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Deeper Commentary

1Ki 8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the families of the people of Israel, to king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion-
Solomon imitated David's bringing up of the ark to Zion (2 Sam. 6:2) in 1 Kings 8:1,4. He lived out his father's faith and devotion, but only on an external level. He in due course was to turn away from Yahweh to idols, and descend into the nihilism of Ecclesiastes. 

1Ki 8:2 All the men of Israel assembled themselves to king Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month-
This would have been the feast of tabernacles, which began on the 15th day of the seventh month and lasted seven days (Lev. 23:34). The building finished in the eighth month of Solomon's 11th year of reigning (1 Kings 6:37), so he waited almost a year before this ceremony of dedication. Perhaps for some reason he wanted to combine it specifically with the feast of tabernacles. See on :36.

1Ki 8:3 All the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark-
2 Chron. 5:4 says that the Levites took up the ark, whereas 1 Kings 8:3 says that the priests did. Both were true; for Levites weren't allowed into the most holy place (Num. 4:20). So the Levites did carry it, according to the law; but the priests carried it into the most holy place. Here we see how an apparent discrepancy on a surface level reveals a deep evidence of the way the records do not contradict but dovetail perfectly, as we would expect of a Divinely inspired writing. But this is only apparent to those who respectfully search the entire scriptures, rather than bandying around a surface level contradiction with an eagerness which speaks more of their own fears the Bible is inspired than of deep factual persuasion.    

1Ki 8:4 They brought up the ark of Yahweh, and the Tent of Meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; all these the priests and the Levites brought up-
The priests took these things on the final part of their journey, into the most holy place; as the Levites were forbidden from doing so (Num. 4:20). But the Levites took them the first part of their journey; see on :3.

1Ki 8:5 King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude-
He offered huge numbers of sacrifices when the ark was brought into the temple (1 Kings 8:63), just as David had sacrificed as the ark was brought to Zion (2 Sam. 6:13 = 1 Kings 8:5). Yet he failed to feel and know the truth of David’s conclusion that God doesn’t essentially want sacrifice (Ps. 40:6). David had been forced to learn that lesson through the shame of his sin with Bathsheba- Solomon was so sure of his own righteousness that he never was driven to see the inadequacy of animal sacrifice in itself, and the need in the end for the direct receipt of God’s grace.

Solomon offered sacrifices “that could not be told nor numbered for multitude”. This is evidently to be connected with the language of the promises to Abraham about the multiplication of the seed of Israel. It could be that Solomon thought that his generosity in giving of his wealth was what had brought about the fulfilment of these promises- he almost forced God to fulfil them, at least in his own mind, by his generosity.  

1Ki 8:6 The priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim-
The priests took these things on the final part of their journey, into the most holy place; as the Levites were forbidden from doing so (Num. 4:20). But the Levites took them the first part of their journey; see on :3.

1Ki 8:7 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its poles above-
In the tabernacle the wings were "spread out on high" (Ex. 25:20; 27:9), but here their wings touch each other. Although Solomon claims he built everything according to Divine revelation, we wonder whether in fact he felt free to liberally reinterpret the tabernacle features. And he changes wings uplifted to God's glory to wings which are closed in upon each other; the mercy seat, or cover of the ark, is no longer exposed to Heaven, as it were, but now closed over.

1Ki 8:8 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place before the inner sanctuary; but they were not seen outside-
This may reflect a design fault in the lengths of the staves. Although we are assured that a person looking from the outer sanctuary would not have seen them even when the entrance to the holy place was open. This kind of design fault would not have been present if indeed, as Solomon claimed, the specifications were given by God. I suggest this was just his claim, and he built the temple according to his own desire to have a go at architecture and building- which he admits in Ecclesiastes had been his passion and obsession, for a time. See on :64 for another possible design fault.

And there they are to this day-
This indicates that this record was written some time before the exile ["to this day"]. But other parts of the history suggest it was written after the exile. This means that some parts were rewritten or edited, under Divine inspiration, but others weren't.

1Ki 8:9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt-
Inside the ark was intended to be "the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded" (Heb. 9:4; Ex. 16:34; Num. 17:10). They had apparently been lost; so although they remained with the symbols of the covenant, they were lacking in the things which spoke of new spiritual life and the resurrection.

1Ki 8:10 When the priests had come out of the holy place, the cloud filled the house of Yahweh-
Ex. 40:34,35 uses the same terms for God's acceptance of and dwelling in the tabernacle. For all the pagan undertones in the temple, and Solomon's unspirituality, God was eager to still dwell within this structure; even though it was not what He wanted. Just as He had used the human kingship, when it was deeply offensive to Hm.

1Ki 8:11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of Yahweh filled the house of Yahweh-
This was as at the erection of the tabernacle. The idea was that Yahweh's glory was far above the mere religion of the temple system.

