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Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

2 Chronicles 7

 

 

Verses 1-10

4. The Divine Confirmation of the Dedication of the Temple: 2 Chronicles 7:1-10

2 Chronicles 7:1.And when Solomon had ended [his] prayer, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, 3because the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. And all the sons of Israel saw the fire come down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, and they bowed down their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshipped and 4 praised the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever. And the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord 5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep; and the king and all the people dedicated the house of God 6 And the priests stood at their posts, and the Levites with instruments of song of the Lord, which David the king had made, to thank the Lord, that His mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their hand; and the priests blew the 7 trumpets[FN1] before them, and all Israel stood. And Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the lord; for there he offered the burnt-offerings and the fat of the peace-offerings: because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt-offerings, and the meat- 8offerings, and the fat. And Solomon kept the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from Hamath to the river of 9 Egypt. And they made on the eighth day a solemn assembly; for they kept the 10 dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. And in the twenty and third day of the seventh month he sent away the people to their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shown to David, and to Song of Solomon, and to Israel his people.

EXEGETICAL

Preliminary Remark.—The first three sections or acts of this account agree with the parallel 1 Kings8, mostly to the letter; only a notice referring to the part of the priests, Levites, and singers in the solemnity in6:11–13is peculiar to our author. In the fourth section (7:1–10) is found the more considerable deviation, that instead of the blessing pronounced by Solomon on the community of Israel ( 1 Kings 8:54-61), the consuming of the offerings by fire from heaven is narrated (7:1–3; comp. the similar account in the history of the census and the plague, 1 Chronicles 21:26 f.).

1. Removal of the Ark from Zion to the Temple: 2 Chronicles 5:2-14; comp. 1 Kings 8:1-11 (and thereon, Bähr, Bibelw. vii 72 ff.).

2 Chronicles 6:3. In the feast, which was the seventh month. According to 1 Kings, the statement: “in the month Ethanim,” appears to have fallen out before these words, though also החֹדֶשׁ might be a mistake for בַּחֹדְשׁ, “in the seventh month.”

2 Chronicles 6:5. The supplement of a וְ between הכהנים and הלוים (see Crit. Note) seems indispensable; “for even if Levitical priests bore the ark and the holy vessels of the tabernacle into the temple, yet it is certain that the tabernacle itself (its boards, curtains, and coverings) was not conveyed by the priests, but only by the Levites, into the temple to be preserved as sacred relics. The copula ו is perhaps left out only by a copyist, who thought of הכהנים הלזים, Joshua 3:3; Deuteronomy 17:9; Deuteronomy 17:18” (Keil).

2 Chronicles 6:10. The two tables which Moses put into it at Horeb, properly, “gave,” נָתַן, as Exodus 40:20. More clear and full is the parallel text 1 Kings 8:9 : אֲשֶׁר הִנִּיחַ שָׁם, “which he had put there.”

2 Chronicles 6:11. For all the priests that were present had sanctified themselves. These words begin the longer parenthesis inserted by the Chronist in the statement, 1 Kings 8:10, concerning the priests, Levites, and singers, which extends to 2 Chronicles 6:13 b. “That were present,” literally, “that were found”; comp. 1 Chronicles 29:17; Ezra 8:25.—Without observing the courses; that Isaiah, on account of the greatness of the solemnity, and the multitude of persons required, the series of exchanging courses of the priests ( 1 Chronicles 24) could not be observed; all the courses must together sanctify themselves and co-operate. For the construction אֵין לִשְׁמוֹר, comp. 1 Chronicles 23:26; Ew. § 321, b.

2 Chronicles 6:12. All of them, Asaph, etc, properly, “as to all, Asaph,” etc.; the introductory לְ, as 1 Chronicles 5:25 (see on this passage).—Sounding with trumpets. For מַֽחֲצֹצְרִים, see on 1 Chronicles 15:24; comp. also the remarks on the temple musicians and their instruments, 1 Chronicles 15:17-28.

