Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.
Verse 1. - The things that David... had dedicated; literally, Hebrew, the holy things; i.e. the dedicate or set apart things of David. The temple-building, which had been commenced in Solomon's fourth year, had occupied seven years in construction (1 Kings 6:1), but another thirteen years in furnishing (1 Kings 9:1, 2). The record of Chronicles is, of course, in some respects somewhat more sketchy than that of Kings; and the correct view of the chronology has in both writers to be sought and read between the lines. It was when the house and "all the work designed for the house of the Lord was finished," that (ver. 2) "Solomon assembled the elders," etc., and arranged for the solemn dedication; that is, when four years of his reign, and seven years of building and thirteen years of furnishing, etc., had elapsed.
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.
Verse 2. - Comparing the language of this and the following verse with that used on the occasion of David's bringing up of the ark to Zion, found in 2 Samuel 6:1; 1 Chronicles 13. and 15, some have thought that a considerable difference of tone is perceptible, and that indication is given of the intention, or at any rate a feeling, even if more or less unconscious, on the part of Solomon, that times were ripe for a demonstration, that should partake less of the enthusiasm of the mass, so far as his own summons might be concerned, and more of the form and dignity of the chief and representative men of the nation. This view can hardly be pressed. The very word "wherefore" in ver. 3 goes far to discredit it. And any difference that may be apparent in the language is far more probably and easily attributable to the old cause of the narrower, though intenser, interest of the writer of Chronicles.
Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.
Verse 3. - In the feast which... in the seventh month; i.e. the Feast of Tabernacles. This commenced on the fifteenth of the seventh month, named Ethanim (see 1 Kings 8:2). With this the festivals of the sacred year closed.
And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark.
Verse 4. - The Levites. So see Numbers 4:15, 19, 20, which, with our vers. 5, 7, throw this statement into sufficient harmony with that of the parallel (1 Kings 8:3), which purports to say that the priests only, unaided by the Kohathite Levites, performed the service.
And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
Verse 5. - In the parallel (1 Kings 8:4), the "and" in the last line of this verse does not need the italic type, but is found in the Hebrew text, confirming our version of ver. 4 foregoing. The tabernacle of the congregation; or, tent of meeting, designs here the tabernacle of Moses from Gibeon (comp. 1 Kings 3:4; 1 Samuel 21:6; 1 Chronicles 16:39, 40; 2 Chronicles 1:3), and not the tent of Mount Zion (2 Samuel 6:17). This tabernacle, then, and these holy vessels all, are carried into the new temple, as venerated relics and sacred mementoes of a memorable past of vicissitude. But the ark had still its ministry to perform (ver. 7).
Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
Verse 6. - King Solomon and all the congregation... sacrificed; i.e., of course, with the intervention of their priests.
And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims:
Verse 7. - The wings of the cherubim (see 2 Chronicles 3:10). Their situation was by the west wall of the oracle (1 Kings 6:16).
For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day.
Verse 9. - They drew out; i.e. the staves projected. A similar intransitive occurs in Exodus 20:12. Were seen from the ark. The words, "from the ark," are here probably by misposition, and should follow the words, the staves projected; while the parallel tells us what should be in their place here, namely, "from the holy place" (1 Kings 8:8). The confusion and omission will merely lie with some copyists, for five manuscripts show the words "from the holy place." There it is unto this day. The parallel (1 Kings 8:8)reads, "there they are unto this day," i.e. the staves. In either case, whether the ark or the staves were spoken of, the memorandum is exceedingly interesting and noteworthy, as a patent bare copy of an old record dating before the destruction of the temple, on the part of whether the writer of Kings or Chronicles. Plainly the historian touches ground, and shows us that we do also; for it is evident that, far from cunningly devised fable, he has before him in either case an original document.
There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.
Verse 10. - Nothing in the ark save the two tables (see Deuteronomy 10:5; and Exodus 40:20; then Exodus 24:12; 25:16; 31:18; 32:19; 34:1, 4, 29; 40:20). The stones were therefore now, in Solomon's time, nearly four hundred and ninety years old. Why the "golden pot" and "Aaron's rod" (Hebrews 9:4) were not there does not appear. The language of the Epistle is partially confirmed, at any rate in harmony with Exodus 16:34; Numbers 17:10. Possibly they may have now been removed by Solomon, but it seems very unlikely that, if so, no mention of the removal is made. On the other hand, the "book of the Law" had not been consigned to the ark, but to a place "by the side of" it (Deuteronomy 31:25-27).