1Ki 8:12 Then Solomon said, Yahweh has said that He would dwell in the thick darkness-
Solomon like David (see on 2 Chron. 3:1; 2 Sam. 16:10) came to assume things about God in order to justify his passion for building a temple. He claims that God “said that He would dwell in the thick darkness”, perhaps alluding to the darkness of the most holy place in which there was no natural light; but actually there’s no record God ever said that. What He said was that He would dwell in the hearts of men and not in a house.

What we say to the Lord Jesus in His ear in the bedroom in the darkness, will be openly spoken by Christ at the judgment (Lk. 12:2,3). God dwells in darkness (Ex. 20:21; 1 Kings 8:12). Speaking in the bedroom in secret with the knowledge we will be openly rewarded is the language of prayer (Mt. 6:6). Our private relationship with the Lord now, praying to Him in our bedroom, meditating about Him there, will then be spoken out loud.

1Ki 8:13 I have surely built You a house, a place for You to dwell in forever-
Solomon totally misses the point of God's response to David's desire to build Him a house; God would build David a house, involving Him dwelling in the "place" of the humble human heart. And "forever" was conditional upon the obedience of David's son / seed. But here Solomon effectively dictates to God that those promises are now fulfilled in him- because he has built a temple for God.

1Ki 8:14 The king turned his face about-
From God to the people. The rest of this chapter is therefore Solomon praying facing the people rather than God. He was effectively praying to himself, praying to be seen of men. The Lord's criticism of such prayers seems to have in mind Solomon's example here.

And blessed all the assembly of Israel: and all the assembly of Israel stood-
This blessing of Israel suggests Solomon was acting as the high priest, although he was not of the tribe of Levi. David had done this kind of thing, but from careful reflection upon the spirit of the law, whose letter he says in Ps. 119 he studied constantly. And David came to this sense through careful reflection upon God's grace to him, and through the experience of Uzzah's death as a result of taking 'living the spirit of the law' too far.

1Ki 8:15 He said, Blessed is Yahweh, the God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to David my father, and has with His hand fulfilled it, saying-
As discussed on :13, the promises to David were not at all totally fulfilled at that point, just because Solomon had built a temple. They were conditional upon Solomon's obedience to the law, which from a young man he had not shown. We think of his marriage to Rehoboam's Ammonitess mother, and to Pharaoh's daughter . 

1Ki 8:16 ‘Since the day that I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel’-
This is a typical misrepresentation of God's word. What God had said through Nathan was that He had not chosen anywhere for a temple to be built, but had lived as it were a mobile life in the tent of the tabernacle. And therefore, God would build David a house in the sense of a family of believers sharing David's faith.

1Ki 8:17 Now it was with the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel-
This much was true, but it is sandwiched between various untruths and misrepresentations in :16 and :18-20.

1Ki 8:18 But Yahweh said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart-
This is not recorded in the historical account, and given Solomon's tendency to misrepresent God's word we wonder whether this was said by God at all. Because God's response had been that He didn't want a house. He wanted to build a non physical house for David. Those reasons He gave for declining David's offer are not at all in the spirit of what God is now reported to have said.

1Ki 8:19 Nevertheless, you shall not build the house; but your son who shall come forth out of your body, he shall build the house for My name’-
As noted on :18, this would have been contrary to the spirit of the reasons God gave for declining David's offer. He had explained that He had never asked for any permanent sanctuary to be built for Him, and tent life was His style, as He doesn't live in buildings but in hearts. And instead of building a house for Yahweh, David was instead to focus upon the wonderful grace of Yahweh's plan to turn his Messianic seed and all "in him" into an eternal spiritual house for His abode. Yet Solomon presents God as having been in eager agreement with the idea, but simply had some reservations about David doing it, and instead asked Solomon to build it. That would have been a contradiction of the reasoning God gave for saying He didn't want a physical house built for Him.

1Ki 8:20 Yahweh has established His word that He spoke; for I have risen up in the place of David my father, and I sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised, and have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel-
The establishment of the promises to David was to be conditional upon David's son walking in God's ways. But now Solomon wrongly presents the promises to David as having come to total fulfilment in him, just because he had built a temple for God. 

Solomon speaks about him being King in Jerusalem (Ecc. 1:1,12; Prov. 1:1) as if this was the ultimate fulfilment of the Davidic promises. Consider the implications of 2 Chron. 1:9: "O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth... give me now wisdom, that I may go out and come in before (i.e. lead) this people". Solomon was asking for wisdom because he thought that he was the Messiah, and he saw wisdom as a Messianic characteristic. He failed to realize that the promises to Abraham and David were only being primarily fulfilled in him (e.g. 1 Kings 4:20); he thought that he was the ultimate fulfilment of them (1 Kings 8:20 states this in so many words). His lack of faith and vision of the future Kingdom lead him to this proud and arrogant conclusion (cp. building up our own 'Kingdom' in this life through our lack of vision of the Kingdom of God).