2 Chronicles 6:13.And the trumpeters and singers were as one Prayer of Manasseh, literally, “and it came to pass as one concerning the trumpeters and singers (לְ, as before), that they sounded loud with one voice.” For the construction הָיָה לְהַשְׁמִיעַ, comp. Ew. § 237, and on the import of הַשְׁמִיעַ, 1 Chronicles 15:16. The קוֹל אֶחָד, “with one voice,” is properly redundant, but is added to the לְהַשְׁמִיעַ to strengthen the notion already lying in אֶחָד, “one” of the unisono of the trumpet sound, and the singing of the many voices.—When they lifted up the voice, literally, “and as the lifting of the voice”; comp. Ezra 3:12; Ezra 9:1. The words connect again with 2 Chronicles 7:11 a, and so prepare for the conclusion, which, however, is formed by the last words of the verse: Then the house was filled with the cloud of the house of the Lord, the well-known light-cloud (shechinah) dwelling in the tabernacle since the time of Moses, the manifestation of the gracious presence of God in His covenant sanctuary. For 2 Chronicles 6:14, comp. 1 Kings 8:11, and Bähr thereon.

2. Solomon praises the Lord on his Entrance into the new temple: 2 Chronicles 6:1-11; agreeing almost literally with 1 Kings 6:12-21.—We notice some of the never very important deviations of our text.—On 2 Chronicles 7:1, comp. Leviticus 16:1

2 Chronicles 6:2. And I, even I, have built, etc. Instead of וַֽאֲנִי בָּנִיתִי, with its emphatic accentuation of the subject, 1 Kings 8:13 gives בָּנֹה בניתי, “I have surely built,” etc.

2 Chronicles 6:4. Blessed be the Lord … who hath spoken with His mouth, etc, a reference to 1 Chronicles 11:2, which promise is here repeated with great fulness, resting indeed on the words of Nathan contained in 1 Chronicles 17:4-14, to which allusion is made, especially from 2 Chronicles 7:8.

2 Chronicles 6:5. From the day that I brought my people, etc. From this to 2 Chronicles 7:7, the speech of Song of Solomon, compared with 1 Kings 8:16 f, appears enlarged, especially by the sentences there wanting, 2 Chronicles 7:5 b: “and I chose no man to be ruler,” etc, and 2 Chronicles 7:6 a. “and I chose Jerusalem.”

2 Chronicles 6:11. And there I have put the ark. Somewhat otherwise 1 Kings 8:21 : “And I have set there a place for the ark” (מְקוֹם הָאֲרוֹן for the simple הארון).

3. Solomon’s Prayer of Consecration: 2 Chronicles 6:12-22; except the introduction, 2 Chronicles 6:13, and the close, 2 Chronicles 6:40-42, very closely agreeing with 1 Kings 8:22-53.

2 Chronicles 6:13. For Solomon had made a scaffold of brass. This whole parenthesis, with the notice concerning the brazen scaffold (properly, “basin,” כִּיּוֹר, pot-shaped elevation, platform; comp. Nehemiah 9:4) in the court, is wanting in 1 Kings; whether omitted by an old error of the transcriber, as Then. and Berth. think, must remain doubtful.

2 Chronicles 6:21. And hear Thou from Thy dwelling-place, from heaven, for which 1 Kings 8:30 : “hear to Thy dwelling-place, to heaven,” perhaps by a mistake in copying.

2 Chronicles 6:33. Then hear Thou, literally, “and Thou hear”; the וְ before אַתָּה, introducing the conclusion, is wanting in 1 Kings 8:43, for which reason Berth, would here also exclude it from the text, contrary to all the mss.