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course:
Verse 11. - The parallel (1 Kings 8:10) shows the first half of this verse and the last sentence of ver. 13 to make its tenth verse. All between these two is special to the present passage and to Chronicles. All the priests... not by course; i.e. all of all the courses, twenty-four in number, instead of only the one course on daily duty at the time (1 Chronicles 23:6-32; 1 Chronicles 24:1-31). Present; or, found more literally; that is to say, all who were not for one cause or another out of reach (1 Chronicles 29:17; Ezra 8:25). The Hebrew word is the familiar הַגִּמְצְאִים.
Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
Verse 12. - This verse, marked off in the Authorized Version in brackets, is most graphic. First all the priests, who were not hors de combat, i.e. all the "courses" of them together, thronged the arena; and now they are joined by all the Levites who were singers, of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 25:1-31), i.e. twenty-four choirs in one, with their sons and their brethren; and this collected choir is arrayed in white linen; and they have three kinds of musical instruments - cymbals (Psalm el. 5) and psalteries (or lutes) and harps (1 Chronicles 16:5; 1 Chronicles 25:1); and they take up their station at the east end of the altar, and still further a strong support flanks these of a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets (1 Chronicles 16:6). So ends our inopportune Authorized Version parenthesis. But to what all this? It is a scene in a nation's history, in the universal Church's history; it is witnessed from heaven, and by Heaven's will recorded in the book on earth, which will endure through all generations, as long as the sun and moon endure, as ushering in the moment when, as described in the next verse, to the unanimous fervent adoration and praise of man, God bent a willing, gracious ear, and to earth the glory of heaven drew nigh. Cymbals. The word used here (מְצִלְתַּים), denoting strictly "pair of cymbals," occurs eleven times in Chronicles, once in Ezra, and once in Nehemiah. Another form of essentially the same word occurs once in 2 Samuel 6:5 and twice in Psalm 150:5. This last passage notes two kinds of cymbals - the "loud" and the "high-sounding." It was the former of these that Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun used, and their use was probably to regulate or beat the time (see Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1:375, 376; Conder's 'Handbook to the Bible,' p. 167, 2nd edit.). Psalteries (נֶבֶל). This word occurs twenty-eight times in the Old Testament, but of these it is translated (Authorized Version) four times as "viols" (Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 14:11; Amos 5:23; Amos 6:5); it is also once rendered "vessels of flagons" (Isaiah 22:24), but the margin offers the version "instruments of viols." While the cymbal was, of course, an instrument of percussion, the psaltery was one of strings - its use was as an accompaniment to the voice. The first mention of it is very interesting (1 Samuel 10:5). Compare also David's and Solomon's psaltery in 2 Samuel 6:5; 2 Chronicles 9:11. Harps (כִּנּור). This word occurs forty-two times, beginning with Genesis 4:21. Trumpets (חֲלֺצצְרָה). This word (including eleven of the personal forms of it, as e.g. the person blowing the trumpet) occurs just forty times, beginning with Numbers 10:2. It was the straight tuba, and was not, therefore, the same with the ram's-horn shaped buccina (שֹׁפָר), generally rendered in the Authorized Version "cornet," but sometimes "trumpet;" the specialty of the cornet being to blow a sound for a signal or summons of some sort, whether secular as in war, or sacred as for some festival. The trumpets of our verse evidently (Numbers 10:8) were in a particular sense the instrument of the priests.
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;
Verse 13. - It cannot but be that it was intended in this verse that attention should be rivetted to the fact of the splendid consentaneity of all singers and all musicians, of hearts and voices and instruments. The suggestion is as significant as it is impressive, a suggestion to the Church of all time, and supremely asking notice now. Even the house. The close of ver. 14, as also the parallel (1 Kings 8:11 ), justifies the supposition that the Septuagint showing the word δόξης, guides us rightly in restoring the word "glory" (כְבוד) here, in place of the word "house" (בֵּית). For he is good (so 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 136:1; 2 Chronicles 7:3; Ezra 3:11).
So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
Verse 14. - The priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud (so Exodus 40:34, 35).