1Ki 8:21 There I have set a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of Yahweh which He made with our fathers when He brought them out of the land of Egypt-
By saying this, Solomon was careful to omit mentioning that the pit of manna and Aaron's rod were now no longer within the ark. See on :9.  

“There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb ... the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:9,21). Those tablets, on which were the ten commandments, were the covenant. The old covenant is therefore the ten commandments, including the Sabbath- and this has been replaced by the new covenant, which does not require Sabbath keeping.

1Ki 8:22 Solomon stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven-
Solomon was hardly praying in his closet! It seems the Lord was alluding to Solomon in Mt. 6:6, interpreting what he does here in a very negative light, and a reflection of Solomon's pride rather than his spirituality.

1Ki 8:23 and he said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above nor on earth beneath; who keeps covenant and grace with Your servants who walk before You with all their heart-
David spoke of seeking and praising God's grace with his "whole heart" (Ps. 9:1; 119:58; 138:1). Solomon uses the phrase, but speaks of being obedient with the "whole heart" (1 Kings 8:23; 2 Chron. 6:14) and applying the "whole heart" to the intellectual search for God (Ecc. 1:13; 8:9). There is a difference. The idea of whole hearted devotion to God was picked up by Solomon, but instead of giving the whole heart to the praise of God's grace, he instead advocated giving the whole heart to ritualistic obedience and intellectual search for God. This has been the trap fallen into by many Protestant groups whose obsession with "truth" has obscured the wonder of God's grace.

1Ki 8:24 who has kept with Your servant David my father that which You promised him. Yes, You spoke with Your mouth, and have fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day-
He failed to meditate upon the promises beyond what they seemed to offer him in the here and now; and the result was that he felt they were totally fulfilled in him (1 Kings 8:20,24). He dogmatically declared to Shimei: “And King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever” (1 Kings 2:45). And in all this, of course, we see our warning.

1Ki 8:25 Now therefore, may Yahweh, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him saying, ‘There shall not fail you a man in My sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children take heed to their way, to walk before Me as you have walked before Me’-
The promises to David originally focused upon one individual, whom the New Testament interprets as the Lord Jesus. But David here in Ps. 89:30; 132:12 and Solomon in 1 Kings 8:25 chose to understand the "seed" as the Davidic dynasty down the generations. This loss of focus upon the future Lord Jesus was what led David and Solomon to focus instead upon their own dynasty, rather than upon the future individual son of David who would reign eternally upon David's throne. His personal  immortality came to be interpreted as the eternal continuance of the Davidic dynasty as kings of Israel throughout future generations.

Another example of Solomon misquoting God is in 2 Chron. 6:6. Solomon claims that God said: “I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there”. God had chosen no resting place, although it would have been politically convenient for Solomon if the city of Jerusalem as a city was where God had chosen to dwell. And so he kept thinking that way until he persuaded himself that in fact this was what God had said. David had charged Solomon with the words which God had spoken to him about Solomon: “If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul” (1 Kings 2:4). But Solomon subtly changes this when he reminds God of how He had supposedly told David: “There shall not fail thee a man to sit on the throne of Israel; so that they children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me” (1 Kings 8:25). Two things become apparent here:

- The conditionality of the promise to David about Solomon is totally overlooked.  “If thy children…” becomes “so that…”, with the implication that David would always have descendants on the throne who would walk obediently before God. The possibility of personal failure had been removed by Solomon from his own perception of God.

- God’s desire that Solomon should “walk before me in truth” was changed to “walk before me as thou [David] hast walked before me”. This defined walking before God personally as having the relationship with God which your father had. And so often we have made the same mistake. The call to personally follow the Lord has become displaced by a following Him through others.

Notice how Solomon says these words to God Himself. Solomon had persuaded himself that this truly was what God had asked of David and himself, and so he comes out with these words to God.

1Ki 8:26 Now therefore, God of Israel, please let Your word be verified, which You spoke to Your servant David my father-
Solomon keeps saying that his zealous  work  for the temple was the result of God's promise to David  having  fulfillment  in him (1 Kings 8:24-26), and to some extent  this  was true. David earnestly prayed for Solomon to be the Messianic King (e.g. Ps. 72), and therefore David asked for Solomon to be given a truly wise heart (1 Chron. 29:19). These prayers were answered in a very  limited  sense-  in  that Solomon was given great wisdom, and his Kingdom was one of the greatest  types  of  Christ's  future  Kingdom.  Our prayers for others really can have  an  effect upon them, otherwise there would be no point in the   concept   of  praying  for  others.  But  of  course  each individual  has  an  element  of  spiritual  freewill;  we can't force  others  to  be  spiritual  by  our  prayers;  yet  on the other  hand,  our  prayers  can  influence  their  spirituality. David's  prayers  for  Solomon  is  the classic example of this. Those  prayers  were  heard  most definitely, in that God helped Solomon  marvellously, giving him every opportunity to develop a superb  spirituality; but he failed to have the genuine personal desire to be like this in his heart, in his heart he was back in Egypt, and therefore ultimately David's desire for Solomon to be the wondrous Messianic King of his dreams had to go unfulfilled.  

