1 Kings 8:47
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;
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1 Kings 8:47-49. If they shall bethink themselves — Consider their ways, and reflect on their past conduct as the cause of their sufferings. Hebrew, If they shall bring back their hearts from their idols and vanities; from going out after, and trusting in, any creature. And repent — Afflictions are calculated to bring men, first to serious consideration, and then to repentance; and when they are truly penitent, they wilt confess their sins and humble themselves. Saying — Sensibly, and with an honest heart; we have sinned and done perversely. And return unto thee with all their heart and all their soul — Sincerely, universally, and steadfastly. Then hear thou, and maintain their cause — Hebrew, their right against their invaders and oppressors; for they had forfeited all their rights to God only, but not to their enemies; whom though God used as scourges to chastise his people’s sins, yet they had no pretence of right to their land.

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.Bethink themselves - literally, as in the margin - i. e. "reflect," "consider seriously." Compare Deuteronomy 30:1.

Sinned, done perversely, committed wickedness - The words here used seem to have become the standard form of expressing contrition when the time of the captivity arrived and the Israelites were forcibly removed to Babylon (compare the margin reference). The three expressions are thought to form a climax, rising from negative to positive guilt, and from mere wrongful acts to depravation of the moral character.

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].

If they shall bethink themselves, Heb. bring back their hearts, to wit, their sin; expressed 1 Kings 8:46, and implied in the following word,

repent. Saying, sensibly, and with an honest heart,

We have sinned, & c.

Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives,.... Or, "return to their heart" (a); remember their sins, the cause of their captivity, and reflect upon them:

and repent of them, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives; though and while they are in such a state:

saying, we have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; which phrases include all their sins, with all the aggravated circumstances of them, and their sense of them, and contrition for them.

(a) "et reversi fuerint ad cor suum", Pagninas, Montanus, Vatablus.

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

(r) Though the temple was the chief place of prayer, yet he does not exclude them who being forced by necessity to call upon him in other places.

Verse 47. - Yet if they shall bethink themselves [Heb. as marg., bring back to their heart. Same phrase, Deuteronomy 4:39; Deuteronomy 30:1. The latter passage, it should be noticed, treats of the captivity, so that Solomon, consciously or unconsciously, employs some of the very words used by Moses in contemplating this contingency. These repeated coincidences lead to the belief that the prayer was based upon and compiled from the Pentateuch] 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. [This verse is full of paronomasia, שבו נשבו השיבו, etc. Words almost identical with this confession were used (Daniel 9:5; Psalm 106:6) by the Jews in their captivity at Babylon, from which it has been concluded that this part of the prayer must belong to the time of the captivity. But surely it is, to say the least, just as likely that the Jews, when the captivity of which Solomon spoke befel them, borrowed the phrase in which their great king by anticipation expressed their penitence. Seeing in the captivity a fulfilment of his prediction, they would naturally see in this formula, which no doubt had been preserved in the writings of the prophets, a confession specially appropriate to their case, and indeed provided for their use. 1 Kings 8:47In the seventh prayer, viz., if Israel should be given up to its enemies on account of its sins and carried away into the land of the enemy, Solomon had the threat in Leviticus 26:33, Leviticus 26:44 in his eye, though he does not confine his prayer to the exile of the whole nation foretold in that passage and in Deuteronomy 28:45., Deuteronomy 28:64, and Deuteronomy 30:1-5, but extends it to every case of transportation to an enemy's land. לבּם אל והשׁיבוּ, "and they take it to heart," compare Deuteronomy 4:39, and without the object, Deuteronomy 30:1; not "they feel remorse," as Thenius supposes, because the Hiphil cannot have this reflective signification (Bttcher). The confession of sin in 1 Kings 8:47, רשׁענוּ והעוינוּ חטאנוּ, was adopted by the Jews when in captivity as the most exhaustive expression of their deep consciousness of guilt (Daniel 9:5; Psalm 106:6). חטא, to slip, labi, depicts sin as a wandering from right; העוה, to act perversely, as a conscious perversion of justice; and רשׁע as a passionate rebellion against God (cf. Isaiah 57:20).
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