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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 6

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.

The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. This introduction to Solomon's address was evidently suggested by the remarkable incident recorded at the close of the last chapter-the phenomenon of a densely opaque and uniformly shaped cloud descending in a slow and majestic manner, and filling the whole area of the temple. He regarded it himself, and directed the people also to regard it, as an undoubted sign and welcome pledge of the divine presence and acceptance of the building reared to His honour and worship. He referred not to any particular declaration of God, but to the cloud having been all along, in the national history of Israel, the recognized symbol of the divine presence (Exodus 16:10; Exodus 24:16; Exodus 40:34; Numbers 9:15; 1 Kings 8:10-11).

Verses 2-9

But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 10

The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.

I am risen up in the room of David my father. Solomon here refers to himself the divine promise made to his father (cf. 1 Kings 5:5; 1 Chronicles 22:9, with 2 Samuel 7:23-29).

Verses 11-12

And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 13

For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,

A brasen scaffold - a sort of platform; but the Hebrew term rendered scaffold, being the same as that used to designate the basin, suggests the idea that this throne might bear some resemblance, in form or structure, to those layers in the temple, being a sort of round and elevated pulpit, placed in the middle of the court, and in front of the altar of burnt offering.

Upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees. After ascending the brasen scaffold, he assumed those two attitudes in succession, and with different objects in view. He stood while he addressed and blessed the surrounding multitude (2 Chronicles 6:3-11), afterward he knelt down and stretched out his hands toward heaven, with his face probably turned toward the altar, while he gave utterance to the beautiful and impressive prayer which is recorded in the remainder of this chapter. It is deserving of notice that there was no seat in this pulpit-for the king either stood or knelt all the time he was in it. It is not improbable that it was surmounted by a canopy, or covered by a veil, to screen the royal speaker or the rays of the sun.

Verses 14-17

And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 18

But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!

How much less this house which I have built!

Verse 19

Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:

Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant. No person who entertains just and exalted views of the spiritual nature of the Divine Being will suppose that be can raise a temple for the habitation of Deity as a man builds a house for himself. Nearly as improper and inadmissible is the idea that a temple can contribute to enhance the glory of God, as a monument may be raised in honour of a great man. Solomon described the true and proper use of the temple, when he entreated that the Lord 'would hearken unto the supplications of His servant and His people Israel, which they should make toward this place.' In short, the grand purpose for which the temple was erected was precisely the same as that contemplated by churches-to afford the opportunity and means of public and social worship, according to the ritual of the Mosaic dispensation-to supplicate the divine mercy and favour-to render thanks for past instances of goodness, and offer petitions for future blessings (see the notes at 1 Kings 8:22-61). This religious design of the temple-the ONE temple in the world-is in fact its standpoint of absorbing interest.

Verses 20-21

That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 22

If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;

If ... and the oath come before thine altar in this house, ... In cases where the testimony Of witnesses could not be obtained, and there was no way of settling a difference or dispute between two people but by accepting the oath of the accused, the practice had gradually crept in-and had acquired the force of consuetudinary law-for the party to be brought before the altar, where his oath was taken with all due solemnity, together with the imprecation of a curse to fall upon himself if his disavowal should be found untrue. There is an allusion to such a practice this passage.

Verses 23-37

Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 38

If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:

If they return to thee ... in the land of their captivity ... and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers. These words gave rise to the favourite usage of the ancient as well as modern Jews, of turning in prayer toward Jerusalem, in whatever quarter of the world they might be, and of directing their faces toward the temple when in Jerusalem itself, or any part of the Holy Land (1 Kings 8:44).

Verses 39-40

Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 41

Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.

Arise, O Lord God, into thy resting-place. These words are not found in the record of this prayer in the First Book of Kings; but they occur in the 132nd Psalm, which is generally believed to have been composed by David, or rather by Solomon, in reference to this occasion. "Arise," is a very suitable expression to be used when the ark was to be removed from the tabernacle in Zion to the temple on mount Moriah. "Into thy resting place" - the temple-so called (Isaiah 66:1) because it was a fixed and permanent mansion (Psalms 132:14).

The ark of thy strength - the abode by which thy glorious presence is symbolized, and whence thou dost issue thine authoritative oracles, and manifest thy power on behalf of thy people when they desire and need it. It might well be designated the ark of God's strength, because it was through means of it the mighty miracles were performed, and the brilliant victories were won, that distinguish the early annals of the Hebrew nation. The sight of it inspired the greatest animation into the breasts of His people, while it diffused terror and dismay through the ranks of their enemies (cf. Psalms 78:61).

Let thy priests ... be clothed with salvation - or with righteousness (Psalms 132:9); i:e., be equipped not only with the pure white linen garments thou hast appointed for their robe of office, but also adorned with the moral beauties of true holiness, that their persons and services may be accepted, both for themselves and all the people. Thus they would be "clothed with salvation,'' for that is the effect and consequence of a sanctified character.

Verse 42

O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant. Turn not away the face of thine anointed - i:e., of me, who by thy promise and appointment have been installed as king and ruler of Israel. The words are equivalent in meaning to this: Do not reject my present petitions; do not send me from thy throne of grace dejected in countenance and disappointed in heart.

Remember the mercies or David thy servant - i:e., the mercies promised to David; and in consideration of that promise, hear and answer my prayer (cf. Psalms 132:10).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-chronicles-6.html. 1871-8.
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