Solomon Speaks to the People

1 Kings 8:14-21

SS Lesson for 01/12/2020


Devotional Scripture: Ps 132:1-18

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

When asked to give the eulogy at his father's funeral, a young man named Alex Sheen decided to honor his dad by commemorating him as one who always kept his word. Sheen distributed “promise cards” with the words “because I said I would” written in the corner. He asked people to write promises on the cards and then to hand the cards to those to whom they made the promises. The persons making the promises would get the card back once they had fulfilled their word. Sheen then offered to send free cards to anyone who asked, no matter where they lived. Word got out. Within 18 months, Sheen had kept his promise and sent out more than 250,000 cards. This response led to his establishment of the nonprofit organization “because I said I would.” Since 2013, the organization has provided over eight million promise cards. This week's text focuses on words Solomon spoke at the dedication of the temple. Those words highlighted promises made and kept. Because God said He would, He did.


The faithful God of Israel had established David's son Solomon on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:12). God then enabled Solomon to complete the project his father had given him to build a house of worship for the Lord (1 Chronicles 22:6-13). First Kings 8:1-13 (last week's lesson) recounted the opening scenes of the dedication ceremony for the grand temple Solomon had built in Jerusalem for the God of Israel (see lesson 6). Today's account continues to examine that ceremony. A parallel account can be found in 2 Chronicles 6:3-11.


Key Verse: 1 Kings 8:15

And he said: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled it, saying


Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

8:1-2. After all the new furnishings, utensils, and accessories had been made and placed in position (chap. 6; 7:13-51), Solomon summoned the people for the installation of the ark and the dedication of the temple. All the heads of... tribes and... families in Israel received special invitations. The ceremony was scheduled for the festival in the month of Ethanim (the Feast of Tabernacles in September-October [Lev. 23:33-36]; see the chart “Calendar in Israel,” near Ex. 12:1). Formerly the ark had rested in the tabernacle David pitched (2 Sam. 6:17) on Mount Zion, the southeast portion of Jerusalem called the City of David (cf. 2 Sam. 5:7).

8:3-5. As God had prescribed, the ark was carried by the priests by means of long poles that passed through rings on its sides. It must have been a great day when the ark and the other furnishings of David’s tabernacle were carried through the crowded streets of Jerusalem to their new home. Apparently the tabernacle and its utensils were set aside. The only piece of furniture installed in the temple that was not new was the ark. The temple courtyard buzzed with busy priests sacrificing more animals than could be counted as the people joyfully worshiped the Lord.

8:6-9. The priests put the ark in its place under the outstretched wings of the golden cherubim in the most holy place. As God had commanded they left the carrying poles in the rings (Ex. 25:15). When the doors into the most holy place were open the poles... could be seen from the holy place... but not from outside. The statement that the poles are still there today suggests that this part of 1 Kings was written before the temple was destroyed in 586 b.c. The two stone tablets of the Law placed in the ark by Moses were still there. They served to remind Israel that the nation was still under the blessings and responsibilities of the Mosaic Covenant. The pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded, which had been preserved in the ark (Heb. 9:4) for many years, were no longer there. They may have been removed by the Philistines or some other enemy. Or perhaps the objects, being in front of the tabernacle, not in the ark (cf. Ex. 16:33-34; Num. 17:10), were added to the ark sometime later than Solomon and then eventually were lost.

8:10-11. The cloud that filled the temple was a visible representation of the Lord’s glory. A similar manifestation took place when the tabernacle was dedicated (Ex. 40:34-35).

8:12-14. Solomon explained to the people that God had said... He would dwell in the cloud over the temple. A cloud often symbolized God’s presence (cf. Ex. 19:9; 34:5; Lev. 16:2; Deut. 4:11; 31:15). It was Solomon’s intention that God should abide in the temple he had built as God had dwelt within the tabernacle. Solomon had sought to reflect the magnificence of Yahweh in the temple. Forever should be interpreted to mean “as long as possible.” Turning from addressing the Lord, Solomon spoke to the people standing reverently before him.

8:15-21. With His own hand means Himself (cf. v. 24). The promise Solomon referred to was that God would place His Name in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Chron. 6:6). “Name” occurs in Solomon’s prayer 14 times (1 Kings 8:16-20, 29, 33, 35, 41-44 [twice in v. 43], 48). The temple was not to be a “container” for God (v. 27) but a place for his Name to dwell (vv. 16-17, 19-20), that is, a place where His presence and character would be evident. Solomon gave David the credit due him for purposing to build the temple (vv. 17-18). Solomon explained that God had promised David that his son would build the temple (cf. 2 Sam. 7:12-13). God had been faithful, and Solomon glorified Him for it. The temple was primarily a place... for the ark, the throne of God on earth and the repository of God’s covenant promises to His redeemed people. In this address Solomon demonstrated humility and thankfulness.


Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Speaking of Blessings (1 Kings 8:14-15)


14 Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing.

15 And he said: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled it, saying,


Blessings for the people (14)

Bless those you persecute you (Rom 12:14)

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Bless others by seeking their good health (3 John 2)

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Bless others by seeking their good welfare (Phil 2:4)

4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Bless others by seeking that the live a life worthy of the Lord (Col 1:10)

10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

Bless others by thanking God for their salvation (2 Thess 2:13)

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Bless others seeking God’s help in their sharing of the faith (Philem 6)

6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.


Blessings for God (15)

Bless God for His Name (Matt 6:9)

9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

Bless God for His deeds (Ps 72:18)

18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.

Bless God for His redemption (Ps 111:9)

9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever —  holy and awesome is his name.

Bless God for His holiness (Isa 6:3)

3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Bless God because He is worthy (Rev 4:11)

11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."


Speaking of Promises (1 Kings 8:16-21)


16 'Since the day that I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel.'

17 Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the Lord God of Israel.

18 But the Lord said to my father David, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.

19 Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.'

20 So the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke; and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised; and I have built a temple for the name of the Lord God of Israel.

21 And there I have made a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt."


Promises of a temple (16-18)

A temple built for the Name of the Lord (1 Kings 5:5)

5 I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, 'Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.'

A temple built that was the forerunner of God's spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:4-5)

4 As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

A temple of the living God  (2 Cor 6:16)

16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

A temple that is eternal  (2 Cor 5:1)

1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.


Promises for future temple (19)

A temple built by Solomon (1 Chron 22:9-10)

9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.'

A temple built by the chosen of God (1 Chron 28:10-14)

10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work." 11 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. 12 He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things. 13 He gave him instructions for the divisions of the priests and Levites, and for all the work of serving in the temple of the Lord, as well as for all the articles to be used in its service. 14 He designated the weight of gold for all the gold articles to be used in various kinds of service, and the weight of silver for all the silver articles to be used in various kinds of service:

A temple built by God (Heb 3:3-4)

3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

A temple built that was the forerunner of God's spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:4-5)

4 As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

A temple built for and by the ultimate King (Zech 6:12-13)

12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.'


Promises of God’s fulfillment (20-21)

God fulfills all man's true needs (Luke 1:53)

53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

God fulfills the desires of those who fear Him (Ps 145:19)

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

God fulfills all of His promises (Jer 33:14-15)

14 "'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 "'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

God fulfills through His goodness (Ps 107:8-9)

8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

God fulfills and refreshes the soul (Jer 31:25)

25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."

God fulfills because He is faithful in fulfilling (Heb 10:22-23)

22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.


Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Thomas Constable

There is little doubt that the building of the temple is viewed as one of Solomon’s greatest contributions. More space is devoted to the building of the temple than any other aspect of his life. Solomon’s prayer of dedication is certainly one of the high points of his spiritual life. His prayer does demonstrate Solomon’s grasp of the law and of the role of the temple. Whether he received this primarily from his father, or came from his own meditation on the law, is debatable. I am inclined to think that Solomon learned most of his spiritual insights from his father. Allow me to make several observations concerning Solomon’s prayer of dedication.

First, this dedication of the temple is a predominantly Solomon’s prayer that is addressed to God, who has taken up residence in the temple (8:10-11, 23ff.). This is not a speech that Solomon makes to the crowd that is gathered, but a petition to the God whose temple it is.

Second, there is a very close link between this dedicatory prayer and the Mosaic Covenant. Solomon anticipates certain events in the future, which should prompt the people of God to turn toward the temple and pray. These include:

Defeat by an enemy (8:33-34; see Deuteronomy 28:25ff.)
Drought and famine (8:35-40; see Deuteronomy 28:23-24)
Captivity in a foreign land (8:46-51; see Deuteronomy 28:36-37, 63-68)

All of these things are anticipated in Deuteronomy. Solomon’s prayer is, therefore, shaped and guided by the Mosaic Covenant.

Third, this dedication is not only a prayer, it is about prayer. The word “pray” or “prayer” occurs 17 times in 1 Kings 8. The temple was intended to encourage and facilitate the prayers of God’s people. Those who could pray included both Jews and Gentiles:

41 “Foreigners, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come from a distant land because of your reputation. 42 When they hear about your great reputation and your ability to accomplish mighty deeds, they will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. 43 Then listen from your heavenly dwelling place and answer all the prayers of the foreigners. Then all the nations of the earth will acknowledge your reputation, obey you like your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I built belongs to you” (1 Kings 8:41-43).

