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Solomon's Dedicatory Address
v. 1. Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness, Leviticus 16:2. As St. Paul expresses it: He dwells in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see, 1 Timothy 6:16. The union of the believers with the Lord is still hidden from the eyes of men; it is invisible and will not be revealed until the last Great Day.
v. 2. But I have built an house of habitation for Thee and a place for Thy dwelling for ever. Solomon's remark was suggested by the fact that the cloud of God's presence had filled the Sanctuary; for he knew that the Lord would continue to reveal Himself from the mercy-seat of the ark, that He had promised to dwell among His people with His grace as long as they continued to walk in His ways.
v. 3. And the king turned his face, for he had been looking toward the Sanctuary and now faced about toward the multitude assembled in the court in the eastern end of the Temple area, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel. And all the congregation of Israel stood, to receive the king's good wishes with becoming reverence.
v. 4. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, to whom alone he intended to give all glory, who hath with His hands fulfilled that which He spake with His mouth to my father David, saying,
v. 5. Since the day that I brought forth My people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in that My name might be there, He had had no permanent place of worship, no fixed place of abode in Israel; neither chose I any man to be ruler over My people Israel, this being at the time when there was an absolute theocratic rule in the country, only the Judges assuming the leader. ship when God deemed it wise, cp 2 Samuel 7:6-7;
v. 6. but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there, and have chosen David to be over My people Israel, 1 Chronicles 28:4.
v. 7. Now, it was in the heart of David, my father, to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel. 2 Samuel 7:2; 1 Chronicles 17:1; 1 Chronicles 28:2.
v. 8. But the Lord said to David, my father, through Nathan, the prophet, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for My name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart, this intention showed the sincerity of David's love for, and reverence of, Jehovah.
v. 9. Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house, but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for My name, 1 Chronicles 17:4-10.
v. 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, to His honor alone, and to afford a place where the worshipers of the true God might assemble in His name.
v. 11. And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, on the two tables of stone, where God wrote it with His own hand, that He made with the children of Israel. Note: The covenant of the New Testament is even more glorious than that of the Old. Wherever the Word of God is proclaimed and the Sacraments are administered, there God Himself is present, there He reveals to men His grace and His truth.
Solomon's Dedicatory Prayer
v. 12. And he stood before the altar of the Lord, facing the altar of burnt offerings, in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands, in a gesture of entreaty;
v. 13. for Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, a pulpitlike platform, of five cubits long and five cubits broad and three cubits high (approximately nine by nine by five feet), and had set it in the midst of the court; and upon it he stood, visible to the entire multitude, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
v. 14. and said, O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like Thee in the heaven nor in the earth, Jehovah being the only true God; which keepest covenant and showest mercy unto Thy servants that walk before Thee with all their hearts, ordering their entire lives in conformity with God's holy will;
v. 15. Thou which hast kept with Thy servant David, my father, that which Thou hast promised him, and spakest with Thy mouth and hast fulfilled it with Thine hand, as it is this day, the finished Temple being a proof of the faithfulness of the Lord's promises.
v. 16. Now, therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with Thy servant David, my father, continuing to fulfill His promises also in the future, that which Thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit upon the throne of Israel, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in My Law, as thou hast walked before Me.
v. 17. Now, then, O Lord God of Israel, let Thy word be verified which Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant David. Mark that this is the proper and effective way of approaching the Lord, reminding Him of His promises and urging His own faithfulness.
v. 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! The object of Solomon's magnificent Temple was not to confine God to this one building, as the heathen did by erecting shrines for their idols, but to provide a place where His people might worship Him; the Temple was erected not for the Lord, but for the people.
v. 19. Have respect, therefore, to the prayer of Thy servant, literally, "turn Thou to the appeal 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, concerning the mode and the effectiveness of the public worship which was to be instituted in this Temple,
v. 20. 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, in the Word proclaimed and in the prayers offered, to hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant prayeth toward this place, this building being at that time the one Temple in the entire world where the worship of Jehovah was publicly held.
v. 21. H earken therefore unto the supplications of Thy servant and of Thy people Israel which they shall make toward this place; hear Thou from Thy dwelling-place, even from heaven; and when Thou hearest, forgive, this phase of God's work, the forgiveness of sins, being prominent even at that time, just as all the sacrifices were but types of the great and only true Sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Special types of sins and special occasions of distress are now discussed.