2 Chronicles 6:40-42 form a close of the speech of Song of Solomon, deviating greatly from 1 Kings 8:50-53. Of the allusion there to the deliverance of Israel, as the heritage of the Lord, from the iron furnace of Egypt, and of the promises given by Moses ( 2 Chronicles 6:51, 53), there is here nothing. On the contrary, the petition there: “Let Thine eyes be open,” etc. ( 2 Chronicles 6:52), is here notably enlarged and strengthened by the important summons: “Now, arise … unto Thy rest, Thou and the ark of Thy strength.” This summons to the solemn and formal taking possession of the temple, to which the following narrative of the fire coming down on the sacrifice corresponds, is justly declared by Thenius to be original, and defended against the assumption that it is an arbitrary addition made by the Chronist (Berth, etc.); for, in consequence of the abence of this summons to take possession of the sanctuary, the point of the whole prayer is wanting in 1 Kings8 and the suspicion is raised that there some lines have fallen out at the end. Yet, in respect of form, our author, in his rendering of the close of the prayer, might have rested partly on other old documents, particularly on Psalm 132:8-10, a passage which coincides almost verbally with 2 Chronicles 6:41-42 (but possibly also the Psalmist might have borrowed from the original edition of Solomon’s prayer, correctly retained in our passage), and on Isaiah 55:3, where “the mercies of David” occur, coinciding verbaly with our passage ( 2 Chronicles 6:42 b), and intended, indeed, in the same sense (denoting the Lord’s merciful dealings with David, not David’s pious deeds, as Keil thinks); comp. also Psalm 89:50.—And now arise, O Lord God, to Thy rest, enter now the rest to which the throne of Thy glory has attained, נוּח for מְנוּחָה, only elsewhere in Esther 9:16-18, and there in the form נוֹחַ; comp. also Numbers 10:36 : בְּנוּחֹה, as there is here a significant accord with the words of Moses referring to the setting out and resting of the ark in the wilderness.—And let Thy saints be glad for the good (בַּטּוֹב, as Job 20:18; Psalm 104:28). The parallel Psalm 132:9 has here more briefly: “and let Thy saints shout for joy” (יְרַנְּנוּ for יִשְׂמְחוּ בַטּוֹב).

2 Chronicles 6:42. Turn not away the face of Thine anointed, refuse not his prayer; comp. 1 Kings 2:16. For the “mercies of David,” see above.

4. The Divine Confirmation of the Dedication of the Temple: 2 Chronicles 7:1-10. The first part of this section, 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, is wanting in 1 Kings8 : the second, except 2 Chronicles 7:6, which is there wanting, agrees almost verbally with 1 Kings 8:62-66.—And when Solomon … the fire came down from heaven. Both this account of the descent of a miraculous fire from heaven consuming the sacrifice, and that of the filling of the house with the glory of the Lord, along with the adoring worship of the whole community before God wonderfully manifesting Himself, are peculiar to the Chronist. In 1 Kings 8:54-61, instead of this is found an address of Solomon to the assembly, with the expression of thanks to God for His goodness to Israel, and the petition for the further manifestation of His mercy and grace. The difference, that our author relates something miraculous on which the books of Kings are silent, is similar to that in the history of the census and the pestilence, 1 Chronicles 21:26. Yet the earlier account of the miraculous filling of the house with the glory of God (5:11–14) is also found in the author of 1 Kings 8:10. Thus both narratives agree in attesting a miraculous appearance at the temple dedication; but that of the older writer places this wonder before the prayer of Song of Solomon, without placing a second miracle at the end of this prayer, whereas the Chronist reports a twofold coming of glory of the Lord, the first before the prayer, the second after it, and connected with the consuming of the offering by heavenly fire (or, as it may be supposed, with Keil, consisting in this operation of fire). Arbitrary reduplication of the miracle that had already taken place according to the oldest record and shaping of the supposed second wonder according to the model from the Mosaic time, Leviticus 9:23 f, are charged by modern criticism (Then, Berth, Kamph, etc.) against the Chronist or the younger narrative adopted by him. But it may at least be assumed that the tendency of the Chronist to the history of worship was the occasion of his mentioning the second wonder, whereas the author of the books of Kings, in accordance with his attention to the history of the kingdom, took less interest in this. It was scarcely abhorrence of the miraculous, or preference of the natural and conceivable, on the part of the latter, that led him to avoid the account of the miraculous consuming of the offering; comp. his account of the corresponding wonder in the history of Elijah ( 1 Kings 18), on which our author is silent on other grounds; and see, moreover, Evangelical and Ethical Reflections after 2 Chronicles9, No3.—And consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices, the offerings mentioned 2 Chronicles 5:6, which the king and the people had slain at the entrance of the ark in the temple, and which were slain during the prayer of dedication, but not yet burnt, partly on the altar of burnt-offering, partly on other altars erected specially for them in the inner courts ( 2 Chronicles 7:7).

