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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-66

Chapter 8

Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, and they brought the ark of the covenant into the temple, and as they did, the glory of the Lord came and filled the temple and there was just this glorious presence of God even as did take place at the time of the dedication of the tabernacle in the wilderness. Now again God's presence, the Shekinah glory of God, filling the temple.

And Solomon there offered his prayer of dedication unto God. And this dedicatory prayer of Solomon's is, of course, a classic as he speaks, first of all, of his building of the temple. And verse seventeen he said,

It was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build a house unto my name, you did well that it was in your heart ( 1 Kings 8:17-18 ).

Now God accounted it to David as having done it because it was in his heart to do, though David was not allowed to do it. God takes your motives many times above your actions. It is possible to have the right actions with the wrong motives. That is not acceptable by God. You may have the right motives, but not carry through an action. The fact that the motive, the desire is there is acceptable by God. Man looks on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart. God looks upon that which motivates you. And that which is in your heart to do and that's what God counts. What is in your heart to do. Not always am I able to do what's in my heart. You know, it may be that a person is a very generous person but has nothing to give. God sees the heart. He sees the desire of the heart to give. Even though there is nothing to give, God counts the desire of the heart even more than the wealthy person that gives God a pittance of their wealth.

Remember Jesus talking about the little widow. She gave more than the rest. Though it was just a mite, she gave of her substance. The rest of all tossed in out of their abundance. That doesn't count. God sees the heart. He knows the motive of the heart. It's in David's heart to build a temple and inasmuch as it's in his heart, God said that's good. It was in your heart to do. But you can't do it because you've got too much blood on your hands, a man of war.

but your son that shall come out of your own loins, he will build the house in my name. So the LORD hath performed his word that he spoke ( 1 Kings 8:19-20 ),

Now this affirmation of God's faithfulness to perform His word is something that we need to take note of, verse twenty. For you can be sure that God will perform His word that He declares. And Solomon has now affirmed the fact that God has performed.

and I am risen up in the place of my father David, to sit upon the throne of Israel, and as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt ( 1 Kings 8:20-21 ).

And now Solomon's prayer.

So he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation, he spread forth his hands toward heaven ( 1 Kings 8:22 ):

So you see Solomon now standing there. And all of the congregation of Israel having assembled. And Solomon lifts his hands unto God and there he begins this prayer of dedication.

O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, who keeps covenant and mercy with your servants that walk before you with all your heart ( 1 Kings 8:23 ):

God, there's no God like You anywhere.

And you have kept with your servant David my father that which you promised him: for you spoke also with your mouth, and you have fulfilled it with your hand, as we see it today ( 1 Kings 8:24 ).

It's always glorious to stand and see the fulfillment of God's work, God's promise. Lord, You said it and there it is. Always exciting to stand in the fulfillment of God's work.

Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which you promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as you have walked before me. And now, O God of Israel, let your word, I pray thee, be verified, which you spoke to your servant David my father. But will God indeed dwell on earth? behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have built? ( 1 Kings 8:25-27 )

So Solomon's recognition of sort of the ludicrous situation. "God, the heaven of heavens can't contain You. How much less this house I have built."

But have respect, Lord, toward this place and towards the prayers that are offered here, and hearken to the cries when your servants pray before you: That your eyes may be open on this house day and night, even towards this place where you have said, My name shall be there: and that you'll hearken unto the prayer which your servant shall make toward this place. And hearken to the supplication of your servant, and your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: hear from heaven thy dwelling place: when you hear, forgive ( 1 Kings 8:28-30 ).

Beautiful. "Lord, when they pray towards this place, hear from Your dwelling place in heaven. We know You don't really dwell here. You dwell in heaven. But hear and when You hear, O God, forgive."

And now he foresees various situations that may arise.

If any man trespasses against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath comes before your altar in this house: Then hear from heaven, and do, and judge your servants, condemning the wicked, and bringing his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous. When Israel is smitten before their enemies, because they have sinned against thee, and they turn again to thee, and they confess your name, and they pray, and they make their prayers in this house: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive. When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because we have sinned ( 1 Kings 8:31-35 );

Now notice that he attributes the national calamities to the sins of the people. "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" ( Proverbs 14:34 ). And the national calamities are the result of the sins of the people. What's that make the United States? You know.

that thou should [verse thirty-six] teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon the land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. And if there's a famine, or a pestilence, a blasting, mildew, or the locust, or caterpillar; if the enemy besieges them; whatsoever plague, or sickness there might be; and prayer and supplication is made by any man, or by all the people. Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even you only, know the hearts of all of the children of men) ( 1 Kings 8:36-39 );

As we said earlier, God looks on the heart.