1Ki 8:27 But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can’t contain You; how much less this house that I have built!-
It was exactly because of this that God didn't want a physical house built for Him. Yet Solomon has misrepresented God as saying He did want such a house. So these words are fake humility from Solomon, seeking to cover his proud obsession with building projects beneath an appearance of humility.

1Ki 8:28 Yet have respect for the prayer of Your servant, and for his supplication, Yahweh my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You this day-
I noted on :14 that Solomon is praying all this facing the people, to be seen of men. This prayer would have been better said facing toward God. His showmanship is apparent.

1Ki 8:29 that Your eyes may be open toward this house night and day toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there;’ to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place-
God never said that. It is Solomon's twist of the word of promise to David, that if his son / seed were obedient, then "He shall build an house for My Name". But that house was to be built up from persons, and had no reference to any physical building; indeed, the very opposite. God's eyes are open upon His children wherever they are, as David had learned whilst far from the sanctuary and on the run from Saul. Nehemiah felt God's eyes were open upon him even when the temple was in ruins (Neh. 1:6). 

1Ki 8:30 Listen to the supplication of Your servant, and of Your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place. Yes, hear in heaven, Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive-
The temple and ark are sometimes referred to as the heavens (2 Sam. 15:25 cp. 1 Kings 8:30; 2 Chron. 30:27; Ps. 20:2,6; 11:4; Heb. 7:26). The church is the new temple, and is therefore at times referred to as the heavenlies in the New Testament. But Solomon was not reasoning on this level at this point. Rather was he claiming that the temple building would somehow make prayer more powerful before God. But that is simply untrue; no physical building can act as some kind of mediator between God and man. This is not to say that the faithful did not later pray toward the temple; for both Daniel and Jonah did. But it was not because they thought the temple somehow gave their prayers more power and standing before God because of its existence. For in Daniel's time, and perhaps Jonah's, the temple was in ruins.

1Ki 8:31 If a man sins against his neighbour, and an oath is laid on him to cause him to swear, and he comes and swears before Your altar in this house-
God's awareness of who was telling the truth was not, however, predicated upon the altar being situated within a physical building. God's presence and omniscience is not somehow from then on conditional upon the temple.

1Ki 8:32 then hear in heaven, and do, and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his own head, and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness-
In Prov. 24:24 and other Proverbs, Solomon teaches that this is how men should judge, lest they be cursed. He says that God condemns the wicked but justifies the righteous, and so should we. But by having this position, he shows his total lack of appreciation of God's grace to his father David. For David was worthy of condemnation, but by grace, he the wicked was justified, counted righteous, when he was not (Ps. 32:2 cp. Rom. 4:4-6). This lack of appreciation of grace arose from how it seems Solomon totally whitewashed the sin of his father David with his mother Bathsheba. And it resulted in his lack of grace, and failure throughout Proverbs to appreciate that human behaviour is nuanced, and is not simply divided between spotlessly righteous behaviour and terrible sinfulness.

1Ki 8:33 When Your people Israel are struck down before the enemy, because they have sinned against You; if they turn again to You, and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this house-
Again, Solomon devalues the power of prayerful repentance and confession of God's Name; for he implies that this is made somehow more powerful through praying to the God "in this house". But Solomon is as it were bringing God down from heaven to earth by suggesting He is somehow located "in this house". Whereas He is in heaven, as he contradictorily admits in :34. It was because of this mindset that there was such a collapse of faith in Judah when they saw the temple in ruins. It meant, according to Solomon's logic, the death of God.

1Ki 8:34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them again to the land which You gave to their fathers-
See on :33. The restoration to their land was to be because they, or those who remained in the land, would pray to God in the temple (:33). Solomon is hereby assuming that even if Israel sin and go into captivity, the temple will be an eternal house for God which will always be there. He is so very wrong. The temple was not eternal and was destroyed; but the exiles could still pray to God, quite independently of the existence of the temple. The destruction of the temple was for multiple reasons, but perhaps one of them was to rid God's people of these wrong ideas about God's presence in the temple building. And God answers this idea that the temple was to be eternal in 1 Kings 9:7,8.

