Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 6

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Verses 1-11

Solomon Praises the LORD for the Temple

Solomon addresses the LORD (2 Chronicles 6:1-Exodus :). First he reminds the LORD where he has said He would dwell, “in the thick cloud”. It indicates that God is inaccessible to people. He “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). Thus He comes to Moses “in a thick cloud”, “the thick cloud where God [was]” (Exodus 19:9; Exodus 20:21). It is the great privilege of the believer today to approach that God. This is made possible through Christ.

It is as if Solomon is surprised that he has built a house as a dwelling place (2 Chronicles 6:2) for the God, Who has said “that He would dwell in the thick cloud”. Later, in 2 Chronicles 6:18, he adds that God cannot dwell in a man-made house (cf. Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:48). Yet it is also true that the temple is “a lofty house” for the LORD and that “forever”. This will find its full fulfillment in the kingdom of peace.

Solomon is the mediator. He acts in this part as the king-priest: he is king and intercedes as a priest. This combination is the characteristic of the Messiah (Zechariah 6:13). Solomon, with his father David, is the only one who blessed the people as king (2 Chronicles 6:3).

The first words Solomon speaks are “blessed be the LORD” (2 Chronicles 6:4). Before he prays, he praises God for what He said with His mouth and also did with His hands. The building and completion of the temple was done by man’s hands, but Solomon attributes the entire building to the hands of “the LORD, the God of Israel”.

What we do and accomplish for the Lord ultimately comes from Him, and so all honor belongs to Him. Paulus and Barnabas realize that too. In the account of their missionary journey they report “all things that God had done with them” (Acts 14:27; Acts 15:4; 1 Corinthians 15:10).

In earlier days, when the people are in the wilderness, God did not choose a city to dwell in, nor did He choose a man whom He had made the leader over His people (2 Chronicles 6:5). He has done that now (2 Chronicles 6:6). He has chosen a city and He has chosen a man (Psalms 78:68; Psalms 78:70). The only important thing is the choice of God. That makes everything that people think up a lie, like the Bethel of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:25-Micah :).

The LORD has chosen Jerusalem, and there the LORD has his house. In this chapter the Name of the LORD is spoken about several times with reference to God’s house. There He lets His Name dwell. This reminds us of what the Lord Jesus says of the church: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20).

Solomon points to his father David as the man who had love in his heart for God’s house and who is its original planner (2 Chronicles 6:7). What he was allowed to do himself is to continue working with what his father David has already prepared (2 Chronicles 6:8-1 Kings :).

Here we see an example of the saying of the Lord Jesus and what He associates with it: “For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor” (John 4:37-Zechariah :). One may start a work and another may finish it. One generation starts something, the other goes on with it. We build on the foundation that others have laid.

We also see here that Solomon remembers what Divine directions his father had and that he clings to them. He does not seek renewal and does not make arbitrary adjustments. He also does not seek his own honor by wanting to be original.

From some people we read that their hearts went out to the house of God, that they longed for this house that it should be there. We see this with Moses (Exodus 15:13; Exodus 15:17), David (1 Chronicles 17:1) and Cyrus (Ezra 1:2-Leviticus :). All of them are herein a picture of the Lord Jesus. In the New Testament the heart of every believer should go out to God’s house (1 Corinthians 3:10).

Verses 12-21

Question to Listen to His Prayer

Solomon prays before the altar (2 Chronicles 6:12), on a bronze platform (2 Chronicles 6:13). The platform is not intended to raise himself above the people, but so that all may see him kneel and hear him pray (cf. Nehemiah 8:4-Deuteronomy :). The measures of the platform are those of the old burnt offering altar in the tabernacle (Exodus 27:1). A new and larger burnt offering altar has been made for the temple. Yet there is also a memory of the old, smaller burnt offering altar.

The altar of the burnt offering is the place of meeting between the holy God and a sinful people. The sacrifice on that altar is consumed and the people go free. Solomon’s intercession is founded on the sacrifice that is made. The service of intercession of the Lord Jesus now in heaven is based on His sacrifice, which He brought on earth to God through His work on the cross.

Solomon’s attitude is appropriate and respectful, in accordance with his prayer. He spreads “out his hands to heaven. He knows that there dwells the LORD. Later, in his prayer, he will point to praying toward the house (2 Chronicles 6:26; 2 Chronicles 6:292 Chronicles 6:34; 2 Chronicles 6:38) as a location on earth. That is in accordance with God’s will. Faith then looks upwards.

2 Chronicles 6:14-Ecclesiastes : are a long introduction to the prayer Solomon prays for the people. He presumes the existence of other gods (2 Chronicles 6:14; cf. Exodus 15:11), but no one can be compared to God (Deuteronomy 4:35; Deuteronomy 4:39; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He speaks of God’s fulfillment of what He has spoken in the past (2 Chronicles 6:15). This is the reason for him to ask whether God will continue to keep in the future to what He has proclaimed (2 Chronicles 6:16-Esther :).

When Solomon so appealed to God’s faithfulness in the past and expressed his confidence in God’s faithfulness for the future, he praises the immeasurable greatness of God (2 Chronicles 6:18). God transcends everything. He is greater than all promises and than all places where one can live, both on earth and in the universe. God does not dwell in anything that man’s hands have made (Isaiah 66:1; Isaiah 6:1; Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24).

At the same time, the greatness of God is for him the invitation to ask that great God to pay attention to his “prayer” and to his “supplication” and to listen to his “cry” (2 Chronicles 6:19). Solomon expresses himself increasingly stronger: praying, supplicating, crying. He desires intensely that God’s attention should be constantly focused on this house, because of His Name He has put there (2 Chronicles 6:20).

He asks the LORD once again to listen to his prayer, but now he also involves Israel and asks the LORD to listen to their prayer (2 Chronicles 6:21). Solomon calls heaven the house of God. He realizes that the house he built is only a shadow of this, because the help for the building of this house had to come from heaven.

Solomon speaks to the LORD in the awareness of his own smallness. He is no more than a servant who depends on His great Master in everything. In three successive verses, he speaks of himself as “Your servant” in each verse (2 Chronicles 6:19; 2 Chronicles 6:202 Chronicles 6:21). In the previous verses he always said this of his father David. We may certainly come to God as children, but we must never forget that we are servants. We may come with the boldness of a child, but also with the respect of a slave for his Lord.

Verses 22-23

First Prayer

After the introduction to the prayer we hear in 2 Chronicles 6:22-Malachi : what Solomon prays. It is a prayer consisting of seven parts or seven prayers. In these seven prayers we can make a subdivision. The first four prayers belong together and the last three.

The prayers one to four have to do with the relations of the people among themselves and the problem of sin. It concerns
1. the personal relationship between two members of God’s people (prayer 1),
2-3. the whole people (prayers 2 and 3) and
4. the individual Israelite, who personally cares about the general state of decay and with this in mind tests himself (prayer 4).

The prayers five to seven are more outwardly directed and more about the peoples around them. It concerns
5. the fate of the alien and the testimony which comes from the help he receives from the LORD (prayer 5),
6. the struggle of the people and the support of the LORD which they experience (prayer 6),
7. the people in exile because of their sins and their return to the land (prayer 7).

In these prayers, the confession of sin occupies a large place. We see that the prayers one through four and also the seventh prayer relate to sin. Much need in God’s church is caused by sin. It is also worth noting that the various prayers do not say: ‘If they ask for forgiveness’, but: ‘If they confess their sins, will You forgive’ (cf. 1 John 1:9).

We can learn from the prayers and make an application for the present time, the time when the kingdom of God exists as a mystery. This kingdom includes all those who place themselves under the authority of Lord Jesus, Who is now the praying King-Priest with God and there says His prayers for our benefit. His prayers are also echoed in His church, for the church is first and foremost a house of prayer (1 Timothy 2:1; Acts 2:42; Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13).

One more practical remark. Reading, or rather: prayerful reading, of this prayer takes about five minutes. That is not long. The value and content are therefore not in the length. It is to be hoped that we will learn to pray in this way, so deeply, without the fuss of words. This is a public prayer. In the inner room we can pray as long as we want.

The first prayer (2 Chronicles 6:22-Isaiah :) is about the sin of one against another, a case in which is asked for an oath. If someone is suspected of sin or if it is certain that someone has sinned, but there is no evidence, then the other can demand that the suspect takes an oath. The accused must then declare on oath that he is innocent. By virtue of this oath the judge hands him over, as it were, to the LORD. He even curses himself if he is guilty (Numbers 5:11-Hosea :). That curse can strike him in a direct government of God. The LORD shall deal with the consequences of the guilty person. Where people cannot come to clarity, God must provide clarity.