2 Chronicles 7:3. And all the sons of Israel saw the fire come down. So also in the original fact of the Mosaic history, Leviticus 9:24.—And they bowed down … on the pavement. For this pavement (רצפה) or flooring in the court, that we may not certainly conceive to be mosaic work of ornamental variegated stone, as in the Persian citadel at Susa, Esther 1:6, comp. Ezekiel 40:17-18.

2 Chronicles 7:4-10. The solemnities of sacrifice and festival, even to the addition concerning the musical part in 2 Chronicles 7:6, are described in exact accordance with 1 Kings 8:62 ff, even with regard to the number of the victims offered. For these great but not incredibly great numbers (22,000 oxen and120,000 sheep), comp. partly the remarks on the great feast at Hebron, 1 Chronicles 12:39, partly the notice justly quoted by Berth. from Josephus, De bello Jud.vi93, according to which, even in the Roman times, within a few hours, 256,500 passover lambs were slain at Jerusalem. These colossal offerings and festivals exceed our conception quite as much as the numbers attesting the magnitude of the present steam or railway trade, or of the modern warfare, transcend the imagination of the ancients.

2 Chronicles 7:6. And the priests stood at their posts, literally, “watches”; comp. 2 Chronicles 8:14; 2 Chronicles 35:2; the Vulg. rightly in substance: in officiis suis; to suppose a standing of the priests according to their divisions (Berth.) is unnecessary.—When David praised by their hand, that Isaiah, executing the song of praise arranged by David, so that Hebrews, as it were, praised God by their musical performance. The Vulg. translate in substance correctly, but somewhat freely: hymnos David canentes per manus suas (similarly the Sept.). On the whole verse, comp. the similar but somewhat more diffuse notice of the co-operation of the priests and Levites in the solemnity, 2 Chronicles 5:11-13.

2 Chronicles 7:7. And Solomon hallowed the middle of the court, “ the court immediately before the temple forming the middle of the sacred square” (Then.). This whole inner space had Solomon formed as it were into a great altar of sacrifice, on account of the multitude of offerings to be presented. The notice is plainly supplementary, on which account וַיְּקַדֵּשׁ (with the וrelat. of mere sequence of thought) may be rendered by the pluperfect.

2 Chronicles 7:8. And Solomon kept the feast at that time, namely, the feast of tabernacles; comp. Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35 ff. On the now following notes of time, and their greater clearness than those of the parallel 1 Kings 8:65 f, see Bähr on this passage.

2 Chronicles 7:10. He sent away the people to their tents, that Isaiah, their homes; comp. 1 Samuel 13:2; Psalm 78:55; and 2 Chronicles 10:16 ( 1 Kings 12:16.).—For the goodness that the Lord had shown to David and to Solomon. In 1 Kings 8:66, “and to Solomon” is wanting; but the arbitrary addition of this expression is not therefore to be charged on the Chronist (against Thenius).

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Keri: מחצרים, as above, 2 Chronicles 5:12-13.


Verses 11-22

δ. Revelation of the Lord to Solomon on the Completion of the Temple and his House 2 Chronicles 7:11-22

2 Chronicles 7:11.And Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and in all that came into Solomon’s heart to do in the house of the Lord, and in his 12 own house, he succeeded. And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice 13 If I shut up heaven and there be no rain, or if 1 command14the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people. And my people, on whom my name is called, humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land 15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent 16 to the prayer of this place. And now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever; and mine eyes and my heart shall be there 17 always. And thou, if thou walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and observe my statutes and my judgments: 18Then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom, as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not’ be cut off from theea man to rule in Israel 19 But if ye [and your children] 2] turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them: 20Then will I pluck them out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified to my name, will I east out of my sight, and make it a proverb and a byword among all nations 21 And this house, which was high,[FN3] every passer-by shall be astonished at it, and Hebrews 22shall say, Why hath the Lord done this unto this land and to this house? And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them.