1Ki 8:35 When the sky is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You; if they pray toward this place, and confess Your name, and turn from their sin, when You afflict them-
Solomon inserts parts of his father’s Bathsheba psalms in his prayers for how all Israel could be forgiven if they “confess thy name... when thou afflictest them... saying, We have sinned... forgive thy people... and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed” (1 Kings 8:35,47,50 = Ps. 32:5 etc.). On the basis of David’s pattern, all God’s people can find forgiveness, if they make a like confession. Indeed, this has long been recognized by Jewish commentators; and many of the Psalms understood by them as relevant to the Nazi holocaust are Bathsheba Psalms. “Out of the depths” they cried like David; and at the entrance to Bergen-Belsen it stands written: “My sorrow is continually before me” (Ps. 38:17), in recognition of having received punishment for sin [note how these kind of plaques contain no trace of hatred or calling for Divine retribution upon the persecutors].

But Solomon, as ever, is mixing truth with error. Because the turning again to God was not dependent upon praying towards the temple building. It was to be destroyed, and the direction of their prayers was to be towards "the God of heaven" and not some ghost in a ruined temple. This phrase "the God of heaven" or similar is often found in the restoration histories, indicating that God's people had been forced to learn this lesson.  

1Ki 8:36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, and of Your people Israel, when You teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land, which You have given to Your people for an inheritance-
The reference to rain was appropriate in the immediate context because as explained on :2, Solomon was speaking in the month of Ethanim, literally, the rain month, and likely the latter rains were pouring down at this time as he was speaking. His implication would be that this rain was part of the promised blessing for obedience because of the temple. Perhaps this was why, as noted on :2, Solomon had purposefully arranged the dedication festival at this time.

1Ki 8:37 If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight, mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemy besieges them in their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is-
These things clearly allude to the curses for breaking the covenant in Dt. 28. But those curses were to be lifted by repentance and renewed faithfulness to the covenant, and their lifting was not predicated upon the existence of the physical temple and praying in it or towards it.

1Ki 8:38 whatever prayer and supplication is made by any man, or by all Your people Israel, who shall each know the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house-
As Pharaoh’s heart was plagued (Ex. 9:14), so was Israel’s (1 Kings 8:38); as Egypt was a reed, so were Israel (1 Kings 14:15). As Pharaoh-hophra was given into the hand of his enemies, so would Israel be (Jer. 44:30). She would be  “Condemned with the world...”. But the phrase 'spread forth hands' is used often in the Bible, but followed by 'to the Lord'. Solomon is praying with hands spread forth towards heaven (:22); but he is confusing prayer towards God with prayer towards the temple. He is drawing an inappropriate parallel between God and the temple.

1Ki 8:39 then hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart You know; (for You, even You only, know the hearts of all the children of men;)-
This reference to God dwelling in heaven makes a nonsense of the idea of building a house for God to inhabit on earth. And this was exactly why God had not wanted David to build the temple. So Solomon is here merely giving lip service to these ideas.

Descriptions of God’s dwelling place clearly indicate that He has a personal location: “God is in heaven” (Ecc. 5:2); “He has looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth” (Ps. 102:19,20); “Hear in heaven your dwelling place”. Yet more specifically than this, we read that God has a “throne” (2 Chron. 9:8; Ps. 11:4; Is. 6:1; 66:1). Such language is hard to apply to an undefined essence which exists somewhere in heavenly realms.

1Ki 8:40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers-
This is repeating the idea of Ps. 130:4: "There is forgiveness with You, that You mayest be feared". Solomon reasons that the experience of forgiveness [on behalf of his temple] will make the people fear Yahweh. And that is so; if we realize the awesome nature of forgiveness, we will fear / respect the God who grants it on a scale and of a nature so beyond our forgiveness of others. "All the days that they live in the land" could hint that Solomon wrongly thought that the people would live eternally in the land, because he was the Messianic king and the temple had now been built.  

1Ki 8:41 Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for Your name’s sake-
The acceptance of the Gentile within the community of Israel was not simply predicated upon the existence of the temple. Ruth was the classic case of coming out of a Gentile country for the sake of Yahweh's Name. And her acceptance was not at all predicated upon any temple building, because there was none in existence at her time.  

1Ki 8:42 (for they shall hear of Your great name, and of Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm); when he shall come and pray toward this house-
There seems implicit in the reasoning here that the fame of Yahweh's temple would spread to the surrounding nations, and some would wish to come and worship in it. But proselytes were not to be attracted to Yahweh because of any physical temple, but because of who He is- the things implicit in His Name. No matter how cool and slick the external presentation, this is not what legitimately converts people to the true God. 

1Ki 8:43 hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to You for; that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name-
As discussed on :42, God's response to Gentile proselytes, and their turning to Him, is not predicated upon the existence of a physical building. Solomon asks God to answer prayers of Gentiles made toward the temple so that the Gentiles would know that Yahweh's Name was really there- in "this house which I have built". The agenda of Solomon's pride is evident.