v. 22. If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before Thine altar in this house. the reference being to the practise of having men swear by or before the altar, where witnesses were not available, Matthew 23:20, the oath in that case being equal to an imprecation calling down the curse of God in the event of a false oath,
v. 23. then hear Thou from heaven, and do, and judge Thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head, letting the curse implied in his oath strike him, and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
v. 24. And if Thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, utterly defeated and put to flight in battle, because they have sinned against Thee, and shall return and confess Thy name, and pray and make supplication before Thee in this house, making their prayer toward this Sanctuary, where the ark of God's presence was stationed,
v. 25. then hear Thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which Thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
v. 26. When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, droughts of this kind being expressly named as punishments of the Lord upon a disobedient people, because they have sinned against Thee, yet, if they pray toward this place, as was the custom of the Jews in all foreign countries, and confess Thy name and turn from their sin when Thou dost afflict them,
v. 27. then hear Thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy servants and of Thy people Israel when Thou hast taught them the good way wherein they should walk, if they have learned the lesson intended to be conveyed to them by the Lord's punishment, and send rain upon Thy land which Thou hast given unto Thy people for an inheritance.
v. 28. If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be, only a few of the curses being named here which are threatened Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 upon a stubborn and rebellious people,
v. 29. then, what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man or of all thy people Israel, when everyone shall know his own sore and his own grief, coming to the knowledge of his sins and grieving over them in true repentance, and shall spread forth his hands in this house,
v. 30. then hear Thou from heaven, Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest, He would be able to judge the sincerity of a man's repentance, (for Thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men, since He, the Omniscient One, reads all the thoughts of the heart,)
v. 31. that they may fear Thee, to walk in Thy ways, so long as they live in the land, sustained by the fruit on the face of the land, which Thou gavest unto our fathers.
v. 32. Moreover, concerning the stranger, which is not of Thy people Israel, but Is come from a far country for Thy great name's sake, becoming a proselyte to the Jewish faith, as, for instance, the eunuch of Queen Candace, Acts 8:27, and Thy mighty hand, and Thy stretched-out arm; If they come and pray in this house,
v. 33. then hear Thou from the heavens, even from Thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for, that all people of the earth may know Thy name, becoming acquainted with it through such missionaries, and fear Thee as doth Thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built Is called by Thy name, literally, Thy name is called upon this house, for it was consecrated by the fact that the Word of God was observed and proclaimed there.
v. 34. If Thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that Thou shalt send them, and they pray unto Thee, from the country where their expedition might lead them, toward this city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name,
v. 35. then hear Thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication and maintain their cause, giving them the victory over their enemies.
v. 36. If they sin against Thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not, that is a principle which has been held in the Church at all times,) and Thou be angry with them and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near, as happened afterward with both divisions of the nation;
v. 37. yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto Thee in the land of their captivity, in true repentance over their sins, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly, the formula which was afterward constantly used by the Jews in their public confessions of sins;
v. 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, as it is related of Daniel, Daniel 6:10,
v. 39. then hear Thou from the heavens, even from Thy dwelling-place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, siding with them in the issue presented, and forgive Thy people which have sinned against Thee. In this way the Temple would become the central Sanctuary of the Jews, the one place where Jehovah's presence would be revealed.
v. 40. Now, my God, let, I beseech Thee, Thine eyes be open, and let Thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place, both the present appeal and all prayers that would be made there in the future. For the entire prayer Cf 1 Kings 8:23-53.
v. 41. Now, therefore, arise, O Lord God, into Thy resting-place, the fixed and permanent man a ion of the Temple, Thou and the ark of Thy strength, from which He would manifest His power in behalf of His people, a solemn summons to the Lord to take formal possession of His Sanctuary. Let Thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, their white linen garments being expressive of the righteousness and moral beauty which the sacrifices they offered brought to the worshipers, and let Thy saints rejoice in goodness, being glad in the possession of the good and shouting for joy.
v. 42. O Lord God, turn not away the face of Thine anointed, namely, from Solomon, who was making this fervent appeal; remember the mercies of David, Thy servant, those promised to him, for whose fulfillment the king pleaded in faithful confidence. We believers of the New Testament have an even safer assurance that God will hear our prayers, if we but call to Him in the name of Jesus; for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 6". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany