2 Chronicles 7 – “The Temple’s Dedication; Solomon’s Dream”

droughtHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The people celebrate with sacrifice and song when God’s fire fills the temple. They subsequently celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and return to their homes. God then appears to Solomon and warns him to follow in His ways.

II. Photo
God speaks to Solomon in a dream: “If I shut up the heavens and there is no rain… when My people, who bear My name, humble themselves, pray, and seek My favor and turn from their evil ways, I will hear in My heavenly abode and forgive their sins and heal their land.”

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-3: When Solomon finished praying, fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the House. The priests could not enter the House of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD filled the House of the LORD. All the Israelites witnessed the descent of the fire and the glory of the LORD on the House; they knelt with their faces to the ground and prostrated themselves, praising the LORD, “For He is good, for His steadfast love is eternal.”
v. 5: King Solomon offered as sacrifices 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep; thus the king and all the people dedicated the House of God.
v. 6: The priests stood at their watches; the Levites with the instruments for the LORD’s music that King David had made to praise the LORD, “For His steadfast love is eternal,” by means of the psalms of David that they knew. The priests opposite them blew trumpets while all Israel were standing.
vv. 8-9: At that time Solomon kept the Feast for seven days — all Israel with him — a great assemblage from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held a solemn gathering; they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the Feast seven days.
vv. 12-14: The LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this site as My House of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens and there is no rain; if I command the locusts to ravage the land; or if I let loose pestilence against My people, when My people, who bear My name, humble themselves, pray, and seek My favor and turn from their evil ways, I will hear in My heavenly abode and forgive their sins and heal their land.

IV. Outline

1-11. The temple is consecrated
    1-3. God’s fire fills the temple
    4-6. The people dedicate the temple with sacrifice and song
    7. Solomon consecrates the courtyard
    8-9. Sukkot in the temple
    10-11. The people are dismissed; Conclusion
12-22. Solomon’s Dream
    12-16. God guarantees to dwell in the temple and listen to prayer
    17-22. Conditional promises; Threat

V. Comment
Chapter 7 is the final chapter that deals with the temple’s consecration, and verses 8-9 describe the celebration of Sukkot: “At that time Solomon kept the Feast for seven days — all Israel with him — a great assemblage from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held a solemn gathering; they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the Feast seven days.” Dillard makes a few important points about the style of this Chronicler’s prose that relate to these verses. He writes: “The Feast of Tabernacles was a pilgrimage festival (Lev 23:33–43) and would have brought many celebrants to Jerusalem; perhaps the scheduling of the dedication of the temple in the preceding week sought to take advantage of the large congregation that would come. The assembly provided another occasion for one of the Chronicler’s favorite themes, that “all Israel” united in the observance (1 Chr 9:1; 11:1–4; 12:38–40; 13:1–8; 14:8; 15:3, 28; 16:1–3; 18:14; 19:17; 21:1–5; 22:17; 23:1–2; 28:1–8; 29:21–26; 2 Chr 1:1–3; 5:2–6; 6:3–13; 7:8–10; 9:30; 10:1–3, 16; 11:3, 13–17; 12:1; 13:4, 15; 18:16; 24:5; 28:23; 29:24; 30:1–13, 23–27; 31:6; 34:6–9, 33).

“Another of the Chronicler’s distinctive emphases is also present: his desire to parallel David and Solomon as much as possible; see “Solomon as a Second David” in the introductory essay, “The Chronicler’s Solomon.” He modifies his Vorlage at 1 Kgs 8:66 (“David his servant”) by speaking instead of “David and Solomon” (cf. 2 Chr 11:17). Although he follows 1 Kgs 8:66 in mentioning that the congregation had come from the maximum extent of the kingdom, at 1 Chr 13:5 he had already modified the parallel text (2 Sam 6:1) to show David presiding over an assembly from the same extent (“from the Shihor of Egypt to Lebo-hamath”), thereby further perfecting the parallel of David and Solomon.” (57)

It is interesting to note that the Day of Atonement would have occurred during the temple’s dedication period (it occurs on the 10th day of the seventh month, cf. Lev 23:26–32; Lev 16), but the Chronicler is noticeably silent about it. It is also interesting to note that 2 Chr 21-23 speaks of a similar back-to-back holiday during the times of Hezekiah: “The Israelites who were in Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days, with great rejoicing, the Levites and the priests praising the LORD daily with powerful instruments for the LORD. Hezekiah persuaded all the Levites who performed skillfully for the LORD to spend the seven days of the festival making offerings of well-being, and confessing to the LORD God of their fathers. All the congregation resolved to keep seven more days, so they kept seven more days of rejoicing.”

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
De Vries, Simon J. “1 and 2 Chronicles,” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).
Dillard, Raymond B. “2 Chronicles” (Waco Texas: Word Books, 1988).
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