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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



3 KINGS 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 2.  Ethanim was afterwards called Tisri.  H. --- Usher places the dedication on Friday, 30th October, the 8th of the seventh month.  The people continued at Jerusalem till the 23rd.  The feast of expiation fell on the 10th, (H.) during the octave of the dedication.  After this, the feast of tabernacles commenced on the 15th, for other seven days.  This was the year of jubilee; and Solomon had waited on purpose, that the people might have more leisure to attend on such a solemn occasion.  C. --- But on this we cannot rely.  There might be other reasons for the delay; (See C. vi. 38.) and one of the chief might be, a desire to perform this ceremony in the seventh or sabbatical month, which was  honoured with more festivals than any other.  It had just elapsed, before the temple was finished, in the preceding year.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Priests, who were also Levites, as it is expressed in 2 Par. v. 4.  Perhaps the ark was uncovered, (C.) as the Caathites carried it when folded up.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Ark, from the city of David, along with the tabernacle, (Salien) which had been made for it in the palace, v. 1.  They also (H.) brought the Mosaic tabernacle from Gaboan, (C.  Josephus, &c.) and reposited both H. in the treasury of the temple, as they were now of no other service.  Jeremias was authorized to take the ark, the tabernacle, and the altar of incense, in order to prevent their falling into the hands of the Chaldees.  He placed them in a cave, where they have never, perhaps, been discovered.  2 Mac. ii. 4.

 

Ver. 5.  Sacrificed, by the hands of the priests, (M.) or at least (H.) gave them the blood to offer upon the altars, which were placed at six paces from one another, in  imitation of David.  2 K. vi. 13. C. --- Could not.  See C. vii. 47.

 

Ver. 6.  Wings.  These covered the smaller cherubim, upon the ark.  H.  C. vi. 23. 27. --- The formed a sort of throne, with their wings extended, from one side of the building to the other, (C.) twenty cubits long.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Out.  In the days of Moses, these staves had touched the veil of the tabernacle: but now, as the place for the ark was twice as large, they were no longer perceived; though they remained in the holes prepared for them by Moses, till the author wrote; which must have been before the captivity.  Unless we thus distinguish the times, the Hebrew contains a palpable contradiction.  C. --- "They drew out (or lengthened) the staves, and the heads...were seen out in the holy place...and they were not seen out."  H. --- To a person standing at a small distance, they were not visible, though they rather touched the veil.  2 Par. v. 9.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Nothing else, &c.  There was nothing else but the tables of the law within the ark.  But on the outside of the ark, or near the ark, were also the rod of Aaron, and a golden urn with manna.  Heb. ix. 4.  Ch.  W. --- These might have been in the ark while it was not fixed: but after the temple was built, all but the tables were placed in the treasury; where, we find, the book of the law was discovered, under Joas.  Deut. xxxi. 26.  2 Par. xxxiv. 14.  Others think that, in the days of S. Paul, the rod, &c. might have been reposited in the ark, though they had not been admitted at the time when this book was written.  Bellar. &c. --- But we have no assurance that the ark was ever placed in the second temple; and Josephus informs us, that when the Romans destroyed the temple, "there was noting at all" in the sanctuary.  C. --- In area might easily signify ad, or juxta arcam, "near the ark."  Salien.

 

Ver. 12.  Cloud.  He alludes to Lev. xvi. 2.  M. --- God had so frequently appeared in this manner, that Solomon was authorized to consider it as the symbol of his presence.  Ex. xiv. 19. xxiv. 16. and xl. 32.  Ps. xvii. 12.  This luminous cloud filled the whole temple, to convince all that the Lord was pleased with the devotion of the king, and of his people.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Ever.  He seems to contrast this solid and glittering fabric with the cloud, (M.) as, in some sort, more worthy of God's presence.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Stood.  It is pretended that the king alone was allowed to sit.  C. --- But here Solomon stood, upon an eminence made of brass.  2 Par. vi. 13.  H. --- He pronounced the blessing, (part of which is given, v. 15-22) with his face turned towards the people, as e was also in the court of Israel.  Then turning himself to the altar (C.) of holocausts, (M.) with his hands uplifted, he began to pray, v. 23, to 54.  See Ex. xxxix. 43.  2 K. vi. 18, where Moses and David blessed the people, on similar occasions.  C. --- Thus the priests of the Catholic Church turn to the people, when they bless or speak to them; and look towards the altar, when they pour forth their supplications for them to God.  Sectaries would always behold the face of the preacher.  H. --- Blessed.  Princes bless their subjects, as parents do their children.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Own hands, or almighty power, (M.) hath fulfilled his promise.  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Heaven, falling on his knees, v. 54.  2 Par. vi. 13.  This is the first instance we find of people praying on their knees, which was common afterwards.  1 Esd. ix. 5.  Isai. xlv. 24.  Dan. vi. 10.  Acts ix. 40. and xx. 36.  The Christian church generally adopts this custom.  So did the pagans, (Et genibus pronus, supplex, similisque roganti.  Metam. iii.) as they also stretched for their hands.  Sustulit exutas vinclis ad sidera palmas, says Virgil.  Æn. ii. 153.  This practice was very general.  Ps. xxvii. 2.  1 Tim. ii. 8.

