1 Kings 8

CHAPTER VIII

Solomon assembles the elders of Israel, and brings up the ark,

and the holy vessels, and the tabernacle, out of the city of

David, and places them in the temple; on which account a vast

number of sheep and oxen are sacrificed, 1-8.

There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which

Moses put there at Horeb, 9.

The cloud of God's glory fills the house, 10, 11.

Solomon blesses the people, 12-21.

His dedicatory prayer, 22-53.

Afterwards he blesses and exhorts the people, 54-61.

They offer a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand oxen, and one

hundred and twenty thousand sheep, 62, 63.

He hallows the middle of the court for offerings; as the brazen

altar which was before the Lord was too little, 64.

He holds the feast of the dedication for seven days; and for

other seven days, the feast of tabernacles; and on the eighth

day blesses the people, and sends them away joyful, 65, 66.

NOTES ON CHAP. VIII

Verse 1. Then Solomon assembled] It has already been observed

that Solomon deferred the dedication of the temple to the

following year after it was finished, because that year, according

to Archbishop Usher, was a jubilee. "This," he observes, "was the

ninth jubilee, opening the fourth millenary of the world, or

A.M. 3001, wherein Solomon with great magnificence celebrated the

dedication of the temple seven days, and the feast of tabernacles

other seven days; and the celebration of the eighth day of

tabernacles being finished, upon the twenty-third day of the

seventh month the people were dismissed every man to his home. The

eighth day of the seventh month, viz., the thirtieth of our

October, being Friday, was the first of the seven days of

dedication; on the tenth day, Saturday, November 1, was the fast

of expiation or atonement held; whereon, according to the

Levitical law, the jubilee was proclaimed by sound of trumpet. The

fifteenth day, Friday, November 6, was the feast of tabernacles;

the twenty-second, November 13, being also Friday, was the feast

of tabernacles, which was always very solemnly kept, 2Ch 7:9;

Le 23:36; Joh 7:37; and the day following, November 14, being

our Saturday, when the Sabbath was ended, the people returned

home.

"In the thirteenth year after the temple was built, Solomon made

an end also of building his own house, having spent full twenty

years upon both of them; seven and a half upon the temple, and

thirteen or twelve and a half upon his own."-Usher's Annals, sub.

A.M. 3001.

Verse 2. At the feast in the month Ethanim] The feast of

tabernacles, which was celebrated in the seventh month of what is

called the ecclesiastical gear.

Verse 4. They brought up-the tabernacle] It is generally agreed

that there were now two tabernacles at Gibeon, and the other in

the city of David, which one David had constructed as a temporary

residence for the ark, in the event of a temple being built. Which

of these tabernacles was brought into the temple at this time, is

not well known; some think both were brought in, in order to

prevent the danger of idolatry. I should rather suppose that the

tabernacle from Gibeon was brought in, and that the temporary one

erected by David was demolished.

Verse 8. And there they are unto this day.] This proves that the

book was written before the destruction of the first temple, but

how long before we cannot tell.

Verse 9. Save the two tables of stone]

See Clarke on Heb 9:4.

Verse 10. When the priests were come out] That is, after having

carried the ark into the holy of holies, before any sacred service

had yet commenced.

Verse 11. The glory of the Lord had filled the house] The cloud,

the symbol of the Divine glory and presence, appears to have

filled not only the holy of holies, but the whole temple, court

and all, and to have become evident to the people; and by this

Solomon knew that God had honoured the place with his presence,

and taken it for his habitation in reference to the people of

Israel.

Verse 12. The Lord said-he would dwell] It was under the

appearance of a cloud that God showed himself present with Israel

in the wilderness; see Ex 14:19, 20. And at the dedication of the

tabernacle in the wilderness, God manifested himself in the same

way that he did here at the dedication of the temple; see

Ex 40:34, 35.

Verse 13. I have surely built thee a house] He was now fully

convinced that the thing pleased God, and that he had taken this

place for his settled habitation.

Verse 14. Blessed all the congregation] Though this blessing is

not particularly stated, yet we may suppose that it was such as

the high priest pronounced upon the people: "The Lord bless thee,

and keep thee! The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be

gracious unto thee! The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,

and give thee peace!" (see Nu 6:24-26,) for Solomon seems now to

be acting the part of the high priest. But he may have in view

more particularly the conduct of Moses, who, when he had seen that

the people had done all the work of the tabernacle, as the Lord

had commanded them, he blessed them, Ex 39:43; and the conduct of

his father David, who, when the ark had been brought into the city

of David, and the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings completed,

blessed the people in the name of the Lord, 2Sa 6:18.