This certainly helps us to understand why our Lord was so upset when some of the Jews occupied the temple court and turned it into a business plaza, rather than a place of prayer:

Then he began to teach them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have turned it into a den of robbers!” (Mark 11:17)

Fourth, there is a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in this prayer. Among other things, Solomon is praising God for this temple as the fulfillment of His promises. On the one hand there is thanksgiving and praise for the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abram and to Moses:

“The Lord is worthy of praise because he has made Israel his people secure just as he promised. Not one of all the faithful promises he made through his servant Moses is left unfulfilled” (1 Kings 8:56, emphasis mine).

20 The Lord has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor of the Lord God of Israel 21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 8:20-21, emphasis mine).

We see fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant in the number of Israelites, in Israel’s geographical boundaries under Solomon, and in the blessings that have come to the Gentiles:

1 Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household
to the land that I will show you.
2 Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you,
and I will make your name great,
in order that you might be a prime example of divine blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
but the one who treats you lightly I must curse,
and all the families of the earth will pronounce
blessings on one another using your name

(Genesis 12:1-3, emphasis mine; compare 1 Kings 8:41-43, cited above).

18 That day the Lord made a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites” (Genesis 15:18-21; see also Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4).

Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These kingdoms paid tribute as Solomon’s subjects throughout his lifetime (1 Kings 4:21).

More than anything, Solomon views the completion of the temple in terms of the covenant God made with his father David:

15 He said, “The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because he has fulfilled what he promised my father David. 16 He told David, ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a temple in which to live. But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’ 17 Now my father David had a strong desire to build a temple to honor the Lord God of Israel. 18 The Lord told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me. 19 But you will not build the temple; your very own son will build the temple for my honor.’ 20 The Lord has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor of the Lord God of Israel 21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 8:15-21).

Fifth, there is a strong sense of expectation in this prayer of dedication that God will completely fulfill His covenant with David:

24 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David; this very day you have fulfilled what you promised. 25 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel, provided that your descendants watch their step and serve me as you have done.’ 26 Now, O God of Israel, may the promise you made to your servant, my father David, be realized” (1 Kings 8:24-26, emphasis mine).

When these words of Solomon are compared with Psalm 72, one gets the distinct feeling that Solomon hopes his reign might be the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. When you stop to think about it, Solomon and others had some basis for thinking along these lines. After all, Solomon’s kingdom could appear to be the fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. The descendants of Abraham are as numerous as the sand of the sea (1 Kings 4:20). Israel is living in the Promised Land, they dominate the surrounding nations, and they are living in great prosperity. If all these promises were fulfilled, then why not the promise God made to David, and why not through his son, Solomon?

Sixth, Solomon’s words reveal that he rightly understands God’s presence cannot, and will not, be limited to a temple:

12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he lives in thick darkness. 13 O Lord, truly I have built a lofty temple for you, a place where you can live permanently.” … 27 “God does not really live on the earth! Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:12-13, 27).

This is a point Stephen will take up many years later when he is accused of speaking against the temple (Acts 7:45-50).

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Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Solomon's declarations highlight the power of God's promises. What God had promised to David, God fulfilled through Solomon. Just as the Lord God of Israel had kept His promises to the patriarchs, to Moses, and to Israel in general, so also He kept His promises to David. God's covenant to establish an everlasting dynasty for David finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, the son of David (Matthew 1:1). In response to God's promises, we are to be a covenant-keeping people. How we use our “temples” reflects our commitment to the Lord. Will others see God fulfilling His promises in us?


Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

A Prayer of Dedication - The congregation of Israel celebrated the dedication of God's temple in Jerusalem. King Solomon, standing on a high scaffold with upraised hands, spoke to the nation. Initially he turned toward the temple, but then he turned back around to face the people. He called on them to bless God with him, thanking and praising the Lord for all He'd done for His people.


The Hand of God - Solomon acknowledged God's execution of His plan to erect this edifice. Yes, David desired to build the temple, and Solomon brought his father's dream to fruition. But such a huge undertaking succeeded only by God's leading, design, and ability. The heavenly Father gave everything needed to complete this grand undertaking. God provided them a magnificent city and now a temple for the God who had protected and preserved them all these years.


Remember - Solomon challenged the people to remember the great exodus of God's people from bondage. God then allowed David to become king and conquer all the surrounding enemy nations and bring peace to the nation. Like his father years before, Solomon reinforced and reiterated the Lord's past declarations: God said what He planned to do, and He faithfully carried it out.


Acknowledging God's Work Today - In the light of the situation in our present world, some people are asking, where is God? Why isn't He doing anything? It's up to His ambassadors to constantly remind people that God is always at work. A good parent would never leave a toddler alone for one second—he or she needs constant supervision. As God's children and the sheep of His pasture, we too need constant care. If not for the Shepherd, we would go hungry, have no water, and wander into all kinds of dangers. Whether we give Him the credit or not, God is constantly watching, protecting, leading, guiding.