This situation can also be found today among God’s people in the case of sin between two brothers. How difficult it can be to uncover the truth and make a correct judgment. The question is from what attitude the person in question deals with the sinning brother and how the church deals with it. It is important to pray that the Lord makes clear the true facts (Matthew 18:15-Proverbs :). The Lord, if the church asks Him unanimously for this, reveals where the matter is wrong and the church does not know.

Verses 24-25

Second Prayer

The second prayer concerns the case where the people are overwhelmed by the enemy because of a sin of the people as a whole (Leviticus 26:17). If there is sin, the enemies come. God sends them to discipline His people and bring them to confession and return to Him (Judges 2:14-Nehemiah :). Confession of sin can count on a listening God in heaven and on forgiveness of sin.

The consequence of sin is that the people are driven out of the land or at least do not receive the blessing of the land. If there is true repentance over sin, the people get back what they have lost through their sin. This also applies to us. When we’ve sinned, we’ve come into the power of the enemy. The spiritual blessings are not enjoyed then. When we confess our sin, we also regain the joy of salvation (cf. Psalms 51:14).

The faithful suffer the consequences of general infidelity. It will lead them to live in a spirit of prayer and confession. By doing so, they will remain in possession and enjoyment of the blessings. Separation from evil may count on the Lord’s blessing.

Verses 26-27

Third Prayer

The third plague are shut up heavens. The whole people are suffering from the same plague of drought. Unlike Egypt, which is humidified by the Nile and human effort, Israel depends on the rain of heaven (Deuteronomy 11:10-1 Kings :). If the autumn rain fails, there is no harvest and famine is the result. Through the Word God makes clear “the good way in which they should walk”. He shows in His Word how His people can repent and thereby ensure the return of the blessing.

God teaches His people the right way by chastising them with drought when they deviate from Him. That is in the heart of Elijah when he prays “that it should not rain” (James 5:17; 1 Kings 17:1). God sometimes teaches us through bitter disappointments and pain. Then our roads are blocked with thorns, our hiding places are shut up, our wells are poisoned and all our pleasant things are destroyed. God teaches us the good by showing us evil. Then our soul will cry out: “I want to return!” (Hosea 2:5-Joshua :).

Verses 28-31

Fourth Prayer

Various plagues are the reason for the fourth prayer. Although it does not say that these plagues come because of sins committed, these plagues are the result of sin. We can derive that from the word “forgive” in 2 Chronicles 6:30. The whole people suffer from these plagues, but each one can escape them personally if he prays and supplicates and acknowledges his own affliction and his own pain.

In the words “and render to each according to all his ways”, is asked for the discipline of God. This discipline is necessary to keep the believer on the path of faithfulness to the Lord or to bring him back there. In doing so, the Lord sees in the heart of the believer to what he is inclined or why he goes a certain way that makes discipline necessary. It is the love of the Lord who brings this discipline upon his own (Hebrews 12:5-1 Kings :).

We see an application of these plagues in the spiritual state of the believers in Corinth. They partake lightly in the Lord’s Supper. They deal lightly with its spiritual meaning. So God must punish them. Paul says to them: “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:30). This does not mean that all those affected by this discipline participate in that levity. It is quite possible that there are those who suffer because of what others do. We may suffer from the behavior of others or of ourselves. That robs us of our blessings.

God knows the hearts of every human being (2 Chronicles 6:30). “All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). Awareness of this should lead us to go in fear for God in the ways of the Lord (2 Chronicles 6:31). Then we are preserved in the enjoyment of the blessings that have been given to us.

Verses 32-33

Fifth Prayer

The reason for this prayer is not a particular sin. It is a prayer for the stranger who comes from a far country to God’s house to pray there. Here we see that the house of God is a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7). Already in the Old Testament it is indicated that God’s Name is made great not only by Israel, but also by the nations (Malachi 1:11). An example is the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-Deuteronomy :), although it does not say that she came to pray.

The church is also a house of prayer and a refuge for the foreigner, the alien, that is to say for anyone who does not belong to God’s people. If someone comes to seek God, he must be at the church, for that is the “pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The church is now there for anyone who is still outside the church, to be included by conversion.

An example of this is the eunuch who came to Jerusalem to seek God (Acts 8:26-Matthew :). He returns home unsatisfied, for the temple is no longer God’s house. God, however, meets him. He fulfills his desire by showing him that there is a new house of God.

