King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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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)

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The dedication of the temple

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.

4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.

5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.

6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.

7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.

8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.

9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

10 And it came to pass, 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.

The occasion

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

13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.

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 unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,

16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.

17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.

18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.

19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.

20 And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.

21 And 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.

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:

23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

24 Who hast kept with thy servant David 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, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst 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 thou hast walked before me.

26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.

27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:

29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.

30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:

32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:

34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:

36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given 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; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;

38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:

39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)

40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake;

42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;

43 Hear thou in heaven 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, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:

45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;

47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;

48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:

49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,

50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:

51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:

52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto 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 servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O LORD God.

His blessing and exhortation

54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,

56 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 all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:

58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

59 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:

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 our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

Solomon’s peace-offerings

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 unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. 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 he 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 receive 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 entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.

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

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Ethanim was afterwards called Tisri. H. — Usher places the dedication on Friday, 30th October, the 8th of the seventh month. The people continued at Jerusalem till the 23rd. The feast of expiation fell on the 10th, (H.) during the octave of the dedication. After this, the feast of tabernacles commenced on the 15th, for other seven days. This was the year of jubilee; and Solomon had waited on purpose, that the people might have more leisure to attend on such a solemn occasion. C. — But on this we cannot rely. There might be other reasons for the delay; (See C. vi. 38.) and one of the chief might be, a desire to perform this ceremony in the seventh or sabbatical month, which was honoured with more festivals than any other. It had just elapsed, before the temple was finished, in the preceding year. H.

Ver. 3. Priests, who were also Levites, as it is expressed in 2 Par. v. 4. Perhaps the ark was uncovered, (C.) as the Caathites carried it when folded up. H.

Ver. 4. Ark, from the city of David, along with the tabernacle, (Salien) which had been made for it in the palace, v. 1. They also (H.) brought the Mosaic tabernacle from Gaboan, (C. Josephus, &c.) and reposited both H. in the treasury of the temple, as they were now of no other service. Jeremias was authorized to take the ark, the tabernacle, and the altar of incense, in order to prevent their falling into the hands of the Chaldees. He placed them in a cave, where they have never, perhaps, been discovered. 2 Mac. ii. 4.

Ver. 5. Sacrificed, by the hands of the priests, (M.) or at least (H.) gave them the blood to offer upon the altars, which were placed at six paces from one another, in imitation of David. 2 K. vi. 13. C. — Could not. See C. vii. 47.

Ver. 6. Wings. These covered the smaller cherubim, upon the ark. H. C. vi. 23. 27. — The formed a sort of throne, with their wings extended, from one side of the building to the other, (C.) twenty cubits long. H.

Ver. 8. Out. In the days of Moses, these staves had touched the veil of the tabernacle: but now, as the place for the ark was twice as large, they were no longer perceived; though they remained in the holes prepared for them by Moses, till the author wrote; which must have been before the captivity. Unless we thus distinguish the times, the Hebrew contains a palpable contradiction. C. — “They drew out (or lengthened) the staves, and the heads…were seen out in the holy place…and they were not seen out.” H. — To a person standing at a small distance, they were not visible, though they rather touched the veil. 2 Par. v. 9. M.

Ver. 9. Nothing else, &c. There was nothing else but the tables of the law within the ark. But on the outside of the ark, or near the ark, were also the rod of Aaron, and a golden urn with manna. Heb. ix. 4. Ch. W. — These might have been in the ark while it was not fixed: but after the temple was built, all but the tables were placed in the treasury; where, we find, the book of the law was discovered, under Joas. Deut. xxxi. 26. 2 Par. xxxiv. 14. Others think that, in the days of S. Paul, the rod, &c. might have been reposited in the ark, though they had not been admitted at the time when this book was written. Bellar. &c. — But we have no assurance that the ark was ever placed in the second temple; and Josephus informs us, that when the Romans destroyed the temple, “there was noting at all” in the sanctuary. C. — In area might easily signify ad, or juxta arcam, “near the ark.” Salien.

Ver. 12. Cloud. He alludes to Lev. xvi. 2. M. — God had so frequently appeared in this manner, that Solomon was authorized to consider it as the symbol of his presence. Ex. xiv. 19. xxiv. 16. and xl. 32. Ps. xvii. 12. This luminous cloud filled the whole temple, to convince all that the Lord was pleased with the devotion of the king, and of his people. C.

Ver. 13. Ever. He seems to contrast this solid and glittering fabric with the cloud, (M.) as, in some sort, more worthy of God’s presence. H.

Ver. 14. Stood. It is pretended that the king alone was allowed to sit. C. — But here Solomon stood, upon an eminence made of brass. 2 Par. vi. 13. H. — He pronounced the blessing, (part of which is given, v. 15-22) with his face turned towards the people, as e was also in the court of Israel. Then turning himself to the altar (C.) of holocausts, (M.) with his hands uplifted, he began to pray, v. 23, to 54. See Ex. xxxix. 43. 2 K. vi. 18, where Moses and David blessed the people, on similar occasions. C. — Thus the priests of the Catholic Church turn to the people, when they bless or speak to them; and look towards the altar, when they pour forth their supplications for them to God. Sectaries would always behold the face of the preacher. H. — Blessed. Princes bless their subjects, as parents do their children. W.

Ver. 15. Own hands, or almighty power, (M.) hath fulfilled his promise. H.