Now if your people go out to battle against the enemies, wherever you send them, and they shall pray unto the LORD towards this city which you have chosen, then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause ( 1 Kings 8:44-45 ).

Now you remember, of course, it goes on here to say,

And if they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and you be angry with them, deliver them into their enemy, so that they are carried away captives to the land of the enemies, either far or near; And if they bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and they repent, and they make supplication unto thee in the land where you have carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and done perversely, we have committed wickedness; And so return unto thee with all their heart, with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which you've led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: Then hear thou their prayer ( 1 Kings 8:46-49 )

Now you remember later on when Daniel was a captive in the land of Babylon. And after the Medo-Persian Empire had overcome the Babylonian Empire, and Darius was tricked into signing the decree that if any man should make a petition or request of anybody else outside of King Darius for a period of thirty years, thirty days, he should be cast into the den of lions. And you remember that Daniel went to his house as was his custom and opened his windows towards Jerusalem and prayed unto the Lord. He was remembering what Solomon had prayed. "Lord, if they're captives in the land and they turn towards this place and pray, hear."

Now earlier on, the prayer of Daniel in the ninth chapter is a beautiful thing indeed, because again, Daniel was thinking of this very passage. For Daniel when he prayed, his prayer was actually a confession of sin. "Lord, we have sinned against Thee. We've done wickedly." And he is confessing the sin, even as Solomon said, "Lord, if they're in captivity and they confess their sin and all... " And Daniel was following the pattern that Solomon had set forth in this prayer of dedication. Turning towards Jerusalem, confessing the sins and asking God's forgiveness and God's help. So Daniel, a very beautiful man because he was a man of the Word. He knew the Word of God. He knew the prophecies of Jeremiah. He knew the time of captivity was about up and following the pattern that Solomon had set in this prayer. Daniel thus prayed unto the Lord out of the captivity in Babylon, and God heard. And they were released from that captivity.

Now when Solomon prayed this prayer, God answered Solomon. And the answer of Solomon is oftentimes quoted by itself and not in context. Second Chronicles 1 Kings 7:14 ,the Lord's answer to Solomon was, "For if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will heal their nation" ( 2 Chronicles 7:14 ). That was God's answer to this prayer of dedication. We'll get that more when we get to Second Chronicles.

Now after he had finished his prayer and supplications,

he arose from before the altar of the LORD ( 1 Kings 8:54 ),

So it said that he was standing, but now he evidently went to his knees because he is rising.

from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread from heaven ( 1 Kings 8:54 ).

He began by standing, went down to his knees, his hands lifted to heaven.

And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant ( 1 Kings 8:55-56 ).

Isn't that a great testimony to God? Not one word of His promises have failed.

The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, or forsake us: that we might incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, and statutes, and judgments. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. And let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, to keep his commandments, as this day ( 1 Kings 8:57-61 ).

So he's charged the people, "Be perfect with God. Walk in His ways." And so they offered sacrifices before the LORD of peace offerings.

twenty-two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep ( 1 Kings 8:63 ).

Probably the biggest barbecue on record. Great time of feasting and rejoicing then before the Lord as they have now completed the house and dedicated the house unto the Lord.

So the same day the king hallowed the middle part of the ground ( 1 Kings 8:64 ):

He declared it holy because they didn't have enough room to barbecue all of the beef in the area of the sacrifices and all. So they made the whole area holy and they offered up the burned offerings and all, all over the place there.

And at that time Solomon held a feast, all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and then another seven days ( 1 Kings 8:65 ).

They went out for fourteen days celebrating.

And the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went up unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all of the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people ( 1 Kings 8:66 ).

That's the way people should always leave the presence of God. Joyful and glad of heart. That's the proper attitude. Having been with God, fellowship with God should always create that joyfulness and the happiness within us.

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank You again for the privilege of studying Your word and may Your Spirit bless it now that we might hide it away in our heart that we might learn from the lessons of history. Lord, help us that we might walk in Thy ways; we might keep Thy word and that we might, O God, experience and know Thy faithfulness and Your keeping Your word to us. We thank You, Father, for the many blessings and the glorious promises that have been given to us and we rest in Thee. In Jesus our Lord. Amen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Kings 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-kings-8.html. 2014.
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