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1 Kings 8:12-30 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:58 mins 1 sec

Temple Dedication: Praying the Premises; 1 Kings 8:12-30

1 Kings 8:12 NASB "Then Solomon said, 'The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.'" This is a special word in the Hebrew which refers to a thick cloud, an enshrouding cloud, thick darkness. The priests couldn't see their hands in front of their faces. It is a word that is used sometimes to refer to a stormy sea and it is typically a word used in passages that refer to the end time judgment of God coming in thick clouds, especially during the time of the day of the Lord. Cf. Jeremiah 13:16; Ezekiel 34:12; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15. So it is an indication of the presence of God and His approval of the Solomonic temple, referred to as the first temple.

1 Kings 8:13 NASB "I have surely built You a lofty house, A place for Your dwelling forever." "Built" is the Hebrew word banah, the word that is used for the creation of the woman in Genesis 2:22, but more importantly there is a repetition of the verb, a qal infinitive construct plus a qal perfect. This doesn't have the idea of doing something and then doing it. This is the same construction as in Genesis 2:17: If you "eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will certainly, surely die." That is the idea there; it is not "Dying, you will die." If we were to translate this grammar the same way we would say, "Building, I have built." It doesn't make sense; it is poor grammar and doesn't mean anything. The repetition of the verb in the Hebrew is designed to intensify the meaning, and indicates that this is something that has definitely and purposely been accomplished. The word for "lofty" is the Hebrew word meaning that which is magnificent or lofty. It is an exalted dwelling. It is used three times in the Scriptures to describe the dwelling place of God. Cf. Isaiah 63:15.

The other word that is interesting in this passage is the word "dwell." It is the Hebrew word shaken which means to settle, to occupy, to lie down or set in place, but it has a primary meaning of dwelling. This becomes the basis for the later rabbinic term "shekinah," the shekinah glory.  Really what we are saying is that it is the dwelling glory, the glory of the dwelling of God. This comes over etymologically into Greek as skene [skhnh] and is used in John 1 where John writes that the Word became flesh and dwelt [skhnh] among us.

1 Kings 8:14 NASB "Then the king faced about and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing." This begins a section of about eight verses where Solomon turns around and articulates a blessing upon the people. This is an introduction to what is an extremely formal type of ceremony. Verse 14 is simply a summary of what he is going to say in the next seven verses. It says he blessed the people, then the next verse tells about how he goes about doing this. The word is barach, here in the piel (intensive) imperfect, and it has the idea of blessing which can mean praise, thanksgiving, to kneel, to salute or greet. In the context here this is when Solomon is first addressing the assembly of the elders and the people, and this is his opening salutation. So here the word "bless" has more of the meaning of initial greeting of the people, and in that he is going to focus their attention on God and what God has done in the history of Israel, and what God has provided for them. The whole focus of this section, vv. 14-66, is one of the great chapters in the Bible that talk about prayer, public prayer—the prayer is actually a claiming of a promise, so it helps us to understand what it means to claim a promise or to pray through promises that God has given us in His Word. It is also a tremendous example of one form of corporate worship. Note their posture. The assembly of Israel is standing. Then we see what the reading consists of: [15] "He said, 'Blessed [qal passive of barach, i.e. God is the recipient of the blessing; here it has the nuance of praise or thankfulness] be the LORD, the God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David and has fulfilled {it} with His hand, saying." This is a rehearsal of what God has done in the history of Israel and how God has provided graciously for Israel. So what follows is a statement of praise focusing on God.

We should note the way he refers to God. He refers to Him as Yahweh Elohim in the Hebrew. Yahweh is the Tetragrammaton that is the name of God associated with His entering into the Mosaic covenant. This is important because everything that Solomon says is associated with the exodus event and God's redemption in the Mosaic covenant and, secondly, the Davidic covenant. He has thought through these two covenants, specifically the blessing and the cursing sections, the divine discipline sections, of the Mosaic covenant, and that forms the core of his prayer and dedication. Then in the initial part, the introduction, and then in vv. 22-30, that focuses more on the Davidic covenant. It shows how these promises that God has instilled into these two covenants have been the focal point of Solomon and they have really taken root in his soul. The statements that he is making and the prayers he is uttering are an outgrowth of His meditation on God's promises. The phrase "spoke with His mouth" indicates how important David was to God. Only one other time do we have this kind of verbiage of God speaking mouth-to-mouth with someone, and that is in Numbers 12:8 with reference to Moses NASB "With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"  

"…and has fulfilled {it} with His hand, saying." This an anthropomorphic idiom in the Hebrew. The "hand of God" is an idiom for the power of God. The example of the power of God that he goes to is when He brings the Jews out of Egypt. 1 Kings 8:16 NASB "Since the day that I brought My people Israel from Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel {in which} to build a house that My name might be there, but I chose David to be over My people Israel." Solomon is rehearsing what God said to David. Bringing the Jews out of Egypt is a picture of the regeneration, the redemption, the salvation of the nation from slavery in Egypt.