Ver. 22. Heaven, falling on his knees, v. 54. 2 Par. vi. 13. This is the first instance we find of people praying on their knees, which was common afterwards. 1 Esd. ix. 5. Isai. xlv. 24. Dan. vi. 10. Acts ix. 40. and xx. 36. The Christian church generally adopts this custom. So did the pagans, (Et genibus pronus, supplex, similisque roganti. Metam. iii.) as they also stretched for their hands. Sustulit exutas vinclis ad sidera palmas, says Virgil. Æn. ii. 153. This practice was very general. Ps. xxvii. 2. 1 Tim. ii. 8.

Ver. 25. Sight. Solomon was aware of the conditions on which he held his crown and the divine favour, so that his fall is the more inexcusable. H. — His posterity lost a great part of the kingdom, though they had the right to rule over Juda, till the coming of Christ. W.

Ver. 27. Earth. Full of admiration, he breaks out into this pathetic exclamation, wondering that God should deign to accept of what he had done; and that, by the symbol of his presence, he should engage to honour this temple in a more particular manner, and to shower down his graces with a more liberal hand on those who should there present themselves before him. This wise prince was not ignorant that God’s immensity fills all places. — Heavens. We know not how many haveans the Jews admitted. We find, 1. the air, 2. the region of the stars, 3. the residence of God, thus specified; and this last is here denoted as the most excellent of all. S. Paul styles it the third heaven. 2 Cor. xii. 2. The Basilidians counted as many heavens as there are days in the year. S. Iræn. i. 23.

Ver. 29. My name. It shall be called the house of God. H. — There people shall come to do homage to the Lord. C.

Ver. 31. Oath. In certain cases, an oath would clear a person. Ex. xxii. 11. Solomon prays that perjury may be disclosed. — Altar. It was customary to touch the altar, when a person took an oath, as Hannibal did. K. Latinus says;

Tango aras mediosque ignes et Numina testor—

Nulla dies pacem hanc Italis nec fœdera rumpet.—Æn. xii. 201.

Ver. 32. Justice. A reward is clearly promised to good works. W.

Ver. 34. Fathers. In the place of their captivity they might turn, like Daniel, towards the temple. C. — God had threatened that he would punish his people by the hand of their enemies, &c. if they transgressed. Lev. xxvi. 17. M.

Ver. 37. Mildew. Heb. also, “a bruchus,” or a young locust. Prot. “caterpillar.”

Ver. 38. Heart: his offence. Sept. aphen, “touching, or compunction.” H. — Let a man go to the source of the evil, and be sorry for his sins. C.

Ver. 39. Men. God cannot be imposed upon. If our heart be not moved with sorrow for our offences, including a degree of love, in vain shall we stretch forth our hands in prayer. C.

Ver. 41. Stranger. God watches over all mankind; and oblations were received from all sorts of people, even from idolaters. The kings of Persia and Egypt, the Roman emperors, &c. made great presents. 1 Esd. iii. 7. and vii. 21. Joseph. xi. and xii. 2. It seems the court of the Gentiles was only made after the captivity. Some of these adored the true God, like Cornelius, &c. Acts viii. 27. and x. 1. Some were drawn by curiosity; others desired to be converted. To thee, kings shall offer presents, Ps. lxxi. 10. C. — Unbelievers are still invited to attend the chapels of the true God, that they may receive information, and deserve to obtain the blessing of faith. H.

Ver. 44. Name. It was the practice of the religious Jews, to pray with their eyes turned towards the holy place, v. 48. The primitive Christians looked towards the east, in prayer, to remind them of the ascension of our Saviour, (C.) from Mount Olivet, in that quarter. H. Ps. lxvii. 34. S. Just. q. 118. Tert. apol. xvi. S. Epip. hær. xix. C.

Ver. 47. Heart. Without this, external repentance will not suffice. W.

Ver. 51. Iron. This expression is often used to denote the rigour of the Egyptian bondage. Deut. iv. 20. Thus Homer says, that Mars was shut up for thirteen months in a barrel (or prison) of brass. Iliad E.

Ver. 59. Judgment, granting his just request, and defending him against all his enemies. C.

Ver. 63. Sheep, and other small beasts, during the seven days, without counting the oblations of individuals. The law had not prescribed any particular rites for the dedication of places. But common sense dictated that sacred things should be distinguished from such as were common. Moses and David had set a pattern, which was followed by the Jews after the captivity, and by the Machabees. Ex. xl. 9. 1 K. vi. 17. 1 Esd. iii. 10. 1 Mac. iv. 56. C. — The festival of the dedication was observed by our Saviour. Jo. x. 22. H. — Even private houses received a sort of dedication. Deut. xx. 5. The pagans observed the like practice, with regard to statues and temples, lands and public places. Dan. iii. 1. Among the Romans, such ceremonies were performed by a general or consul, with his head covered, reciting some ancient prayers, at the suggestion of the pontiff, before a fire and an assembly of the people, called on purpose, while some person played upon the flute. Cic. pro Domo. Alex. Genial. vi. 14.

Ver. 64. Court of the priests. An altar was there erected, in haste. Fire from heaven came to consume the victims. 2 Par. vii. 1. C.

Ver. 65. Egypt. Rhinocolura, (M.) or rather the branch of the Nile nearest Arabia,. Jos. xiii. 3. Num. xiii. 22. C. — Seven, for each festival, v. 1.

Ver. 66. Eighth day, at the conclusion of the second octave. H. — Blessed the king, as he had done them before. The most honourable performs this office. Heb. vii. 7. C. — The king and people wished all sorts of happiness to each other. — David. The glory of his son reflected honour on him. H.