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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

2 Chronicles 7

 

 

Introduction

VII.

4. GOD CONFIRMS THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE (1) BY FIRE FROM HEAVEN (2) BY SPECIAL REVELATION TO SOLOMON (2 Chronicles 7).

The fire from heaven (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). This section is wanting in l Kings 8:54, sqq., where we read instead of it an address of Solomon to the people. All that the king said seems here to be included in the phrase, “when Solomon had made an end of praying.”


Verse 1

(1) When Solomon had made an end of praying.—(1 Kings 8:54, “And it came to pass, when S. had made an end of praying unto Jehovah all this prayer and supplication.”) From this point the divergence between the two accounts begins. There is no objective ground for supposing that the chronicler invented the facts here recorded. He must have found them in one of his sources, although we have no means of determining whether or not they were related in the original narrative followed by the author of Kings. It is gratuitous to fancy that the chronicler was more partial to miracle than the older writer. (Comp. 1 Kings 8:10; 1 Kings 18:38.) His greater interest in all that concerned the worship of the Temple is enough to account for the present and similar additions to the older narrative.

The fire came down from heaven.—Comp. Leviticus 9:22-24, from which passage it appears likely that the fire descended after Solomon had blessed the people. (Comp. also 1 Chronicles 21:26; 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12; 2 Kings 1:14.)

And the sacrifices.—The offerings presented when the ark entered the Temple (2 Chronicles 5:6).

And the glory of the Lord filled the house.—This statement is not a mere duplicate of 2 Chronicles 5:13-14. See next verse. The “glory of the Lord” is apparently a manifestation quite distinct from the “fire.”


Verse 2

(2) And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord.—Hardly a different assertion from that of 2 Chronicles 5:14 (“ the priests could not stand to minister”); the cause in both instances being the same, and expressed in the same words (1 Kings 8:11). But it is quite plain that the writer intends to record in 2 Chronicles 5, 7 two distinct appearances of the Divine glory, one before and one after the Prayer of Consecration, both of which were attended by the same effects upon the ministering priests.


Verse 3

(3) Upon the pavement.—Riçpâh; rendered by the LXX. τὸ λιθόστρωτον, which is the word used in John 19:13; Vulg., “pavimentum stratum lapide.” (Comp. Ezekiel 40:17-18; Esther 1:6, a tesselated pavement.)

And praised.—Gave thanks to Jehovah. The infinitive is here used for the finite form of the verb, as elsewhere.

For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.—See 1 Chronicles 16:34-41; 1 Chronicles 23:30; 2 Chronicles 5:13; 2 Chronicles 20:21. The Syriac and Arabic paraphrase, “and they said one to another: Give thanks to the Lord,” &c. There is hardly anything in the section, except this last phrase, which can be said to be characteristic of the style of the chronicler.


Verse 4

(4) Then.—And.

Offered sacrifices.—Were sacrificing a sacrifice. LXX., θύοντες θύματα. Vulg., “immolabant.”


Verses 4-10

(4-10) THE SACRIFICES AND THE FESTIVAL. (Comp. 1 Kings 8:62-66.) The two narratives are again mainly coincident.


Verse 5

(5) And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen.—Literally, the sacrifice of the oxen twenty and two thousand. Kings, “the sacrifice of the peace offerings which he sacrificed to Jehovah, oxen twenty and two thousand.” The italicised words seem to have fallen out of our text. The numbers are the same in both accounts.

The people.—Kings has the old name, sons of Israel, and house of Jehovah for house of God.


Verse 6

(6) And the priests.—This verse is added by the chronicler, after his usual fashion of laying stress on the ritual, especially its choral and musical side. (Comp 2 Chronicles 5:11-13.)

Waited on their offices.—Literally, And the priests upon their wards (watches) were standing, i.e., stood at their posts. Vulg., “sacerdotes autem stabant in officiis suis.”

Instruments of musick of the Lord—i.e., of sacred music, as we should say. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 16:42.)

Which David . . . had made.—1 Chronicles 23:5.

To praise.—Give thanks to. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 7:3 supr.)