1Ki 8:44 If Your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to Yahweh toward the city which You have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Your name-
Solomon is alluding to Dt. 20:1, but Israel were told that when they went out to battle (s.w.), they were to remember that Yahweh was present with them. Solomon has distorted this idea, by suggesting that Yahweh's presence was specifically in the temple, and the people were to pray towards it there. When in reality, His presence was with His people on the battle front and in their hearts. 

1Ki 8:45 then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause-
"Maintain their cause" is the same phrase translated "do judgment / justice". But Israel were to do justice (Lev. 18:4 and often, as David did, 2 Sam. 8:15), and in response, Yahweh would do justice for them (Dt. 10:18). But Solomon overlooks this conditional aspect in Israel's relationship with God, as he did in his own life. He thought that merely praying to a temple would somehow obligate God to 'do judgment' for His people. This is the mentality of mere religion, and not of relationship with God.

1Ki 8:46 If they sin against You (for there is no man who doesn’t sin), and You are angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near-
Solomon often emphasized the importance of keeping ones’ heart (Prov. 2:10-16; 3:5,6; 4:23-5:5; 6:23-26); he had foreseen that the essential sin of God’s people was “the plague of his own heart” (1 Kings 8:46), and he imagined how for this sin God’s people would later pray towards the temple. And yet his wives turned away his heart, for all this awareness that the heart must be kept. It was as if the more he knew the truth of something, the more he wanted to do the very opposite. And this is exactly true of our natures. Perhaps with Solomon he reasoned that in his case, foreign wives wouldn’t turn away his heart. Just as our flesh thinks ‘Yes, but it can’t happen to me’. Perhaps too he reasoned that if the temple somehow could bring forgiveness for the plague of the heart, his heart was incorruptible because of the temple.    

1Ki 8:47 yet if they shall repent in the land where they are carried captive, and turn again, and make supplication to You in the land of those who carried them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned, and have done perversely; we have dealt wickedly'-
Again, Solomon assumes that even if Israel were to go into captivity, the temple would still stand, and prayer toward it would bring the restoration. But the temple was destroyed, so that they would be forced to quit this kind of religious tokenism and turn to God in Heaven with their hearts and souls. Daniel prayed these words (Dan. 9:5), but there was no temple then standing to add efficacy to them. And they were prayed in Ps. 106:6 before any temple stood.

1Ki 8:48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to You towards their land, which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name-
The old covenant clearly taught that all Israel would be exiled from their land if they broke the covenant. Solomon's dedication of the temple seemed to assume that only the wicked would be exiled from the land, and the temple would stand eternally; to express repentance in exile, they just needed to pray towards it. But all Israel were sent into exile, and his temple was razed to the ground. But Solomon's belief that "The upright will dwell in the land; the perfect will eternally remain in it" (Prov. 2:21) meant that he totally refused to accept the extent of judgment predicted in the curses of Dt. 28. All Israel would be exiled from their land. He liked to assume that his Kingdom would eternally endure; because of his lack of faith in the nature of the future Kingdom, and his mistaken imagination that he was the eternal Messianic king. He refused to recognize that his father David in Ps. 72 had wrongly imagined that he would be that eternal king, and disregarded the conditionality of the promises made to him. And God answers this idea that the temple was to be eternal in 1 Kings 9:7,8.

1Ki 8:49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven, your dwelling place, and maintain their cause-
When exiled from Absalom, David had prayed toward God's "holy hill" of Zion, and had been regathered there (Ps. 3:4). David had fled Jerusalem and the "holy hill" of the temple mount, which was now under Absalom's control. But he believes Yahweh is still there, present as it were in the temple, and answering his prayer. He perhaps alludes to the promises that if Israel sinned and were exiled, they could always pray to God and hope for regathering to His holy hill (Dt. 30:1-4; Neh. 1:9). Solomon now develops these thoughts further, in teaching that Israel in their dispersion were to pray to God toward Jerusalem, His "holy hill" of Zion (1 Kings 8:48,49). We see therefore how Solomon would have reflected upon his father David's experience; David had prayed towards God's "holy hill" when in exile from it, and had been heard. Solomon may well have been in David's retinue at the time, and would have experienced the wonder of return to Zion because of his father's prayer towards God in Zion.

1Ki 8:50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions in which they have transgressed against You; and give them compassion before those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them-
God's giving of compassion to His people depended upon their holiness before Him (s.w. Dt. 13:17). But Solomon implies that it will be predicated upon the temple he had built. Form was replacing content, external religion was trumping true spirituality, physical symbolism was obscuring true repentance.

