14:2], when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God. In Chronicles (ch. 6:41, 42) the prayer ends somewhat differently. "Now therefore arise, O Lord God," etc. - words which are found in substance in Psalm 132:8-10. These two verses look like an addition, and were probably inserted by the chronicler to form a connecting link with 1 Kings 7:1-3 (Bahr). The LXX. has an extremely curious addition, said to be taken from the "Book of the Song." Stanley sees in its very abruptness and obscurity an evidence of its genuineness ("Jewish Ch." 2:218). SECTION III. - The Concluding Blessing. The service of dedication concludes, as it commenced, with a benediction (ver. 14).
And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
Verse 54. - And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before [see note on ver. 22] the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees [the first mention of this posture in the sacred history (Stanley). The Jews usually stood in prayer (Luke 18:11, 13) ] with [Heb. and] his hands spread up to heaven.
And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
Verse 55. - And he stood [this does not necessarily imply that he drew nearer to the congregation, as Keil], and blessed [cf. 2 Samuel 6:18, and see note on ver. 14. The words of blessing, which are presently given (vers. 56-61), prove that he did not assume priestly functions and put any blessing upon the people, Numbers 6:27] all the congregation of Israel with a loud [Heb. great] voice, saying,
Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
Verse 56. - Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised [a distinct reference to Deuteronomy 12:9, 10 (cf. 3:20), where we read that when the Lord should have given rest to Israel, then a place for sacrifice, etc., should be appointed (ver. 11). That place is now dedicated, and the king sees in this circumstance a proof that the rest is now at last fully attained. The permanent sanctuary is a pledge of settlement in the land. The rest hitherto enjoyed (Joshua 21:44) had been but partial. Only under Solomon were the Philistines brought into complete subjection (1 Kings 9:16), and hitherto the ark had dwelt in curtains]; there hath not failed [Heb. fallen; cf. 1 Samuel 3:19] one word [a clear reference to Joshua 21:45, as the preceding words are to ver. 44] of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand [cf. ver. 53] of Moses his servant [viz. in Leviticus 26:3-13, and in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, i.e., in the chapters which are the sources of this prayer, etc.
The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
Verse 57. - The Lord our God be With us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us. [Solomon insensibly glides again into prayer; here for the presence of God, in ver. 59 for His help. There is probably a reference to Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5, where, however, "forsake" is represented by a different word.
That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
Verse 58. - That he may incline our hearts unto him [Psalm 119:26; Psalm 141:4], to walk in an his ways [ver. 25; 1 Kings 2:4. The condition on which God's blessing was insured was at this time printed on Solomon's mind], and to keep his commandments, and his satutes, and his Judgments [see note on 1 Kings 2:3, to which ver. there is not improbably a reference], which he commanded our fathers.
And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
Verse 59. - And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of [Heb. to do the judgment of] his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require [Heb. the thing of a day in his day. Same phrase Exodus 5:18; Exodus 16:4]:
That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
Verse 60. - That an the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else. [See ver. 22. We have here a recurrence to the thought of ver. 43, which was evidently prominent in Solomon's mind. He hopes the house now dedicated will be fraught with blessing for the world, and that the Gentiles will come to its light. Cf. Isaiah 2:2, 3.]
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
Verse 61. - Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God [An instructive commentary on these words is found in 1 Kings 11:4, where it is said of this Solomon, "His heart was not perfect," etc. - same words. Similarly, ib. vers. 3, 9 are a comment on the prayer of ver. 58. Having preached to others, he himself became a castaway], to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, us at this day [That day the nation proved its piety by the dedication of the house. At the close of this prayer (omitted in Chronicles), according to 2 Chronicles 7:1, "fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house," but Bahr rejects these words as an interpolation. He maintains, indeed, that the chronicler contradicts himself, for we can hardly think that the glory which we are told (1 Kings 5:14) had already filled the house, left it and then returned. It is certainly suspicious, and a much stronger argument against the words in question, that no mention of the fire is made by our author, for, brief as this history is, it is difficult to believe that so signal an interposition could have remained unnoticed, if it really occurred. SECTION IV. - The Festal Sacrifices. The ceremonial of dedication was followed, as would naturally be the case, by sacrifices on a scale of unusual grandeur. Apart from their religious use and significance, the sacrifices testified to the devotion of the giver who on this of all days must not appear before the Lord empty, and they also afforded materials for the great and prolonged feast by which this auspicious event in the history of Israel must be commemorated.
