From - Hamath - Supposed to be Antioch of Syria; unto the river of Egypt - to the Rhinocorura; the former being on the north, the latter on the south: i.e., from one extremity of the land to the other.
A feast necessarily accompanied such a sacrifice as Solomon was holding. Compare Leviticus 19:5. On the present occasion there was a double festival - first, the Feast of the Dedication, from the 8th to the 15th of the month Ethanim (or Tisri), and then the Feast of tabernacles, from the 15th to the 22nd 1 Kings 8:2. On the day after this, “the eighth day,” counting from the commencement of the second seven, and the twenty-third day of the month (margin reference “m”), Solomon dismissed the people to their homes.
The entering in of Hamath - Compare Numbers 13:21, note andmargin reference. The phrase marks the extreme northern boundary of the holy land.
The river of Egypt - The Wady-el-Arish, the only large water-course on this coast (margin reference).
As Solomon ended his prayer, “fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices.” The priests could not enter the temple because “the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house.” “When all the children of Israel saw ... the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshiped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” PK 45.1
Then king and people offered sacrifices before the Lord. “So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-5. For seven days the multitudes from every part of the kingdom, from the borders “of Hamath unto the river of Egypt,” “a very great congregation,” kept a joyous feast. The week following was spent by the happy throng in observing the Feast of Tabernacles. At the close of the season of reconsecration and rejoicing the people returned to their homes, “glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had showed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel His people.” Verses 8, 10. PK 45.2
The king had done everything within his power to encourage the people to give themselves wholly to God and His service, and to magnify His holy name. And now once more, as at Gibeon early in his reign, Israel's ruler was given evidence of divine acceptance and blessing. In a night vision the Lord appeared to him with the message: “I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever: and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually.” Verses 12-16. PK 45.3Read in context »
Seven days was Solomon engaged in the dedication of the house of God. And after the ceremonies were ended of dedicating the house, “The Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication that thou hast made before me. I have hallowed this house which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before me as David, thy father, walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments, then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David, thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them, then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them, and this house which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and Israel shall be a proverb and a by-word among all people.” 4aSG 99.1
If Israel remained faithful and true to God, this glorious building was to stand forever, as a perpetual sign of God's especial favor to his chosen people. They were called peculiar, because they alone, among all the nations of earth, preserved the true worship of God, by keeping his commandments. 4aSG 99.2
While Solomon remained pure, God was with him. In the dedication of the temple he exalts God's law before the people. While blessing the people he repeats these words: “The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. Let him not leave us, nor forsake us; that he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.” 4aSG 99.3Read in context »
After the temple was finished, Solomon assembled all Israel, and many nations also came to witness the dedication of the house of God. It was dedicated with great splendor. Solomon addresses the people, and seeks to tear away from the minds of all present the superstitions which have clouded the minds of heathen nations in regard to Jehovah. He tells them that God is not like the heathen gods, who are confined to temples built for them, but the God of Israel would meet them by his Spirit when the people should assemble in that house dedicated to his worship. 4aSG 98.1
Solomon kneels before God in the presence of that immense congregation and makes supplication to God. He inquires in his prayer, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee. How much less this house that I have builded?” He continues, “That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there; that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.” 4aSG 98.2
“Now, when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices: and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshiped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.” 4aSG 98.3Read in context »