EXEGETICAL

The parallel text 1 Kings 9:1-9 agrees in substance, but often not in words, with our section; in particular, the latter contains some farther extensions and explanations of what is there commanded, and a longer independent addition, 2 Chronicles 7:12 b

2Ch 7:16 a.

2 Chronicles 7:11 b.—And all that came into Solomon’s heart. This is a paraphrase of וְאֶת־כָּל־חֵשֶׁק שְׁל׳, “and all the desire of Solomon”; comp. also for חֵשֶׁק, desire, 8:6.

2 Chronicles 7:12. The Lord appeared to Solomon by night. The addition:“ the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon,” 1 Kings 9:2, is wanting here. On the contrary, 1 Kings 9 : wants all that follows from “have chosen this place for myself” to “have chosen and sanctified this house,” 2 Chronicles 7:16.

2 Chronicles 7:13. If I shut up heaven and there be no rain; comp6:26, 28, where, among other land plagues, the three here mentioned, drought, locust, and pestilence, are named. The twofold הֵן is here equivalent to the אִם, “if,” appearing in the third place; comp. Isaiah 54:15; Jeremiah 3:1; Job 40:23; and see our remark on the latter passage.

2 Chronicles 7:14. And my people … humble themselves. Comp6:33; Deuteronomy 28:10; Jeremiah 15:16; on 2 Chronicles 7:15, comp6:40; on 2 Chronicles 7:16, comp6:5, 6.

2 Chronicles 7:17. And do according to all, literally, “to do,” etc. The וְ before לַֽעֲשׂוֹת is redundant, and must apparently be erased according to 1 Kings9 :

2 Chronicles 7:18. As I have covenanted with David thy father.כָּרַתִּי without the object בְּרִית appears to be a mistake for דִּבַּרְתִּי; but comp5:10.—There shall not be cut off from thee a man to rule in Israel. For this in 1 Kings 9:5 is: … “a man on the throne of Israel.” Our מושׁל בישׂראל seems to be an unintentional variation of the text there, arising from a recollection of Micah 5:1.

2 Chronicles 7:19. But if ye turn away. For the necessary supplement of וּבְנֵיכֶם,“and your children,” comp. Crit. Note.

2 Chronicles 7:20. Then will I pluck them; נָתַשׁ (for the הִכְרִית in 1 Kings 9:7) in this sense also Deuteronomy 29:27; 1 Kings 14:15. For the following: “casting out” of God’s sight, comp. Deuteronomy 9:17, Revelation 2:5; for a “proverb and a byword among all all nations,” Deuteronomy 28:37, Jeremiah 24:9.

2 Chronicles 7:21. And this house, which was high. In favour of the here probably necessary emendation יִהְיֶה עִיִּים, comp, besides the remark in the Crit. Note, Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18; Psalm 79:1. For the following: “every passer-by shall be astonished,” comp. Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8.—Why hath the Lord done this. For בַּמֶּה 1Kings has the more usual and intelligible עַל־מָה.

Footnotes:

FN#2 - וּבְנֵיהֶם seems to have fallen out after אַתֶּם, not merely according to 1 Kings 9:6, but according to the suffix of the 3 d per. in נְתַשְׁתִּים (and also לָהֶם), 2 Chronicles 7:20.

FN#3 - For עֶלְיוֹן, which the Vulg. does not give, and the Pesch. and Arab. render by “desolation,” עִיִּים (ruinæ) appears to have originally stood in the text; thus instead of אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה עֶלִיוֹן there was probably יִהְיֶה עִיִּים, ruina fiet. In the parallel text 1 Kings 9:8, indeed, עֶלְיוֹן stands, and the Sept. renders our passage: καὶ οἶκος οὗτος ὑψηλός.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 7:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/2-chronicles-7.html. 1857-84.

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