Verse 16. Since the day, &c.] Mention is here made, says Dr.

Kennicott, of some one place and some one person preferred before

all others; and the preference is that of Jerusalem to other

places, and of David to other men. In consequence of this

remark, we shall see the necessity of correcting this passage by

its parallel in 2Ch 6:5, 6, where the thirteen Hebrew words now

lost in Kings are happily preserved. Let us compare the passages:-

K. Since to day that I brought forth my people

C. Since the day that I brought forth my people

K. Israel out of Egypt, I chose no CITY

C. out of the land of Egypt, I chose no CITY

K. out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house,

C. among all the tribes of Israel to build a house in,

K. that my name might be therein; * * *

C. that my name might be there; neither chose I

K. * * * * * * *

C. any MAN to be a ruler over my people Israel:

K. * * * * * * *

C. but I have chosen JERUSALEM, that my name

K. * * * but I chose David to be

C. might be there; and have chosen DAVID to be

K. over my people Israel.

C. over my people Israel.

I would just observe here, that I do not think these thirteen

words ever made a part of Kings, and consequently, are not lost

from it; nor do they exist here in any of the versions; but their

being found in Chronicles helps to complete the sense.

Verse 21. Wherein is the covenant of the Lord] As it is said,

1Ki 8:9, that

there was nothing in the ark but the two tables of stone,

consequently these are called the Covenant, i.e., a sign of the

covenant; as our Lord calls the cup the new covenant in his blood,

that is, the sign of the new covenant: for This is my body

implies, This is the sign or emblem of my body.

Verse 22. Stood] He ascended the brazen scaffold, five cubits

long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and then

kneeled down upon his knees, with his hands spread up to heaven,

and offered up the following prayer: see 1Ki 8:54, and

2Ch 5:12, 13.

And spread forth his hands toward heaven] This was a usual

custom in all nations: in prayer the hands were stretched out to

heaven, as if to invite and receive assistance from thence; while,

humbly kneeling on their knees, they seemed acknowledge at once

their dependence and unworthiness. On this subject I have spoken

elsewhere. In the Scriptures we meet with several examples of the

kind: Hear my voice-when I LIFT UP MY HANDS toward thy holy

oracle; Ps 28:2.

LIFT UP YOUR HANDS in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord;

Ps 134:2.

Let my prayer be set forth-and the LIFTING UP OF MY HANDS as the

evening sacrifice; Ps 141:2. And see 1Ti 2:8, &c.

In heathen writers examples are not less frequent:

SUSTULIT exutas vinclis ad sidera PALMAS.

Vos aeterni ignes, et non violabile vestrum

Testor numen, ait.

VIRG. AEn. lib. ii., ver. 153.

Ye lamps of heaven, he said, and LIFTED HIGH

HIS HANDS, now free; thou venerable sky,

Inviolable powers!

And that they kneeled down when supplicating I have also proved.

Of this too the Scriptures afford abundant evidence, as do also

the heathen writers. I need add but one word:-

Et GENBIUS PRONIS supplex, similisque roganti,

Circumfert tacitos, tanquam sun brachia, vultus.

OVID, Met. lib. iii., f. 3, ver. 240.

Indeed, so universal were these forms in praying, that one of

the heathens has said, "All men, in praying, lift up their hands

to heaven."

Verse 24. Who has kept with thy servant David] This is in

reference to 2Sa 7:13, where God promises to David that Solomon

shall build a house for the name of the Lord. The temple being now

completed, this promise was literally fulfilled.

Verse 27. But will God indeed dwell on the earth?] This

expression is full of astonishment, veneration, and delight. He is

struck with the immensity, dignity, and grandeur of the Divine

Being, but especially at his condescension to dwell with men: and

though he sees, by his filling the place, that he has come now to

make his abode with them, yet he cannot help asking the question,

How can such a God dwell in such a place, and with such creatures?

