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1 Then Solomon assembled the Elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chiefe of the fathers of the children of Israel, vnto king Solomon in Ierusalem, that they might bring vp the Arke of the Couenant of the Lord, out of the citie of Dauid, which is Zion.

2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselues vnto king Solomon, at the feast, in the moneth Ethanim, which is the seuenth moneth.

3 And all the Elders of Israel came, and the Priests tooke vp the Arke.

4 And they brought vp the Arke of the Lord, and the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tabernacle, euen those did the Priests & the Leuites bring vp.

5 And king Solomon, and all the Congregation of Israel, that were assembled vnto him, were with him before the Arke, sacrificing sheepe, and oxen, that could not bee told nor numbred for multitude.

6 And the Priests brought in the Arke of the Couenant of the Lord vnto his place, into the Oracle of the house to the most holy place, euen vnder the wings of the Cherubims.

7 For the Cherubims spread forth their two wings ouer the place of the Arke, and the Cherubims couered the Arke, and the staues thereof aboue.

8 And they drew out the staues, that the ends of the staues were seene out in the Holy place before the Oracle, and they were not seene without: and there they are vnto this day.

9 There was nothing in the Arke, saue the two Tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a Couenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

10 And it came to passe when the Priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord;

11 So that the Priests could not stand to minister, because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.

12 Then spake Solomon; The Lord said that hee would dwell in the thicke darkenesse.

13 I haue surely built thee an house to dwel in, a setled place for thee to abide in for euer.

14 And the King turned his face about, and blessed all the Congregation of Israel: (and all the Congregation of Israel stood.)

15 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which spake with his mouth vnto Dauid my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying;

16 Since the day that I brought foorth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no citie out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house that my Name might be therein; but I chose Dauid to be ouer my people Israel.

17 And it was in the heart of Dauid my father, to builde an house for the Name of the Lord God of Israel.

18 And the Lord sayd vnto Dauid my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house vnto my Name, thou diddest well that it was in thine heart.

19 Neuerthelesse, thou shalt not build the house, but thy sonne that shall come foorth out of thy loynes, hee shall build the house vnto my Name.

20 And the Lord hath perfourmed his word that he spake, and I am risen vp in the roume of Dauid my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and haue built an House for the Name of the Lord God of Israel.

21 And I haue set there a place for the Arke, wherein is the Couenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

22 And Solomon stood before the Altar of the Lord, in the presence of all the Congregation of Israel, and spread foorth his handes toward heauen:

23 And hee said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heauen aboue, or on earth beneath, who keepest couenant and mercy with thy seruants, that walke before thee with all their heart:

24 Who hast kept with thy seruant Dauid my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

25 Therefore now Lord God of Israel, keepe with thy seruant Dauid my father, that thou promisedst him, saying; There shall not faile thee a man in my sight to sit on the Throne of Israel; so that thy children take heede to their way, that they walke before me as thou hast walked before me:

26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy worde (I pray thee) bee verified, which thou spakest vnto thy seruant Dauid my father.

27 But will God indeede dwell on the earth? Behold, the heauen, and heauen of heauens cannot conteine thee: how much lesse this House that I haue builded?

28 Yet haue thou respect vnto the prayer of thy seruant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken vnto the crie and to the prayer, which thy seruant prayeth before thee to day:

29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house, night and day, euen toward the place of which thou hast said, My Name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken vnto the prayer which thy seruant shall make towards this place.

30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy seruant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray towards this place: and heare thou in heauen thy dwelling place, and when thou hearest, forgiue.

31 If any man trespasse against his neighbour, and an oath be laid vpon him to cause him to sweare, and the oath come before thine Altar in this house:

32 Then heare thou in heauen, and doe, and iudge thy seruants, condemning the wicked to bring his way vpon his head, and iustifying the righteous, to giue him according to his righteousnesse.

33 When thy people Israel bee smitten downe before the enemie, because they haue sinned against thee, and shall turne againe to thee, and confesse thy Name, and pray, and make supplication vnto thee in this house:

34 Then heare thou in heauen, and forgiue the sinne of thy people Israel, and bring them againe vnto the land, which thou gauest vnto their fathers.

35 When heauen is shut vp, and there is no raine, because they haue sinned against thee: if they pray towards this place, and confesse thy Name, and turne from their sinne, when thou afflictest them:

36 Then heare thou in heauen, and forgiue the sinne of thy seruants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walke, and giue raine vpon thy land which thou hast giuen to thy people for an inheritance.

37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller: if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities, whatsoeuer plague, whatsoeuer sicknes there be;

38 What prayer and supplication soeuer be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know euery man the plague of his owne heart, and spread forth his handes towards this house:

39 Then heare thou in heauen thy dwelling place, and forgiue, and do, and giue to euery man according to his wayes, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, euen thou onely knowest the hearts of all the children of men,)

40 That they may feare thee all the dayes that they liue, in the land which thou gauest vnto our fathers.

41 Moreouer, concerning a stranger that is not of thy people Israel, but commeth out of a farre countrey, for thy Names sake;

42 (For they shall heare of thy great Name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arme) when hee shall come and pray towards this house:

43 Heare thou in heauen thy dwelling place, and doe according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy Name, to feare thee, as doe thy people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I haue builded, is called by thy Name.