When David praised by their ministry.—See margin; and 1 Chronicles 16:4-7. The LXX., ἐν ὕμνοις δαυιδ διὰ τη̑ ςχειρὸς αὐτῶν takes b’hallçl substantively, as if it meant “in David’s psalmody,” perhaps with special reference to the great hallel of the synagogue. The Authorised Version gives the true meaning, namely, that the Levites were David’s ministers of praise.

Sounded trumpets.—Were trumpeting.

Stood.—Were standing.


Verse 7

(7) Moreover.—And. This verse is slightly modified from 1 Kings 8:64 (see the Notes there).

Which Solomon had made.—2 Chronicles 4:1. Kings, which was before the Lord.

Was not able to receive.—An explanation of the phrase of Kings, “was too little to receive.”

The burnt offerings . . . meat offerings.—Both are singular in the Heb.


Verse 8

(8) Also at the same time.—Literally, And Solomon made the feast at that time seven days. “The feast” was the Feast of Tabernacles. (See Leviticus 23:34-36.)

Seven days.—The legal time. (See Lev. 50100) The days were counted from the 15th of the seventh month. (Comp. 1 Kings 8:65.)

The river.—Torrent or wady. LXX., χειμάρρους. Kings adds, “before the Lord our God.” So Syriac.


Verse 9

(9) And in the eighth day—That is, on the twenty-second of the seventh month (Ethanim, or Tisri; 2 Chronicles 5:3).

They made a solemn assembly.—Comp. Leviticus 23:36. Not mentioned in Kings (1 Kings 8:66 says: “and on the eighth day he dismissed the people,” i.e., after this final gathering).

For they kept the dedication of the altar seven days.—The seven days preceding the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, or the 8th to the 14th Ethanim, had been kept as an extraordinary festival on account of the inauguration of the Temple. After this festival, the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated in due course for seven days more.

This explains the obscure words of 1 Kings 8:65, “(Solomon and all Israel) kept the feast . . . seven days and seven days, fourteen days,” a brief expression which combines the two distinct celebrations. So Syriac, “seven days of the feast, and seven days of the inauguration of the house; these and these, their amount was fourteen days. And on the day of the full moon in the month of Tisri the king sent the people away.”


Verse 10

(10) And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month.—Beginning with the evening of the twenty-second.

For the goodness.—Some MSS., Syriac, and Arabic, “for all the goodness,” as in 1 Kings 8:66.

David, and to Solomon.—Kings, “David his servant.” The mention of Solomon was added by the chronicler. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:4; 2 Chronicles 6:8; 2 Chronicles 6:15-17; 2 Chronicles 6:42, where all Solomon’s success is connected with the premise to David.)


Verse 11

THE LORD’S RESPONSE TO THE PRAYER OF SOLOMON
(2 Chronicles 7:11-22. Comp. 1 Kings 9:1-9).

The substance and, for the most part, the language of both passages are the same, but the chronicler paraphrases occasionally, and has added a considerable section not extant in Kings (2 Chronicles 7:13-16).

(11) All that came into Solomon’s heart to make.—A paraphrase of all the desire (Isaiah 21:4; 2 Chronicles 8:6) of Solomon that he willed to do. The rest of the verse is wanting in Kings.


Verse 12

(12) By night.—This is implied in Kings, which has, “as He had appeared unto him in Gibeon.”

I have heard thy prayer.—From this point begins the chronicler’s addition to the prayer as extant in the older text. Judging by the style, the added section must have formed an integral part of the original text, from which both the editor of Kings and the chronicler drew their narratives.

An house of sacrifice (bêth zâbah).—A phrase occurring nowhere else in the Old Testament.


Verse 13

(13) If I shut up heaven that there be no rain.—Deuteronomy 11:17; 2 Chronicles 6:26.

If.—Hçn, as in Jeremiah 3:1; Isaiah 54:15.

The locusts.—Hâgâb, a winged and edible species (Leviticus 11:22). In 2 Chronicles 6:28, two other kinds, the ’arbeh and hâsîl, were mentioned.

If I send pestilence.—2 Chronicles 6:28; 1 Chronicles 21


Verse 14

(14) My people, which are called by my name.—See margin; 2 Chronicles 6:33; Amos 9:12; Jeremiah 14:9. The sense is: which are dedicated to me.