Prophetically, this prayer will be heard in the kingdom of peace, when the peoples of the end of the earth come to seek and worship the God of Israel (Psalms 22:28; Psalms 67:3-Joshua :).

Verses 34-35

Sixth Prayer

This prayer does not happen because of a sin either. It is about dependence on God when His people, in obedience to Him, fight against their enemies. Here the people meet the enemy in a battle of faith by command of the LORD. It is a battle of which it can be said: “The battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). This is not about sins, but about a people who are in their right. Yet prayer is needed to get this right against the enemy.

That also applies to us. God’s Word calls us to fight “the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). Before we fight, we must pray, and while we fight, we must pray. Then the Lord will maintain our cause, that is to say, He will make us stand firm in our battle for the truth of His Word. If we fight that battle with gentleness, opponents of the truth can be won for the truth (2 Timothy 2:25-Ezekiel :).

Verses 36-39

Seventh Prayer

This prayer finds its cause again in sin. It is not about a specific sin, but about sin in general. Yet there is sin present that arouses God’s anger. Sin is found in every human being, because “there is no man who does not sin” (2 Chronicles 6:36; cf. Ecclesiastes 7:20). This is not a cheap remark from Solomon, as cheap as it is sometimes said: ‘We are all sinners.’ What he means by this is that it is not unthinkable that what he prays now will happen. This expresses knowledge of the human heart. It is important that we know our own heart.

Here Solomon observes that man has a sinful heart, which is also expressed in practice. Solomon foresees a sinful practice for all who are so great that God must surrender them in His wrath to the enemy who takes them away from the land of promise. This prayer turns out to be prophetic (cf. Deuteronomy 31:20; Deuteronomy 31:29) and in all seriousness it has become reality. The people are led into exile (2 Kings 17:6-Isaiah :; 2 Chronicles 36:17-Ecclesiastes :).

However, Solomon also assumes a repentance of them among the nations to which they are scattered. They reap what they sow, but God can bring a reversal for the better and restore. He does so when they repent with all their heart and with all their soul. The proof of this will be that they “pray toward their land” and toward God’s city and house. That prayer shows that their hearts go out to the same things God’s hearts go out to.

This work in their hearts takes place on the basis of the intercession of the Lord Jesus and God-fearing people. Daniel has prayed and also Ezra and Nehemiah. They have confessed guilt (Daniel 9:3-Deuteronomy :; Daniel 9:20; Ezra 9:1-Joshua :; Nehemiah 1:1-Judges :). Then, by God’s standards, justice is provided. He acts righteously when there is confession of sin.

We see this also in the history of the Christian church, for example in the Reformation and the Revival. These revivals, like so many other revivals, are based on the intercession of the Lord Jesus and God-fearing people. That’s how it still works today.

Verses 40-42

Solomon Asks for His Prayer to Be Answered

The general thought of all seven prayers is that they are all done in or to the house of God. It is “the prayer [offered] in this place” (2 Chronicles 6:40). The answer of God in the next chapter is connects to this (2 Chronicles 7:15-Nehemiah :).

Solomon concludes his prayer (2 Chronicles 6:41-Luke :). He does so with a few words of David (Psalms 132:8-2 Samuel :). Earlier the word “arise” (2 Chronicles 6:41) is spoken to the ark of the covenant when the people of Israel began their journey through the wilderness (Numbers 10:35). Later David speaks these words when bringing up the ark from Kiriath-jearim to Zion (Psalms 132:8). Here Solomon speaks these words when the ark gets its final resting place in the temple on Mount Moria.

The fact that the ark has been given its resting place is reason to speak about the priests and their garments. The priestly garments are “salvation”. It indicates that the Lord Jesus has taken His place in the heavenly sanctuary. The believers as priests may now enter into the consciousness of full security of salvation. That salvation is not based on anything in themselves, but is entirely the result of God’s acceptance of Christ and His work. We, as ‘godly ones’, as beneficiaries, may “rejoice in what is good”. It indicates complete satisfaction as a result of all that God has given us in Christ.

Solomon mentions the plea (2 Chronicles 6:42). He pleads on the ground of Whom the Anointed, that is Christ, is before God, for the people and the Anointed belong together. If the Anointed is heard, then the people are accepted. In ourselves there is no righteousness. Our righteousness can only be found in the Anointed.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Chronicles 6". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/2-chronicles-6.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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