1 Kings 8:32
Then hear you in heaven, and do, and judge your servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way on his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 8:32. Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge — Discover the truth, and judge between the contending parties. He prays that in difficult matters his throne of grace might be a throne of judgment, from which God would right the injured that believingly appealed to it; and punish the injurious that presumptuously appealed to it. To bring his way upon his head — The just recompense of his wicked action and course. And justifying the righteous, to give him, &c. — To vindicate him, and manifest his integrity.8:22-53 In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. The sacrifices, the incense, and the whole service of the temple, were all typical of the Redeemer's offices, oblation, and intercession. The temple, therefore, was continually to be remembered. Under one word, forgive, Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. For, as all misery springs from sin, forgiveness of sin prepares the way for the removal of every evil, and the receiving of every good. Without it, no deliverance can prove a blessing. In addition to the teaching of the word of God, Solomon entreated the Lord himself to teach the people to profit by all, even by their chastisements. They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him; and shall spread their hands in prayer toward this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant. Sin is the plague of our own hearts; our in-dwelling corruptions are our spiritual diseases: every true Israelite endeavours to know these, that he may mortify them, and watch against the risings of them. These drive him to his knees; lamenting these, he spreads forth his hands in prayer. After many particulars, Solomon concludes with the general request, that God would hearken to his praying people. No place, now, under the gospel, can add to the prayers made in or towards it. The substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us. In this manner the Israel of God is established and sanctified, the backslider is recovered and healed. In this manner the stranger is brought nigh, the mourner is comforted, the name of God is glorified. Sin is the cause of all our troubles; repentance and forgiveness lead to all human happiness.The oath come before ... - "The oath" is equivalent to "the man who swears the oath." A slight alteration in the present Hebrew text gives the sense "and he (the accused) go and swear before thine altar," etc. The threats and the promises, the punishments and calamities of 1 Kings 8:31-38 were distinctly named in the Law. See the margin reference. 1Ki 8:22-61. His Prayer.

22. Solomon stood before the altar—This position was in the court of the people, on a brazen scaffold erected for the occasion (2Ch 6:13), fronting the altar of burnt offering, and surrounded by a mighty concourse of people. Assuming the attitude of a suppliant, kneeling (1Ki 8:54; compare 2Ch 6:24) and with uplifted hands, he performed the solemn act of consecration—an act remarkable, among other circumstances, for this, that it was done, not by the high priest or any member of the Aaronic family, but by the king in person, who might minister about, though not in, holy things. This sublime prayer [1Ki 8:22-35], which breathes sentiments of the loftiest piety blended with the deepest humility, naturally bore a reference to the national blessing and curse contained in the law—and the burden of it—after an ascription of praise to the Lord for the bestowment of the former, was an earnest supplication for deliverance from the latter. He specifies seven cases in which the merciful interposition of God would be required; and he earnestly bespeaks it on the condition of people praying towards that holy place. The blessing addressed to the people at the close is substantially a brief recapitulation of the preceding prayer [1Ki 8:56-61].

To bring his way, i.e. the just recompence of his wicked action and course.

Justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness; to vindicate him, and to manifest his integrity. Then hear thou in heaven,.... When the injured person makes supplication to have justice done him:

and do, and judge thy servants; contending with one another, the one affirming, the other denying

condemning the wicked, by bringing his way upon his head: inflicting upon him the punishment imprecated by him in his oath:

and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness; by making it appear that his cause is just.

Then hear thou in heaven, and {l} 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.

(l) That is, make it known.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. then hear thou in heaven] As the truth in such a case as is supposed can be known to God alone, He is prayed to act the part assigned to judges in the Law (cf. Deuteronomy 25:1) and to make known in His own way which persons take the oath justly, and which unjustly. The close imitation of the language of Deuteronomy deserves to be noticed.Verse 32. - Then hear thou in heaven [Heb. and thou, thou wilt hear the heavens. The same expression, תּשְׁמַע הַשָּׁמַיִם, is found in vers. 34, 36, 39. See Ewald, 300 a. Keil sees in it the adverbial use of the accusative. Most of the versions read "from heaven," as does the Chronicles and one MS.], and do [i.e., act] and judge thy servants, condemning [Heb. to make (i.e., prove) wicked] the wicked, to bring [Heb. give, same word as below] his way [i.e., works, fruits] upon his head [cf. Ezekiel 9:10; Ezekiel 11:21; same expression] and justifying [Heb. to make righteous. Cf. δικαιοῦν ιν Ν.T. and justum facere] the righteous [cognate words are used in both cases], to give him according to his righteousness. The second special petition contemplates the case, which was morally certain to occur, of Hebrews taken captive in war and carried to a foreign land. To be separated from the commonwealth, the rites and the blessings of Israel, was one of the greatest calamities which could befal a Jew (Deuteronomy 4:27, 28; Leviticus 26:33; Psalm 137.), and as such Solomon gives it a prominent place in his prayer. The connexion, how. ever which some have imagined to exist between this prayer and the preceding, viz., that that referred to internal, this to external dangers, is too artificial to have found a place in Solomon's thoughts. 1 Kings 8:26 is not merely a repetition of the prayer in 1 Kings 8:25, as Thenius supposes, but forms the introduction to the prayers which follow for the hearing of all the prayer presented before the Lord in the temple. The words, "let Thy words be verified, which Thou spakest unto Thy servant David," contain something more than a prayer for the continual preservation of the descendants of David upon the throne, for the fulfilment of which Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 8:25. They refer to the whole of the promise in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. The plural דּבריך (Chethb) points back to כּל־הדּברים in 2 Samuel 7:17, and is not to be altered into the singular after the Keri. The singular יאמן is used as it frequently is with the subject in the plural, when the verb precedes (cf. Ewald. 316, a., 1). Solomon has here in mind one particular point in the promise, viz., that God would not withdraw His mercy from the seed of David, even when it sinned. This is evident from what follows, where he mentions simply cases of transgression, and prays that they may be forgiven.
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