And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD.
Verse 62. - And the king, and an Israel with him [Another indication (see on ver. 2) that practically the whole Israelitish nation (i.e., its males) assembled to witness this great function (ver. 65. But see on 1 Kings 16:17). The words also prove that the sacrifices mentioned presently were offered by the people as well as by the king], offered sacrifice before the Lord. [See note on 1 Kings 9:25 ]
And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.
Verse 63. - And Solomon offered a sacrifice [Solomon is mentioned as chief donor, and as the executive. But others shared in the gift] of peace offerings [Leviticus 7:11 sqq. This was especially the sacrifice of praise - it is called "the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings," ib. vers. 13, 15. See Bahr, Symb. 2:368 sqq. In the peace offering, the fat was burnt on the altar, but the flesh was eaten (ver. 15; cf. Deuteronomy 12:7), so that this form of offering was, in every way, adapted to a festival. The idea that "ox after ox, to the number of 22,000, and sheep after sheep, to the number of 120,000, were consumed," sc. by fire (Stanley), is expressly excluded], which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. [it is very possible that these numbers have been altered in course of transcription, as is the case with numbers elsewhere, but there is no ground for suspecting exaggeration or mistake. For, in the first place, the Chronicles and all the Versions agree with the text, and, secondly, the numbers, compared with what we know of the sacrifices offered on other occasions, are not unduly large, nor were they such that (as has been alleged) it would be impossible to offer them within the time specified. If, at an ordinary Passover a quarter of a million of lambs could be sacrificed within the space of two or three hours (Jos., Bell. Jud. 6:09.8), there can obviously have been "no difficulty in sacrificing 3000 oxen and 18,000 sheep on each of the seven days of the festival" (Keil). (But were not the sacrifices spread over fourteen days? ver. 65.) And it is to be remembered
(1) that "profusion was a usual feature of the sacrifices of antiquity Sacrifices of a thousand oxen (χιλιόμβαι) were not infrequent. According to an Arabian historian (Koto beddyn), the Caliph Moktader sacrificed during his pilgrimage to Mecca... 40,000 camels and cows and 50,000 sheep. Tavernier speaks of 100,000 victims as offered by the King of Tonquin" (Rawlinson, Stanley); and
(2) that the context insists on the ex traordinary number of victims. They were so numerous, we are told, that the brazen altar was quite inadequate to receive them (ver. 64). It has been already pointed out (note on ver. 62) that the people joined the king in the sacrifices. Indeed it is against not only ver. 62, but vers. 63, 65, to suppose that all the victims were offered by Solomon alone (Ewald, Stanley). If these numbers, therefore, include those offered by the people, we can the more readily understand them. For, by the lowest computation, there could hardly be less than 100,000 heads of houses present at the feast (Bahr, Keil), and if the numbers of David's census (2 Samuel 24:9) may be trusted, there may very well have been four or five times that number, and on such an occasion as that, an occasion altogether without precedent, every Israelite would doubtless offer his sacrifice of thanksgiving - the more so as a large number of victims would be required for the purposes of the subsequent feast. And as to the impossibility of the priests offering so prodigious a number within the specified time (Thenius, al.), we have only to remember
(1) that if there were 38,000 Levites (men over thirty years of age) in the time of David (1 Chronicles 23:3), or any thing like that number, there must have been at the very least at this period two or three thousand priests (Keil), and we can hardly think that at the dedication of so glorious a temple, in which they were so profoundly interested, many of them would be absent from Jerusalem. But if there were only one thousand present, that number would have been amply sufficient to perform all the priestly functions. For it was no necessary, part of the priests' office either to slay the victim, or to prepare it for sacrifice - that any Israelite might do (Leviticus 1:5, 6, 11; Leviticus 3:2, 8, etc.); the duty of the priest was strictly limited to "sprinkling the blood round about upon the altar" (Leviticus 3:2, 8; cf. 1:5), and burning the fat, the kidneys, etc., upon the altar (Leviticus 3:5). It is clear, consequently, that there is no difficulty whatsoever as to the manual acts required of the priests. It only remains to notice one other objection, viz., that the people could not possibly have eaten all the flesh of these peace offerings. But here again the answer is conclusive, viz.