1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 6 are parallel passages. But there are little differences and that has to do with the purpose of the writer. The writer of Chronicles is writing after the exile to sort of rebuild the nation's confidence in the Davidic promises. So the focus in Chronicles is only on the southern kingdom and what God is doing to the house of David, whereas in Kings the focus is a little more on the northern kingdom but it is dealing with the reasons why there is a split between the north and the south and why God is bringing about the judgment of the Assyrian captivity and the Babylonian captivity.

In 2 Chronicles we read the almost identical statement:  "Since the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel {in which} to build a house that My name might be there…"  But it adds, "nor did I choose any man for a leader over My people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there…" The Chronicles statement probably gives us a fuller statement of what Solomon said. The Kings writer leaves some of this out because it doesn't fit his purpose, whereas the writer of Chronicles wants to get it in there because it focuses on Jerusalem and on the house of David.

Solomon is speaking in 1 Kings 8:17 NASB "Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. [18] But the LORD said to my father David, 'Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart." The meaning of the word "heart" is really talking about the centre of a person's being, then core of their soul. In most places the word has to do with the core thinking in a person's soul, so it is a thought word. So Solomon is saying that it was in the thinking of his father what he wanted to do. It involved his volition, his desire: that he wanted to build a temple for name of the Lord God of Israel. But God prevented that. Principle: God recognises many times our desire to do certain things but in His sovereignty He doesn't allow us circumstantially to be able to do it. David is going to get some recognition for his right motivation and his right desire. 

1 Kings 8:19 NASB "Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son who will be born to you, he will build the house for My name." So this goes back to the Davidic covenant, 2 Samuel 7, and 1 Chronicles 17 deals with this where God specifically promised David that it would be his direct descendant, and later, long before the Adonijah rebellion, He told David that He was referring to Solomon. So what Solomon is doing here in this introduction is focusing the attention of the people on the past act of God in delivering them from Egypt and primarily on the Davidic covenant and the specific promise of God to David that his son would build the temple. The reason for emphasising this is the structure and the basis for this whole prayer is that Solomon is taking these promises that God made to David and is claiming them. So it is a picture of the faith-rest drill.

Promises: a)   A promise is something that is made with a view to fulfilling it. It is not something that is said that may or may not be fulfilled or something that is said and easily broken. b)   A promise is a guarantee, but the guarantee is only as good as the character of the person who is making the promise. c)   Promises are made to different groups of people or individuals and it is very important to identify who a promise is made to. If a promise is made to one person then someone else doesn't have the right to come along and say, Well you need to fulfil that promise to me. The most obvious distinction here is that of God has made a promise to Israel then the church can't come along and claim that promise for herself. We have to be careful when we handle certain Old Testament promises because they are not given to the church and there is not even a cross-over application to the church. Romans 9:4 says that the covenants and the promises belong to Israel. So there are certain promises that are specifically directed only to Abraham and his descendants, Israel. There are promises to the church, promises to the disciples, Old Testament believers only, church age believers only, Tribulation believers only, etc.    

1 Kings 8:20 NASB "Now the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke; for I have risen in place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel." Solomon said the Lord promised one thing, and this is exactly what happened. [21] "There I have set a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD, which He made with our fathers when He brought them from the land of Egypt."

Solomon stands before the people. 1 Kings 8:22 NASB "Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven." At this point there is another verse added in Chronicles that was left out here and which fills in the setting a little bit. 2 Chronicles 6:13 NASB "Now Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven."

The key verse in this section is 1 Kings 8:23 NASB "He said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and {showing} lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart." That is the core of his prayer. There are three elements here. The first is that he is addressing the Lord God of Israel, and this reminds us that this is the God who entered into a covenant with Israel. Second, he indicates the uniqueness of God. What is interesting is that when we trace the key words here this phrase is almost always used, and is restricted in its uses, to Davidic covenant passages—2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalm 89. So even in this sentence we see how saturated Solomon's soul is with the language of the Davidic covenant. Third, "keeping covenant and {showing} lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart." There are two ideas here that are parallel: keeping your covenant and lovingkindness. The word for "lovingkindness" is the Hebrew word chesed which has to do with loyal or faithful love, and is sometimes referred to as God's covenant love because it is grounded in this legal contract. 1 Kings 8:30 NASB "Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive." Everything from verse 22 down to verse 30 is a set-up for making that request. That request, then, is going to be based on promises God made in the Mosaic covenant, specifically the blessing and cursing passages of Leviticus 26 & 27 and Deuteronomy 30.