2Chronicles 6:1 ¶ Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
2Chronicles 6:2 But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
2Chronicles 6:3 And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.
Solomon is quoting his father’s words in verse 1.
2 Samuel 22:1&12 “And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul….And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.”
David is probably referencing the way the LORD presented Himself to the people in the wilderness when He delivered the commandments.
Exodus 20:19–21 “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”
Deuteronomy 5:22 “These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”
Solomon is declaring that he built the temple as a beautiful dwelling place for the LORD among His people—a dwelling place that was meant to last forever. Sadly, we know that was not to be because the people would once again rebel against the LORD and cause Him to have to judge them, and the temple would end up as collateral damage.
Then the king turned his face to bless the congregation of Israel as they stood before him.
2Chronicles 6:4 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
2Chronicles 6:5 Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:
2Chronicles 6:6 But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
Solomon first pronounced a blessing on the “LORD God of Israel” for fulfilling His promise to David to make him king over Israel. Though we know that God had Samuel anoint Saul as the first king, he was never a king after God’s own heart. That honor was David’s and was known by God all along. Because of that, it was David through whom He had purposed to bring forth the Messiah.
By allowing Solomon to build the temple to replace the function of the tabernacle that was constructed in the wilderness, the LORD was affirming Jerusalem as the city to be identified with His name. A specific statement to that effect doesn’t appear in scripture until some time later as recorded in Kings (in context, after Solomon had fallen into sin).
1 Kings 11:11–13 “Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”
2Chronicles 6:7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
2Chronicles 6:8 But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:
2Chronicles 6:9 Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.
2Chronicles 6:10 The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
2Chronicles 6:11 And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.
Solomon affirms that it was originally his father David’s desire to build a house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. He then explained that though this pleased the LORD, he was not allowed to do it. We know from previous study that this was because David had too much blood on his hands.
1 Chronicles 22:7–8 “And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.”
Solomon goes on to tell that the LORD had promised David that his son would build the house David desired to build, and that privilege had been given to him. He also affirmed that he had put the ark containing God’s covenant in the temple. The two tables of stone in the ark did not actually spell out the covenant but served as a testimony to that covenant.
2Chronicles 6:12 ¶ And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:
2Chronicles 6:13 For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
2Chronicles 6:14 And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:
2Chronicles 6:15 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
2Chronicles 6:16 Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.
2Chronicles 6:17 Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
Solomon had built a special platform in front of the altar from which he could speak before the people at the temple dedication. He stood upon this platform and spread out his hands toward heaven as he blessed the people. He then kneeled down on his knees keeping his hands spread out toward heaven as he continued to talk to the LORD on behalf of the people. He declared the LORD God of Israel to be unique, the only God in heaven or earth that was faithful to keep His covenants. This is said in recognition of the truth declared by Moses and the LORD Himself.
Deuteronomy 4:35 “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.”
Deuteronomy 4:39 “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.”
Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.”
He went on to declare that the LORD had shown Himself to be a God of mercy to those that tried to live in obedience to Him. Solomon reiterated that the LORD had kept His promises to David. He then goes on to ask the LORD to continue to fulfill His promise to David that he would always have a descendant before God ready to rule on the throne of Israel. This statement was contingent upon those descendants being willing to walk in obedience before the LORD as had David. Though the wording is a bit unclear in this passage, it is quite clear in the record of 1Kings.
1 Kings 2:1–4 “Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.”
Solomon again asked that the LORD prove that statement to be true. My guess is that little did he realize as he made this statement that he would be the one that would rebel against the LORD and cause Him to split the kingdom as declared in the passage from 1Kings 11 above.
2Chronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
2Chronicles 6:19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
2Chronicles 6:20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
2Chronicles 6:21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
It’s like Solomon suddenly realized how foolish it was to think that the temple could serve as a dwelling place for God. Even the heaven and the heaven of heavens could not contain Him! He asked for the LORD to hear his prayer and to have his eyes open upon the temple day and night since He had chosen to put His name there. The king asked that the LORD hear his supplications as the LORD’s servant and the prayers of the people of Israel when prayed toward the temple and forgive. Solomon acknowledged that the LORD’s dwelling place was in the heavens, but he had complete faith that the LORD could see all his servants and hear their prayers.