 

Ver. 25.  Sight.  Solomon was aware of the conditions on which he held his crown and the divine favour, so that his fall is the more inexcusable.  H. --- His posterity lost a great part of the kingdom, though they had the right to rule over Juda, till the coming of Christ.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  Earth.  Full of admiration, he breaks out into this pathetic exclamation, wondering that God should deign to accept of what he had done; and that, by the symbol of his presence, he should engage to honour this temple in a more particular manner, and to shower down his graces with a more liberal hand on those who should there present themselves before him.  This wise prince was not ignorant that God's immensity fills all places. --- Heavens.  We know not how many haveans the Jews admitted.  We find, 1. the air, 2. the region of the stars, 3. the residence of God, thus specified; and this last is here denoted as the most excellent of all.  S. Paul styles it the third heaven.  2 Cor. xii. 2.  The Basilidians counted as  many heavens as there are days in the year.  S. Iræn. i. 23.

 

Ver. 29.  My name.  It shall be called the house of God.  H. --- There people shall come to do homage to the Lord.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Oath.  In certain cases, an oath would clear a person.  Ex. xxii. 11.  Solomon prays that perjury may be disclosed. --- Altar.  It was customary to touch the altar, when a person took an oath, as Hannibal did.  K. Latinus says;

                            Tango aras mediosque ignes et Numina testor---

                            Nulla dies pacem hanc Italis nec fœdera rumpet.---Æn. xii. 201.

 

Ver. 32.  Justice.  A reward is clearly promised to good works.  W.

 

Ver. 34.  Fathers.  In the place of their captivity they might turn, like Daniel, towards the temple.  C. --- God had threatened that he would punish his people by the hand of their enemies, &c. if they transgressed.  Lev. xxvi. 17.  M.

 

Ver. 37.  Mildew.  Heb. also, "a bruchus," or a young locust.  Prot. "caterpillar."

 

Ver. 38.  Heart: his offence.  Sept. afhn, "touching, or compunction."  H. --- Let a man go to the source of the evil, and be sorry for his sins.  C.

 

Ver. 39.  Men.  God cannot be imposed upon.  If our heart be not moved with sorrow for our offences, including a degree of love, in vain shall we stretch forth our hands in prayer.  C.

 

Ver. 41.  Stranger.  God watches over all mankind; and oblations were received from all sorts of people, even from idolaters.  The kings of Persia and Egypt, the Roman emperors, &c. made great presents.  1 Esd. iii. 7. and vii. 21.  Joseph.  xi. and xii. 2.  It seems the court of the Gentiles was only made after the captivity.  Some of these adored the true God, like Cornelius, &c. Acts viii. 27. and x. 1.  Some were drawn by curiosity; others desired to be converted.  To thee, kings shall offer presents, Ps. lxxi. 10.  C. --- Unbelievers are still invited to attend the chapels of the true God, that they may receive information, and deserve to obtain the blessing of faith.  H.

 

Ver. 44.  Name.  It was the practice of the religious Jews, to pray with their eyes turned towards the holy place, v. 48.  The primitive Christians looked towards the east, in prayer, to remind them of the ascension of our Saviour, (C.) from Mount Olivet, in that quarter.  H.  Ps. lxvii. 34.  S. Just. q. 118.  Tert. apol. xvi.  S. Epip. hær. xix.  C.

 

Ver. 47.  Heart.  Without this, external repentance will not suffice.  W.

 

Ver. 51.  Iron.  This expression is often used to denote the rigour of the Egyptian bondage.  Deut. iv. 20.  Thus Homer says, that Mars was shut up for thirteen months in a barrel (or prison) of brass.  Iliad E.

 

Ver. 59.  Judgment, granting his just request, and defending him against all his enemies.  C.

 

Ver. 63.  Sheep, and other small beasts, during the seven days, without counting the oblations of individuals.  The law had not prescribed any particular rites for the dedication of places.  But common sense dictated that sacred things should be distinguished from such as were common.  Moses and David had set a pattern, which was followed by the Jews after the captivity, and by the Machabees.  Ex. xl. 9.  1 K. vi. 17.  1 Esd. iii. 10.  1 Mac. iv. 56.  C. --- The festival of the dedication was observed by our Saviour.  Jo. x. 22.  H. --- Even private houses received a sort of dedication.  Deut. xx. 5.  The pagans observed the like practice, with regard to statues and temples, lands and public places.  Dan. iii. 1.  Among the Romans, such ceremonies were performed  by a general or consul, with his head covered, reciting some ancient prayers, at the suggestion of the pontiff, before a fire and an assembly of the people, called on purpose, while some person played upon the flute.  Cic. pro Domo. Alex. Genial. vi. 14.

 

Ver. 64.  Court of the priests.  An altar was there erected, in haste.  Fire from heaven came to consume the victims.  2 Par. vii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 65.  Egypt.  Rhinocolura, (M.) or rather the branch of the Nile nearest Arabia,.  Jos. xiii. 3.  Num. xiii. 22.  C. --- Seven, for each festival, v. 1.

 

Ver. 66.  Eighth day, at the conclusion of the second octave.  H. --- Blessed the king, as he had done them before.  The most honourable performs this office.  Heb. vii. 7.  C. --- The king and people wished all sorts of happiness to each other. --- David.  The glory of his son reflected honour on him.  H.

 

 








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