April 15 Reading: I Kings 7-9 Commentary

Below is our I Kings 7-9 commentary from our Beginning to End Bible reading program. You can find an email link at the end of this page to share your thoughts or comments with us.

Key Verse(s):

“And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” (II Kings 8:10-11)

I Kings 7 – Solomon Continues to Build

commentarySolomon spent 7 years building the temple (I Kings 6). It took him 13 years to build his own house. His palace complex connected to the newly built temple, which had a gate connecting them called “the gate of escorts” (II King. 11:19).

The complex included:

1. House of the Forest of Lebanon – used in part as an armory (I Kings 10:16-17).

2. Hall of Pillars – an entry to the Hall of Judgment (v. 6).

3. Hall of Judgment – a place where Solomon could hear cases too difficult for other officials (v. 7)

4. A house for himself (v. 8)

5. Another house for his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter (v. 8)

Also included in the temple and surrounding area were:

1. Bronze pillars for the temple entrance (vv. 15-22)

2. The Sea, which replaced the laver used in the tabernacle (Ex. 30:17-21). It was a giant bronze bowl which held “two thousand baths” which is the equivalent to around 11,500 gallons of water (vv. 23-26).

3. Carts and lavers – smaller bowls on carts that could be moved to various areas of the temple. They were positioned on either side of the temple (vv. 27-39).

4. Temple furnishings including: the altar of gold, and the table of gold on which was the showbread; the lampstands of pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left in front of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold; the basins, the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner room (the Most Holy Place) and for the doors of the main hall of the temple” (vv. 48-50).

I Kings 8 – The Ark Comes to the Temple

Why did Solomon build the temple in the first place? It was so that the Lord could have a permanent dwelling among the people. For years, the movable tabernacle had been the place where God dwelt among the people. Now, there would be no more tearing down and putting back up of a structure. And no more movement of the ark of the covenant.

With the structure completed, it was time to move the ark. In the 7th month (Ethanim), Solomon brought together all the elders of Israel along with the heads of tribes (v. 1). Together with the priests and the Levites, “…they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle” (vv. 3-4). On the journey, they sacrificed sheep and oxen in quantities “that could not be counted or numbered for multitude” (v. 5).

They placed the ark inside the Most Holy Place. We learn that “the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb” on which were the Ten commandments were still in the ark (v. 9).

And then, in dramatic fashion, when the priests came out of the holy place, “…that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (vv. 10-11).

Solomon’s Speeches

In a scene reminiscent of what happened at the tabernacle in the wilderness (Ex. 40), God’s glory filled the room in Solomon’s temple in the form of a cloud. It was so thick, the priests could no longer minister inside there (vv. 10-11).

Solomon spoke multiple times at the completion of the temple. In these speeches, he blessed the assembly that had gathered (v. 14, 54-61), he explained again why he’d been chosen to build the temple instead of David (vv. 15-20), he praised God for fulfilling his word in regards to bringing Solomon to the throne (v. 20, 24-26) and he offered a lengthy prayer of dedication for the temple itself (vv. 22-53). 

Some noteworthy items from his prayer include:

1. Praise to God for fulfilling his word (v. 22-24).

2. Request to continue to let God’s word unfold in regards to the throne, as he’d spoken to David (vv. 25-26).

3. A plea to hear from heaven when Solomon called on his name (vv. 28-30).

4. Request for God to hear when the people call on his name for forgiveness of sin against a neighbor (v. 31-32), for forgiveness of sin when defeated by an enemy (v. 33-34), and for forgiveness of sin when there was no rain (vv. 35-36).

5. Solomon also asked God to hear prayers for the protection of crops from weather, pestilence or insects (vv. 37-40), for foreigners seeking His name (vv. 41-43), and for protection from the enemy (vv. 44-45).

Solomon also foresaw that one day Israel would be “carried captive” to another land in punishment for their sin” (v. 47). He asked that God would return to them when the people humbled themselves and returned to Him “with all their heart and with all their soul” (vv. 48-53).

A Festival for All Time

What better way to close out the temple dedication than to have a festival. This particular one lasted 14 days in total (v. 65). It went on so long that, on the 8th day, Solomon sent all the people home. They left blessing the king “and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the good that the Lord had done for His servant David, and for Israel His people” (v. 66).

How could they not be joyful? God had been so good. And they had a king who clearly believed that.

He showed his dedication and praise for God during the ceremony too. In all, Solomon offered 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep as peace offerings to the Lord. It was so much that he had to consecrate the middle part of the temple area because the altar of burnt offering was too small to accommodate so many sacrifices (vv. 63-64).

I Kings 9 – God Appears to Solomon Again

God appeared to Solomon a second time in I Kings 9 after he’d finished building the temple and his own palace (v. 1).  The message? It’s basically the same promise as God had given David, that if Solomon kept his commands, then God would abide with him and the nation forever. But if he didn’t, then God would abandon the temple and Israel would become a byword to all the nations. It reads like this: 

“And the Lord said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel'” (vv. 3-6).

That all was positive news. But there was a dark side to God’s word to Solomon if he or the people disobeyed.

A Warning About the Temple

In regards to the temple, God gave this chilling description of what would happen should Israel turn from him: 

“But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight.

“And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the Lord has brought all this calamity on them'” (v. 6-9).

More Achievements of Solomon

Solomon continued the cultural and economic renaissance in Israel. He continued to interact and trade with Hiram, king of Tyre (even though Hiram was not pleased with the 20 cities Solomon gave him (vv. 10-14).

Building construction continued around Jerusalem (v. 15). Solomon built three cities Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, which served as important military, commercial and administrative centers for him. He built cities in the wilderness of Judah that served as storage facilities for his cavalry (v. 19).

Additionally, he conscripted all the left-over, non-Israelite people in the land into forced labor. This included the people groups of the Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites (v. 20). None of the Israelites were made into forced labor (v. 22).

Finally, Solomon built fleets of ships that brought him large amounts of gold (v. 26-28).

Questions to Consider:

What could possibly derail Solomon’s success? Have you ever felt like things are going so well for you that nothing can disrupt your spiritual life? What is it that gets in the way of your relationship with the Lord?

If a church or an organization is going to do something in the name of the Lord, it should have quality stamped all over it.

Solomon left no detail behind when he built the temple. Its design and beauty reflected who God is, with the sole purpose of pointing men to Him. Our commitment to detail in our life or in our churches should have the same goal. Is there something in your life that would distract people from seeing God in you?

What other points would you want to know about in our I Kings 7-9 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.