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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Chronicles 7

 

 

Verse 1

2 Chronicles 7:1. The fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt- offering, &c. — This circumstance is added to what is recorded in the first book of Kings. Hereby, and by the cloud filling the whole house, was shown God’s gracious acceptance of Solomon’s prayer and sacrifices; and an assurance was given that he would be present in this place, and grant all their lawful petitions. By the former of these, it is generally thought, the first sacrifice that we read of in Scripture, that of Abel, was declared to be acceptable to God. And when the tabernacle was erected and dedicated, and Aaron was consecrated, there was the same testimony given of God’s presence there as here, Exodus 40:34-35; Leviticus 9:24. The surest evidence of God’s acceptance of our prayers is, the descent of his holy fire of love upon us. And the heart which is filled with a holy awe and reverence of the divine majesty, (as the glory of the Lord filled this house,) the heart to which God manifests his greatness, and (what is no less his glory) his goodness, is thereby owned as his living temple.


Verse 3

2 Chronicles 7:3. The glory of the Lord upon the house — The cloud first came down upon the house, and then entered into the house, and was seen both within it by the priests, and without it by the people; who by this evident token of the divine presence, and the sudden and miraculous descent of the fire, were fully satisfied that it was God’s house, and that he would accept their sacrifices offered there, hear their prayers, and bestow his blessings upon them. They bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement — Fell prostrate upon the ground, thus expressing their awful dread of the divine majesty, their cheerful submission to the divine authority, and the sense they had of their utter unworthiness to enter into his presence. And worshipped and praised the Lord — As they had great reason to do, having seen such manifest tokens of his presence among them. Saying, For he is good, &c. — Thus using the same words in which the priests had just before praised him: a song never out of season, and for which our hearts and tongues should never be out of tune.


Verse 4-5

2 Chronicles 7:4-5. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices — They had offered sacrifices before; but now they renewed them, and offered more, in acknowledgment of these new assurances of God’s love to them. Twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep It is probable that many of these sacrifices were burned in all the courts of the temple, and in different places upon the mount, as it was scarce possible that they should all be consumed upon one altar.


Verse 6

2 Chronicles 7:6. Instruments of music of the Lord — So called, because David had made them to praise the Lord withal. See 1 Chronicles 15:16. When David praised by their ministry — For David composed the psalms or hymns, and appointed them to be sung by the Levites, and instruments of music to be joined to their voices.


Verse 10

2 Chronicles 7:10. On the three and twentieth day of the seventh month, he sent the people away — They kept the feast of the dedication of the altar seven days, from the second to the ninth; the tenth day was the day of atonement, when they were to afflict their souls for sin, and that was not unseasonable in the midst of their rejoicings: then on the fifteenth began the feast of tabernacles, which continued to the twenty-second, and thus they continued to be employed in sacred services, and did not part till the twenty-third. We ought never to grudge the time that we spend in the worship of God, and in communion with him, nor think it long, or grow weary of it. Glad and merry in heart for the goodness, &c. — That is, according to the Targum, “for the goodness of the Lord shown unto David, in opening the doors of the sanctuary; and unto Solomon, whose prayer God had accepted, and had honoured with his presence in the house which he had built; and unto his people Israel, in his acceptance of their sacrifices, and sending down fire from heaven to consume them.”


Verse 12

2 Chronicles 7:12. The Lord appeared to Solomon, and said, I have heard thy prayer — That God had accepted his prayer was shown by his sending fire from heaven. But a prayer may be accepted, and yet not answered in the letter of it. God therefore appeared to him in the night, as he had done once before, (1 Chronicles 1:7,) and gave him a particular answer to his prayer. See notes on 1 Kings 9:2-9.


Verse 13

2 Chronicles 7:13. If I command the locusts to devour the land — That is, use my authority and power over them to cause them to do so. A metaphor elsewhere used in reference to irrational animals, as 1 Kings 17:4, Amos 9:3, which are not properly capable of receiving a command, or of paying obedience to it. Other national judgments are here supposed, such as famine, war, and the ravages of savage beasts.


Verse 14

2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people shall humble themselves, and pray, &c. — Thus national repentance and reformation are required. God expects, that if his people, who are called by his name, have dishonoured his name by their iniquity, they should honour it by accepting the punishment of their iniquity. They must humble themselves under his hand, must pray for the removal of the judgment, must seek his face and favour: and yet all this will not be sufficient, unless they turn from their wicked ways, and return to him from whom they have revolted. National mercy is then promised, Then will I hear from heaven, &c. — God will first forgive their sin, which brought the judgment upon them, and then will heal their land, and redress their grievances.


Verse 15-16

2 Chronicles 7:15-16. My eyes shall be open, &c., unto the prayer that is made in this place — Or, that shall be made in, or toward, this place; for he speaks of the answers which he would give to the prayers which should afterward be made there. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, &c. — There will I make myself known, and there will I be called upon.


Verse 17-18

2 Chronicles 7:17-18. If thou wilt walk before me, &c. — He promises to establish and perpetuate Solomon’s kingdom, on condition that he persevered in his duty; assuring him, that if he hoped for the benefit of God’s covenant with David, he must imitate the example of David.


Verse 19

2 Chronicles 7:19. But if ye turn away — Thou or thy seed, and forsake my statutes, &c. — Thus God sets before him death as well as life, the curse as well as the blessing. He supposes it possible, that though they had this temple built to the honour of God, yet they might be drawn aside to worship other gods. For he knew how prone they were to backslide into that sin. And he threatens, if they did so, it would certainly be the ruin of both church and state. That though they had been long in that good land, and had taken deep root in it, he would pluck them up by the roots, would extirpate their whole nation, as men pluck up weeds in a garden, and throw them out upon the dunghill. And that this sanctuary would be no sanctuary to them to protect them from the judgments of God, as they imagined; but that this house, which was so high, not only for the magnificence of its structure, but for the intended ends and uses of it, should be brought down, laid in ruins, and made a cause of wonder and astonishment to every one that passed by, and to all the neighbouring nations.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 7:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-chronicles-7.html. 1857.

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