Behold, the heaven] The words are all in the plural number in

the Hebrew: hashshamayim, ushemey hashshamayim;

"the heavens, and the heavens of heavens." What do these words

imply? That there are systems, and systems of systems, each

possessing its sun, its primary and secondary planets, all

extending beyond each other in unlimited space, in the same

regular and graduated order which we find to prevail in what we

call our solar system; which probably, in its thousands of

millions of miles in diameter, is, to some others, no more than

the area of the lunar orbit to that of the Georgium Sidus. When

God, his manifold wisdom, his creative energy, and that space

which is unlimited, are considered, it is no hyperbole to say

that, although the earth has been created nearly six thousand

years ago, suns, the centres of systems, may have been created at

so immense a distance that their light has not yet reached our

earth, though travelling at the rate of one hundred and ninety

thousand miles every second, or upwards of a million times swifter

than the motion of a cannon ball! This may be said to be

inconceivable; but what is even all this to the vast immensity of

space! Had God created a system like ours in every six days since

the foundation of the world, and kept every seventh as a Sabbath;

and though there might have been by this time [A.M. 5823 ineunte,

A.D. 1819, ineunte] three hundred and three thousand five hundred

and seventy-five mundane systems, they would occupy but a speck in

the inconceivable immensity of space. Reader, all this and

millions more is demonstrably possible; and if so, what must God

be-illud inexprimibile-who i-n-h-a-b-i-t-e-t-h E-t-e-r-n-i-t-y!

Verse 29. My name shall be there] I will there show forth my

power and my glory by enlightening, quickening, pardoning,

sanctifying, and saving all my sincere worshippers.

Verse 30. Toward this place] Both tabernacle and temple were

types of our Lord Jesus, or of God manifested in the flesh; and he

was and is the Mediator between God and man. All prayer, to be

acceptable, and to be entitled to a hearing, must go to God

through Him. The human nature of Christ is the temple in which

dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; therefore with

propriety all prayer must be offered to God through Him. "If they

pray toward this place, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling-place;

and when thou hearest, forgive." This appears to me to be the true

sense and doctrine of this verse.

Verse 31. If any man trespass against his neighbour] Solomon

puts here seven cases, in all of which the mercy and intervention

of God would be indispensably requisite; and he earnestly bespeaks

that mercy and intervention on condition that the people pray

towards that holy place, and with a feeling heart make earnest

supplication.

The FIRST case is one of doubtfulness; where a man has sustained

an injury, and charges it on a suspected person, though not able

to bring direct evidence of the fact, the accused is permitted to

come before the altar of God, and purge himself by his personal

oath. Solomon prays that God may not permit a false oath to be

taken, but that he will discover the truth, so that the wicked

shall be condemned, and the righteous justified.

Verse 33. When thy people Israel be smitten down, &c.] The

SECOND case. When their enemies make inroads upon them, and defeat

them in battle, and lead them into captivity, because God, being

displeased with their transgressions, has delivered them up; then

if they shall turn again, confess the name of God, which they had

in effect denied, by either neglecting his worship, or becoming

idolatrous; and pray and make supplication; then, says Solomon,

hear thou in heaven-and bring them again unto the land which

thou gavest unto their fathers.

Verse 35. When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain] The

THIRD case. When, because of their sin, and their ceasing to walk

in the good way in which they should have walked, God refuses to

send the early and latter rain, so that the appointed weeks of

harvest come in vain, as there is no crop: then, if they pray and

confess their sin, hear thou in heaven, &c.

Verse 37. If there be in the land famine-pestilence] The FOURTH

case includes several kinds of evils: 1. Famine; a scarcity or

total want of bread, necessarily springing from the preceding

cause, drought. 2. Pestilence; any general and contagious disease.

3. Blasting; any thing by which the crops are injured, so that the

ear is never matured; but instead of wholesome grain, there is a

black offensive dust. 4. Mildew; any thing that vitiates or

corrodes the texture of the stalk, destroys the flowers and

blossoms, or causes the young shaped fruits to fall off their

stems. 5. Locust, a well known curse in the East, a species of

grasshopper that multiplies by millions, and covers the face of

the earth for many miles square, destroying every green thing;

leaving neither herb nor grass upon the earth, nor leaf nor bark

upon the trees. 6. Caterpillar; the locust in its young or nympha

state. The former refers to locusts brought by winds from other

countries and settling on the land; the latter, to the young

locusts bred in the land. 7. An enemy, having attacked their

defenced cities, the keys and barriers of the land. 8. Any other

kind of plague; that which affects the surface of the body;

blotch, blain, leprosy, ophthalmia, &c. 9. Sickness; whatever

impaired the strength, or affected the intestines, disturbing or

destroying their natural functions. All such cases were to be

brought before the Lord, the persons having a deep sense of the

wickedness which induced God thus to afflict, or permit them to be

afflicted: for only those who knew the plague of their own hearts,

(1Ki 8:38,) the deep-rooted moral corruption of their nature, and

the destructive nature and sinfulness of sin, were likely to pray

in such a manner as to induce God to hear and forgive.