44 If thy people goe out to battell against their enemie, whithersoeuer thou shalt send them, and shall pray vnto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I haue built for thy Name:

45 Then heare thou in heauen their prayer & their supplication, and mainteine their cause.

46 If they sinne against thee, ( for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliuer them to the enemy, so that they cary them away captiues, vnto the land of the enemy, farre or neere;

47 Yet if they shall bethinke themselues, in the land whither they were caried captiues, and repent, and make supplication vnto thee in the land of them that caried them captiues, saying, Wee haue sinned, and haue done peruersly, we haue committed wickednes;

48 And so returne vnto thee with all their heart, and with all their soule, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captiue, and pray vnto thee toward their land, which thou gauest vnto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I haue built for thy Name:

49 Then heare thou their prayer and their supplication in heauen thy dwelling place, and mainteine their cause,

50 And forgiue thy people that haue sinned against thee, and all their transgressions, wherein they haue transgressed against thee, and giue them compassion before them who caried them captiue, that they may haue compassion on them:

51 For they bee thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest foorth out of Egypt, from the mids of the furnace of iron:

52 That thine eyes may be open vnto the supplication of thy seruant, and vnto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken vnto them in all that they call for vnto thee.

53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy seruant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.

54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication vnto the Lord, he arose from before the Altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees, with his handes spread vp to heauen.

55 And he stood, and blessed all the Congregation of Israel, with a lowd voice, saying;

56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath giuen rest vnto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his seruant.

57 The Lord our God be with vs, as he was with our fathers: let him not leaue vs, nor forsake vs:

58 That hee may encline our hearts vnto him, to walke in all his wayes, and to keepe his Commaundements, and his Statutes, and his Iudgements which hee commaunded our fathers.

59 And let these my wordes wherewith I haue made supplication before the Lord, be nigh vnto the Lord our God, day and night, that hee maintaine the cause of his seruant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:

60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God: and that there is none else.

61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord your God, to walke in his Statutes, and to keepe his Commandements, as at this day.

62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.

63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered vnto the Lord, two and twentie thousand oxen, and an hundred and twentie thousand sheepe: so the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.

64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the Court that was before the house of the Lord: for there hee offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen Altar that was before the Lord, was too little to receiue the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.

65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great Congregation, from the entring in of Hamath, vnto the riuer of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seuen dayes and seuen dayes, euen fourteene dayes.

66 On the eight day he sent the people away: and they blessed the King, and went vnto their tents ioyfull, and glad of heart, for all the goodnesse that the Lord had done for Dauid his seruant, and for Israel his people.

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Commentary for 1 Kings 8

The dedication of the temple. (1-11) The occasion. (12-21) Solomon's prayer. (22-53) His blessing and exhortation. (54-61) Solomon's peace-offerings. (62-66)1-11 The bringing in the ark, is the end which must crown the work: this was done with great solemnity. The ark was fixed in the place appointed for its rest in the inner part of the house, whence they expected God to speak to them, even in the most holy place. The staves of the ark were drawn out, so as to direct the high priest to the mercy-seat over the ark, when he went in, once a year, to sprinkle the blood there; so that they continued of use, though there was no longer occasion to carry it by them. The glory of God appearing in a cloud may signify, 1. The darkness of that dispensation, in comparison with the light of the gospel, by which, with open face, we behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. 2. The darkness of our present state, in comparison with the sight of God, which will be the happiness of heaven, where the Divine glory is unveiled.

12-21 Solomon encouraged the priests, who were much astonished at the dark cloud. The dark dispensations of Providence should quicken us in fleeing for refuge to the hope of the gospel. Nothing can more reconcile us to them, than to consider what God has said, and to compare his word and works together. Whatever good we do, we must look on it as the performance of God's promise to us, not of our promises to him.

22-53 In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. The sacrifices, the incense, and the whole service of the temple, were all typical of the Redeemer's offices, oblation, and intercession. The temple, therefore, was continually to be remembered. Under one word, "forgive," Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. For, as all misery springs from sin, forgiveness of sin prepares the way for the removal of every evil, and the receiving of every good. Without it, no deliverance can prove a blessing. In addition to the teaching of the word of God, Solomon entreated the Lord himself to teach the people to profit by all, even by their chastisements. They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him; and shall spread their hands in prayer toward this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant. Sin is the plague of our own hearts; our in-dwelling corruptions are our spiritual diseases: every true Israelite endeavours to know these, that he may mortify them, and watch against the risings of them. These drive him to his knees; lamenting these, he spreads forth his hands in prayer. After many particulars, Solomon concludes with the general request, that God would hearken to his praying people. No place, now, under the gospel, can add to the prayers made in or towards it. The substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us. In this manner the Israel of God is established and sanctified, the backslider is recovered and healed. In this manner the stranger is brought nigh, the mourner is comforted, the name of God is glorified. Sin is the cause of all our troubles; repentance and forgiveness lead to all human happiness.

54-61 Never was a congregation dismissed with what was more likely to affect them, and to abide with them. What Solomon asks for in this prayer, is still granted in the intercession of Christ, of which his supplication was a type. We shall receive grace sufficient, suitable, and seasonable, in every time of need. No human heart is of itself willing to obey the gospel call to repentance, faith, and newness of life, walking in all the commandments of the Lord, yet Solomon exhorts the people to be perfect. This is the scriptural method, it is our duty to obey the command of the law and the call of the gospel, seeing we have broken the law. When our hearts are inclined thereto, feeling our sinfulness and weakness, we pray for Divine assistance; thus are we made able to serve God through Jesus Christ.

62-66 Solomon offered a great sacrifice. He kept the feast of tabernacles, as it seems, after the feast of dedication. Thus should we go home, rejoicing, from holy ordinances, thankful for God's Goodness

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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