1Ki 8:51 (for they are Your people, and Your inheritance, which You brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron)-
This is the language of Dt. 4:20, which taught that because God had brought Israel out of the "iron furnace" of Egypt, therefore they should thereby be motivated to quit all idolatry. But here Solomon uses this great deliverance as a way of almost manipulating God to save His sinful people- if they prayed toward or in the temple he had built. He alludes to scripture throughout this prayer, but nearly always out of context and to justify his own narrative- that Israel's forgiveness, blessing and salvation was predicated upon the temple Solomon had built.

1Ki 8:52 that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant-
God's eyes are open upon His children wherever they are, as David had learned whilst far from the sanctuary and on the run from Saul. Nehemiah felt God's eyes were open upon him even when the temple was in ruins (Neh. 1:6). 

And to the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they cry to You-
Solomon saw himself as Moses, fully representative of Israel, and thereby their saviour (1 Kings 11:1,5-7 cp. 33; 8:52; and note the ye... thee confusion of 1 Kings 9:4-7); his prayer was their prayer (2 Chron. 6:21); his worship was theirs (2 Chron. 1:3,5).

His prayer of 2 Chron.6:33 speaks as if the heavens where God lived were actually the temple; he bid men pray towards the temple where God lived, rather than to God in Heaven. Yet theoretically he recognized the magnitude of God (2 Chron. 6:18); yet the vastness of God, both in power and Spirituality, meant little to him; it failed to humble him as it should have done.  It is a feature of human nature to be able to perceive truth and yet act the very opposite. His enthusiasm for his own works lead him to lose a true relationship with God. The idea of salvation by grace became lost on him, loving response to God's forgiveness was not on his agenda, true humility was unnecessary for him, given his certainty that he was King as God intended. He reasoned that God would hear his prayers because they were uttered in the temple of his own hands, rather than because of any personal faith (1 Kings 8:52). Indeed, Solomon legalistically demands that God maintain [as in a court of law] the legal cause or "right" of His people if they pray towards the temple (1 Kings 8:45,49). Legalism and faith are opposed to each other, and Solomon's usage and conception of the temple was legalistic rather than faith based. When dedicating the temple, Solomon asks God to incline the hearts of Israel to be obedient to His commandments (1 Kings 8:57); and whilst God can and does do this, Solomon's implication seems to be that any disobedience would therefore effectively be God's fault for not making His people obedient. He failed to see the need for personal election to obey God's ways.

1Ki 8:53 For You separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be Your inheritance, as You spoke by Moses Your servant, when You brought our fathers out of Egypt, Lord Yahweh-
Solomon's argument is that since God had made Israel His people, then they would always be His people and inheritance. All they needed to do if they broke their relationship with God was to pray before the temple. Solomon saw the temple as the failsafe method of keeping Israel always as God's inheritance and special people, regardless of their sins. But the truth was that God was to disinherit His people, and return them to the nations whose gods they worshipped. And no temple was going to stop that happening. Solomon likewise assumed that he was the chosen seed of David, and his having built the temple meant that sin was no ultimate problem between Yahweh and himself. He thereby overlooked the conditional nature of God's promised relationship with him. And so many have used religious symbolism likewise, to release them from any sense of personal responsibility towards God.

1Ki 8:54 It was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication to Yahweh, he arose from before the altar of Yahweh, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread forth toward heaven-
We get the impression that his prayer was but showmanship, and a parade of a fake humility. See on :14.

1Ki 8:55 He stood, and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice saying-
This public prayer for the sake of appearance, facing men rather than God (see on :14), makes us think that the "loud voice" of prayer and blessing was hypocritical. Solomon uses the very phrase in Prov. 27:14: "He that blesses his friend with a loud voice... it shall be counted a curse to him". But he refused to perceive the personal truth of the Proverbs he spoke. A loud voice (s.w.) doesn't mean God has heard the speaker (Ez. 8:18); the phrase is used of the priests of Baal he mistakenly believed this.

1Ki 8:56 Blessed be Yahweh, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by Moses His servant-
God's words not falling / failing means that they were fulfilled (1 Sam. 3:19). Solomon is making the same mistake as preterism, claiming that all the prophetic word had been fulfilled. He decided this on the mere basis that he had built a temple, which he wished to see as the fulfilment of the promises to David, which he now wished to understand as meaning the promises to Moses had been totally fulfilled as well. It was this lack of any perspective of future fulfilment, of the Messianic Kingdom to come and the resurrection of the dead, which led Solomon to fail to appreciate God's grace. He also therefore had no sense of personal failure and the wonder of acceptance by grace, because he thought he had been given full acceptance right now.

1Ki 8:57 May Yahweh our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. Let Him not leave us, nor forsake us-
This can be translated not so much as a request but as a joyful statement of present reality. He felt that his prayer and his temple would somehow guarantee the permanent presence of God. God would not leave or forsake Israel because Solomon assumed that the temple had God's presence, and it would be eternal; for he had interpreted God's promise to build an eternal house as fulfilled in his building of the temple.

