The entering in of Hamath - "From the entrance of Antioch to the Nile of Egypt." - Targum.
Solomon kept the feast - i. e., Solomon kept at this same time, not the Feast of the Dedication only, but also the Feast of tabernacles. The former lasted seven days, from the 8th of Tisri to the 15th, the latter also seven days, from the 15th to the 22nd. On the day following the people were dismissed 2 Chronicles 7:10.
At last the temple planned by King David, and built by Solomon his son, was completed. “All that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord,” he had “prosperously effected.” 2 Chronicles 7:11. And now, in order that the palace crowning the heights of Mount Moriah might indeed be, as David had so much desired, a dwelling place “not for man, but for the Lord God” (1 Chronicles 29:1), there remained the solemn ceremony of formally dedicating it to Jehovah and His worship. PK 37.1
The spot on which the temple was built had long been regarded as a consecrated place. It was here that Abraham, the father of the faithful, had revealed his willingness to sacrifice his only son in obedience to the command of Jehovah. Here God had renewed with Abraham the covenant of blessing, which included the glorious Messianic promise to the human race of deliverance through the sacrifice of the Son of the Most High. See Genesis 22:9, 16-18. Here it was that when David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to stay the avenging sword of the destroying angel, God had answered him by fire from heaven. See 1 Chronicles 21. And now once more the worshipers of Jehovah were here to meet their God and renew their vows of allegiance to Him. PK 37.2
The time chosen for the dedication was a most favorable one—the seventh month, when the people from every part of the kingdom were accustomed to assemble at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast was preeminently an occasion of rejoicing. The labors of the harvest being ended and the toils of the new year not yet begun, the people were free from care and could give themselves up to the sacred, joyous influences of the hour. PK 37.3Read in context »
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 »
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 »