(1) that it was not necessary that all should be eaten, for the law expressly provided that if any of the flesh remained over until the third day, it should be burnt with fire (Leviticus 7:15; Leviticus 19:6), and
(2) no one can say what the number of people may not have been (see below on ver. 65), and
(3) the sacrifices were spread over fourteen days.] So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
Verse 64. - The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court [i.e., the entire area of the court of the priests (1 Kings 6:36). Ewald (287 g) translates "the inner court." The whole space may have been regarded as "one huge altar" (Rawlinson), or temporary altars may have been erected all over the area. As already observed, this fact alone points to an enormous number of victims] that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings [Heb. the burnt offerings, i.e., either the usual daily burnt offerings (Numbers 28:3), or more probably, those appropriate to such a special function (Numbers 29:13 sqq.; cf. 1 Kings 3:4) ], and meat offerings [Heb. the meat offering. Both this and the preceding word (הָעֹלָה) are singular (generic) in the original], and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brazen altar that was before the Lord [i.e., house of the Lord] was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings [and yet it was 20 cubits (30 feet) square, and so would offer a surface of 100 (Keil 144) square yards].
And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
Verse 65. - And at that time Solomon held a feast [the necessary sequel to such number of peace offerings (cf. 1 Kings 3:15). All the flesh that could be, must be eaten (Leviticus 19:5, 6) ], and all Israel with him, a great congregation [see note on ver. 64. "All Israel" would hardly be an exaggeration], from the entering in of Hamath [the northern boundary of Palestine (Numbers 34:8; cf. 13:31; Joshua 13:5; Judges 3:3; Ezekiel 47:16; Stanley, S. and P. p. 407; Dict. Bib. 1. p. 644; Porter, pp. 620, 621] unto the river [Heb. נַחַל i.e., torrent bed, watercourse, wady (river is נָהָר). See Stanley, S. and P. pp. 14, 505, 506] of Egypt [i.e., the southern limit of the Holy Land. See Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4, 47; 2 Kings 24:7; Genesis 15:18, where the word is נָהָר refers to the Nile. The Wady el Arish must be intended (Dict. Bib. vol. 3. p. 1046, 1047, and Gesen., Thesaurus, vol. 2. p. 872, Porter, p. 267) ], before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days [The two periods are thus distinguished, because they were properly distinct, the first being the feast of dedication, the second the feast of tabernacles. This is more clearly explained in 2 Chronicles 7:9, 10.]
On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
Verse 66. - On the eighth day he sent the people away [i.e., on the eighth day of the second feast, the "three and twentieth day of the month" (ib., ver. 10). The first impression is that the eighth day of the period of fourteen days is meant, but the context, to say nothing of the Chronicles, contradicts this. The feast of dedication began on the eighth day of the month Ethanim (ver. 2), and lasted until the fourteenth. The feast of tabernacles began on the fifteenth and lasted till the twenty-first. On the evening of the twenty-second, the "day of restraint" (Leviticus 23:36 marg.), he dismissed the people, who would depart to their homes next morning]: and they blessed [i.e., felicitated, saluted (on taking leave). Cf. Proverbs 27:14; 2 Kings 4:29; 1 Samuel 25:6, 14. Marg. thanked. See note on ver. 14] the king, and went unto their tents [i.e., homes - an archaic expression, dating from the times of the desert wanderings. Joshua 22:4; Judges 7:8; 2 Samuel 20:1; 1 Kings 12:16] joyful and glad of heart for an the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant [the real founder of the temple. Solomon had but carried out his ideas and had entered into his labours], and for Israel his people.