1Ki 8:58 that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes and his ordinances which He commanded our fathers-
We're wrong to think that God passionlessly waits for us to repent or pray to Him, and then He will forgive or act for us. He loves us, simply so; and with all love's manipulation of circumstances, seeks to pour out His love upon us. Thus repentance itself is a gift which God gives and is not totally upon human initiative (Dt. 4:29-31; 30:1-10; 1 Kings 8:58).

As noted on Ps. 119:36; 141:4, David believed that God could act deep within the psychology or heart of man, to incline us toward righteousness and away from evil. This is how the Holy Spirit works today. Solomon believed the same (s.w. 1 Kings 8:58), but only in theory; for his Gentile wives inclined or turned away his heart from God (s.w. 1 Kings 11:3,9). God will not turn our hearts anywhere we ourselves don't want to go. Solomon often appeals for us to incline our hearts to wisdom (s.w. Prov. 2:2; 4:20; 5:1; 22:17), but he himself was inclined to apostasy (s.w. 1 Kings 11:3,9). All his emphasis is upon the need to incline ourselves, whereas his father David trusted in the work of the Spirit to incline his heart to good and away from evil (Ps. 141:4; 119:36 etc.).   

1Ki 8:59 Let these my words, with which I have made supplication before Yahweh, be near to Yahweh our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel, as each day shall require-
Just as Solomon considered the existence of the temple as the guarantee that God would ultimately be with His people, so he similarly argues that his prayer was some kind of magic incantation which would mean that God would day by day for ever and eternally maintain the cause of His people. But his whole logic is 'religious' rather than spiritual. 

1Ki 8:60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that Yahweh, He is God. There is none else-
Solomon had a genuine desire for the surrounding nations to accept Yahweh, just as his father David did. But it was all tied up with his own pride; people coming to admire Solomon's temple and thereby himself. For as mentioned above, he thought that the physical temple would be the basis of their attraction and loyalty to Yahweh.

1Ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with Yahweh our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as you do at this day-
Solomon considered that the fulfilment of the promises to Moses and David (which he was mistaken in thinking had fully happened just because he had built a temple) was because Israel "at this day" had a perfect heart with Yahweh. They didn't, but just as he assume his own perfect obedience, so he assumed theirs. Unlike David, he had not been forced by God to engage with the issues of his own sinfulness.

1Ki 8:62 The king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before Yahweh-
We again see the connection between Solomon and "all Israel", whom he considered to be as perfect as he was; see on :61.

1Ki 8:63 Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to Yahweh, twenty two thousand head of cattle, and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of Yahweh-
The usual pattern of sacrifice was sin offering (obtaining forgiveness), burnt offering (promising complete dedication to God) and then peace offering, celebrating the resultant peace with God then experienced. But Solomon has no sense of personal sin (see on :61), and considered himself dedicated to Yahweh by reason of being David's son. And so he only offers the peace offerings. The huge numbers of sacrifices were not at all what God wanted. But unlike David, he had not been brought to realize that God wants broken, repentant hearts and not offerings (Ps. 51:16). Mic. 6:7 perhaps references Solomon's huge numbers of offerings, again commenting that God doesn't want them; just as He didn't want a physical temple. And yet God went along with Solomon, as He does with us so often, even on the basis of our misplaced idealism. For His glory appeared within the temple and He in that sense agreed to dwell there, just as He agreed to work through a human kingship, even though it meant a degree of rejection of Him as Israel's king.

1Ki 8:64 The same day the king made the middle of the court holy that was before the house of Yahweh; for there he offered the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that was before Yahweh was too little to receive the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the fat of the peace offerings-
The huge numbers of animals required more altars, which were presumably placed in the middle court. Although we wonder on what basis Solomon as a non-Levite had the right to declare the court holy. We also wonder as to whether the huge laver, and the ten smaller lavers, were only built with a view to this opening dedication. For the huge laver was too large for normal usage, and there was surely no need for 10 lavers when the tabernacle had only had one. We wonder whether this sudden erection of more altars was also as it were a design fault, and indicates that what he was doing was not according to God's command, but rather his flawed human initiative. See on :8 for another possible design fault.

1Ki 8:65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before Yahweh our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days-
The dedication coincided with the seven day feast of tabernacles (see on :1), and to that was added this seven day feast of dedication. There were representatives from the very borders of the land promised to Abraham, implying these areas had been settled by Israelites; or perhaps those who attended from those places were Gentile proselytes.

1Ki 8:66 On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that Yahweh had shown to David His servant, and to Israel His people
The people rejoiced that the promises to David had been fulfilled in the temple and in the prosperity of the nation. But they had only uncritically accepted Solomon's narrative. For this was not at all the fulfilment of the promises to David. They "blessed the king" because they assumed it was Solomon who had brought about this fulfilment; and that was exactly what he thought. And they had bought into that false narrative.