Humble themselves.—Leviticus 26:41, in a similar context.

Seek my face.—Psalms 24:6; Psalms 27:8.

Turn from their wicked ways.—Hosea 6:1; Isaiah 6:10; Jeremiah 25:5.

Heal their land.—Ps. Ix. 4.


Verse 15

(15) Now mine eyes shall be open.—Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:40, and Notes.


Verse 16

(16) Have I chosen.—2 Chronicles 6:6, and 2 Chronicles 7:12, supr.

Sanctified this house.—1 Kings 9:3. The two accounts are again parallel.

Perpetually.—All the days.


Verse 17

(17) Walked.—Kings adds, “in perfectness of heart, and in uprightness.” So Syriac and Arabic.

And do.—So LXX., Vulg., and Arabic. The Heb. is wĕ-la‘asôth, “and to do,” a construction which the chronicler sometimes uses in continuation of a future (imperfect tense). But Kings has “to do,” an infinitive defining the former verb; and so the Syriac here.


Verse 18

(18) As I have covenanted with.—Heb. kârattî lĕ, “Icut (a covenant) for.” The word bĕrîth, “covenant,” is omitted, as in 2 Chronicles 5:10. So LXX., ὡς διεθέμην δαυιδ τῷ πατρί σου. Syriac, “As I sware to David.” Kings: “As I spake concerning David” (kârattî may be an ancient misreading of dibbartî, “I spake;” the two being much alike in Heb. writing).

Ruler in Israel (môshçl).—Kings, “From upon the throne of Israel.” The chronicler has substituted a reminiscence of Micah 5:1, probably correcting a defective text, the word throne having fallen out. Syriac, “who standeth on the throne of Israel.”


Verse 19

(19) But.—And. Kings omits, but emphasises the verb, “If ye will turn,” or, “if turn ye will.”

The order of words in the Heb. implies that û-bnêkem, “and your children,” has fallen out of the text: “And if ye turn, ye and your children.” So Kings, and Syriac and Arabic here. Kings adds, “From after me.”

And forsake.—Kings, “and keep not.” So Syriac and Arabic.


Verse 20

(20) Then will I pluck them up by the roots—i.e., your children (see last verse). (Comp. Deuteronomy 29:27.) Vulg. rightly, “evellam vos de terra mea.” The opposite idea is that of planting a nation in a land (Jeremiah 24:6). Kings, “Then will I cut off Israel from upon the face of the land.” The chronicler has softened the severity of the expression, cut off Israel.

Will I cast out of my sight.—Vulg. more literally, “projiciam a facie mea.” The exact phrase occurs nowhere else; but comp. Psalms 51:13, which is very similar; also Psalms 102:11. Instead of ’ashlik, “I will cast,” Kings has ’ashallah, “I will send,” i.e., throw (Amos 2:5).

And will make it.—A softening down of, and Israel shall become (Kings). Comp. Deuteronomy 28:37. So Syriac.


Verse 21

(21) And this house, which is high.—A correction of Kings: “and this house shall be high,” which appears meaningless in the context. But the Syriac (and Arabic) here and in Kings has, “And this house shall be laid waste” (nehwê hreb); and the Targum of Kings combines both readings thus: “And this house which is high shall be laid waste” (y’hê harîb). It appears, therefore, that the original reading of the Heb. text was, “And this house shall become ruinous heaps” (‘îyîn, “heaps,” not ‘elyôn, “high”). (Comp. Micah 3:12. The mistake is as old as the LXX., ύ οἶκος οὗτος ὁ ὑψηλός.)

Shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it.—Every one that passeth by it shall be astonished: πᾶς ὁ διαπορευόμενος αὐτὸν ἐκστήσεται, LXX. Syriac, “Every one that passeth by it shall stop and shake his head, and sway with his hand, and say “. . . Kings adds, “and shall hiss” (certainly original).


Verse 22

(22) And it shall be answered.—And men shall say.

Hath he brought.—Kings, “hath Jehovah brought.” (So the Syriac and Arabic here.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 7:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-chronicles-7.html. 1905.

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