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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

1 Kings 8

 

 

Verses 1-21

The ark brought to the temple (8:1-21)

People came from all over Israel to celebrate the dedication of the temple (see v. 65). The ceremony took place at the time of the mid-year festival season (8:1-2; see Leviticus 23:24; Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:34).

In transferring the ark from David's temporary tent to the temple, Solomon, evidently remembering the mistake of his father, was careful to see that the priests and Levites carried the ark and all the holy vessels in the proper manner (3-9; cf. 2 Samuel 6:1-7). The procession was accompanied by music and singing provided by the priests and Levites, all of whom were on duty for the special occasion (2 Chronicles 5:11-14).

Once the ark was in its rightful place, God gave the sign of his presence by filling the temple with a cloud of glory. As in the case of the tabernacle, the light of God's presence was so dazzling that human activity in the sanctuary had to cease (10-13; cf. Exodus 40:34-35). Amazed at all that had happened, Solomon contrasted that day with the days of their ancestors. Ever since Israel had become a nation, God had refused to choose any city for his dwelling place; but now he chose the city of David and his son Solomon (14-21).


Verse 22

The dedication ceremony (8:22-9:9)

Solomon then went up on to a specially made bronze platform, knelt down and prayed to God in the presence of the assembled people (2 Chronicles 6:12-13). He admitted that only God's grace had allowed his father and himself to fulfil their wish of building God a symbolic dwelling place. He prayed that God's grace would rest likewise upon his royal descendants after him (22-26). Solomon knew there was no necessity for the temple, because God dwells everywhere. But he asked that God would graciously hear his prayer and the prayers of the people when they came to the temple to pray (27-30).

Because the temple was a place of prayer, Solomon thought of various circumstances when people would go there to pray. He asked that judges, such as himself, would have God's help in making legal judgments where the evidence was uncertain (31-32; cf. Exodus 22:7-12). He thought of cases where God might punish his people through war, famine, disease or other disasters, and he asked that when they repented, God would forgive them (33-40).

In a public display of concern for foreigners, Solomon prayed that they too would come to know God, and that God would answer their prayers as he did those of Israelites (41-43). He asked that God would hear the Israelites when they prayed for success against their enemies in war (44-45). Finally, he asked that God would hear them when they cried for mercy from those whom he sent to punish them (46-53).

God demonstrated his acceptance of Solomon's prayer by sending fire from heaven to burn up the sacrifices (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). Solomon then prepared to pray for God's blessing upon the assembled people (54-55). He praised God for his faithfulness to his promises, and asked that God would help his people to obey his law (56-61). The ceremony concluded in typical fashion with large numbers of sacrifices (62-64), and public celebrations continued for a further week (65-66).

In accepting the temple, God again reminded Solomon that the important 'house' was not the house of God (the temple), but the house of David (those whom God had appointed to govern Israel for ever). Though in relation to the people they were kings, in relation to God they were servants, and they had to be obedient to his will if they were to enjoy the fulfilment of his promises (9:1-5). Solomon had built the temple to show that God dwelt among his people. But if the king or his people rebelled against him, God would destroy the temple to show his displeasure with them (6-9).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Kings 8:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-kings-8.html. 2005.

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