It is quite clear throughout scripture that the LORD has chosen the temple mount in Jerusalem as a place to especially associate with His name, with His identity as the one and only God. No matter how the Muslims or the United Nations or any other nation or group try to deny this truth, the LORD will one day prove them wrong when He establishes His throne there upon His return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Isaiah 9:6–7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Luke 1:30–33 “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
1 Timothy 6:13–15 “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;”
2Chronicles 6:22 If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;
2Chronicles 6:23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
Solomon begins to get more specific in his prayer by describing different scenarios that would cause the people to seek the LORD’s forgiveness.
If a man sinned against his neighbor and is required to make an oath before the altar at the temple (because there are no witnesses), the king asked that the LORD hear from heaven and judge accordingly by punishing the wicked and justifying the innocent. The NLT actually words it more clearly:
“If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of the altar at this Temple, then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Punish the guilty party, and acquit the one who is innocent.”
2Chronicles 6:24 And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;
2Chronicles 6:25 Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
If the people of Israel are defeated by an enemy as a result of their sin against the LORD, the king asks that the LORD hear their prayers of repentance made at the temple and forgive their sin, bringing those taken captive back home to Israel.
2Chronicles 6:26 When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;
2Chronicles 6:27 Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
When the LORD holds back the rain because the people have sinned, the king asked that prayers of repentance and acknowledgement of God as their LORD be heard. May He then teach them once again to walk before Him in obedience and send rain upon the land that He had given them as an inheritance once again.
2Chronicles 6:28 If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:
2Chronicles 6:29 Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:
2Chronicles 6:30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)
2Chronicles 6:31 That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
Solomon then poses the possibility of famine, plague, hot destructive winds, mildew, locusts, caterpillars, enemy attack or sickness as a result of the sins of the people. He asked that the LORD hear the prayer of any man or the nation of Israel made at the temple when made in sincere repentance and forgive and judge accordingly. The king affirmed that he knew that only God knows the hearts of every person.
1 Samuel 16:7 “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Solomon’s prayer was that the people would fear the LORD and walk in obedience to His commands as long as they lived in the land that the LORD had given them.
Again, how sad to learn that it was Solomon who would turn away from the LORD and cause Him to judge the nation.
2Chronicles 6:32 Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;
2Chronicles 6:33 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.
Solomon even remembered to pray for the foreigners that might choose to come to Jerusalem to pray to God at the temple. He asked that the LORD hear their prayer and answer in such a way that all the people on earth would come to know His name and fear Him as did the people of Israel. He wanted the LORD to affirm to all people that He recognized the temple as the place of His presence.
These verses testify to the truth declared in Isaiah. From its beginning, the temple testified to God as the God of all people.
Isaiah 56:7 “…for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
2Chronicles 6:34 If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;
2Chronicles 6:35 Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
King Solomon also asked that the LORD hear their prayers toward the temple in Jerusalem to be with them as they went to war against their enemies and that He give them success.
2Chronicles 6:36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
2Chronicles 6:37 Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
2Chronicles 6:38 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
2Chronicles 6:39 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
As the king continues to pray, he acknowledges that there is no person that is sinless—a truth repeated several times in scripture.
Psalms 53:3 “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
Romans 3:12 “…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God….”
Solomon declares that the time may come that the LORD gives His people over to their enemies and allows them to be taken captive to foreign lands. If they then come to regret their sin and seek the LORD with sincere repentance and faith in prayer towards the temple in Jerusalem, the king asks that the LORD forgive them and “maintain their cause,” or grant their request.
2Chronicles 6:40 Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
2Chronicles 6:41 Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
2Chronicles 6:42 O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.
King Solomon once again acknowledges God as “his” God, and asks that the LORD always see and hear the prayers made at the temple. He then asks that the LORD make His presence known in the temple over the ark that represents His strength. He asks for the priests to be clothed with the LORD’s provision for salvation (to serve in righteousness) and the saints to be able to rejoice in His goodness. He asks that the LORD not turn His face away from him, His anointed king, and favor him as He had His servant David.