The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Kings

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1 Kings 8

1Ki 8:1

1Ki 8: "The glorious day of Dedication (a token of the divine Day of Inauguration yet to come). It was the culmination of Solomon's glory and an expression of a nation which rejoiced in the divine blessing. Nearly a year has passed since the temple was completed. Now in the 8th year (pointing to the time beyond the millennium) when flesh will be completely subdued, and in the 7th month (speaking of the millennium itself), the temple is dedicated for worship. It was a day on which Jews now look back upon as the culminating glory of their nation. Instead of two sanctuaries as before (one in the Gentile city of Gibeon, and one at Zion), there was to be but a united place, after the prophecy of Moses (Exo 15). The ark from Zion and the tabernacle from Gibeon were both removed and brought to the new site. A great gathering met to witness the ceremony. The two processions (figurative of Jew and Gentile believers at the future Day) converged at Mount Moriah, where Isaac was earlier offered, and where later the Lord Jesus would be offered in fulfilment of the sacrificial codes of the past. Special services attended the removal of the Ark. Sacrifices without number; incense arising; psalms of praise being uttered; joyful music, general excitement and happiness attended the occasion. Throughout the whole scene, the person of the great King is the one central object, compared with whom even priests and prophets are for the time being subordinate. Like David in the bringing up of the ark, Solomon appears in a liturgical character -- blessing the congregation, offering up the solemn prayer, dedicating the temple, hallowing the court. And so it shall be again, but in a greater measure, when the Lord Jesus ascends the throne of the kingdom, the glorious House of Prayer for all Nations is built, and divine worship re-instituted. The prayer of Solomon on the day of Dedication is an expression of devotion, and his words can be found reiterated in the Lord's prayer of Mat 6:9-13" (GEM).

1Ki 8:2


1Ki 8:8

These staves, or carrying poles, were so long that the ends could be seen if one were to look into the Holy Place (in other words, the staves extended outside the Most Holy Place). The statement about the staves shows that Exo 25:15 was complied with, that is, that the staves were not to be removed from the ark.

Even though the ark was now in its permanent home, the staves remained in place, a reminder of its journeys at the head of God's people. Though all the other furnishings of the Temple had been newly made, the ark, representing the ruling presence of God, was still the same as that made while Israel was encamped at Sinai. It provided an unbreakable link with all that had gone before.

It is good to have reminders of who we are and where we have come from. In our ecclesias, this role is often filled by the older ones, and by the history and stories which they can tell, of earlier generations. In the broader sense, the Bible fills this same role for all of us: its pages demonstrate how our faith, as individuals and as a community, is linked with the faith of others who have gone before. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses..." (Heb 12:1).

In Acts 1:3 and following, after the resurrection of Christ, the disciples who (being "priests") stood in the holy place of the new "temple", were able to infer by what they had witnessed in the previous forty days, that though they soon would not be able to physically see their Lord (as he was soon to ascend to the Most Holy Place in the heavens, to the side of his Father), they could accept that he would ever be in his Father's presence, acting as their sacrifice, mediating for their forgiveness. And it was these disciples alone -- and not the elite Sadducees and Pharisees -- who could "see" their Lord in the "heavenly place"!

1Ki 8:9

THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE ARK EXCEPT THE TWO STONE TABLETS...: The other contents of the ark -- the pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded -- seem to have been already lost in the time of Solomon (maybe when the ark was in the hands of the Philistines?). Other possibilities: Exo 16:33,34 and Num 17:10 seem to indicate that Aaron's staff and the golden jar of manna may originally have been kept in front of the ark, rather than in it. How the golden jar and Aaron's staff were stored may have differed over time. Therefore the description in Heb 9:4 on the one hand, and 1Ki 8:9 and 2Ch 5:10 on the other, may be referring to the ark at two different times of Israel's history.

1Ki 8:20

Solomon's zeal for the temple is almost purely a result of living out his father's expectations about building a temple.

1Ki 8:56

Cp Melchizedek's blessing of Abraham: Gen 14:18,19.

1Ki 8:65

LEBO HAMATH: Northern border of Israel.

WADI OF EGYPT: Southern border of Israel.

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