Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.2 Chronicles 6:1. The Lord hath said he would dwell in the thick darkness — He has made darkness his pavilion; but let this house be the residence of that darkness. For it is in the upper world that he dwells in light, such as no eye can approach.
But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.2 Chronicles 6:2. I have built a house of habitation for thee — It is of great consequence in all our religious actions that we design well, and that our eye be single. If Solomon had built this temple in the pride of his heart, as Ahasuerus made his feast, only to show the riches of his kingdom, and the honour of his majesty, it would neither have glorified God nor have turned to his own advantage. But he here declares on what inducements he undertook it, and they are such as not only justify, but magnify the undertaking: the reader will recollect that this whole prayer occurs 1 Kings 8., and that it has been explained at large in the notes there.
And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:
But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:
Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.2 Chronicles 6:9. Thy son, he shall build the house, &c. — Thus one sows and another reaps: and one age begins that which the next brings to perfection. And let not the wisest of men think it any disparagement to them to pursue the good designs which those that went before them had formed, and to build on their foundation.
The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.
And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:
For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:2 Chronicles 6:14. O Lord God of Israel, &c. — Solomon, in the foregoing verses, had signed and sealed, so to speak, the deed of dedication, by which the temple was appropriated to the honour and service of God. Now here in the prayer by which it was, as it were, consecrated, it is made a figure of Christ, the great Mediator, through whom we are to offer up all our prayers, and to expect all God’s favours, and to whom we are to have an eye in every thing wherein we have to do with God.
Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.
Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.2 Chronicles 6:21. Hearken to the supplication of thy people, &c. — He asks not that God would help them without their praying for themselves, but that God would help them in answer to their prayers. Even Christ’s intercession does not supersede, but encourages our supplications.
If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;2 Chronicles 6:22. And the oath come before thine altar — By this it appears that the man who was to clear himself of any trespass, whereof he was accused, against his neighbour, by an oath, was to do it at the temple, before the altar of that God from whom he looked for the remission of his sins.
Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;
Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;
Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.2 Chronicles 6:27. When thou hast taught them the good way — Or, seeing thou hast taught them the good way, or instructed them in the knowledge of thyself, and of the worship and service in which thou delightest.
If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:
Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:
Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)
That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;
Then hear thou from the heavens, even from 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, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.2 Chronicles 6:33. May know that this house is called by thy name — That it is truly the house of the Almighty Jehovah. Solomon knew that the goodness of God was so immense, that the extending it, how much soever, toward other people, neither would nor could lessen the exercise of it toward Israel.
If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;
Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.2 Chronicles 6:40. Now, my God, &c. — Solomon sums up all in beseeching God, that the prayers which should be presented there, for any blessing, of what sort soever it was, might be graciously accepted and answered by him.
Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.2 Chronicles 6:41. Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place, &c. — Thus he concludes his prayer with some expressions borrowed from one of his father’s Psalms, namely, Psalms 132. The whole word of God in general, and the Psalms in particular, are of use to direct us in prayer: and how can we express ourselves in better language to God, than in that of his own Spirit? But these words were peculiarly proper and suitable to be expressed now, because they had a reference to this very occasion on which Solomon used them. And, in quoting them, he prays that God would take and keep possession of the temple for himself, and make it, as it were, his resting- place, where he would continue to dwell. Thou, and the ark of thy strength — Thou, in and by the ark, which is the sign and instrument of thy great power, put forth from time to time in behalf of thy people. Let thy priests be clothed with salvation — Let them be saved from their sins, restored to thy favour and image, and be encompassed on every side with thy protection and benediction. And let thy saints rejoice in goodness — Let them have cause of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the effects of thy goodness imparted to them.
O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.2 Chronicles 6:42. O Lord, turn not away the face of thine anointed — Of me, who by thy command was anointed the king and ruler of thy people: do not deny my request, nor send me from the throne of thy grace with a dejected countenance. Remember the mercies of David — Those which thou hast promised to David, and to his house for ever. And thus may we plead, with an eye to Christ, who is called David, Hosea 3:5. Lord, remember his merits, and accept of us on the account of them. Remember the promises of the everlasting covenant, which are called the sure mercies of David, Isaiah 55:3. This must be all our desire, all our hope, all our prayer, and all our plea; for it is all our salvation.