Verse 41. Moreover, concerning a stranger] The FIFTH case

relates to heathens coming from other countries with the design to

become proselytes to the true religion; that they might be

received, blessed, and protected as the true Israelites, that the

name of Jehovah might be known over the face of the earth.

Verse 44. If thy people go out to battle] The SIXTH case refers

to wars undertaken by Divine appointment: whithersoever thou shalt

send them; for in no other wars could they expect the blessing and

concurrence of the Lord; in none other could the God of truth and

justice maintain their cause. There were such wars under the

Mosaic dispensation, there are none such under the Christian

dispensation: nor can there be any; for the Son of man is come,

not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Except mere

defensive war, all others are diabolic; and, query, if there

were no provocations, would there be any attacks, and consequently

any need of defensive wars?

Verse 46. If they sin against thee] This SEVENTH case must refer

to some general defection from truth, to some species of false

worship, idolatry, or corruption of the truth and ordinances of

the Most High; as for it they are here stated to be delivered into

the hands of their enemies and carried away captive, which was the

general punishment for idolatry, and what is called, 1Ki 8:47,

acting perversely and committing wickedness.

In 1Ki 8:46 we read,

If they sin against thee, for there is no man that sinneth not.

On this verse we may observe that the second clause, as it is here

translated, renders the supposition in the first clause entirely

nugatory; for if there be no man that sinneth not, it is useless

to say, IF they sin; but this contradiction is taken away by

reference to the original, ki yechetu lach, which

should be translated IF they shall sin against thee, or should

they sin against thee; ki ein Adam asher lo

yecheta, for there is no man that MAY not sin; i.e., there is no

man impeccable, none infallible, none that is not liable to

transgress. This is the true meaning of the phrase in various

parts of the Bible, and so our translators have understood the

original: for even in the thirty-first verse of this chapter they

have translated yecheta, IF a man TRESPASS; which certainly

implies he might or might not do it; and in this way they have

translated the same word, IF a soul SIN, in Le 5:1; 6:2;

1Sa 2:25; 2Ch 6:22, and in several other places. The truth is,

the Hebrew has no mood to express words in the permissive or

optative way, but to express this sense it uses the future tense

of the conjugation kal.

This text has been a wonderful strong hold for all who believe

that there is no redemption from sin in this life, that no man can

live without committing sin, and that we cannot be entirely freed

from it till we die. 1. The text speaks no such doctrine: it only

speaks of the possibility of every man sinning, and this must be

true of a state of probation. 2. There is not another text in the

Divine records that is more to the purpose than this. 3. The

doctrine is flatly in opposition to the design of the Gospel; for

Jesus came to save his people from their sins, and to destroy the

works of the devil. 4. It is a dangerous and destructive

doctrine,; and should be blotted out of every Christian's creed.

There are too many who are seeking to excuse their crimes by all

means in their power; and we need not embody their excuses in a

creed, to complete their deception, by stating that their sins are

unavoidable.

Verse 50. And give them compassion before them who carried them

captive] He does not pray that they may be delivered out of that

captivity, but that their enemies may use them well; and that they

may, as formerly, be kept a separate and distinct people.

Verse 55. He stood, and blessed all the congregation] This

blessing is contained in 1Ki 8:57, 58.

Verse 59. And let these my words] This and the following verse

is a sort of supplement to the prayer which ended 1Ki 8:53; but

there is an important addition to this prayer in the parallel

place, 2Ch 6:41, 42: "Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy

resting place, thou and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests,

O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice

in goodness. O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed:

remember the mercies of David thy servant."

Verse 61. Let your heart therefore be perfect] Be sincere in

your faith, be irreproachable in your conduct.

Verse 63. Two and twenty thousand oxen] This was the whole

amount of the victims that had been offered during the fourteen

days; i.e., the seven days of the dedication, and the seven

days of the feast of tabernacles. In what way could they dispose

of the blood of so many victims?

Verse 64. Did the king hallow the middle of the court] The great

altar of burnt-offerings was not sufficient for the number of

sacrifices which were then made; therefore the middle of the court

was set apart, and an altar erected there for the same purpose.

Verse 65. From-Hamath] Supposed to be Antioch of Syria; unto the

river of Egypt-to the Rhinocorura; the former being on the north,

the latter on the south: i.e., from one extremity of the land to

the other.

Verse 66. They blessed the king] Wished him all spiritual and

temporal happiness. They were contented with their king, at peace

among themselves, and happy in their God; so that they returned to

their houses magnifying their God for all his bounty to them,

their country, and their king. How happy must these people have

been, and how prosperous, had their king continued to walk

uprightly before God! But alas! the king fell, and the nation

followed his example.

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