2 Chronicles 6

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 6

Solomon’s Dedication of the Temple

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The Chronicler follows his source quite closely in his presentation of Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple (see 1 Kings 8:12-50a). Yet whereas the earlier version finishes with an appeal to the exodus under Moses as the basis of God’s relationship with Israel (1 Kings 8:50b-53), the Chronicler focuses instead on the Davidic covenant (2 Chron 6:41-42, from Ps 132:8-10). For the Chronicler’s own post-exilic generation, the temple signified God’s promise to David of an enduring kingdom, however restricted Israel’s present circumstances might seem. As the focal point of God’s presence on earth, the temple also stood as a constant visible encouragement to prayer, as indicated by the different circumstances of need envisioned by Solomon in his prayer (2 Chron 6:12-42).”

      • Then Solomon said, “Yahweh has said that He would live in thick darkness. But I have built a magnificent house for You; a place for You to live forever.” Then the king turned around to the entire Israelite assembly standing in front of him and pronounced a blessing over them. He said:

        • May Yahweh, the God of Israel, be blessed! By His own hand He has fulfilled the promise that He spoke directly to my father David. He told my father, ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city to build My house in, so that My name would be there, among any of the tribes of Israel. Nor have I chosen a man to be ruler over My people Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem as the place for My name to be, and I have chosen David to rule over My people Israel.’ Now my father David desired to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. But Yahweh told my father David, ‘You have done well to have the desire to build a house for My name, but you will not be the one to build the house. Instead, your very own son will build the house for My name.’ Yahweh has fulfilled the promise He made. I have succeeded my father David and I now sit on the throne of Israel just as Yahweh promised. I have built the house for the name of Yahweh, and I have place the ark there, which contains the covenant that Yahweh made with the people of Israel.”

          • ESV Study Bible says, “God was present in the thick darkness of the cloud on Mount Sinai (see Ex 20:21), and has now graciously come to dwell in the Most Holy Place of the temple.”

        • I find the latter part of verse 5 which reads, “Nor have I chosen a man to be ruler over My people Israel” very interesting for a couple of reasons: 1) It is absent in the parallel passage in 1 Kgs 8:16; and 2) it seems like an untrue statement to me since Yahweh did in fact choose Saul to rule His people prior to David.

          • Now, I’m aware that some commentators disagree with my point #2. For example, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers remarks, “Saul was originally the people’s, not God’s, choice. Holy Scripture nowhere teaches that the vox populi is identical with the vox Dei.” However, this argument appears to me to be soundly refuted by Scripture itself. While it is certainly true that God warned the Israelites about the numerous negative aspects of having a king to rule over them, Yahweh indubitably selected Saul. 1 Samuel 9-10 make this abundantly clear. Not only that, in 1 Samuel 13:13, the prophet tells Saul: “And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.”

          • So, that leaves us with two questions: 1) Is this sentence original to the text of 2 Chronicles 6:5; and 2) If so, why would the Chronicler say this?

          • Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers notes that the Syriac and Arabic follow 1 Kings here. But other than this bit of information, I don’t know that it’s possible to discover if this sentence belongs in the original or not.

            • As ESV Study Bible has pointed out before, the goal of the Chronicler is to inspire loyalty in the postexilic community to the Davidic dynasty, and to encourage them regarding the promises that Yahweh has made to them. In that regard, I can see why the Chronicler would not want to bring up the Saul debacle. However, I don’t like the implications of the Chronicler choosing to state that God had never chosen anyone to rule over His people Israel prior to David, when He clearly had.

Solomon’s Prayer

      • Then Solomon stood in front of Yahweh’s altar, in front of the entire assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Solomon had made a bronze platform measuring 7 ½ feet long, 7 ½ feet wide, and 4 ½ feet high, and placed it in the middle of the outer court. He stood on it, then knelt down in front of the the entire assembly of Israel, spread his hands out toward the sky, and said:

        • O Yahweh, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven or on earth. You keep Your covenant and show steadfast love to Your servants who walk before You with their whole hearts. You have kept your promise to Your servant, my father David. You spoke directly to him, and You fulfilled Your promise by Your hand this very day. Now O Yahweh, God of Israel, keep the promise You made to Your servant, my father David, when You said, ‘If your descendants pay close attention to their steps and walk before Me in accordance with My law as you have done, then You will never fail to have a successor sit before Me on the throne of Israel.’ Now O Yahweh, God of Israel, let the promise that You made to Your servant, my father David, come true.”

        • But, will God really live on earth with man? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain You, much less this house that I have built. Yet, listen to Your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Yahweh my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant prays before You. May Your eyes watch over this house, where You said You would put Your name, day and night so that You will hear the prayer that Your servant prays toward this place. Hear the petitions of Your servant and Your people Israel, which they pray toward this place. May You hear from Your heavenly dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.

          • ESV Study Bible writes, “The infinite God cannot be contained within space (heaven and the highest heaven), let alone any man-made structure, yet he has made the temple the point of contact and immediate communication with his people. Prayer in or toward the temple will come before God in his heavenly dwelling place because his name is on the temple (vv. 20, 34, 38), which signifies both his spiritual presence in that place and his ownership of it and is thus an invitation to pray there in confident faith…The NT equivalent is prayer offered in Jesus’ name (see John 14:13-14).”

