1 Kings 8:34
Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.
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8:22-53 In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. The sacrifices, the incense, and the whole service of the temple, were all typical of the Redeemer's offices, oblation, and intercession. The temple, therefore, was continually to be remembered. Under one word, forgive, Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. For, as all misery springs from sin, forgiveness of sin prepares the way for the removal of every evil, and the receiving of every good. Without it, no deliverance can prove a blessing. In addition to the teaching of the word of God, Solomon entreated the Lord himself to teach the people to profit by all, even by their chastisements. They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him; and shall spread their hands in prayer toward this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant. Sin is the plague of our own hearts; our in-dwelling corruptions are our spiritual diseases: every true Israelite endeavours to know these, that he may mortify them, and watch against the risings of them. These drive him to his knees; lamenting these, he spreads forth his hands in prayer. After many particulars, Solomon concludes with the general request, that God would hearken to his praying people. No place, now, under the gospel, can add to the prayers made in or towards it. The substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us. In this manner the Israel of God is established and sanctified, the backslider is recovered and healed. In this manner the stranger is brought nigh, the mourner is comforted, the name of God is glorified. Sin is the cause of all our troubles; repentance and forgiveness lead to all human happiness.The oath come before ... - "The oath" is equivalent to "the man who swears the oath." A slight alteration in the present Hebrew text gives the sense "and he (the accused) go and swear before thine altar," etc. The threats and the promises, the punishments and calamities of 1 Kings 8:31-38 were distinctly named in the Law. See the margin reference. 1Ki 8:22-61. His Prayer.

22. Solomon stood before the altar—This position was in the court of the people, on a brazen scaffold erected for the occasion (2Ch 6:13), fronting the altar of burnt offering, and surrounded by a mighty concourse of people. Assuming the attitude of a suppliant, kneeling (1Ki 8:54; compare 2Ch 6:24) and with uplifted hands, he performed the solemn act of consecration—an act remarkable, among other circumstances, for this, that it was done, not by the high priest or any member of the Aaronic family, but by the king in person, who might minister about, though not in, holy things. This sublime prayer [1Ki 8:22-35], which breathes sentiments of the loftiest piety blended with the deepest humility, naturally bore a reference to the national blessing and curse contained in the law—and the burden of it—after an ascription of praise to the Lord for the bestowment of the former, was an earnest supplication for deliverance from the latter. He specifies seven cases in which the merciful interposition of God would be required; and he earnestly bespeaks it on the condition of people praying towards that holy place. The blessing addressed to the people at the close is substantially a brief recapitulation of the preceding prayer [1Ki 8:56-61].

Bring them again, from the land into which they are supposed to be carried by their enemies, into Canaan.

Quest. If they were banished into a strange land, how could they pray

in this house, as they are said to do, 1 Kings 8:33?

Answ. 1. That may be rendered to or towards this house, as it is expressed, 1 Kings 8:29,30. The Hebrew preposition beth, in, being oft put for el, to, or towards.

2. This may be understood of divers persons; and so the sense is this: When the people of Israel be defeated in battle, and many of their brethren be taken prisoners, and carried into captivity; if then their brethren remaining in the land, shall heartily pray for theft captive brethren, they shall be delivered.

Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel,.... It being not personal, but public sins, which would be the cause of such a calamity:

and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers; as had been often their case in the time of the judges.

Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.
Verse 34. - Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them [i.e., the captives of Israel, those carried off by the enemy. There is no thought here of the captivity of the nation - that is referred to in vers. 46-50 - as the prayers to be offered in the temple prove. This petition is in exact accordance with the promises and threatenings of the law, for the former of which see Leviticus 26:40-44; Deuteronomy 30:1-5; for the latter, Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 28:64 sqq.] again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. The third petition concerns the plague of drought. Just as rain, in the thirsty and sunburnt East, has ever been accounted one of the best gifts of God (Leviticus 26:4; Deuteronomy 11:11; Job 5:10, and passim; Psalm 68:9; Psalm 147:8; Acts 14:17), so was drought denounced as one of His severest scourges (Leviticus 26:19; Deuteronomy 11:17; Deuteronomy 28:23, 24, etc.) This petition finds an illustration in the public supplications which are still offered in the East, and by men of all creeds, for rain. 1 Kings 8:34The second petition, - "If Thy people Israel are smitten by the enemy, because they have sinned against Thee, and they turn to Thee and confess Thy name, ... then hear ... and bring them back into the land," - refers to the threatenings in Leviticus 26:17 and Deuteronomy 28:25, where the nation is threatened with defeat and subjugation on the part of enemies, who shall invade the land, in which case prisoners of war are carried away into foreign lands, but the mass of the people remain in the land, so that they who are beaten can pray to the Lord in the temple, that He will forgive them their sin, save them out of the power of the enemy, and bring back the captives and fugitives into their fatherland.
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