      • If someone sins against his neighbor and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of Your altar in this house, may You hear from heaven and act. Judge between Your servants, the accuser and the accused- condemn the guilty by bringing down what he has done on his own head, and vindicate the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness.

        • On vv 22-39 NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “In his covenant with Israel, the Lord established blessings and life as consequences of obedience, and curses and death as consequences of disobedience (Deut 27:11-28:68; 30:15-18). Solomon prayed for God to hear…and forgive when the people failed to keep God’s covenant. The seven ‘if-then’ petitions of his prayer represented by any future situation that the people of the covenant might encounter. In each case, Solomon described the situation and asked God to intervene to help his people.”

        • On verses 22-23 (above) ESV Study Bible notes, “See Ex 22:7-12; Num 5:11-31…The Law of Moses provided for oaths to be taken in the sanctuary to determine guilt or innocence if there were no witnesses to an offense.”

      • If Your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they sinned against You, then if they return to You and praise Your name, and pray and plead to You in this house, may You hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land You gave to them and to their ancestors.

        • See Lev 26:17; Deut 28:25…National defeat is included among the curses for covenant breaking. Exile is one possible punishment.” (ESV Study Bible)

      • If the sky is shut and there is no rain because Your people have sinned against You, if they pray towards this place, praise Your name, and turn from their sin because You are afflicting them, then may You hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel. Teach them the right way they should walk, and may You send rain on Your land that You gave to Your people as an inheritance.

      • If there is famine or plague in the land, or blight or mildew, or locusts or grasshoppers, or if an enemy besieges them in their cities, or if some other type of plague or epidemic occurs, and a prayer or plea is made by anyone among Your people Israel- each man knowing his own affliction and suffering, and spreading out his hands toward this house- may You hear from Your heavenly dwelling place. May You forgive and deal with everyone according to to all they do, since You know their hearts (You alone know the human heart), so that they will fear You and walk in obedience to You as long as they live in the land You gave our ancestors.

        • See Deut 28:21…The emphasis is on God’s intimate knowledge of and concern for each individual among his people.” (ESV Study Bible)

      • When foreigners who do not belong to Your people Israel come from distant lands because they have heard about Your great name, Your mighty hand, and Your outstretched arm- when they come and pray toward this house, may You hear from heaven and do whatever the foreigner asks of You. Then all the people of the earth will know Your name and fear You like Your people Israel do, and they will know that this house I have built is called by Your name.

        • Your mighty hand and your outstretched arm calls to mind God’s deliverance in the exodus (Ex 3:19-20). Solomon envisions Gentiles making pilgrimage to pray at the temple because of what they have heard about this event. On the temple as a place of prayer for all nations, see also Isa 2:2-4 and Zech 8:20-23.” (ESV Study Bible)

      • When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and they pray to You, towards this city You have chosen and the house I have built for Your name, may Your hear their prayer and plea from heaven and uphold their cause.

      • When Your people sin against You- for there is no one who doesn’t sin- and You become angry with them and hand them over to their enemy, who takes them as captives to a distant or nearby land, if they have a change of heart while they are in the land in which they are being held as captives, and repent and plead with You there saying, ‘We have sinned, done wrong, and acted wickedly,’ and if they turn back to You with their whole hearts and minds in the land in which they are being held as captives, and pray toward the land You gave to their ancestors, toward the city You have chosen, and toward the house I have built for Your name, then may You hear their prayer and their pleas in Your dwelling place in heaven and uphold their cause. May You forgive Your people who have sinned against You.

        • Exile from the Promised Land is presented as the climax of punishments on account of sin (see 2 Chron 36:15-20).” On “there is no one who does not sin,” “Cf Prov 20:9; Eccles 7:20; Rom 3:23. Solomon prays that Yahweh will respond to the heartfelt repentance of his people in exile and their intercession toward the house that I have built for your name. Bodily posture was a part of prayer, especially for exiles like Daniel, who consciously prayed in the direction of Jerusalem (Dan 6:10).” (ESV Study Bible)

      • Now my God, may Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. And now arise, O Yahweh God, and come to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. O Yahweh God, may Your priests be clothed with salvation, and may Your faithful people rejoice in Your goodness. O Yahweh God, do not reject Your anointed one. Remember Your steadfast love for Your servant David.”

        • In place of the ending of this prayer in 1 Kings 8:50b-53 (an appeal to God’s mercy shown in the exodus), the Chronicler inserts a version of Ps 132:8-10, which concerns the transfer of the ark into the temple. It functions here as a prayer that God will once again come in power and in grace for the Chronicler’s generation and their temple, as he had done for the people and temple of Solomon’s day. Verse 42 of 2 Chronicles 6 is a prayer for the Davidic descendants, the recipients of God’s covenant promise of steadfast love for David. For the Chronicler, this enduring covenant is now the basis of the relationship between God and his people.”

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